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Gonzo Imperial Porter - Flying Dog Brewery

Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,323 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2323
Reviews: 1399
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 10.92%

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: 2,323 | Reviews: 1,399 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of jucifer1818


4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Note: this beer is partially bottle conditioned, and has live yeast in it. As such, conditioning over time may improve it further

A: very, very, very dark. Its not quite completely solid black, but between 37-39 SRM, coming to a very nice color for a imperial stout. Its also a very clear beer with no cloudiness or suspended yeast in it, which also give it good marks for appearance.
Its head leaves a lot to be desired tho, with only maybe a 1/4th of a finger of head, that quickly disapates
not surprising for a beer that's over 9% abv, but it is a issue

s: this beers smell is very restrained. It smells mostly of fruity alcohols, almost like fruit loops but combined with a good bit of caramel roastyness in it as well
no hop aromas are present
I like it, but would prefer some more roasty chocolaty smells present

T: Ohh my, where did all that roastyness come from? it certainly was not in the smell!
this one tastes of deep, dark, roasted coffee beans and dry espresso beans. it tastes like chomping on raw espresso beans, and its beautifully nutty and dry (most likely also from its high ABV).
peat smoked malt is also present, but it is well balanced and does not overpower your mouth like others might.
the also gives it a slight sweetness but its well balanced, and can easily improve from ageing.
Hops are very biter on the after taste, but come in so close with the brews roasted barley and black malt that its very hard to pick them out from the roasty bitterness
overall I like this a lot

mouthfeel: grainy, dark, but not very syrupy at all. the beers dryness sees to that
not bad

Overall: to put it short, this beer is a very good stout, but its not the best...really you have to play it to style
its a dry stout. a VERY dry stout. their is no cloying sweetness in this brew. this is dark, grainy, dry, and bitter, but never overly so.
If you like that sort of thing this IS the beer for you
however I personally prefer a sweeter stout, but still can enjoy this one
I give it a decent 4.5/5

Cellar it, and see how it changes over time!
It might be a 5 brew in a year or two

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2013 00:57:25 | More by jucifer1818
Photo of AmitC


4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was an awesome one. Leaves a lot of stouts well behind.

Appearance: Pours very dark brown with some thickness. Black inside the glass. A tan-brown colored head that is persistent and about two fingers thick. Excellent lacing. Totally opaque.

Aroma: Excellent roasty aromas that include burnt up, black malts, some coffee and toffee like flavor. Very good presence of hops in the aroma makes for a wonderful nose experience. Some dry fruits may be. Alcohol comes up in the nose as well mixed up with other aromas.

Taste: Bitter, burnt up and strong. These three words come to mind. Very good use of hops that are well interspersed with roasted malts. Strong alcohol that is very likable.

Mouth feel: Thick and full bodied. Some astringency that is a combination of carbonation, burnt malts, hops and alcohol. But it all gulps down the throat very very well.

Such beers make craft scene worth enjoying. Well done Flying Dog on this one. Very distinct and stout like though being marketed as imperial porter which is not a style.

Try it and you will love it.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2012 23:53:48 | More by AmitC
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On nitro tap at Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. A foamy curtain of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, slight coffee, and alcohol. Taste is much the same with a cookie dough flavor on the finish. There is a medium roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a low level of carbonation with an almost flat and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer but the nitro treatment isn't helping out very much.

Serving type: nitro-tap

11-22-2012 07:16:13 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of superspak


3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, Vintage 2012BB. Pours pitch black color with a nice 2 finger dense dark tan head with incredible retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice thick soapy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of dark chocolate, roasted malt, light char, herbal, caramel, toast, toffee, earth, light dark fruit, and light coffee. Nice aromas with good complexity and balance. Taste of dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, caramel, toffee, toast, char, earth, herbal spiciness, and light dark fruits. Fair amount of coffee bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, caramel, toffee, earth, light fruitiness, and herbal spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Nice flavor balance and complexity; zero cloying flavors on the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a creamy and lightly slick mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very good imperial porter. Good flavor balance and robustness; very smooth to sip on. I was expecting more out of this, but this was still quite tasty.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2012 05:22:52 | More by superspak
Photo of danreitz

New York

2.4/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served from a bottle at my friend's place during a session that also involved The Kraken rum. It pours deep, beautiful opaque nearly-black brown. Hoppy, faint aroma that does not give away what is in store for your tongue. Taste is all over the place: aggressive and bitter, with several flavors competing for your attention including burnt iron, cleaning supplies, dirt and liquorice. The predominant flavor is alcohol. Finishes with a bitter, lingering alcoholic aftertaste.

A very memorable beer. Aggressive to a fault. This beer lets you know you're drinking it the entire time you're drinking it and haunts your dreams once you pass out. I notice most of the reviews talk about this like it's an easy drinking beer. This was not an easy drinking beer. This was a nightmare. Did I get a bad bottle?

