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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.

2,414 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,414
Reviews: 1,404
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 81
Gots: 128 | 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: 2,414 | Reviews: 1,404 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of atsprings

North Carolina

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

Poured a deep opaque black with a thin off white head that was mostly diminishing. Aroma was somewhat on the weak side with some black malt and slight chocolate notes but overall, rather weak. The taste was mostly black malt with the expected dark chocolate, espresso lingering in the background along with some dried fruit and some very subdued hops. This beer has an appropriate level of carbonation and bitterness, but the 9.2% alcohol is very present on the tongue and in the throat. This is a decent beer for a cold night, but I still prefer Imperial Stouts.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2007 04:42:08 | More by atsprings
Photo of BeerBelcher


3.6/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I thought this beer a bit on the mild side for a Baltic Porter, but was pleasantly surprised by a high amount of hops in this beer. The end result was well-balanced and drinkable.

Pours an inky thick-black with an abundant nude panty-hose colored head. Aroma is surprisingly hoppy rather than malty, although there is some caramel malt aroma as well. Taste is "big" but well-balanced, with an abundant amount of chocolate malt taste as well as a fair amount of hop taste. Mouthfeel is thick...not sticky like an IPA can be but more "chalky" in character. Yet this beer is rather drinkable. Nice job.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2007 18:19:58 | More by BeerBelcher
Photo of beveritt


4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours with a thick tan head that settles into a nice layer and ring of foam. The beer itself is black as night.

Smell: Smells like sticking your head in a bag of fresh hop flowers, much more of a dry hop aroma than I would have expected.

Taste: Very spicy hops up front with a solid sweet malt counterbalance.

Mouthfeel: Average level of carbonation. Good body.

Drinkability: Wow. I have seen 4 packs of these around for some time, but never picked one up. I wish I had tried this earlier. Overall, a great sipping beer that doesn't get out of control.

Serving type: on-tap

02-13-2007 01:52:44 | More by beveritt
Photo of shadow1961


3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Flying Dog's Gonzo Imperial Porter Pours out a
fat brown head over an opaque black brew. The
nose is spicy roasted malt and dark fruit. It's hard to
guage carbonation but the head collapses slowly
leaving behind thick ropy lace. The flavor is dark
espresso and malt, with something dark and boozy
way in the background. There's sort of a unsweetened
chocolate aftertaste. The mouthfeel is dry and almost
as full and thick as a regular stout. For once, with this
beer, Flying Dog really lives up to the extreme image
they like to project. According to the bottle, it has been
aging since 2005. I wish I had space to properly cellar
this (and other) beers- I bet it would be even better in
two more years. Alcohol by volume 9%.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2007 08:55:29 | More by shadow1961
Photo of lpayette


3.43/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. 2006 vintage, enjoyed sometime in late 2006.

Appearance- Very dark reddish brown that appears black once in the glass. Head is light brown and just a bit on the small side. Not much lacing on this pour at least.

Smell- Somewhat fruity and acidic. Notes of chocolate, funky yeast, and coffee. Smells like it is still fermenting to me if that makes sense to anyone else.

Taste- Chocolate at first, followed by vague fruit, next comes a thicker, more roasted maltiness that mingles with some fairly strong acidic flavors. A bit too strong on the acidity for this to be really enjoyable for me.

Mouthfeel- Full-bodied, acidic, long malty aftertaste. Odd notes of orange peels in the aftertaste.

Drinkability/Verdict - An interesting beer that I've wanted to try for a while now. For me it was too acidic though I realize that some can be desirable for a baltic. Worth a try, but i think that an aged version of this would be much better as the beer matures and mellows in the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2007 06:13:40 | More by lpayette
Photo of JohnnyM2002


4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass at 45 degrees.

A - Pours a molasses-brown with a tan head that left sticky lacing in its wake.

S - Coffee dominates the aroma...alcohol comes through as the beer warmed. Very roasted scents.

T - Roasted coffee and milk chocolate have a strong showing, but I was most surprised by the mild hops in the background. Very good combination...hard to get more descriptive than that, but flavors are pretty straightforward.

M - Creamy body with a crisp/warming finish.

