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Gonzo Imperial Porter - Flying Dog Brewery

Not Rated.
Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,670 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,670
Reviews: 1,435
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 114
Gots: 215 | 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: 2,670 | Reviews: 1,435
Photo of Musky
4.22/5  rDev +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.

Photo of ArrogantB
3.08/5  rDev -23.4%
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.

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.

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.

Photo of Winter
4.38/5  rDev +9%
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.

Photo of kimcgolf
3.16/5  rDev -21.4%
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....

Photo of barefootbrewer
4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
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!!!

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.

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.

Photo of clickpush
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

Photo of cpmichael
3.76/5  rDev -6.5%
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...

Photo of Backer2004
4.6/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

Photo of LarryV
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
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!

Photo of jwc215
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

Photo of peabody
4.48/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

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.

Photo of stephendr
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark coffee hue–large frothy head, small bubbles – nose balance of bitter mocha , slight brown sugar , and vanilla a well– bitter and sweet balance is good, with bitter mocha and sweet milk chocolate , vanilla and caramel taste – frothy textured palate- sweet/bitter mocha , and chocolate aftertaste

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

I'm not a big Flying Dog fan at all, but when I saw they had released an Imperial Porter named after Hunter S. Thompson, I had to pick it up. Besides, I love me a good porter. Looks like I was pouring out my 5,000 mile used motor oil from the bottle. Topped off with a beautiful, creamy, light brown head that sticks to the glass and I was excited!

Smells of dark malts, bitter chocolate, coffee...reminds me of Old Rasputin Imperial Stout. Taste is more of the same yumminess. Dark, roasted roasty malts, bitter chocolate, french roast coffee, finishing off dry and a bit hoppy but nothing overwhelming. Slight alcohol warming going on as well and would be expected from a 9.2% brewha.

This is a HUGE porter, to say the least. And the first Flying Dog beer to impress me. Thoroughly impress me actually. I will be picking up more of this while it's still on the shelf.

Photo of cjgator3
4.48/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark pitch black with a huge creamy tan colored head that lasts for the entire duration of the drink and sticks like crazy all over the glass. Aroma is dark roasted malts, chocolate, coffee and a bit of the alcohol comes through in the nose as well. Upon first sip, the flavors just burst into your mouth. There are a lot of notes of coffee and chocolate in the taste as well as a dark roasty malt. This brew finishes with a nice bitter presence from the hops that makes it very well rounded beer. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy with a moderate amount of carbonation. Overall, this is a spectacular brew from Flying Dog that is highly recommended.

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

Holy suds. Upon uncapping this bottle, it began creeping foam towards the mouth, and left a 3-finger head even with a gentle pour. A cloud of frothy brown refused to even begin dissipating for several minutes. The beer itself is blacker than the oil pumping through Dubya's obsidian heart. Some orange particulate made its way to the bottom of the glass after a while.

Aroma foreshadows roasted malts, and has a bit of a sour note mingled with a slight chemical edge.

Taste is big but not overwhelming. Mousse-like mouthfeel from the huge carbonation keeps roasty tones, leather, licorice, and a little grapefruity sourness moving around. Fairly dry and bitter, this could easily be a stout by most yardsticks. The big ABV doesn't really give itself away, just a hint of warmth in the aftertaste.

Photo of dbalsock
4.36/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark brown with a very brown head that abundantly fills the pint glass. It's also long lasting, this beer looks like a champ.

Smell: Coffee like a traditional porter, but also a bit of a mocha aroma. There's some caramel involved that gives some tender character to the robust nose.

Taste: Tastes similar to how it smells, but with some noticeable alcohol that adds to the experience. The caramel is also more pronounced, as is some bakers chocolate.

Mouthfeel: The alcohol, bitterness from the malts (and some hopping) and overall smoothness of the medium bodied brew create a very good mouthfeel experience.

Drinkabililty: For such a high alcohol, this beer is easily downed... in a dangerous way. If I had time, I would probably try to session this. Overall a fantastic beer that I would go out of my way to get.

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

This poured to a dark black with hints of red and a nice big head that lasted very well. There's a ton of lace too.

The smell is strong and deep, with plenty of dark grains, chocolate, and a bit of coffee. The taste is also strong. It starts with roasted malts and finishes with chocolate and a nice hop bitterness. Alcohol is barely detected. The mouthfeel is solid while drinkability is very good.

Photo of Osiris9588
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle with a Ralph Steadman illustration of a skull-faced Hunter Thompson spitting out a word balloon reading "Okay, let's party." It pours an opaque black coffee color, topped by a frothy chocolate milk head, with solid retention and loads of sticky cocoa-colored lacing.

The aroma consists of roasted malt, caramel, and chocolate undercut by hops. The flavor is of cocoa, milk-chocolate, toasty malt, and vanilla extract, followed by a strong, bitter coffee/hop/alcohol finish.

The mouth is full-bodied, yet creamy, and complex, with ample carbonation. The finish really scorches the back palate.

I defintely could not drink an entire four pack of this, possible not even two, the alcohol is nearly overwhelming--and I like a little ethanol warmth in my beers.

Overall it's a solid porter that I wouldn't waste if someone set one front of me. Though it felt like it destroyed my palate--so I'd suggest putting toward the back of your rotation.

Photo of MSchae1017
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was tated in a pint glass from the 12oz bottle.

This beer pours a dark chocolatly brown black with a huge frothy tan head that holds wonderfully and laces well. The smell is just full of sweet roasted malts. The taste is nice. It is very sweet with a full roasted chocolatly flavor. There is just enought bitterness to keep the beer in balance but the sweet malts dominate. The mouthfeel has a nice full body with even carbonation. Overall a good porter, its nice to see a porter that pushes the limit like this.

Photo of Graebner
4.26/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black as hell. A singularity of beer, not even light (not even me) escapes this beasts pull. The easiest of pours yeilds two fingers of caramel head that slowly diminish. Features a Hunter S. Thompson quote on the bottle. Nice.

Smells fruity. Really fruity, and some alcohol. Raisins, figs, plums...rich.

Taste is big fruity malts, all the fruit promised in the nose, with some chocolatey flavors, and a big burnt malt finish. Slight citric notes. A little hops in there as well, but they are overwhelmed by the dry, roasted malts in the end. Surprisingly clean finish with only a little burnt leftover.

Smooth. A little carbonation burn, but it's necessary to balance the huge character of this beer. Does not sit heavily on the stomach, though more than one or two might. Probly couldn't afford that many though, so that's not a likely problem.

Wow. Flying Dog, while mostly mediocre in the past, has really outdone themselves (and alot of other people) with this one. Wow. This is an intense and amazing brew to be sipped and savored; a fitting tribute to a truly unique individual. Did you see what god did to us, man?

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Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,670 ratings.