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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.
very good

2,539 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,539
Reviews: 1,417
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 90
Gots: 165 | 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: 2,539 | Reviews: 1,417 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Kendo
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Vintage 2007. Poured into a Harpoon pint glass -- seems quite thick on the pour. Body is black with a minimal chocolatey-brown head.

S: The nose contains the malty stuff you'd expect from an "Imperial Porter" -- there's coffee, chocolate, roasted malt and even dark fruit in there somewhere. Very nice.

T: Much like the nose, there's roasted malt, chocolate and a hint of black coffee. Also charcoal or smoke, with the smokiness lingering at the finish in a battle with the coffee bitterness for control of my palate. That smokiness prevails, and serves to remind me this is a Porter rather than an Imperial Stout. Otherwise, the line between the two would be blurred here.

M: It's on the heavy side of medium. Carbonation is moderate and all in all feels pretty smooth in the mouth.

D: Very good, especially for a big-bodied, big-ABV beer.

Notes: Very enjoyable, and as I noted above, very close to an Imperial Stout in many ways, which is perhaps why I think this may be one of my favorite Porters thus far. Definitely worth seeking out.

Kendo, Dec 07, 2007
Photo of jeffmonarch
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - This looks darker than some stouts i've drank. Great looking head.

S - Strong alcohol smell. Hops and chocolate hints.

T - Wow, tastes of coffee, chocolate and hops.

M - Perfect carbonation, strong alcohol.

D - This is one of the best beers i've had from Flying Dog. Drink away!

jeffmonarch, Dec 06, 2007
Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from Florian's in Auburn. Pours a completely opaque black with a quickly dissipating brown head. like chocolate, coffee, burnt malt, with strong caramel and hop notes. Tastes burnt and roasty, with a coffee like quality, a generous dose of caramel, and a fair bit of citrusy hops to support the malt. A surprising ballance of hops and malt in this one prevent it from being a complete malt bomb. Very little carbonation and very thick makes this one a sipper for sure, but one sip definitely invites another and before long this one disappears. Very very good. I'll definitely be getting this one again if cold winter night like tonight.

MrHurmateeowish, Dec 06, 2007
Photo of BDTyre
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not too bad, probably one of the better beers I've had from Flying Dog, but this brewery seems consistently to be sub-par.

Great in appearance: very dark ruby-black with a dense brown head.

Sour malt smell; very strong vinous hints. Sweet, sticky toffee background.

Burnt malt taste, to the extreme. A little overdone. A very dry, almost bitter finish. Black coffee taste in the background.

Nice, smooth mouthfeel. Good, low carbonation.

The overdone malt taste and bitter aftertaste limit this somewhat in drinkability. This is one of the better beers I've had from Flying dog, but I've had better baltic porters.

BDTyre, Dec 05, 2007
Photo of roller
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an inky black with a thick tan head. The smell is dark fruit, including cherries and plums, and a roasty bitterness. Taste is more of the roastiness with dark chocolate in the finish. Not as much fruit as in the aroma, but still some present. This is a very tasty porter and one I'd buy again for sure (even if the price is unusually high).

roller, Nov 30, 2007
Photo of Stoneman78
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass
A- Pours a coal black hue with deep rich brown head that starts HUGE and dissipates down to about one finger of cream, sloppy thing lacing on the glass
S- Nose is truly amazing, a surprising amount of hops burst through a foundation of chocolate, coffee, and roasty malts, a touch of smoke and caramel
T- Initial taste is of coffee mocha malts with pine hops, the imperial nature truly shines on in this beer, tons of flavor and balance, other flavors include dark fruit, brown sugar/molasses, and alcohol warming before a bitter hop finish
M- Full-bodied, watery-to-creamy texture, prickly carbonation
D- Another delicious offering from Flying Dog, I had the pleasure of stopping at their tasting room in Denver two weeks ago and want to give props to Stephanie for hooking us up with plenty of tasters, anyway this is a mighty good hop-forward porter that I intend to re-visit many times
Buy again? Definitely
Personal score- 94/100

Stoneman78, Nov 29, 2007
Photo of clemsonbrewer
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours thick with a half inch dark brown head. Thick waves of laces dance down the glass. Jet black liquid.

Smells of coffee and heavy roasted malts with some sweet milk chocolate mixed in.

