Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter - Flying Dog Brewery

Not Rated.
Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial PorterBarrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

325 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 325
Hads: 720
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 15.12%
Wants: 160
Gots: 120 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Flying Dog Brewery visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: DogFood11 on 04-14-2007

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 325 | Hads: 720
Photo of humanawho
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle sampled in May of 2009

A - deep black with a thick creamy dark head, nice lacing

S - very fruity with mango and raspberries and some a nice strong milk chocolate aroma dominating

T - very complex, some great chocolate dominating with a strong intertwining of light oak and sweet whiskey, there are some slight fruity and roasty flavors

M - silky smooth

D - most drinkably barrel aged beer i have had

 411 characters

Photo of Portertime
4.95/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cheers Flying Dog for making a great barrel aged-porter! This was a tasty brew with full coffee, dark chocolate, oakey flavor. The large, 22oz corked bottle made an excellent edition to my collection with the spectacular artwork of Ralph Steadman. A hardy 9.5% ABV had me feeling warm and happy to the last sip.

 311 characters

Photo of cnjohn19
4.92/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

nothing really more to say...this beer was exceptional to me...vanilla, oak, smokey, strong, bold...this one is raw and in charge all the way through...

pours a thick black with a dark brown head...the bourbon is just enough coming through and gives the burn us born in KY have grown to love...

buy this beer and buy a lot of it...perfect to split with friends who may be interested in trying something different...


enjoyed this beer with my stepdad in durham, nc...

 480 characters

Photo of Lunch
4.87/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia, MD into a 12oz. snifter at an appropriate temperature (05/17/10).

A: Pours a very dark brown that is nearing black. Quite thick capped with a cappuccino brown head with decent retention.

S: WOW! This is a great smelling beer. This is how barrel aging should be done and this reminds me of KBS in smell with a bit less coffee. Some nice oak and lots of cocoa.

T: Luckily the beautiful aroma translates directly in the flavor and this tastes great. Cocoa, coffee, roasted malt, chocolate, and some molasses are engulfed in a blanket of bourbon/whiskey and the balance is incredible.

M: Full-bodied with a light creamy carbonation and some nice fullness. Can't see any room for improvement.

D: For a barrel-aged beer that is almost 10%, this one drinks very nicely.

Overall this is by far Flying Dog's best beer by some margin, hands down. I did a side by side with regular Gonzo, and this one blew it away in all areas. My highest recommendation.

 1,002 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorite beers, the opportunity to try it barrel-aged was hard to pass up. Served chilled in a goblet at Shady McGrady's in Harrisburg.

A - Black w/ a deep opacity and 1/2 inch head of medium brown. The head relaxes to a ring, the lace is spotty on the glass

S - Cocoa aromas mingled w/ vanilla bean, coffee, mild caramel and nut scents. There is an accent of toffee w/ notes of pine and subtle dark fruit esters

M - The feel is smooth w/ sweetness that is balanced by roasted nutty malt w/ moderate carbonation and a sweet caramel texture in the finish

T - The barrel has a big flavor presence w/ a nice taste of wood w/ a sweet dark malt taste w/ cocoa smoothness. The taste has a warming bourbon and toffee and similar notes of raisins soaked in booze. The taste is earthy with noble hop flavors and subtle dark cherry notes. The flavors are well layered and the taste finishes with vanilla notes from the barrel, dark caramel malt and chocolate maltiness

D - A phenomenal beer as it is, but barrel aging increases the drinkability IMO. I really enjoyed this beer and the increased abv is something to watch for but a great all around beer for the style

 1,179 characters

Photo of ultralarry2006
4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml. bottle. Leaves a big and crazy espresso-foam colored head of about three fingers-plus in depth, and it has excellent retention, and leaves webs of excellent, sticky lacing. Body is black.

Smell - oak, bourbon, vanilla, spicy alcohol, burnt crust maltbread, hint of chocolate, and medicinal alcohol. Mouthwatering.

Taste - bourbon, oak, burnt crust maltbread, medicinal alcohol, dark chocolate, and a hint of tobacco. Smoked malt on the aftertaste. Hearty and delicious.

