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Barrel-Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter - Flying Dog Brewery

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

49 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 49
Hads: 273
Avg: 4.02
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 31
Gots: 85 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Flying Dog Brewery visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: endincolorado on 11-18-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Aged and seasoned for three months in whiskey barrels.

Duplicate of this beer
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 49 | Hads: 273
Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sour bourbon, edgy, big bourbon aroma. Nice imperial porter. 'bout time I rated it. Buffalo BA gathering. A sipper, smoother mouthfeel than the last time I had it, aided by understated carbonation.Deep brown colour. Must have something soothing after it.

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Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 01/07/12 notes. Had at the last RB tasting. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip.

a - Pours a dark mahogany brown color with two inches of dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, chocolate, bourbon, oakm vanilla, and light coffee. Bourbon isn't overpowering, pretty nice nose.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, bourbon, chocolate, coffee, oak, vanilla, and dark fruits. More bourbon than the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Pretty easy to drink.

o - Overall a very nice beer. Bourbon isn't too strong, but definitely there. Would like to have it again.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.65/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I realised I had this review in the wrong place, this makes more sense now that I can see the bottle pic. Originally reviewed May 30th.

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. Vintage 11BB.

Very similar to it's on tap brother, creamy large milk chocolate brown/tan head settles nicely to a good whispy top, classic dark walnut body and hints around the edges of red. Looks real nice.

Nose is spicy milk chocolate, and yes banana. Choco banana, and even some salt.

Taste seems kind of lacking. Mild licorice, not much of a big sweetness but some residual charring and roast. Slightly silky but also some weak wetness also and a hint of fizz.

Overall I forgot I had this before (didn't), but boy that was sometime ago and getting the bottom of a keg. THis is more enjoyable slightly a bit out of the bottle, it seems to have more roast character and not as sweet as I remember.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in trade from MeadMe, thanks for the opportunity!
Pours a solid black with a good sized long lasting khaki head. Smells of chocolate and caramel with bits of dark pitted fruit, vanilla, oak, and bits of wood and bourbon. Smooth sweet chocolate with bits of dark fruit drizzled with vanilla and bourbon. The finish leaves a bit of bitter chocolate and roast with smokey ash on the palette that lingers long after each sip. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet creamy and syrupy mouthfeel. Wow I really liked this one!

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Photo of John_M
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at Max's today during their rare beerfest. This is the barrel aged version, but with vanilla nibs and chipolte.

The beer pours blackish brown color with fairly good head retention and decent lacing. The nose is just great on this stuff, as I pick up considerable dark chocolate, vanilla, nestle's quick and light coffee. The flavor profile is even better, as I pick up some heat from the chili's, a touch of bourbon, along with everything I got in the nose. The beer is fairly sweet, but the bourbon tones that down nicely in this fine beer. Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, with a soft, almost creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol is noticeable, but is not over the top or overdone.

Just an all around well made, well crafted beer from Flying Dog. Impressive stuff.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.91/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: really dark black porter. head is light to medium brown poring out to 1 full finger of head that dies down to a ring around the top of the beer. good looking dark beer!

Smell: strong whiskey and oak notes that overpower all else. The nose is all business, nuff said.

Taste: upfront some malty sweetness represented by a chocolate bar and a mild roasty coffee. U get a little bit of vanilla mixed with black licorice and oak. Then the whiskey takes over and dominates this beer from midtaste to the aftertaste. Mild boozey kick that works good with the flavors that are present.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied beer with low to carbonation. Appropriate for the beer style, fairly close to where it should be. Oily and fairly viscous for a baltic porter. Still feels a bit thin, but I am used to drinking barrel aged stouts and this is a porter. So that is to be expected.

Overall: really nice barrel aged porter. Had the non-barrel aged version of Gonzo many times before and I prefer the whiskey barrel treatment for this beer... it really does wonders for this porter. I would have to say that this beer is the best offering I have ever drank from flying dog brewery.

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

thanks to bbarak for sending this 12oz'er my way. enjoyed from a duck rabbit snifter.

a - brew poured a deep dark ominous black with a finger plus of tan head that fizzled away in a matter of minutes leaving a ring on the surface of the brew.

s - whiskey barrel with nutty chocolate. the wood is definitely present and brings a good amount of peat to the nose. more whiskey than i remember from the wild dog version.

t - lots of char and chocolate with strong woody peat characteristics. more stout than porter.

m - a bit thin for such a big beer, but overall medium bodied. thicker than a typical porter.

o - overall, a nice beer. it is pretty enjoyable. wish i had a regular gonzo to compare it to. memory says that it is similar to the wild dog, but the barrel seems more present than the larger format wild dog series. the wood is fairly present. i am a big fan of whiskey barrels as opposed to bourbon barrels, but certainly doesn't feel like the most top shelf whiskey. none-the-less, enjoyable.

