Flying Dog Brewery

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Flying Dog Brewery
Maryland, United States
Imperial Porter
Ranked #143
Ranked #9,955
4.02 | pDev: 10.95%
May 01, 2023
Jun 04, 2005
Notes: Too weird to live, too rare to die, Gonzo Imperial Porter is bold and forceful, like the man it was brewed to honor – Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Complex layers of roasted chocolate, coffee, brown sugar, and vanilla malt flavors are balanced with a one-of-a-kind hop bite that hits you like a homemade firecracker. Buy the ticket and take the ride by pairing this rich and creamy porter with blue cheeses, smoked meats, BBQ, chili, chocolate and coffee desserts. Best shared with your closest circle of friends— real or hallucinated.

Malts: Caramel, Black, Chocolate
Hops: Northern Brewer, Cascade
Yeas: American Ale, English Ale
IBU: 85
ABV varies
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Rated: 4.5 by headfullofacid from Maryland

May 01, 2023
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Reviewed by jkblr from Indiana

3.96/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
12oz bottle stamped VINTAGE 22 poured into a tulip pint glass at fridge temp 10% ABV. The beer pours dense, dark brown with light brown head. The head recedes to a thin ring and island leaving behind a web of lacing. Aroma is mild with dark chocolate. The taste is bittersweet malt with a dark toasted, but not roasted touch. Hints of chocolate and coffee. Moderate bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with average carbonation and a mostly dry finish. Overall, very good.
Apr 26, 2023
Rated: 3.77 by KT3418 from Colorado

Mar 20, 2023
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Reviewed by MadMadMike from Florida

4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
12 oz bottle poured into a hotel coffee cup.
Long rating short: this is a beautiful example of the way an Imperial Porter is supposed to be - on all levels.
Buy the ticket and take the ride.,.
Mar 02, 2023
Rated: 4 by avisong from Virginia

Feb 28, 2023
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Reviewed by izraelc from New York

4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Pours dark. Tan foam. Oaky aroma. This one is interesting. Heavy roasted malt body followed by a big hop presence. Slightly sweet chocolate finish. Big bold flavors. It's a little muddled but not bad.
Jan 28, 2023
Rated: 4.1 by KC_beerman from Missouri

Jan 22, 2023
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Reviewed by Pivopijak from Washington

3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
bottle into glass
really sustaining, thick tan head. Completely opaque and nearly black look. Quite restrained, dark roasted grains with a lot of a medicinal and astringent aroma. Sharp, nearly burnt grain and wood flavor that persists throughout the taste, on to the finish and makes up the taste.
Jan 05, 2023
Rated: 4.13 by ThinkAgain from Canada (ON)

Dec 14, 2022
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Reviewed by AzfromOz from Australia

4.59/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
Received from @Turkeysdrinkbeer in February 2022. Drunk in December 2022.

Drunk on the first 30+ degree day of the summer (that's 86F for you Americans out there). I shouldn't have enjoyed this so much, but damn...

L: It looks like a stout. It's as thick as custard and as black as the ace of spades, with a thin, mocha-colored head. No carbonation is visible. It's really very pretty!

S: There are big roasted notes with molasses, rich toffee, and an umami-like savoury note.

T: Taste is great! It's quite bitter, but it's balanced by the big roasted, burnt molasses notes it's pumping out. There's booze that hangs around the side of the tongue after the swallow and a very pleasant alcoholic warmth. Underlying everything is a tangy toffee/caramel note that hangs it all together.

M: Mouthfeel is smooth and silky, perfectly counterbalancing the bitterness of the brew.

O: What a great beer! Everything works together in perfect synergy, producing a beer that wears its alcoholic big-boy boots in plain sight yet hides them under a tasty, complex and moreish beer with a calm, angelic insouciance. I would definitely have more than one of these if I could, but I'd come out at the wrong end of that battle!

Dec 11, 2022
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Reviewed by BubbleBobble from New York

4.06/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
Pours near black, 2" tan head with very good retention and strong lacing. Nose is brown sugar, vanilla, molasses, light soy sauce, floral hop. Taste leads with strong roasted peanuts, with boozy vanilla, barrel, and black licorice as it warms. Feel is moderately chewy and full with very light carbonation. Alcohol is well hidden. A really solid beer.
Nov 13, 2022
Rated: 3.93 by Pens1967 from Louisiana

Nov 06, 2022
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Reviewed by NeoClassicist from New York

4.56/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Doth mine eye deceive me?
Pours with an even two finger head at each attempt into an Imperial Pint glass. Deep black, not inky, not burnt brown. Foam fades after about five minutes, is light brown in color. Smell is perplexing, too much going on to pick out individual smells. Tastes strong but not forceful, the myriad flavours of hops, chocolate, malt, charcoal, and their many companions joining to create something greater than the sum of its parts. Goes down thick and rich, even at the last sip of two bottles. Never heavy, never oily. This is a porter, you say. I don't care what it is or what you call it or how many people get offended by the packaging. This is really good.
Jun 30, 2022
Rated: 3.54 by petrusek23 from Ohio