Mouthfeel - full bodied, and dry.

Drinkability - this is excellent ale. It is more of a sipper than a session beer, and it is too high in alcohol to be sessionable in any case.

 680 characters

Photo of stumac
4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Only two bottles ever made their way to Spec's downtown and I grabbed that ho and ran! Drank this with my podnuh Onslow and my beautiful girlfriend Melani at the infamous Stumelagram II.

pours up super black with a never-ending Brown MacBrowny head. aromas of nutty malt, roasted malts, chocolate. taste is outstanding! notes of dark cherries, wood, whiskey, subtle sour oak, some tartness. medium to full bodied, very mouthfilling flavor, smoothe carbo, the head stayed with it through the whole ride! a very big beer yet not filling to your belly.


 582 characters

Photo of sharkheadlasers
4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This porter is a dark brown/black color. The head is a beautiful tan, lacey and holds for quite a while, making pouring difficult. The smell is a wonderful, malt-oak mix with a floral hop aroma. The taste is excellent. The oak is definitely there, but not overpowering. The malt is lightly smokey, and the hops are present, but not the main player. The mouthfeel is full as well as the body. This is a very drinkable beer. My only negative remark on this is the limited quantities produced.

 490 characters

Photo of TonyT
4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It was mid-day and I took the blackbeast for a ride...Destination the South American's.
Eduardo was outside....

We had to pick up his car, which was need of serious detailing...removal of all bug/tracking devices....any sort of direct intersection with his/our coordinates....
Pick up was easy....now for some back woods pizza.

I pulled the blackbeast into the end of the cliff. Let's hang on shall we.
Eduardo was on my right.

We walked into a myriad of tasteful treats...this that and the other...There was only one that I was concerned with....And there you are, oh keeper of good times.

...Back to the front....We watched the Gonzo Documentary and poured a growler of some barrel aged Imperial Porter...You can't repeat times like these.

Thank you Hunter...
Thank you Flying Dog....

 797 characters

Photo of irishevans
4.73/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a super dark and impenetriable mahogany color with a nice light brown that seems to twinkle much like the sloth from midnight sun. smells of roasted malts and a definate oak presance, inviting aroma. major oak notes in the flavor with a bunch of other tastes all pleasuring the taste buds at once, caramel, chocolate, that roasty smokey flavor from the not barrel aged vareity. the mouth-feel is much like they boast on the label velvety, a damn good way to describe it, not too coarse and not too smooth, goldie locks kind of mouth-feel just right. just like the normal selection it downs dangerousily easy for it's abv. if you can find it this beer is worth the trouble to get it.

 688 characters

Photo of tavernjef
4.73/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Blue Nile: Served by none other then the "Monk" in a tall Maredsous goblet right to the top with a thick inky black liquid and a finger high capping of very soft, fluffy, dark chocolate brown, smoothed over froth. Lacing of all kinds etches itself across the glass. This was served up as one gorgeous glass of porter.

Aroma is thick and creamy with a nice lofty chocolatey waft. Deep and sweetened with a nice heated bourbon twinge and some nice dark fruity notes of cherry, fig, and raisin.

Taste is outstanding! Quite a perfect blend of creamy milk chocolate tanged with a frothy, fluffy, easy going roastibility and rounded with a centering of faint cherry, lesser fig, more so raisiny twang. Sweetness and warmth of the BB aging is remarkably balanced in and really adds an incredible depth to its overall taste and length. Nice warmth in the finish where the chocolatey tone mixes really nicely with the bourbon notes. Lovely!

Feel is fairly full and definately creamy. More so silky and delicately smooth and soft. Middles out as it goes with a lofty, fluffed, and rounded texture. With each sip it gains a very warming nature grows a very fun and fine chocolatey finish laced with the soothing bourbon.

Rocking good stuff! As for Imperial/Baltic porters go, this stuff is damn near perfect!

 1,312 characters

Photo of astrasday
4.72/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this puppy on tap at Hop Devil on St. Marks in NYC. Poured into one of those 12 oz. tasting glasses. Near black with a rich, tan head that retains fairly well with a thick lacing all the way down.

