Gonzo Imperial Porter | Flying Dog Brewery

Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter
Liked This Beer
4.02 w/ 2,929 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,929 |  Reviews: 1,477
Photo of jera1350
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fluffy one finger dark tan head sits on top of a deep black semi-thick body. Some lace.

Cola, vanilla bean, and bourbon. Some molasses and deep roasted malt also.

Deep toasted malts with notes of cocoa, coffee, smoke and bourbon. Lingering bitterness in the finish. Some noticeable alcohol comes through.

Mostly smooth, almost medium bodied. Feels a tad thin for this to be called "imperial". Nice carbonation to keep the flavors rolling.

Pretty powerful flavor will only allow me to have one of these. This was way better on tap. Still this is a really good beer. Maybe a bit pricey though.

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Photo of cope0021
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark with minimal lacing.

Smells like roasted grains with a hint of smokiness.

First taste is a bit bitter, though not in a bad way. Taste some roasted chocolate flavors. Flavor lingers on the tongue after each sip.

Not quite what I would consider a savoring beer, but tasty none the less. I could drink this beer around the fire in the winter or after raking leaves in the fall.

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

12oz bottle poured into a Rahr pint glass. I've been cellaring this bottle for at least 5 months. Time to see if it paid off.

A: Pours a deep black with a big dark tan head that reduces to a small layering and leaves a lot of nice lacing.

S: The nose is all chocolate, cocoa, and a roasted maltiness.

T: Taste is huge with chocolate/cocoa, dark fruits, and a slight bitterness. I remember this being more dark fruits than cocoa when it was fresh but the aging seems to have brought out the roasted malty flavors.

M: Close to a RIS but not quite. Still rather thick for a porter as well as creamy and carbonated well.

D: This is an excellent porter and if it were cheaper I would keep it stocked every week. Close to 10% ABV would make this impossible to session but doesn't mean I wouldn't try. :)

One of my favorite porters and aging it just 5 months has done wonders. I have the last bottle from the 4pack aging that I will drink next year and see if it further enhances the flavors.

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Photo of OnThenIn
4.57/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured with two fingers of darker tan head that stuck around and left some really nice lacing. The beer is jet black and beautiful. I am enamored with this beer.

Smell: There is a great deal of sweet malt and caramel aroma. There is a good amount of chocolate and you can smell the roasty goodness. There seems to be a bit of a molasses smell to it as well.

Taste: This is a rather sweet, with the chocolate and molasses kicking in towards the back end of the flavor, which is followed by alcoholic warmth with a tiny bit alcohol flavor. The sweetness is interesting, because the caramel like flavor that was present in the nose adds another dimension to the typical malt sweetness present. There is a tiny bit of roastyness and malt bitterness.

Mouthfeel: This is a lighter bodied porter and has a pretty solid amount of carbonation. Pretty nice mouthfeel overall.

Drinkability: The mouthfeel and lack of alcohol hitting you in the face for a 9.8% beer really makes this a wonderful, drinkable beer.

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Photo of Blitzstyle
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a sniffer, Nice size head tha has some brown tinges in it. Good laceing on the glass. Black cola color, very appealing.

Smell some sudel hops right off the bat, mixed with coco and coffee.

Taste rich roasted malts and some coco/coffee flavor very nice. Notice the hops more and more when it warms nice earthy taste to them. Can also pick up on the alcohol but its hardly overbearing.

Very nicely balanced with a smooth dry finish, medium heavy body. Could drink this all night nice and smooth. One of my favorite Flying Dog brews.

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Photo of wyattshotmaker
3.91/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into my quasi-fluted glass,more or less void of light with a nice head retention and lacing.nose has dark chocolate and coffee up front with notes.slight dark fruit notes in the backround.

rich dark chocolate.caramel, and coffee flavor with a pronounced dry finish. pretty straight forward but very nice.

mouthfeel is very smooth,drinkability of this beer is high.not a big porter fan but this is great.