D - Despite the high ABV, much more drinkable than other porters, in the sense that the flavors aren't too overpowering...I'd image after 2 or 3, I'd be done anyway...but the taste still allows for multiple samplings in one night. Excellent and highly recommended!

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2007 00:24:28 | More by JohnnyM2002
Photo of beerphan


3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle -> imperial pint
vintage 06E

Pours black with a huge thick almost brown head that sticks around as marshmellow mountains. Lacing is spiderwebbed down the whole glass.

Nose: Hoppy nose, pineapples, oranges, a little alcohol in the background, some dark fruits emerge.

Taste: Roasted malts give chocolate, expresso beans, dark fruits and some alcohol. Bittering is heavy and lays the smack down to the malt. Dryness lingers with a slightly smokey dark fruit taste left in the mouth.

Mouth is slick, creamy and thin. Is that possible? Less carbonated than a typical porter, has an imperial stout feel.

This beer initially reminded me of the Alpha Klaus i tried the other day, but as it went on the Gonzo did not hold up like the AKlaus.
A good end of the night sipper with some chocolate chip cookies, but one is enough.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2007 01:15:47 | More by beerphan
Photo of rallison


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

A: Beautiful jet black with just a hint of red. Nice 2 finger lighter brown head that sticks around.

S: Lots of roasted malts. Espresso, dark chocolate, you name it. All the classic stout smells are here. Smells delicious.

T: Mmmm. Roasted coffee, followed by some good bitter chocolates. A bit of prune flavor too, in a good way. Delicious.

M: Nice, filling mouthfeel. Not syrupy nor overly heavy. Very smooth. No perceivable alcohol. Good mouthfeel.

D: The flavors are rich, but this is amazingly drinkable at 9.2%. You know, I rated the drinkability a 4.0, assuming this was in the 7% range. After looking and seeing this is a 9.2% beer, I have to knock the drinkability score up to 4.5. This is too drinkable for the abv. Edit: Alright, by the end of the glass, it was getting a bit heavy, so I guess a 4.0 was fair. And back down to 4 it goes...

Highly recommended. Lots of great flavors, all balanced nicely and without any noticeable alcohol or overly heavy body. I can't say if Hunter S. Thompson would be proud - but I can say I'll toast to him with this beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2007 09:50:49 | More by rallison
Photo of Liquids


4.68/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pure syrup, ultra black, a molasess colored head that is barely half a finger though, yeast is floating. Aroma is of complex hops like my favorite IPA's, intense but somewhat grapefruity, and not threatening due to the obvious variety of hops, superb. The taste is ultra porter, very smooth, very hoppy considering the malt the hops are competing with, but delicious like storm king with a northwest spin. The hops kick in after a few sips, and they are a very present, dominating force but so is the roasty malt, the gritty charred flavor of which peeks through a bit now and then. Tasty. Ultra full mouthfeel, syrupy, not overly carbonated. Of note, a baltic porter this is not. Far closer to an imperial stout, and a good one at that.

Overall, I could guzzle this. I remember having a 4 pack of this early on before I knew what I was getting into, not knowing what to think about the intensity of flavors for a beer newbie. Now that I'm more seasoned, I can apreciate the beauty of this beer and it makes me want it more often. A fine, complex, intense brew.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2007 22:28:26 | More by Liquids
Photo of Georgiabeer


4.63/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle dated June, 2005. Pours very dark, pretty much black that no light penetrates. Decent head when first poured, retention is basically just a ring- good lacing though. Some chunky sediment as well. The smell is a little faint, but has nice notes of prunes, dark cherries in brandy, and dark malt. The taste is very deep and rich with a winey flavor up front, deep flavors of chocolate malt, dark stewed fruit, and a nice lingering bitterness. The chocolate flavor is very pronounced and is of good cocoa. Some late espresso notes as well. Very nice indeed. Very creamy mouthfeel, medium weight. The alcohol doesn't shine through. I think the fact that this is aged a little really makes it balanced. Delicious, and the best by far that this brewery has offered.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2007 23:24:30 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of msubulldog25


3.43/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A 12 oz. bottle poured to a pint glass. Vintage 06D.

A: Extremely dark, virtually black, with a tan head of cream. Held to a strong light, auburn highlights are revealed at the edges as are some granular floating white flecks that collect after a while in the bottom of the glass. Pretty good lacing.

