Gonzo Imperial Porter | Flying Dog Brewery

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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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Reviews: 1,468 | Ratings: 2,901
Photo of Ryan4120
4.76/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

* This review is based off the nitro draught version
L - Deep black with a foamy, creamy light tan head with a good amount of lacing- obviously the nitro helps a lot with the look of this beer
S- very earthy, with deep malt and oak aromas but the smell isn't overpowering
T - Bold. Very earthy with a lot of hop flavor. A good amount of malt. There's also a nice bittersweet chocolate flavor in the mid palate. Maybe a slight amount of coffee flavor. Oak is present throughout the taste and adds a nice complexity. Some notes of alcohol but nothing unpleseant.
F - Perfect but again this is most likely due to the nitro. Fully body with minimal carbonation but incredibly smooth and creamy
O - This is an incredible imperial porter. Nice and bold with a strong earth and hop profile with a nice amount of malt and bittersweet chocolate to balance out the earth/hop bitterness. Obviously the nitro contributed a nice amount of depth to the overall feel and look of the beer.
- Of Note, I've had the non-nitro version of this beer and overall I'd rate it similarly - maybe 0.25 lower on the look and feel of the beer in each category respectively, but overall each version is a very, very good porter.

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Photo of q33jeff
3.16/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Bottle to snifter.

LOOK: dark black, beige head. Above average head, but fades to lacing.

AROMA: barley like a dry stout; hops, oak, pine. Bit of a clash.

TASTE: bitter malt, acidic coffee, almost a touch of vinegar. Touch of molasses and chocolate.

FEEL: bubbly, dry,

Doesn't really do it for me.

Comparison of 4 porters: 1. Kane Morning Bell; 2. Ballast Point Victory at Sea; 3. Evil Twin Lil B; 4. Flying Dog Gonzo.


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Photo of Benjolovesbeer
3.99/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

It's a very boozy out of balanced imperial. One sip you love it, next sip you hate it. Some coffee, alcohol, malty, licorice notes. A little hoppy but really a beer to get wasted on, not so much enjoyable for simply enjoying. But it has a bit of uniqueness to it.

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Photo of Marius
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

33cl bottle. Pitch black pour with a medium height tan head with good retention. Smells like licorice, cocoa, roasted malts, chocolate and a bit of coffee. The taste follows the same notes, with an emphasis on roasted coffee, roasted malts and dark chocolate. Medium to full bodied, low carbonation and a roasty bitter aftertaste.

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Photo of Buck89
3.54/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a shaker pint glass. An opaque dark brown color with a modest light tan head. Decent lacing. Interesting and restrained nose, with a slight turpentine note quickly followed by roasty malt, chocolate, and dark cherries. On the first sip, I immediately tasted bitterness, followed by a dry, roasty malt presence. Some cigar ash. Not much chocolate. Medium-bodied. A mediocre imperial porter in my opinion.

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Photo of RuffReader
3.89/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled. Sharp bitterness quickly gives way to a creamy roast. Smells better than it tastes. I prefer a bit less carbonation in my porters. Can't really taste the alcohol at all.

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Photo of Shade1951
4.21/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours almost pitch black with little head and decent lacing (for those to whom that's important). Smells rich with dark chocolate and leather. Taste is very, very nice, with aforementioned flavors of dark bitter chocolate and... leather. Carbonation is mild, which is fine - but it doesn't taste flat the way some porters and stouts do (Guinness). Feels creamy on the tongue. Very nice and very enjoyable. More suited for cold weather than for this time of year (August), but tasty nonetheless. A sipper, for sure.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.67/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Turns in those dark brown notes with a cherry coke head at a full inch. Aroma has roast and some smoke.

Plenty of noticeable alcohol, some chocolate malt, some brown malt, keeps the heavy dark fruit notes subdued, isn't as bitter as some in style. They're still there, but not as much of a style bummer hallmark as some others. There is enough roast and smoke do dummy that dark fruit shit up.

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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

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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

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Photo of Rogerlb
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours black. Aroma is dark fruit and some burnt malt. Taste is a relatively heavy-feeling porter, with malt, roast coffee, char, cola, licorice, creamy goodness all work well together. A little chocolate too. Lager and yeast in the finish, along with burnt toffee overtones.

Lots going on, and I like all of it. Some hoppy bitterness in the second half, barely. Complex for a porter, almost in stout territory. Good job, dog that flies. Not bad at all. The 9.2 % is almost completely hidden. As a stout, not quite; as a porter, more than most.

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Photo of Bonkinishwa
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Flying Dog Brewery - Gonzo Imperial Porter. 9.2% ABV. 3oz sample pour in mini mug.

Look: Settles a pitch black in the glass, with a massive dark brown head that occupied half the glass, and eventually settled somewhat.

Smell: Sweet bakers chocolate, dark malt, caramel, and coffee, all surrounded by a toasty/ burnt toffee.
Feel: Full, thick bodied, creamy and heavy.

Taste: Same as smell; chocolate, coffee, dark malt, sweet caramel, all backed by a toasty, bitter toffee flavor.

Overall: Had at the Firkin Fest 2016 in Ashland, KY. This was definitely one of my favorites of the day; great porter with lots of flavor.

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Photo of NolaHopHead
4.21/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle. Pours black with thick mocha head, lasts forever, coating lace, perfect looking beer. Roasty chocolate aroma. Deep roasted malt flavor, burnt notes, mild licorice. Very well done porter. Mouthfeel on thin side, but silky.