Smell is overly floral. Hops surprisingly dominate here. There is also bourbon, roasted malts, molasses and vanilla.

Taste is initially hoppy. Not overwhelming, but definitely enough to be surprising. The flavor then turns to smooth, woody bourbon, molasses, roasted malts. Vanilla, dark fruits and a rich coffee come in as well. Complex but harmonious. Excellent.

Mouthfeel is rich, oily, creamy. Thick and smooth. A pleasure.

Drinkability. This is a highly drinkable beer. The booze is untraceable. I was able to fully appreciate the mellow, rich flavors and mouthfeel after having the standard Gonzo Porter next to this one. While the barrel aged had a nice, complex nose, the standard seemingly reeked of booze and vanilla. Quite a difference. A great beer and one I would have again, for sure.

 1,003 characters

Photo of BeerCon5
4.7/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter:

Poured a very dark brown very close to black, one finger of perfect brown foamy head with lasting lacing.

The scent was of sweet bourbon, coffee, some caramel malts.

The taste was first of sweet bourbon, burnt coffee, caramel malts, wood, a little chocolate, and noticeable alcoho.

Full bodied, very smooth also chewy, pretty low carbonation.

This was a very tasty beer, there was so much flavor and it was all balanced very well, though it was filling it was quite easy to drink.

 506 characters

Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.7/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

one of my bartenders brought this back from Colorado and opened it up on his birthday this past week.

Poured into a snifter from the 750ml corked bottle. Pours a deep rich brown almost black color, with a big and dense dark tan/brown head, that recedes very slowly and leaves a lot of lacing. this beer has a fantastic aroma, tons of coffee, vanilla and hints of bourbon. Slight aromas of citrus as well. great taste, chocolatem vanilla, bourbon, caramel, and the strong taste of alcohol is also present. very roasted flavors as well. Mouthfeel is wonderful. Medium carbonation, makes the palate fall in love. seriously. Very drinkable but I think I would want to savor such a beer. this was a wonderful treat, and I wouldn't pass up on a chance to taste this again.

 767 characters

Photo of PorterLambic
4.67/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Alright, I really like the original Gonzo. This is easily twice as good.
Arrives a pitch black with a dark caramel head. Retention is weak with just a thin ring remaining after 30 seconds.
Smell is oak up front with malt, dark chocolate, raisins and vanilla. Not the full-on fruitcake but very good. Good balance and great complexity.
Taste is rich with roasted malt, oak, raisins, baking chocolate, earth and alcohol. Balance and complexity are great.
Smooth, rich, full-bodied with a light effervescence. Warming as you might expect. A truly amazing beer, even better than the original.

 588 characters

Photo of RRC87
4.63/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2008 vintage
on-tap at Stub and Herb's on Darkness Eve

A: Pitch black opaque, with a creamy mocha head. The head retains amazingly well leaving concentric circles at each new level.

S: Amazing sweet toffee, molasses, and figs. There is also a fair amount of bourbon, but the malt profile is strong enough that it can hold it's own and shine through.

T: Lots of dark fruits and caramel dominate. There is also massive vanilla notes with just a hint of alcohol. Minimal amounts of hop bitterness find their way through at the end to lighten things up.

M: Heavy and resinous with just enough carbonation and alcohol to prevent it from getting to heavy. It coats the palate quite well.

D: Oh god, I want to drink it all night. I can't understand how something this bold and this thick with this much alcohol can be this drinkable.

Overall: I tried it fresh and it was good, but the age has made it simply amazing. I put this in the top five beer I have had.

 961 characters

Photo of jampics2
4.63/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at La Cave Du Vin. Wow...Never thought this was going to be made again, so I've been holding onto the bottle I have in the cellar. Well, after some digging and a few distractions, I found out this is indeed a new batch which should be hitting the shelves soon. It's a highly recommended, buy-on-sight beer. And I ran, did not walk, to Coventry to try this right when La Cave put it on tap. I found a "reasonable place to park" and headed down the stairs.

