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Gonzo Imperial Porter - Flying Dog Brewery

Not Rated.
Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,448 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,448
Hads: 2,797
Avg: 4.02
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 136
Gots: 305 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Flying Dog Brewery
Maryland, United States | website

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter | 9.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-04-2005

ABV varies.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Gonzo Imperial Porter Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,448 | Hads: 2,797
Photo of WheelsPSU
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%

Very good porter. A bit too carbonated though, almost takes away from the mouthfeel. I got roasted malts, dark chocolate, and a little something sweet, perhaps vanilla or even maybe a sweet fig. Very very tasty but the mouthfeel was strange due to the carbonation

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Photo of SFNC
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brown with reddish highlights around the edges. A mile high head with some rather large bubbles interspersed in the tan foam. This left a pronounced lacing on the glass and thin islan of the tan foam remained for the duration. The smell is darkly roasted malt, bitter chocolate and prominent alcohol. I had this at just under room temprature and it tasted aggresively bitter, but in a good way. Alchohol hits pretty hard, not really hidden at all. The rosty taste of this reminds me of a good stout, but the mouthfeel is thinner and quite effervescent. This one is good, but lacking in subtlety.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.24/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this for the for time last night at the Cloverleaf, which was a fitting beer for how cold and raw it was outside. Although this was just a tad too burnt for me, I really enjoyed this and how complex it was while remaining true to form. This was a slow sipper and had enough going for it that I could enjoy this as it warmed up, at the same time that it was warming me up as well. This packed a punch but it wasn't over-the-top and was clearly one of the best Porters of any type that I've ever had.

Nice pour to this, with a dark hue, creamy head, and a somewhat decent amount of lacing as I worked my way through this. I couldn't see any lacing at all and the smoothness of the appearance was also apparent in the taste, despite the range of the flavors that were present here. Lots of malt, a thick mouthfeel, and a good smoky undertone were there from the get-go, as this had the roasted characteristic of a Porter and the burnt, bitter properties of a good coffee Stout to go along with them. Everything meshed well together and that included the faint hop notes that came through in the back, which packed even more of a punch when all was said and done.

This was certainly strong but it did not feel strong as the alcohol was well-recessed. For something the looked like vanilla extract, this had a lot going on since the vanilla was only a small aspect of what was found here. As so many have alluded to on here, this is by far Flying Dog's best beer! Most of their other offerings tasted similar to each other but like the Smuttynose Robust Porter, this one's a standout that's not to be missed. Part Porter, Part Stout, Part Scotch Ale, this was a beer that's unlike anything else on the shelf and deserves to be a winter staple in anyone's stash.

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Photo of samtrillo
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Tan head with a fair share of lacing.

Nose composed of rich roasted malt. Dark bitter cocoa and espresso.

Taste is surprisingly bitter coffee for me. As I drink more I'm getting more of a mocha chocolate thing going on. However, the bitter coffee persists. So much so I would believe it if the bottle said it was a coffee stout. I am getting some wood qualities to the bitterness, as well.

The mouthfeel is bizarre based off what I was reading. Lots of carbonation to me! Too much in fact. The alcohol is indeed hid well. Medium bodied.

Overall this was quite different from the reviews I read. Coffee, carbonated and crisp. Still very enjoyable, though.

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Photo of cyberjason
4.75/5  rDev +18.2%

This is by far one of the best porters you can get in a bottle. The taste is superb and the minimal head has a dark brown color. If your taste buds are itching for a porter this one will definitely hit the spot!

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Photo of ThaneMcC
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

A: inky black with copious light brown head and lacing
S: citrus hops, dark malt and chocolate and leather dark notes
T: chocolatey, woodsy, very dark malts, hops mid flavor providing nice fruity, piney, citrus (mild) and clean finish
M: skim milk feel, carbonation gives some lightness to this malt heavy beer and keeps it from becoming syrupy
O: An odd hybrid of IPA and Porter, with the qualities of each and almost like a stout in its complexity and the complexity of the flavor hides the high ABV. Great beer! I would not hesitate to get this I n the future.

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Photo of ONUMello
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Pour it slowly as even an average pour brought a huge head that took time to settle. Once the bottle emptied a pitch black beer with a lingering one-finger head remained in the glass
S: Chocolate, a bit of cream, lots of dark malts, a bit of hops
T: Roasted/burnt malt, hops, cocoa
M: Full-bodied, a nice balance of dark flavors. The alcohol is a bit noticeable but not out of balance
O: A tasty beer for a cold day

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Photo of WhiteHillsStore
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Pours a dark brown with a khaki colored head. As it fizzed out the head made trails down the glass. The smell is full of nuts and coffee. A lot of heavy and sweet scents prepare you for a really nice and rich taste. The taste is full of decadent heavy flavors such as walnuts, coffee, and toffee to make a very rich beer. Another really good brew from Flying Dog.

