Gonzo Imperial Porter | Flying Dog Brewery

Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter
2,932 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:
ABV varies.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-04-2005

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,932 |  Reviews: 1,479
Photo of bishopdc0
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer is very dark with a creamy tan head. The smell is hints of chocolate and coffee not to big with some almost root beer aromas. This starts smooth and malty and it takes 3-5 seconds before the roasted barley taste appears. This beer is meant to be drank slowly so it can warm up. It becomes more complex and more flavors appear as it warms up.

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Photo of rapidsequence
3.61/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.
Appearance: Black with dark brown translucent highlights. A big light brown head with good retention. Pretty nice lacing too.

Smell: Roasty malt and bitter chocolate. A slight sour twinge and a little bandaid. Herbal, grassy hops.

Taste: Very strong and bitter roasted malt. Kind of charcoalish and smoky. The finish becomes less bitter and slightly sweet with some hops flavor coming through. I don't notice anything sour or bandaidy in the taste.

Mouthfeel: Pretty good for a porter. The mouth is left with a little coating.

Drinkability: This is ok. A little too much bitter charcoal and not enough more sweet-pleasant flavors.

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

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle with a label marking that rads VINTAGE0911. Sampled on January 30,2010. It pours opaque brown with a thin, frothy beige head and decent lacing around the glass. Coffee and malts are the lead aromas followed by something akin to baked bread. The mouthfeel is in the medium to bold territory with good stability. It tastes more like burnt chocolate than anything else with a background of hops. Very nice overall.

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Photo of Stigs
4.31/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz pour from nitro tap at Fathead's as part of Flying Dog's firkin friday...

A - pitch black beer with a healthy two fingers of incredibly tight and rich, dark tan colored head. massive lacing, every sip leaves a hearty ring around the glass, like counting the rings on the inside of a tree. lovely.

S - everything is subtle because of the nitro pour, some toffee and roasted malts, bit of chocolate and dark fruit

T - yum. sweetness is balanced very nicely by some roasted malts and then a healthy kick of hops, bitter dark chocolate adds a whole new layer and really comes out in the nitro version. coffee also shows up that doesnt from the bottle or regular tap.

M - hard to describe how thick the head of this is, almost like a chocolate mousse. spot on carbonation levels and mouth coating. perfect dessert beer.

D - was curious about this coming in, ended up ordering a second. alcohol was completely hidden, flavors intense, feel perfect. loved it.

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

A hefty and boozy porter.

Presentation: 12 oz bottle. Unavoidable Ralph Steadman label illustration with a Gonzo skull calling out to party. Side quote from Gonzo (Hunter S. Thompson). Notes vintage date (08CL), and Alc. by Vol. (9.2%) Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Black pour with faint deep brown edges. Nice brown foamy head that fades quickly leaving some lacing.

S - Roasted malt, with a coffee and chocolate subtle range.

T - Rich maltiness, coffee and chocolate notes over a caramel boozy end.

M - Full body with a smooth and creamy feel, and moderate carbonation. Fine for the brew.

D - It is a nice beer, goes down well, and it is rather close to a sipper. In fact that might be the best way to enjoy it.

Notes: Alcohol gives it maybe too prominent a kick but does not make it unpleasing. In fact this boozy highlight is quite a feature of most of their Canis Major series. Not sure it works very well but it is not too bad either.

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

Pours a dark cola colour with modest beige head, sinks quickly to leave a thin rim around the glass. Not much bead, and lace is thin but nice and sticky. Decent porter look.

Nose is fairly roasty, with a bit of sourness like good roasted coffee. Hints on there as well of macadamias and hazelnuts, a nice hint of smoke as well to go with obvious chocolate notes. Nice and mild/sweet, but would like more aroma.

Taste is fairly roasty with a lot of nuttiness - burnt, roasted flavour on the front blends into more macadamias, hazelnuts and a little marzipan sourness. Some nice roasty bitterness on the back is not overdone, has a pleasant and sweet chocolate character backing up the burnt smokiness, like dark wood. Overall creates a very balanced dark beer, nice burnt but lots of chocolatey sweetness.

Very thick feel, lots of texture. Almost too much, I kind of wish it was a bit thinner to go with the sweetness. Kind of overemphasises the roasty bitterness. But it's still good.

Can't detect a lot of alcohol and the burnt roastiness is well tempered and balanced, a very drinkable beer.

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

Pours with a dark brown, nearly black color. The head was a creamy and fluffy with a light chocolate color. The smells very malty, maybe some coffee in there? Taste is a nice crisp porter, that finishes light. Good amount of carbonation, but still delicious and drinkable. A good drinkable dark beer.

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

12 oz bottle into pint glass:

A: Motor oil opaque black with the slightest red highlights, light mocha head, slight cap.

S: Coffee and dark fruit up front, slightly herbal, some orange peel as well

T: Distinctly burnt and smokey, chocolate and coffee with some toffee along with the subtle dose of herbal hops and dark fruit and orange. Even something of a minty finish.