This beer is a tribute to Gonzo himself. The "S" in Dr. Hunter's name didn't stand for "Stout", but it was closer to that then "Baltic Porter". But I hate style debates more than I hate disco, and I feel the same way about disco as I do about herpes. So let's move on to the review.

Black as night. The kind of darkness that you only encounter in the desert in the middle of the night. The time when the bats come out. You do know that this is bat country, right?

I consulted with my lawyer after inhaling the sweet smells wafting off the snifter. Whisky is just barely there, but the roast is kicking in. Chocolate and coffee with some vanilla from the oak. Also a kind of tartness from the barrel, not sour, but full on woody. Just a touch subdued, otherwise, I'd have a new favorite smelling -bal aged beer. And I love -bal aged beers even more than a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls.

The taste almost takes things to the edge. How do you describe the edge? Well, it's hard to describe because the only ones who really know where the edges exist are the ones who've gone over them. There is a great symphony of chocolate, wood, vanilla, whisky, and coffee. I love Stranahan's and this showcases the unique qualities that whisky brings to the table. If I had my way, every day I'd drive around town with a case of Stranahan's next to me and a case of dynamite in the trunk.

However, I must come clean here...the mouthfeel is a bit thin. I hate to advocate drugs, violence, insanity, or chocolate milkshake thick brews to anyone, but they've always worked for me. This was just shy of greatness, kick up the viscosity, walk tall, and kick ass.

If you see this somewhere in America, don't let it pass. Buy the ticket, take the ride. It's well worth the price of admission.

 2,247 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
4.62/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Limited 500 case release that included a T-shirt, glass, pin, corked and caged 750ml bottle, a piece of the oak barrel, and a pin. This has been aging for at least four years in my cellar. I shared the bottle with my fiance.

Dark brown head about two to three fingers thick. Great retention that last for the whole 750ml bottle. Black in color with brownie highlights when held to some light.

The aroma is complex and full of rich chocolate, light coffee bean splashed with oakey whiskey notes. The oak aroma adds an earthy aroma to compliment the rich chocolate and coffee smells. These aromas come together with to make this one of the best warm smelling beers ever.

The chocolate and coffee flavors meld so well together with the toasted earthy oak and alcoholic, grainy whiskey flavors, that this beer was one of the best nightcap sippers I've had so far. I could get notes of charred oak even, and maybe a little tart twang from the aged yeast.

This warm, smooth, alcoholic, and oily palate is just relaxing, smooth and phenominal.

 1,041 characters

Photo of kasper
4.62/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had the pleasure of enjoying this rarity several times in the past few weeks. The first couple of times were at Monks Cafe in Philly where the beer was labeled Flying Dog B.A.G. (or Barrel Aged Gonzo). More recently, I'm convinced I was poured a brew from the same barrel-aged batch at the Lazy Boy Saloon in White Plains, NY, where it is currently listed as just that regular variant, or Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter. Either they've listed it incorrectly, or I know nothing about barrel aged beers =P Both were loaded with bourbon flavor and aroma. Notes below are from tasting at Lazy Boy Saloon.

A: Thick, nearly black with a solid creamy and malty cocolate milk-colored head. All sorts of glopy lacing patterns line the walls of the glass.

S: Startling aromas of sweet bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate malts in that order. Extremely inviting. This baby smells like a drunken dessert.

T: The taste is similarly loaded with bourbon, which carries all the way through each sip. Mixed in upfront are dark chocolate malts accented with some faint but noticeable alcohol-soaked dark fruits. Next comes a hit if creamy chocolate sweetness and vanilla before segueing into a alcohol/bitter roasted finsih. There's also a tad of oak dryness apparent after the finish.

M. Thick. Vicious. Heavy. Oily. Sticky. Mild carbonation. But overall really smooth for the style.

D. This is no doubt a strong, big beer. Some would call it an imperial stout, and I've actually seen it listed as such in places. It's thick as hell and prolly has like 500 calories a serving. That said, I've taken down a couple of these puppies in a single sitting quite a few times due its deliciousness and rarity.

