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Gonzo Imperial Porter - Flying Dog Brewery

Not Rated.
Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

1,448 Reviews
THE BROS
84
good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,448
Hads: 2,797
Avg: 4.02
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 136
Gots: 306 | 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 ISmith87
4.41/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - 4 - Nice dark brown/black beer with a big mocha head on it, leaves nice lacing.
S - 4.25 - Roasty coffee, espresso, chocolate, oatmeal.
T - 4.5 - Chocolate, coffee, espresso, cafe mocha, vanilla, cream, oatmeal. Very wholesome and smooth. Reminds me of Bell's Expedition Stout.
M - 4.5 - very nice thick mouthfeel, like a chocolate milkshake, alc is completely covered. Aftertaste is roasty malts, coffee, and milk chocolate.
O - 4.5 - Great imperial porter! I think what some other people said about the alcohol taste may be changed due to this being the 2013 vintage. But then again maybe not. It's a great imperial porter, with no harsh bitter or alcohol flavors whatsoever.

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Photo of Jparker37
4.21/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Vintage from 2010. 12oz poured into an oversized tulip.

A - Black but not opaque. Small cap of tan head from a strong pour. Spotty lacing.

S - Rich with an alcohol nose. Vanilla, graham cracker, toffee, caramel, oak, licorice, dark chocolate. Wonderfully bright. No big roasty qualities.

T - Tremendous vanilla and light caramel flavors upfront. Some graham cracker-like sweetness midway and finishes with an astringent flavor. Aftertaste is reminiscent of Brandy.

M - Medium-full body, medium-light carbonation, semi-dry.

O - The aroma hinted at more than the listed ABV but the flavor was warm yet easy to drink. Wildly complex at a relatively low ABV from Imperial status.

Recommendation - Buy a couple 6-packs to store and drink long after you've forgotten about them.

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Photo of alexk307
4.31/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Gulden Draak snifter.

A: Jet black. Pours a creamy tan brown head that lasts the entire glass. Lacing throughout as well.

S: Not giving off any extreme scents. Picking up the malt with a little bit of the chocolate and sweet caramel. Reminiscent of an Oyster Stout. Also picking up some fresh citrusy hops.

T: Very hop forward with a wave of initial bitterness. Mellows out to a perfect balance of maltiness and chocolate. At the end you're left with a smokey malty finish that makes you want more.

M: About as thick as a Porter can get without encroaching into Stout territory. I usually don't like the thinness of Porters but this one has enough flavor to back it up.

O: Very surprised with this beer, perfectly balanced. Will purchase many, many more times.

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Photo of RandomExile
3.41/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: deep ruby, almost indistinguishable from black; full brown fluffy head, tiers and spatters of foamy lacing
S: nutty, alcohol, herbal, brown sugar
T: sweet but not quite cloying; roasted malt; alcohol; nut; woody aftertaste
M: full-bodied; mouth-coating; sweet
O: I find the alcohol and caramel/herb flavor off-putting, so my overall impression is a bit conflicted, because it seems well-constructed but I'm not necessarily a fan of what they did with it.

355mL / Weizen Glass

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Photo of brewskifan55
3.96/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass

A: The darkest brown possible, melding into blackness. A tan one finger head that faded into a cherry-colored rim. Decent lacing.

S: Anise, leather, coffee, cocoa and chocolate.

T: Follows nose with a sweet, robust, brown sugar attitude. Malty and boozy, too. Take your time.

M: Medium to heavy with thick carbonation.

O: Hunter Thompson would be proud of this Gonzo creation. Sip slowly and enjoy the excessiveness. Why not throw in a chocolate chip cookie. Nice doggie.

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Photo of gabedivision
3.81/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz to a goblet

A- pours pitch black with a 1 finger mocha head

S- dark chocolate, cocoa, buttery coffee bean

T- chocolate, booze, sweet roasted malts, booze, sweet brown sugars

M- full bodied, nice and milky smooth, sweet, dry

O- good imp porter/stout nice flavors that seem to be haunted by bits of fusel alcohol that tend to creep in and out of the taste. but lots of flavor and comes at a decent $

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Photo of 57md
3.72/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle marked "vintage 13KK"

Pours a dark brown with over two fingers of head that enjoyed really healthy retention and produced nice lacing on the glass. The nose is quite hoppy and not terribly roasty. The roasted malt flavor is present upfront, but the hop qualities of this offering stand out above the malt profile. This is more of a black ale than a Baltic porter. For example, the body is far too thin for a Baltic, but right on-point for a solid black ale.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.77/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
9.2% ABV, Vintage 13JJ

A - Completely black, no light escapes this Gonzo while a massive tan head rises to tall, lumpy pile and lingers for what seems like forever. The huge cap of head eventually lowers leaving delicate lace coating the whole snifter.

