Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter - Flying Dog Brewery

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Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter
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BA SCORE
92
outstanding

678 Ratings
THE BROS
84
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 678
Reviews: 323
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.14%
Wants: 144
Gots: 115 | FT: 7
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: 678 | Reviews: 323 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, 15 February 2009.

Although I'll say that I loved the Gonzo Porter (gave it an A here on BA), and I REALLY, REALLY loved the bottles with Brett (was that intentional or a mistake?), I don't think that the whiskey barrel aging did much for this beer. Sure, there was a bit of an addition to the nose, OK, but it wasn't any better than it was before, just different. And the woodiness kind of softened it. Although, in retrospect, I do think that was a good thing. Smoothness is (almost) always good. On the other hand, it lost a lot of its hoppiness. Hmmmm... ? I kind of wish I'd had a bottle all to myself at home one night with a good book rather than just a glass of it on tap at the bar - I'm not sure that does it justice, and I'll have to see if I can find one somewhere. There must still be bottles around, right? But back to what I was saying, it's an alteration of the beer, and it's a good one, but it doesn't improve the initial beer in a significant way. It's still an A, just a different A.

Photo of HeyItsChili
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased this at the Charleston Beer Exchange's rare beer tapping, occurring each Tuesday at 5.

A - Poured from a growler into a pint glass. Pours black with a thin, tightly foamed brown head that settles slowly to the edges of the glass.

S - The smell is wonderful. Lots of vanilla and whiffs of nutty oak from the barrel, with the chocolate-coffee taste of the original imperial porter still extant.

T - The taste brings out more of the smokey oak flavor, highlighted by notes of bourbon and vanilla, the warm alcohol finish is probably the main focus of the bourbony flavor. Up front you get more of the vanilla/chocolate/coffee sweetness, but that could be due to how it hits the tongue. Exceptional.

M - Creamy, full bodied, with a slight bit of carbonation that tingles the tongue.

Notes - Not much else to say other than this is a fantastic, complex imperial porter.

Photo of Slatetank
4.88/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorite beers, the opportunity to try it barrel-aged was hard to pass up. Served chilled in a goblet at Shady McGrady's in Harrisburg.

A - Black w/ a deep opacity and 1/2 inch head of medium brown. The head relaxes to a ring, the lace is spotty on the glass

S - Cocoa aromas mingled w/ vanilla bean, coffee, mild caramel and nut scents. There is an accent of toffee w/ notes of pine and subtle dark fruit esters

M - The feel is smooth w/ sweetness that is balanced by roasted nutty malt w/ moderate carbonation and a sweet caramel texture in the finish

T - The barrel has a big flavor presence w/ a nice taste of wood w/ a sweet dark malt taste w/ cocoa smoothness. The taste has a warming bourbon and toffee and similar notes of raisins soaked in booze. The taste is earthy with noble hop flavors and subtle dark cherry notes. The flavors are well layered and the taste finishes with vanilla notes from the barrel, dark caramel malt and chocolate maltiness

D - A phenomenal beer as it is, but barrel aging increases the drinkability IMO. I really enjoyed this beer and the increased abv is something to watch for but a great all around beer for the style

Photo of aerozeppl
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Black with no light getting through. Good head retention considering the age and the relatively low ABV.

S: Subtle nose. A nice mix of oak and faded hops. Some roast thrown in for good measure.

T: Nice musty earth taste followed by a subtle roasted note. Nice amount of sweetness to even things out. I really did not pick up the barrel till it warmed up a bit.

M: Fairly light body. Still well carbonated.

D: Had this bottle for 4 years. The first beer I ever cellared. Big fan of HST and this beer lived up to his legacy.

Photo of tmoneyba
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 750 ml.

Poured dark brown color with a large creamy brown head that mostly lasted and produced good lacing. Heavy toasted dark chocolate woody aroma. Medium to full body with a smooth texture. Heavy complex bittersweet flavor with a heavy bittersweet finish that was long lasting with a small alcohol bite.

Standout well balanced barrel brew.

Photo of HisDorian
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Having had the non-barrel aged several times, I saw this in the store and snapped it up.

I'm writing this as I'm trying it.

I love the dark color that pours, though the head swelled up much more than I would like upon initial pouring. I'm going to have to wait it out for a sample.

The aroma/scent and initial taste of the head was much better than I expected, though. Lots of sweetness, chocolate front, and a full beer behind it. I'm a fan of the original Gonzo, so maybe I'm biased when these jumped out in front of me immediately, not reminding me of the original.