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2012 19:54:00 | More by danreitz
Photo of Seanniek91

Rhode Island

3.5/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2012 poured from a 12oz bottle into a Redhook limited release tulip glass.

Appearance- Darker than black with sandy colored three fingered head. Head lasted quite some time and left nice lacing once it was gone.

Smell- Malt. Some hops. Dark dried fruit, maybe prunes. A tinge of alcohol.

Taste- Roasted malts. Alcohol. Some nice bitterness, but not hoppy at all. Not overly impressive, but not bad by any means. The aftertaste is like bitter chocolate.

Mouthfeel- Coats my mouth. There's some weight to this beer. Overall pretty solid mouthfeel.

Overall- Not a bad Imperial Porter. Definantly worth the $2 single price I payed for it. Like most of Flying Dogs beers, I feel like it's missing something. I would probably buy it again if it stayed that price.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2012 18:16:22 | More by Seanniek91
Photo of HeavyMetalBrew


4.48/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark, with a brown head. Minimal signs of carbonation.

Smell: Roasted malts. Chocolate. Some hop spiciness. Undertones of fruit.

Taste: Roasted malts. Chocolate. Hops. Cherries. Hay.

Mouthfeel: Malty. Low carbonation. Alcohol.

Overall: I really enjoy this beer. It's perfect for sipping on during Autumn, and I think I will save a few bottles for once the snow hits.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2012 21:41:52 | More by HeavyMetalBrew
Photo of WastingFreetime


4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours out deep black with a short lived khaki head that dies back to a thin cap in about two minutes, leaving minimal lacing behind. Smooth body on the thicker side of medium heft, lighter side of medium carbonation.

Smells and tastes of generous dark roasted malts and medium coffee and bitter dark chocolate elements with a lighter cherry fruity garnish on top. The ABV is well hidden and the sweet / bitter ratio is appealing. It's big and hearty, yet smooth in texture, and I'd recommend giving it a try at least once in a lifetime.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2012 02:32:03 | More by WastingFreetime
Photo of CloudStrife

New York

4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Vintage 12.

A: Pours a dark black with a full 2 finger puffy khaki colored head. Some large bubbles form and break it up leaving ample lacing on the sides of the glass. A quick swirl swells the head back up. Body is visible as a deep mahogany when held up to the light.

S: Hoppier than I expected, first waft yielded some real fresh hop notes. Of course there is the malty backing you'd expect from such a strong porter. Coffee, chocolate come to mind, a sweetness and fermented dark fruit. Some alcohol.

T: Initially has a hop bitterness followed by a roasty malt. Strong coffee and chocolate bring up the tail end. Lingering roasty coffee. Also get some carmel notes. Very pleasant.

M: Fairly rich and creamy mouthfeel for a porter. Doesnt have the watered down feel like some can. Easy drinking yet warming.

Overall a phenomenal porter, easily top of its class. A must try for any dark beer fans. Cannot believe this isnt rated higher.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2012 23:51:36 | More by CloudStrife
Photo of Raven3464


3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It pours a beautiful pitch-black body with a two-finger brown head.

Smell: Roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and a hint of booze are easily noticed. The aromas are all very inviting.

Taste: It follows the nose except there is a bitter hop aftertaste which gradually grows stronger as the beer warms. I did not notice the cherry hints others have mentioned. Perhaps the bottle I have is not fresh enough.

Mouth feel: It is creamy and full-bodied. The carbonation is subdued but the overall feel matches the style well. There is a slight burn from the alcohol.

Overall: This was a great porter. I only wish the hops were slightly more subdued. Normally, I consider myself a "hop-head" but the lasting bitterness does not match the style in my opinion because the other flavors get too drowned out. Despite this one balance complaint, I enjoyed the beer immensely and look forward to having it again.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2012 15:14:51 | More by Raven3464
Photo of DrinkMoreBigBeers


4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No date but there is a vantage code that does me no good at the store.

A - Poured out black as night with a 2 finger fluffy creamy, light mocha head. Head died after a couple of minutes but this is a 9.2% beer. Leaves above average lacing on the glass.

S - The smell is creamy and soft with a chocolate, coffee, and slight roasted smell. A slight alcohol as well on it.

T - On the taste I get dark chocolate, roast malts, cherries, coffee bitterness. Cherry coke in the middle and left with roasted malts and bitter sweetness. Not getting any alcohol.

M - This one feels light to medium with a nice soft creaminess on it. It seems to scrub at the sides of my mouth after the beer has gone down, tickling my tongue. A porter should be a little lighter than a stout so it definitely lives up to a porter.

