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Gonzo Imperial Porter - Flying Dog Brewery

Not Rated.
Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter

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2,639 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,639
Reviews: 1,430
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 105
Gots: 199 | 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: 2,639 | Reviews: 1,430 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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

Appearance: Pours with a three-finger coffee bean colored head. Lacing is foamy with some lacing patterns. Body is a dark brown black amber, with some floaties visible. A good looking porter with a solid head formation.

Smell: Medium-bodied coffee, some slight espresso. Some tropical quality to it, like a nutty mango. Hoppiness is definitely present in some lime-orange citrus hops midway through the inhale.

Taste: Hoppy front end with some citrus, followed by bitter espresso/Turkish coffee. Some bittersweet chocolate on the back-end. Very full-flavored. Pleasant coffee aftertaste that lingers for some time.

Moutfheel: Slight astringent. Adequate carbonation. Perhaps a little thin for how strong this tastes/smells.

Drinkability: A sipper, but a very solid and bold beer.

Photo of ckeegan04
3.51/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle into mug.

A - Poured very thin but a nice deep dark brown color. Almost no head. Decent lacing.

S - Very weak smell for a strong dark beer like this. Faint roasted malt smell. Hints of chocolate.

T - Very weak taste. Burnt caramel and a hint of coffee. Light sweetness. Good bitterness as it warms.

M/D - Good carbonation but very thin mouthfeel.

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

Cellared about 6 - 8 months, vintage date on the label "07A"
A- Viscus, opaque 40+ SRM, Medium carbonation puts up 1 &1/2 fingers of dense tan head in my Stone Old Gaurdian glass and falls after a respectible time - for a 9+ abv beer - leaving lace on the opposite side with rings marking my progress. Viscosity and LEGS show off higher abv.

S- American citrus hops and dark roasted malt aroma, some fruity esters (Chico yeast like) and hints of dark fruit and alcohol with warming. Pushes the envelope with nearly harsh dark roast and hops aromas. You know something radical is about to happen.

T&M- Full bodied, destrinous and chewy - the way I like my Imperial Stouts/Porters. In your face burnt malt, black strap molasses sweetness, dark fruitiness. Alcohol sneaks up on you as it is well hidden by the masive malt body and residual sweetness counterded by 100+ IBUs of bitterness that accentuatuates the heavly dark roasted malt bill. Casdade (and possibly other American) hop flavors are well matched with the flavor of the burnt malt character.

D- Fits the Denver winters - Gonzo is better compared to a Russian Imperial Stout than the milder less hoppy Baltic Porter. With the use of Imperial Porter on the the lable, I can see how this gets mis-classifed.

A few cases of this would help you get through the Woddy Creek winters and conquor your fear and loathing of whatever ales you.

"Good people drink good beer" If your good you should seek this one out for your drinking pleasure.

Hunter S. we still living in the Kingdom of Fear raise our glasses to you memory. Cheers!

Photo of seaoflament
3.96/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a vintage 05F bottle.

Pours an impenetrable dark color with two inches of mocha colored foam. Very good retention; the foam literally comes to a stand-still close to an inch and leaves a bit of coating on the way down. Eventually the foam reduces to a thin layer but it sure took about a good 5min.

Aromas of cherries, dark fruits, chocolate, roasted grains, grapes and hints of citrus. There are some hints of grains and vinous characteristics as well. Some charcoal and sandalwood.

Tastes of dark chocolate, toast and has an odd sweet flavor as well. Raisins and dates come through in the middle and finishes with cocoa, hints of vanilla, and malted milk. Also has some flavors of grapes, various dark fruits I, very tasty actually. After a while I begin to taste some of those peanut butter flavored cookies and oatmeal cookies.

Very smooth mouth-feel, near perfect.

Photo of knight84
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Ashley's in Ann Arbor.
Poured a ebony black with firehouse red-brick highlights. It had a lumpy peanut colored head that dissipated slowly leaving moderate lacing on the side of the glass. The nose is dark roasty malts and chocolate with a little coffee at the center. There are distinguishable bitter notes from both the malts and the hops.

The taste is bitter-sweet malts and chocolate with a bit of a roasted, campfire-without-the-smoke, flavor in the malt as well. The hops are understated but appropriate for the style, adding a light dried pine sap bitterness in the finish. As it warms the 9% alcohol begins to make its presence known in the flavor so I actually preferred this beer a little on the chilly side which is different from many of the other porters that I've had.

The mouthfeel is bigger on tap than from a bottle and gives a cottony cream feeling. The carbonation is moderate and helps bring out the hops in the finish.

Overall this is a nice imperial porter and a decent exemplar of the style, in my opinion this is one of the better beers that Flying Dog makes.