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Photo of Rutager
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Yeahnatenelson for this one. Vintage 11AA

Appearance. Pours black with a thin, espresso foam head.

Smell. Chocolate and roasty malts with a little oaky vanilla and booze. Just a slight sourness too.

Taste. Sweet bourbon, some roasty malts, a bit of semi-sweet chocolate and vanilla.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body with medium-low carboantion.

Overall. Drinks pretty easy considering abv and tastes good.

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Photo of Gmann
3.79/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a near black color with brownish highlights at the edges. The creamy head is smallish and settles into a thick ring with some lacing on the glass.

The aroma is a bit faint for a whiskey barrel brew. I pick up some smooth caramel and vanilla with a hint of oak. Not much else.

The taste is of a light pumpernickle base with nice vanilla flavor and some caramel. A bit of oak and the whiskey pop through. Some roasty bitterness in the end, perhaps some dark chocolate. The whiskey doesn't really pop.

The feel is moderate with softish carbonation. Sweet on the palate and finishes with a slight bitter edge and dryness. Drinks very easy for a barrel aged brew, abv well hidden.

Falls a bit short for a barrel aged brew but it does have nice flavors and is quite easy to drink.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.36/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

1714th Review on BA
Bottle to Hangar 24 taster

Split with the Beer Geek Radio Guys.

App- This was a very dark brown with a dark center and a nice puffy head on it. Filled up the taster glass. Semi decent cling, but looked really nice in the glass. A good looking little taster glass.

Smell- I get the porter notes, but there is a raisiny off flavor behind this one. The aromas are a bit sweet with some of the prickly whiskey coming up to great you. Doesnt smell all that impressive really.

Taste- This just didnt go well for me. The porter notes are a bit thin and what I could day as the raisins from the aroma come in as well. The beer is just a bit better than average and dont do all that much for me.

Mouth- A bit of a lighter medium body with a lighter carbonation. Fairly bubbly and a little creamy. Residual oaky and raisin flavors.

Drink- Just kinda above average for me. Wouldnt say meh. But just okay. Not my favorite profile.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.07/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This review is a tribute to my boy Clay. They don’t come any better than he does. This beer is listed as retired... he kept one for me for almost a year,. Gotta love this guy.

Thin less than finger of head. A lot of sticky lace. Deep dark brown.

Aroma is fantastic. Bourbon, wood, vanilla, sweet dark malt

Lots of wood up front,.. A bit of vanilla and some dark fruits. It’s right here that you can detect the issue with the beer. THe body is a little thin for the flavor. Fades a bot too fast.

Not thin.. Not at all. bit a little too thin for the flavors included. I wish I could chew on it.

Still a very nice beer.

Clay... you DA man,...

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Photo of argock
4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750ml corked brown bottle into a clear glass snifter. No freshness date but from the 2012 bottling. Purchased at WIne Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $16.49.

A: Musty brown with impressive cola-like, beige 2-3 finger head that quickly receded to a thin rim of lace but only rare spots of lacing.

S: Great aroma, even 5 months after purchase. WHiskey is definitely evident with plenty of wood to go araound as well. There are nice dashes of vanilla and roast aromas to blend with the fig and rum raisin. There is still a bit of steely alcohol scent as well.

T: Really a great mix of dark malt fruit with fig, raisin, and grape flavors, molasses, mild anise, and the nicely accenting whiskey component. I wish I had been able to get two bottles to have one fresh. The oak is less flavorful but still adds some vanilla and woody qualities but more prominently provides a lot of drying. There are some woody, earthy qualities at first, maybe from the alcohol, maybe from hops, maybe from the barrel, but they recede after it sits out of the bottle for a little while. The alcohol is definitely not overbearing but there for certain, but whether it's from the whiskey barrel or the base beer is hard to say. The finish has a really nice roast aspect without the ashiness of some BA stouts -- maybe this is an advantage of BA porters? A really interesting flavored beer, I just wish it had a little more porter character.

M: Medium-bodied which was surprising for a 9.5% ABV beer. Plenty of dextrins but far from syrupy. Very active carbonation which I think could be toned down somewhat. THe drying of the oak tannins is pretty strong and give the beer a vinous finish.

O: A really nice beer from Flying Dog, and I hope they decide to keep offering this annually. It is a very unique beer on both aroma and flavor fronts at this stage. I will try my next bottle fresh though. I did enjoy this brew a lot though.

