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Gonzo Imperial Porter - Flying Dog Brewery

Not Rated.
Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,572 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,572
Reviews: 1,420
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 96
Gots: 176 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Flying Dog Brewery visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  9.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
ABV varies.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-04-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Gonzo Imperial Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,572 | Reviews: 1,420 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Duhast500
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A beer that was dedicated to Hunter S. Thompson can not be a bad thing. I was intrigued so I decided to give this porter a try.

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass

The color is a dark black, held to the direct light it seems almost a deep brown, the heap is good foamy white, white sticks to the glass as is dissolves.

The smell is of roasted malts, a good auroma of coffee and dark chocolate.

The taste is just deep. Roasted malts, drak chocolate and a bit of coffee flavor rounds out the taste buds.

Keeping up with a great Imperial crowd this beer had the balls to to a little strong but flavorful at the same time. It was just the right mix of malt flavor and tasty coffee undertone that made me do a double take. Pretty darn good.

Duhast500, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of indiapaleale
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark brown/black with a coffee colored bubbly head that is about an inch in thickness.

Smell is thick, rich malt, black coffee, caramel, dark chocolate and soy sauce. Some nice fresh hop smells come in at the end to round things out nicely.

Taste is awesome. Lots of dark malt, bitter fresh hops, teriyaki and soy sauce. Lots of nice hoppiness melds with the dark malt to give a very complex and delicious taste.

Wow, this stuff is awesome and lives up to all the hype. Absolutely delicuous. One hell of a dark, hoppy, complex surprise!

indiapaleale, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of Amdahl
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Nice black in color. Tan head dissipates from a thick layer to a thin ring with no lace on the glass.

Smell: Hops and hops. A little bit of chocolate malt.

Taste: This is a nice balance. The front is creamy, almost like drinking chocolate milk. The roasted malts linger on the tongue for a long time. The hops peak through with citrus like qualities.

Its a full bodied beer that I very much enjoy. Ill be drinking this again soon, but its not a beer that I would add to regular rotation.

Amdahl, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of Drewcifer
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out a thick, oily black with a good half inch of clingy, foamy tan head. Good amount of lacing.

Aroma was roasted malts, coffee, bitter chocolate, and hops. Well balanced aroma, the malts were the strongest but did not cover up everything else.

Taste is robust roasted malts, coffee. Hint of chocolate. A very pleasant hoppiness to it - bitter, but well balanced by the earlier soft, slightly sweet malts. Extremely well balanced for an "Imperial". A slightly alcohol taste, but not much.

Nice, medium-to-heavy body, nicely carbonated, warming, nice malt aftertaste.

Overall, a wonderful brew. Very drinkable, and something that, despite the higher-than-normal alcohol content, you could drink a few of in one night. I've had this a number of times, and I will continue to go back to it for a great porter.

Drewcifer, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of davexisxrabid
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass and enjoyed.

Poured an opaque black color with a brown, half inch thick head that fizzled down after a few minutes. Couldn't really see through it or get any brown tinges when I held it up to the light.

Aroma was of roasted chocolate malts. Had a little bitter edge to it, didn't know if this was from the roasted malts or the hops though.

Thick, bittersweet chocolate flavor. Creamy sweet at first, followed by a roasted, smokey mesquite/charcoal like bitterness at the end.

Thick, rich, and full bodied brew. You could taste this on your tounge after a few minutes of not sipping.

Very drinkable, good for sipping so you can enjoy the flavor. Too bad I can only find the 12 oz. bottle, they don't make 40s of this stuff???

davexisxrabid, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of thekanna
4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had this at the Brickskeller in D.C.

Appearance: Black as pitch; motor oil with very thin head.

Smell: Dark, roasted malts. Black coffee and dark chocolate with, interestingly enough, a fruity, hoppy finish.

Taste: Great interplay between rich, sweet, and bitter. The unmistakable taste of cocoa powder is there, with coffee and figs to boot. Caramels, cloves, toffee... they're there too, but on a different level. Hops still shoot in and bite sometimes. Very richly flavored.

Mouthfeel: Smooth as anything I've ever tasted. Like having fresh Guinness at a jazz club while Marvin Gaye is crooning out some lyrics.

Drinkability: Definitely a sipper. But I'm impressed.

thekanna, Jan 22, 2009
Photo of RichT73
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When I cracked open this, it poured a beautiful dark into my waiting glass. The aroma coming from the glass was that of almost an IPA, and the taste did not disappoint, with hints of chocolate and a slightly woody aftertaste. I could have easily knocked back three or four of these on a given night.