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Photo of Pinto21
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark, almost black but a touch of brown, little head ok lacing

Coaco, alcohol, coffe. Not too strong. some darker fruits too.

Toasted roasted malts, Porter roasty. bit of alcohol but not too much. hops come through with some bitterness to it.

Pretty toast warm. OK!

Again I like this when I had it a month earlier, thought hops came through more and the beer was more well rounded.

'08 vintage

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Photo of capra12
3.72/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed at the Gotham Cask festival on 9/12/09 from notes taken.

Appearance: Poured jet black with no head.

Smell: Dark chocolate and malts.

Taste: Opens malty as fresh coffee takes over from the middle to the end as a weird licorice flavor comes on at the finish leaving a weird coffee-like aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with minimal carbonation but smooth.

Drinkability: I would have this again but on another night... the licorice finish is something I was not a fan of.

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

Bottle sample courtesy of my friend Adil. Deep opaque cola colour, with a frothy beige spotty cap. Intense nose of licorice, anise, roast, coffee beans, strong on the hops. Tastes of roasty and toasty goodness. Cocoa and coffee. Again, big on the bittering hops. Very astringent and dry. Very good.

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Photo of PintOHops
3.55/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a goblet. 7.8% ABV version/vintage.

Appearance/Smell - Appeared black to very dark brown with hardly any light shining through, almost poured oily like out of the bottle. Tan 1 finger head with lacking retention, no lacing for me. Smelled of of robust roasted & smokey malts, hints of chocolate, mocha/coffee notes, a touch of plum & grape fruits. Big roasted notes overall, gets better as it warms with subtle earthy hop notes, but nothing outstanding or wonderful here, a little boring to me.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Tasted of rich & robust roasted malts, very long malt notes all the way to the finish with hints of smoke, dark chocolate & coffee, finishing mildly dry with a bit of alcohol warmth. Not much fruit as in the aroma, nice burnt bitterness that lingers on finish, and more pronounced flavors when it warms, but still nothing mind blowing. Mouthfeel was a bit creamy and definitely smooth. Lite carbonation bite to it, and full bodied.

Drinkability/Final thoughts - The alcohol was hidden dangerously well in this one, even when warmed, making this pretty drinkable but rather a little boring to me. I expected outstanding complexity with flavors I could hardly describe, but it was rather simple & decent, just average porter flavors/aromas but bigger, it just didn't do it for me. Id pass this one for a Stone Smoked Porter any day, not recommended.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours solid black with a large, brownish head. There are brown highlights along the edges when held up to the light.

Smell is lots of roasted malt as well as dark fruit. Taste is similar to the smell, with a heavy roasted flavor as well as a little bit of alcohol. For a beer with this much alcohol, it is very drinkable and something I really enjoyed.

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Photo of HisDorian
4.68/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Nice thick looking beer on the pour. Decent 2 finger head. Very dark coloring. Tannish head

Smells of what a good stout should have. Carmel, Vanilla, Molasses. Maybe a touch of coffee.

Wow. I love this beer! Big flavor but very smooth and balanced. This is a porter? Seems bigger than that to me. All the scents are in the flavor, only bigger.

It's a nice thick beer in my mouth, just the way I like it. I will have to pick up some of this again!!

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Photo of boogyman
3.31/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Almost pure black. There is always a bit of light shining through the edges but this is pretty black. Good finger or so of very light tan head that stays around a while and leaves a good ring of bubbles. Fairly nice lacing that leaves allmost spider web like designs.

S- Strong coffee and chocolate notes, very similar so some Imperial Stouts I have had. Dark malts are there.

T- Most definitely coffee, much more then I was expecting given the nose. Ever so slight sweet chocolate flavors but is masked by the much stronger dark malt coffee. Dark malts are also prevalent. Boozyness is definitely there but not too bad.

M- Goes down fairly smooth, just a little bit of alcohol bite left over on the palate after its down.