Jun 09, 2022
Rated: 4.09 by Bogdawg from Massachusetts

Jan 18, 2022
Rated: 3.23 by CheapBeerBuzz from California

Dec 30, 2021
Rated: 4.17 by jmbeerdude91 from Arizona

Dec 03, 2021
Rated: 4.11 by CRObighit2 from Canada (ON)

Nov 17, 2021
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Reviewed by Easton70 from Canada (ON)

3.84/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
I’ve had this in the past and thought I’d have a bottle after a hard day at work and review it. I’m drinking this beer at room temperature so I’m perhaps picking up some notes that I wouldn’t normally get if it was out the fridge. It pours a dark dark brown with a nice looking head that developed with a little bit of the cascading that you get from a nitro pour. It has a wonderful malty aroma that’s sharp and bitter (coffee, dark chocolate and a berry thing in the background). The flavour is all the aspects of the aroma but there’s a slight Smokey note in the finish. Bet I wouldn’t have got that if it was chilled.

Overall it’s a lovely beer to relax with at the end of a winters day. I’ll definitely have it again
Oct 29, 2021
Rated: 4.29 by selekt0r

Oct 15, 2021
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Reviewed by EnderFett11 from Virginia

3.57/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5
Poured gently from a bottle into a pint glass, forming a finger of tan head before fading to a ring of lacing. Deep brown/black color. Smell is roasty. Taste is similar, roasty and a bit hoppy, a little bit bitter. Medium bodied, moderate carbonation, just fine. Not my preference, but solid for a porter.
Oct 10, 2021
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Reviewed by DavetotheB from Pennsylvania

4.11/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
From a 12oz bottle dated "Vintage 21B" (whatever that means...) into a pint glass. Think this came out in early 2021 but feeling it should hold up pretty well.

Pours an opaque black with about two fingers of tan head that dissipates more quickly near the glass leaving a mountain of head in the middle. Great retention and lacing.

Smells of coffee, bakers chocolate and mild dark fruits.

Taste is bitter coffee, bakers chocolate along with some sweet chocolate. Nice smoky roasty notes as well.

Full-bodied mouthfeel but not super thick. Strong bitter chocolate aftertaste. Low carbonation.

Overall, a really nice porter. Got it for a great price on clearance-$8 for a 6er. Would like to try fresh for comparison.
Oct 10, 2021
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Reviewed by scott451 from Canada (ON)

3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Poured a 355ml bottle into a pint glass. A thin brown head on a a reddish black. The head soon diminished to a ring.
Coffee and roasted malt smells.
Toasted malts up front. Strangely fruity in the middle. A very mild hop finish.
Medium body and carbonation.
Smooth and well balanced.
Oct 05, 2021
Rated: 5 by Dalkri from Massachusetts

Sep 16, 2021
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Reviewed by LuckFreeZone from New York

3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
L: rather thick tan head that persisted.

S: slight hop scent, but otherwise very subtle. not much to the nose at all.

T: a barleywine-esque taste with minimal after taste. I enjoyed the taste straight from the fridge (not a given with stouts / porters for me) and as it warmed.

F: slightly more substantial than your average porter. the smooth mouthfeel and relatively sharp, hoppy taste was an interesting experience.

O: I liked it enough that I would drink it again. Reminded me of some barleywines or Evil Twins' 'I Love You With My Stout'
Aug 02, 2021
Rated: 4.85 by beerrat from Virginia

Jul 10, 2021
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Reviewed by Sigmund from Norway

3.77/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Rerate, 12 fl. oz. bottle, courtesy of Cardinal pub, Stavanger, Norway. ABV here is 8.7%. Pitch black colour, large chocolate brown head. Interesting aroma with vinous notes, roasted malts, molasses and newmown hay, maybe some woodwork too. The flavour has a very powerful malty sweetness and an enormous richness, with notes of strong sweetened coffee, dark bitter chocolate and Danish pastry. The bitterness is as high as 85 IBU, but it doesn’t taste that bitter, as the hops are balanced with the malty sweetness. Liquorice in the aftertaste. Definitely a "sipping beer". When you know what to expect, this is actually a great drinking experience! I’m upping it a few points.

Original rating: Bottle, at Plain Kitchen, Göteborg. Black colour, moderate creamy tan head. Overwhelming malty sweet aroma, roastiness, molasses and bakery / Danish pastry. Flavour is VERY sweet (too sweet) - molasses, sweetened coffee, sweet pastry, chocolate. There’s just too much of the good stuff. Unbalanced.
May 11, 2021
Rated: 4.16 by Hoptometrist from Ohio

Mar 24, 2021
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Reviewed by mikeinportc from New York

3.96/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
"Vintage 21A", whatever that means? Jan 2021? Let sit out for 20 minutes or so, before opening. 50F +/-.

Dark, mahogany brown, with one finger of moderately long-lasting head, that leaves a ring, a thin surface sheet, and a slight bit of sheety lacing.

Smell is a little bit of roasty malt, some piney/herbal/dank hop aroma, and some lightly-boozy chocolate liqueur scent as the head fades. A slight bit of cocoa when the head is almost gone. More hoppy aroma than I remember. Maybe it was older the few times I previously had it?