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

12 oz bottle poured into a seidel generates an ebony body with a rocky 2-finger oily-brown/tan head that retreats rather quickly, but leaves a nice fine lacing throughout the drink.

Smell is dark and sweet; roasty, malty, lightly hoppy and chocolatey; grabs your attention from the moment you crack the top on the bottle...

Taste is semi-sweet chocolatey with a powerful streak of very dark-roasted malts, a winey hint of French-roast coffee and cola nuts, a pleasant tanginess that lingers into a delectably bitter, minerally finish.

Smooth and silky, almost creamy in the mouth, with only a tingle of carbonation introducing the pleasantly sticky finish. Slight warming effect from the alcohol, which is otherwise very well-hidden in this excellent drink.

They come in little four packs, and upon the advice of my attorney Raoul Duke, I'd quaff the lot. "Ok! Let's Party!" the Skeleton-HST says on the label... Amen!

Photo of cjohnson
3.76/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a dark black/brown with a light tan head, a solid two fingers thick that lingered for a little while then faded quickly.

A good roasted smell.

Tasted very strongly of roasted malty sweetness. A little bit too sweet for my tastes, to be honest.

The feel was a bit thicker and stickier than what I would have preferred, but was well-rounded enough to be pretty drinkable. The 9% alcohol is surprisingly well hidden.

Photo of wiseguy142
3.65/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep black- much darker than I expected- with a very nice 1.25 inch thick tan head. No visible carbonation and the head shrinks to half its size and stabilizes after about a minute and a half.

Smells strongly of noble hops with the cascade floating around in there somewhere. A faint bitterness from the dark roasted malts is present as well.

Taste has a strong bitterness presence from the roasted malts.. a little stronger and thicker than I expected but still good. Some alcohol comes out after it warms up a bit. A very thick and creamy mouthfeel, but the low carbonation and high bitterness from the malt makes it seem a little stale. For the same reason I don't think I could drink more than one of these in a row. A good beer to start the night off with, but a very "intense" beer that overloads you with porter-ness.

Photo of jlh8643
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 07 dated bottle into a standard pint glass. Excellent mahogany/tan head. Leaves good lace and sticks around too the end. Dark brown almost black body. Coffee, cocoa with some caramel dominate my nose. The taste feature the same as the nose but with enough hops to balance. At 9.2% abv, I really cant find the alcohol so its well hidden. Mouthfeel is good. The dark malts linger. Overall its a well crafted brew that drinks well. Could be a real sleeper if you over do it.

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

Opened 12 Fluid Ounce Bottle (Vintage "07k"), poured into snifter.

Pours a dark coffee brown brew with little to no head - ring of lace around top of brew. Slight legs on glass when agitated.

Smells of dark malts with dark chocolate and slight coffee hints. Taste is much more intense with dark fruit and slight chocolate notes. Much dryer than the smell would lead one to believe. Actually has sort of a coffee finish - much similar to having coffee at 3 A.M. in a diner while smoking Lucky Strikes. All in all, a really great beer, unique taste. While I have never feared nor loathed, I did enjoy this.

Photo of ATPete
3.77/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Flying Dog's Gonzo pours a deep brown/black color with a brown/red almost purple head. Big alcohol nose with a lot of roasted malts and burnt coffee. While tasting expect more coffee, malts, and a subtle bitter hop after bite. Oh yes and alcohol, this is a 9% sipper. Thick but pleasant mouth feel. I think with another year or so in the bottle this will mellow out to be a great imperial porter, right now its still abit immature. If drinking the 2007 vintage Gonzo Imperial Porter again right now i wouldn't drink more than 1 in a sitting.

Im sure Hunter would be proud.

Photo of sholland119
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours an attractive opaque chestnut brown. A little tiny bit of a tan head at the edges of the glass. But surprisingly nice stickiness .

S-A strong initial scent of dark fruit, followed by a sweet chocolate aroma, mixed with a nice hoppy background.

T-An interesting blend of flavors. Initial tastes of dark fruit and dark chocolate, a nice roasted coffee finish with a nice hop bite at the very end.

M-Creamy and smooth, leaves a nice hoppy coating on the tongue.

D-About what I would expect for a 9% ABV dark beer. Delicious but a bit heavy to have more than one.

The best baltic/imperial porter I have had since Perkuno's Hammer went off into the sunset. What an enjoyable beer.


Photo of Pencible
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured a very dark ruby with a little bit of tan head. It smelled like dark fruit (prunes or cherries). The flavor was like dark cherry chocolate with a little hops and alcohol kick. It was heavy/thick to drink with a very smooth texture, combined with a flavor that wasn't too strong, making it exceptionally easy to drink. Tasty!

Photo of hawksfan82
3.69/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a small stubby snifter style glass.