O- An awesome night cap on a cold day. It is a big beer, not to mention really filling. Have not had to many imperial porters but this one seems to deliver all the great qualities I would look for in one. Cheers.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2012 22:06:56 | More by DrinkMoreBigBeers
Photo of mick303

Ontario (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

355 mL BB(18.08.13) This pours jet black with a large fluffy head of tan coffee head, great retention, sticks around forever, leaves good lacing, but thin film.

Smell is rich with coffee, dark chocolate, oak aromas. Thick roasted malt, a light pencil shaving woodiness.

Taste starts a bit disjointed. A sour edge before showing a thick roasted malt, a bit of stewed cherries, nice dark chocolate, strong coffee. Some candy apple, hay, subtle smoke. Pretty complex and definitely flavourful, but some of the flavours are wanting of balance. A great brew non the less.

Mouthfeel is very heavy, thick maltiness. A subtle lightness adds some refreshment. Carbonation is very mild and the alcohol is perceived more in the body than as an aggressive flavour. Finishes rather clean, with a creamy dryness. Good.

This is definitely a great and interesting beer. Well put together and drinks very well for the ABV of 9.2%. Finishes very well, and I think it is a great example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2012 20:06:13 | More by mick303
Photo of Morgan-makes-Cloud


4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is super thick, almost like syrup. Nice hop malt interaction. I enjoyed it but steep for the price. Got this beer when I was looking for something truly dark, and it is. A bit too heavy but has character. One beer goes a long way. A bit to heavy for multiple drinking.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2012 06:44:42 | More by Morgan-makes-Cloud
Photo of harrymel


3.43/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Vint 12DD

Nice dark on black ale with a couple fingers of light mocha foam and a good velvety texture. Nice oaty flavor, good dry cocoa and toast flavors. Nice flavor is slightly bitter and charred flavors hide in this alongside coffee. A bit empty bodied with higher carb, which is sharp and a dry finish. This is s a decent beer, but nothing particularly special – can’t see specifically seeking this out.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2012 06:39:45 | More by harrymel
Photo of BEERMILER12


4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


A: Pours a near black color with 2 fingers worth of tan had that has a decently long retention time

S: Nice notes of chocolate, dark fruits, and a tinge of booze. Reminds me a lot of some of the BA Black Hole variants that Mikkeller put out, even though this has about 4% less abv

T: Follows the nose, with the bittersweet chocolate and dark fruits plus some nice charred malts. Get some alcohol, but it isn't distracting. The bitterness lingers for quite a while along with the charred notes

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Could be a littler smoother, but it certainly isn't bad

O: A solid baltic porter with some nice complexities and nuances. Absolutely worth a try if you can find it

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2012 03:29:18 | More by BEERMILER12
Photo of C20Percent


3.53/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Very dark brown; big bubbly dark tan head of foam. Some bubbles in the body. Hard to see inside the body obviously; not a whole bunch of complexity in the color. But, pretty good overall.

S: Getting lots of toasted grain notes; roastiness; some slightly chocolatey and expresso aroma. A bit boozy too. Not too bad overall.

T: Taste like it smells for the most part. Lots of toastiness; roastiness; chocolatey; and booziness. There is also a hint of vanilla bean -- I could be wrong, but it taste like it's in there.

M: Light to medium body -- lighter than I would have expected. A nice oily feel. There a nice chewiness that brings out the roasted malts. Carbonation is decent -- could probably use some more, though.

O: Not a bad brew, but nothing crazy special. There are better Imperial Porters/Stouts out there, but this is a fine offering. Just -- I like something with a little bit more flavor.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2012 21:40:44 | More by C20Percent
Photo of BuxMontBeerLover


4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer was purchased at Atlantic Liquors in Rehoboth Beach, DE

Poured and sampled from a DFH Signature Glass

A - Beer pours a totally opaque, nearly jet black color. A one finger, tan colored head on the initial pour. It fades rather quickly to a light skim. Decent amount of lacing left after drinking.

S - A distinct roasted smell with a hint of chocolate.

T - The tastes are similar to a standard porter but this beer has a good punch to it. The initial taste is that of deep roasted malts and and burnt chocolate. Maybe a bit of coffee too. It has a smooth, creamier feel to it. The longer this beer sits the more bitter or acidic is seems to become. The ABV is pretty well disguised initially but again as the beer warms, you begin to taste the alcohol a bit.

M - The beer leans towards the heavier side. It has decent carbonation.

O - I really enjoyed this beer. I've had several of Flying Dog's offerings and this ranks as one of the best. If you enjoy porters, give this a try.


Serving type: bottle

08-29-2012 19:06:10 | More by BuxMontBeerLover
Photo of IKR


4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very dark brown bordering on black with a creamy generous sized medium- brown head. Nice looking beer.

Smell: Mild Chocolate and bready notes.

Taste: The dark chocolate notes are prominent with some roasted malt notes. I get a trace of hops in the finish. The alcohol is well hidden for something 9.5% ABV.

