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Gonzo Imperial Porter - Flying Dog Brewery

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Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter

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2,670 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,670
Reviews: 1,435
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 114
Gots: 215 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-04-2005

ABV varies.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,670 | Reviews: 1,435
Photo of Nubster
3.51/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Drank from a pint glass, served cellar temp.

A - Poured creamy and very dark. Very nice inch and a half milk chocolate colored head. Lasted a few minutes then disappeared but maintained a thin layer covering the entire top of the beer.

S - Definitely malty with a hint of coffee and alcohol.

T - A little sweet on the tip of the tongue with a nice bitter on the back. Got some coffee for sure. There is a definite alcohol taste throughout. For me this is a strong tasting beer. Seems to be getting better as it warms (drinking while I type). At first I wasn't too sure but it is starting to grow on me.

M - Creamy. Coats lightly. Slight carbonation that is nice and mot too overpowering.

D - For me it is not there. I bought this one as a single and I am not sure that I would get it again. Maybe later as my tastes better develops as I am still very new to beer. I may have jumped in to this one too soon. I know for sure I could not drink more than this one in a single sitting.

Photo of Jablonski
3.61/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: has a dark chocolate color, which has some red tints when held up to the light; small head that is a light brown in color

Smell: malt and alcohol both apparent in the smell

Taste: coffee and malt apparent as is the alcohol; tastes a bit like an imperial stout

Drinkability: no more than 2 at once, and maybe that's pushing it; however, it's not hard to finish a beer at all

Photo of chiapete
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this around a little while but seems to have held up well.

Poured a dark black , which wouldn't let light through , some dark red edges when up to light.
Has a light brown , tan head that fades to a nice top on the beer.
has some slight lace down glass.
Had a slight aroma , hard to pick out much . some woodiness , roasted malt.
taste was good bitter chocolate, roasted malt , some coffee , a little bitterness , but a good balance through the drink. I noticed more pronounced taste as the beer warmed. Alcohol in the back.
drinkable . better warmed a little bit . will try this one again with a little fresher bottle.

Photo of midaszero
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Opaque black with one finger of coffee head with a little lacing. Head fades quickly

S - Chocolate malt. A deeper scent develops as it warms up

T - Dark chocolate and malts

M - Medium body with light carbonation

D - Pretty enjoyable and easy to drink

Photo of morimech
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with one inch of tan head that had good retention. The head settles to a thick cap. A lot of lacing is left on the glass surface. THe aroma conists of roasted, mildly burnt malt, chocolate, with a hint of alcohol. The alcohol is nicely covered up in the aroma and taste even though it is up close to the 10% mark. The flavor is good but rather one dimensional. The malt comes through but it just leaves a slightly burnt bitterness that lasts through the finish. Slight warming from the alcohol. Medium body with low carbonation combines for a nice texture for a malty, high ABV beer. Not a beer I would drink more than one a sitting, but it is good for the style.

Photo of MacDomer
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from 2007

A - Very dark, almost black. Some faint ruby highlights when held up to some light. 1 inch light brown/tan head, if that...all my pours have weak head tonight. Pretty good lacing on this one.

A - Didn't get much from this at first, so I let it sit for 10 minutes and it opened up a bit. Thick and gooey, fudge-like actually. Toasty malts and smoke. Pretty appealling.

T - Begins with some nice moderate roasted malts, espresso spiked brownies, a nice richness. Well balanced with bitter hops which mix in some citrusy flavors before finishing with a nice coffee bitterness. A hint of alcohol in the finish.

M - Medium bodied, just right for a porter. Smooth and creamy, especially as it warms.

D - Let this one warm up!! Really nice after 20 minutes from the fridge. A "fast sipper" I'd call it - don't really need to take forever to drink this, but I wouldn't rush it either. Boy, this is really, really good towards the end...I'd drink this only slightly cold next time around. Really nice!!!

Photo of CHSLBrew
3.86/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A-Nearly black, opaque beer, topped with an initially thick and dense brown head. Head reduced slowly to a dense, thin layer of bubbles. Minimal lacing.

S-Very little aroma. Some very light roasty malts and light esters. I would have liked/expected a bit more aroma.

T-Deep, dark roasted malts, fading to a chocolatiness layerd atop subtle, dark fruits and raisins. This malts (at times almost sweet) are nicely balanced by a very present bitterness. Some mild roast astringency. Light alcohol flavor/feel in the last half of the taste.

