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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.

2,425 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,425
Reviews: 1,404
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 83
Gots: 132 | 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: 2,425 | Reviews: 1,404 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DavidSeanNJ

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single of Gonzo Imperial Porter after hearing nothing but greatness about this beer. After consumption, I wish I could have purchased the whole 4 pack...

12 oz. bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

A: Poured an oily coffee color- Colors varied from black to hints of purple- interesting. Not as thick as a stout but comparable in color. I enjoyed the head on this one- tan and creamy- stuck with me through half of the glass. Some tiny spiderweb lacing.

S: Smelled of coffee, almonds, caramel, espresso, vanilla

T: Tasted like a gourmet desert- almost like liquid cake- hops varied- but mostly bitter- some pine taste as well.

M: Mouthfeel was warm and sticky

D: Amazingly drinkable. Although this was quite filling, I would love to enjoy a few of these in a sitting- a true treat.

One of the best I have had to date...

HIGHLY recommended.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2007 22:39:34 | More by DavidSeanNJ
Photo of BeerSox


3.55/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into imperial pint glass.

Opaque black hue, which is rare for a porter. The head rises to about one finger then slowly settles leaving behind a thin lace. The head eventually ends up as a thin lace.

Rather than a strong burst of dark roasted aroma, you get a punch from a rather sharp hop variety (probably northwest like Cascade). A little bit of roasted barley makes its way through with may a bit of alcohol.

The mix of bitter malt and strong hops doesn't seem to settle that well. The hops seem to dominate and only allow a little bit of dark grain through. The body is full with lower carbonation. The finish is mostly hops mixed with some of the malt.

The idea of a Baltic Porter (or Imperial Porter in this case) is similar to a Russian Imperial Stout or an India Pale Ale. More hops and higher alcohol allow the beer to survive a long and hot journey. However, this one seems to be overhopped, or the wrong type of hop is used, at least in my opinion. This one is probably suitable for hop heads, but not for your average porter drinker. Recommended, but with a warning label.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2007 02:44:00 | More by BeerSox
Photo of drlumps62


4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I bought a 4 pack, after much hunting at the Total Wine and Beer in Tampa,Fl.

I drank one from the bottle warm, and one from a frosted mug after it had been chilled.

A- Dark brown. Do not try to read a newspaper through it. Thin chocolate 1/4" head. It laces in accodance with the head, small and tight. Pours like syrup . Very little carbonation.
S- Chocolatey sweet. Citrus. Smoked flavor.

T&M- Right offf the bat, it reminds me of the Flying Dog CPA. But this has a mocha/coffee kick to it. Also, upon my exhale I taste coconut. So complex. I drank one out of the box warm, and it was just as pleasant as the one I had chilled.I expected more of an alcohol taste. 9.4? In 4 words Wah Wah Wee Wah!

D- Drank two ways, Ultra cold and Ultra warm, and the experience did not suffer. You could impress a boss by suggesting this brew. Warning though, this not for beginners. It comes in fours, but do not feel as though you have to knock them all down one after another. This Porter is to be enjoyed not abused.

I saw Dr Gonzo speak at U of F in the late 80's after he wrote "The Legend of Lono".
This brew is a true tribute to the Man, The Myth, the Legend.

I love this brew. Thank You sir, may I have another?

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2007 14:51:40 | More by drlumps62
Photo of letsgopens


4.65/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Gotta love the depiction of Hunter on this one. Ralph Steadman's crazed illustrations have grown on me to the point that I've decided to display a poster on the wall next to my only other wall art, an old blown up photo of Dylan. I will try to remain unbiased.

This Imperial Porter from the gents over at Flying Dog pours uber-dark brown, near jet black, with little visible highlights. Dark mocha head that retains awesomely well and leave exceptional lace. I can't wait.

The aroma awakens the nostrils. Dark chocolate, caramel sweetness, roasted coffee, vanilla, some fruit, a distinct woodiness with sediment, and a faint hint of well controlled alcohol.

