Gonzo Imperial Porter | Flying Dog Brewery

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Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter
2,972 Ratings
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:
Gonzo is big, bold, and beautiful like the man it was brewed in honor of – Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Roasted chocolate, coffee, and vanilla malt flavors are balanced with a unique hop bite. Buy the ticket and take the ride by pairing it with blue cheeses, smoked meats, BBQ, chili, chocolate and coffee desserts.

ABV varies.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-04-2005

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,972 |  Reviews: 1,491
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black with a minimal attractive head and lace. Coffee syrup, medium mouthfeel and not all that thick.Chocolate and other malts, cascade and other hops.The one-off best flying dog of them all, courtesy of Jan Biergeman.Surprising high alcohol, did not feel like 9.8%.Unobtrusive carbonation.

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Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On nitro tap at Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. A foamy curtain of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, slight coffee, and alcohol. Taste is much the same with a cookie dough flavor on the finish. There is a medium roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a low level of carbonation with an almost flat and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer but the nitro treatment isn't helping out very much.

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Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of Knapp85
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one really dark brew. This porter could easily be a stout just by looking at it. The color is pitch black with a creamy looking mocha colored head on top. The smell is rich and very roasted, with some chocolate on the nose also. The taste of the beer is heavly roasted with some dark chocolate bitterness in there too. The mouthfeel of the beer is heavy but silkty smooth in texture. Overall it's one of the better porters out there in my opinion. I would drink this one again.

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Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown/black with a this tan head; appealing.

Light coffee and "sharp" carmel nose. Nose has an elegance to it with undertones of chocolate.

Nice medium creamy mouthfeel with pleasant flavors of sweet coffee, carmel and toffee.
Flavors and character a bit more like stout than porter.

Nice big finish of sweet coffee that goes to grapefruit/resin hops. Wonderful character in the middle and appears to be an excellent candidate for foods with big flavors. A very drinkable, consumer friendly porter (stout?)

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Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of metter98
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer poured jet black in color with a mocha colored head; a thin layer of bubbles consistently covered the surface. A light amount of carbonation is visible from the rising bubbles near the edges of the glass.
S: There is a moderate aroma of dark roasted malts and chocolate in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has flavors of dark roasted malts, bitter chocolate and burnt coffee beans. There is a mild amount of bitterness from the hops.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate. The beer is very smooth and a bit thin; there are some warming sensations from the alcohol.
D: This is an excellent beer to sip and savor--I will definitely try another one of these again. It's rather drinkable and the bitterness is not overpowering.

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Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.72/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bought as part of the Canis Major mixed 4 pack ($9.49/4)

Well this is certainly an odd taste for a porter. Pours a jet black color with a nice looking tan head. The first sip I took was very sweet and flavorful and absolutely delicious. The following sips were not so lucky though. It seemed that the sweetness wore away and the alcohol was much more present. I've had many a beer over 10%ABV and this one has 10 times as much alcohol taste than them at only a hair over 9%. Granted, the little alcohol warming kick isn't too bad of a thing, just too much of a 'mixed drink' feeling for me. Would try again.

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Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of kojevergas
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

9.2% ABV confirmed. Love the label art, as always for Flying Dog. Self identifies as an Imperial Porter; reviewed as such. 2012 vintage. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with branded standard pressure cap acquired earlier tonight at a local SoCal beer store for $3.19; it was $14.99 a six pack but I went for the single. Expectations are high; I'm in the mood for a good imperial porter.

Served cold, straight from the freezer, and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a healthy two finger dark tan colour head. Nice cream. Good thickness. Good (~4-5 minute) retention for the high ABV. Body colour is an opaque solid dark black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Light thin even lacing as the head slowly recedes. Head has a soft approachable complexion - great for the style.

Overall, it's quite appealing for the style and brings all the elements of a good appearance to the table. No noticeable flaws, but there's room for improvement. The head could be darker and richer, the body colour could be a jet black, there could feasibly be a bubble show. But I'm nitpicking.

Looking forward to trying it. Very inviting.

Sm: I'm gripped by the obvious dark chocolate and accompanying dark chocolate malt. Cream, dark malts. Light unevocative coffee notes; no roast, espresso, or other interesting elements of flavour - just coffee - and probably cold-press at that. Hints of dark fruit. Dates perhaps? A bit of plum. Certainly not fig or dark cherry. Not getting any yeast character. Some pleasant roast in the background. Not getting any alcohol, but I wouldn't say it's exceptionally well concealed - just not present. A pleasant and subtle aroma of moderate strength overall.