M-The first thing I noticed was an alcoholic warmth on the palate and on the way down. Has a medium body feel in my mouth, wome viscosity almost. This beer moves around very quickly in my mouth. Low-moderate carbonation.

D-This is a nice beer. Pretty easy to drink, considering the alcohol content. A very good beer to keep me warm on a chilly late-November evening. I look forward to having this one again.

Photo of BamaBeerBuff
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

08 vintage

A: Pours a deep black with a silky-looking mocha head that fades quickly and doesn't leave much lace.

S: Nose is complex and pleasant, albeit a bit muted. Dark fruits, some black maltiness, citrus hops that add a nice dimension, and a woody, vanilla like aroma akin to oak-aged beer. Aroma could be stronger, but that's my only complaint.

T&M: Dark chocolate and coffee flavor mixed well with some sweet caramel flavor and a pleasant piney, citrusy hop flavor that doesn't overpower. There's also a balancing acidity to it that's quite enjoyable. Finish is long and complex--a reprise of hop flavor, some chocolate and coffee. The flavor of this beer exudes balance and boldness. It's big-bodied with a touch more carbonation than a RIS, which gives it a nice peppy mouthfeel.

D: For being so big, it actually drinks pretty easily. Additionally, the high ABV didn't factor into the flavor at all for me, which is always a plus. I'll definitely be seeking out this beer again in the future.

Photo of currysage1
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep garnet red with chestnut around the edges, seems to be quite clear. Topped with one finger head that took a hard pour to bring about, sinks to a nice spotty covering with great lacing.

Smell is a hoppier version of what I am used to for Baltics, has the typical dark fruit but with more of a booze undertone. nice toasted grains in there as well, this has a straightforward clean smell.

Taste is baking chocolate mixed with prunes and mission figs, definate booze toward the end, very pleasing. Nice hop bitterness towards the end.

Feel is what I would expect, thicker than what I associate with a Baltic but totally within style, nice and creamy. Carbonation is prickly and doesn't allow the heavy flavors to get boring. I could have another but need to switch after that.

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

12oz bottle, 08aa vintage

A - Dark as night. Very thick. Reminds me of a stout consistency. Looks syrupy. The head is minimal, but what little is there is mocha in color. Dissipates quickly.

S - Very pungent. Strong notes of chocolate and roasted barely. Perhaps something like maple. Very sweet to the nose.

T - Starts the smooth dark chocolate flavor. Moves to a roasted malt mid-finish that includes just a hair of coffee. Finishes with some phenolic notes associated with its high abv.

M - Thick and syrupy. Lots of body. Smooth as it goes down. Obviously is loaded with sugars.

D - Deceivingly easy to drink. The high abv is fairly well hidden, and the malty flavors aren't overbearing. In the category of a high abv porter, this works for me.

Photo of chaz410
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this at the second anti-oktoberfest on tap next to the tire bite. What a contrast! This beer is exceptionally good and unique for the style of porters. First off it is an imperial porter, making it obviously more thick and rich (and more alcohol-ic tasting) in the overall profile. Secondly it has a unique hoppy-floral note lacing the more typical roasted chocolaty, malty and mocha. This is the most impressive part of the beer, it's hoppy sweet floral notes and slight bitter hints really make this normally dark beer far more crisp tasting. I really love this beer but recommend you have it in smaller dosage just because of the robust character and really thick mouthfeel.

Photo of sliverX
3.72/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poored almost like a thin used motor oil, what head it did have left almost as soon as it showed up but foam stuck around the edge of the glass and left decent lacing
Smells of dark burnt malts and a slight alcohol hint
tastes of roasted coffee and a burnt dark chocolate hint, hops very present nice bitterness
feels good in the mouth slight thickness as you would expect
not something you'd sit around and drink a case of but a nice beer either way

Photo of mugglesandhops
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I am a huge Hunter S. Thompson fan so I was looking forward to drinking this beer

A: Looks like a stout how dark it is, decent tan head.lots of lacing

S: Some chocolate, coffee

T: Little bit of chocolate, burnt coffee

M: very full

D: good beer, i dont know if i would drink it again though, a little too much for my blood

Photo of bbothen
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 version.

