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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

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Reviews: 325
Hads: 719
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 14.88%
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
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Reviews: 325 | Hads: 719
Photo of Sammy
3.72/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Jason and Mike. One of the few barrel-aged to be widely available. Great aroma, dark colour, a bit sour as you expect from a baltic porter, smooth. Some coffee there, significant bitterness, a slow sipper. Some woodiness, whisky balances it all.
Had 3.5 years later, boozy, thin and acidic.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.98/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Thanks to bum732 for sending me this one!

The cork on this bottle did not pop or make any noise for that matter. Not a good sign.

Pours a pitch black color with absolutely zero head and zero lacing. Smells of roasted coffee, toasted coconut, vanilla, wood, and some bourbon notes. Taste is exactly like the nose but the coffee taste is subdued and there are some soy sauce flavors. Slight alcohol taste and burn in the back of the throat after each sip. Ok, this beer has ZERO carbonation. It is super flat, super thick, and a chore to even take a swallow. Horrible, horrible feel. Overall, this beer is obviously off in the carbonation department. I am not sure what happened here since the other reviews I am reading don't have this issue. I bet this would be pretty awesome if the carbonation and mouthfeel issues were normal.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the brewery after my tour. Awesome group of guys there and the beer was better than I had anticipated as I had only had their standard beers we get in Florida. This time I got to try the local release stuff.

A: interesting look to this one. It poured with no head but as it sat a single finger tan head slowly formed.

S: pretty much all whiskey here. some tangy dark fruit notes and roasted malts.

T: mostly bourbon/whiskey. some roasted malts. the base beer seems to contribute little.

M: full body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: the base beer is definitly lost but that being said the whiskey isnt overpowering. overall a nice brew.

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Photo of metter98
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer poured jet black with a thick beige head. The beer is opaque but some rising bubbles are visible near the edges of the glass.
S: There are lots of bourbon flavors in the nose along with some notes of malts, oak and vanilla.
T: Bourbon flavors really stand out in the taste, although these are not overwhelming and are balanced by chocolate and toffee flavors from the roasted malts. There is some bitterness from the hops.
M: It feels medium-bodied and relatively smooth on the palate; there is some dryness in the finish.
D: The beer has a good amount of drinkability considering its alcohol content.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a nice black color with a good mocha head and a bit of sticky lace. The nose brings some nice bourbon, oak, coffee, vanilla, and light chocolate. Flavor is a bit more tame with some roast and bourbon; it's not as integrated as the nose. Good heavy body with nice booze. Very drinkable.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is really good, This brew poured out as a deep black color with a thin brown head on it that just leaves a swirled film over top of the beer. The smell of whiskey fills the air, the boozy aroma also form on the nose too and some chocolately malts as well. The taste of the beer is nice and smooth but has a really interesting whiskey taste to it, blended with some roasted malts and some wood flavors. The mouthfeel is a pretty thick which I like a lot. Overall this beer is big, I really enjoyed it and will probably buy more when I see it again.

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Photo of brentk56
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a coal color with a tan head that retains well and leaves sheets of lacing

Smell: Rum-soaked dark fruit, dark chocolate, and tobacco - some oaky sour tones try to sneak through

Taste: The rum-soaked dark fruit (almost burnt) element jumps out from the get go, that becomes quite spicy with an increasingly bitter roasted character; by mid-palate, the alcohol really builds; after the swallow, the sour oak and vanilla join the fray and dominate the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body but loads of carbonation

Drinkability: As other reviewers have stated, this one needs some more aging to settle down; I have tried it twice and with the passage of time it is now drinking much better but still has problems with the flavors blending together

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Apparently they can age this beer in any container and for any amount of time and it is still a quick, swift kick in the pants. Although the barrels sanded off the most aggressive burrs, the beer continues it's harshness and roughness. Still, very rich, thick, and boldly flavored of espresso, cocoa powder, and booze. Aromas pick up on very raw and earthy / pungent citrus hops, which flow right into the flavors and bittering. Feels every bit as thick as discribed, along with a charred coal, ashey flavor and feel that I could live without. The barrels seem to give a marshmellow texture and a bit of mellowing. The beer will certainly improve with time, but until it matures, I'll not be the biggest of fan.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color porter with a deep brown color head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of whiskey notes are dominant with light vanilla and some nice black chocolates are also noticeable. Taste is also dominated by strong whiskey notes with some wood notes with nice creamy black chocolate notes and some light vanilla. Body is quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Solid beer with quite dominant barrel-aged characteristics.

