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Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter - Flying Dog Brewery

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Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter
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655 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 655
Reviews: 321
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.39%
Wants: 141
Gots: 118 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: DogFood11 on 04-14-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 655 | Reviews: 321 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Onslow
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

only 2 made it to downtown Houston, my boy Stumac grabbed one of them for the 2nd Stumelagram tasting ... oak, smoke, sour cherry skins, and alcohol in the nose ... very light in the mouth .. powerful yet subtle-- like being beaten into a coma with a whiffel bat .. "what seems to be the offficer, problem?"

Onslow, Aug 23, 2008
Photo of mwilbur
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 mL bottle into shaker pint glass.
A: Poured a thick dark black with very large (3-4 inches) cappucino colored head. The fizz from pouring this--even carefully--was like pouring pop from a 2 liter. Honestly, too much (ya gotta wait for it to settle down!).
S: Definite whiskey note. Roast caramel malts. And the sweet scent of sugar.
T: Nice darker notes: whiskey, black coffee, dark molasses, smooth dark roasted malt. Slightly bitter finish creeps in over time.
M: Very, very smooth and with some stickyness at the finish. Nice feel, but wish it matured a little more on the tongue.
D: This is a nice sipper. Drinkable...sure, but not too sessionable with an ABV of 9.5%. I lean toward darker, sweeter brews and this does the job admirably. If you enjoy bourbon or whiskey barrel-aged beer, seek this one out.

mwilbur, Aug 12, 2008
Photo of sholland119
3.58/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber with a thin white head.

Nose is rather nondescript. Some dark malts and fruits.

Taste is rather disappointing. A bit of malt, a bit of vanilla but really not nearly as good as the normal imperial porter.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light, drinkability is good.

A disappointment as I really like the Gonzo porter. Aging does nothing for it.


sholland119, Aug 10, 2008
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

ChainGangGuy, Jul 12, 2008
Photo of bbothen
3.35/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Careful pour brings a HUGE 3+ finger tan head. Deep dark black color. Nice sticky brown cappucino looking lacing on glass. Some serious carbonation here.

Aromas of wood, booze, sweet caramel, plum/date, cherry & some chocolate as well.

Some nice toasted bitterness going on here. The bourbon & wood really come through. Vanilla, coffee, dark fruit, & coffee flavors as well. Fairly complex.

Too carbonated for my tastes. Gets smoother feeling as it warms. But there is a effervesence that battles it. And wins.

Unfortunately the carbonation makes this a struggle to finish the bottle. After sitting for awhile the really nice flavors do come through.

bbothen, Jun 24, 2008
Photo of Franchise
3.65/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured softly into my Rapscallion goblet and still left a 3in thick brown head. The body is dark and mysterious can hardly see through this beer. The aroma is boozey sweet, caramel, coffee, whiskey, oak, brown sugar, mint, very herbal fantastic nose.

The taste starts a bit sour, earthy sour twang, that smacks the palate, boozey comforting with chocolate and caramel overtones. Nice porter, I paired this with a roasted chicken and sides of apple chutney and I was on my way.

Franchise, Jun 03, 2008
Photo of bkilpatr
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a pint glass. 05/26/08. Bottle is corked and caged. Cork was a pain to get out.

Pours a very dark brown, almost black. An easy pour creates a huge tan head. The head slowly settled down leaving moderate lacing. Aromas of roasted malt, chocolate, and whiskey.

The taste is predominately oak and whiskey with a hint of sourness and some smokiness. There are also a lot of roasted malt and chocolate hidden beneath the whiskey flavor. At times I can almost detect a hint of hops, but it always vanishes quickly.

Feel is thin and slightly watery, just as any Baltic porter should be. Though it doesn't feel as thin as the regular Gonzo. It's well carbonated and has a very clean finish. Drinkability is also good. The alcohol is hidden pretty well.

A very good barrel-aged porter. If you liked Gonzo, give this a shot.

bkilpatr, May 27, 2008
Photo of tedpeer
3.58/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750 ml poured into a chalice.

A - Huge head which subsided into 3/4 of an inch of foam. Poured black. Some lacing.

S - Hint of bourbon.

T - Roasty smoke flavor, with chocolate. Also fruity. Little bitterness from coffee flavor.

M - Medium carbonation, more than I like, but not by much.

D - Not really, I found myself asking, "Dang, isn't this bottle finished yet"?

tedpeer, May 25, 2008
Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.53/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap - Pours beautifully deep black with a frothy tan/caramel colored ¾ inch head Simply gorgeous to look at. Thick heavy, heavy lacing clings to the entire glass like a little kid on his first day of school. Sweet smells of deep roasted malts, bourbon, and wood. First taste is so yummy and smooth with the rich deeps malts, coffee, and chocolate lovingly greeting the bourbon tones with open arms. Many barrel-aged beers lose a lot of their carbonation...not this BAGonzo. This beer is a creamy bordering on an RIS in mouthfeel. Very well done -WORLD CLASS!

