Gonzo Imperial Porter - Flying Dog Brewery

Not Rated.
Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter

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2,612 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,612
Reviews: 1,426
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 100
Gots: 183 | 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: 2,612 | Reviews: 1,426 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Photo of dacrza1
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No sunlight in the body, as Hunter would have wanted it... dirty brown head dissolves to a ring of grey bubbles in a Maudite snifter--a devilish way to begin Advent! Rich, thick fragrant bouquet of sweet molasses, chocolate and pleasant hops--a full-bodied aroma... heavy body that drapes around the tongue like a pallor, or a shroud--thick yet smooth--warming and immense in presence... the alcohol makes itself aware late with a linger... rich, yeasty taste with hints of chocolate, peat and bread--not smoky, per se, but thick with something dark... having saved this for the last of the FD sampler, I am bowled over by this beer's "drinkability" (Miller Lite is harsher than the 9.2% ABV this beer sports)and its enjoyable complexity. It ALMOST makes me want to seek out Thomspon's writings to find out what the big fuss was about....

Photo of Tbn2
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a two finger tan color head. The head shrinks to the ring of the glass and leaves some lacing. Towards the end of the glass, it tapers to just a small ring.

The smell of toasted and sweet malts dominate. A coffee/caramel aroma is also present. Some phenols from the alcohol are present, but not overbearing.

The taste is very similar to the smell. A lot of chocolaty and toasted malt flavor dominates throughout. The alcohol gives a nice warming senation in the back of the throat as you swallow. Even though the label says 80 plus IBUs, I get just the slightest earthy, dry flavor from them at the end and that quickly disappears to the alcohol.

In my opinion, the only spot this beer is lacking in is the mouthfeel. I expected it to be much heavier than it is. The bottle says it is an Imperial Stout and I like my Imperial Stouts to almost suffocate you. This one doesn't do that.


Photo of 1fastz28
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a completely black color with a big brown head. looks pretty good

smell is good, strong aroma of roasted malt, and caramel, has a certain sweetness to it as well.

taste is good, strong caramel flavor as well as roasted malt, much like the aroma. taste really has a sweet flavor to it, its yummy, the alcohol is strong and does hit me.

a good all around porter, just wish i was near a fire on a cold night

Photo of popery
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2008. 9.2% abv. I want to review this beer before only the lower abv version is available. It seems this beer is going down a bit in strength, which I'm not overtly opposed to but I fear any change to this wonderful porter. It's thick and chewy almost like a great stout. It's in a slightly easier categories than the stouts, and its scores reflect this to a modest extent. The beer pours deep and dark with slight highlights on the edges and a mocha head. The smell is tiny bit weak. (Or maybe DIPAs have utterly spoiled me) There are some notes of roasted malt and caramel. The flavor is slightly sweet and ashy. It's a very good caramel wood ash flavor, which doesn't sound great but comes off fairly dry for such a big porter. It has been one of my favorite craft beers for a long time. I love how well Flying Dog got such a big strong beer distributed so widely. The hop bite in the finish is bitter and dry. This beer has a very round flavor and full mouthfeel that compliments the malt notes nearly perfectly. Also, the abv is very well hidden for a big porter. This beer has made me seek out other big porters, like Sinebrychoff, Zywiec and Carnegie. It's a great introduction to big, tasty porters for American beer fans. Without this beer, I would not have readily bought these random-sounding porters from Finland, Poland and Sweden. So much attention is paid to big stouts, while big porters languish in relative obscurity. It's fairly confusing.

Photo of sprucetip
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle shared with mom in snifters. From notes.

Mom is an aspiring beer geek who has been drinking craft beers mainly over the last 15 years, after a lifetime of macro lagers. She mainly drinks whatever decent porter is on sale, but likes stouts, and when introduced to some Belgians recently, seems to like them as well. She's not a hophead and doesn't like bitterness generally. She doesn't experiment much when I'm not around, but she is open to it. When asked what she thinks about various ales, she often pulls common descriptors off the top of her head. I think she is a bit of a natural, and could make a great reviewer.

Tiny highlights on super dark beer, modest mocha head, some retention and good lacing. Mom wanted to give it a 5, but I dialed back to 4.5, but agreed with her when she said "doesn't it look awesome."

Lightly fruity and roasty with a hint of sweetness. After initial sniff it was very hard to find, hence the low score. It was nice while it lasted. Later sweet and super mild. Mom said the sweetness was "all I get."

Roasted grain and hop bitterness balanced by sweetness of malt, but still a bit on the bitter side. Clean finish. Mom: "coffee, cocoa, roasted malt." "mmm. mmm. mmm." "wonderful." "I better drink yours to save mine." "I want another." "Clean finish."

Slight fiz, low carbonation, creamy, enjoyable, pleasant texture. Smooth, full bodied, clean finish. Mom: "frickin yummy." "5 plus."

Asked if she could have another, mom said "yeah I could." Agreed. This is a very solid beer that I highly recommend.

Photo of WakeandBake
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep black color with a small brown head that dissapated quickly. Aroma of chocolate, black coffee, and roasted malts. The taste was a lot of roasted malts with chocolate hints. The bitter taste lingered in the back of my mouth for a while, you get a little of the alcohol flavor at the end. It was very pleasant. Much better than expected.

Photo of Vengeance526
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black color, almost completely opaque with a 1 finger tan head that has decent retention.

Smells of roasted malt and a nice floral honey like scent.

Taste has a very nutty character with hints of bitter chocolate and toffee. Leaves a slight coffee-like aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is very rich and smooth.

Slight warming alcohol presence in the background that does not dominate the brew. Right in in the middle of not being too bitter or too sweet. Overall highly drinkable and something I would not mind having again.

Photo of darklordlager
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thick, syrupy black, with only a hint of light through the edges when held up to the light. A 1/2" medium-brown head greets the top of the glass, receding to a thin coating within minutes...

Smell is smoky chocolate, definitive floral/citrusy scent from the hops... nuts, dark fruits, plum, some faint pear, a bit of spiciness. Some coffee notes perhaps.

Taste is hits you up front with a creamy smoke, followed with some chocolate and finishing with very pungent hop bittery goodness...awesome.

Mouthfeel is heavy, yet not overbearing.

Drinkability--The hops keep it refreshing so the sugary-ness doesn't become overwhelming...very balanced overall. If not for the high ABV, perhaps this would be sessionable!

Photo of maddogruss
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a bottle of this into a shaker glass.

A: Pours an oil-like, black body with a dark brown head with ok retention and lacing. Head starts to dissipate towards the end of the beer.

S: A slightly, roasted smell with some roasted meat aftertaste.

T: A robust, roasted barley taste with a slight, coffee aftertaste that was pretty good overall.

M: A pretty silky beer with a slight, overcarbonated feeling.

D: A nice mouthfeel and taste combination. Did a pretty good job of covering the alcohol burn from the palette, as I was only able to feel it after I had already taken a sip. While I was expecting a little more thickness to it, it was still a pretty good feeling beer overall.

Photo of sonicdescent
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is my first Baltic porter and as such I wasn't sure what to expect.

Looks good and black with a nice creamy head. Smells hoppy as hell, unlike any porter I have ever had before. Nice and citrusy and floral scents dominate. Taste matches the smell as this reminds me more of an ipa than the porters I am used to. Mouth is thin and carbonated with quote a zing to it. I would session with this in a second.

Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,612 ratings.