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Photo of HunterSBeerson
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

A great, dark, malty beer. Oil like texture. Probably the coolest beer I have tried (for name and label artwork), and a great version of a strong porter.

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Photo of Dodo2step
3.84/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

P- Thanks to Colm..a flying dog brewer for this beer

A- thick motor oil black with a dark tan head that is 2 fingers and frothy and beautiful lacing on the pint.

S- burnt roasted malts with hints of chocolate and....tobacco? wow...almost like a hint of chewing tobacco.

F- bitter chocolate and burnt malts with no taste of tobacco. more like a smokey chocolate oak barrel almost.

M- burnt malts and smokey chocolate coats the mouth. It is kind of medium bodied with a grainy feel in the throat.

O- a decent porter....as usual I am not a porter fan but am willing to expand my horizons with the style and it is good for a porter.

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Photo of ConanSachler
4.82/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2011 vintage. Poured smooth with a perfect head. Vanilla notes with a toasty finish. All of the booze notes have completely vanished. Time has done this beer well.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.55/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, vintage 13NN printed in label. Wow, looking at a previous review (now deleted), it's been 6 years since I had this last! Way overdue!
A 4.5 - thick, dense, creamy tan head holds incredible retention atop a black colored body
S 4.5 - boozy nose with caramel, dark fruit, earth, chocolate, faint tobacco leaf
T 4.5 - bold and rich, boozy, dark fruity esters, roasty and chocolaty, caramel, toffee, smoke, tea leaf, tobacco perhaps
M 5 - thick and full bodied, very creamy and smooth, roast lingers with some booze, but it's still easy to drink even with the high ABV.
O 4.5 - this was exceptional! Always was world class in my opinion, but it's even better than I remember. In a style I've grown to love, this fits in with some of the best.

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Photo of Bone53
4.1/5  rDev +2%

Poured from a bottle into a snifter at around 45°F

Appearance (4.5): Black with a thick mocha head; A ton of lacing

Smell (4): Roasted malts, chocolate, leather, hops

Taste (4.25): More roasted malt presence in the taste, although still quite hoppy

Mouthfeel(4): Medium body; Somewhat smooth with a moderate bitterness

Overall (4): i was expecting something different when grabbing this beer, i wanted in your face roasted malts. smokey, and extra smooth. This reminds me more of a black ale and wouldve rated higher if it were rated as such. Too hoppy for me to hail it as a great imperial porter. The aromas and taste are good, if a bit subtle, but not as a imperial porter. Solid beer overall nonetheless

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Photo of seedyone
4.75/5  rDev +18.2%

07/03/12 From a nitro tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. This is a substantial brew. Thick nitro head notwithstanding, there is a serious amount of flavor here without much of a nose. Slight burn behind the rich maltiness. A serious beverage.

Does this stuff have an underlying purpose? It's not quite a thirst quencher, not very refreshing, but it has found a spot to hit. Subtly memorable.

Why do feeling I've just had a date with someone I'll remember but probably won't marry? Probable because I've been outclassed. Thanks for the lesson. I now know myself better.

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Photo of Samp01
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a slightly viscous black with a small brown head, some mild lacing. Aroma is dark roasted caramel chocolate malt, some notes of molasses and mild dark fruit. Taste is sweet dark roasted caramel malt, dark bitter cacao some roasted espresso bean bitterness, some notes of dark dried fruit, mild alcohol esters. Palate is a full rich slightly creamy and viscous body, mild carbonation, sits well on the palate. The finish is a sweet bitter combination of dark roasted malt, espresso bean bitterness, slightly dry ending, alcohol is well hidden. Overall a very good and robust Imperial Porter, very nice.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Very dark brown, fine coffee head, no carbonation visible through the inkiness. Constellations of lacing.

S: Dark chocolate, roasted almost burnt malt, a hint of alcohol.

T: Bitter, dark malts, chocolate nibs, some hop-provided pine residue on the finish, also contributing to the lasting bitterness. Dark, heavy, lasting, but not overpowering.

M: A little filmy, but pretty fluid. Only slight carbonation, enough to keep it from flatness.

O: Powerful dark flavors, significant hops (for a dark beer), yet easily drinkable. Really impressed, this is my go-to when I need a dark beer in the summer months.

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Photo of Bis4beer70
4.75/5  rDev +18.2%

wow! finally got a six pack of this & i love it!
tastes overall more like a stout than a porter, but whatever...
HST & Ralph Steadman & Flying Dog will all three,always be cool in my book!
this was not available in indiana for some reason-i wrote to FD & asked why because alot of their other beers are,but i got no real good answer...for no good reason.
my ma found it for me in california on a trip out there & brought it back...thanks ma!

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Photo of Act25
4.1/5  rDev +2%

I like this brewer and their Oyster Stout is a great session stout.

Perfect last beer of the evening, and great with chocolate, cheesecake, dessert. I reached for a chocolate dunker as soon as I tasted, but not great for waistline!