Now the head is down, (well, sort of...1/3 head, 1/3 brew, 1/3 empty glass), I get my first taste. This is so much more smooth and complex than the traditional Gonzo. I wish I could get this more often. Sweet hints of citrus and something else I can't quite place. Still lots of chocolate and vanilla.

The alcohol isn't as forward as you would think, but adds character in the background.

It feels creamy, but not too milky. I wouldn't chug this ever. Flavor kind of leaves a more bitter, almost hoppy/roasted flavor in your mouth.

I can imagine this beer cellaring well.

Since this was a limited brew, and I enjoyed it MUCH better than the traditional Gonzo, I'm going to pick up a couple bottles. One to surprise people at a Flying Dog tasting I'm hosting, and some to hold on to.

Photo of TooleBurger
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I was lucky enough to catch this one on draft at Monk's in Philly.

It had a coffee / bourbon aroma which I really enjoyed. my only complaint is that it is a bit strong. You could really tell the difference between the aged version and your normal Gonzo. It went down pretty smooth, but you have to be careful not to have too many of these bad boys or you will be on the floor.

It poured a nice, dark brown with minimal head. It was a little bubbly in my mouth.

Overall I really enjoyed it. Again, you can only have a few of these in one sitting.

Photo of astrasday
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this puppy on tap at Hop Devil on St. Marks in NYC. Poured into one of those 12 oz. tasting glasses. Near black with a rich, tan head that retains fairly well with a thick lacing all the way down.

Smell is overly floral. Hops surprisingly dominate here. There is also bourbon, roasted malts, molasses and vanilla.

Taste is initially hoppy. Not overwhelming, but definitely enough to be surprising. The flavor then turns to smooth, woody bourbon, molasses, roasted malts. Vanilla, dark fruits and a rich coffee come in as well. Complex but harmonious. Excellent.

Mouthfeel is rich, oily, creamy. Thick and smooth. A pleasure.

Drinkability. This is a highly drinkable beer. The booze is untraceable. I was able to fully appreciate the mellow, rich flavors and mouthfeel after having the standard Gonzo Porter next to this one. While the barrel aged had a nice, complex nose, the standard seemingly reeked of booze and vanilla. Quite a difference. A great beer and one I would have again, for sure.

Photo of CrellMoset
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Barrel Aged Gonzo, on tap at the Midlothian Capital Ale House. Served in a cervoise of sorts.

Appearance: Just about a pitch black-bodied brew with one-finger of dark cocoa head that has average retention. Following the fade, there's a thick, sponge-like collar of lace, and sticky but still runny lacing, the combination of which results in interesting, gravity-influenced patterns.

Aroma: Bourbon and coffee dominate in a pleasant dance. This one's relatively sweet in the nose, as good Baltic Porters should be, and though it's accompanied by a slightly alcoholickly prickly quality and definite woodyness, the malts - cocoa, espresso, toast, a few faint lighter notes - definitely do their thing here.

Taste: Good balance. Sweet toasted darkness - chocolate notes taking the dominant role away from coffee here, but, really, I'd just classify as it as "dark sweetness." Definite bourbon and woody notes with a hint of vanilla. As it warms, a little alcohol prickle and heat comes through, though they're absent for most of the experience.

Mouthfeel: A little uneven and big bubbled, though still marginally creamy in places. Carbonation is crisp and the body relatively medium thick. Body thickens as it warms, and with the big carbonation, makes for an almost "chunky" feel. Evens itself out a little as it warms, but the chunkiness remains. Strange, but not offputting.

Drinkability: A solid barrel aged brew, above average for the course. This one hits most of the right notes in the right combinations and order, and though the abv% is a little high, the tingle melds well enough with the bourbon note such that it's unnoticeable on its own. Can't compare it to the aged version out of the bottle, but I'd be interested in doing so.

Photo of tavernjef
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Blue Nile: Served by none other then the "Monk" in a tall Maredsous goblet right to the top with a thick inky black liquid and a finger high capping of very soft, fluffy, dark chocolate brown, smoothed over froth. Lacing of all kinds etches itself across the glass. This was served up as one gorgeous glass of porter.

Aroma is thick and creamy with a nice lofty chocolatey waft. Deep and sweetened with a nice heated bourbon twinge and some nice dark fruity notes of cherry, fig, and raisin.