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Photo of masterofsparks
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vanilla, oak and booze swirl through the nose. Mouthfeel is thin to medium, right on for a porter but this looks so much like a stout that I was initially expecting more.

Taste-wise, this is a treat. The roasted flavors that are typical of a porter mesh beautifully with the barrel character. Vanilla is the dominant flavor from the barrel, but it doesn't overwhelm the other characters or the flavor of the beer itself. Well-balanced, smooth, and delicious. I'll buy this every time I see it.

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Photo of thecheapies
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black upon the pour into the snifter glass. Two fingers of light brown head crowns the brew nicely. Looks rich and full-on.

Nice tone from the whiskey in the nose. Still has that Baltic Porter savory-like aroma. Notes of dark chocolate, dark roasty grain, vanilla liqueur, and earthy dark roast coffee layer like a cake. No imposing sweetness. Has that beery firmness.

Gonzo with a dose of whiskey barrel. This is recognizable, intense, and amazing. Whiskey has a great presence here; a little corn mash, a little buttery vanilla. The porter has transformed a bit. More of that dark chocolate with added notes of licorice, heavy roast, earthy hop bitterness, and slight seawater salinity. Alcohol swells late with a bright spiciness. Pairs well with the light hop presence in this beer. Still comes off smooth; not a big wallop of a stout. Carbonation gives the body some chew. With this body, there's a lot to chew on. Not saying that it's full-bodied, but it has some great whoosh in the mouthfeel.

An impressive and fantastic beer. I'll sit back and enjoy this treat. It's late, and I'm many beers down already, so it might take an hour or so. Recommended.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Snagged a few of these in a trade with ruizjoe!

The beer pours a jet black with a thick tan head that fades. The reason I'm giving this beer a slightly higher appearance score than usual is because of how damn rich it looks for an american porter...although I have my suspicions about this being an american porter vs a baltic.
There is very little lacing, but an oily residue is left behind in its place.
When the light hits the beer, the edges glisten a color that is purely sunset.

A touch of yummy whiskey followed by a rich, chocolaty sweetness. The vanilla from the wood offers another candy element to this beer's nose. This smells very rich and smooth.

Tastes like it smells with gorgeous wood barrel, caramelized sugars, chocolate, and roastiness pulled together by syrupy sweetness and high octane alcohol. The fruitiness that lingers after each sip reminds me of figs, raisins, and tobacco (not a fruit...).
It's one of the best barrel aged beers I've had ever, and almost reminds me of how I felt drinking BCBS for the first time.

Thick, medium-full bodied beer with more carbonation than expected and heavy, heavy flavors that sit on your palate and linger. This is definitely a sipping beer and should be consumed at a slightly warmer temperature to experience its full potential. Kind of like biting into a whiskey, fudge brownie.

Super impressed with this beer and I think it's the best FD beer available. The bottles cost $6-7 for a 12oz, which is quite reasonable and worth the cost. I also shared this beer at a recent bottle sharing event and most people were as impressed as I was with this beer.

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Photo of n2185
3.37/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours black with three fingers of brown head that fades into a thin layer with no lacing.

S: Roasted malts with semi-sweet chocolate, char, and touches of smoke. Hints of vanilla, oak, and whiskey follow, though they're pretty mellow.

T: Roasted malts with bitter chocolate and char dominate here. There is a light smokiness as well. The finish has some oak and whiskey notes along with a light alcohol burn.

M: Medium-thick body with moderately low carbonation, this beer is a little watery and boozy feeling in the mouth.

O: A decent beer overall, though not great. I'd like there to be a bit more presence from the whiskey barrels with less of an alcohol burn and a creamier body.

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Photo of justintcoons
3.26/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle poured into a large wine glass.

Pitch black with a short brown head that dissipates quickly.

Toffee, sugar and prune. Dark chocolate, raisin and a touch of blended whiskey.

Toffee, semi-sweet chocolate and cocoa nibs. Prune juice and raisin. Very sugary with touches of blended whiskey. Very light barrel character.

Medium bodied, smooth, silky and warming.

This one is very sugary sweet. Lots of toffee and prune. Again, this is very light on the barrel character. Not really worth the $8/12oz bottle.

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

I was a fan of their regular porter and definitely had to try their barrel-aged version. This brew was aged and seasoned for three months in wood barrels from the brewery’s neighbors at Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey. Poured from bomber into a tulip glass. Pours brown with a foamy, tan head. Bit of dark malts in the nose, some mild roast, some toasty caramel. Big sweet bourbon flavor, roasted malts, and dark sugars. Medium to full bodied with fine carbonation. Mild warmth in the finish, some light roast, wood, dark sugar, and some dark fruits as well. Very nice imperial porter!

