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Gonzo Imperial Porter - Flying Dog Brewery

Not Rated.
Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,660 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,660
Reviews: 1,433
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 109
Gots: 211 | 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: 2,660 | Reviews: 1,433 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of coldmeat23
3.66/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Imperial Pint Glass
TEMP: Approx. 50 Degrees

Pours exceptionally dark and lovely. Nice three finger creamy coffee head. Very nice and long retention which finally settles to a coffee crema topping the black liquid.

Smells are confusing: nice chocolate with hints of coffee but mixed in with iodine and cherry cough syrup. Alcohol comes forth, also.

The taste is very good but not quite what I'd hoped for. A bit of a letdown, actually, for me.
Kind of fruity with that medicinal cherry thing and chocolate way down deep.

Feels good in the mouth, what with all those tiny bubbles, but it's a little to watery. Not quite as full as I'd hoped for.

Overall, this is still a good example of a Baltic Stout, and I will drink many of them.
I was just a little over-expectant on this one, I guess.

Photo of arizcards
3.81/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle at Magnum's in early November for 2.99. Part of Vintage 07B.

Beer poured black as night with a beautiful brown long lasting head. Nose has hints of roasted malts abd chocolate. Taste is a huge blast of roasted malts with hints of chocolate, coffee, and molasses. Finishes with a blast of hops. The roasted hop combo is quite overpowering leavubg the palate well coated with burnt hop residue. Mouthfeel is perfect, very chewy and think, and it glides extremely well across the palate. Drinkability is good as the ABV is especially well hidden. This is an interesting beer that is definitely over the top. Definitely try this if you are into the imperial porters and stouts.

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

This beer pour very dark with a light head, the smell was of burnt chocolate malts. The flavor is nice and certainly not one for a non beer drinker but very nice to my pallette. The main flavors are of burnt, chocolate and coffee. Very very easy to drink for a 9% abv. Another fine product I have tried from Flying Dog Brewery

Photo of champ103
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pitch black with a large tan head. Some clinging lace sticks around after the head recedes.
S: Roasted chocolate malt with some coffee. A big hop aroma comes towards the end that gives this beer an interesting aroma.
T: Very malty. Bitter chocolate and coffee. Lots of hop bitterness as well. There is two different bittering flavors here that do not mix all that well.
M/D: A medium to full body and carbonation. A little watery. This is pretty hot after it warms up. Not bad to sip on, but one bottle is plenty for me.

I use to really love this beer. After revisiting this a couple of times, I am not as impressed for some reason. This is still an interesting porter, but it seems a bit more watered down and bland than it use to be.

Photo of bkilpatr
3.94/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. 05/04/08. Vintage 2008 according to the label. Gotta love the Flying Dog bottle artwork.

Pours a very dark opaque brown. A moderate pour produces about half a finger of chocolate brown head, which left no lacing on the glass. Aroma is sweet milk chocolate and toasted malts.

Taste starts with a bit of sweet milk chocolate. It finishes with a heavy bitter dark chocolate and roasted malt presence. There's a bit of an earth hop flavor underneath all this.

Feel is kinda thin and carbonated, just how a Baltic porter should be. Drinkability is good, the bitterness doesn't overwhelm. The high alcohol content (9.2%) is very well hidden and crept up on me.

Pretty good for a Baltic Porter. Worth a try. Looking forward to trying the barrel aged version soon.

Photo of bark
3.84/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The liquid is clear; the colour is black. The rock hard head is high with a fine crater and a deep brown colour. Lots of fine lacing.

The smell: Hoppy! Grape fruits! Seriously roasted malt! There are sour metallic flavours, too. Bitter hops. The smell is heavy but not very complex

The taste is extremely malty with lots of bitter notes in the start. Dried fruits, some sourish notes as well as sweet ones. Consommé and meat-like flavours. Of course, the malt is heavily roasted but there is also a noticeable metallic bitter flavour in this beer. Some canned fruits (apricots, plums, green grapes). The aftertaste is bitter with salty roasted malt and some citric notes.

The carbonation is mild; the liquid thick and smooth.

I found this beer a little to heavy and not as fresh or bitter (come on, 85 IBU's?) as I had hoped for.

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


A: Black with a dark, tan head, some initial retention & lace.

S: Licorice, dark bread, pine, some fruity esters & alcohol.

T: Licorice, dark rye bread, piny hops with a tar-like bitterness, alcohol is really well-hidden.

M: Moderate body is well-attenuated with a dry finish.

D: Quite drinkable for it's strength.

Not a Baltic porter, but a great American double/imperial porter.