M: Full and toasty, not nearly as thick as expected. The minty finish almost makes it seem like a palate-cleanser.

D: This is extremely well balanced with a wide array of flavors which work very well together. Though it's quite heavy, it's not over-the-top, as they've found an excellent balance here.

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Photo of Freethyhops
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- pours pitch black with a almost 2 fingers of light brown head. a good amount of lacing for the style

S- roasty malts and sweet molasses. chocolate in there too.

T- a bit light on the roasted character. some charred malts, chocolate and sweet fruits. a good amount of bitterness in there as well to balance out the massive malt sweetness. a tiny bit of booze as it warms up.

M- medium in body with an especially slick mouthfeel. carbonation is right on.

D- a fairly slow drinker, not bad for the style but others go down faster. the price is great though. $2.50 for a bottle of Imperial stout/porter is right down my ally.

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Photo of jerlleutz
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Having drank these many times before, it is still a favorite. It's readily available and has a reasonable price considering what you are getting, about 2.50 a pop. Even so, I can't drink many of these in one sitting, 1 or 2 tops.

You've got your standard porter appearance here, with some good color depth and what I might call clarity, for lack of cloudiness, giving it an attractive look.

I can't say much for smell, but it was pleasant. I have a hard time personally with bouquets, even with wine.

The taste, of course, is where it is at. It's sweet and complex enough for the discerning drinkers among us. There's some sweet fruitiness I don't really need to identify, and its good. It is a satisfying porter.

The mouthfeel is excellent, with its high strength and carbonation, it comes together really well. It feels very well balanced to me.

For a porter, it is pretty refreshing, probably due to the balance of strength, and carbonation. It's a tasty one, so preferably sip and enjoy. I'd start the evening off with one of these. It's an excellent brew. Flying Dog knows what its doing.

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Photo of justincolts
4.01/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge, malty head, thick and foamy, dark, coffee black coloration with a coffee, nut, and chocolate smell. Typical of an Imperial, stout or porter, with the most basic chocolate, nut, and, coffee smells. Not bad, certainly solid, nothing outstanding.

Upon tasting, it was more than I expected, certainly a quality brew, not a smorgasbord of flavor, but the few that are there are rather complete.

Not a beer to throwback lots, but more than a sipper. You could have more than one of these, unlike some where its hard to complete the first. Good body on this beer without being heavy.

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

Pitch black colored beer with a slowly fading creamy head.Aroma is dominated by chocolate.Taste is cocoa,sweet cream and burnt malts.Creamy,smooth and delicious.I would recommend this to anybody who enjoys porters or stouts.I can see myself buying this again.

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: deep dark black, nearly ebony,

smell: loaded coffee, and heavy chocolate aromas

taste: rich and slight chocolate roasted flavors but had a smooth rich taste, Dry, not sweet at all. Nice backend bitterness. Just like an RIS, unlike some eurpean baltic prters I have had.

mouthfeel: thick, creamy, good carbonation and very tasty

drinkability: I would buy this again, definitly

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Photo of stoutfiend27
3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into tulip..chilled

a-jet black..no light penetration...small creamy khaki colored head that stuck around for a bit...bubbles stuck to sides

s-chocolate and roast...subtle bitterness from the hops in the nose...a bit off coffee in the end

t-chocolaty and roasty...the coffee comes mid palate as the hop sting shows up briefly...finishes in a sort of acrid ashy dry way not unpleasant just a bit harsh

m-silky smooth...carb is enough to hold it together...it is oily ..

d-i docked it a bit due to the acrid dry finish but i could have a couple

i remember this brew being a lot better before the lowered the abv and changed the recipe..but it is still the best flying dog has to offer

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Photo of erikwibaeus
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is that kind of beer that you dont know if you like or not untill it hits you. I like the bottle, design yadi yadi yadi....

Smell is good, nothing special i must say. It has a light smell of lime (?) and freshness.. I like the roundness in the end as well.
The big stuff is when you taste this beer for the first time (although the mouthfeel is standard...)! The feeling of softness is also very nice to feel. A lot of the darker taste dosen't come untill the afterburn kicks in (remember this is a rather "pale" porter ale). The D is not a big issue for me with this one. Its light and nothing wierd..! As i said, the M is the weakest part of this brew. Its kinda sticky and dose not curl as i hoped it would do (it might be so that im the only one with this issue)..

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

This beer pours a jet black colour with no light let through the glass and it has a rising two finger creamy head with a non agressive pour and heaps of sticky clingy lacing,the aroma is sweet dutch cocoa and chocolate liqueor,it has a nice creamy full mouthfeel with that bittersweet dutch cocoa the first and most dominant of tastes in this brew along with a nice bittersweet expresso aftertaste with no hint of its 7.8% ABV,this is definately a impressive beer and one of the best examples of how this style should be.