Pours a deep dark black with a frothy 2 finger deep espresso colored head.

Sweet maltiness, roasted coffee, chocolate, faint rasiny aroma.

Roasted/toasted malts, distinct hop bitterness, fruitiness, big boozy character, burnt bitter finish.

Big & full bodied, moderate carbonation, warming booziness.

Big beer. The 9% is distinct & warming. 2 in a sitting is enough.

Photo of bonkers
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured a 12 ounce bottle into my SA pint glass. While pouring this beer looks like dirty, used motor oil. The beer is dark, and impervious to any light. A thin tan head forms, making this beer look alot like a RIS. I really enjoyed the smell of this beer. There are hints of coffee, caramel, and alcohol. The taste is smooth and clean. Chocolate, toffee, and coffee are all flavors I pick up, along with some hints of overripe fruit. The feel of this beer is a medium/full bodied sipper. The beer hides its 9% ABV very well. I will definitely buy this one again.

Photo of williamherbert
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A flat dark brown color. A finger of light brown head, which turns into a decent-sized film. Just really dark and not much more.

Has a nice toasty malt aroma. Mild mocha coffee and dark chocolate. Sweet and a little roasted but not at all burnt. Mild earthy raisin and black licorice. Real real nice.

Pungent licorice/raisin sweetness in the taste, but also a heavily burnt malt. Strong alcohol. A mild, piney hop. Strong but also full of flavor. Doesn't use the alcohol to mask flavors.

Thick, chewy and dry feel. This drink s strong, but really very nice. It's a combination of sweet, but also roasted dark malts.

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Vintage 08DD

4.0 A: Stout like in appearance, black in color, thick tan head. Decent retention, but nothing special. Tons of lacing initially, but much less later into the beer.

4.0 S: Big chocolate aroma, as in super big. Caramel and roasted barley.

4.0 T: Chocolate again, though not as strong as in nose. Dark fruit and burnt flavored malts. Nuts, then a big of an alcohol tinge. Hops are there with herbal tones, but malts take the show. Very good, this is definitely worth trying.

3.5 M: Full bodied. Chewy and to a lesser extent creamy.

3.5 D: Very good beer, but one would be plenty. Big flavor and filling, and complete. The main problem is that it's too sweet to drink any more of.

Photo of gueuzeonhigh
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was too hasty with the barrel aged version of this beer. It would have been a very interesting taste-off between the "regular" (and much cheaper) Gonzo Imperial Porter versus the "Premium" barrel aged imperial porter.

Pours a tar color coal black producing a coarse bubble but short lived frothy head.

Nose was nothing to speak of- hints of alcohol, and a bit of toasted malt.

The flavor makes up for the lack-luster presentation. A nice ale bitter start comingled with malt but not a lot of other flavor hints. As I recall the barrel aged version of this beer had a "fatter", "rounder" flavor with somewhat more complexity.

Finish is long lasting clean dissolution of the bitter start signature.

Mouthfeel is quite cordial and invites another bottle. (I only wish I had a bottle of the barrel aged in stock-- I'd open it).

Drinkability comes along with the mouthfeel. No problem enjoying another Gonzo Imperial Porter.

Nevertheless I have tasted more complex and more satifying porters.

Photo of KeefD
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Dark brown/black with tan foam and no light shining through. Foam is gone in a few second leaving behind some average lacing. Aroma of bitter roasted malts, booze, and slightly hoppy. Flavor follows suit. Bitter roasted malt, slightly chocolaty, some coffee notes and nice dry hop bitterness on the finish. Average mouthfeel, decent carbonation. A bit strong to drink too many in one sitting, but a nice bottle to have around.

Photo of daythree16
4.6/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. It pours a jet black with a one-finger brown head.

There are a ton of aromas to sort out. There's a big dose of west coast hops up front with the lingering sweetness of caramel, followed by some coffee. As it warms, some molasses begins to creep in.

The taste is phenomenal. Some dark chocolate bitterness is noticeable at first. There is also a touch of caramel sweetness. Big nutty, almost peanut buttery flavors go well with the bitter, hoppy finish. As the beer warms, some light sour notes become apparent. The alcohol warmth is noticeable, but not overdone.

Mouthfeel is fairly smooth and very full bodied. Drinkability is not the greatest, because this a pretty big beer, but it's not bad either. I'm very glad I got a hold of this one. Highly recommended.