S - Gonzo has an interesting aroma. At first is smells like walking into a cooler, then it starts smelling like a pack of refrigerated cheese and beef stick from the gas station but, finally as it warms up it takes shape. Subtle dark roasted malts bring morsels of milk chocolate to an otherwise hop-forward aroma of grassy earthiness.

T - Bittersweet chocolate candy bar teeters the line of milky sweetness and dry cocoa bitterness but finishes balanced and followed up with a slow dribble of molasses and kiss of earthy hops.

M - Gonzo's heavy feel is welcome with open arms, cascading across the tongue with sticky sweetness that's cut short by dry, bitter cocoa and a heavy-handed pile of hops.

O - I can't recall ever having a bottle of Gonzo develop the way this fresh one has. More often than not they're hop-forward with a subtle but beefy malt backbone that balances nicely but this bottle in particular, starting with the weird aroma, is throwing me off. Usually better than this, unfortunately.

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Photo of keithmurray
4.06/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - dark brown mahogany color with mocha colored head

Smell - vanilla, dark chocolate, espresso

Taste - dark chocolate, vanilla, espresso, molasses

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, high carbonation, slight sweetness upfront, good bitterness at the back end

Overall - not as good as others within the genre, but a decent beer that's worth a try

Price Point - $3/12 oz single

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Photo of Crafts_and_recreation
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich, dark black/brown with a fluffy, rocky tan head of just over 2 fingers in a tulip glass, maintains a nice lacing but a touch oily

Aroma isn't as strong as I'd expected, surprised by the presence of fresh, citrusy hops at the nose, followed by dark fruits and some coffee

Flavor is somewhat unbalanced bitterness with roasted chocolate and coffee notes in the background. Has a tangy, alcohol flavor throughout a touch of smoke, and finishes with a noticeable earthy bitterness.

The mouthfeel is medium with slight carbonation and a bit of a dry finish. Lingers on the palate.

Overall, this is an interesting beer. On a completely superficial note, I love the Hunter S. Thompson quotes and Steadman art on the bottle (so much that I'll be keeping it around). With such a high ABV I can't see drinking more than 1-2 at a time, but it is a nice switch from the sweeter more chocolatey porters I'm used to. It may not be for everyone, but I'd recommend giving it a try. Also, there is quite a difference in aroma and flavor after letting the beer warm for a few moments, much smoother and less sharp alcohol flavors.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance was almost perfect for a nitro, dark brown with significant head, retention, lacing. The nose is more nutty towards chocolate.

The taste is smooth to start, with some silky chocolatiness, but the ABV makes its presence felt quickly, but not overpoweringly so. There's a strange woody nature in the malty porter. As others have mentioned, there is a little more pull on the mouth, dry more so than bitter, than other porters.

I found the nitro version enjoyable if not exceptional. Flying Dog is usually hit or miss for me, this one bucked the trend to be a solid maybe for in the rotation.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.79/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle at cellar temp, vintage 13DD, into goblet
Aroma none
Head average (3 cm), light brown, creamy, mostly lasting.
Lacing good.
Body dark brown, clear.
Begins slightly sweet, no diacetyl, no fruity esters.
Ends slightly sweet, no astringency, no hoppiness at all.
Medium to full body, creamy, creamy, soft carbonation.

Overall, a good breakfast beer without coffee. Flying Dog sometimes uses this as a base for more extreme beers.

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Photo of IAmAPenguin
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Aroma: chalky cocoa nibs, coffee beans, subtle hops and resin. Appearance: Deep brownish appearance with a two finger head and very beautiful lacing. Taste: Oily in texture with well balanced flavors of coffee beans, fudge, cocoa nibs, toffee, roasted caramel and subtle dark chocolate. Overall, the alcohol is really well masked but you can definitely feel it. The finish leaves a dry, bitter chocolate (almost like taking a bite of a hershey bar. This is a really nice tasting beer, the balance is very impressive.

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

Appearance: Black. Tan head.
Smell: Sweet chocolate and coffee.
Taste: Some fruit, chocolate, coffee, and alcohol.

This is so tasty. It's completely black, with no light getting through. The sweet smell sets the tone for the taste. The taste has such a sweet quality to it, with hints of chocolate, some type of fruit, and maybe a bit of coffee. The aftertaste is a little bitter, almost a vodka feel to it. I would get this again.

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Photo of PAhopHead717
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer turned me on to porters. Ive tried a few different porters but never enjoyed them. Perhaps its the artwork or hunter s thompson quote, but this strong stuff goes down good. Had it fairly fresh and it had a decent hoppy taste for a porter. Perhaps the reason i enjoyed it more than other porters. If your a fan of flying dog, ralph steadman, or hunter thompson this is a must try. Keep it gonzo!

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Photo of MCain04
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle was cellared for just shy of 2 years. Poured into a FFF Teku at around cellar temp.

Pours a dark brown, near black body, medium and large bubbles in the head which actually has good retention and lacing.

Not too much aroma, but roast and chocolate are the main flavors, maybe some dark fruits.

