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Gonzo Imperial Porter | Flying Dog Brewery

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1,464 Reviews
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Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter

Brewed by:
Flying Dog Brewery
Maryland, United States

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
ABV varies.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-04-2005

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,464 | Ratings: 2,872
Reviews by coasterfreak75:
Photo of coasterfreak75
4.26/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The pour was pitch black with a three finger beige head that slowly dissapated and left a very thin beige lace on the sides of the glass throughout the drink.

The smell was heavy in sweet coffee tones with an unexpected sour, fruity undertone. Dare I say a mix of raisons and citrus with a heavy alchohol note in the rear of the nose. All and all very complex compaired to other porters I had tried before.

The drink started like any other porter, quite sweet and coffee like but the middle was where it took off. The hops that were hidden by the fruit smell showed up and kicked my mouth and the finish was a sharp alchohol bite followed by a mellow lingering hop bitter.

This is one of the most complex beers I've ever tried. A great choice for an after dinner sip. Find it if you can.

 797 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Very dark brown, fine coffee head, no carbonation visible through the inkiness. Constellations of lacing.

S: Dark chocolate, roasted almost burnt malt, a hint of alcohol.

T: Bitter, dark malts, chocolate nibs, some hop-provided pine residue on the finish, also contributing to the lasting bitterness. Dark, heavy, lasting, but not overpowering.

M: A little filmy, but pretty fluid. Only slight carbonation, enough to keep it from flatness.

O: Powerful dark flavors, significant hops (for a dark beer), yet easily drinkable. Really impressed, this is my go-to when I need a dark beer in the summer months.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from the bottle a viscous deep black color with a nice bubbly tan head that lingers atop the brew and leaves strings of sticky lacing as it falls. Wow..hardly any light is getting through this brew. Aromas of dark, toasty roasted malt with some cinammon, cocoa and vanilla. An underlying citric, piney hoppiness is fresh and vibrant..giving this porter a unique nose...pretty heavy on the hops.

First sip brings dark, roasted maltiness featuring chunks of bakers chocolate along with some mild roasted coffee beans. Slight powdered cinammon midway through along with hints of dark fruits and vanilla bean. The brew follows through with a heavy dose of pine needle citric hop oils and finishes slightly chalky on the palate. Quite the enjoyable brew.

Mouthfeel is full with big creamy maltiness. Nice and chewy with a slight dry chalkiness. This brew is amazingly drinkable. I didn't know it was 9.5% until I checked the listing again...alcohol is very well hidden. Sort of reminds me of Alpha Klaus personally...which is definetly not a bad thing. A fitting tribute to the late Hunter S. Thompson (RIP) and probably the best Flying Dog brew I've tried. Thanks to dwvarner77 for bringing a few of these back to IL for me.

 1,232 characters

Photo of EmperorBevis
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black body with huge foaming thick tan coloured head
Aromas of good fresh ground coffee, treacle & cocoa
Flavour like a boozed up espresso with a heavy cocoa dusting
Huge heavy flavour but the mf is quite easy going
Most Excellent

 246 characters

Photo of Gajo74
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Baltic Porter. I thought it was an interesting and complex brew.
It poured a dark brown with a fingernail length tan head and lace that retained well throughout.
In the nose, I detect chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts. It also has a woody and smoked quality.
There is a lot going on in the taste. The dark roasted malts predominate and the bitterness is medium to high. It feels like a strong espresso. The roasted malts have a slightly burnt quality that mellows out as the drink warms. Also, as it warms, I notice a sweeter undertone of chocolate. The finish has licorice and a noticeable bittering hops presence. The coffee aftertaste lingers.
The feel is full bodied, fluffy in the mouth and slightly crisp on the tongue.
I liked this one and will definitely try again.