Taste is outstanding! Quite a perfect blend of creamy milk chocolate tanged with a frothy, fluffy, easy going roastibility and rounded with a centering of faint cherry, lesser fig, more so raisiny twang. Sweetness and warmth of the BB aging is remarkably balanced in and really adds an incredible depth to its overall taste and length. Nice warmth in the finish where the chocolatey tone mixes really nicely with the bourbon notes. Lovely!

Feel is fairly full and definately creamy. More so silky and delicately smooth and soft. Middles out as it goes with a lofty, fluffed, and rounded texture. With each sip it gains a very warming nature grows a very fun and fine chocolatey finish laced with the soothing bourbon.

Rocking good stuff! As for Imperial/Baltic porters go, this stuff is damn near perfect!

Photo of KeefD
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Blue Nile. Poured into a St Bernardus chalice, a dark brown quite close to black color with a two finger brown head that left some average lacing on the glass. Aroma is full of chocolate, spicy alcohol, dark fruits and some buttery oakiness. Flavor follows suit. Chocolate is the main star, brownie batter goodness, hints of coffee, dark fruits, light whiskey flavor, some buttery oak, and alcohol. Thick and creamy, average carbonation. Alcohol is more present in the nose than it is on the tongue. Well hidden in the mouth but could be felt in the head after finishing one glass. This was an exceptional brew, and quite possibly better than the regular Gonzo. I'm glad Al got this in by mistake, because it was damn good.

Photo of magictrokini
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Holiday Wine Cellar. Pours dark brown, nearly black, with a thick brown head. Beautiful roasted chocolate, nuts, leather, and whiskey in the nose. Velvety mouthfeel. Incredible taste. Blended cocoa, vanilla, bourbon, oak, smoke, and roasted malt. This beer alone redeems all the other overrated Flying Dogs I've paid too much for.

Photo of John_M
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Max's.

The beer pours a very dark brown color with good head retention and lots of sticky lacing. On the nose, one gets a huge blast of vanilla and chocolate milk shake. There is some underlying bitterness as well, but the vanilla/chocolate really dominate. Flavors on the palate generally replicate the nose, though I get a hint of licorise and some noticeable hoppy bitterness. Once again, however, the sweet chocolate and vanilla dominate the flavor profile. The beer has a medium bodied mouthfeel and the beer is pretty soft and smooth. Drinkability is not bad, though the alcohol is a bit more noticeable then I would normally like. Still, this is a very good beer from Flying Dog. Would absolutely order this again.

Photo of DmanGTR
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia

A - poured dark brown, nearly opaque black, with a 1" tan head, some lacing.

Sm - floral, bourbon, some chocolate malts and biscuits, light hoppy notes. Chocolate and coffee is prominent and alcohol, oak and smokiness is definitely in the nose.

T - strong hoppy taste with coffee and yeastiness. Nearly stout-like but also has a decent dose of caramel malts and toffee. Quite porterly in that respect. A huge twist thanks to the barrel aging gives all of the above a bourbon kick and a smoky finish.

M - full bodied, moderate carbonation, could be a little less for my taste.

D - drinkable, high alcohol impedes its drinkability though.

Overall - I was quite impressed with this bold porter. I have only had a few barrel aged brews to compare this to but this is surely an excellent beer. I would love to cellar a few of these for a couple of years.

Photo of jwhawkins81
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a dark dark color with a light brown head that quickly dissipated. The aroma was of sweet caramel. The taste had notes of sweet coffee, a smooth bourbon, with a nice bite of alcohol, and a slightly smokey ending as well. An extremely drinkable porter that was pretty popular at the bar and was gone in two days.

Photo of kasper
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had the pleasure of enjoying this rarity several times in the past few weeks. The first couple of times were at Monks Cafe in Philly where the beer was labeled Flying Dog B.A.G. (or Barrel Aged Gonzo). More recently, I'm convinced I was poured a brew from the same barrel-aged batch at the Lazy Boy Saloon in White Plains, NY, where it is currently listed as just that regular variant, or Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter. Either they've listed it incorrectly, or I know nothing about barrel aged beers =P Both were loaded with bourbon flavor and aroma. Notes below are from tasting at Lazy Boy Saloon.

A: Thick, nearly black with a solid creamy and malty cocolate milk-colored head. All sorts of glopy lacing patterns line the walls of the glass.

S: Startling aromas of sweet bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate malts in that order. Extremely inviting. This baby smells like a drunken dessert.