Flavor is dark fruits with some roasty character, a little bit of stale taste, dark chocolate, hoppy bitterness, lingering roasty malts.

Mouthfeel is medium to full, smooth, dry and sticky finish, carbonation is moderate.

This held up well over 2 years and may have actually improved, as the dark fruit flavors have evolved and add an extra element to this brew. Was happy with the results of this aging.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This pours so dark brown that it appears black but for a tinge of light that shines through the bottom. The head was thick, frothy and brown that dissipated slowly and never really left.

The scent is light with cocoa powder, dried prunes, malty tea leaves and an unfortunate phenolic duct tape scent.

The flavor holds much more cocoa powder, coffee char, grassy malt and a finish of floral pine.

The feel is so silky, with a bit of fullness and not a stitch of alcohol despite the high ABV.

I found this improved greatly after it warmed and had time to air and settle, so if you read this it will help the experience.

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Photo of alaimoa
2.75/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

Overall unimpressed with the smell, taste, depth of flavor and wouldn't buy again. Disappointed by the tangy alcohol in the back end of the sip and has a bit of a one dimensional feel to it

Poured black with not much head and a bit of spotty lace but nothing special
Smells of a salty and somewhat metallic alcohol
Taste a bit one dimensional hints of roasted coffee and malt but mostly a strange alcohol aggressiveness but not hot

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Photo of Fatehunter
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Pours a finger of tan head on a black body.
The aroma has a nice roasted malt smell with some lemon in the background.
The taste is creamy, roasted malt, bitter bite at the end.... nicely done.
The texture is smooth with low to moderate carbonation. A great feeling.
Extremely well done.

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Photo of Furlinator
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours opaque black with ¼ inch of tan head that settles to a thin film on top and leaves thin lacing.

Smell is roasted malt, dark fruit and black coffee up front with faint vanilla accents.

Taste follows smell: black coffee, dark chocolate and roasted malt. Some hoppy bitterness.

Medium mouthfeel with high carbonation.

This is a big porter. As stated by others, this could easily pass as a stout. Nice flavors and aroma. A solid effort.

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Photo of GrizzleFist
2.21/5  rDev -45%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.25

Bought a bottled 6-Pack from the local Beer store.

Appearance: Very black, very little carbonation. Slight foam on top, dissipated after a minute or so.

Smell: Popped open the cap, smell of something fruity the first two minutes and then it went away, with only the malt and hop smell remaining.

Taste: Overall a medium bitter taste with a very slight sweetness that hits the back of your tongue for just a moment. Once swallowed the bitter taste will last for a few seconds.

Mouthfeel: On the thick side, couldn't feel much carbonation on the tongue.

Overall: For a porter it is nothing special. The taste isn't horrible but its just so.. meh that I really don't care to even taste it again. I still have some left as I'm typing this review and heavily debating if I even want to drink the rest. I had high expectations after reading the bottle and Flying Dogs claiming they put their heart and soul into this beer. If this is all they have to offer, I'd suggest they just shut down their brewery right now.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.11/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark brown almost black from the bottle with a brown one finger head that fades quickly. Strong chocolate and sweet candy malt aromas, and just a hint of pine. Smells incredibly sweet with hints of vanilla. Creamy smooth mouthfeel that has chocolate up front, and a bitter chocolate finish. Sweet chocolate aftertaste lingers a good while. This could definitely pass as a stout, as it is pretty thick. A very nice offering from my hometown brewery.

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Photo of Dsimenson
4.48/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle, builds a magnificent 1 1/2" tan head, which reduces to nice lacing down the sides as you drink it. Very dark, black, with the slightest ruby tinge when held up to intense light. Aroma is hops and dark roasted malt, with a bit of coffee. Flavor is intense and richly complex, hops, dark roasted malt, piney. Mouthfeel is full. Overall I really like this one, one of my all-time favorites.

The description by dar482 below is more knowledgable and informative than mine, by far, but our numerical rating is about the same. Read his description!

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Photo of JamieDuncan
4.26/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Friend sent this one over to try. I am typically iffy with Flying Dog but here we go. Good looking beer with an excellent smell. Taste is good and the beer gets a lot of bonus points for the ABV. Has a big taste but you do not realize the alcohol content. Good beer that I may not buy as a sixer but would gladly grad in mixed six.

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Photo of dar482
4.09/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The beer comes in a dark black color with a fluffy mocha head.

The aroma has roasted malt and quite standard for an Baltic porter. There's lots of dark chocolate, a bit of coffee, or that mocha aroma. There's a bit of dark fruit of dates in there.

The flavor follows with more coffee this time. Very much like black coffee with a medium mouthfeel. There isn't much sweetness as the beer rolls into a deep woody, herbal root tea bitterness. It really holds onto bitterness all the way through.

A big flavored beer that does not joke around with big bitterness. It's a good drinking Baltic porter that has a good amount flavor throughout.

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