T: Greets with cream and overt chocolate on the open, giving way to plain dark fruit covered by the dark malt body. Dark fruit here is indistinct and not at all rich; I'd guess plum and maybe some dates if I was forced to. It's a nice character; some may take it a step further and allege that it's cough syrupy or grape-laden but I think that's going too far. I quite like the dark fruit even if it could be far more evocative and relevant to the balance. Hints of light light molasses. The chocolate brings little to the table. And what happened to the coffee promised by the aroma? Caramel. Some buried unrefined sugars. Decent balance, but it does come off feeling a bit simple for the style. No true subtlety here. I do like it, but it leaves much to be desired. I'd hoped for a complex well rounded imperial porter, but I got unambitious standard fare. No boldness or experimentation here, but that said it wouldn't be fair to call it bland.

No yeast character or alcohol comes through.

*It gets better and more flavorful as it warms. I like it more and more in spite of my comments above. The roast blossoms with rising temperature.

Mf: Quite smooth and wet - aptly so for the style. Good body. Shallow depth of flavour; lacking in this regard. Good carbonation. Lovely creaminess. Good thickness. Supports the flavour profile nicely.

Dr: Quite drinkable for the high ABV. I do like it, but I expected more. A solid brew from Flying Dog, and I'd probably get it again if I was in the mood for the style. I could put down 2 or 3 of these in the same night. Once it warmed up, I really started to come 'round to it. Recommended at least to try once.

Borderline High B- (Flirting with a Low B)

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

Looks good for a porter. Perhaps a bit thicker and richer looker, more like a sweet stout. A stubborn tan head laces well and shows some legs. Low carbonation.

Smells like fresh cut grass, and fresh cut pine cones, and fresh cut roasted malt. Picking up major hoppiness found in IPA's and classic porter chocolates and toastedness. A mellow sourness lurks in the background. My guess it's from the lager yeast and roasted barley.

Tastes like the fresh cut stuff in the aroma. Sweetness is quickly swamped by the hops and roasted grain. Creamy and thick through the body. Finishes warming and a bit dry.

Aftertaste: Hops, coffee, a bit of liqorice. Lingers for quite some time. Remains alcoholic, but never completely drys out; stays sweet.

Impression: Hops overwhelm many of the porter characteristics (no supprise from Flying Dog Brewery) I appreciate the taste, it's new and vibrant to the palate--makes you think. Never thought I'd say this--it's a great summertime porter.

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, Vintage 2012BB. Pours pitch black color with a nice 2 finger dense dark tan head with incredible retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice thick soapy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of dark chocolate, roasted malt, light char, herbal, caramel, toast, toffee, earth, light dark fruit, and light coffee. Nice aromas with good complexity and balance. Taste of dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, caramel, toffee, toast, char, earth, herbal spiciness, and light dark fruits. Fair amount of coffee bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, caramel, toffee, earth, light fruitiness, and herbal spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Nice flavor balance and complexity; zero cloying flavors on the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a creamy and lightly slick mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very good imperial porter. Good flavor balance and robustness; very smooth to sip on. I was expecting more out of this, but this was still quite tasty.

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Photo of emerge077
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005 vintage bottle.

Jet black pour, with a cap of mocha-tinged foam. A very faint and feathery webbed ring of lacing is left behind as the level recedes in the glass.

Chocolatey, herbal, nearly medicinal aroma. Not much left to indicate the hop level of a fresh bottle. A little woody and lactic sweetness also.

Big flavor of licorice and residual earthy charred malt. A leafy herbal quality in the background is all that remains from the initial load of hops. A dry bitterness in the finish is also attributed to the residual traces of hops. It has an extremely smooth and full body that encourages slow savoring. Easy to have one or two, paired well with a chocolate brownie.

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Photo of Boone757
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of zeff80
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a opaque, jet black color with a tan, foamy, two-finger head. It left wide, sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of tons of malt (caramel and chocolate). It also had an earthy/grassy aroma.

T - Great malt flavor with hints of chocolate and caramel. It was bittersweet and had a coffee-like taste.

M - It was crisp and sharp with a warm alcohol presence. A medium to heavy-bodied beer.

D - This is an outstanding porter. It is a heavy beer and deserves some slow sipping.

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Photo of brentk56
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark, dark brown color with a tan head that persists for quite a while and leaves plenty of lacing

Smell: The nose is citrus/piney with undertones of dark fruit and cocoa

Taste: Starts out a bit sweet, with rum soaked dark fruit; then the bitter hops kick in and provide a strong challenge; chocolate and coffee appear after the swallow; the finish is roasted and bitter with a good bit of alcohol

Mouthfeel: Thick and luscious; moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Nice for a nightcap; lots of flavor, but the opposite of Lay's (you can only drink one)

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.95/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Hogtownharry: Poured a pitch-black color porter with a medium foamy head with average retention. Aroma of roasted malt with some coffee and some vegetable kind of leave me puzzled. Taste is also a weird mix between roasted malt and a weird vegetable finish which doesn’t really fit in there and I am still unsure where it came from (hops?). Body is too light for the style but alcohol is well hidden. I’m not sure why this is rated so highly as I didn’t see anything memorable in here.

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Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
Beer rating: 4.02 out of 5 with 2,972 ratings