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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.

2,429 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,429
Reviews: 1,404
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 84
Gots: 133 | FT: 2
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
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Ratings: 2,429 | Reviews: 1,404 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ericj551

Alberta (Canada)

4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Flying Dog Imperial Porter pours an inky black with a thin, brown head. The aroma is delicious chocolate, toffee, and caramel. I could be smelling some kind of wonderful desert. The flavor is rich, burnt chocolate and tons of caramel without the astringency I would expect from the amount of flavor in this beer. Damp, herbal hops flavor as well as bitterness back up the sweet caramel in the beer. The alcohol is completely hidden, thought its a sipper for sure, I could drink the beer all night.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2008 01:25:07 | More by ericj551
Photo of Blakaeris


3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown, almost black. The modest tan head dissipates quickly to form a thin ring.

Aroma is unusual. Smokey and bitter with dark fruit notes. Dry cocoa, vanilla, and leafy herbal hop.

Taste is smokey roasted malt. Initially sweet dark fruitiness changes to a tart sourness. Generous leafy herbal hop bitterness really fills this one out. Woody finish is dry and holds coffee, milk chocolate and a decent amount of anise that lingers on the tongue.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

Overall a decent and unusual porter. flavors lack a certain unity, are are still interesting. Alcohol is well concealed. Surprising amount of hops for a porter. Certainly worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2008 01:01:45 | More by Blakaeris
Photo of NOOGIE


4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Apperance: Poured right into a mug. Dark red color appears. Two fingers of foam which stay with the beer, throughout the drink.

Smell: Chocolate, licorice, almost wine smell, hops and alchol.

Taste: Heavy dark chocolate, roasted malts, and hoppy flavor. Very unique like nothing I've ever had!

Mouthfeel: Smoky hops and malts that stay in your mouth for the full drink.

Drinkability: Not everybody would like this one. It is more for those that are familar with the Flying Dog types of beer and those looking for a unique beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2008 22:27:17 | More by NOOGIE
Photo of chilidog


4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This dog pours thick, rich and heavy cream-like. Its dark black, no light allowed in this glass. The head for me was full, thick yet soft and milk chocolate in color. Carbonation is low enough that the head does not cascade or put on much of a show.

The aroma is suttle with burnt malts, dark chocolate, molasses and old coffee.

The taste follows up with the burnt malts, heavy roasted coffee bean, bakers chocolate, oatmeal with brown sugar and molasses. Alcohol at over 9% isn't really noticed accept in the wiff to the nose during the drink.

Mouthfeel is left slightly dry with a burnt, yet alcohol clean feel.

Drinkability, sure. For a porter it is smooth, rich, drinkable and a meal in itself.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2008 12:31:17 | More by chilidog
Photo of fitzy84


4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Creamy, dark, black appearance. Brown color head that thins out with thick lacing at the side. Aromas are rich in mocha, malts, bitter fruits wrapped in perfect roast. The taste is thick, creamy and milky. Bittersweet mocha with an excellent dry aftertaste. The mouthfeel really helps the drink remain consistent and excellently enjoyable throughout sipping. Overall, fantastic.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2008 03:31:05 | More by fitzy84
Photo of gunnerman


4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on draft at the Blue Anchor in Delray Beach, FL. Poured into an imperial pint glass, pours a pitch black with a head that leaves a bit of lace on the glass. Smell is of nice roasted quality with roasted barley, coffee and chocolate in the nose and a sweet touch of molasses. Taste is very smooth with nice burn taste of espresso and dark chocolate. Overall a pretty impressive offering and a very large beer. Go have one of these at the blue anchor you will truly enjoy the beauty of the beer and the place.

Serving type: on-tap

06-15-2008 12:01:43 | More by gunnerman
Photo of PiecefulToker


4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Black like used motor oil, with a thick creamy 2-finger head that stays around for a while. Very nice sticky lacing down the side of my glass.

S: Coffee, dark roasted malt, dark chocolate.

T: Wow, this is one helluva porter. Tons of roasted malt gives this beer an awesome complexity of flavor including coffee, dark chocolate, and molasses flavors, with an underlying sweetness that compliments the bitterness of the hops and dark malt. It has a strong bitterness that doesn't let go, but the strong sweetness up front makes the contrast enjoyable.

