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Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter | Flying Dog Brewery

327 Reviews
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Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial PorterBarrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter

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

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by DogFood11 on 04-14-2007

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Reviews: 327 | Ratings: 740
Photo of rudzud
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Shared by JLindros, 2008 vintage.

A Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a dark black hue with a one finger khaki head that fades to leave s light halo.

S - Aromas of light chocolate and roast as well as faint malty sweetness.

T - Taste is semi boozy with nice bourbon notes, good chocolate, malty sweetness, definitely aged, nice old wood

M - Mouthfeel is nice surprisingly carbonated for the style. semi distracting.

O - Overall I felt this was a good beer, though the carbonation was a bit distracting. Still, s solid beer.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Flying Dog Brewery
Wild Dog (barrel aged Gonzo imperial porter)
*vintage bottle. Aged 2-3 years in the cellar

LOOK: Dark brown, a bit of sediment. Mocha creme head forms and recedes to a ring around the glass. Little to no lacing, this looks like a beer that is showing it's age a bit in the appearance. Still, has the ominous quality you look for in barrel aged dark ales.

SMELL: Oak and whiskey open up for a nice nose. Roast and borderline fruity solvent alcohol character play nicely together. Chocolate and old barrel round out the aroma.

TASTE: Strong in the whiskey, mild chocolate and date notes. Coffee and faint citrus lingers on the palate with some dry oak showing up late. A little smokey, certainly boozy, but still quite enjoyable. Aftertaste of chocolate malts is quite rewarding.

FEEL: Medium bodied, well carbonated, palate coating with noticeable tannins and sticky malts. Chocolate and mild whiskey in the finish with some oak. Only slightly dry.

OVERALL: Tasty beer here from Flying Dog,. Wild Dog is a pretty well done barrel aged brew. The whiskey is definitely noticeable, gelling well with the base beer of Gonzo. Rich and full of character, the aftertaste of chocolate malt makes a delicious reminder of how good this beer is.

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Photo of joefuzz
3.91/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750ml caged and corked bottle. No date but I think it is the most recent batch. Pours just like regular gonzo, deep brown with a small light brown head. Smells of choclate caramel and booze. Taste is very malty, lots of caramel and molasses and a slight hint of hops with a very nice bourbon vanilla aftertaste. Mouth is on the thicker side with light carbonation.

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at my favorite beer store in Belgium, Dranken Geers. Dark brown, nearly black pour with a one and a half finger caramel-colored head with nice lacing and decent retention. Sweet, earthy, whiskey-dominant nose with hints of oak, dark chocolate, licorice, and vanilla. The barrel-aging really comes out in the taste. Lots of oak and whiskey along with hints of vanilla, leather, cola, dark chocolate, and just a touch of black cherries. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly syrupy with medium carbonation and nice dry, bitter finish. Overall, this had decent body for a Porter and the barrel really came through nicely. Glad I picked up multiple bottles of this one.

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Photo of tewaris
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from a 12 oz. bottle purchased sometime in 2011 so approximately 18-24 months old at this point. Pours nice and dark with a good head. Smells fantastic with plenty of vanilla, barrel and stout underneath. Silky and smooth without any overpowering note... balanced roast and absent tartness is an instant hit in my book.

Wasn't expecting it to be that good because Flying Dog hasn't done it for me lately but this was an absolute delight. Highly recommended.

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Photo of bobhits
3.61/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Super excited to see this one again. Gonzo is good but barrels are always better!

Imperial porter, so I guess it is a hint lighter than some big stouts and nowhere close to the black holes that the really dark ones reach. Lacking Carbonation or that overly thick syrup look. Gonzo is well....a porter so in theory this is ok, but I'm not sold. It should be darker or be better carbonated.

Light nose, but espresso, chocolate, and faint light malts.

The barrel aged gonzo brings in a lot of hoppy stout flavor with harsh oak, faded chocolate and coffee notes.

Smooth body with some over the top alcohol notes.

Barrel-Aged Gonzo (no wild dog notation on this new batch but meh) is very good, but it misses on the greatness that other barrel aged stouts/porters have reached.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750ml bottle purchased a Puerto Rico Food & Liquors. Shared this bottle during the Super Bowl; it was the only MD beer I owned. Served in a pint glass.

A - Big tan foam settles to a thin cap and splotchy lace. Dark brown body with some reddish transparency at the fringes of the glass.

S - Lots of vanilla, whiskey, baker's chocolate, nuts, cola, caramel, and a lightly buttery note.
Not sure if the latter is from diacetyl or a barrel by-product.

