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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.

2,413 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,413
Reviews: 1,404
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 81
Gots: 127 | 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: 2,413 | Reviews: 1,404 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Beertroop

New Jersey

3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Good looking label, Hunter's quote goes nicely with the beer.

A: Good dark color, no light goes through. Good used engine oil color, but if your engine oil looks like this? you need to change it more often.

S: Great smell come from this brew, roasted caramel and a superb malt smell. Good head with an aggressive pour. Good lacing that clings to the side of the glass for dear life.

T: Good taste of roasted malts with a good balance of caramel and chocolate. This brew really tastes like the best porters.

M: Average mouth feel, this brew on Nitro would be a sure 5. But it definitely rank up there as a better one.

D: Very easy to drink and easy to enjoy. This is sure to be on my top 10. Strong taste and a strong offering from flying dog.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2008 03:12:08 | More by Beertroop
Photo of NJpadreFan

New Jersey

4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Flying Dog- Gonzo Imp. Porter

A- Thick black with a creamy tan head. solid head and good messy lacing.
S- Huge pine hops blended into a sweet chocolate aroma.
T- Chocolate caramel malt with a big sweet dose of hops. Slightly spicy in the end, a touch of vanilla and pepper.
M- Sweet and thick. Very creamy throughout with a hot alc. finish. Could become cloying after a few.

Overall- This is quite tasty. At 9.2% alc. 2 pints would do.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2008 23:58:27 | More by NJpadreFan
Photo of slvrmon82


4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Wow. It is a dark dark dark porter. The smell is incredible lots of roasted barley with tons of smoke and chocolate coming through. Taste is great. It was a little thick and a little bitter as well. The mouthfeel was very enjoyable. Not as thick as I assumed. Drinkability is high for this type of beer. You will finish a 4 pack but you might feel it in the morning.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2008 05:16:34 | More by slvrmon82
Photo of Junnila


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

The good doctor would be proud of this Baltic/Imperial Porter. The artwork on the bottle is one of the best from Flying Dog. The bottle was from 2007 and featured the peyote fist as well as HST himself (not sure if it changes year to year).

Poured a deep, darkened brown with a one finger tanned head. When slightly tilted, I noticed a full range of orange, amber, tan, and brown, a veritable ale rainbow if you will. Smell was just as dynamic as HST himself, chocolate and spice, cinnamon then sweet, ever enticing me to keep smelling in order to find out more. One taste and I knew that I would be cellaring this for years to come. Full bodied porter with a slight alcoholic feel that is definitely not too overpowering. It's there, but where else would it be? I enjoyed this porter very much even though it doesn't rate as high as others. I will give it a try in 6 months and see what else comes to light.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2008 02:09:13 | More by Junnila
Photo of findlayfan


3.13/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Second of my basement beers. Vintage 05 on label.

First "foamer" I've had in quite a while. After losing an ounce or so (on the floor and in the sink), a very gentle pour still produced a huge light brown 3" head - couldn't get it all in a pint glass.

The body was TRULY opaque - absolutely NO light came through, even from my 60W clear bulb! I don't know if I've ever seen a darker, denser brew.

Roasty malt on the nose but not much indication of sweetness.

Alcohol was well-hidden, but there was a lot of bitterness and considerable aftertaste (which hung around for quite some time).

Mouthfeel was surprisingly good - with all the initial foam I expected a lot of fizz, but it actually worked quite well: reasonable carbonation but not Coca-Cola fizz.

I still have another one of these in the cellar, so I'll be interested to see if it, too, is a "foamer" (and I'll be better prepared in case it is). Perhaps next weekend.

An interesting beer, but not a sessionable one - nor one I'll really seek out.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2008 02:35:49 | More by findlayfan
Photo of dubhlain


4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A = Dark and syrupy. Head is a nice fingers worth that dissipates leaving nice lacing.

S = Love the smell on this one, roasty malts, chocolate, and some alcohol.

T= Roasted sweet chocolaty matly. It is quite grand.

M= A little initial shock but ends with a mouthcoating smoothness. Has a fullness to it a bit chewy.

D- Dangerously drinkable has a great smoothness to it that makes it easy to enjoy.So great that it caused me to write my first review!?!

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2008 20:36:31 | More by dubhlain
Photo of tapman


4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Best artwork of all the Flying Dog art. Hats off to Ronald Daul.

Pours a very dark black. Head is espresso foam and very small, even after a big pour.Lacing sticks around throughout the beer, so good retention, but this is appearance we're talking about so...

