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Gonzo Imperial Porter - Flying Dog Brewery

Not Rated.
Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,657 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,657
Reviews: 1,433
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 108
Gots: 207 | 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: 2,657 | Reviews: 1,433 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of flexabull
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Been sitting on this bottle for months, vintage 06B according to the label.

Thought this beer might be better with some age, last bottle was consumed in Nov. 2006. Let's see what 8 months has done for this one...

Pours a deep dark black color with a huge tan head. Whoa!

Aromas are intense and strong. Smells boozy, mineral like, and bitter.

Taste is really burnt and smokey. There is a very resin like taste on this finish. There is also a bit of creamy sweet malty backbone that takes a bit of a backseat to the other flavors. Very interesting and enjoyable brew!

Mouthfeel is good, a bit lean for what I expect from a Baltic Porter, but still nice.

Drinkability is good. Age has done this one well... If you pick this up, set aside the bottles for a few months.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours jet black with a large tan head. The head slowly recedes leaving tons of lacing. A thin head remains throughout.

S: Quite a bit of sweetness in the nose; dark fruits and caramel to go along with some espresso and burnt chocolate.

T: There is a lot of sweetness in this beer, more than I've ever seen in a porter. Dark ripe fruits and caramel. There is a hard bite in the form of burnt coffee and chocolate. A solid hop bitterness also contributes to the bite. Starting halfway through and staying to the finish is a big warming hit from the alcohol.

M: Full bodied, rather smooth and crisp.

D: A fairly drinkable porter. The tastes are big, powerful and rather raw. It's a good sipper due to the alcohol. A solid choice for a strong and powerful porter.

Photo of BaronVonHawkeye
4.09/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at Family Liquors (love the ironic name) in East Dubuque, IA and poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A: Opaque black. Not kind of opaque, the definition of opaque, think black hole black. Thin (2-3 mm) dark tan head. Retention was for about two or three sips down to a lace ring on the top of the beer. Head left lace drops on the way down.

S: The nose was a little disappointing from other Imperial Porters I have tried. While the alcohol scent was there and surprisingly not that overpowering (e.g. Rogue's Imperial Stout), nothing else besides a light scent of roasted malt came out. The nose was balanced nicely, but it was not that forward. Like listening to properly balanced music at half of normal volume.

T: Delicious. The roasted malts came through with a very nice initial flavor followed by some nutty tones, then some delicious hop flavors, and followed by a light alcohol rising into your sinuses.

M: Good mouthfeel, although the initial solid velvety feel quickly went thin and could have been slightly better balanced.

D: For an Imperial, surprisingly drinkable. I think I could easily drink two or three of these without feeling uncomfortable. Bravo Flying Dog!

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

A - Jet black and completely opaque, settles with little brown head.

S - Very strong smells of hops and dark sweet malts. Smells slightly of coffee and espresso.

T - Very strong taste of alcohol and hops surround a warm cocoa and coffee flavours brought on by the warm malty center.Very dark bitterness of espresso and hops. The aftertaste is long and drying.

M - Thick in its lasting, almost coating, feel, but not overly heavy.

D - I couldn't have very much of this beer, but I certainly enjoyed this one, and would love to get my hands on a whisky-barrel-aged one. Great Imperial Porter.

Photo of ncvbc
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No complaints here. I was curious as to whether this would live up to my somewhat low expectations, even though most reviews seem to give it praise. Well, praise is due, folks.

While I'm not the biggest fan of Flying Dog and consider them to make mainly mediocre beers, this one is pretty awesome. It poured a dark, dark black with a minimal head and low carbonation.

Smell was very lovely. Some roasted malts with coffee and chocolate coming through primarily. Also some light caramel and fruit undertones. Pretty complex bag here.

Taste was also on point. Coffee was the dominating flavor with chocolate helping to tame it. The light fruit taste in the background added to the depth of this brew. I know that they have the Barrel Aged version but I could honestly taste a light bourbon in here somewhere.

Maybe the bourbon was from a slight alcohol burn that I noticed in the taste, followed by the mouthfeel. Creamy, pretty full, and slick. I like.

Drinkability is also good. I find this beer to contain good depth and don't see many flaws at all. Flying Dog, you got my attention with this one.

Photo of yourunclewalt
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2006.

A - Pours an inky black body with a coffee-colored, thin head

S - Bready, biscuity yeast; fusel alcohol, caramel malts

T - Lots of chocolate and caramel here, hints of corriander / nutmeg among the spicy hop tang with a noticeably high ABV on top of a biscuity / bready body

M - Silky, the alcohol kicks you in the finish

D - Delicious; 6 months in the cellar doesn't nearly do it justice - can't wait to get my hands on the barrel-aged

Photo of SaltyLime
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - nice thick pour, very dark brown, almost a pitch black, toasty color with a cloud-like head. Lacing left rings at every sip.

Smell - sour fruit and a solid ether smell

Taste - Great taste. Bold beginning with an ether after effect. Slight hop liveliness and a soft smoky malt flavor

Mouthfeel - Smooth.

Drinkability - Good. Did not have the effect of a 9.2% brew. Big flavor, light punch to it.

Photo of DavidSeanNJ
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

Photo of BeerSox
3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

Photo of drlumps62
3.98/5  rDev -1%
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?

Photo of letsgopens
4.63/5  rDev +15.2%
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

Photo of hunteraw
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

Photo of pootz
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

Photo of burnstar
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Photo of budgood1
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

Photo of wspscott
4.27/5  rDev +6.2%
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 :)

Photo of bjoyce12
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Photo of tattooedtolley
4.37/5  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.

Photo of shroompod
4.37/5  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.

Photo of Phatz
4.65/5  rDev +15.7%
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.

Photo of soupyman10
4.1/5  rDev +2%
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.

Photo of rattech
4.76/5  rDev +18.4%
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.

Photo of cichief
2.93/5  rDev -27.1%
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.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

Photo of Slatetank
4.78/5  rDev +18.9%
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.

Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,657 ratings.