Taste is dark chocolate, with a slight sour tang (In that, it reminds me of the sour cream brownies my mom used to make.) , and some roasty/nutty malt flavor.

Feel is medium , medium-slick, with moderate , very fine carbonation tingle. Slightly drying finish. No nioticeable alcohol, other than slight, gradual warming of my ears. (Why just there? ;) )

Overall, a nice porter, that if memory serves, is better a bit older. The hoppiness reminds me of fresh Bigfoot, though it doesn't mesh as well with the other flavors as Bigfoot. Still, pretty good, and worth a try.

Mar 14, 2021
Rated: 4 by drt72 from Virginia

Feb 26, 2021
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Reviewed by thehyperduck from Canada (ON)

4.04/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25
12 oz bottle from the LCBO; best before July 2022 and served at cellar temperature. Didn't even notice this was from MD until I started reading the fine print... new state to tick, woohoo!

Pours a deep black-brown colour, with a significant amount of gritty, sand-like sediment gradually settling at the bottom of the glass. Two fingers of foamy, billowing, beige-coloured head collapses within several minutes' time, soon reduced to a creamy-looking collar encircling a thin, filmy cap; a messy swath of lace is also left behind. Smells boozy and bold - roasted malts, caramel and molasses are well accounted for, with additional notes of pine forest, coffee, dark chocolate, prune and floral, spicy hops. No complaints so far.

Tasty, robust flavours - roasted malts, molasses and brown sugar sweetness take the lead at the forefront, with hints of coffee and baker's chocolate preceding a surprisingly bitter tail end. Coffee grounds and floral, earthy, somewhat woodsy/resiny hops come through, alongside touches of vanilla, cocoa and prune; it finishes with moderate booziness and lingering hints of brown sugar, roasted malt / chocolate as well as a resiny, earthy bitterness. Medium-full in body, with moderately low carbonation that gently tickles; feels oily-slick and smooth on the palate, with well-integrated alcohol that numbs the tongue just a little. A fine sipper, though perhaps a tad lacking in terms of complexity.

Final Grade: 4.04, a highly respectable A-. Flying Dog's Gonzo is a pretty good imperial porter, but 'great' might be stretching it a little. Don't misunderstand, I did enjoy my glass quite a bit... but for an imperial dark ale that comes in at $5 CAD per bottle (or $30 per six-pack, if you prefer), it just seemed to be missing that certain je ne sais quoi. I'm still kinda kicking myself for not picking up a few more bottles while I could've - no, it's not exactly the pinnacle of its style, and I doubt the beer itself would gain much from a stint in the cellar... but it'd still be nice to have on hand.
Jan 11, 2021
Rated: 3.58 by TerryW from Canada (ON)

Jan 07, 2021
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Reviewed by tradershmulie from Connecticut

3.91/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Gorgeous beer. As nice as any. Thick rich luscious light brown head that just sits there and clings while slowly slowly dissipating.

Nice hoppy aroma.

Starts out nice, but hops become more pronounced with each sip. Not to my liking.

Nice beer - not as rich as one would expect from the style, but still very good.
Dec 31, 2020
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Reviewed by Andrew_NYC from New York

4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Smell is big roasty malt with a hint of yeasty sweetness.

Taste is a nice mix of bitter and sweet with a surprisingly long finish. The high alcohol is not especially noticeable except in the long, warming finish and the intensity of the flavor. Nice full mouthfeel but not at all syrupy or cloying.

Great to drink on a snowy night.
Dec 17, 2020
Rated: 4 by yancot from Canada (ON)

Dec 13, 2020
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Reviewed by DCH from New York

3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
Pours black, slightly dark brown with a light brown/khaki head. Head retention is pretty good and lasts a few minutes, smell is mostly dark chocolate and coffee, and the taste is roughly the same with a slight boozy note towards the end, not overpowering though. Was expecting a little more body, but as it's an imperial porter rather than a stout, I guess that's to be expected. Not a bad beer, it's nice to see sixers of heavier beer as opposed to the ever annoying 4 pack format. Will revisit again.
Nov 16, 2020
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Reviewed by jockstrappy from Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Pours a rich coffee brown with creamy 2 finger head. Nose is espresso, dark chocolate with a floral hop note. Flavor is the dark toasty malts up front, coffee and cocoa in the mix. Mild sweetness...dark chocolate and brown sugar maybe?. Finish is interesting with a noticeable hop bite and a nice boozy warmth. I am not exactly a big Flying Dog fan, but this is a good beer.
Nov 11, 2020
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Reviewed by lastmango from Pennsylvania

3.87/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Poured black with a big frothy three finger tan head. Moderate lacing. Nose is very weak with just a hint of coffee. Upfront malt and coffee flavor followed by a bang of black licorice and hop bitterness that lingers on the finish. Moderate body and carbonation. A bit dry. Overall, a rather strange porter but likable.
Nov 08, 2020
Rated: 3.75 by octortus from Canada (ON)

Sep 24, 2020
Gonzo from Flying Dog Brewery
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 3063 ratings