RichT73, Jan 21, 2009
Photo of Jayli
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a deep opaque brown, boardering on black. There is a thin brown head that holds fairly well and leaves a bit of lacing behind. Scent has a lot of roasted malts, chocolate, toffee, coffee, and a slightly hoppy smell in it. The big ABV comes through pretty clearly. Taste is rich with the same chocolate and toffee roasted flavors, and it finishes in a big hit of alcohol. There is bitterness on the back end as well, but the roasty aftertaste is pleasant enough. The alcohol could be a little less dominant, as it becomes more and more apparent throughout the beer. Overall a decent beer, but the overpowering alcohol flavor deters me from making this a beer to sit with for an evening.

Jayli, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of pokesbeerdude
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 4 pack at Arctic Liquors in Steamboat Springs, CO on major discount as I paid $5 for it. 05F vintage, which I assume to be February of 2005.

A: Very dark brown, almost black, completely opaque when held to the light, brown head about half an inch thick with an aggressive pour, spotty clumps of lacing all around.

S: Coffee and hops, a faint hint of soy, hops have both a citrus and pine character, hints at chocolate as well, lots of imperial stout notes, big time roasted malt, but not as complex as I'd hoped.

T: Not what I expected at all, any thoughts of Imperial Stout are now out the window, quite sweet really, almost a honey sweetness, coffee bitterness, and a clean hop bitterness are there, molasses as well, quite bitter, but lots of sweetness that I can best liken to honey, age has done something to this beer, and I like it.

M: A little thin, I figured on something a little heavier, there is a little alcohol heat, and I think this is higher than the 7.8% that's listed.

D: I think one per session is enough on this one, it is tasty, and there are a lot of things going on, but I can't see myself drinking more than one or two. Lots of interesting things going on though. Good beer, and a worthy tribute, as it is kinda weird, and definitely out there.

pokesbeerdude, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of heapofaoatmeal
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle pours a 1/4inch head of tan. nice black thick beer. roast, dark chocolate and coffee come through the aroma all fairly light. this is a lovely balance of roasty dark flavors balanced with the sweetness of the porter. most of the time i dont enjoy porters as they are too sweet and not proportioned well against the roast malt. this is an excelent beer. there is just a hint of hot liquor on the throat. as it warmed the sweet, hot liquor, and some of the roast went away making this exceedingly drinkable for 7ish.

heapofaoatmeal, Jan 19, 2009
Photo of BuffaloTapHugger
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. Midnight black in color with nice caramel one finger head. Brilliant aroma scheme that provides roast coffee, chocolate, and the perfect blazed malt. Gulp. Nice mouthful intake of robust charcoal with overtones of some berry fruits. Lacing is remarkable. A great beer to end a session, ranks in my top 5 of night cap beers. Will drink again and recommend to close friends.

BuffaloTapHugger, Jan 15, 2009
Photo of paco1029384756
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours very dark ruby brown, nearly black with very little head and good lacing.

Scent of roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruits, coffee, and a hint of alcohol.

Taste of roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruits, and some alcohol. Last time I had this it was my first experience with craft beer, and I remember liking it, and it held up pretty well.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and watery with too much carbonation.

paco1029384756, Jan 14, 2009
Photo of HeadE
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery

Poured into a glass mug this beer is black and beautiful with a nice creamy head and impressive lacing. Held to the light in my kitchen the Gonzo appears to be completely opaque like looking for your keys in the bottom of a well.

A rich, malty aroma permeates with lively notes of caramel and a strong chocolate component. I've been sick lately but I would almost swear to a hint of Wild Turkey 101 and gunpowder.

As an Imperial Porter enthusiast of the highest extreme I'm proud to say that Dr. Thompson's namesake is the real deal. Decadently rich with notes of whiskey and chocolate and a nice balance of hoppiness (weighing in at 85 IBU's) this beer excellently illustrates the style.

I'm currently drinking Gonzo and pouring a generous amount into a simmering pot of Bison chili from time to time. Being such a large, bold, kick you in the face kind of beverage, I would recommend serving Gonzo Porter with game meats like venison or ostrich. I will definitely be drinking this beer in the future, perhaps with my attorney at 100 mph in a cherry red Cadillac through the desert.

HeadE, Jan 14, 2009
Photo of Lepley
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured deep blackish-brown with a lot of head, more than two fingers with good lacing and retention.
S: Immediate smell of alcohol, coffee, slight hoppiness, and sweetness.
T: Light sweetness, smokey, roastiness, boozy, malty. Finishes with a slight hoppy bitterness.
M: Slightly thick.
D: This is a solid porter. I know the alcohol content of this beer is high but not too high compared to some others, but it felt really boozy for some reason. I wouldn't be able to drink too many in one sitting, though it's worth checking out.

Lepley, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of ghebel
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Very dark brown, almost black. Thick, brown head that lingers and leaves laces on the glass.

S - Roasted malts, chocolate, and mixed with hoppy citrus. Nice mix. Alcohol in the backgound.

