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Gonzo Imperial Porter | Flying Dog Brewery

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Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter
2,936 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: 2,936 |  Reviews: 1,479
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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Photo of kingcrowing
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

7oz bottle poured into an 8oz glass.

Why this is a porter and not a stout, I'm not sure. It pours black a night with a 2 finger creamy dark brown head that just exploded out of nowhere. Nose is strong in roasted flavors and malty sweetness without being over the top - no alcohol.

Mouthfeel is very rich, thick and creamy. Carbonation is light. Has a nice warming sensation going down with very little alcohol on the tongue. Taste is rich and sweet, light sharpness from the malt, no real hops here. Overall a nice brew!

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Photo of glid02
4.27/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from a mixed pack received as a gift.

Pours one shade from black with a fluffy two-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of roasted malt, unsweetened chocolate, mild coffee, and pine hops. The hops really open up as the beer warms and hints of citrus waft in every now and then as well.

Tastes similar to how it smells but not quite as complex. Roasted malt and strong unsweetened chocolate flavors kick things off. Midway through the sip very small amounts of coffee enter into things along with larger amounts of citrus and pine hops. The hop flavors along with the unsweetened chocolate carry through to a solidly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I finished the bottle quickly and could easily have another.

Overall this was a pleasant surprise and probably the best I've had from Flying Dog. Well worth a shot if you see it around.

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Photo of Popkas
4.11/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Mountainous caramel colored head swells above the beep brown brew. Very nice lacing up and down the glass.

S: Lots of roasted malt on the nose along with a little coffee smell

T: Nice roasted malt and coffee comes through followed by a nice bitter end.

M: Medium body with plenty of carbonation

D: The drinkability is ok but the lingering bitterness and high abv is a bit of a deterrent.

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

I stashed away some 08 vintages last winter, and grabbed one this evening.

Poured into a pint glass, the color appears to be pitch black. When held into the light, light only shines through at the extreme edges. 2 finger tan head is produced with excellent retention and leaves nice lacing.

The nose is chocolatey with a hint of rum, and almost sweet on the nose. Dry cocoa and a surprisingly solid hop bitterness kick in at the end. Being a year old, the bitter kick is much more than I would have expected, so this must have picked up some bitter qualities from the roasted malts or chocolate.

The taste is spot on the nose, roasty and chocolatey, hints of rum and sweet malts, a nice bitter finish. Just enough to keep me coming back for more.

Heavy and rich for the style, which I like a lot. Smooth with a bitter finish. Definitely thick for a porter. Drinkability is great, I had no problem downing this 12 oz.

Overall, I liked the 08 much more a year later. The alcohol had mellowed considerably, and left a slightly evolved better version of it's former self. I have a couple more bottles which I will drink in the next year or so, as thats when I suspect this will head downhill.

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

Poured from bottle to snifter.

Appearance - Pours a deep dark black, maybe a hint of brown, no light shines through held up to a light. Poured with a 2 finger foamy tan head that leaves a wonderful lacing. The head on this stays a long time.

Smell - Smells of all sorts of roasted malts and smoke come right out. Chocolate, roasted malt and a bit of alcohol in the nose. Faint smells of some dark fruits and sweet malt also come through. Maybe a tiny bit of coffee.

Taste - Rich chocolatey right up front. Nice sweet malts dance around on the tongue with a nice roasted finish. A nice taste of caramel and fig can be found. The bitterness is there in the finish also, rounding out the taste. A bit of alcohol can be detected but it works nicely with the beer.

Mouthfeel - Very thick and heavy, good for the style. It is a heavy beer on the tongue, though as it warms it seems to thin out and be more porter like, the carbonation is done well, and it has a nice porter feel to it on the tongue. Nice bitterness also rounds it out.

Drinkability - The bottle can easily be drank, I find myself reaching for the glass more often every time. Decent drinkability for a beer of it's size but I think not more than 2 or 3 of these in a sitting.

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Photo of jbowers56
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dont know why but it poured with nearly 3 fingers of tan head, very dark brown nearly black colour.

Chocolate, roasted malts are pretty much it in the nose. A bit of fruit. Not that impressive in terms of complexity, but quite potent and really quite nice.

Oh wow, ok. Big taste. A lot of dried fruit mixing with the deep chocolate roasted malt taste. Good bitterness to balance the sweetness. Definite molasses taste. Really quite good. Maybe american hops?

Quite lively carbonation for the style.

Not hugely drinkable, a sipper fo sho!

Edit: gets a lot more dried fruity as it warms up. That is all.

