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Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter - Flying Dog Brewery

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

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642 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 642
Reviews: 321
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.39%
Wants: 137
Gots: 112 | 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: 642 | Reviews: 321 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of kexp
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I purchased a 1/6 barrel of this fine brew from Cuspotm Home Pubs in Charlotte, NC. A very good beer, but certainly not one that you can drink more that one or two of. VERY flavorful, and excellent on a cold night. The head is excellent, with good lace rings on the way down. Smell is good, slightly roasted, but definitely features alcohol. Taste is very good, again featuring raosted coffee and alcohol flavors. Mouthfeel is actually pretty good, as the carbonation is there, but not intrusive. The beer is definitely one of the thicker porters I've had. Overall, a very good beer to own on tap.

kexp, Jan 07, 2008
Photo of grub
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

JeffKrenner hooked me up with this one as part of BC2. gonzo is one of my favourite beers, so i was really excited to try this version. thanks jeff!

750ml bottle, corked and caged. sampled dec 31/07.

pours deep brown, not quite black but still opaque. the edges show ruby when held to the light. a big dense brown head forms, then drops very slowly and leaves lots of lace behind.

aroma is good. dark and milk chocolate. coffee. vanilla. light alcohol. bread and biscuit malt. bit of orange and tangerine.

taste is great. dark and milk chocolate. vanilla. caramel. bread and biscuit malt. bit of alcohol. light orange and tangerine. low bitterness level. hints of baltic sourness. bit of smoke. light sweetness, but mostly as milk chocolate. light roast.

mouthfeel is great. medium-low carbonation level. medium-large body.

drinkability is great. good balance. nice mix of the base porter i love so much and the barrel character. this was definitely a fitting end to a great new years eve tasting.

grub, Jan 03, 2008
Photo of homebrewhawk
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle caged and corked. Served in a brandy snifter.
A little over carbonated. First poured resulted in a massive tan head. Deep brown. Lots of vanilla in nose and a little alcohol, hint of hops.

Great bourbon flavor with oak and vanilla. Full body. Flavors of chocolate malt. There are some hops in the middle to balance the malt. Rich mouthfeel.

A really nice barrel aged beer, the only detraction was the over carbonation.

homebrewhawk, Jan 02, 2008
Photo of Bierguy5
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Solid black color, with no highlights. A foamy tan head holds together well for a beer of this strength. Nice patches are left at the end.

Oaky, smoky, vanilla notes, with bourbon in the back. A bit roasty, with some dark fruit notes as well.

Lots of oak flavor, with some sharp roasty components. A bit of smoke and vanilla present in the flavor. Woody, with a fair amount of bitterness.

Medium body, and warming. Maybe a bit too much carbonation. Lots of oak going on here, this could probably age for a bit. Still, pretty nice.

Bierguy5, Dec 26, 2007
Photo of mcallister
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice nice pour into a Piraat snifter. Midnight in color with a good inch of dark mocha head rich and creamy leaving a sticky thick swirling lace.

Lavsish thick black fruits galore. A nice touch of bourbon and vanilla with a toasty oak component underneath. Dark chocolate and caramel malts mingle with each other and sing harmoniously toward the finish.

Very very nice with good balance. Bourbon, sweet toasty oak riddled with vanilla tones and hints of mollasses devour the mid palate and follow through to the finish which is overwhelmed with complex black fruit flavors and hints of licorice. Very chocolatey with a fudge type feel. Creamy thick with an alcohol bite on the finish with some red currant coming through but black currant dominated in front.

mcallister, Dec 20, 2007
Photo of letsgopens
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I like the version from the bottle but it lacked that heavy, creamy, sipping bourbon quality due to 'off' carbonation. As I understand some of the bottles had excessive carbonation that effected the texture and overall brew. Experiencing this one on-tap really showed how good this beer could be.

It pours a thick, unforgiving, opaque black with no visible highlights. The creamy, dark tan head holds extremely well and when swirled leaves tall walls of thick lace.

The aroma has lots of bourbon character in there; that mellow woody vanilla and smoke. Roasty and warming. Earthy cocoa but with a distinct sweetness. Just a bit of milk chocolate is present as well.