The flavor resonates what a man's beer should taste like in my opinion. The kind of beer that kicks other beers in the nuts and laughs at them. Robust and formidable. Dutch cocoa, spent coffee grounds, vanilla, caramelized raw sugar, a light smokiness, earthy spice, and a bit of hops.

As far as mouthfeel; bitey but still smooth with a great warmth in the finish and some tight carbonation. A brew you might imaging the man himself enjoying.

"Good people drink good beer."
- Hunter S. Thompson

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2007 22:20:57 | More by letsgopens
Photo of hunteraw


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

Had this one at Stubbie in Gainesville. Liked it so much I might pick up the oak aged version, currently at Ward's.

Appearance: Very dark brown/black, opaque, good head retention, some lacing.

Smell: Lots of chocolate, hints of espresso. Appealing.

Taste: Again, lots of bitter, dark chocolate. A little spice, coffee too.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, good carbonation.

Drinkability: High! This one's a winner.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2007 03:53:25 | More by hunteraw
Photo of pootz

Ontario (Canada)

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

2006 release. Thanks Canucklehead

The pour puts a dense dark liquid in the glass with a thich creamy mocha colored cap which last and laces the glass.

Aroma is rich in coffee, cocoa, toast, dried fruit, bit of wet hay big millennium hop aroma mingles with the fusil sents.

Rich creamy mouthfeel, roasty-fruity chatacter..a big beer.

Big roasted malt tastes in the front blend with cocoa, coffee tastes...mid palate some cascade hop bite provides citrus which mingles with dried fruit notes and charred husk astrigency to balance the thick malts...finish is long and drying.

This is a very big porter but not a Baltic...more like a London porter on adrenochrome ( much like the good Doctor)...so rich in body and falvor it completely masks its 9%ABV...its big alcohol is only lightly detectable in the aroma as it warms...very smooth and drinkable for such a big satisfying beer.

A top flight "big" porter..world class.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2007 00:43:41 | More by pootz
Photo of burnstar


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

Pours black as night with a really dark rocky head. Impressive looking. Unfortunately the head gives way and there's little lacing. Smell is burnt, coffee, chocolate, with some spiciness. Taste is burnt malt bitterness giving way to sweet dark fruit. Earthy. Hops are strong and citrusy coming in at the end. Alcohol lends a spicey warmness. Mouthfeel is thick and substantial. Fairly drinkable for a beer of this size. Really good huge porter.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2007 03:16:56 | More by burnstar
Photo of budgood1


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

pours out an opaque dark murky colour....brown? black? crimson? it's hard to tell. medium dark tan head and coffee coloured lace...choco and caramel aroma with toffee and anise, too. hints of ripe fruit and a touch of sourness. interesting nose. the flavour profile is of dry and chalky cocoa notes, with light dashes of plum, rum and cherry maltiness. it's a bit yeasty...with alcohol present. the booziness adds a bit of spicy character to this unique brew. definitely in the baltic porter tradition; phenolic...with a seemingly slight belgian twist. a good dose of hop bitterness in the end. the body is full with a mouthfeel that can be best described as zesty. drinkability is good... this is a hearty, honestly amped up porter with style. a beer that blurs the line, and my grasp at soberness.

definitely recommended. a great concoction.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2007 01:35:35 | More by budgood1
Photo of wspscott


4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle in pint glass

A: Dark black, no hint of light gets though. Thin creamy, dark tan head that dissipates quickly, small amount of lace.
S: Bitter dark chocolate.
T&M: Like a barley wine, sweet and bitter at the same time, a little syrupy. Virtually no carbonation. As it warms up, more of the bitter malts become present.
D: This is a great sippin beer, excellent for dessert. I have no idea why this is considered a porter, I would have guessed barley wine if you gave it to me blind, maybe it is the difference between "baltic porter" and porter. I think I am going to have to find some more baltic porters :)

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2007 00:25:31 | More by wspscott
Photo of bjoyce12


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

This porter is mis-labeled. This is a Russian Imperial Stout, no doubt about it, and a great one at that. Pours a deep dark dark brownish-black. Thick foam head that lingers. Strong bouquet; roasted coffee, malt, rye bread, a little licorice, no sweetness nor sugar noticed. The taste really comes through. Not overwhelmed at all by the 9.2% ABV. Carries it off very well. Great balance; the strong taste handles the alcohol very well. No burning nor harshness present. Rye bread, malt, dark roasted coffee taste. Delicious. Great find.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2007 19:09:14 | More by bjoyce12
Photo of tattooedtolley


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

Appearance: Black, chocolate colored head.