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Photo of DIM
3.43/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

a: This was a dark chestnut brown. It poured with a short tan head.

s: Heavily roasted malt aromas, definitely on the extreme side. I also got some herbal bitterness and plenty of heat.

t: Starts off okay, tasting of dark richly roasted malts. This gets better towards the middle as a little chocolate emerges. The finish is almost overwhelmingly bitter, dry as hell with herbal bitterness.

m: Medium bodied with fizzy carbonation. That finishing bitterness lingers for a long time.

d: Not bad, but a little over the top. I've never had a porter like it, I'd like to try this with a few years on it.

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Photo of blackenmn
3.99/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a recently filled 12oz bottle into a Darkness snifter:

Appearance and Smell:Poured pretty opaque black with just a hint of brown to it. Left a thin dense cream head which went away fairly quick. This smelled very strong. Some burned almost smokey dark chocolate, sweet black licorice, plenty of sweet malt aroma with some coffee notes.

Taste and Mouthfeel:Tasted quite a bit different then I was expecting. Plenty of viscosity with quite a bit of hop bitterness and what seemed carbonation. Didn't taste nearly as sweet as it smelled but pleasant none the less. Kind of an irregular porter from what I've experienced. Tasted of roasty coffee, some caramel malt, and plenty of lingering earthy hops most likely due to this being very fresh. Some creamy chocolate flavor came through as it warmed a bit, improved quite a bit from start to finish.

Drinkability:Very good brew overall, plenty of great aroma from this. This really improved as it warmed and seems like aging would do this wonders, hop and carb seemed to overwhelm some flaor early on. I'll definitely be enjoying this one again.

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Photo of bob3701
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sam Adams glass. Stiff tan head and black in color. No real lacing to speak of but beer itself seemed to cling to glass. Swwet and bitter in taste. Bitterness with this style was a surprise but nicely balanced with the malt. This was a joy to drink.

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

Pours a nice black that seems to stop light at the gates and say "none shall pass". A tan head that sticks and leaves a lacing all throughout the glass. The coffee and chocolate mix very well with a slight citrus, providing a very interesting smell for a porter, but one that is very good. Tastes like a good porter should. Chocolate malts are very present, but that citrus is still slightly prevalent as well, and despite the high ABV it feels very smooth and full bodied. This is a great porter, but it could easily sneak up on you, what my grandfather would call a "sippin' drink", but one that I could happily sip all day long

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Photo of womencantsail
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A 12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. The beer is pretty much black and has a very fluffy tan colored foam that stays around forever.

S: The aroma is somewhat disappointing. Coffee, roasted malt, some mild chocolate.

T: The primary flavors in this one are the same as the nose: coffee and roasted malt. There is also a bitterness on the finish that could be due to the malts or the hops.

M: The body is medium and the carbonation is moderate as well.

D: Despite the fact that this beer is nearly 10% alcohol, the booze is quite well hidden until it really warms up.

This is a good beer, just not great. I'm glad I picked one up to try, but nothing terribly special.

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Photo of beertunes
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in straight pint glass. Poured black, not slightly translucent like most of the style, with well over an inch of dark brown head that had good retention and very good lacing.

The expected aromas are all there, mostly roast scents, but in a very subdued form. The flavors delivered what the aromas failed to. Big, rich, full toasted malt flavors coat the tongue and the roasty goodness lingers at the back for a few pleasant moments.

The body is very good, full and thick, without being overly heavy. Drinkability is very good, especially during these windy and rainy days of a Northwest winter. Use caution, however, because the 9+% can sneak up on you.

Overall, a pretty good beer worth your time.

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Photo of Schmaltzy
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into Chimay glassware.

A- Dark brown almost black stout color with nice 1 finger tan head that dissapated and left lacing in the glass.

S- Imperial Porter, Stout? Really the same thing smells of nice roasted malt, coffee, vanilla, chocolate, some small soy sauce element.

T- Nice like a light Stout, similar to all the smells you pick up. Pick up a lot of coffee and chocolate, vanilla undertones with a light bitter hoppiness on the backend, very easy to drink and a lot of taste on this "porter".

M- Medium/Heavy body with light/medium carbonation. All in all a nice feel, just not great.

D- I could actually go back for more of these unlike some stouts I've had. Very easy to drink, not overpowering but a great beer with loads of stout flavor.

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Photo of mwa423
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Catskeller, loved that they have kept the great beer coming! Best bar in the 45219 zip code! (Ironic, because it's the only bar in that zip code)

A - Poured jet black, same color as an imperial stout, with a finger of dark tan head which has a mean lacing all the way down the glass

S - Rich and sweet malt flavor that fills the nose both caramel and darker coffee smells.

T - Mouth filling flavor that is a hair shy of a stout, but lots of coffee aftertaste once you swallow, after the coffee the bitterness hits. Not a sharp bitterness but the earthy type that sits on the tongue.