T - Dark chocolate, nuts, whiskey, oak, some cola, a slight cherry Dr. Pepper note, and well-hidden alcohol. I like this significantly better than the aroma, as the buttery flavor is gone.

M - Medium body, dry and lightly tannic finish, surprisingly zesty moderate carbonation, and some light warming alcohol. A bit thin for 9.5% - could stand for a bit more creaminess to it.

D - I like that this was actually a porter rather than an Imperial Stout in disguise. The malt character is definitely English with the preponderance of brown malt flavors, and in that context the mild buttery note isn't totally out of line. Unique stuff that I'd drink again if offered; probably wouldn't actively seek it out again though.

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Photo of russwbeck
4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Black pour with a huge brown head. Very large bubbles build up and create a beautiful looking beer. Retention is great, and a lot of lacing sticks to the sides of my Deschutes Tulip. 5

S: Whiskey forward aroma for sure. Chocolate and roast remain from the base Gonzo Imperial Porter. I'm not surprised some of the roast remains from Gonzo, and thankfully it plays well with the whiskey. 4

T: Stranahan's Whiskey is simply delicious. Not intrusive, this whiskey adds a nice character to the beer. Oak, vanilla, and whiskey come together with chocolate and roast to create a nicely balanced, albeit whiskey focused, taste. You start off with some whiskey and chocolate, graduate to stronger whiskey and perhaps a hint of booze, and finish with a big roast and lingering whiskey. 4.5

MF: My only wish is that the base beer of Gonzo imparted more body to this beer. It seems a bit thin. Low carbonation as I would expect, I just wanted this to be a bit more rich. Insanely drinkable. 3

O: This was $20 for a 750ml bottle, which I say was worth it once, but not again. 4

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Photo of charlzm
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The bottle is labeled "BAG Barrel-Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter" and the artwork does not match any of the variations listed here on BA. Huh.

Poured into a Bruery tulip, the liquid is just one shade of brown lighter than black. Opaque . A two-finger dark tan head forms during the pour and settles down soon into a think skin and a slightly sticky crown. Some sheeting.

Aroma is all bourbon. Well, there might be a hint of vanilla and chocolate.

Flavor is salty bourbon with a chocolate malt base. Not especially bitter, but what there is reminds me of coffee. Again, tiny hints of vanilla and chocolate. Not very complex, disappointingly.

Mouthfeel is a little smooth and a little creamy but thinner than anticipated.

This is a step up from the standard Gonzo, to be sure, but only a small one. Not the complex bourbon bomb I was expecting.

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Photo of crnipeter
3.77/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Although labeled as Flying Dog Barrel-Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter I'm reviewing it here, assuming it is an alias.

Pours opaque dark brown with deep tan finger-thick head that sets to stable collar.

Dominant ester-aroma of cherries, plums and prunes mingles with obvious bourbon and darker malt reminiscent of unrefined sugar, chocolate and roast.

The flavor starts sweet with loads of dark fruits,however, the mandatory Schwarzbier-like roastiness quickly shows up persisting through the finish with notes of coffee. Malt foundation exhibits molasse-quality and coats the lips with sticky film. Bourbon barrel is evident providing significant alcohol warmth. Aftertaste is mild roast while hops are virtually non-existent. Seems that barrel aging has taken away lots of hop-character the beer might once possessed.

Body is medium with fine perhaps a bit understated carbonation.

In short, a Baltic Porter with pronounced dark-fruit and bourbon character (330 ml,Best Before reads (in that order) 17.11.13, into tulip).

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.41/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at PPP, review from notes.

A: The beer is dark brown with a small mocha colored head on top that reduces to a thin cap on top. Some sheets of lacing.

S: A good bit of roasted malt with a bunch of alcohol. A lot of the nice aromas that exist with the base beer were covered up by the barrel.

T: Some dark stone fruit, roasted malt, and again a bunch of alcohol. It is a little on the sweet side as well.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Definite alcohol presence.

O: Had high hopes for this one, I like the base beer very much, but this one was too boozy for me.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet. A sticker on the bottom 019 13. Consumed along side a regular Gonzo, vintage 11KK.

A: Two fingers of tannish head erupts and has decent retention. Thick and tight. The beer is a shade away from black.

S: Boozy. Yeah, maybe it's only 9.5% but it smells much stronger. Berries, booze, and a touch of chocolate. Smells like a cupcake.

T: Hrm. Interesting. A bit thin -- but so is the original -- with an odd fruity bitterness. No follow-through. The lack of a substantial maintaste severely hampers the quality of the beer. A round, robust sweetness pervades the body and is presumably a product of the barrel aging.

