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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

User Reviews
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Reviews: 327 | Ratings: 740
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.

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Photo of phisig137
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

The first gentle pour of this beer into my tulip yields an entire glass full of foam. After subsequent gentle pours, I finally end up with a glass of pitch black liquid, topped by a cafe au lait colored 2.5 finger head. Phenomenal retention leaves behind gobs of chunky lace, and a thin creamy blanket over top of the glass. Perfect.

Aroma is complex, yet a little muted. Brown sugar, molasses, heavy woody aroma, vanilla, french pressed coffee, and alcohol. This is a great nose, and just smells "round", if it were a shape.... know what I mean? I didn't think so....

Flavor is surprising. Much drier than the original Gonzo, with only a hint of that maple-y sweetness of the un-oaked version. Huge coffee and chocolate flavor marry beautifully with the oak induced vanilla flavors. some fruity flavors pop up towards the finish, with dried figs and plums being the most prevalent. Alcohol is pretty well hidden, but it does warm a few seconds after sipping. Mouthfeel is sticky and heavy. Drinkability is pretty good.

It's hard to imagine that Flying Dog could take a beer as fantastic as Gonzo, and make it better. They did. In general, I've been getting a little tired of the oaking craze of late, but this one just works. At $16 a bottle, this isn't cheap, or something that I'll be drinking regularly, but I'll definitely be buying another bottle or two for the cellar. Recommended and worth seeking out.

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Photo of shroompod
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml poured into pint glass. Large rocky brown head, plenty of lacing.

This beer has a faint citrusy hoppy nose, some slight caramel maltiness also.

Taste has a nice black patent bitterness that compliments the modest hoppiness. I can taste dark chocolate, coffee, and nice mild sweetness.

Mouthfeel is medium, somewhat lighter than I'd expect from a beer with so much flavor.

Drinkability of this beer is good considering the high ABV, but one bottle should be good for the night.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.35/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: This beer is foamy. Really foamy. The head is HUGE! Like 10 times bigger than the body itself. Need to let it chill out a little bit and I’ll get back to this. OK, this is gonna take a while, this head is thick and not looking to drop very soon. Massive mocha colored bubbles ain’t going no where. The body underneath is an attractive sable color, of what can be found under the head.

S: Minor bourbon…slightly pungent, butter, dried cocoa and a bit of vanilla.

T: Begins oaky with vanilla aspects. Pungent bourbon comes in bringing with it more pungent oak. Mineral flavors ensue before basic cocoa flavors come forward. Mild bourbon flavors finish this beer out with a nice vanilla streak. Overall cloying and disappointing.

M: Medium body with a medium mouthfeel.

D: Wow was I disappointed by this beer. I suppose I was never a real big fan of the original

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Photo of YonderWanderer
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle.

A: Pours a dark brown, almost black, with a nice solid tan head. The head retains well, and leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

S: Oak, with hints of chocolate and coffee.

T: This beer is quite tasty to put it mildly. The alcohol is very present, with a nice warming throughout. Chocolate, caramel, coffee, oak, whiskey, and vanilla tones are all present throughout. A subtle hops flavor, pine and resin, balance out the malts nicely.

M: It's thick, as an imperial porter should be, but not too syrupy or creamy - very well balanced. Light carbonation as appropriate to the style.

D: Aside from the price tag, I would rate this a very drinkable beer. Given it's high ABV, it's not a session beer, but it's a great beer to sip on. Well done Flying Dog.

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Photo of clvand0
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark color with a thick and tall head that has great retention and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass. The aroma has quite a bit of alcohol to go along with the oak and chocolate notes. Alcohol is at the forefront of the flavor. Lots of chocolate and citrus/pine hops come through. The body on this one is very thick and the drinkability is so so because of the alcohol.