M: Very smooth, almost like an oatmeal stout. This sucker is heavy, with a thick body. The carbonation is light and steps back to allow your tongue to really analyze the complex flavors.

D: I wouldn't want more than one of these in a night. A good way to start or finish, but you wouldn't want to take down more than a few of these in a sitting.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2008 05:58:24 | More by PiecefulToker
Photo of PatrickJR

North Carolina

3.3/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Black, opaque, with small 1/4 inch deep brown head. Retention is short, with minimal lacing. Expected considering the 9%.

S - Wonderful, slightly sour porter aroma with strong wood and smoke overtones. Approaches rauchbier aroma.

T - Less complex than I'd hoped for, and a bit of a kick in the throat. Vague roasted malts to begin with, but much of the beer's flavor comes in late palate, with a flavor akin to burnt bacon. Some floral hops kick in right in the middle of this burnt taste, taking the beer for a wild and unpleasant turn. All things said, the alcohol is at least only slightly noticable.

M - Medium bodied, but far too carbonated. Excess carbonation likely results in the bizzare array of flavors, and lack thereof.

D - I'll be lucky to get through this glass. Quite a disappointing beer, especially for the exorbent price.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2008 07:36:29 | More by PatrickJR
Photo of rtratzlaff

North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer seems to be spending alot in marketing to beer advocates. It must have worked, cause I bought one on a whim. Maybe after seeing their ad on beeradvocate every single day I signed on.

Besides that fact, the beer pours a black black body with an almond, maybe even light brown 1" head that leaves good lacing down the glass.

Smells are charred toast, bittersweet chocolate, coffee, and tons of cascade hops. I like the smell of things so far.

First sip reveals a good roastiness with some bitterness in the finish. Plenty of coffee like bitterness with sweetness that plays along well. Warming up it gets even more sweet, but only in a good way. Hops also become a bit more present.
Carbonation is medium with a great mouthfeel.

All-in-all a great beer. Not sure what an imperial porter is supposed to be, but if this is it, then I am pleased.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2008 04:22:44 | More by rtratzlaff
Photo of jmalex


3.2/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is a beer I've wanted to try for awhile and never got around to buying one. Definitely looking forward to this.

APPEARANCE: Pours into a Sam Adams glass a deep black with a one finger high brown head. It drops immediately to a thick collar and foamy patch in the center.

SMELL: Traditional Baltic Porter aromas are here in the form of chocolate, licorice, and dark fruits. But their topped by a significant piny hop presence and a serious alcohol bite. Huge aromas all around.

TASTE: The rich chocolate and fruit base is quite nice, but alcohol really seems to get in the way. The hops are there, but not at the level they were in the smell. A touch of smoke is there as well and seems a little misplaced.

MOUTHFEEL: Definitely fuller bodied but a bit slick and syrupy. Carbonation is quite low even for style.

DRINKABILITY: Not great. It's too harsh to drink with any sort of regularity. One and done for me tonight.

Man, Gonzo was definitely a disappointment. I might say that a bit of age could help this beer, but this one has been going for a few months as it is. I dunno if it would take more on the order of years, but I doubt I'll wait that long to find out.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2008 01:06:10 | More by jmalex
Photo of Strix


4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Near black with a smallish brown head.

Smells of roasted malt, coffee, and a touch of hops.

Roasted malts and coffee are at the forefront, with chocolate in the mix somewhere too. Definite alcohol presence. As it warms, the hop presence comes out.

Mouthfeel smooth and coating.

I really enjoyed this one. But some may be turned off by the alcohol presence. And it was kind of pricey for a 12 oz. bottle.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2008 03:16:40 | More by Strix
Photo of phishgator


3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass. Nice inch an a half dark tan head. The opaque color has brown edges in the light. Carbonation is there. The aroma is of smoked and roasted coffee beans. The taste is slightly bitter upfront and then the roasted flavor pokes through. There is a metallic aftertaste along with licorice. The body is a touch thin for style and with the metal aftertaste its not one that I would be drinking another in that sitting.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2008 14:33:17 | More by phishgator
Photo of pwoods


3.4/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz. brown bottle from the 4pack, purchased at Party Source, poured into a pint.