ATLbeerDog, May 17, 2008
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

Georgiabeer, May 01, 2008
Photo of BeerBelcher
3.25/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Strange, I didn't really find that the barrel-aging greatly enhanced this beer. While my sampling of the non-aged Gonzo was some time ago, I recall preferring the non-barrel aged version. Nonetheless, this beer was quite rich and good.

Beer poured black with a pretty rich head which lingered and offered good lacing. Roasty aroma with some chocolate but also some off-notes that seemed to me to be cardboard-y and oxidized. Flavor was more rich roastiness (and was good!)t, but also had some oxidized and papery character. Mouthfeel was as expected.

I would recommend this beer, but was hardly blown-away by it. I had this on-tap at Roman's Pub in Milwaukee.

BeerBelcher, May 01, 2008
Photo of gford217
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Brickstore. Thanks Dave!

This one poured a deep brownish black with a two-finger head that had solid retention and very good lacing. Smell was a wonderful chocolate, coffee aroma with sweet malts.

Taste follows the smell with heavy whiskey undertones and dark fruits, chocolate, coffee and roasted malts. Quite a wonderful taste!

The mouthfeel was very creamy and silky smooth. I was pleasantly surprised and this is the best Flying Dog brew I've had the privilege of trying. Very nice!

gford217, Apr 16, 2008
Photo of JDV
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to MiguelMandingo for sharing this bottle!
Pours black with a nice tan head. Smell is oaky and hoppy, and nicely aromatic. Taste is roasty and the oak character really comes in as well, along with a good bit of hopping. Rich dark chocolately and dry with a medium body. Pretty solid beer all around.

JDV, Apr 06, 2008
Photo of Portertime
4.95/5  rDev +19.6%
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.

Portertime, Apr 05, 2008
Photo of deepsouth
4.53/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a big thanks to barefootbrewer for sharing this one with me.

this beer poured a black color with a brown head. beautiful doesn't do it justice.

the smell is coffee and nutty and toffee and chocolate. majorly complex.

the taste is consistant with the smell, equally complex. the alcohol is present in this one. i also detect a smokiness, i guess from the barrel aging.

the mouthfeel on the beer is nearly perfect and it would be easy to drink this beer often.

damn near a perfect example of this style, IMO.

deepsouth, Apr 03, 2008
Photo of kingjames1
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black, with a huge, thick, milk chocolate head. smells incredible: dark, bitter-sweet chocolate, brandy (whiskey barrel aging, I suppose), and rich roasted coffee stand out to me. The taste is sweet chocolate, vanilla, a hint of sour whiskey and coffee, with a touch of lemon (?). The mouthfeel is velvety, smooth, and satisfying. This great stuff, but definitely a slow sipper. Perfect warmer for those cold nights.

kingjames1, Mar 22, 2008
Photo of dfillius
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a wine glass. Nice corking noise - Pop!
A: Light to moderate pour yields almost overflowing 2-3 fingers of dark tan head. Retention is even too much! I had to wait a long time to get to the pitch black liquid below. Only negative is the perma-head.
S: Cascade and fruity hops, lemony detergent/Simple Green smell lurking and ever-present. That chemical smell spoiled it for me. When it warned a tad, the Simple Green became a tad more whiskey-like.
T: Mmmm-Mmmmm...Whiskey barrel oakiness is very well balanced with the porter flavor. Sweet chocolate (as the label says). Only brought down by the chemical smell.
M: Creay and not hot. I dislike hot and boozy barrel-aged beers and this is not one of those. Great levels of carbonation despite overbearing head. Something else besides overcarbonation must keep the head there.
D: One bottle split between three or four people would be better. It was kind of a chore to drink it between two.

dfillius, Mar 07, 2008
Photo of Viggo
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

New Years Eve tasting with grub and biegaman, grub brought this out. I had a small sample at DLD '07, and remembered really liking it.

Pours an opaque black, thick brown head forms, great retention as it settles down to a solid later, massive lacing on the glass. Smell is great, very rich, sweet, oaky, vanilla, lots of chocolate roast, charred wood, nuts, floral and citrus, very toasty, nice whiskey aroma. Taste is similar, very oaky, like a whiskey barrel full of chocolate thats hit with a flame thrower, lots of toffee, roast, bit buttery, excellent. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with pretty high carbonation, remember it gushing, and the carbonation is the only thing that stops this from being higher. Thanks Russ!