Smell: A very big whiff of roasted malt and a bit of coffee. Big aroma.

Taste: The alcohol is present but easily appreciated. The roasted malt flavor is a supreme but I know the hops are there.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full in body. Perfect amount of crispness, in my opinion.

Drinkability: I was totally in the mood for a second but I can't see drinking too many of these. This is by far the absolute best beer I've had from Flying Dog, I wouldn't hesitate to pick up a case, maybe two.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2007 14:06:29 | More by tattooedtolley
Photo of shroompod


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

Pours dark with a nice head with some lacing.

I can smell the roasted and dark malts, faint hoppiness.

Taste is a nice balance between dark malts and a small amount of bittering hops.

Mouthfeel is on the light/medium side. Decent carbonation.

Drinkability is good , ABVs are well hidden.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2007 00:26:11 | More by shroompod
Photo of Phatz


4.65/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is MAGNIFICENT! I must thank slatetank profusely for this treat. This was a very unique and rich tasty porter. WOW. Thanks for bring this over and sharing it with me.

Appearance: Pours a dark almost black color with a small tan head from the growler into my snifter glass..

Smell: Rich thick malts, very aromatic chocolate malts, caramel, vanilla, toffee, malted milk balls, coffee, and awesome earthy citrus hops. Sprucey pine flavors are very pleasant and unique for a porter.

Taste: Again rich smooth chocolate malts, very creamy vanilla and malty woody flavors. Viscous feel in the mouth. thick and heavy in both body and flavor. roasted coffee flavors and a bittersweetness balance the beers sweetness before the finish when it end with a big yet soft earthy spruce hop flavor that clings to the cheeks.

Mouthfeel: perfect. Thick and chewy; soft and smooth. It is everything you want it to be.

Drinkability: This is beyond *dangerous* it could be *deadly*! The 9.20% ABV is undetectable and it drinks like a milkshake. So easy to drink. I kept refilling my snifter to the point I had more than my share and I could have drank an entire growler by myself. I must put my hands on a case of this beer.

Hope this is helpful.

Serving type: growler

05-21-2007 06:40:52 | More by Phatz
Photo of soupyman10

District of Columbia

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

I asked for the bartender to get me whatever he liked, and this is what I ended up with. A nice tan head on top of a deep brown-black beer. Head disappears fairly quickly, with no real lacing. Nose is good, lots of fairly sweet mild hops, some chocolate and caramel. Taste is similar, failry smooth and tasty. No real hops to speak of, but a tasty beer. Feel is good, good carbonation. Overall, a very good beer that's only fault is the ABV which might a little high to enjoy in multiple drinks. Not bad at all; a porter I'll see again.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2007 22:28:09 | More by soupyman10
Photo of rattech


4.8/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Murky and black, a massive head slowly forms ontop of the beer (at least 2 inches, it almost goes over my imperial pint glass). This is a beautiful beer.

Smell: Roasted malt with a distinct smell of hops. It smells both sweet and hoppy, much like I would expect an IPA to smell like, which this is not.

Taste: A lot less sharp then I was expecting, there is the roasted flavor that I expect from stouts and porters with a touch of bitterness. I would classify the flavor as fairly mild and subtle, which I really enjoy. The flavor could be more pronounced, but I tend to prefer

Mouthfeel: Buttery and rich. For such a subtle set of flavors the texture on this beer is phenomenal. The buttery mouthfeel is something I like for an after dinner drink (better then a dessert!) this one is spot on.