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, split 3-ways. No bottle date but I think this is 2012. Poured this into my Boulevard tulip.

A: Pours a really deep brown/black. Really carbonated. About a finger of dark tan head. Nice alcohol feet.

S: Barrel really over takes the porter notes. It's not the normal woodiness or vanilla that I was expecting. It's just booze heat really. I don't get the chocolate or coffee porter hints.

T: I get the woodiness in the flavor though. It's a little over carbonated. Actually takes away from the flavors staying with you. The flavors don't have time to mingle on your palate at all. You get some oak and vanilla, but I wish more.

M: Medium because of the carbo.

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Photo of Vonerichs
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It's a fantastic looking beer. Dark brown color with a massive soft espresso colored head that's persistent.

Strong vanilla and wood bourbon notes with burnt malt.

The wood is overdone in the taste and drowns out anything the malt tries to contribute. It's extremely hot, even for a BA.

Mouthfeel has too much carbonation and is prickly.

Overall, an average at best BA beer and the price tag makes this a huge miss for me.

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Photo of jmarsh123
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a minimal mocha head fading almost immediately. Some lacing down the glass.

Just a touch of the roasted malt and quite a bit of the chocolate remains from the base beer aroma. The booze is subtle, but the barrel characteristics dominates. Loads of sweet vanilla and some oak are present.

Chocolate up front in the flavor. Some vanilla (though not as much as the nose), oak and leather come into play and it finishes with a roasted malt taste backed with a subtle hint of booze. Flavors are integrated well.

Smooth and creamy mouthfeel with medium carbonation levels. Would prefer a touch less carbonation.

Good solid beer, but nothing spectacular and I think I prefer the base beer. The booze is subtle on it, but it still gets a bit too sweet at times.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Barrel-aging can really work wonders, eh? The standard Gonzo Imperial porter was okay - nothing revolutionary, right, but I really enjoyed this barrel-aged version...

A: pitch black in my flute glass - decent finger of dark tan head slimmed quickly leaving but traces of lace

S: chocolatey malts and roastiness overlaid by sweet, smooth whiskey oak notes

T: a real classy drink - rich and full, bittersweet and roasty, with airs of whiskey and oak; some espresso stayed relatively subdued in the backgrund, allowing the dark malst and barrel-aging flavors to take center-stage.

M: smooth, light (for an imperial porter), mellow, great balance of bitter and sweet; great finish, too - nothing coating or sticky, just a dry, semi-sweet cocoa vibe

O: wonderful drink, highly recommended

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Photo of WesM63
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a large snifter.

A: Pours a dark brown with a nice 2finger light mocha head. Minor retention and lacing are present.

S: Smells of roasted malts some oak is present but faint. Something else I can't put my finger on.

T: Lots of roasted malts then oak and whiskey. A tiny hint of vanilla is present as well.

M: Medium body with loads of carbonation.

O: Not what I was expecting. While the BA process is present, it's faint and doesn't seem to add anything to the porter itself. The carbonation seems over the top as well. To me the carbonation is one of the huge downfalls of this beer. It comes in super strong mid taste and drowns out everything else out.

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Photo of Etan
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a brandy snifter. Looks like it's a 2011 ("VINTAGE11AA").

A: Pours an opaque black with a small tan head.

S: Whiskey dominates the nose. Big vanilla, oak, smooth liquor, a tiny bit of chocolate from the stout underneath.

T: Oaky liquor, heavy wood, very subtle vanilla tannins, a bit of chocolate in the background, raisins. Huge charred roastiness in the finish.

M: Full-bodied, fine carbonation.

O: The heaviness of the oak and roast in the flavor detracted from this beer. Looking for a little more sweetness. Good, but could have been better.

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Photo of AdamBear
4.27/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-black with a pretty dark tan head

S-salty? grassy and creamy. not a strong scent. smells like a raw, strong stout really, almost menacing. overall, a let down for the nose

T-comes in with a really strong oak aged taste of dark bitter chocolate covered coffee beans. to be honest, a belgian rawness really lingers for awhile before the token cocoa and coffee come in. i'm really impressed with this. its much better than the regular version. has a nice lingering after-taste.

M-heavy carbonation with a watery finish

O-so this is amazing. and i'll tell you what i think sets it apart from other barrel aged stouts/porters. it has a certain belgian quality. it doesn't have the belgian grains, the spices, or those bubblegum sugars. it has that beglian rawness that i really enjoy from the true belgian ales. also, it has that carbonation that just fills the mouth with suds. i love that. i love this. by far, my favorite from Flying Dog.

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Barrel-Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 49 ratings.