Viggo, Feb 21, 2008
Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.72/5  rDev +14%
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.

paulthebeerguru, Jan 27, 2008
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep dark black pour with a two finger bubbly tan head on top. Nice retention as well. Aromas of dark malts with good chocolate accents. Slightly roasty with big oaky, whiskey scents throughout. Some dark fruity notes and a touch of hops in the background.

First sip brings a smooth roasted maltiness upfront. Real nice chocolate flavors move in with a touch of coffee as well. A note of dark fruits flows into a bold, oaky, woody flavor. As it goes down the whiskey comes in even more. Finishes off smooth with a touch of bitterness. Quite nice. Lingering whiskey on the end.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Medium body with good carbonation. Quite easy drinking and tasty for a 9.5% abv brew. Overall, a tasty barrel aged brew that does go over the top with the barrel flavors. I'm glad I bought one of these when I saw it.

orbitalr0x, Jan 24, 2008
Photo of irishevans
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%
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.

irishevans, Jan 16, 2008
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to mikesgroove for the trade.

pours a deep impenetrable black with gorgeous fluffy tan head. Nose is of oak and vanilla. First taste is of lots of vanilla and dark malt flavors. oak is very present here, with some whiskey flavors. Dark malts are strong and the warming effect is quite intense, but in a good way. Some dark fruit cherry and raisin are here. Very prominent oak tones throughout and on the finish. some slight hop bitterness on the finish as well. Mouthfeel is beautiful here, with perfect viscosity. Much creamier than the non BA version. Drinkability is not anything incredible but is certainly above average for this abv. A fantastic brew from flying dog. To wierd to live, to rare to die.

AKBelgianBeast, Jan 16, 2008
Photo of blakesell
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml bottle into a St. Bernardus Chalice.

Appearance- Solid black with a huge head of foam that reaches the 3 finger mark. Head is tan and splotchy, thick and undying. Clings to the glass and makes it's artistic statement on the sides of the glass just like Steadman does on the bottles.

Smell- Malty and thick. I could paint my goth ex-girlfriends room with this stuff. Deep dark malts, chocolate and possibly some rye. The oak whiskey barrel is detracting from the malted smell and throwing me off. Caramels and rich dates and figs come in and the flying dog yeasty reminiscent that standard gonzo has (standard gonzo? That doesn't quite sound right).

Taste- This is one hell of a beast right here. Smoother than gonzo porter, for some reason the barrel aging has made this beer more deceptive than it previously was. Malty sweetness gives way quickly to the whiskey oak flavor that I know all too well. Alcohol is warming but not felt on the tongue or nose. Smooth as all get-out, espresso on the finish makes me wish I had cracked it earlier in the night. I'll be up all night with this one.

Mouthfeel- Thick and creamy, full-bodied and smooth. Alcohol warmth is big but unnoticable. Big carbonation on the appearance, but not too much on the mouth. Heavy like Elvis in the final days. It trys to cover it up, but everyone sees right thru that veil.

Drinkability- It does get hurt a little on drinkability due to the weight of this monster. 9.5% is nothing to scoff at. I will have it again on tap soon, but I won't be drinking it all day much to my dissapointment.

blakesell, Jan 15, 2008
Photo of littleshamrocks
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First pour from a growler. Served in a snifter.

Pours nearly an opaque very dark brown with about one finger of tan head. Head settles quickly, leaving traces of lacing. The aroma is of roasted malts, dark fruity esters (raisin, plums, and overripe cherries), with notes of smoke, wood, nuts, alcohol, and licorice as well. Very complex. Flavor is rich, malty, and sweet up front, followed by some dark fruit and wood in the middle, and finishes with roasted malts and hints of black licorice at the end. Mouthfeel is full bodied with a moderately heavy, oily texture and considerable carbonation. Finishes with a light alcohol warming, but for the most part pretty clean.

What a treat. I love a good, complex, strong, robust porter and this hits the mark across the board. The aromas and flavors are multi-layered and all work very well together. Although the alcohol does not overpower or even get in the way of any of the beer's character, I can tell after this first glass that I could be in for a heady night. Great brew to sip during a cold winter's weekend.

littleshamrocks, Jan 12, 2008
Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.03/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Many thanks to John for this birthday treat. Aged in my cellar for about 5 months before consumption.

Appearance: Nearly black-brown body with cherry hues and a brown head.

Aroma: Dark chocolate, some boozy woody notes, a decent amount of piney hops, and pinches of vanilla and rum.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Boozy. Astringent. Thick. Well, strike that, aggressively carbonated. Needs more time to mellow but still offers some booze soaked chocolate covered cherry sort of notes and some whiskey flavor that I don’t mind too much. Molasses and charcoal. Lacks cohesiveness.

Drinkability: Low. I couldn’t finish more than a half bottle by myself if I tried. With time, I think this would improve a bit.

DaPeculierDane, Jan 08, 2008
Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 655 ratings.