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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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626 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 626
Reviews: 319
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 10.36%
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: 626 | Reviews: 319 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mcallister


4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-20-2007 23:50:19 | More by mcallister
Photo of letsgopens


4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-14-2007 21:23:06 | More by letsgopens
Photo of ppoitras


2.95/5  rDev -28.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2007 02:09:25 | More by ppoitras
Photo of BradLikesBrew


4.15/5  rDev 0%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2007 23:17:06 | More by BradLikesBrew
Photo of crwills

Ontario (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev -6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2007 17:35:08 | More by crwills
Photo of barleywinebrewer

New Hampshire

4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2007 20:24:36 | More by barleywinebrewer
Photo of zdk9


4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2007 04:33:17 | More by zdk9
Photo of Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
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).

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2007 02:14:20 | More by Derek
Photo of BucBasil

South Carolina

4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2007 22:58:52 | More by BucBasil
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2007 05:34:35 | More by Sammy
Photo of feloniousmonk


4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wild Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter

Hmmm...this is a trip.

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

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

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

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

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

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2007 11:04:07 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of Bighuge


2.3/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Appearance: Thick black body. Mousse like dark brown head. Thick and rocky. Moderate amounts of patchy lace are left behind as I drink.

Aroma: Dark chocolates, anise oil and roasted malts.

Flavor: Bitter roastd malt tones with black licorice and a little char thrown in for good measure. I like that part of the equation. But there's also a husky astringency and tannic bite to this beer that makes is somewhat unpleasant. Alcohol is also quite evident.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Light to light-medium in body. Too light IMHO. Airy and gaseous as well. Not a good feel to this beer. Too much carbonation. Not velvety or creamy or lush. Gaseous beers bother me and this is just that. The sum of all the parts to this beer does not equal a good beer. The astingency/tannic/alcoholic character mixed with a disagreeable mouthfeel makes for a disappointing experience.

This makes me appreciate all the more what works of art the barrel aged beers from the Town Hall really are.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2007 04:07:06 | More by Bighuge
Photo of SebastianBock


4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very thick, dark brown head, which was rather stubborn in the glass. The dark brown/ black body of the brew appeared thick because of this. The immediate nose was chocolate, toffee, cherries, and raisins. Big tobacco and smoke in the background, with lighter notes of licorice and nuts. The taste was not quite this refined, as the smoke and raisins move to the front of the palate big time, along with molasses/ syrup, resin, and some chocolate as it warms. Bumbling along behind those tastes came hints of vanilla and metal. The mouthfeel was thick for a porter, and definitely became syrupy as it warmed. Over all, an absolutely delicious beer!

Recommended for: John Coltrane, John Candy, John Locke.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2007 19:07:48 | More by SebastianBock
Photo of Beerbuddha


4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought it at Martin Wine Cellar $14.99. It poured black with ruby highlights. It had a nice thick, foamy off white head. Smelled of roasted malts and dark chocolate. It tasted again like roasted malt and chocolate but with a hint of spice from the oak. It had a thick body with medium carbonation. This was a great beer. Flying Dog did a great job with this one.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2007 19:27:00 | More by Beerbuddha
Photo of gueuzeonhigh


4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I usually don't give much credence to the brewer's write-ups pasted onto the bottle. What brewer in their right mind would admit to a mediocre product?

The short blurb on the label sums up this beer quite nicely.

Poured a dark brown-black color with a head that seemed like it was some sort of polymer-- it lasted what seemed like an eternity and held its shape and sculpture all the while. In fact, the head was so active that it prevented me from pouring a satisfying amount, let alone drinking the beer until it receded. I thought pretending I had an ice cream cone-- instead of frozen cream it was beer foam!

The nose eminated wafts of chocolate, hops and whiskey.

The flavor was a delightful potpourri if hops, chocolate, coffee and whiskey. The flavor was a long lasting clean finish that seemed like it ended on a cadence rather than a fade out or a whimper.

The body was a bit thin but this beer is a porter and not a stout. Nevertheless the beer seemed to have a thinner flavor-mouth feel than I initially expected. What this detracts from the tast experience is debatable.

This beer was very smooth cordial to my palate.

Save the price, I could drink this beer until I was welded to my seat!

The only reservation I have about purchasing another bottle is the price. I haven't arrived at a definite conclusion as whether I'll seek out this beer again.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2007 06:24:10 | More by gueuzeonhigh
Photo of Dogbrick


4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hefty bottle (both in weight and in price). Pours flat black with a thick and foamy tan head that prevented pouring a full glass for some time. Patchy lacing slides slowly down the sides of the glass. Aroma of roasted malt, chocolate and oak. Rich body and a little on the carbonated side. Flavors of sweet malt, chocolate and coffee on top of the oak character. The finish is roasty with notes of whisky and dark chocolate. One of the better Flying Dog beers I have tried.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2007 18:54:35 | More by Dogbrick
Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr


4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Lots of dark, think, tan head on a dark brown body. A very attractive pour.

S - Sweet chocolate and coffee aromas with a hint of fruit (cherry) for the most part, but one can also pick up some of the sweet floral qualities from the Stranahan's whiskey (one of my favorite Micro-distilled products on the market).

T - I got to taste this beer a few months ago at a distributor tasting, and I just remember it tasting very overdone. Not a problem at this point though. The beer started out with a nice cherry entry, followed with coffee and wood notes. The finish was a nice balance of alcohol and bitter coffee flavors, Very impressive, a nice, big Baltic.

M - Silky and full, what one would expect from a high-octane porter.