Photo of Donnie2112
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

appearance: light lacing, black with some sediment that I inadvertantly leaked into the glass.

smell: chocolate, coffee, vanilla. light on the nose and straight forward.

taste: some chocolate, rum and vanilla with a light bitter finishs that makes it refreshing

mouthfeel: lightly buttery with plenty of carbonation nice and crisp

drinkability: The inoffensive taste plus the cripsness of this brew makes it extremely drinkable. This is an Imperial Porter that came to party.

Photo of tiger88
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a dark tan head. The head quickly dissipates into a think, tan ring leaving no lacing behind. The smell of sweet, malty chocolate comes to the forefront on this one. A sweet, chocolaty taste moves to slight betterness as it moves to the back of the tongue. Mouthfeel is a little slick and hot at the same time. Not too harsh but it does come in a little strong. This is a good, solid dessert beer. A must try!

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

A Happy Hour special at the Blake Street Tavern in Denver. Dark brown (not quite black) color with a thin tan layer of foam. Thin lace lines, good retention. The aroma was a combination of roasted malt and coffee with a bit of chocolate. The taste is consistent with the smell, some coffee, and some smoke. Well balanced, high alcohol well hidden. I found it very drinkable, smooth, complex and a solid mouthfeel.

Note to Self: Ranked # 17 Baltic Porter when I tried it.

Photo of Kallessin
4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours completely black in color. No light penetrates this one. It had a thick tan/caramel color head. It went down very quick, but leaves a thin foam coating over the top and around the edges of the glass.

It has a strong coffee and chocolate aroma. After a few sips as you get acclimated to the taste and smell, I can pick up the earthy/fruity hops quite a bit.

The taste matches the aroma. Lots of chocolate and coffee flavors. Very strong roasted flavors. A little acidic alcohol flavors as you swallow. Like the smell, after a few swallows, I pick up some fruity hop flavors.

Very smooth and thick mouthfeel. Coats the mouth very well. A nice warming finish. A little sticky caramel feel.

This beer is very easy to drink, so you could easily forget the 9.2%ABV. A couple will do just fine.

Photo of donteatpoop
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poursa a dark brown with a light brown head and a decent lacing on the glass.

Smells of roasted malts, coffee, hops, and hint of something light and fruity... I can't quite place what specifically is giving off the fruit-vibes.

Hops and toasted malts hit the tongue with an underlying fruit and hints of chocolate(?).

A nice full bodied porter that is well balanced and has a mild aftertaste.

Definately drinkable, though maybe not something I'd go out of my way to get ahold of.

Photo of bcm119
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours like used motor oil with a fine head the color of peanut butter. Lots of leafy hops in the nose with underlying chocolate malt. Very toasty malt up front, with a slightly thinner-than-expected body. Hops are mostly on the bittering side, but some piney resin comes through late along with some astringency. Dry roasted malt and cocoa flavors evolve into a burnt, mildly alcoholic finish. Has a slightly cloying burnt/bitter aftertaste. A drinkable beer, but its a little rough and not as complex as some in this category-- its missing some of the more interesting earthy/leafy undertones present in better examples.

Photo of jp62099
2.74/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

It has been about a year since I first tried this beer. I didn't really care for it then, but I decided that my palate just needed some breaking in to these big beers. I decided to give it another shot, my feelings are unfortunately almost the same.
The appearance is nice, black with chocolatey head. The smell is earthy (kind word for dirt like), there are some roasted notes here, but it's like smelling them through musty clothes. The taste is all over the place, starts out ok then slams you with bitterness. I found the fusel alc. to much to take.
I want to like his beer because it is so readily available and has a reasonable price compared to others like it, but I think that is it for me.

Photo of PhillyStyle
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer served to me in a goblet. When the waiter brought it, it did not have much of a head on it, which I cannot blame on the beer, but it had a thin layer of foam left, slightly darker than light brown, which seamed to stick around for the entire drink. The beer was a very dark opaque black. It looked awesome. The aroma was nice, a combination of roasted malt and coffee with a hint of chocolate. The taste is consistent with the smell, but also smoky. This is one of the better porters that I have had to date. I found it very drinkable, smooth, complex and a good mouthfeel. I would send it to the top of my list when ordering/buying porters.

Photo of Ig0r
4.72/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got a tall, dark-brown, foamy head from the pour. The color is absolutely opaque black. The head dissipated to a thin layer of small bubbles with absolutely no lacing. Even swirling in the glass looks thick with the residue of the head.

The smell is roasted malt, a bit of sweet bread, and very apparent presence of alcohol. The flavor hits hard from the beginning; chocolate, well-roasted coffee flavors are outstanding. There is very little carbonation but what amout there is contributes to a very full and thick feel. There is a long-lasting aftertaste with a nice transition to a slightly hoppy dry finish.

This would be a fabulous desert beer, but the strong flavor and high alcohol content would make it difficult to enjoy more than a single glass.