A: Pours a very deep brown, nearly black. Maybe 1 finger worth of mocha head forms and dies within a minute or two. Some patchy lacing.

S: The hops are very present in this one. Even for a Baltic Porter... it's impressive that it fits well. Plenty of floral, grassy hops with plenty of orangy citrus. Malts are heavily roasted, thick, and sweet.

T/M: Again, the hops are pretty potent with more of the citrus poking through. The alcohol breaks through a bit with the hops and continues through the thick roasted malts to a drying finish. Body is full and, IMO, a bit too heavy for a porter. Carbonation adds a bit of smoothness to the drink.

D: Tasty, but not overly impressive. Average drinkability for a BP. It's one of my favorite styles I'll probably only have this again because it's so readily available.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2008 01:01:54 | More by pwoods
Photo of jasonjlewis


3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice 1 1/2 finger head with good retention. Nice dark brown color.

First whiff is some chocolate malt and a good portion of mint. I think there may be vanilla and toffee underneath but the smell is too faint.

Taste is of mint and chocolate with some tofee and a citrusy and nicely balanced hop bitterness. The malts become smoother and the beer smoothes out as it warms.

Smooth and creamy, but a little rough around the edges and astringent

This beer is a little rough around the edges but would make for a decent session.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2008 04:06:35 | More by jasonjlewis
Photo of aubuc1


4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into imp pint glass. Black body with a tan head. Chocolate, currant and malt are very strong with chocolate being the most prominent. Bitter chocolate taste with some sweet in the end. Not so intense as ris' and more drinkable. A great beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2008 01:02:05 | More by aubuc1
Photo of adams82


3.45/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours black; opaque with a tan head.

Smells of licorice and dried fruits, subtle hop notes, roasted coffee and dark chocolate.

Tastes very nice... Very roasty, smokey, bitter sweet dark chocolate, bits of licorice, a nice hop bitterness with dried fruits mixed in as well. A fairly complex offering...pretty nice!

Full bodied, full flavour... a well rounded beer and a very interesting interpretation of the style, fairly unique. Almost like an imperial stout meets a scotch ale... plus I love the Fear and Loathing reference.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2008 02:11:04 | More by adams82
Photo of IronCitySteve


4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: An extremely dark, almost black. A thick chocolately brown foam head. Perfect lacing the whole way down the glass.

S: Chocolate, coffee and espresso smells. A nice dark roasted malt. The smells are more poignant as the beer warms.

T: A sweet mixture of chocolate and coffee. Some alcohol taste, but nothing major.

M: A really creamy and smooth finish. Coffee aftertaste.

D: A nice smooth drink, but the sweetness, which is great, limits the amount I could have in a sitting. I like it a little warmer too.

Serving type: on-tap

05-22-2008 11:05:57 | More by IronCitySteve
Photo of bboven


4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finger+ of head that stays for an hour and leaves a ton of lacing. Murky brown-black body looks slightly unappealing, there are no reddish highlights here. This beer screams 'I'm Dangerous!'

Great nose of sweetened coffee, chocolate, some dark fruit and some hot alcohol.

Tastes of bitter chocolate, cherries, and hot alcohol dominate.

Mouthfeel is pretty mellow, I let this sit for 1/2 hour before drinking. On cask this would be amazing.

A great beer, not the greatest, but definitely way up there within the style. A must-try.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2008 01:07:26 | More by bboven
Photo of Kadonny


4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: A deep dark brown almost black color with a light brown 2 finger head. Nice glass lacing that sticks down the glass.

S: Dark roasted malty smells of coffee, espresso and dark chocolate. A nice strong hops nose comes through as well.

T: Roasted malts with flavors of coffee and espresso, dark chocolate, dried fruits and some bready grainy flavors typical to a porter. A large hop bite kicks in the middle of the beer and follows the roasty flavors through to the end. A massive bitter ending that is very pleasing if you are a porter and hops fan.

M: Medium with a sticky oily mouthfeel, but not unpleasant. The alcohol warms nicely in the mouth and is very welcomed.

D: Medium. I could easliy put back a couple of these, but it is far from a session beer.