Very malty black coffee taste that turns sweet and chocolately and a slight hoppy balance but very little.

Chewy/bubbly mouthfeel that leaves a heavenly dry coffee feel on the palate and not too much hops. A little thinner than I expected. Pretty easy to drink but I probably should have had a little more on my stomach first.

clemsonbrewer, Nov 29, 2007
Photo of goochpunch
3.15/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out a black body with a nicely settled head of a mocha color. Leaves some scattered and out of uniform lace. Has a nice herbal and earthy hop aroma that really sticks out with undertones of chocolate and cane syrup. Everything is pretty mild in the nose except for the hops. Pretty underwhelmed by the taste. Mostly An odd hop profile mixed with brown sugar and dates with hints of chocolate and a finish that's deeply roasted along with a resinous hop bitter. This tastes more like a high octane American-style porter rather than a Baltic porter that I was anticipating. Mouthfeel is kind of thin for its presence, but the carbonation is nice and chill enough. Drinkability is OK. I'll finish the bottle, but I won't buy this again,

goochpunch, Nov 27, 2007
Photo of crayphish
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This impressive Imperial Porter pours a completely opaque black liquid. A sparse tan head dwindles to swirls of foam, nice lacing. The smell is surprisingly hop loaded. I had to really study it to make sure this wasn't smoky IPA. There are notes of chocolate and dark sweet fruits. The taste turns to burnt chocolate and the hops so prevalent in the nose. Sweet dried fruits also temper the bitterness of the burnt and hop aspects. Mouthfeel is fairly full and taken over by the alcohol of the brew. An extremely complex and pleasing brew, it needs to be savored and sipped.

crayphish, Nov 18, 2007
Photo of auxiliary
4.65/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance - Black color,nice large head formed but then started to disipate.Nice lace left on the glass.

smell - Dark chocolate, coffee, and malts. Smokey too.

taste - Nice sipper. Has a dark coffee taste to it, some hops present at the end.

mouthfeel - Medium body.

Drinkability - Very nice neer to have on tap. Have had it several times already at track 84.

auxiliary, Nov 16, 2007
Photo of GbVDave
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a St. Bernardus chalice. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

"Version 07A"

A: Creeps out of the bottle a very still and dark black. Creamy 1/4 finger head the color of espresso crema.

S: Enticing aromas of raisins, molassas, bittersweet chocolate, and espresso.

T: See above with figs, plums, brown sugar, chocolate covered cherries, and bread pudding (!).

M: Almost perfest balance of bitter and smooth.

D: Decadent. Almost like a desert.

GbVDave, Nov 15, 2007
Photo of sfoley333
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into New Belgium snifter. Poured a thick black color with a small brown head that hung around for some time. Smell is very herbal with roasted burnt aroma. Taste is bold roasted coffee, licorice root,and alcohol heat fan the flavor. The mouthfeel is full body but low carbonation helps keep it oily and not to heavy. The strong alcohol level present in the heavy herbal flavors make it hard to drink a large amount of it or even a small amount quickly.

sfoley333, Nov 13, 2007
Photo of westweasel
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750ml bottle into a Sam Adams pint glass.

The appearance is very dark red/brown, very opqque. It has a great light brown head - that's fairly tall. The aroma is dominated by alcohol and bourbon flavors. I am also able to get a hint of chocolate.

The taste is alcohol and oakey bourbon.There is also some toastiness, and a little bit of sweet raisins and fig.

The mouthfeel is between medium and full. This is extremely drinkable for this style of beer - I'm impressed.

westweasel, Nov 11, 2007
Photo of albern
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a deep, dark, black color with no light eminating through the glass. There is little if any head, with some lacing. The beer, at first, had a very strong, ripe, hoppy ester aroma, but this mellowed as the beer sat. It picks up more of a fruity aroma, maybe rasberry as things settle in. The taste is strong, definitely burnt molasses, caramel, and a sweetish backbone. The beer is full bodied with no carbonation to speak of. There are strong alcohol warming notes and a lingering aftertaste. This is a good beer, but only for specific circumstances. The 9.2 ABV is quite noticeable. L'Chaim.

albern, Nov 11, 2007
Photo of raceon4
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice dark color. Nice looking head on this one. Great just to look at. Very malty, full, and smoothe taste. I could drink these all day. Drinkability is extremely high for the high ABV. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy. This is one of the first porters that I have enjoyed. Would recommend this one in a heartbeat.

raceon4, Nov 10, 2007
Photo of rye726
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

'07 12oz bottle poured at 45F into a pint glass.