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Photo of emerge077
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 edit: not as good as years past... seems fairly oxidized.

750mL bottle opens with a pop, the deep black liquid pours into a chalice and generates a big amount of cascading foam. It's surface is actually convex at first, and transitions in color as the liquid trickles through it. The cappucino tan head fades into a charred mahoghany tone closer to the liquid line.

Thick rings of lace hang on the inside rim of the glass. They have a rounded out dimension to them, like a cartoon smoke ring. Fantastic.

A swirl of the glass at room temperature brings out chocolate, coffee, plum, leather, and a mild coconut/bourbon barrel character.

This is certainly an "imperial" version, i've never had a porter this rich and complex. There's a good amount of carbonation at first, but it settles down fairly quickly. It shares a roasted malt and plum combination that i've only tasted before in De Dolle's Extra Export Stout. The fruity note seems closest to plum and slightly like pear. This is minor though, playing second or third to the onslaught of rich earthy roastiness, bittersweet chocolate, tobacco/oak.

Hops are in there in the end, this is Gonzo after all, but they seem subded in comparison to the regular version. Bourbon becomes apparent as it warms, and adds a welcome dimension to the earthy char in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is full, some slickness, but finishes dry. As I work through the bottle, i'm realizing this is pretty decadent stuff. Maybe better classified as an American Porter due to the barrel-aging and Imperial distinction.

Highly Recommended.

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Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a nonic a near pitch black except for ruby highlights when held to the light,a fluffy one finger toasted almond colored head atop that stuck like glue to the glass.A mix of toasted oak,roasted nut,and bitter chocolate in the nose,a great mix,quite rich.Flavors have a buttery and burnt element to them intertwined with some vanilla,black licorice, and wood,the wood really lingers in the finish.Smooth and full this beer is rich and a bit of a sipper but its really a niced oaked Baltic porter.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep dark, opaque brown with a huge, overflowing brown head. Absolutly no fade on this one, fantastic retention with significant lace throughtout the glass. Smell was very rich, full of chocolate and sugar, with hints of caramle and a slight hoppiness. The taste was great, full, creamy, and exceptionally smooth. Lots of roasted malts, chocoalte and caramel hints throughtout. A slight warming from the alcohol, but hardly noticeable and very tolerable. Nice hints of oak as it warmed, nothing overpowering like some other beers i have had that have been oak aged. Overall this was remarkably good, and dare I say an improvement over the regular Gonzo which in and of itself is a great brew. Very nice and definatly a winner.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Bruery Provisions

A: The beer pours just about black with a thin layer of tan head.

S: Big time bourbon on the nose with a nice vanilla note to it. Plenty of wood with a good, smooth, dark chocolate aroma. Almost no roasted malt aroma, but a nice sweet maple syrup note.

T: Lots of sweet bourbon, vanilla, and maple syrup flavor. A hint of roasted malt and coffee, but plenty of smooth dark chocolate as well as a little bit of milk chocolate providing some additional sweetness.

M: Medium in body with a smooth and creamy carbonation and mouthfeel.

O: Much, much better than the regular version. I enjoyed this one.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, altogether murky body with a thin, bubbly, tan head.

Smell: Pleasantly sweetish, whiskey-soaked nose upfront with all it's accompanying notes. Also dark malts, caramel, chocolate, and roast. Good waft of alcohol as well.

Taste: Roasty dark maltiness with full tastes of chocolate sauce and dark caramel. Medium sweetness. Pop of warming alcohol follows fast. Whiskey tastes of oak wood and vanilla. A rebound of roastiness leads us to the somewhat coarsely alcoholic finish, though a hint of chocolate tries to smooth it out.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Mild carbonation.

Drinkability: A reasonably competent barrel-aging execution by Flying Dog.

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Photo of oline73
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on-tap at Victoria Gastropub. Served in a 5oz. sample glass.

Appearance: Pours almost black with a very little bit of light coming through at the edges. There is a finger of thick tan head that leaves a layer through the whole pour.

Smell: Sweet roast with hints of dark chocolate, vanilla, oak, and bourbon.

Taste: Follows from the smell. Initially quite sweet and roasty with some dark chocolate notes. After a little bit the bourbon shows up along with vanilla and oak. Smooth with some alcohol burn and some bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thick side of medium. The carbonation is mild and the finish is dry.

Overall: A very smooth and easy to drink beer. The finish was a bit more bitter than I expected, but that's just nitpicking.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a ChurchKey becher.