A: Good looking, Black, tan head, quick to settle, abundant lace. 4
S: Big aroma of coffee, caramel, chocolate - and perhaps brandy. Definite sweetness outweighing a slight hoppy finish.
T: Dessert like with smoked flavors, mostly full flavored, sweet profile and a nice dry, long smokey finish. Definitely opens up as it warms, and definitely the last beer of the night.
M: Rich and creamy, very warming, long tickle.

D - This one started mid-pack but over a long session with it, I grew to find it outstanding.

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Photo of utopiajane
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Pours a rich and dark. If it's not completely black it may as well be because there are no hues and no edges. A thick creamy head of mocha colored foam graces the beer and lasts. leaves lace and plenty of bubbles to linger on top.

Nose is deep roast. Soft breaddiness with a caramel backing. Some bright dark fruits and a sweet bit of chocolate. There is a powerful vanilla on the nose but as fragrant as it is it does not dominate.

Taste is supple and full roast. Chocolate and a bit of nuttiness greets the palate. There's a surprisingly bright dark fruit. This malt is substantial and faintly acrid. There is a smoothness to the flavors form the vanilla which is light on the palate. Creamy full mouthfeel with a touch of it's weight from alcohol. The alcohol is a light warmth as this one finishes bitter with a only a small measure of the sweetness to linger.

Bold as brass!

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Photo of the_awesometeer
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance - Extremely dark, practically black . Okay head that lasted for a while and would slowly side down the glass while drinking (4.5/5)

Smell - Smells malty, hints of coffee, nuts and chocolate. Very well roasted but not a burnt smell. (3.75/5)

Taste - Great malty taste of a porter. Reminds be of a dark chocolate with the slight bitterness or a very dark roasted coffee. Very well roasted and no burnt taste. (3.75/5)

Mouthfeel - A lot more carbonation then a normal porter but was very nice. Medium bodied. A warmth feeling from the alcohol. (4.25/5)

Overall - Great flavor and will be a porter that I will pick up again. I really enjoyed the warmth from drinking it and the coffee flavor. (4/5)

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Photo of SebD
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2013

Appearance: It has a nice jet black color to it. It has a nice thick creamy tan head that dies down moderately and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, a slight nuttiness and faint molasses.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a tones of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, some nuttiness, vanilla and faint dark fruit in the back.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a very nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied by good flavors and aromas.

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Photo of sanzenapocalypz
3.64/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance- poured from a glass into a guiness style glass. this shit is DARK. not much head, large bubbles are floating around on the top a bit.

Smell- this clearly smells like roasted malts, dark cocoa and choccolate, maybe a hint of dark caramel and vanilla. Makes me think about what a dark chocolate bar would smell like if it was melted down. Definitely has a boozy nose to it as well.

Taste- Just like what you would expect from a porter, the roasted malts are very present at first and taste so wonderful. They toasted those suckers just the right amount- doesn't taste burnt, but is a lot like a dark coffee roast. Dark toasty goodness. Near the end I get a dark chocolate and vanilla taste, maybe a tad of bitterness at the end as well.

Mouthfeel- medium bodied, for a stout anyways. moderate carbonation, maybe a bit more than in most other porters.

Overall- This is a pretty solid beer! It has a very prounounced malty roasted chocolately flavor to it, although nothing too complex. It definitely has a boozy taste to it, it is not trying to hide the alcohol content, that is for sure. it leaves a good taste in my mouth afterwards and is not too tough to drink. A couple of these will set you straight without any trouble. THis would be a good beer to eat while grilling burgers.

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Photo of GPHarris
4.11/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - poured a one finger thick coffee-colored head into snifter that left a thin ring throughout. The body poured jet black.
S - coffee and chocolate.
T - sweet chocolate up front with a bitter coffee finish.
M - creamy and smooth.
O - complex and aged well.

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Photo of fscottkey
3.52/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown to black. Forms a small head that dissappears to nothing. Swirling the beer in my tulip reproduces the head and leaves lots of alcohol legs and lacing on the glass.

S: Mostly dark fruits and some alcohol.

T: I get chocolate right on the tip of the tongue. This is followed by bitter malts and dark fruits. There is no lingering aftertaste.

M: A little syrupy feeling. There is noticeable dryness to the finish.

O: This one is a sipper for sure. It is 9.2% but you don't get much heat. The limitation is the thick syrupy mouthfeel - no way to chug it. That combined with the dry finish make this a nice slow relaxing brew. The Alcohol is a bit more forward as the beer warms (it takes over for the chocolate taste). One is definitely enough of these - they pack a bit of a wallop.

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Photo of hops202
3.77/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2013 Vintage poured into DFH snifter.

A - inky black with mocha head

S - lots of dark roasted malts, some chocolate as expected with hints of coffee

T - roasty with lots of charred malt, hints of chocolate and earth

M - fairly smooth for a medium to heavy bodied beer.

O - not mind blowing

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Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 1,448 ratings.