The flavor is creamy and mellow but still very complex. The bourbon character is pronounced but not at all harsh; very smooth. Lots of vanilla and smoke. Woody malt and that same earthy, slightly bitter cocoa. Some chocolaty sweetness. The flavor is robust and lingers on the palate.

Smooth and velvety in texture. Lies heavy on the tongue. Again, thick and creamy with moderate carbonation. Much better than the experience I had from the bottle, but as I mentioned I don't think the bottled version I tasted was quite right. In any case, a great cold weather sipper. Also I would love to have the tap handle displaying a portrait of old Hunter himself. Classic.

letsgopens, Dec 14, 2007
Photo of ppoitras
2.95/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

750ml bottle purchased at Julio's, Westboro, MA. Corked and caged.

Poured in a heavy glass chalice, formed a 3" dark brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head slowly fades, leaving tons of rocky lace in its wake. Aroma is dark maltiness with lots of bourbon and alcohol, all of which has its corners rounded a bit by the vanilla. Taste is a peek of dark sweetness, which is quickly tempered by slightly sour fruitiness. Vanilla comes next, with lastin bourbon and alcohol at the close. Mouthfeel is way thin, and drinkability is just not that great for me. For $19/btl, I expect more.

ppoitras, Dec 11, 2007
Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up in a trade with psprings back in June.

750ml green bottle with no freshness info.

a: Pitch black body allows no light to penetrate. A huge tan head slowly settles, good retention, a few patches of lacing.

s: Sweet chocolate malt, vanilla from the barrel aging, smells like dessert.

t: Tastes like dessert too: Chocolate upfront with some vanilla, bourbon, oak and some nice roasted notes. A nice bitterness in the finsh provides good balance.

m: As the label says, "a memorable, velvety mouthfeel."
Very creamy and smooth.

d: A tasty sipping beer. Maybe it just shows my limited knowledge of oak aged beers, but this is quite similar to Bourbon County Stout.
For such a robust, barrel-aged imperial porter, it is very drinkable.

BradLikesBrew, Dec 02, 2007
Photo of crwills
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm a fan of the regular Gonzo, so this was a real treat at the Fall tasting. Poured pitch black with a huge head and tons of lacing. Aroma is a bit boozy, and not much evidence of barrel-aging in it. Body is somewhat lighter than the regular Gonzo, but still good. Flavour is a lot like the original, although more roasty notes and a bit more tart sourness (did some wild beasties get in)? Vanilla only shows up as it gets pretty warm.

crwills, Dec 02, 2007
Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've seen this beer kicking around at a few different stores. I finally decided what the &*(@ and picked one up.

A - brought up from the cellar, nice loud cork pop, pours all dark tan foam. Eventually settles to a deep dark brown - nay black brew. Each subsequent pour turns the glass to all foam then settles down
S - rich bourbon and vanilla notes (JB??) with a roastey coffey undernote.
T - bourbon notes, oak, vanilla swirl in and out of roasted malts, balers chocolate, caramel and bitter hop hints.
M - medium bodied, creamy smooth slightly warming
D - Takes quite some time to work through one of these. Tasty but way overcarbonated.

barleywinebrewer, Nov 27, 2007
Photo of zdk9
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- There is no hope of the light of day penetrating this beer, it's as black as midnight. A finger of light cocoa foam tops off the beer and leaves some weak sheets of lacing.

S- Quite fruity in the nose- cherry, prunes. Some light coffee flavors. And a touch of vanilla and whiskey.

T- The whiskey is more prominent here, and slowly melds into the fruitiness of the beer, again cherry and some slightly darker dried fruits. Then there's some more cherry and sweet vanilla. In the back of the mouth some nice coffee and unsweetened cocoa. There is so much complexity with this beer.

M- Somewhat thin for the rest of the characteristics of this beer. That's really the only downside of this beer.

D- Complex and delicious. If there was a little more body to it I would give this beer a five. But awsome.

zdk9, Nov 17, 2007
Photo of Derek
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Black with a tan head. Great retention & lacing.

S: Coffee, wood, dark chocolate.

T: Dark roasted coffee, tar-like bitterness, pumpernickel bread.

M: Moderate body & carbonation, smooth, some roasted acidity.

D: I really like it, but it's big & bold (even for the style).

Derek, Nov 14, 2007
Photo of BucBasil
4.58/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BucBasil, Nov 11, 2007
Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 642 ratings.