M/D - Rich and thick mouthfeel that goes down in the same creamy way that melted milkshakes. The carbonation is definitely present but light on the tongue. While this is certainly a slow drinker it is very drinkable.

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Photo of blackdog1101
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a generic nonic.

A- This is black as night. No light peaking in around the edges of the glass. A hard pour created a short-lived 2 finger head. Lace and rings cling firmly to the glass.

S- Malt, with some coffee and caramel notes.

T- Huge sweet malt flavor, with coffee and caramel notes. I'm surprised how sweet this is. I expected it to have a dryer finish. Hops are noted, but this is not a dry or hoppy porter by any means.

M- Creamy, chewy, oily, smooth. There is no bite or astringency to this porter.

D- This is a very fine beer. Very easy, very drinkable. However,I'm not sure where an "Imperial Porter" ends and "Stout" begins. Or that it matters much. If you just handed me this beer in a glass I'd think stout all the way. But however you classifly it, this is a smooth, drinkable, enjoyable beer, especially for a cold winter night like tonight.

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Photo of Patrick999
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Poured from the small bottle into a small glass....I'll go with the Aventinus Eisbock glass. Looks real nice in there....dark brown, some good gobs of lace, great retention.

S - Lot of bitter *and* sweet chocolate in the nose. Also some sweet-smelling burnt caramel.

T - As this is a 2008, the considerable 85-IBU hop profile has diminished somewhat, but it does retain some residual earthy, vegetal bitterness. It's not tongue-scrapingly bitter, but it is enough to provide a counterpoint to the chocolate malts.

F - The pour looks really creamy and lush, but the feel never seems to live up to that, landing a little limp on the palate.

D - Definitely a good treat on a weekday evening, though. The little 7 oz. bottle in the Canis Major pack is just enough.

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Photo of Brabander
2.79/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

It started good. Pouring the beer in a Westvleteren chalice i was surprised to see such a nice brownish head and a very dark colour of the beer. The smell is average but then the taste, moutfeel and drinkability spoil it all. The taste is not pleasant to say the least and thats a pity because the beer looks as good as a westy 12.

After a few sips the beer became more acceptable but still not my style. Soory for the ones under the BA's who are fond of this beer.

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Photo of drumrboy22
3.92/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Wild Dog glass. Beer was very dark brown, with a large 4-finger toffee colored head. Heavy carbonation and moderate lacing.

Aroma was molasses, nuts, chocolate, roasted grains and light hops.

Taste was surprisingly bitter up front, followed by chocolate, dark ripe fruits, almonds and burnt toast.

Drinks pretty well. One of the better Flying Dog beers on the market in my opinion.

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Photo of Brettster
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This porter poured a very dark brown out of the bottle and black in the bottle. Poured very thick. left a finger width carmel color head that tapered off to a thin lacing along the top.

The smell is quite intriguing. It smells sweet with hints of hops, roasted malts and chocolate.

This porter has a smooth and somewhat chewy mouthfeel. It is pretty hoppy with a hint of coffee at the finish. Like many imperials, it kind of has an alcohol after taste.

Overall this is a pretty good Imperial porter. Very similar to some stouts.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours out slow and thick looking. A pumpkin pie colored head rises up to about 1 finger's height. It doesnt stay around long, it fades into a wispy layer that floats on a stout-black semi opaque beer.

S- Nice smell. Another area where this beer borrows characteristics from stouts. Big, roasty and chocolatey. Some coffee and dark fruit sweetness is in there too.

T- More stoutness here too. Reminds me of some export stouts or something. Molasses, some cocoa and roasted malts come in first. The middle and finish are quite bitter. Theres definitely hops in this one. The finish has some alcohol warmth.

M- Medium bodied. Actually pretty heavy for a porter. Nice and creamy with some soft carbonation.

D- This is more of a sipping porter. All other styles of porters are usually good session beers. This one is good on a cold night.

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Photo of mgbickel
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. 2 finger mocha head formed instantly. Moderate lacing/legs. Deep blackish brown color...body is a solid.

Has a molasses and black coffee aroma. You can also detect roasted malts and hops underneath.

The malty molasses flavor hits the tongue first. The hops start to come through in the middle and it finishes with a warming, bitter alcohol kick.
Calms down a lot after it reaches optimal temp.

Medium mouth feel. Slightly creamy with small amounts of carbonation.

Quite a tasty brew. Tastes a lot stronger than the 7.8% ABV advertised on the bottle...especially if you drink it right out of the cooler

Another note: One of the best labels out there today!

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Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
Beer rating: 4.02 out of 5 with 2,936 ratings
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