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

The beer pours a deep dark black color with a beautiful thick tan head that resists fading. The aroma is great. It melds together the whiskey scent with the thick chocolate and black malt aroma of the porter. The taste is great. It has a smooth black malt and whiskey flavor that goes down easy and warms on the finish. The barrel aging really lends the whiskey character well. The mouthfeel is excellent. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a great imperal porter. I loved the original Gonzo, but the aging brings it to a whole other level.

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Photo of barefootbrewer
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured looking like black tar with a huge brown rocky head – pretty lacing. The aroma is malty and alcoholic. The taste is sweet and malty. There are caramel and slight coffee flavor. The woody notes are noticeable. The mouthfeel is full and chewy. This is a bold beer that comes together excellently. Awesome! Great tribute to Gonzo – I’m sure he’d be proud!

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Photo of Jmamay22
2.93/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: With a pop and a pour an extremely creamy looking coffee head develops atop a pitch black brew. The head refuses to disappear. Some sticky lacing.

S: The huge head pushes up a roasted almost burnt smell of malt and coffee with a possible hint of chocolate. Hops make themselves well known as well.

T: Hops jump out at you and then finishes with burnt malts and alcohol. Some chocolate creeps in, but the taste never really develops into something great.

M/D: Overly carbonated, but unfortunately the mouthfeel is too thin. I expected a smoother feel with the introduction of barrel aging 25% of it, but it doesn't really come through.

The beer looks great, but it seems as if it could do so much more. Porters aren't my top style, but this disappoints, escpecially at such a high price. I've never had the regular Gonzo, but this might put me off of it. I expected better.

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

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer pours a jet black body with a thick light tan head that is three times the size of the body. The head last and last and the body is too dense to see any carbonation.

S- This beer has a big fresh oak nose with some spicy bourbon notes and a hint of wet fresh rain.

T- The dry smoky bourbon flavor is followed nice rich coco notes with chocolate malt and a hint of prunes. There are also notes of slightly sweet brown sugar and cream with some light granny smith apple notes. The finish has a dry white raisin note with the fusel note of bourbon.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a creamy texture and a fusel alcohol heat in the finish.

D- This is a big beer with a nice blend of flavors. The malt flavors increase when warm while the bourbon gets softer. This is a big porter with accents of barrel aging not the other way around which is common for many Barrel Aged Porters.

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Photo of mynie
4.41/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very, very, very black. Very nice brown head, too. Seriously a perfect stout pour.

Uneven bourbon barrel burn along with harsh, uneven sweet n sour porter. That's some "industry" terms for you. It smells like fruit and fire and beer.

It tastes like fruit and fire and beer. A bit uneven but you warm to it as you drink it, since it gets you drunk. Hard fire fruit candy with wood at the back and then some whiskey and then some very dark roasted malt. More like a wine than a beer. Very nice.

Very good all around, worth picking up if you find it.

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque dark brown color with a huge stiff dark brown head that resists fading. 3D lacing observed

The smell is a real mix you get the vanilla oaked treatment, alcohol and the chocolate porter beneath.

Full bodied, the mouth feel is really complex too. The tongue and roof of the mouth are immediately conditioned by the 9.5% ABV oaked whiskey. That rush is fed by a well carbonated characteristic. Simultaneously the velvety chocolate porter is in there swinging away as well. It finishes with a lingering roast coffee.

Vanilla oaked whiskey and creamy chocolate porter flavor abound, but you've got to be one who likes the flavor of the liquor too because that's what this one is all about. I happen to like it in this combination.

I really enjoyed this one. I was hesitant at first because i like Gonzo, but there are comparable local beverages. Highly recommend it; much to consider.

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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 Zorro
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Trying to pour this it is an intensely head forming beer it is a clear dark brown colored ale I observe. An impervious black colored beer in the glass with a dark brown head.

The smell is strongly of coconut and chocolate. Hop aroma has diminished to the point that it is only a herbal scent in the background. On second sniff there is a clear vanilla and whiskey scent here.