D- Definitely not a beer I want many of. The strong coffee flavors and super alcohol are a bit much. But that is too be expected by something that is called an Imperial Porter so I can't blame it. Overall I enjoyed drinking it.

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Photo of Spineypanda
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great porter for those who like extremes.

Pours a very dark, almost black with a nice light brown head that lasts.
Smells smokey and hoppy.
Tastes wonderful, like smoked or roasted malts, and a some potent hops. Hits the back of the tongue nicely. Probably now one of my favorites from Flying Dog!

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with a nice tan head. The small is of roasted malt with a little bit of coffee. The taste is quite malty, with a nice robust feel and slight dryness. Coffee undertones exist throughout, and there is a little bit of bittersweet chocolate. Quite drinkable, and increases in complexity as it warms up.

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Photo of natelocc787
3.57/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This porter is semi-thick and darkest brown. Smells like loads of chocolate wafers and roasted malt. Taste was good until the finish. Lots of chocolate and heavy molasses with a smooth alcohol bite like a port wine. The finish was very earthy and soily. Left a roasted chocolate dirt taste in my mouth. It was noticeable enough to knock back an otherwise good flavor score. Soil taste hurt the drinkability score.

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

Consumed 10/15/2009- from notes.

Brown 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- Very dark brown with just a hint of red around the edges. Pretty small dark chocolate head came and went pretty quick leaving a thin skim for the remainder, pretty good lacing though.

S- Fainter then I expected, light roasty chocolate, little hint of the alchohol.

T- Very malty through out, chocolate and a little coffee.

M- Medium bodied, smooth but not as chewy as I expected.

D- Pretty easy to drink, could have a few in a sitting. Definitely leans towards a RIS though.

As SkunkWorks stated my bottle also said 9.2% ABV.

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Photo of SkunkWorks
3.48/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Poured almost black, dark brown head though the head formation was incredibly small. Minimal lacing.

S- The malt flavors are most forward in the smell. You also get a hint of the alcohol.

T- Very nice. Very malty with some alcohol and a little coffee aftertaste. As it warms up, the coffee aftertaste disappeared and was replaced by a heavy malt flavor.

M- Very smooth. I don't detect any bitterness in the beer at all.

D- High, though the high alcohol content probably makes this not a good session beer (though BA lists it at 7.8% ABV, my bottle clearly says 9.2%).

Overall, a very good porter. Would recommend and would have again.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.81/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Captain Lawrence tumbler.

A: Poured a vigorous and developing 1.5 finger light chocolate colored fine cream head with excellent retention. Brew itself is deep, almost opaque dark red. Lacing is layered and outstanding.

S: Nose is roasted malt, chocolate, slight hoppiness, and abundant coffee

T: Start is sweet and coffee like with hints of chocolate that develop into the middle but fade back into a slightly sour coffee finish. Roasted malts are apparent throughout but not overwhelming and peaks towards the finish.

M: Medium bodied and coarse. This one isn't so smooth and a little too carbonated.

D: Drinkable, this is like an imperial coffee stout with a sufficiently diminished coffee replaced by a more malty backbone.

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

Pours oily black like an imperial stout with a tan creamy head that has good retention and leaves thick lacing behind. Smell has a huge chunk of molasses, alcohol, coffee, roasted malts and chocolate. The alcohol was overpowering at first but blended in nicely after a bit. Tastes of roasted malts, coffee, molasses, chocolate, and some alcohol (not too much, reminds me of Stone RIS). Mouthfeel is moderate bodied (a bit light for me), good carbonation and the amount of alcohol bite you look for in a beer like this, a nice chocolate coffee roasty flavor coats the tongue. Drinkability is good, great taste, I think this one would stand the flavor test over a few, the alcohol might overpower it in a bit, the price was not bad, probably will get this one again.

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Photo of pourmeup
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- poured into a nonic pint a very dark brown with a light tan head, excellent retention
S- milk chocolate, spice cake, very malty and sweet
T- malty, slight coffee taste on the front with a very smooth chocolately finish
M- smooth, needs more thickness to go with the flavor
D- extremely drinkable, despite its current 7.8% alc/vol
(2 person review)

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Photo of zoso493
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a straight-sided pint glass.

