Gonzo Imperial Porter - Flying Dog Brewery

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Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter

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2,614 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,614
Reviews: 1,426
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 100
Gots: 187 | 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: 2,614 | Reviews: 1,426 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of opwog
4.72/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

If a girl wants to know the way to my heart, she better be able to brew beer like this! 1 sweaty goblet.

A- So dark and mysterious, horror film effects people should take notice.
S- Big time roasted malt and still a decent hop aroma that is usually stunted in a beer like this.
T- great hop balance makes this a stand out amongst strong, dark ales
M- Smooth, thick with perfect carbonation
D- "from my cold, dead hands"

Maybe I should have sat on my bottles longer, but this tap was much smoother that my previous bottle experience. Maybe they should have bottled this in bombers. 40 minutes on a goblet. I never wanted it to end.

Photo of dewalt
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Notable for the postmortem portrait of Hunter S. Thompson on the label. But it's tasty as well as eye catching. The brew pours a dark black and smells of coffee and roasted malts. It tastes like mocha coffee, with a bit of brown sugar, and a clear note of hop bitterness. It's sweet, almost reminiscent of a coffee liqueur, but it's not thick or syrupy -- actually, it's quite smooth and easy to drink.

Photo of TheMistler
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours as if it is the remnants of an oil slick. Thick (doubly so) dark black, completely opaque. Dark tan head, sticks around right on top of the beer but not elsewhere.

Burnt sweet fruits on the nose. Some chocolate and coffee, as expected, but also a slight hint of hops.

Rolls into the mouth and along the palate, with the carbonation and hops slowly building to provide an ending bite. Dark chocolate precedes that. Not much sweetness to it. An oaked or whiskey or alcohol presence makes itself known just before you're left with a bitter, dark chocolate on your palate.

A darn good, and complex, porter. Flying Dog makes no claims - so far as I know, and I could be wrong - to actually brewing with coffee or oaked barrels or other such things. Nonetheless, coffee bitterness, chocolate sweetness, hints of vanilla - all are represented. Not too sweet by any means; I greatly appreciate the hop bitterness, though I feel it may lean a bit too much towards bitter towards the end.

Photo of pmcadamis
4.9/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I tried this at a new joint in Galena called 111 on Main.

A - Pitch black and thick as hell. This looks like liquid midnight. I've seen more light pass through the muck from the LaBrea tar pits! The head is a massive four fingers, and tons of lace is left clinging to dear life on the glass before slowly sliding back into the madness below.

S - Hoppy and burnt at the same time. This is like the blackest espresso sniffed simultaneously with a big bunch of hop buds. Nice!

T - Espresso beans, vanilla creme, dank "marijuana-esque" hops, and dark chocolate sans the sugar....like a brick of bakers cocoa. Good, good stuff. I could live on this.

M - The very definition of full bodied and muscular. This is never flabby or sugary, but it's big like Aaron Nevil is big. Muscular, black, dangerous, and a little bit sweet. Everybody plays the fool....sometimes.

D - Out-friggin-standing! This is one of the better beers in existence IMO. I'm a huge fan of anything "imperial" or "double" and this is just about the best widely available Baltic Porter out there...it still doesn't trump Okocim though.

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

Pour deep dirty brown bordering on black. When poured aggressively large bubbly tan head produces moderate lacing,

Big roasted malt and some hopes as expected. Slight dark fruit notes.

Burnt/ roasted sweetness up front. Strange combonation but it works. Crisp hoppiness pulls through which is unexpected but pleasant. Complexity shows through as it warms, my pour did start out slightly colder than I would recommend.

Mouth feel is surprising smooth and creamy. Carbonation lively enough.

Nice sipping beer, take your time to enjoy.

Photo of Jerzdevil1116
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased at Joe Canal's in Egg Harbor Twp., NJ.

A: Dark brown, almost black, opaque body. 1 finger dark tan/brown head.

S: Full of roasted malt and hops.

T: Earthy roasted malt beginning. Slight piney hop backing. A little alcohol in the finish.

M: Medium body. Some tingle from the carbonation.

D: A nice, flavorful, drinkable beer. Even at 9.2 % alcohol.

Photo of jamesm7485
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up the other day for 8 bucks for a 4 pack.

Pours like used motor oil with nice lacing a a nice tan head that faded after time

the smell is straight up roasted barley not much bourbon on the nose

Taste is fantastic with the roasted flavors hitting you right away

mouth feel is smooth but not super smooth like the abyss and what have you

Scary how easy it is to down 3 or 4 of these and not realize it till you don't remember your name

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

Appearance - Black. Like, really... Black. Pours about a finger of head, dark tan in color. Laces very well.

Smell - Chocolate, hops, roasted maltiness.

Taste - Complex in a good way. First thing that hits you is the heavily roasted barley. Slight chocolate flavor as well as the hops second. Woodiness there as well, tinge of caramel. Finishes bittersweet.

Mouthfeel - Excellent amount of carbonation, and the thickness of the beer sits just right. Very smooth finish.

Drinkability - I like this one a lot, one of my favorite porters. I could drink this one all night long, but I like heavy beers. Highly recommended.

Photo of Brad007
4.9/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Color: Pitch black with a thick, frothy brown head and decent lacing.

Aroma: Strong and hoppy on the nose with a decent whiff of cocoa and coffee.

Taste: Hoppy with a very nice mixture of cocoa and coffee flavors. Creamy. Smooth. There's also a nice amount of caramel in the flavor.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy. Hops, chocolate and coffee linger.

Drinkability: Starts out hoppy but mellows in flavors. Very much worth the price and I have 3 more to drink.

Photo of elricorico
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep dark brown on pouring, black in the glass, lots of chocolate milk coloured head. Plenty of staying power to the head and an abundance of lacing. Very pretty.

Smokey roasted aroma. Some dark chocolate and chocolate liqueur.

Tastes of black licorice, dark roast coffee and faint dark chocolate. Finishes slightly hot and bitter. Alcohol subtle but notable.

Mouthfeel is thick and full, chewy even. Carbonation is just enough to cut through the body, not much more. Works very well for this beer.

This is good, but I wouldn't want more than one in a sitting. Easy to sip on and savour.

Photo of ericj551
4.58/5  rDev +13.9%
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.

Photo of Blakaeris
3.98/5  rDev -1%
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.

Photo of NOOGIE
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

Photo of chilidog
4/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Photo of fitzy84
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Photo of gunnerman
4.38/5  rDev +9%
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.

Photo of PiecefulToker
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

Photo of PatrickJR
3.3/5  rDev -17.9%
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.

Photo of rtratzlaff
3.98/5  rDev -1%
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.

Photo of jmalex
3.2/5  rDev -20.4%
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.

Photo of Strix
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

Photo of phishgator
3.78/5  rDev -6%
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.

Photo of pwoods
3.4/5  rDev -15.4%
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.

Photo of jasonjlewis
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

Photo of aubuc1
4.22/5  rDev +5%
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.

Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,614 ratings.