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Photo of rex_4539
3.94/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Good beer but not as good as I hoped it would be.

Aroma not as evident as I expected but tastes good. Aftertaste though not as pleasant as Anchor Porter or Fuller's London Porter, for example.

Would I buy it again? Probably not. Would I drink it again if offered? Definitely yes :)

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Photo of Whey2Hoppy
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Pours a tar-like black color with a dark brown head, just the look alone has me excited about this one. This has the appearance of some of the best stouts I've had, such as KBS and SMS.

S- Coffee, roasted, burnt malts, and dark chocolate aromas.

T- Dark chocolate and coffee flavors right up front on the taste, with very burnt toasty malts following up and a hint of alcohol kick on the finish.

F- Medium body and carbonation.

O- An excellent imperial porter. But let's be real here, this may as well be called a stout.

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Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

At first sip you're greeted by black coffee and black espresso with a strongly bitter dark chocolate note in between, that's slightly sweet with notes of vanilla.

A savory brewer's licorice and rich tobacco taste comes through mid-palate.
There's a strong bitter hop backbone consisting of Warrior, Cascade and Northern Brewer hops that provides complexity to the dry roasted malt.
A faint campfire smokiness underscores the whole experience.

It finishes dry, slightly sweet with more vanilla and coffee. Crisp (for a stout), full bodied and well carbonated. Excellent lacing leftover from a chocolate colored, three finger head.
One of the better offerings from Flying Dog.

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Photo of RacerX5k
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Yes. An across the board 4. Porter? IDK. looks like porter but in reality, an drinkable and delicious hop forward black ale. After 2 weeks of Bourbon County and High Westified i needed some hops ... would not neccesarily seek this out but would drink this anytime.

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Photo of stevoj
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle from Cindys Spirits. Pours out dark brown and oily, small head which dissipates quickly. Right from the bat, this porter gets down to business. Dark, biting roast grain bitterness, slick body, peat, smoke and wood all play here. Very mild warmth from the alcohol, but not over the top. A classic.

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Photo of Myotus
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured at 46°F from a 12oz bottle (I can only make out the year 2015 from The smeared bottle date) into a nonic pint glass. Consumed on 22Feb16.
LOOK: Pours with two fingers worth of khaki foam that dissipates into one finger's worth after 3 minutes. Black in color with an orange tint. There is an abundance of small sized rising bubbles. Lacing is high in quantity and very thick.
SMELL: Mild aromas of sweet chocolate, bitter roasted malts, spicy hops, and floral hops are backed by subtle aromas of vanilla and hints of alcohol. The bitterness to the roasted malts is pretty low. I would say a 2 out of 5 in regards to just bitterness.
TASTE: Strong sweet chocolate and mild bitter roasted malt flavors first strike the palate and are immediately trailed by subtle floral hop flavors. Mild spicy hop flavors are next to appear on the palate as floral hop flavors grow to mild. Subtle vanilla and bitter hop flavors enter lastly as all previous flavors persist.
FEEL: Somewhere between medium-bodied and light-bodied. Moderately carbonated. Goes down somewhat smooth. Finishes with a strong dryness.
NOTE: I've had other beers from this brewery that were alright, but this took me by surprise. Incredibly balanced between sweetness, roasted malts, and hops, I was not expecting this from a Porter, let alone Flying Dog. Great job, guys.

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

Bottle dated "VINTAGE15 JJA" (whatever THAT means...). Straight from the bottle, as befits a Gonzo brew. Initial impression is roasted toffee/caramel malts and a very chewy, very robust mouthfeel. Wow. This is good. Alcohol well hidden. This ranks right up there with some of my favrite Imperial Porters and/or Imperial Stouts. Excellent offering from Flying Dog.

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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.

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Photo of Kaingers
2.39/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Unbalanced, harsh and extremely hard to drink. Bitterness dominates the palate and makes for a rough ride. It literally took me 50 minutes to finish. Thankfully I only purchased a single. Smuttynose has a much better example of a imperial porter, spend your money elsewhere and thank me later.

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Photo of NastyNorseman
3.69/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The porter flavor of this imperial did not meet my expectations. The higher a/v% seems to effect the flavor too much. I would have this again, but not if there was another to choose from. The color was normal for a porter although it's head was quite frothy which was nice. The feel was fairly smooth, but the porter taste was not potent enough for me.

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Photo of Arthuros
4.48/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

What a (Baltic) porter !

Looks are all you'd expect, dark brown with a beige thick head that dissipates quite quickly.
Aromas are hoppy at first, gradually letting charred ash through. A lot going on.
Flavors are similar, IPA-like at first, and then blending itself into classic porter roundness. Not so sweet.
Thin but strong carbonation, delicious mouthfeel to raise the hoppy flavors out of this.

I guess it's what you should expect from Flying Dog, a hoppy, strong Baltic/Imperial Porter where alcohol is well masked (despite the 9%ABV), with hoppy bitterness and not too much malt sweetness.

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Photo of curasowa
3.56/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Opaque, deep ruby color with one finger of dark brown head that fades to a ring with a fairly uniform curtain of lace.

Aroma: Roasted malt, boozy, band aid and a bit medicinal.

Taste: Roasted malt, cocoa and molasses up front, then some mild, earthy bitterness, finishing a little boozy and mildly astringent.

The Rest: Not bad, pretty creamy.

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Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
4.02 out of 5 based on 2,901 ratings.
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