D - This beer is one I would recommend to anyone who will listen, a really well balanced, deep, enjoyable beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2007 03:45:18 | More by SammyDavisJrJrJr
Photo of Floydster


4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Waited to drink this until my 300th review and I am glad I did, a very enjoyable brew


750 ml bottle purchased from Beverage Warehouse for 14.99 four months ago, bottle was aged for a total of ten months since its release date

Poured into my Flying Dog Gonzo glass, Hunter S. Thompson would be proud of this one

Regular Gonzo is already one of my favorite brews and this one tops that easily

Pour was black with a huge tan head, close to two and half inches, a lot of carbonation and bubbles in this, very surprising for a porter

Smell was full of chocolate and whiskey, had a slight caramel scent to it as well

Taste blew me away, Gonzo with a wood chip taste, close to unbeatable in my book, sweet roasted malt, hints of coffee, dry whiskey bite, amazingly long aftertaste, and to top it all off it was about as smooth as it gets

Could drink this all night other than the fact I would pass it before then because it is so strong

Too bad this was a one-time only deal because I would have bought a case of this stuff for well over a hundred dollars if I knew it was this good

Best of the Wild Dog series yet, interesting to see how Collaborator Dopplebock will be next month

Cannot say enough good things about this beer, dark and sweet bliss

Most porters do not age well but this one did after sitting in barrels for three months

Last time I was at Naja's Place in Redondo Beach, they hadd bottles of these going for 26 dolalrs, but one of two people I have seen still carrying it, other is Holiday Wine Cellar in Escondido for sixteen dollars, get there and grab every bottle you can

I can only imagine how good this beer would have been at their brewery on tap last year, too bad I will never find out

Try if you ever see these anywhere, regardless of price, no questions asked

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2007 07:03:26 | More by Floydster
Photo of CharlieMopps


4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a viscous, pitch-black.. reminiscent of oil. However, this crude was topped by the most ridiculous head I have ever seen. Absolute overkill. A moderate pour had the khaki colored head subsuming 3/4 of the glass. Ridiculous, especially due to its painstaking retreat, which left much lacing along the sides.

S: As expected, a big, burnt malt nose full of oakiness, cocoa, and coffee. Also, a toffee-like sweetness accompanies these aromas. Smells rather inviting.

T: After waiting nearly three years for the head to recede somewhat, a strangely light-bodied malty side shone through, reflecting the porter style accurately (I had no idea what to expect from the "Imperial" moniker). A bitter hoppiness showed up in the middle, but kicked into high gear toward the finish, as did the burnt malt flavors. Finished also with the oaky character.

M: Creamy and mealy, but with a smooth quality and a lighter body than anticipated, which was nice.

D: A fairly drinkable offering from Flying Dog, but I had kind of hoped for more. Nevertheless, this one is a plus for malt-heads and those who dig the barrel-aged stuff, and while it may not be the most amazing, it still holds its own.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2007 22:18:18 | More by CharlieMopps
Photo of weeare138


4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to TomDecapolis for sharing this bottle on brew day with egajdzis...
Appears a dark brown, near black with red edges when held to the light. A fluffy tan head slowly fades into a soapy head of foam. Mild foam is left around the glass.
Smell is of oaky caramel, cocoa, rum, nice bitter woodsy hoppiness.
Taste is of the aromas with a standout of cocoa, oak, vanilla, fruity black grapes, and brown sugar.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, spritzy, sweet up front, complex with wood, cocoa nibs, and vinuos uunder tones.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2007 00:36:28 | More by weeare138
Photo of sharkheadlasers


4.83/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This porter is a dark brown/black color. The head is a beautiful tan, lacey and holds for quite a while, making pouring difficult. The smell is a wonderful, malt-oak mix with a floral hop aroma. The taste is excellent. The oak is definitely there, but not overpowering. The malt is lightly smokey, and the hops are present, but not the main player. The mouthfeel is full as well as the body. This is a very drinkable beer. My only negative remark on this is the limited quantities produced.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2007 23:19:55 | More by sharkheadlasers
Photo of Blakaeris


4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours thick and black with a huge creamy tan head that hangs around awhile. No carbonation is visible.

Aroma is burnt dark grain. Nice bit of oak and bourbon accompanied by aroma of espresso and hints of chocolate.

Taste is very robust flavor profile with rich bourbon and chocolate. Dry earthy hops and a touch of dark fruit. Unlike any porter I have had, this is a big beer. Interesting woody oak notes add depth. Finish is quite dry.

Mouthfeel is thick and smooth with mild carbonation.

I found this to be a very interesting brew. Comparable to the bourbon stout from GI and founders, but with a smoother and sweeter profile. If you like big beers you owe it to yourself to try this one.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2007 20:58:34 | More by Blakaeris
Photo of bluejacket74


4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours dark brown with a very large brown head which took a long time to settle down. There's also a lot of lacing. It smells like coffee, chocolate, oak, vanilla and a little bit of bourbon. The bourbon/whiskey flavor is stronger in the taste, and there's also chocolate, oak, smoke, and vanilla. Mouthfeel is medium, a little thinner than I expected but still creamy, very smooth and with just the right amount of carbonation to make this very drinkable. It does go down pretty easy. Alcohol is well hidden for a 9.5% ABV beer. I think this is a little better than the regular Gonzo Imperial Porter, hopefully Flying Dog will decide to make more of this in the future.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2007 00:19:30 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of stephendr


4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

25.4 oz. bottle- color of India ink, with a super thick dark tan head - nose of roasted coffee, anis/fennel, earthy, chocolate, vanilla, and woody – taste of bitter sweet chocolate, earthy, cappuccino, plum, and sour milk- body is medium, and with high carbonation – aftertaste of chocolate, mocha, and woody

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2007 23:24:45 | More by stephendr
Photo of ultralarry2006


4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2007 17:35:54 | More by ultralarry2006
Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 626 ratings.