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Gonzo Imperial Porter | Flying Dog Brewery

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
90
outstanding
1,456 Reviews
THE BROS
84
good
Read the review
BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,456
Ratings:
2,831
Avg:
4.02
pDev:
10.95%
 
 
Wants:
136
Gots:
328
For Trade:
6
Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Flying Dog Brewery
Maryland, United States | website

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
ABV varies.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-04-2005

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,456 | Ratings: 2,831
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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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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Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 1,456 ratings.