Y'know, sometimes things line up when reviews are being written past the midnight hour (Wilson Pickett waited quite a while for this time o' night). In this case, nothing says "gonzo" like the strange short on my TV, called "Circus on Ice". Thank God Joel and the 'Bots are here to mock it along with me. Now, this beer is gonzo, but not in the same way: it's more of a positive, "The only word to describe my species is 'weirdo'" brand. The pour results in an opaque black-brown capped by a half-fingerof bubbly foam; the color is too dark to be called tan and too light to be called brown. Dammit, I can't remember my crayon box well enough to come up with the proper term. ["Women are torn apart like french bread." Classic.] My 'strils are smacked around by a well-exercised fist of oak. This is followed 1-2 style by some spruce, dark malts, caramel, and sweet, sweet vanilla. I want to drink this. Yes, I do. [Ah, at last, "Monster A-Go-Go" is starting! I can't wait to wretch! ... "It's Billy Pilgrim." Wow, Vonnegut and Thompson references simultaneously? Pinch me! (And there's some BNL!)] The aforementioned oak fist reballs itself for another pummeling, this time aimed at my 'buds. It's got a new posse, though: bitter chocolate powder, red apples, whiskey, maple syrup, brown sugar, molasses, and, still hangin' with his boy, good ol' spruce. I guess if the fist analogy were extended to these guys, whoever's swingin' the oak has about seven fingers or so. ...That's if I extended properly... The liquid sits heavily, but in a lighter-than-usual sort of heavy way. The moderate carbonation and only semi-syrupy coating assures me that, given the chance, this brew and I would be spending lots o' time together. Hunter would be proud to sip on this Wild Dog.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, 15 February 2009.

Although I'll say that I loved the Gonzo Porter (gave it an A here on BA), and I REALLY, REALLY loved the bottles with Brett (was that intentional or a mistake?), I don't think that the whiskey barrel aging did much for this beer. Sure, there was a bit of an addition to the nose, OK, but it wasn't any better than it was before, just different. And the woodiness kind of softened it. Although, in retrospect, I do think that was a good thing. Smoothness is (almost) always good. On the other hand, it lost a lot of its hoppiness. Hmmmm... ? I kind of wish I'd had a bottle all to myself at home one night with a good book rather than just a glass of it on tap at the bar - I'm not sure that does it justice, and I'll have to see if I can find one somewhere. There must still be bottles around, right? But back to what I was saying, it's an alteration of the beer, and it's a good one, but it doesn't improve the initial beer in a significant way. It's still an A, just a different A.

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Photo of jlindros
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This specific 12oz bottle thanks to the great trader Noslenwerd, and the 750 that's still sitting in my cellar thanks to BEERchitect in a trade a while back.

Pours a decent fluffy darker colored 1/2 finger head with some decent lacing as well, over just about pitch black beer, just hints of super dark reddish brown light sneaking through around the edges.

Nose is huge, lots of roast, dark chocolate, baker's chocolate, some chewy oats, a bit syrupy sweet on the nose, some coffee and bit a bit of a mocha java like aroma, vanilla, some oak and toasted wood, and hint of whisky.

Taste starts fairly rich, a bit creamy, some oats, a bit juicy too... some sweetness and some booze coming through, of course plenty of dark malts, tons of roast with a hint of coffee syrup, lots of chocolate with a bit of dark chocolate and baker's as well as hint of cocoa nibs, then coming through with more toasted oak, some vanilla, it also gets very hot, plenty of booze, tingly, warming, all around booze, also a bit syrupy too. A bit of whisky but not much, some woody esters late. It finishes still a bit sweet but dries a bit, lingering hot booze, woody esters, some bitter chocolate flavors and roast, but not as sticky as I thought it would be.

Mouth is fairly rich and a bit creamy, fairly heavy but feels like it is a little lighter than it should be in the malt body feel, decent carbonation, and tons of hot booze. This drinks like a 12-13% beer.

Overall pretty good, great nose, good flavors, good roast and chocolate, I wish the whisky and oak made a little more presence, the body is a little lighter than expected, and it's waaay to hot, even with a little age that this has, I'll keep the 750 in teh cellar for longer to see if it mellows.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.87/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a snifter. Big thanks go to Stakem for hooking me up with one of these.