In this order: alcohol (astringent), hops of English to English-American hybrids (perhaps Perle or Challenger?), Roasted and black patent barley malts (also astringent). I know I know, a porter with big hops...just telling it like it is. *Amendment* When it warms the hops settle down and the malts come out in a big way, eclipsing the alcohol. Still, not easy to smell'em.

A pleasant surprise. Chocolate, caramel, and very light coffee and roasted barley characteristics. Hops are indeed both bready soft and spicy hop, leading me to once again assume an English-American hybrid like Challenger or something.Alcohol is way, way in the back and barely noticeable. I would give this one a five, but for the style there could be stronger, more varied flavors.

Smooth and creamy. The lack of head gives way to a nice carbonation that helps to increase the smoothness. What can I say, its not too syrupy and not too watery. The mouthfeel is like velvet. Creamy, smooth, crisp, carbo bite... very nice. Someone send me a beermail telling me how this could have a better mouthfeel and I'll consider it and potentialy change my review.

Great brew. Lacking in areas, but makes up for in taste and mouthfeel, which are big sellers for me. Could even see myself sessioning this one, though I would be pretty F'ed up after a whole four pack of this sweet nectar.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2008 06:06:23 | More by tapman
Photo of Fish113d


4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A nearly opaque pour into my glass, with a copper-colored sticky head that foams to the top of 2 finger thickness, and begins to dissipate soon after.

Nice aroma of pine hops on the nose. A sour toffee aroma also comes through behind with a bit of roasty malt. Not too complex but nice.

Sipping reveals a rather sweet treat of toffee & chocolate on my palate with soem dry roast coming through after. Very nice body character; medium to full bodied, and with a nice drying finish. Just a bit of alcohol at the finish.

very good brew. I could drink this all night long until I fall over from a drunken stuper. Alcohol is well-hidden which is dangerous!

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2008 03:30:48 | More by Fish113d
Photo of Lothar666

Rhode Island

4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A very dark brown, opaque, and almost black body with a thin layer of almost nonexistant head that receeded fairly quickly. Sediment was readily visible, and lacing left on the side of the glass was thick and muddy.

S- Aroma is full of dark malts and some traces of strong alcohol. A hint of coffee is also present.

T- Sweet dark roasted malts with a nice bitter finish. Espresso and coffee notes are much more prevalent in the flavor profile than in the nose, lending an obvious but not unwelcome acidity that is balanced well by the dark malts and hops.

M- Carbonation is low but the mouth texture is thick, full bodied and creamy. The sediment that falls from the glass as I pour is a testament to the excellence of this beer. The oily texture makes this one a joy to sip on.

D- Wonderfully smooth and drinkable for such a high ABV, especially as a companion to a meat topped pizza. This is definitely my favorite beer from this brewery.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2008 01:57:20 | More by Lothar666
Photo of NCSUdo


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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, vintage 2008 on the bottle even though I purchased it in November 07

A: Pours a deep black under a fingers worth of brown head. Some decent lace and nice retention.

S: Smells of sweet dark fruit and big fruit hops. Slight hint of chocolate and roasted malt.

T: Slightly tangy and sweet citrus up front ending in a roasted and slightly burnt malt and decent bitterness.

M/D: Full bodied, a little heavy on the carbonation but OK, no hint of the 9.20%. Good drinkability for such a big beer as well. A very solid effort from Flying Dog.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2008 01:52:27 | More by NCSUdo
Photo of aerozeppl

New York

4.68/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Was wonderfully surprised to find this on cask at the Lazy Boy in White Plains. Best part only $6 a pint!

A: Jet black in color with one finger of tan head. The lacing on this beer was incredible. I was able to count how many sips it took me to finish the beer.

S: Roasted malt, Warm alcohol. Chocolate.

T: So complex. The first rush is all sweetness/bitterness from all the roast. Then you get the chocolate. Finally a toasty finish.

M: Thick and chewy. Typical cask carbonation which really worked well for this beer.

D:No hint of ABV and every sip was a pleasure. This beer is great in the bottle. On cask it was Earth shattering. While drinking it I remarked that it was perfect and it was. If near White Plains please go and get this before it is too late.

Serving type: cask

02-05-2008 13:49:21 | More by aerozeppl
Photo of barleywinefiend


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

Pours jet black with a chocolaty brown head. In the aroma, sweet roasty malt and lots of chocolate. In the taste, a roasty dark and deep chocolate malt and end with a grapefruity hop. A smooth and sweet, with a small bite in the mouthfeel, and a semi dry grapefruit and chocolate malt aftertaste. A great hop presence and hides the alcohol very well. Excellent porter.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2008 00:46:24 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of HardTarget


4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Inspection: Great Steadman art, notes 07B vintage.