S: Subtle malts with anise and some floral hoppiness. Cocoa, toasted malts.

T: Licorice/anise with lots of dark malt, chocolatey and rather charred tasting. Jellied dark fruit flavors in the bodyA souring in the finish that evolves into a cloying coffee-grounds & citrus rind bitterness.

M: Medium bodied mouthfeel and generally smooth. Some fusel warmth along the back of the tongue. Sticky maltiness on the lips.

D: This beer I liked less and less with each sip, as it became overbearingly bitter and sour. I question whether I had a bad bottle or this was the intended taste. For a Baltic or Imperial style porter, I expect more rich flavors, bountiful malt and more sweetness...really this had none of the above. I may try this again at some point but It's not one I'll be running back to. Besides, that freakish skull-headed thing on the label is giving me nightmares already...

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2007 04:16:20 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of umustdrink


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

A - Pours deep black, completely opaque even held up to a bright light. Big thick brown head with very good retention.

S - Roasted malts, bitter greens.

T - Bitter roasted malt taste, a little bit of a smoky flavor. Very slight hints of chocolate.

M - A very smooth beer. Very little carbonation.

D - I haven't had very many porters that I would prefer over a stout but I liked this beer very much and I would drink it again. This is also my first Flying Dog brew so I'll probably try their other beer now.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2007 00:24:21 | More by umustdrink
Photo of arguemaniac


4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an oily black with a creamy but brief light brown head. Citrusy American hop character has a strong presence in both the aroma and flavor. The sharp spice and fantastic flavor of the hop profile in the palate are nicely balanced by a complexity of other great flavors: delicious caramel and toffee flavors, bittersweet chocolate and some very nice burnt coffee bitterness. Creamy mouthfeel with a bitter, roasted finish.

Perhaps the best American porter I have ever tried and an overall great example of what can happen when you combine the rich, malty flavors of a strong porter with an amped-up American hop profile. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2007 09:49:23 | More by arguemaniac
Photo of Nibbley


4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I bought this porter in a 20oz bottle sealed with a cork like a champagne bottle.
This porter poured black with a light mocha head that faded to nice lace on the glass.
The smell was of black coffee and dark ripe fruit with just a hint of dark chocolate. Mouth feel was velvety smooth and very pleasant.
I ordered more from this retailer and cant wait to try this one again.
This porter goes on my top five list. Cheers

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2006 19:59:35 | More by Nibbley
Photo of Mebuzzard


4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured an inky black, with reddish tints on the side. About 1 1/2 fingers on the head, but it died quickly to small lacing.
Smell of sweet coffee, chocolate and roasted malt. something else that gave it a bit of a sourness.
Taste: light coffee and chocolate flavors. Licorice and roasted malt and then that sourness to it. i don't know what that is. Kinda like curdled milk, but not. Interesting and I can't quit drinking it.
Good feel to it. Smooth, a bit thick, and crisp.
I bought a four-pack, wish they had sixers

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2006 19:11:18 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of CAMRAhardliner

Ontario (Canada)

4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What amazing label art, definitely one of the coolest labels Ive ever seen.

The beer pours pitch black with a few cognac glints around the edges. The compact tan head never really goes away and drapes the glass in lace webs. Aromas of piney, citric Pacific Northwest hops surprised me. They definitely arent overpowering or in IPA territory, but they definitely provide a lot of balance to the rich espresso and dark chocolate aromas.

The taste is much the same with resinous hoppyness mixing with thick chewy malts. Tonnes of dark cocoa, fresh roasted coffee, BPM astringency and subtle dry dark fruits make for loads of malt complexity. There is a lot going on in this beer and more is revealed with every sip. The finish is citrusy and chocolatey with a light hop bitterness and some definite alcohol heat. The mouthfeel is very thick and mouth coating with pleasant light carbonation.

Wow, this is a fantastic Baltic Porter. Its definitely not a traditional interpretation but the marrying of robust dark malts and American hops really works. It's kind of like Shakespeare Stout on steroids.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2006 02:56:37 | More by CAMRAhardliner
Photo of Tesno


2.93/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Quite black. Too dark for a Baltic Porter. Thick brown head with lots of texture. Froth clings to the glass and refuses to dissipate.