Appearance: A mysterious dark color with a nice, foamy, brown head that lingers for a little while. Leaves some lacing on the glass.

Smell: A big malt character, with hints of coffee and chocolate and even a scent of hops.

Taste: Roasted malts and coffee are the big hitters in this one. Finishes with a nice hop bitterness that isn't too prominent with porter. This has sort of an RIS-lite taste to it.

Mouthfeel: Excellent in this brew. It's very thick and full-bodied but not overly chewy. The hops don't make it overly bitter at the end either.

Drinkability: For what it is, this is a very drinkable brew. Really not too heavy despite the 8.7% ABV.

Overall, this is a pretty tasty brew and definitely worth seeking out and trying. I'll drink this again if I get the chance.

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Photo of jamescain
3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I drank it straight from the bottle, which was probably not a good choice. It has a nice roasted malty taste and a pinch of alcohol to it. This was my first Baltic porter.

There is a week smell but strong taste of molasses. I'm more of a hophead so this is not my favorite type of beer. It has a nice finish and nice carbonation which gives it a little bite, not too much, just refreshing. The beer is surprisingly light bodied, well, light bodied for a stout.

Out of all of the Flying Dog I've had it is probably the best one.

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Photo of ritzkiss
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz from Buffalo, 2009 vintage, pours a shade short of black, faintest hints of cola brown when backlit, nice 2 fingers of mocha head, able to maintain a thin tablecloth of foam on top most of the way down, last third, down to a collar.

Nose is fronted by lots of chocolate and roasty malts, not acrid but bordering on sharp. Hints of chocolate, coffee, and dark fruits.

That line between sharpness of the roast is certainly flirted with in this one. Lots of big malt, hints of coffee and bitter baking chocolate, thick molasses, hints of woody smoke, medium sweet middle, bittering hoppy finish that goes on for an impressive length, oily mouthfeel that coats the tongue, smooth silky carb without being syrupy.

Definitely a nice beer, can see why it wins in the Impy stout category, lots of roast. Seemed a little raw to me though, a little one dimensional, going for the bang rather than the finesse. Still, quite enjoyed it and looking forward to seeing if a little time in the cellar would smooth this out at all.

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Photo of mdwalsh
3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Black, even when held up to the sun. Dark brown head that doesn't stay around long at all but around the edges leaves some good lacing. The bubbles that are there are large. 4

S: Burnt sugar? Very malty, but I can detect a little bit of hops in there somewhere. Reminds me of an Imperial Stout more than a porter. Really fills the air though. 4

T: A little boozy, and still tastes sweet burnt. It reminds me a little of when you get a bit of charred wood on a marshmellow while camping. Not much complexity in the flavor at all I think. Those hops from the nose are gone. 3

M: Slippery. Thick up front, but finishes thin, very odd. refreshing though. 4

D: Meh, I don't think I'll get any more of this, though it does get a good buzz going. 3

Take two. I've let the beer age a little and my palate has matured. The scores are from my second try.

A: Pours black as black as black can be with a brown head of small, stiff bubbles. I get absolutely no light coming through. Really good looking.

S: Dark, sweet candied fruit. MMM, no hops that I can tell, unless, well, maybe some background English or something for bittering, but it's pretty mellowed out now. A little bit of roast, but mostly cloying smelling.

T: Bittersweet. Tastes more charred than the smell, like charred barbecue sauce or something. But after a few sips, that's not nearly as harsh. Now the beer is almost getting bland. I'm still getting a little roastyness, but also straight forward sweetness. No hops.

M: Lighter than I wanted, really. And leaves me feeling a little dry really.

D: Other than that initial bittersweet kick in the teeth, this is pretty drinkable. I like it. I would consider buying more.

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Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
Beer rating: 83.3% out of 100 with 2,929 ratings
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