Aroma: Black bread, dark roasted grain, a firm ice cream smell, coffee, alcohol, and some west coast hops peek through.

Appearance: Black as road bats, bright light shows a thin ruby edge. Struggled to hold a head.

Flavor: Deep stout flavors, dark barley, rich sugary malt base with a ribbon of west coast hop goodness running citric, orange rind mostly. Alcohol lightens everything up a bit and left an evaporating finish.

Mouthfeel: Dry, mild alcohol burn, firm carbonation.

Overall Impression: Easy drinking monster. Hope we get some here in Texas.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2008 06:31:34 | More by HardTarget
Photo of JDV


3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle at City Beer Store in S.F. Pours blackish with a rich brown lasting head. A bit hoppier than expected for what it says is a porter. Some dark roasted malt smells. Taste is hoppy, dark roasty and some smoked beef jerky like flavor is definitely coming in for me, but the two other people sitting next to me think I'm crazy and don't pick that up at all. Also a decent bitterness. Definitely a different type of beer than any I'd had before. Didn't really taste the 9.5% alcohol, actually.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2008 23:08:00 | More by JDV
Photo of Squaretooth


3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Gonzo Imperial Porter - Flying Dog Brewery

12 oz bottle poured into an Orval Goblet

A - Pours a dark brown opaque color with a thin dark tan head that quickly dissipates, leaving a fine oily film and mild lacing.

T - typical porter/stout taste. Coffee flavored with hints of dark fruit. Nothing special, but still quite pleasing.

S - My sense of smell isn't working too good this morning. I can faintly make out coffee and dark fruit. That's about it. Maybe after my sinuses clear up I can edit this if that changes.

D - Fairly smooth, lightly carbonated and easy to drink. I don't think I'd call this a session beer but one can easily put 2-3 of these down without much of an effort.

M - Stings a bit on the tongue and palate, then you get a lingering coating that stays with you awhile.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2008 16:13:12 | More by Squaretooth
Photo of timtim

District of Columbia

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

almost opaque with dark brown feet. tan head. good retention and lace. nose is of chocolate, coffee, hops and some smoky/roasty grainy malt. tastes well balanced with a nice warming finish. hints of earthy nuttiness and minty hops come through as it goes down. medium full. viscous and oily, it remains an amped up porter and doesn't quite cross over into stout territory. good job on this one, i'm not usually a huge fan of their beers.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2008 16:49:06 | More by timtim
Photo of emerge077


4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005 vintage bottle.

Jet black pour, with a cap of mocha-tinged foam. A very faint and feathery webbed ring of lacing is left behind as the level recedes in the glass.

Chocolatey, herbal, nearly medicinal aroma. Not much left to indicate the hop level of a fresh bottle. A little woody and lactic sweetness also.

Big flavor of licorice and residual earthy charred malt. A leafy herbal quality in the background is all that remains from the initial load of hops. A dry bitterness in the finish is also attributed to the residual traces of hops. It has an extremely smooth and full body that encourages slow savoring. Easy to have one or two, paired well with a chocolate brownie.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2008 02:05:54 | More by emerge077
Photo of tonistruth


3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- light stopping deep brown color, 2 finger fluffy mocha colored head and soapy lace, great retention on head

S- complex malt/hop aromas including pine and roasted malts

T- pine and citric hop flavors weave in and out throughout the drinking session, lots of roasted malts with subtle hints of dark chocolate, hints of alcohol as brew warms

M- medium body, hot w/ alcohol, deceptively smooth as it leaves the palate numb

D- quite the intense brew, for my own tastes i like to tone down the hops, but regardless, amazing complexity, this is a really worthwhile brew

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2008 01:16:38 | More by tonistruth
Photo of davidt


4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours opaque black with a thick dark tan head. The head slowly fades to leave plenty of lacing on the sides of the glass. A strong aroma of dark chocolate initially hits the nose, followed by coffee and light citrus hops. Do I detect a bit of smokiness as well? The flavors are as complex as the aroma with heavy roasted malts, chocolate and expresso flavors coming through. All this is followed by a kick of citrus hoppiness that hangs on through the finish. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy, with some sticky sweetness that is not unexpected

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2008 20:07:06 | More by davidt
Photo of BBM

New York

4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a jet black into the glass with a rocky brown head. Nice lacing around the edges. Aroma was superb, with chocolate and alcohol mixing in a very pleasant manner, along with earthy hops and some sweet fruits. Perhaps citrus as well.