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Photo of theboozecruise
3.55/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass. Dark brown color, blocking out the light, small off-white head on it with a little lacing, but not much.

The smell is dominantly chocolate, true to the style. Not much else there and it's not TOO bold... just pleasant.

The taste is still dominant on the chocolate, sweet up front, I like it. Nothing too bold or special, just a straight ahead chocolate malt flavor.

It's a solid beer... on the verge of being a really good beer but definitely not in the great range, in my opinion.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Comes out of the tap a deep, appetizing sable with a decent fine-bubbled light tan head. Aroma is rich and smoky, mainly of roast coffee with a strong tone of unsweetened chocolate. Rich flavor is like a fine mocha, quality roast coffee and chocolate. Texture is smooth and edgy - gonzo indeed. I have had this in a bottle, and it is definitely better on-tap.

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Photo of DrDoitchbig
3.45/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

I thought this review was lost during the most recent site crash, but I check the cache on Google today and it magically appeared! Just a note I actually reviewed this out of the bottle before I reviewed it on-tap. Originally reviewed November 14th, 2009.

Appearance: Poured a bottomless crude oil black that turns to a deep mahogany around the edges when held to light. Developed about one fingers worth of dark brown head that dissipated into a thin cap within a couple of minutes.

Smell: Strong roasted malts. Reminds me very much of a freshly brewed espresso.

Taste: Seems to follow the smell. Very much like a strong brew of coffee. A micron of chocolate-esque sweetness comes through on the finish. The bitter, lingering aftertaste has me flashing back to my morning coffee.

Mouthfeel: I'm a bit letdown here. This stuff is thin, especially for a porter.

Drinkability: It definitely goes down easy and hides it's decently high alcohol content. I could put a couple back before I even knew what hit me. That being said I wouldn't call it a session beer as one could wind up with quite a buzz if they weren't keeping a close eye on their intake.

Overall I liked this beer and I could see myself having it again. I certainly didn't find it as complex as the label claims. I just found it to be a little one-sided I suppose.

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Photo of ThaBobfather
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours the color of deep brown oak wood with a heavy sampling of dark tan head.
Smell is strongly of roast and coffee with great undertones of sweetness and carmel, some nice sweet malt.
Taste is very solid, it has strong coffee roasts combined very well with a sugary taste that smooths out this big porter's bite.
Finish is great, I get roasted bitterness on the very end of this porter's finish.
Drinkability is high, it's not too chewy, it's smooth and it obviously is a heavy hitter that drinks down easily.

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Photo of degerbah
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark opaque brown with about an inch of light tan head. Plenty of lacing around the edge of the glass as the head dies down. Very sweet aroma with a caramel-like character. The taste is mostly roasted malt with the aforementioned caramel sugary flavor present as well. Does a good job of masking its alcohol content, only really noticable because of its thickness. This beer helped get me into craft beer several years ago and now its still ok, just not half of what I remember.

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

Poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a deep brown with golden highlights and a yellowish golden one finger head that dissipated quickly though it initially left some decent lacing. Aroma is of coffee and chocolate with the alcohol playing a small part in the smell. Flavor is primarily of the malt sweetness and coffee, with a chocolate malt presence. Mouthfeel has a good tickle of carbonation with some slight oiliness on the finish. Overall a very good example of the style, and definitely a drinkable beer

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Photo of rgrholmes168
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a nice head on this beer. It poured into a great two and a half finger head that did not want to disappated. The sides of the glass were covered with a beautiful toffee colored lace.
The aroma was sweet with caramel and roasted malt overtones. A hint of coffee breaks through to the top.
The color of the beer was a dark jet black and showed no carbonation.
The roast really breaks through this beer which has a nice crisp taste. As with most porters the coffee taste is there, but this is a nice tasting coffee that is not too harsh.
The beer has a high abv, but is very drinkable. This is a really good beer that I would recommend.

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Photo of Jimbo87
4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks good. Big brown head.

Smells fantastic. Hops, roastiness, malt.

Taste is great. Best porter I've had in a while. I'm surprised at hoppy the smell and taste are. Lots of roasty grain and hops.

Mouthfeel. Good. Not as thick as a typical imperial stout, but pretty substantial.

Drinkability. Very drinkable. Highly recommended. I don't know if its the style, or this particular beer, but I love the hoppiness of this porter.

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

Found on tap at Sweet Basil's restaurant in Greensboro, NC, this presents a deep dark black-brown color with a decent creamy brown head and fair lacing. The aroma is a firm licorice malt with sharp raisin-wine and herbal-juniper noted. The flavor is big bold licorice/juniper hop and toffee malt. I definitely pick up coffee bitterness, it's very tart but complex with a slightly resinous full bodied feel. A hint of milk chocolate, lots of goodies, and very little evidence of the high ABV. More of a sipper than sessionable but overall it's wonderful.

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Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
Beer rating: 4.02 out of 5 with 2,932 ratings
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