 785 characters

Photo of Bruno74200
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hop forward porter. It's blod and I like that. I was, at first, very surprised with the taste. It's very bitter and a bit astringent. Too bad it's a bit out of balance, the hops are too heavy compare to the roasted malts. Pine, coffee and burnt malt. Boozy

 256 characters

Photo of Mitchster
1.85/5  rDev -54%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

$2.70 for a 12oz bottle @ Jacks. Brewed with G.W. 120L Crystal, Chocolate, Black patent malts. Hopped with Warrior, Northern Brewer, Cascade. 9.2% ABV per the website, but this bottle says 7.8%. 85 IBU's, OG=22 p.

Pours out to a clear deep black, forming a good sized very dark brown head with poor retention and good lacing. Moderately carbonated. No sediment in bottle. The aroma is a mix of dark fruits like raisins, prunes, burnt marshmallow, black molasses, dark bitter chocolate, and copious green piney hops. The mouthfeel is harsh with a dense body. The taste....hrmmm....peculiar. It opens with a funky soapy, almost fish-like taste then is replaced by the dark fruits for just a flash before being replaced by burnt marshmallows, charcoal, and ash. Big wave of fusels in the middle. Heavily burnt, then followed by very aggressive green grass in the finish.

Eeeech. Man, I did not like this beer one bit...I'll go so far as to say it's probably the worst beer I've had in the last year. Fish, charcoal, obnoxious fusels, grass, soap....ugh. A total disaster of a beer. I'm gonna have to pour this one down the drain. Not recommended at all.

 1,152 characters

Photo of oberon
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

One of the new big beers popping up around NC thanks to hoppedup for the sample.Poured a deep brown near black color with a mocha colored head.Impressive aromas of smoked malt and wood chips almost like more of a Scottish wee heavy,very nice well rounded flavors headed by the smoked peat and tree bark with a real noticable herbal minty element letting you know the hops are there.Goes down very smooth for how big and robust it is,why cant Flying Dog make more like this?

 473 characters

Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ralph Steadman's bottle rockets and is a must have for any collector but will the beer inside prove to be more than just a gimcrack and worthy of the $9.50 a four-pack price? Let's see.

As it pours into a poboy's pint glass, my nose is instantly pounded by roasted, no burnt, chocolate malts. There's not much else going on so I let it warm a bit.

There it is: a hint of berries and some tobacco leaf. Still, the overwhelming portion of the aroma, upwards of 95%, is sweet, burnt chocolate malts.

The taste largely matches the nose only chocolatier but it is quickly overshadowed by the powerful mouthfeel.

This Gonzo rips your mouth wide open like an old Batman Comic fraught with: "POWS," "BLAMS," and "SLAPS."

It's so dry that it begins to resemble a Super Tuscan or some other big red in terms of mouthfeel. I'm not sure whether I love it or hate it but I'm sure impressed by it.

Very drinkable, dangerously drinkable even, every sip leaves my mouth thirsty for more. I'm drinking this way too fast.

All in all this beer lives up to the hype and the price, although not by much. Personally, I would like a little more for my cheddar.

Note: I'm currently drinking a bottle purchased on 9-26-05.
I thought that this was a one-off in honor of HST's death so I horded a ton of the first release. Today is 3-6-08. This beer is better than I remembered it. Lots of smoke, plenty of fruit, still well balanced, carbonated, with a great body. Overall, lots more smoke than I remember... Very nice. Oddly...this beer wasn't cellared. It has been in my fridge for over two and a half years...

 1,595 characters

Photo of ricke
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours with a basically black color and quite a big head. Head retention and lacings are quite impressive considering the relatively high ABV in this one.

S: A round and nicely composed smell. Lots of malts with a prominent chocolate character. Notes of dark fruit and vanilla. A pleasant hop kick. The alcohol becomes noticeable as the beer warms up.

T: Lots of malty sweetness with just as much sweet dark chocolate. Big notes of vanilla. Some notes of dark fruits. Very restrained when in comes to roasted malts, which is the main thing setting this one apart from the imperial stouts. Quite a lot of spicy hops. The finish is quite bitter with gentle notes of soy sauce, wood and more somewhat spicy hops. As in the smell, the alcohol becomes more noticeable as the beer warms up. In general, it seems like the flavors get slightly rounder towards the end and the different components seem to get a better fit after a while.