The taste begins neutral and smoky with strong chocolate and charred malt flavor. Chocolate is the major flavor here with a faint Bourbon flavor, this is good, this is a whiskey barrel beer without an overpowering whiskey flavor. Slight sour and metallic taste in the after taste but I really can't call it a flavor defect I am REALLY looking for a flavor fault here.

The mouthfeel is OK, not its best feature.

This is really not that similar to the original version. This is possibly better but I really love the original version.

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Photo of BlindPig
3.87/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Didn't think I poured hard at all and it gets a huge mocha head (about 3" in a alesmith tulip) on a pure black body. Way to much head for this beer, great head retention also.
S- Blend of chocolate, roasted, burnt aromas, piney hops, alcohol, and just a touch of wood and whiskey (isn't to present in the aroma).
T- Big piney hops, chocolate, and roasted malts, whiskey, vanilla, rich oak, hints of espresso, light warmth from alcohol all help make up the beer. Whiskey and oak sits on tongue along with some bitterness from the pine hops. Interesting blend between the pine hops and the oak. Tad bit to rough around the edges. I think if this beer sits for about 6 months- 1yr it will be a lot better. I have one bottle of it left and I will probably open it in a year.
M- What are they thinking about putting so much carbonation in this. I think this beer would be so much better if it had a low carbonation and a creamy silky feel to it. Full/medium body with high carbonation. If you pour hard leave it for a bit and swirl it around a few times, it does help a bit.
D- It is good but I think it could be A LOT better for what it is. If they aged it for longer and didn't put as much carbonation in there I think it would help a lot. Also if they maybe mixed it with 80% barrel aged beer and 20% non BA it would be a lot better also. I am kind of let down but I can't wait until next year to see how it came along.

After drinking the bottle I think the secret is to let it warm a bit pour harder (get less in glass but gets rid of carbonation) and it tastes a whole hell of a lot better! I think about 60 degrees is good.

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Photo of xav33
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Flying Dog Wild Dog Barrel-Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter
750 ml bottle
Moderate pour in stein and tulip glasses.

Poured black with a huge light brown mostly lasting head.

Smelt of strong burnt grain, dark chocolate, oak, whiskey, molasses, anise, coffee.

Taste was upfront strong bitter sweet chocolate coffee with some clear oak and whiskey tendencies followed by a strong to harsh oak and burnt grain taste with moderate notes of anise, vanilla, sour dark fruits, chocolate on a long finish.

Palate was medium to full bodied, viscous, softly carbonated, and strongly astringent and moderately cloying and lightly alcoholic.

Overall, the rich layered textures and flavors in this beer are very hard to spot. In all honesty I think I tasted something new every single sip... I caught some honey and maple syrup and mangoes as well. It's a little over the top. I like it.

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

Pours out really dark and with lots of tan suds. Three to four fingers in a pint glass!.
Smell is cherry and oak with sugary caramel malts. It has a strange sour dirt smell.
Taste is refreshing. The tip of the tounge is the only thing that senses the sour oakness. The rest of the mouth gets the sweet malt and caramel.
Mouthfeel is wet/dry/wet. You get the nice sour clean cold beverage into the mouth then the dryness hits making your mouth water and the wetness is the last part of the drink, followed by just a hint of alcohol burn.
Drinkability is a little low here because of the 9.5 %. Other than that, this is a very nice beer.

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Photo of jwc215
3.71/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours black with a large, tan head that descends to a lasting rocky head that leaves lacing.

The smell is of sweet wood and whiskey - almost masking the dark malt and dark fruitiness underneath.

The taste is of dark, coffeeish, chocolatey malt with dark fruitiness under a cover of whiskey barrel taste. Dry, alcohol sharpness in the finish.

Creamy and just hanging on to full-bodied.

A slow-sipper to be sure. The whiskey and wood dominated just a bit too much to be too drinkable for me. Actually, it is interesting, but personally I prefer the regular Gonzo Imp. Porter. (Surprised that this is categorized as an "American Porter" here - would have thought it would be "Baltic Porter", but that's okay - it works).