Overall a very nice beer, love the imperial porter designation, I always have. I love the hops in this beer and this is probably my favorite Flying Dog beer yet. Well done.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2008 14:29:11 | More by Kadonny
Photo of coldmeat23


3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Imperial Pint Glass
TEMP: Approx. 50 Degrees

Pours exceptionally dark and lovely. Nice three finger creamy coffee head. Very nice and long retention which finally settles to a coffee crema topping the black liquid.

Smells are confusing: nice chocolate with hints of coffee but mixed in with iodine and cherry cough syrup. Alcohol comes forth, also.

The taste is very good but not quite what I'd hoped for. A bit of a letdown, actually, for me.
Kind of fruity with that medicinal cherry thing and chocolate way down deep.

Feels good in the mouth, what with all those tiny bubbles, but it's a little to watery. Not quite as full as I'd hoped for.

Overall, this is still a good example of a Baltic Stout, and I will drink many of them.
I was just a little over-expectant on this one, I guess.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2008 21:34:48 | More by coldmeat23
Photo of arizcards


3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle at Magnum's in early November for 2.99. Part of Vintage 07B.

Beer poured black as night with a beautiful brown long lasting head. Nose has hints of roasted malts abd chocolate. Taste is a huge blast of roasted malts with hints of chocolate, coffee, and molasses. Finishes with a blast of hops. The roasted hop combo is quite overpowering leavubg the palate well coated with burnt hop residue. Mouthfeel is perfect, very chewy and think, and it glides extremely well across the palate. Drinkability is good as the ABV is especially well hidden. This is an interesting beer that is definitely over the top. Definitely try this if you are into the imperial porters and stouts.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2008 01:37:50 | More by arizcards
Photo of Biggness

New York

4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pour very dark with a light head, the smell was of burnt chocolate malts. The flavor is nice and certainly not one for a non beer drinker but very nice to my pallette. The main flavors are of burnt, chocolate and coffee. Very very easy to drink for a 9% abv. Another fine product I have tried from Flying Dog Brewery

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2008 02:25:38 | More by Biggness
Photo of champ103


3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pitch black with a large tan head. Some clinging lace sticks around after the head recedes.
S: Roasted chocolate malt with some coffee. A big hop aroma comes towards the end that gives this beer an interesting aroma.
T: Very malty. Bitter chocolate and coffee. Lots of hop bitterness as well. There is two different bittering flavors here that do not mix all that well.
M/D: A medium to full body and carbonation. A little watery. This is pretty hot after it warms up. Not bad to sip on, but one bottle is plenty for me.

I use to really love this beer. After revisiting this a couple of times, I am not as impressed for some reason. This is still an interesting porter, but it seems a bit more watered down and bland than it use to be.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2008 21:04:45 | More by champ103
Photo of bkilpatr


3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. 05/04/08. Vintage 2008 according to the label. Gotta love the Flying Dog bottle artwork.

Pours a very dark opaque brown. A moderate pour produces about half a finger of chocolate brown head, which left no lacing on the glass. Aroma is sweet milk chocolate and toasted malts.

Taste starts with a bit of sweet milk chocolate. It finishes with a heavy bitter dark chocolate and roasted malt presence. There's a bit of an earth hop flavor underneath all this.

Feel is kinda thin and carbonated, just how a Baltic porter should be. Drinkability is good, the bitterness doesn't overwhelm. The high alcohol content (9.2%) is very well hidden and crept up on me.

Pretty good for a Baltic Porter. Worth a try. Looking forward to trying the barrel aged version soon.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2008 03:09:32 | More by bkilpatr
Photo of bark


3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The liquid is clear; the colour is black. The rock hard head is high with a fine crater and a deep brown colour. Lots of fine lacing.

The smell: Hoppy! Grape fruits! Seriously roasted malt! There are sour metallic flavours, too. Bitter hops. The smell is heavy but not very complex

The taste is extremely malty with lots of bitter notes in the start. Dried fruits, some sourish notes as well as sweet ones. Consommé and meat-like flavours. Of course, the malt is heavily roasted but there is also a noticeable metallic bitter flavour in this beer. Some canned fruits (apricots, plums, green grapes). The aftertaste is bitter with salty roasted malt and some citric notes.

The carbonation is mild; the liquid thick and smooth.

I found this beer a little to heavy and not as fresh or bitter (come on, 85 IBU's?) as I had hoped for.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2008 16:08:48 | More by bark
Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,429 ratings.