Drinkability: 9% alcohol? I wouldn't believe this unless I saw it on the bottle. As I finish the beer the only clue that the alcohol is as high as it as is what I am feeling. This beer goes down disturbingly smoothly. If I ever wanted to get smashed on something that tasted good, this would be a good bet.

When I opened this beer I was expecting average, I was rewarded with much, much more.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2007 03:50:54 | More by rattech
Photo of cichief


2.93/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle marked Vintage 2006.

A- Poured a deep brown, almost black, with a very thin brown head, lots of yeast, all clumped together (the bottle did not indictate the brew was "bottle conditioned", but maybe I should have known better).

S- Strong sweet smell of coffee and malted barley.

T- Coffee, and a strange spice-mint taste prevalent.

M- Smooth, not overly carbonated, medium to thick on the tongue.

D- The strange mint taste and the clumpy yeast combined to make this a less than pleasurable experience.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2007 02:59:34 | More by cichief
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly

New York

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

12 oz bottle poured in a pint glass

A - jet black liquid, used motor oil viscosity.

S - roasted coffee/malt aroma, nice!

T - very nice flavor, malt blends are all over this beer.

M - 'medium well' body, little carbonation, drying finish.

D - 2 or 3 of these should do it for many, 9.5% according to the website. Given the limited availability, I may sit on a few of these for a while.

I would recommend this beer to anyone, rich, roasted flavors make this beer 'something different' from your run of the mill porter.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2007 00:40:11 | More by JoeyBeerBelly
Photo of Slatetank


4.8/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

poured at 55degress into a Guiness Nonic
A - An inky shade w/ medium brown head that cascades from halfway down the glass up to about 2 finger height. Leaves a great deal of lacing and reduces to 1.5 finger head.

S - Piney hoppiness and malty chocolate dominate with minimal vanilla character and slighty rum like odors.

M - a definite blessing to hold in the mouth-the longer the better. I experienced a prickly charred and chocolate bitterness followed by a gentle hop bite for good measure.

T - A sweet vanilla caramel taste immediately gets knocked down by a French roast smokiness and black malt essence with a coffee accent. Lovely piney, woody hop backing is enjoyed next. Creaminess is less pronounced in draft version and hoppy bitterness also seems amplified giving more balance than the bottled version. A great flavor undulates in magnificent ways. Magikal in darkest liquid sweetness-either draft or bottled is luxurious, but draft has a sweeter fuller feel with more hops
So Lively!

D - Loved it even more in the growler. Drink this and feel massively euphoric.

Serving type: growler

05-17-2007 22:39:32 | More by Slatetank
Photo of MarkSCCOT

South Carolina

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

Wow, this is my first foray into Imperial Porters since they popped the cap here in SC, and I must say this is a style I will defintely explore much more closely.

A. Dark motor oil. Couldn't see light through it. Quickly dissolving head with minimal lacing.

S. Smells like something I would get at Starbucks, strong expresso coffee with a fig date waft. This is far too complicated for me to summarize.

T. Heaven. Malt. Chocolate. As complicated as the smell and twice as satisfying.

M. Lightly carbonated, but interesting to drink. A favorite.

D. More than one/ If my keys are with a designated driver, maybe. But the high alcohol limits me to 1 on the patio after a hard day. Still, better than several BMC's anytime.

A great intro.This is definitely a style I am hooked on.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2007 23:55:38 | More by MarkSCCOT
Photo of ColoradoBobs


4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Thick black totally opaque body (held it up to a very bright light, and nothing came through), under a huge chunky rocky dark tan head. Even an easy pour couldn't keep this thing inside my 16 ounce pint glass. Head settled into a meringue-like foam. Looks lovely and decadent.

Smell is a bit boozy, lots of fig and date, lots of sour-sweet malt, some espresso and burnt-cherry-pie filling. Dark toasted pumpernickel. Interesting metallic back-notes. There is a lot going on here, and I hope it tastes as good as it smells.

