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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.

2,579 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,579
Reviews: 1,420
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.19%
Wants: 97
Gots: 176 | 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:
ABV varies.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-04-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,579 | Reviews: 1,420 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of msubulldog25
3.43/5  rDev -14.7%
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...

msubulldog25, Jan 17, 2007
Photo of umustdrink
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

umustdrink, Jan 07, 2007
Photo of arguemaniac
4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

arguemaniac, Jan 06, 2007
Photo of Nibbley
4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
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

Nibbley, Dec 31, 2006
Photo of Mebuzzard
4/5  rDev -0.5%
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

Mebuzzard, Dec 22, 2006
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

CAMRAhardliner, Dec 12, 2006
Photo of Tesno
2.93/5  rDev -27.1%
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.

Tesno, Dec 12, 2006
Photo of srrn
4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

srrn, Dec 07, 2006
Photo of warmstorage
4.22/5  rDev +5%
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.

warmstorage, Dec 06, 2006
Photo of Musky
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

Musky, Dec 04, 2006
Photo of ArrogantB
3.05/5  rDev -24.1%
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.

ArrogantB, Dec 03, 2006
Photo of techdiver
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

techdiver, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of Phyl21ca
2.95/5  rDev -26.6%
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.

Phyl21ca, Nov 28, 2006
Photo of Winter
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

Winter, Nov 20, 2006
Photo of kimcgolf
3.15/5  rDev -21.6%
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....

kimcgolf, Nov 20, 2006
Photo of barefootbrewer
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a thick heavy black color with a nice brown persistent head. It also had some very nice lacing The smell is sweet and like a spicy caramel/molasses smell. The taste is sweet and slightly bitter. It is heavy of malt with a toffee like flavor. The mouthfeel is heavy and a bit chewy. This is a deceptive beer in that the mouthfeel and taste hide the high alcohol content extremely well, The drinkablity of this beer is great for a beer this robust.

Such a fitting beer in honor of Dr.Gonzo!!!

barefootbrewer, Nov 16, 2006
Photo of bjohnson
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a thick black oil like color with a frothy one finger caramel colored head. Slight retention on top. Decent spiderweb like lacing.
S: Deep chocolate and burnt coffee notes. Nice infusion of dark fruit malt also. Sweet molasses plays a supporting role.
T/M: Quite thick this one. Sweet molasses, licorice, and sweet caramel flavors coupled with slight wintergreen notes that cool the tongue a bit. Sticky and sugary residue left on the lips. Big and bold body. Pretty decent bitterness in the finish can be detected at the back of the mouth.
D: abv of above 9? Wow, couldn't detect it at all. Regardless, only one of these for me at a time. Thick and powerful, Gonzo packs a punch. Good one though and worth seeking out.

bjohnson, Nov 14, 2006
Photo of Rudgers73
3.38/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into an oversize wine glass.

A- Deep dark black. Nice dark tan foam. Still. I notice it has legs.

S- A lot like a typical porter with strong undertones of apple. Maybe cherries too. Slight alcohol.

T- Rich almost like whiskey. Very warming and smooth. The apple taste turns into something like pineapple for me. Bold. Very unique.

M- Warm, thick, smooth.

D- Nice on a cold winter night.

Rudgers73, Nov 13, 2006
Photo of clickpush
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pour: 12oz bottle to tulip glass. Body is very dark brown with a couple bubble trails streaming up the sides of the glass. A huge four and a half finger thick cocoa butter head caps the beer and makes a slow, crater-marked descent, sometimes having the appears of a dyed pumice stone, and sticks to the glass all the way down. Good lacings remain.

Nose: Very fragrant. Some parts sweet and fruity, like banana and strawberry yogurt. Other parts chocolate and caramel closer up. A faint touch of dark roasts but not too much. Alcohol esters that are slightly buttery, like the scent is gliding past my nose. Not as overpowering as some porters.

Mouth: Mmm, very malty and sweet. Up front the fruity characters of the aroma are very well maintained, though darker and plum like. A strong dark roast is unveiled in the back of the mouth with a warm tingling swallow and a bittersweet aftertaste. Traces of oatmeal and chestnuts. Not much hop presence to speak of. Mouthfeel enters well with strong carbonation but it fizzes out as it moves back and is quite bloating after swallow.

clickpush, Nov 08, 2006
Photo of cpmichael
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

At first pour, you think you might be drinking coffee. Also, the smell resembles coffee, mixed with nuts and chocolate. Gonzo has a hint of chocolate and coffee flavouring in the taste. Very bitty, but pleasent after taste. A brew that Hunter himself might have been proud of...

cpmichael, Nov 08, 2006
Photo of Backer2004
4.63/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thought I tried this before but I would have definitely remember this one. Love this one & also the style. Almost as dark as a stout, the alcohol warms the throat w/ a mix of chocolate and malts. Easy to finish (a bit too quickly). Paid $4.50 for a bottle.

Backer2004, Nov 06, 2006
Photo of LarryV
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an inky black that light has trouble penetrating. Big, fine textured head dissipates slowly to a lasting halo of tan foam. Big roasted malt aroma with dark chocolate, and a hint of licorice.
Taste is big time roasted malt, again with a bit of semi-sweet chocolate and some espresso notes. Lush, creamy mouthfeel makes this a pleasure to sip and enjoy. Nice offering from the Flying Dog!

LarryV, Nov 02, 2006
Photo of jwc215
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black. The thin tan head almost immediately disappears to a thin wisp. Disappointing head/lace even for the high abv.

The smell is of roasted chocolate and a touch of dark fruits. A hint of smokiness also present. The smells are there, but not as powerful as the style usually is.

The taste is of sweet chocolate with a crisp bitterness. Some dark fruits with mildly smoky charcoal emerge in the background. Roasted, almost burnt, toast comes into play in the middle, before it sweetens up again. The flavors are good and they work well, but they are all on the moderate side. Not as powerful or rich as other examples of style. Still in all, a delicious taste. The alcohol remains hidden despite the high abv.

There is an oily slickness to the feel along with a smoothness. The body remains between medium and full.

This is drinkable, especially as the alcohol is so well-hidden. It has nice tastes. But, I don't know that it's anything above other examples of the style. It seems that it could be fuller and more robust overall.

jwc215, Oct 28, 2006
Photo of peabody
4.53/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out very dark with lots of creamy tan suds. Slight lacing here.
Smell is strong black cherry and oak. Slight coffee aroma with a malty musky alcohol smell.
Taste is a very very malty sweet first flavor followed by a bitter coffee. Then as the malt dissapears you end up with a very dry bitterness that has the malty sweetness hiding in the background.
This is one of the most complex tasting beers I have had so far.
Mouthfeel is great also, cause the malt hangs around along with the bitter hops that make this one of a kind.
Since there is a 9.5% abv here I don't suppose it would make a great session beer but still I think I could drink a few of these at a time if I had a soft place to land.

peabody, Oct 28, 2006
Photo of Neehan
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark, black coffee color with a huge, full chocolate head. The smell is of french roast coffee, with nuts, spices and chocolate. A wonderful taste that changes in complexity from beginning to end going from sweet to bitter and back again. Very well done. Quite rich with a bold coffee/cola taste. The mouthfeel is also complex with a crisp, biting mouthfeel but also very frothy. The only thing that holds this beer back is its drinkability, but who cares, you will be satisfied after one.

Neehan, Oct 25, 2006
Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,579 ratings.