Pours black, maybe more of a very dense brown, with 2 fingers of solid dark mocha head. This retains with a rich ¾ finger that leaves back a good bit of thick spotty lacing and brown oils. The aroma smells of whiskey right up front, with a mellow smoothness that easily gives way to a delicious smelling blend of chocolate, toffee, and coffee character. Wow, this is a smooth and flavorful nose!

The taste mirrors this for the most part, with notes of molasses and deep drying char, which blends in with an underlying mix of chocolate, caramel, and roast. Boozy warmth and tannic dryness really picks up as this warms, parching the mouth, and maybe coming on a touch strong at times. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied, with a smooth creaminess along the pack of the throat that then lays a little more of a steady prickle on the tongue the longer it sits in the mouth. The overall feel here is maybe coming off as a little too thin at times but the alcohol of the body seems well hid, with the majority of any alcohol warmth seeming to come from the barrel.

While the taste has some rough edges to it and that Imperial Porter body didn’t quite hold up to the barrel-aging here, this still had a delicious nose on it and handled it’s high ABV quite well for itself, helping to leave an overall favorable impression of this on me. Considering that this is normally easier to get then a lot of BA beers out there, I would definitely keep this one around when you’re looking for that kind of fix.

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Photo of mactrail
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Public House in La Jolla. Dark brown, near black in the small nonic with a long-lasting foam. Rich and powerful with a great whiskey taste. Deeply flavored with the nicest vanilla taste. Silky and smooth with a tangy mouthfeel.

Boozy glow spreads in the chest after a couple sips of this. Powerful flavors with a deep spiciness. Hot with alcohol, but pleasingly so, like a liqueur. Hops give some balance without any excessive bitterness. Surprised to see 85 IBUs listed by the brewer, it is just not a hop bomb with an excellence balance without hops begging for atention.

Hints of coffee and chocolate from the many shades of dark malt. One of the best barrel aged beers I've had. The Baltic Porter style seems well suited to the treatment.

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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

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Photo of Rifugium
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First had: on tap at Monk's, Philly, PA

Wow, what a great beer! Poured opaque black with a thin brownish head. Cocoa and semi-sweet chocolate in the nose, with molasses and roasted malts. Similar taste, very roasty, malty, toasted wood, dark chocolate and vanilla bean, with a strong but bearable alcohol taste/bite. Very little--almost none--of the obvious hop profile noted in the regular (non-barrel-aged) Gonzo Porter. Thick and heavy mouthfeel, leaving some film behind. Very complex and flavorful...highly drinkable.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a thin tan head. Nose is malty tar. Flavor is touches of vanilla and bourbon. Thick molasses and malty character. Slightly hot. Feel is slick on liquid and the carbonation is low. This is a good baltic porter. Robust and edgy, but fairly easy to drink (though not so much for the inexperienced palates.)

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Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, 2012 vintage bottling. Pours pitch black color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, coffee, molasses, toast, toffee, vanilla, oak, bourbon, dark bread, light smoke, and roast/oak earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and bourbon barrel notes; with good strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, coffee, toast, molasses, toffee, vanilla, oak, bourbon, dark bread, smoke, light char, and roast/oak earthiness. Fair amount of deep roast bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, roast, coffee, toast, molasses, toffee, vanilla, oak, bourbon, dark bread, smoke, light char, and roast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity of intense dark/roasted malt and bourbon barrel flavors; with a great malt/barrel flavor balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a moderately creamy, slick, and lightly chalky/bready mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an incredible barrel aged imperial porter! All around awesome complexity of intense dark/roasted malt and bourbon barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wild Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter

Hmmm...this is a trip.

Solid black, with a cherry-tan head...yeah, it's light brown, but only as it's a subdued red...most unusual, and most attractive. Beautiful.

Poured into a snifter glass, a deep aroma wafts out, rich, lovely rustic whiskey notes...vast and gorgeous. There's the oak and the cavernous malt, ruby tinges, cherry notes, cabernet, and more...I'm loving this.

Taste: mmmm, ....ahhh...whoooaaa...words, though, words I what we need, so...
damn! This slays me. Genius. Thick, solid porter absolutely awash in ...this upliftingly wonderfulness...the label says it was aged in oak whiskey barrels, but I swear it tastes like it was blended with wine.

One drawback is that it seems to lose some of the porter-y character, and the oak flavors mask all that...but, I sure do like it.
Let's just say I'm tickled...yummy. Doesn't feel like 9.5%...really...not much...

you know, what? I like it, I don't care what you think...this is damned good. Wicked good. Gonzo good. Yup.

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Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 325 ratings.