Rich heavy burned flavors smash across the tongue. Slammingly intense burnt toast, heavy sweet molasses with that interesting metallic-sourness. Ample hops oils smooth out and balance the burned notes with a fascinating lemon-pineapple brightness. Pineapple? Yes, it's there in the background. From what I don't know, but it's there. Then the dominating burnt-cherry-pie flavors take over again.

Rich and round and smooth and mouth-filling. Wow. What a palate!

This is too intense to make a session beer, but I could definitely have more than one.

I must say this is a pleasant surprise to me, since I really don't care that much for the other six Flying Dog beers I've reviewed. (My average review for those six is a middling 3.0.) But this one is worth every decimal of the solid 4.45 I'm giving it. What a rich and satisfying beer! Almost as good as Okocim.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2007 03:56:09 | More by ColoradoBobs
Photo of blakesell


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

Served in a chalice

Appearance-Blackest porter I've ever seen. This porter is thick and black with no visibility thru it whatsoever. The only thing I can see aside from the gentle red froth of the head is the yeast present at the bottom of the glass. The yeast looks rather disgusting, but I'm a fan of vitamin b.

Smell-Dark brown malts, I believe black patent is in there, chocolate, caramel, alcohol esters.

Taste-Full thickness, taste is more like a stout than a porter, but we'll let that slide tonight. Warming! that 9.2% really comes thru on this one. Roasted malt, chocolate, just like the smell.

Mouthfeel-Creamy with a sticky taste on the lips and toungue. Hints of alcohol is an understatement.

Drinkability-A great porter, but so much alcohol makes it more like a stout. I love it, but couldn't drink it all day due to the thickness. This beer drinks like a steak.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2007 01:11:16 | More by blakesell
Photo of Wasatch


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

Poured into a chalice a nice deep brown color, nice carbonation, nice huge two-finger plus creamy tan head, tons of sticky lacing that stuck around a long time. The nose is sweet malts, maybe some vanilla, tons of toffee/caramel. The taste is sweet/slightly bitter malts, and alot of toffee/caramel. ABV is hidden very well for a 9.2% brew. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is my first Flying Dog brew and it is pretty tasty, highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2007 02:17:42 | More by Wasatch
Photo of onehomesickalien

North Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tried this one by recommendation and am very pleased. This is my first Imperial Porter so I can only judge based on what I know.

Appearance: Dark as night with a small head that lasts all the way to the end. Lacing does not stick, but is present.

Smell: Burnt smell, with alcohol, hops and malts present. Dark chocolate more than coffee aroma, but there is a presence of a medium roast in there. Overall very nice.

Taste/Mouthfeel: This is what won me immediately. Overall very enjoyable all the way down. Hops fairly strong but not overbearing (which I like.) Does leave a bit of a warm alcohol and burnt aftertaste, but well worth the results. This one sticks with you.

Drink-ability: Loved this beer, but one is plenty. Maybe Two...

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2007 01:28:43 | More by onehomesickalien
Photo of jeffjfindley


3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tis indeed gonzo. Black as night with a respectable head. The nose immediately suggests the alcohol inside, along with a big roasted chocolate malt character. I found the taste to be a bit of a mess of burnt coffee, licorice, mocha, and a blast of alcohol. Big hops... probably a little too big for the style.

Perhaps given a little more time in the bottle these elements could fuse together a little more effectively, but I didn't find a great deal of harmony with this one. Mouthfeel is good, but a bit syrupy. Drinkable, but nothing I'd rush out to buy again.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2007 03:17:00 | More by jeffjfindley
Photo of goschool


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

Appearance: The pour is black as the night sky with a light brown head that soon fades to wispy lacing.

Smell: The nose has roasted malts, which bring milk chocolate and medium-roast coffee, out in front of alcohol and piney hops.

Taste: The flavor profile starts out with a blast of oily bitter hops, followed by coca, coffee, and raisins in the mid-palate, and warming alcohol at the finish.

Mouthfeel: This one is medium to full-bodied and sticky.

Drinkability: This is a hearty brew. I could see this benefiting from 6-12 months of cellaring.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2007 07:08:13 | More by goschool
Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,425 ratings.