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.45/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Delicious looking head that vanishes without leaving any kind of lacing. Fizzy on closer notice; liquid is extremely dark brown, almost black.

Smell: Dark Chocolate, Hops, and dark berries with a little bit of molasses and alcohol.

Taste: Burt malts and dark chocolate. Light ashtray flavor. Some berries; very mild alcohol. I'd say the dark chocolate is the strongest taste.

Mouthfeel: Slick and heavy-bodied, yet still a little watery feeling. Not chunky/vicious like most imperial stouts.

Drinkability: For an imperial porter it's very light. The flavor is enjoyable but I could see myself getting bored of it's taste. I think the taste is somewhat one dimensional. I remember drinking this beer a year ago and it was completely different.

We believe they changed this recipe; it used to be much better.

Photo of 100floods
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours dark black/chocolate with a thick golden/mocha head that seems to really make its way into the beer (i lost a few sips to the head). This beer has a decent amount of carbonation and fizzles like a soda when pouring. It, however, doesnt taste carbonated at all.

I've been lucky with strong beers lately, I dont know what it is, but the second I opened this bottle (as with a few others) a burst of aroma shoots out and its noticed but for a moment, mostly sweet smells. The beer itself doesnt seem to have any further smells, although there are nice roasted scents hidden.

This brew is mighty fine balance between the malt and sweetness. There's a noticeable hint of dark chocolate with dries out the roasted malts a but, which I like. You can really get a taste of the chocolate with the full body taste of the initial contact with the pallet.

I will say I was impressed. This is the first 'imperial porter' i've had, although i find it to be in a gray area between a stout and a porter, leaning for towards the stout side. Needless to say I look forward to having this again, and other beers of it's kind.

Photo of lynx1245
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Didn't hold anything back on this pour. A nice dark and brown three finger head resulted. It's a very dark brew that hardly lets any light through except for some crimson red highlights around the edges of the glass when held up to a lamp.
Some lacing after sips.

Smell: First thing I notice is the fruity smell - reminds me of blackberries yum. Malts and a little alcohol as well.

Taste: Malts, cocoa, and a slight hint of coffee in the aftertaste. I also get a big hit of alcohol if I keep it in my mouth for any appreciable amount of time. Alcohol makes me feel niiice but I don't know if I want to taste it so much.

Mouthfeel: Pretty smooth. Didn't notice any carbonation. Still I couldn't really appreciate the mouthfeel because of the alcohol taste.

Drinkability: I picked this out of the fridge because I was feeling kind of hungry and thought it would fill me up a bit. I was completely right. Now I know why they sell them in 4 packs. Still, I could probably drink another one and not explode.

Serving type: 112-oz bottle... er 12-oz bottle. I'm really feeling the alcohol now.

Photo of HappyBivouac
4.72/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I would be a liar if I said it wasn't the awesome label, the tribute name, and past happy flying dog experiences that drew me to buy a 4 pack of this stuff when I saw it in Cyclone Liquors. That aside.. I haven't even opened this one yet, so here goes. From the 12 oz bottle, poured vigorously.

a- Completely opaque black. Even with a backlight it stays black, though around the very edges of the glass there are a few faint spots of red. Nice thick dark tan head that slowly dissipates and lightens up.

s- roasty. then sweet. then strong alcohol and malts and fruit. My mouth wants this stuff real bad.

t/m- up front roasty character and booze. Thick malty presence in the middle and fruits and alcohol warmth to finish off. Thick and smooth the whole way with the perfect level of carbonation bite to accent. Nothing is overpowering here in the taste or feel. Each taste making me want to re-explore it with the next.

d- hits hard and the high alcohol sort of slips by the detectors. That said this beer is GOOD. It's hard to want to put it down.

Best flying dog I've had to date. Comes with a strong reccomendation.

Photo of radshoesbro
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

i am not a big porter guy, but this is definitely one of the better ones i've ever had. poured murky black into a nice 8 oz glass with a finger level tan head and minimal lace. smells of malts and mild hops with a vague aroma of smoke. goes down really easy! it's a mix of malt and hops with a very creamy finish. a fair amount of alcohol rounds this out, but is evident much more towards the middle of beer than any other time it seemed.

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Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,670 ratings.