M: Smooth and dull.

O: It improves as it warms, gaining spicy oakiness and other subtly enhanced qualities. I probably wouldn't recommend it or purchase it, but I'd recommend a few sips and I'd pick it up if it happened to be the same price per volume as standard Gonzo.

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Photo of KevSal
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to shadesofgray for a pair of these guys, and for completely squashing me in the bif.

2010 poured into a bruery tulip. Had side by side with the regular version.

A- looks awesome! This guy is very dark and the thin head and look give a good sign the barrel left its mark. Very different than the regular which had a huge head. Reminds me a lot ccb's milk porter, makes me wonder if they used stranahan barrels here too.

S- this is where this beer really shines! Huge chocolate and awesome whiskey upfront. Great sweetness and vanilla. A little bit of the base comes thru near the back.

T- The whiskey and chocolate are there but not over bearing. The base robust porter really shines thru tho and it's very nice. Alcohol non existent.

M- smooth and velvety. Not harsh at all. Either this was done right or the two years in the cellar did its job.

O- awesome beer! A real different beer than the base. I like them both for different reasons. If I had this guy available to me I'd be buying a lot of it! It's not in the same realm as kbs and ba ptf. But as far as ba porters go this guy is top of it's game.

Also I know people knock them for it but I love the presentation of these guys, the ba and regular version, but I am a big hunter thompson fan

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Photo of mulder1010
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

355 ML poured into a Lost Abbey snifter
Thanks to Lukie for the bottle
4/22/12 BB

A-- Pours a dark cola color and settled jet black in the glass. Half finger of dark mocha colored head that fades to a decent ringed collar and a bit of film. Decent retention on swirling. Just a few bits of spotty lacing on the sides and some ABV legs. Attractive enough.

S-- Good notes of Oak and bourbon followed by a good amount of dark, stewed fruits. Quite earthy oak and bourbon. Well integrated. Barrel notes pick up more as the beer gets air.

T-- Earthy bourbon and oak followed by milk chocolate, caramel and vanilla. Still carries bits of heat from the ABV and bourbon is quite obvious.

M-- Rich and luscious in the front but smooths out to a bit of a astringent bourbon in the back that is quite dry and very ovious. Dairy milk mixed with bourbon is what I thought. Still carries a lot of punch for it's age.

O-- Nicely done beer. Not too over the top and still has some qualities of the base beer. Better BA beers out there but can not complain with this at all.

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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 rapidsequence
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle from Pints O'Plenty.

Appearance: It's black. Black, thick, no highlights, dark head. Looks like a RIS.

Smell: It really smells good. Vanilla, caramel, chocolate cake. Bourbony, but not hot, nose burning booze. Some dark roast, but not a lot.

Taste: Very nice sweet chocolate and again caramel and bourbony vanilla. Cake like or like a brownie. The heat from the bourbon is hotter than I expected from the smell. It's roaster than most porters, but that helps it stand up to the barrel.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and creamy-soft. Not overly thick.

Overall: Its a really good beer, and could pass for a good RIS.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a dark brown in color with brown highlights when held to the light and had a thin head that left very little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: lots of oaky bourbon booze rules the aroma with vanilla, chocolate roasted malts, mild lactic notes, some dark fruits such as plum and traces of smokiness.

T: the bourbon oaky barrel character was more prominent on the taste alongside vanilla, dark fruits, roasted chocolate malts, and booze accents.

M: the brew was medium to full in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, chocolatey, oaky bourbon barrel, mild fruity and silky finish.

O: definitely a good solid beer all around and was glad to see this one on tap at the infamous 38 degress anniversary party.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark black-brown color with a thin finger of frothy chocolate colored head. The head fades down fairly quickly leaving behind some lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of oak, vanilla, bourbon, roasted dark chocolate, dark fruits, and some light coffee and booze.

T - Starts off with a mix of oak and roasted milk chocolate with some raisin sweetness in the background. Through the middle, some vanilla and bourbon flavors come through with some more roasted dark malts and a hint of coffee. The finish is a mix of bourbon, vanilla, oak, cocoa, dark fruits, and a bit of booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with mild carbonation. Feels smooth and a bit thick with a warming and sweet finish.

D - Very drinkable. The barrel flavor is a bit strong, but overall it works really nicely with the rich imperial porter flavors in the base beer.

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Photo of tobelerone
3.53/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Pinocchio's in Media, Pa.