This is the kind of dark beer that intends on hitting you over the head, and it does a good job of it. The chocolate and caramel flavors are present, but it's the stern hop profile that makes the beer here. Earthy, flowery, and a bit fruity make a unique porter experience. Alcohol warms the finish. Assault on the tastebuds doesn't cease until well after you've finished the drink.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. This is a quality beer and another barrage of flavor from Flying Dog.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2008 00:09:50 | More by BBM
Photo of Kegatron


4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours an inky black with a finger width of dark tan foam with doesn't retain very well and just left some minimal lacing. The aroma is deep with notes of chocolate, coffee, burnt roasted malts, light hops and a little heat.

Much like the aroma, the taste is full of burnt tones of roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, and dark fruits. It finishes with a combo of a burnt and hoppy bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and silky with a slight alcohol burn but for the most part, it's more warming.

This is a pretty good Imperial Porter. The bold flavors and higher ABV keep things interesting but it still remains a rather approachable and quaffable brew. Great for warming up on a cold night.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2008 17:16:34 | More by Kegatron
Photo of dedrinker


3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black with a fluffy tan head. Nose of bitter chocolate and hops. Burnt grain flavor with more bitter chocolate and hops. Dry and roasty as well with a dirt weed hoppy finish that reveals some alcohol, but in fair balance with the dark malts. This one gets more hoppy and roasty with time in the glass. It opens up a bit and breathes. I liked it, but prefer these flavors married to the fuller body that the roasted barley in stouts bring. Very good porter in light of the fact that it retained distinguishing characteristics of a porter even in its bastardized "imperial" avatar.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2008 21:45:56 | More by dedrinker
Photo of whynot44


4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Seriously dark brown, almost black and opague with a moderate foamy dark chestnut head that doesn't stay around too long but manages just a bit of lace while it lasts.

The aroma is complex - figs, raisins, caramel, coffee, smoke and citrus - interesting. The taste is along the same lines, starting out mildly sweet and fruity with caramel and slightly burnt dark roasted coffee and chocolate notes coming in along with a very definite citrus hops note. The finish is somewhat dry with a burnt toast aspect and some nice lingering alcohol warmth.

Medium bodied, well balanced and drinkable, but this is really more of a sipping brew, excellent for a cool winter day.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2008 04:14:21 | More by whynot44
Photo of BarryNL


3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Slight problem with the bottle on this one - the label says 4.7% and 36 IBU, with a sticker over the top saying 8.7% ABV - I'm guessing a printing fault - the contents is definitely a big beer :-)

A: Super dark, opaque beer - holds a slight head well for such a strong beer.

S: American. That's to say hoppy. Nevertheless, there's enough dark malt to come through in the aroma and create a nice balance.

T: Strong hops, espresso coffee malts. There is something a little strange in there - a slight taste of rotting vegetable. Very faint, like they are using a low alpha-acid hop for bittering and the sheer amount has left a flavour behind. Overall though, a nice balanced hop/malt taste.

M: Plenty of body - a little sticky sweetness, though that's probably unavoidable in such a big beer.

D: A bit too intense to be very drinkable. Sipping one of these during the evening is plenty.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2008 21:00:29 | More by BarryNL
Photo of acrawf6


4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle says vintage 07I.

Pours out a rich black- no light getting through anywhere. The pour had a very dark brown beer come out; looked very thick. Head is thick and tan and has nice lacing.

Smell. Burnt malts, even some charcoal comes out. I also get a powdered sweet chocolate, but overall it is a dry smelling beer. I also get a little sourness....hope it isnt infected.

Taste. A heavy and rich beer, but initially seems lighter than i thought it would be. This changes quickly as it warms im my mouth and the flavors really come out. Certainy a dry beer, though i would say it is a malty beer. Malts taste smoked and burnt, reminding me of what burnt wood would taste like from a fire. There is just a hint of that chocolate i got from the aroma, with a little licorice as well. Aftertaste has a nice warming sensation with the alcohol accompanied with some smokiness. But the flavor is very smooth and creamy.

Mouthfeel. Body is full and creamy. Carbonation is low, but at a good level for the beer. A maltier beer, but balanced very nicely as their is a nice hop bit that works well with this.

Overall, a very nice beer and one i enjoyed for more than what it is. The side note to this one is a friend of mine wanted to try this beer because he liked the label so much. Unfortunately he pasted away about 2 years ago. Rob, i think you would have liked this one as it is "very tasty."

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2008 02:56:18 | More by acrawf6
Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,413 ratings.