T: The taste is similarly loaded with bourbon, which carries all the way through each sip. Mixed in upfront are dark chocolate malts accented with some faint but noticeable alcohol-soaked dark fruits. Next comes a hit if creamy chocolate sweetness and vanilla before segueing into a alcohol/bitter roasted finsih. There's also a tad of oak dryness apparent after the finish.

M. Thick. Vicious. Heavy. Oily. Sticky. Mild carbonation. But overall really smooth for the style.

D. This is no doubt a strong, big beer. Some would call it an imperial stout, and I've actually seen it listed as such in places. It's thick as hell and prolly has like 500 calories a serving. That said, I've taken down a couple of these puppies in a single sitting quite a few times due its deliciousness and rarity.

Photo of tpd975
3.38/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Not sure who sent this one to me but I have had it for well over a year.

A: Pours a nice dark black hue with a big tall pillow like espresso colored head. The retention is out of this world with nice big thick chunks of lace left behind. Really beautiful beer in the glass.

S: Roasted marshmallows in the aroma, bourbon notes like oak and booze, roasted coffee, and chocolate.

T: Sweet flavors of brown sugar, chocolate, alcohol, bourbon, dark fruit, and a touch of sour. I like all the flavors they just don't meld together as good as they should.

M: Big and full bodied. Dry finish with some booze sting.

D: This is a sipper. Very big beer that took on alot of barrel qualities. I enjoyed it, but wish I had opened it with a friend. It is a bit much to enjoy alone.

Photo of neenerzig
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes as i drank this one 2 weeks ago now.

Served in a snifter. Had a nice tan head an inch thick when served to me. It eventually settles to a medium sized tan ring lining the inside of the glass. very nice lace. This beer is a dark brown color that lets in no light at all. Aromas of oak, roasted malt, and alcohol. The oak bite is certainly there in the taste as well along with some sweet malt and a bit of caramel. the alcohol bite is certainly there a bit in the taste as well. Has a crisp, smooth, sticky, medium to full bodied mouthfeel and moderate carbonation. Fairly easy to drink. This beer does the winning at existence!

Eric

Photo of rbennett0
4.58/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, MD.

Appearance - very dark, very creamy head

Taste - Unlike some barrel-aged beers this one does not taste like whisky. To me it tastes like a barrel aged should (smooth, creamy burnt taste up front, with a hint of barrel in the backgound). Of all of the flying dog beers i look forward to this one the most on brewery tasting days. i thin the barrel seems to smooth over some of the strong alcohol taste the original has.

i would definitely recommend this one.

PS - this is also my lady's favorite!!

Photo of jojox
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Monks in Philly. No notes, but just from recall:

Super black, served in a 10oz flute-style glass. Smells like whiskey, oak, some roasted malts.

Flavor is knock-you-on-your-ass barrel aged. What a beer! HST would be proud. Huge whiskey and oak flavors, killer, huge porter to back it all up. Well blended and balanced, but also, simply huge.

Photo of alovesupreme
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Darkest Porter I have ever had. Looks more like an RIS. Opaque thick, dark head.
Molasses, Coffee, chocolate maybe some dark fruit
Lots of molasses, very bold similar to an RIS, (wheres the line?)
Very thick, syrupy, good carbination for style.
Very intense for style but enjoyable in moderation.

Photo of stumac
4.78/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Only two bottles ever made their way to Spec's downtown and I grabbed that ho and ran! Drank this with my podnuh Onslow and my beautiful girlfriend Melani at the infamous Stumelagram II.

pours up super black with a never-ending Brown MacBrowny head. aromas of nutty malt, roasted malts, chocolate. taste is outstanding! notes of dark cherries, wood, whiskey, subtle sour oak, some tartness. medium to full bodied, very mouthfilling flavor, smoothe carbo, the head stayed with it through the whole ride! a very big beer yet not filling to your belly.

¡¡¡FAVORITE PORTER EVER!!!

Photo of bashiba
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured very black with no light coming through, had an enormous thick and creamy head, tons of lacing.

Has a big whiskey barrel smell with a touch of chocolate and burnt smokey malts.

Taste like a big and full flavored imperial stout with a double shot of whiskey thrown in. Has nice dark hints of chocolate, smoke, burnt malts, and coffee along with nice vanilla, oak, and molasses bourban qualities mixing in nicely with just a hint of juniper and minty hops in the finish.

The mouthfeel is thick and oily with a long lingering finish.

Drinkability is decent for a beer this big, good but not great.

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?"

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.

Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 678 ratings.