 1,695 characters

Photo of KeefD
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Blue Nile. Poured into a St Bernardus chalice, a dark brown quite close to black color with a two finger brown head that left some average lacing on the glass. Aroma is full of chocolate, spicy alcohol, dark fruits and some buttery oakiness. Flavor follows suit. Chocolate is the main star, brownie batter goodness, hints of coffee, dark fruits, light whiskey flavor, some buttery oak, and alcohol. Thick and creamy, average carbonation. Alcohol is more present in the nose than it is on the tongue. Well hidden in the mouth but could be felt in the head after finishing one glass. This was an exceptional brew, and quite possibly better than the regular Gonzo. I'm glad Al got this in by mistake, because it was damn good.

 746 characters

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours jet black with a nice tan head. In the aroma, bourbon, oak, hints of alcohol and chocolate. In the taste, rich chocolate malt and ends with a bourbon taste. A smooth and medium to big bodied mouthfeel, with a clean chocolate and hint of bourbon in the aftertaste. Huge nose of bourbon, rich chocolate, with a small to no aftertaste.

 338 characters

Photo of BucBasil
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pretaste Notes: This is their Gonzo Imperial Porter (which in itself is a quality brew) aged for months in oak whiskey barrels.

Appearance: Poured from the 750mL bottle into a goblet. Brew is completely black, even when held directly to light. Literally, no light can escape its surface. Head is dark brown and creamy. The head builds very quickly and stays around for what seems like forever.

Smell: More subtle than what I was expecting, but full of incredible nuances. A sort of sherry and vanilla note wafts into the nose initially. Then come the malts - light chocolate, caramel, and other sweet notes. A faint woody note rounds things out a bit. Fantastic.

Taste: Milk chocolate, then a fruity vanilla - cherries shine through. A bit of balancing hop comes through, but it's definitely in the background. Bourbon oak comes next, and then finishing with a light and pleasant coffee flavor.

Mouthfeel: Thick and viscous. Full bodied and extremely smooth. Exceptional.

Drinkability: It's 9.5% and pretty dangerous. The sheer thickness of it makes it difficult to drink more than one glass, but the taste and aroma make me want more and more.

Notes: At about 15$ a bottle, it's definitely one for a special occasion. Highly recommended.

 1,246 characters

Photo of svendryden
4.59/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a dark black with a thick tan head, with medium-short life.

S - Like I'm drinking from the barrel instead of the pint glass. Cannot detect the alcohol, though a slight smell of bourbon and nice vanilla.

T - Wow. Like it smells, except more chocolate than my nose detected. A little warmer than the smell let on as well. The bourbon is more forceful as well, which is perfect.

M - I would have expected thicker, but it's for the better. There's surprisingly no longering effect. Also no bitterness which is just right.

D - This is 9.5%? Could've fooled me. This would definately be a stealthy drink if it were served to me with no mention of the ABV. You would have to hide your remaining bottles from me because it's just too good.

Will be getting more within a week!

 783 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.58/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had quite a few of these on tap at the Brick Store Pub while it was on. What a great beer! Poured black as midnight with a nice tan head that sticks around as a thin cap and leaves some very nice lacing. The aroma is somewhat light for the style, especially with the barrel aging, but there are nice notes of Bourbon, rounded graininess, prunes, cream, and oak. The taste is amazing- big bourbon flavors and huge flavors off sweet, charred oak with vanilla, caramel, and spice. Slightly sweet and raisiny, with more prune and some nice sweet, dark malt that is dried by the oak. Very creamy and smooth mouthfeel, doesn't feel heavy at all. Just an awesome drinker. As long as they had this on tap, I ordered one every time I went in. I'll bet this is much better on tap than in the bottle, where more creaminess can come out and things mellow a bit more. Nice job.

 864 characters

Photo of NoHipTee
4.58/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a very smooth balance of smokey after taste and porter bitter that puts this beer near the top of porters for drinkability.

The perfect head without getting in the way. Mild smell for such a flavorful beer. Taste is exceptional. Enough that I let in linger on the palate before swallowing lingering bitters and mild alcohol burn at the very end. Mouthfeel is a little thin with minimal carbonation. A very drinkable beer. Wish it came in a six pack instead of a 4 pack.

 470 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 325 ratings.