T - Roasted malt, chocolate with a fairly intense hoppy bitterness. Bitterness is persistent and an alcohol bite finishes off the swallow.

M - Moderate to heavy body, warm.

D - Nice mix of porter with hops. I could drink a couple, but the alcohol would sneak up in the end.

Overall - I like this beer. I like porters and I like IPAs. This is a beer that seems to combine the two. I will buy more when I find it.

ghebel, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of thegodfather2701
2.75/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I had this on tap at the Mellow Mushroom. It was poured with no head. This beer smelled like coconut and alcohol, very weird. It tasted similar to the smell. It did not taste like any other porter I have ever had. It was somewhat sweet and kind of hoppy. The only thing I can compare the taste to would be Baily's Irish Cream, except not as good. It felt syrupy in my mouth. I was really excited about trying this beer and it was a total let down. The smell and taste of this beer was odd, not what I was expecting.

thegodfather2701, Jan 10, 2009
Photo of CityBoy1986
3.65/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

The pour is a very dark brown with a thick tan head. The head doesn't go anywhere quickly, but it leaves great lacing when it does.

The nose is some citrus, coffee, chocolate, alcohol and maybe some woodsy smells. The taste is more of the same with bitterness throughout.

Mouthfeel is heavy with a nice amount of carbonation. But I wouldn't want more than one of these in a sitting.

CityBoy1986, Jan 10, 2009
Photo of cvfish
3.48/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a dark brown that produced a tan head which retained ok and laced decently

S - Some chocolate malts, brown sugar

T - Lightly roasted chocolate malts, some smokey coffee, sweet dark chocolate

M - A little dry, medium bodied, slight carbonation

D - Very surprised, haven't been impressed with any Flying Dogs, but this one was very good

cvfish, Jan 09, 2009
Photo of StJamesGate
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a tawny head. Big skunky hops nose. Syrupy in the mouth. Sour roast flavor comes first, cut by sharp citrus hops, then malt at the end, with molasses and cherry in there.

A monster porter! Not sure I'd call it Baltic - it has the mouthfeel though not the sugar - but I'd definitely drink it.

StJamesGate, Jan 08, 2009
Photo of HopEnthusiast
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fantastic dark brown, almost black pour with a dark brown head. Aroma of roasted malt, hops, coffee, plumb, brown sugar. Bitter predominates, but lets plenty of other complexity through. Coffee and caramel are the major notes. Smooth feel and very drinkable with a nice warming finish.

HopEnthusiast, Jan 07, 2009
Photo of droomyster
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This beer took me completely by surprise. It pours as thick and as black as crude oil, with a substantial head that has no intention of fleeing the the glass. Tastes like a forest fire in that it has a burnt maltiness backed with shockingly strong piney hops. A very heavy body that is infinitely swishable in your mouth and extremely creamy. This beer is truly fascinating.

droomyster, Jan 05, 2009
Photo of tronester
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an oily pitch black with a thin tan head. Smell is of roasted grain and molasses. Taste is of coffee, black liquorice, and a medium malt base. A touch sour in the finish. A hint of earthy hops in the finish as well. Medium bitterness from the hops. Mouthfeel is good, nice low carbonation. Pretty drinkable, though I think a 12oz bottle is enough for one sitting. Tastes similar to a Russian Imperial Stout, though a bit dryer IMO. A good beer, I would buy again.

tronester, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of BoitSansSoif
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Dark brown w/tan half-cm head. A little bit of tracing and ok retention.
S-Rich dark roasted malt, tar, sweet coffee, and citrusy American hops.
T-Rich bitter-sweet burnt-roasted malt, coffee, light smokiness, and citrusy-hop finish. Light esters emerge as temperature rises.
M-Slick with medium-heavy body. Balance is decent but bitterness dominates.
D-Decent, but not first choice for this style.

BoitSansSoif, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of astrasday
4.88/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured this sucker from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Black as can be with a tan head and no lacing.

Smell of coffee, chocolate, cherries, nuts, vanilla, molasses, wood and a touch of alcohol.

Taste. Mmm mmm. Dark chocolate, cherries and vanilla start off this harmonious taste. Coffee, wood and a nice bite from some hops kick in next. Vanilla and molasses round it off.

The mouthfeel is fullbodied, creamy and smooth.

A highly drinkable beer. This is one of my favorites. Oh, how I love it so.

astrasday, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of dmamiano
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

deep, rich black in appearance with a nice tan head and a surprising lack of lacing.
Deep, ripe fruits in the nose. chocolate, roasty and inviting in the nose.
taste is a kiss of goodness.Big on the feel, roastiness and also bitter as it fades behind the palate.
I like this beer. Seems pretty "stout" for a porter, but since its Gonzo, it fits the bill.

dmamiano, Jan 02, 2009
Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,572 ratings.