Mouth-feel: Medium-bodied with a generous level of carbonation.

Overall: I like Flying Dog and this one reaffirms why I like the Brewery. Good tasting at a good price, this one works for me.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2012 04:20:43 | More by IKR
Photo of ThorWenzel

4.68/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The pour is smooth and viscous -- promising. The appearance is blackish/brown, with golden head of about 10%. The aroma is toast, caramel, earth, coffee. Initial taste of roses, moving under the tongue with bitter-sweet coffee, mushrooms. Long finish with green acidic tones. This is an exciting porter--very unique. The only thing that keeps it from having a more perfect rating is the lack of caramel overtones in the finish that was promised in the chocolate aroma.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2012 04:14:06 | More by ThorWenzel
Photo of SometimesIfart


4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a lager glass. Pours a pitch black with a quick;y receding one finger of brown head, Leaving decent lacing. Smells like a hell of a porter. Lots and lots of vanilla coming through here. Light malts as well. Tastes somewhat like a medium-dark coffee. Black coffee beans, vanilla extract, And small amounts of malt. For this beer being 9.2% I cannot believe that it actually tastes this good. The mouthfeel allows the alcoholic side of this brew to come out. Retains all flavors except for the vanilla, sadly. Overall, This is a great porter that anybody could drink.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2012 02:13:14 | More by SometimesIfart
Photo of mdcrouser


3.45/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A stirring beer to begin, resting with heavy, dark black eyes. Smoldering under a thin head of sandy tan head.

Crisp and roasty, but with just a bit of that astringent cleanliness that often accompanies baltic porters - at least to me.

Highly roasted, but that astringency remains and I cannot separate the two. That alcohol content comes through pretty high,

Highly carbonated - blasts the mouth from the outset. Otherwise, it comes through thick and somewhat chewy.

Meh - part of it's the style, part the execution. Passable, but not more than once.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2012 20:20:49 | More by mdcrouser
Photo of bigfnjoe


3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a silly 7oz bottle into a Victory tulip. 2008 vintage, ABV listed at 7.8%

A- pours jet black with a one finger dark brown head that fades away at a pretty quick pace. Looks nice

S- getting a lot of dark fruits and sweet chocolate aroma. Ah, the typical Baltic porter stuff...

T- yep...that's a Baltic porter. Bittersweet chocolate, and lots and lots of figs and plums. Almost too much, in fact...

M- body is very thick and verrry chewy

O- not bad at all. Not the right season for it, of course, but still very good

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2012 04:25:03 | More by bigfnjoe
Photo of Theheroguy


4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorites from flying dog.

This beer pours a light-scouring black, a void through which nothing may be seen. The head is a creamy and thick French beige colored mass which persist as long as your beer does. The smell of this beer is one of rich roasted malt and chocolate. Similarly the taste is an mighty combination of primarily malt and chocolate with slight dark fruits and acidity playing the side kicks. Unfortunately about seventy five percent through this experience an acrid and harsh flavor comes through. This beer feels amazing in your mouth because it seems to float on your tongue. Overall I would rate this beer as excellent. the taste is hampered by the late acridness but it is still an amazing porter.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2012 03:14:22 | More by Theheroguy
Photo of siege06nd


4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A. Pours a very dark brown-black. About a half finger of medium brown head. Pretty nice lacing.

S. Lots of roasted malt, chocolate, some coffee. Also some sweet dark fruit juice and a slightly sweet, lactic smell. Good amount of booze lingering as well.

T. Follows the nose with chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, some light booze, touches of smoke, and slight acidity. Very very nice.

M. A touch thin, which is noticeable at this ABV. Boozy and a little astringent.

O. A very nice baltic porter. Has a really nice chocolate/coffee quality while keeping everything pretty well-integrated for the ABV. It doesn't conpletely pull it off, as the booze exposes some flabbiness in the flavor profile. But it largely achieves its goal of a robust, well-rounded, flavorful porter. Nice.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2012 20:12:52 | More by siege06nd
Photo of TheSixthRing


3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours jet black with a thick, 2 finger cocoa powder head. Excellent retention. Leaves behind a thick, sticky lacing.

Smell - Not much in the way of aromas. Subtle chocolate and with hints of coffee and a touch of alcohol peeks through.

Taste - Dark chocolate and cocoa to start, followed by... nothing, maybe a touch of acidity and faint alcohol burn... and then a beautiful, mellow, dark French Roast coffee flavor blossoms near the finish before fading with the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full body. Decently carbonated. Smooth. Goes down easier than a 9.2% beer should.

Overall - Strange how there's very little flavor midtaste, but that nice coffee aftertaste makes up for what's lacking after the initial chocolatey tones wear off. I don't know that it's quite worth the asking price, but if you buy the ticket, take the ride ;).

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2012 02:39:56 | More by TheSixthRing
Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,323 ratings.