Dark brown, almost black in color. Nice thick espresso head that settles to a silky cover.

The smell is much hoppier than expected. There are nice floral and piney hops accompanied by roasted malts, coffee and molasses. Basically hoppy malty goodness.

The taste is of roated chocolate malts and dark ripe berries. A slight bitterness is created by the evident hops. These flavors are brought together with a nice full body and crisp mouthfeel.

A very drinkable beer that has an overall good balance.

rye726, Nov 08, 2007
Photo of vtfan77
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle says "Vintage 2006"

A- About as dark as a beer can get, with just a touch of tan head at the top (although it's more like a ring of lace than a real head).

S- Huge malty and estery aromas abound here. Chocolate and dark fruits such as dates and figs are prominent. There's also a definite alcohol presence.

T- More big malt flavors. Chocolate becomes more prominent, as well as some coffee. Alcohol also is quite evident. There's a lot of sweetness here, which along with the alcohol gives the beer flavors similar to chocolate syrup and coffee liqueur. A moderate bitterness accents the finish. Fantastic.

M- Thick and viscous, almost syrupy. Not much carbonation, but overall a great mouthfeel.

D- This is definitely a sipping beer, but it's a pleasure to drink. I feel like I could sip quite a bit of it.

Most enjoyable. I don't know what this is like fresh, but with a year of age on it, it's great. It's up there with some of the best dark beers I've had. Highly recommended.

vtfan77, Nov 05, 2007
Photo of JamesS
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It has a great dark (almost pitch) color and a tan head, although the head was barely covering. Lacing was all right, if not spectacular, though. Nice scent, a nice hint of coffee and roasted grains, although the whole scent was very slight. Nice flavor! a very nice coffee and burnt grains taste, with only a hint of its high abv content. Goes down pretty smooth, too. Worth a shot or three.

JamesS, Oct 31, 2007
Photo of irishkyle21
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoyed this offering from Flying Dog. My favorite beer from them so far. If this brew had better head retention and lacing it would be a solid 5. But unfortunately the dark brown head does not hold up well or leave much lacing behind. This is one dark colored beer, probably the blackest beer I have seen to date.

Smells of coffee, molasses, sweet roasted malt and a bit of fruits. The alcohol comes through as it warms.

On the palate there is lots of sweet chocolate mixed with molasses and some hop bitterness. This is one of those beers that are just perfect for fall and winter nights.

irishkyle21, Oct 29, 2007
Photo of crwills
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this sitting around in the fridge for a while (so long that it had kind of become a joke), and finally tried it -- glad I did!

Poured a deep brown, near black, with a solid tan head into a my Sinha glass. Aroma of strong coffee, some brown sugar or molasses, and grainy hops. Flavour is excellent -- black coffee, mild unsweetened chocolate, faint dark fruits, and a good helping of hops to back it up. Tobacco flavours appear as it warms up a bit. Solid, but not chewy, mouthfeel. Very dry aftertaste, almost like an Irish stout.

I liked this a lot and, fortunately, I have a second bottle to enjoy later!

crwills, Oct 27, 2007
Photo of jbphoto88
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of the best beers I've ever had. This beer has it all for you lovers of stouts and porters. It is dark, hoppy, sweet and malty. I love the cascade hop flavors mixed with slight chocolate undertones. At 9% alcohol content this beer has it all. Think of it as the triple cheeseburger that ruins your diet. You know its no good for you but it tastes so exquisite. It is hard to find but when you do, buy every bottle in the store. The rumor is that it gets even better with a little shelf life, so if you do find it and you have the will power, tuck one away in the back of your fridge or pantry and hands OFF!