M: Full-bodied, nice smooth mouthfeel and an almost semi-dry finish, but it still manages to leave a sticky feeling in the mouth after a while.

D: I like this beer, I just think it's tasty. However, I've had the opportunity to try the older version a few times, the one with a higher ABV, and it was way better. The older version where more potent, more living and daring, and it had much more character. It's a shame they turned it down a notch, doesn't seem to be in line with the Hunter S. Thompson way of life. Wonder what he would have thought about such rerouting of a bold departure.

 1,526 characters

Photo of abeerdude
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of Herze
3.92/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of ricksrealm
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of JacobMutberg
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of blackwingedhorde
3/5  rDev -25.4%

Photo of Firefox13
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of newk340
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: nearly black, thick pour, with a slight reddish hue, very thin head that quickly dissipates which leaves minimal lacing.

S: like the faint coffee smell, certainly not overwhelming with hints of chocolate and not sour like a porter.

T: pleasant coffee/chocolate initiation fading into a faint sour porter trademark taste on the back end. very interesting combination.

MF/D: sizzle of carbonation that quickly recedes. definitely drinks more like a stout than a porter.

 473 characters

Photo of blitz134
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black. Initially had a 1 finger dark chocolate head, that reduced down a only a single bubble thick layer. Not much else, no lacing.

Fairly complex aroma. Semisweet chocolate with toffee and some coffee flavors. Dark fruits come through and present an overall sweet aroma. A bit of alcohol as well, but not overwhelming and certianly doesn't detract from the aroma.

Taste is roasted coffee and dark chocolate. Again sweet dark fruits add a subtleness to the flavor. Definately some alcohol notes come through. The alcohol presents itself with a bit of a burn and its flavor really lingers. Overall a good flavor but this hurts the drinkability aspect of this beer in my opinion.

Mouthfeel is medium or so. Nothing outstanding, but fits the style well. As mentioned above the alcohol flavors hurt the drinkability a bit. Still a tasty beer though.

 861 characters

Photo of sabitu
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of Imaster
4.75/5  rDev +18.2%

Photo of nickadams2
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A_Pours a thick reddish brown with a thick khaki head that dissipates into a thin ring.Spotty lacing.

S_Caramel malt and hops.

T_Caramel,chocolate,coffee,roasted malt. Sweet wit a bitter hop finish. Very different from the on tap version.

M_Thick and chewy. Moderately carbonated.

D_Mouthful but very drinkable for such a high ABV. One of flying dogs best.

 360 characters

Photo of chOAKbarrell
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to a friend in Kentucky for mailing me this 12oz bottle, since there are none to be found in my area of Maryland.

The first thing I noticed about this thick, black beer is that it has the most beautiful, thick, creamy head on it. It dies down to a manageable height after a few moments. A lovely strong hop aroma greets you, and the taste! Oh my.

It seems there are about 5 different levels to this beer. There's the blast of hops, and the subtle roasty chocolate finish, and inbetween the two are all sorts of things going on that I cant even begin to identify.

The only reservation I have about imperial porters is their very noticeable alcohol scent & taste. But that's a personal opinion and not a reflection on any shortcomings of this beer.

The character illustration on the Gonza Imperial Porter bottle exclaims "Ok! Let's Party!!" And I agree. Pick of a 4-pack of this beer before they're gone.

 922 characters

Photo of JasonA
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an oil slick black. Solid finger of head, not much retnention, lacing present.

Roasted malt, rum raisin

Roasted malt finish, some sweet and bitter, maybe hops.

Sits bitter, sweet ABV

Drinks well for 9.2. The bitter aspect is refrehing for Porters. Much sweeter than most. Ill drink some, but only so much.

 315 characters

Photo of danthehopslamman
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of csmartin6
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

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Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
4.02 out of 5 based on 2,872 ratings.
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