S: All dark grain. Somewhat burnt. No esters. Slight raisin note and a subtle fruitiness which may be from late hop addition.

T: Bitter chocolate gives way to dark fruit gives way to warm alcohol (and some fusel alcohols). Bit soapy. Slight bitter astringency at first dissipates to leave a rather sweet malty aftertaste.

M: Full-bodied and quite carbonated. Cloying.

Overall, I was expecting a little more because I really enjoy many of the other beers in the Flying Dog line. I think this beer would benefit from a little more aging. It tasted a little young to me. I may try setting a few bottles aside if I can get my hands on some more.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2006 01:59:56 | More by Tesno
Photo of srrn

North Carolina

4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown, almost black with a minmal tan head.

Smells of coffee and hops.

Taste is the same with a nice hop bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel is oily with just enough carbonation.

This is the only Baltic Porter available around here, I'd love to try more beers in this style. Something about this beer reminds me of Jagermeister, I don't know why. A favorite brew of mine.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2006 15:21:56 | More by srrn
Photo of warmstorage


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

12 ounce bottle, states "NTAGE 06B", possibly meaining Vintage 06B? No ABV stated.

Pours with a massive, over the top, medium dense brown head. Opaque black, with slight floaties noticeable.

Aroma is roasty, smoky, with hints of plums/prunes.

Taste is rich sweet roasty chocolate malt, with a distinct carbonation. Lingers long with warm alcohol and tingly carbonation. Aftertaste is warm to hot alcohol, and semi-sweet prunes/figs.

A very tasty beer, and one which I buy semi-regularly in four-packs. A great winter warmer, and a delicious treat to have available year-round.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2006 22:29:00 | More by warmstorage
Photo of Musky


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

Awesome color, bubbles have a redish ting to them leading you to notice the chocolate and black mats it contains. Very smooth as it travels the palate. I was expecting a little more hop aroma from the this big beer. Excellent drinking pleasure and would highly recommend it.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2006 15:58:51 | More by Musky
Photo of ArrogantB


3.05/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This porter poured out a very black color with a small decent head. The head was brown but looked like it had a rose tint to it. Tasted a little like wine to me for some reason. It was also much better when I had it on cask. From the bottle it is just ok.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2006 02:39:05 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of techdiver


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

Pours a dense opaque blackish-brown with a substantial creamy tan head that dissipates slowly, and bits of yeast floating around. Nose is reminiscent of a great many stouts, coffee and chocolate, but with a woody note. Taste is complex, but very smooth, leading to a finish revealing hoppy bitterness and perhaps grapefruit. Alcohol content is very well hidden, pretty tasty stuff.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2006 16:41:12 | More by techdiver
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

2.95/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Hogtownharry: Poured a pitch-black color porter with a medium foamy head with average retention. Aroma of roasted malt with some coffee and some vegetable kind of leave me puzzled. Taste is also a weird mix between roasted malt and a weird vegetable finish which doesn’t really fit in there and I am still unsure where it came from (hops?). Body is too light for the style but alcohol is well hidden. I’m not sure why this is rated so highly as I didn’t see anything memorable in here.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2006 17:56:03 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of Winter


4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out looking like motor oil from the bottle. It sports an attractive creamy brown head. Jammy aroma consists of dark fruit, dark roasted coffee, black olives and alcohol. The mouthfeel is thick and full in body. This is no doubt, a thick malty imperial porter. Dark fruit taste through out. Flavors of roasted malt, coffee and sweet caramel. Hop bitterness is extrememly low, except for the finish which has a strong coffee bitterness to it. Gonzo is very complex. A very good imperial porter that goes down wonderfully. The 9.2% alcohol is hidden farily well.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2006 04:56:56 | More by Winter
Photo of kimcgolf


3.15/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance was almost black, with a thick tan head and good lacing. Aroma was a very malty mix of chocolate and coffee. Taste was a little too overpowering of a mix of the same coffee and malty chocolate, and I thought the alcohol crept in a little too strongly, which affected the finish as well. This was the third beer I had tried at a Flying Dog beer tasting, and was just not that impressed. Maybe under different circumstances....

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2006 00:44:00 | More by kimcgolf
Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,414 ratings.