Ok, I was really gung ho when I first had this beer but now I've found that the flavors have slacked. Part of it could be the movement of the production facility or a change in the ingredients. Either way it's not as lush as it once was. People tell me I'm crazy but I have some of the older bottles stockpiled and bust them out to compare. The old ones still have a great hop profile and a cleaner malt profile/flavor. That being said I will scale my taste back to a 4.5 instead of a 5. Still tasty but short of exceptional with the change.

jbphoto88, Oct 24, 2007
Photo of MillRat
3.43/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

The pour is thick and opaque with a thin but persistent tan head. It looks like a fairly typical imperial stoutish brew, but then you get your nose over it and get a snootload of hops. OK, this is the second clue that this is going to be a weird beer, the Steadman label being the first clue. There's really nothing else in the aroma but serious hops, though I can't place the type. In the flavor, the hops are present but don't dominate, competing with dark malts and semi-sweet malt body, with no real winner except your taste buds. The malty bitterness clings to your tongue long after you swallow, well in style for anything claiming to be imperial. Likewise a complex imperial brew does not lend itself to a drinking session, but at a very well hidden 9.2% ABV, that might just be a good thing.

MillRat, Oct 24, 2007
Photo of belgaridub
3.55/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours an opaque dark mass in my glass and forms a small thick dark brown head. As I poured a sweet aroma jumped out with an underpinning of hoppiness. Closer nasal inspection doesn't reveal much more. Taste is sweet malt closely followed by a wave of burnt chocolate/coffee flavor that really sticks around in the back of the palate. Up front I can still taste some of those hops, but the burnt coffee flavors really start to dominate everything after a few sips. As the beer warms I can taste a bit of the alcohol, but it definitely doesn't dominate. The mouthfeel is full-bodied, but not overwhelmingly thick.

I don't have a lot of experience with porters, but I'm very pleased with this one. It doesn't seem super-impressive, but definitely a quality brew to sip and relax with.

belgaridub, Oct 23, 2007
Photo of malty
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2007.

Pours jet black with a beige fluffy loose 2 1/2" head.

Scent of freshly made smores over an open fire. Burnt toffee and plums make a welcomed stay. Yep, graham crackers, marshmallows and dark chocolate for sure - can't wait to...

...There it is. The aforementioned scents transpose quite similarly into their respective flavors. Bold bitter dark chocolate takes the wheel while dark burnt fruits ride shotgun. A well-placed hoppy dryness counterbalances the big, bold sweet flavors of the dark malts. There's just a hit of alcohol flame at the beginning, but doesn't stay long at all. Dry, sweet and muscular is what this beer is all about.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side of full bodied with a long, flavorful and bitter finish. Carbonation is low.

Drinkability seems to be good. Due to the lower carbonation level, I bet I could drink a couple pints of this, but then I'd need a break. Definitely a digestif.

Overall I'm very glad I got to try this cult classic. Seems to be very well balanced for such a huge porter. I'm kinda wishing there were a bit more carbonation to liven up the monster malt party. If I were up north in a cabin snowed-in, this would definitely be a beer I'd be happy to spend some time with.

malty, Oct 14, 2007
Photo of MiguelMandingo
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This was the first Flying Dog beer that I have sampled, and also my first Baltic Porter. It was a pretty great brew, it is sad that they don't sell this in Texas. I hate you TABC! Its all your fault...and no one in Texas likes you.

Vintage 06F

Poured a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - It produced a slowly dissipating 2 finger head. Left lots of lacing. It is opaque black. The only translucence it exhibits is around the perimeter of the glass.

Smell - I can detect notes of coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla and roasted malt. It is also kinda smokey. There is a piney scent in there as well, definitely from the hops. There are some dark fruits in there as well - dates perhaps.

Taste - Tastes pretty much just like it smells - but better. Espresso, dark chocolate, vanilla undertones, and smokey roasted malt. There is a slight salt character as well. Hops definitely make an appearance at the end. There is no alcohol in the flavor profile. Very Tasty.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full bodied. It isn't too thick, and goes down very smooth. Despite its large head, there isn't as much carbonation as I would have liked. It is kinda flat in the mouthfeel.

Drinkability - This beer has a great flavor. It is very easy drinking, I can't even detect the ABV. I would buy more if they sold it here.

Word has it, TABC won't allow this beer to be sold in Texas because of the Hunter S. Thompson quote on the four pack “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.” Time to stop playing morality police. Its good beer, and you should allow it to be sold. Well, that is the end of my rant. I am going to have another beer.

MiguelMandingo, Oct 14, 2007
Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 2,539 ratings.