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Photo of saintwarrick
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark black with a head that builds rapidly, way more than the normal Gonzo porter, and it stays till it is gone. There's heavy alcohol aroma on the beer along with semi-bitter dark chocolate and some caramel mixed in. Definitely a different taste than the original Gonzo, the barrel aging really comes through with a smoky aftertaste in this beer to go along with the dominating chocolate and coffee taste. While the alcohol stuck out a little bit in the smell, this is a very drinkable beer at 9.5 percent. Good stuff.

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

750ml bottle caged & corked

A - very dark black color with a large fluffy tan head that eventually settled some, leaving thick lacing.

S - sweet malt, roasted coffee and alcohol/bourbon aromas.

T - very nice coffee/chocolate malty taste, the alcohol is noticiable, especially after a few swallows, but I like the warming.

M - medium bodied, moderate to low carbonation, smooth warming finish.

D - good drinkability now (the salesman was unpacking the only case of 12 my local beer store was going to get, so I grabbed 2!).
I'm going to age my 2nd bottle 2 or 3 months and will update my review if I see any improvement.

Limited availability, I recommend grabbing a bottle or two if you see it.

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

A- Well now. the beer can barely be seen for the immense, ridiculous head. The liquid that can be seen is as black as used oil. No light gets through at all. Most of it looks like an ice cream cone of head. It takes fifteen minutes to be drinkable. Seriously, we floated a fork on the head. and had a forfull of head stuck to the fork.

S- Hops up front. Alcohol, some malt, but mostly hops. Some vanillins, oak and even some pine. Smell is good, but not strong.

T- Oh wow. Malt, hops, oak, whiskey, coffee, coffee, coffee, chocolate, alcohol. The taste is very well balanced, albeit leaning toward the coffee, and finishing with alcohol and hops.

M- Velvety, creamy, low in carbonation (surprise!), with a slick, warming finish and some slight dryness and astringency in the end.

D- It's thick and heavy, but tasty and good. I recommend at least trying it while it's here.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
2.95/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark brown with a respectable frothy head. Smell is of a roasty bourbon. The taste is huge. A very good underlying porter with a large amount of bourbon flavoring. The mouthfeel is big and creamy. However, there was way too much carbonation for my liking. The same comment was made by all, and that was, this is good, but doesn’t compare to Founders KBS. Still a very good beer, but not as complex or as good as several others.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled April 2007
Very well carbonated, despite a very careful pour it creates a four-finger thick head. The head is a dark, light brown color, which sits atop a deep black colored brew. The aroma certainly is thick with whiskey barrel character; notes of vanillin, buttery oak, a touch of spicy oak, and even some whiskey notes all play a prominent role. Underneath this are rich chocolate malt notes, touches of dark grain and burnt caramelized malt character. Despite the aroma being so barrel influenced, it is quite smooth and actually quite appealing to me (usually this much barrel character would turn me off).

Yep, this is definitely way over carbonated, it foams up quite a bit as it first hits my tongue. Even after 5 minutes the head has not subsided in the least; a quick swirl to shake loose some carbonation lets the foam climb an additional three fingers above the rim of my glass and still not overflow down the out sides. Without the excessive carbonation, the beer begins to take on a creamy mouth feel. Even in the flavor the barrel still plays the dominant role; notes of vanillin, oak-butter, whiskey soaked oak, and a touch of spicy woodiness are all easily noticeable. The Gonzo underneath the wood is not all that noticeable. Somehow though the underlying Gonzo plays an interesting supporting role. By that I mean that the oak here is not too overwhelming, despite being the most noticeable flavor, the Imperial Porter flavors, while not particularly stand out, hold the oak in check enough to make this reasonable drinkable. Still I think I would enjoy this a lot more if a quarter of this was mixed with three quarters of the regular Gonzo.

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