Photo of Drasak
4.31/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark Brown with Carmel legs. Nicely carbonated with though it lost its head quickly
S: Hints of Dark roast and mild sour citrus.
T: Mild Dark Chocolate mixed with Dark Roast, with a slight sweetness
M: Good mouth feel, smooth, yet crisp with a light coffee after taste
D: Easy to drink, not as heavy as the name would lead you to think. I will have another once I am done with this one.

This is a great porter. It is highly drinkable and not overpowering.

Photo of MrMonkey
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours the darkest of opaque browns, almost black, with a one-finger mocha head that fades quickly to a thin cap. Great lacing all the way down the glass.

Smells of roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee, molasses, a hint of alcohol and earthy hops. There are some fruity esters coming through as well, some sweet dark fruits.

Taste is sweet malts up front, with some dark fruits and chocolate, followed by some earthy, slightly bitter hops, and a dark roasted coffee finish that lasts for a while.

Full-bodied, thick mouthfeel. Viscous, but not chewy.

Pretty good drinkability, but two would be my limit. A great dessert beer.

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

The Gonzo Imperial Porter poured a real dark night but not much on the foam head, retention or lacing.

The aroma reeked in a good way of coffee and bitter chocolate. The taste was highly alcoholic with was the first thing that slapped me in the face. It left a nice carob finish and had a nice roasted malt to it.

In the mouth it was semi-chewy and the coffee lingered for while in the mouth. I thought this was a solid brew that was well balanced an well built.

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle

Pours an opaque, cloudy black. Really can't see through it at all. Has a tan head that bubbles up and has some decent staying power. Adequate lacing.

Smells of light grapefruit citrus and heavy coffee/espresso and bittersweet chocolate.

Tastes of bittersweet chocolate, caramel and espresso. No discernible hops present. A slight warming alcohol presence rears its head at the end of the experience.

Full-bodied and a little heavy on the tongue.

A little tough to put down a few of these, really the only downfall this beer has.

Photo of Atron67
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- poured a dead black with lots of brown head on top, fizzy head on top. it slowly fell down, left a light amount of lacing around the head.

S- huge roasted scents all over. the dark malts pretty much dominate this. there is a slight sweetness at the end, but seems pretty solid

T- heavy maltiness on it, strong roasted charachter as you would expect from the nose, pretty good, intense, has a nice little extra complexity, but isnt the most complex one out there, but sure is pretty good

M- thick as hell, light carbonation, sticky on the tongue

D- pretty good, i might stick to others daily, but its a good standby if i need it.

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

this beer pours a jet black color with very little head that receeds very quickly. the nose is of coffee, smokey, toffee & alcohol, a touch of chocolate and a bit of hoppiness. the taste is complex and consistant with the smell. the mouthfeel is good for a porter and thickens as it warms. i am glad i can get these fairly easily as it's definately a beer i like to enjoy once a week or so.

Photo of macster
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Much in the style of many of the popular Baltic porters, but with a bit of a semi-hoppy American flair.

Pours thick and black under a creamy, dense tan head. Some spotty lacing noted as the snifter drains.

Moderate aromas of bittersweet chocolate, vanilla bean, molasses, figs and freshly ground espresso beans.

Velvety smooth on the tongue with lots of complexity.

Flavors of dark cocoa, espresso, roasted malt, mocha and port wine come through deliciously. Starts with a nice robust bitterness and interestingly enough finishes with a slight molasses sweetness.

FD hit the mark on this one. Hope they keep up the good work!!

Photo of neenerzig
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer last night at The Tremont Taphouse. This beer is a dark brown color with some ruby highlights around the edges. The head is a very tan/brown color and was about inch that eventually settles a nice ring and surface coating. Aromas of roasted chocolate and coffee along with some nice hops. This smells damn good!. The taste pretty much follows suit, a roasted malty coffee and chocolate flavor along with some nice hop bitterness. Good balance. Some dark fruit is present. Has a crisp, full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. This is one of the best Porters i ever had. Wow!


Photo of ryrust5301
3.01/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The Gonzo is poured from a 12oz. bottle into a snifter.

Appearance - Good looking stout in the glass. Dark black with a hefty 2 finger tannish head.

Smell - Sweet coffee malts, and an alcohol presence in the nose. Little bit of a bitter chocolate mixes in as well. I think some candied fruits give it that sweet smell.

Taste & Mouthfeel - You got a roasted coffee taste up front, but then makes a move into the candied fruit. Kinda sweetens it up a bit before finishing bitter and dry. Nicely goes from crisp to smooth, but I got a lot of the alcohol in the aftertaste.

Drinkability - The dark fruits make this one a little bit of a turn off for me. Tastes a lot better than Mikkeller Black Hole which has a lot of the same qualities. Best flying dog i've had yet, but nothing I would make a point to get again.

Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,660 ratings.