Pours a pretty thick black, but not a thick syrupy black like some imperial stouts or baltic porters. Has a great thick head the dissipated, but keeps a pretty good ring going. Great thick, sticky lacing as well.

Not much of a smell really. I mean, there's the normal smells you get in a porter, but it's not the big notes of chocolate and coffee like you usually get.

Taste is pretty good. Roasty up front, and malty chocolate taste comes in rather quickly. Alcohol is present in the background the entire time it's in your mouth. Nice bitter finish with a hint of hops finishes it off. Pretty good and complex, but could be better, and the alcohol is a little more present than I might want it to be in this style. I think it hurts the balance.

Drinkabiliy seems normal...for this style at least. I wouldn't expect to have more than 2 of these at a time as it is....and this take on the style is the same.

Photo of ScottUCF84
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've had this from the bottle quite a few times... and finally I got to try it on tap. (tulip glass)

A- Unfortunately, this part of the review is a bit flawed b/c the bar I tried it at is a bit on the dim side. From what I could see: Very dark and murky, could not detect any hues. Dark tan head.

S- Hops, roasted malt, alcohol and a slight whiff of coffee.

T- The first flavor I picked up was bitter hops. Next was roasted malt and coffee, and a very slight hint of dark chocolate. As the beer warms, the alcohol stand out a bit more, but it was not overwhelming. The hops also were more pronounced towards the end... with maybe a bit of molasses thrown in the mix

M- Medium to heavy thickness. Pretty smooth, light carbonation.

D- Heh, this one ranks up there with me, but the beer is rather heavy and high in alcohol so I can really only have one per session.

Photo of oakbluff
3.4/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Extremely black pour with half a finger or tan head that comes and goes quickly. Nose- dark toast with a slightly sour licorce nose and a trace of C type hops. Taste- cola like, medium body with an artificial chocolate type flavour. Dark fruits appear towards the finish along with a good hop punch Nice beer with some odd flavours that pop up.

Photo of osi
3.77/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Super dark with a little head. Very light lacing around the top.

S - Dark malts, very hoppy with chocolate accents.

T - Flowery hops really takes over the beer. Finishes with a chocolaty malt. Extra bitter. Mmm

M - Medium body that finishes with carbonation.

D - Pretty complex. Have to be in the mood. Could have one or two max.

Photo of halfP1NT
3.71/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A - Black in color, opaque. Thick, foamy, dense tan head, nice retention & lacing. Nice lookin' beer.

S - Hops hit 1st, then roasted malts, bitter chocolate, grains, maybe a bit of rye.

T - Not as complex as expected at first; starts out thin & malty, then comes some hops & burnt malts. Dry finish w/a bit of alcohol. A little oaky. As it warms, dark fruit and anise come through and hops become more apparent. Nearing the bottom of the glass, the alcohol starts to take over.

M & D - A bit thin for the style at first, but thickens as it warms. The taste definitely makes this a slow sipper, besides the high abv! I think this is one I'm going to age, as I am beginning to start an aging collection.

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

From a 12 oz. bottle marked Vintage 2007, into a chalice, it's a dark brown, nearly opaque color with dark red notes when held directly to the light. Creamy brown cap slowly fades away. Great looking brew. Nose of sweet malt with peppery alcohol, milk chocolate, and dark fruit (raisins?). Taste follows nose, with a smooth powdery cocoa taste, mild warm alcohol, toasted coffee bean and rich fruity malt, with a dry character overall. Mouth is creamy with skim-milk consistency. Low carbonation is smooth and feels slightly thin yet silky-smooth. Drinkability is good with 9.2% well masked, good flavor, and a smooth feel.

Overall: A tasty chocolatey porter with a bit of a kick. Very good.

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

Poured this black porter into a pint glass with a dark, thick head that shrunk just a bit but lasted almost the entire experience.
There is quite a hop aroma going on here, blueberries as well.
Tastes of blueberries and the hops are phenominal. The word creamy comes to mind as I drink it, which makes the drinkability a little higher, but the alchohol is subtle so it could sneak up you if you feel like you drink like you're trying to win somethin. Overall, a great porter!!!

Photo of charlzm
1.87/5  rDev -53.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

consumed at 3rd Stop Los Angeles, 03/13/08.

Good looking dark brown pour with a thin, fast-disappearing brown head.

Aroma is way off, with lacquer notes competing with glue or plastic. Some dark roasted maltiness did peek through, however.

Flavor is much like the aroma: weird and unpleasing solvent flavor is the dominant note, drowning out the dark roasted malts and the accompanying bitterness. Some coffee and/or mocha flavor in there, too, but I'll never be totally sure. I sent this pint back as it was undrinkable.

The mouthfeel was a little creamy, at least...

Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,639 ratings.