I'd have to have this again in a side by side with regular Gonzo but this was one where I think I'd prefer the non-barrel beer. Just sticking something in a barrel doesn't necessarily improve it and in this case, I felt the results were somewhat iffy. My main issue was the overwhelming booziness and bourbon character totally dominated the other flavors. Perhaps a bit of cellaring would calm this down and cut the heat a bit; this one was way too hot to be very enjoyable. I didn't hate it, I just felt it could have been a lot better. The pour is jet black with a small, quickly settling brown head. Patchy lacing. Roasty aroma with bittersweet chocolate but dominant boozy notes; some vanilla and oak as well.

The flavor follows the nose; up front and in your face is bourbon or more accurately, warming alcohol; some of the vanilla and oak is detected, lots of bitter roast, low sweetness, bittersweet chocolate. Topping it off the body is on the thin side for such a big beer, carbonation is moderate, finish is a little dry and leaves lingering bitterness and a tannin quality in the mouth.

Again, I didn't hate this beer, I just felt it was a bit disappointing, excessively hot, and a little thin. The prominent alcohol and heavily bitter charred taste makes this a little unappetizing.

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

A - Pitch black, 1 finger creamy khaki head, good lacing, a few carbonation bubbles at the bottom of the glass.

S - Oak, blend of bourbon & whiskey, cocoa, hint of fragrant/bitter hops, light caramel.

T - Sweet chocolate, hint of smoke, oak, light vanilla & caramel, bitter hops, faint coconut, whiskey soaked dates, light alcohol burn.

M - Full bodied, medium-high carbonation

O - The best beer brewed in Maryland! Fantastic!


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Photo of barczar
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black/brown with a solid half inch milk chocolate head that lingers around the rim.

Bourbon, oak, chocolate, malted milk balls, and roast malt comprise the aroma, which finishes with vanilla. There's a touch of rubbery phenol.

Flavor is predominantly roasted malt, a bit acrid, coffee bitterness, with chocolate, bourbon, and oak adding complexity. The chocolate malt typically prevalent in porters is somewhat subdued by the roast character and alcohol. Oak bitterness is evident at the finish.

Body is moderate, with a moderate amount of carbonation and significant alcohol warmth.

Overall, great aroma, but the flavor is a bit too roasty and acrid. Bourbon is fairly prevalent, but the alcohol is a bit hot. May improve in a bottle with age.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Flying Dog last night.

Served in my new Flying Dog glass, of course.

The beer is near black with a thick beige head that plasters the glass with sticky, soapy lacing. The aroma is roasty with a formidable oak presence. The flavor offers chocolate, vanilla, oak, roast, booze. My chief criticism is that this beer is overly tannic and oaky with a sharp, biting finish. Some nice scents and flavors happening, but a bit unrefined. This beer has potential, but barrel aged beers have really gained in popularity and quality over the last few years, and this beer is lagging behind. While this is certainly drinkable and enjoyable, this recipe needs a few tweaks.

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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.

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

Ba Review #163
Served On: 05/10/2012
Glassware: Duvel Glass
Labeled ABV: 9.5%
Date/ Code: VINTAGE11BB

From A.K.A. Frisco's in Frederick at $5.45 for a 12oz. bottle. Picked up two and put one in the cellar. This bottle does not have Wild Dog on the label, but I'm assuming it is the same beer.

Look: Pitch-black color as expected. Initial head was a rocky 3-fingers of a sandy brown color. Head eventually reduced down to a 1/2-finger cap of sticky foam.

Smell: Sweet notes of whiskey and milk chocolate. Also some buttery notes mixed with some dark roasted malts. It was a very complex and pleasant aroma that was like no other Imperial Porter I've had to date.

Taste: The beer had a heavier mouth feel. First was a creamy roasted malt with some faint semi-sweet chocolate. The middle had a smooth whiskey warmth and a nice sour bitterness that transitioned in to a caramel or toffee-like finish coupled with a roasted note.

This was a very nice brew with qualities that definitely justify the price tag. I think a couple years in the cellar will certainly smooth out the whiskey notes, but they actually were not as harsh as I was expecting.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 refrigerated bottle. Poured into a MacAndrew's thistle glass. Pours a very dark, nearly opaque red brown. One finger fine, light tan head with good retention and lacing. Delicious aroma of roasted malt and whisky, some dark fruit. Flavor is roasted malt, oak, dark dried fruit, middle turns a bit vinous and dry. Finishes with complex light oaky wine, dark malt, oak, hint of cherries and a slight hop kick. Medium bodied with some creaminess. This is a nice complex baltic porter with an interesting flavor progression. I'm very sorry that Flying Dog no longer distributes to Washington state.

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Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 327 ratings.