Gonzo Imperial Porter | Flying Dog Brewery

2,925 Ratings
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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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,925 |  Reviews: 1,477
Photo of Beejay
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep dark black, fairly thick with cappuccino head on top.. and plenty of it at that, looks delicious.

S: Mocha, hops, malty bread..

T: Rich and malty, a good kick of hops, but not enough to overpower. Bitter with a slightly sweet finish. Very well balanced.

M: Thick and slightly syrupy, coats the mouth as it goes down.

D: I could do a good few of these. Delicious, and perfect for sitting around a fire on a nice summer night.

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Photo of JoeST
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber brown almost black through the glass with a nice fluffy caramel color three finger head. The head takes a few good minutes to settle down.
Has a very nice mild coffee aroma with hints of toasted malt & light hints of alcohol. One of the best smelling porters I've came across in a while.
Taste is of a very smooth coffee with some chocolate hidden sweetness & very slight hop presence come through shortly after drinking.
Nice & creamy mouth feel, very smooth going down.
I have passed by this one several times, but will be sure to grab some from now on.

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Photo of danny013
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into an snifter. Body pours a deep jet black and forms a thick tan head that sticks around and leaves some nice lacing.

Aroma is of sweet malts, some alcohols and a big floral hoppiness. Faint coffee/charcoal.

Taste is initially of sweet roasted grains, good coffee flavors with a good amount of hop presence to back it up and balance the beer out from the get-go. Big charcoal flavors pull out as the beer is swallowed, mellow out and linger on the palate with some sweet malts and a big assertive hoppiness, some warm alcohol flavors float about.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, coats the mouth and goes down smooth. A nice light carbonation livens the beer up a bit. Very smooth and pleasant for the almost 8% ABV.

Overall, a very good brew. Easy drinking and filling, definitely something to sip on and relax with.

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Photo of Proteus93
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep black with a tan head that started a little weak, but formed well towards the end of the fill. Leaves a decent lacing behind and a trim of head remains as it goes.

S: The roasted malts take it for the most half, with some hints of spent coffee and chocolate. Oddly, there seems to be something like a sprig of spearmint in there... it just appeared out of nowhere without having anything nearby or recently consumed that would have contributed to that. It's nice, but unexpected!

T: Roasted malts and a sweet chocolate, with a little hint of fruit - plum? There's a pleasant bitterness to it that's not attributed to an unsweetened chocolate kind of flavour. Quite nice. On a side note, I did the taste BEFORE the scent for a change. After noting the perceived mintiness in the aroma, it carried over into the flavour, which was a bit strange. It's just a touch... just enough to give it a little edge.

M: An assertive carbonation, body is a bit slick feeling, but smooth. It goes down feeling clean but leaves the flavour behind to linger and grow after a sip.

D: Alcohol is not an issue with this at all. It goes down very easily, almost a little too much so for the content. This brewery wasn't among my favourites before, but this one stands out and has me interested in revisiting others. Nicely done.

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

Gonzo Imperial Porter
Flying Dog Brewery
Style: Baltic Porter
ABV: 7.80 %

Reviewed 11/9/08, bottle>dimpled mug
A 4.0 - dark opaque tar/black in color, small mellow head, reduces to a frothy coffee lace/skin on surface, pours like oil!
S 4.0 - dark fuity notes, intense notes of bitter coffee and roast, subtle hop spice
T 4.0 - not my preference, but intense and rich on palate, deep malts with hints of coffee, bitter cocoa, and fruitcake
MF 4.0 full body beer, pours like an oil, low on carbonation - is this expected????
D 3.5/4.0 - Solid rep of what I thought an "Imperial Porter" might taste like, this is a cold weather heavy beer in my book, but it interesting and worth a try for sure.

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Photo of magnj
4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Vintage 2008, Poured into a pint glass.

a - Nice 1 finger head to start, drops off quickly. Deep brown body.

s - Big nose, chocolate, roasted grains, old dark coffee. Caramel seems to have turned to more of a toffee, subtly sweet. There is a hint of heat even right out of the fridge.

t - Toasted malts up front, chocolate and slightly roasted grains in the middle, ends clean with some coffee and more chocolate. As it warms the heat comes through and I am reminded of the only downfall of this beer. Also getting some dark fruit in the finish as it warms.

m/d - Relatively thin body but not watery. Not really sticky, coats the mouth but doesn't linger exceptionally long. Overall appropriate for the style.

Rating reflects most recent review, overall similar to what I remember it being like last time but a little less hot.

Vintage 2008, poured into a pint glass.

a - Big, thick brown head dies down quick and leaves nothing behind. Deep brown, impenetrable by light.

s - Smells heavily of roasted, dark malts. Chocolate and caramel, hints of coffee.

t - Really complex. Lot's of chocolate, but not bitter like some other examples. There is also some coffee. None of the flavors are overpowering, they all work together to make a very tasty and complex brew. The alcohol is sneaky and not harsh at all.

m/d - Nothing bad to say here. Feels like it should, coats the mouth with flavor that lingers. Quite drinkable, begs for another taste.

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Photo of adamette
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Live review. The 800th for this beer! Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Great Lakes Christmas Ale goblet. Purchased at World Wines and Liquor in Mentor, Ohio a few weeks ago.

A Pours a jet black that allows no light through, even direct light. Nice light brown head that stayed around for 3 minutes with good lacing.

S Dark dark roasted malt with coffee and chocolate smells. Very inviting.

T Wow...this is really close to a stout IMO. Deep dark roasted malt, black coffee and a distant dark chocolate. Really, this is much like an RIS to me.

M One of the biggest mouthfeels. Huge dark tastes of malt, coffee and distant chocolate with big ABV.

D Not really that great at all. One and done for me.

Notes: I realize that this is a "Baltic Porter" but to me it is very much a Stout. I may need to look up the definitions of both to understand the difference I guess.

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Photo of WalrusJockey
3.47/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip.

A- dark, nearly opaque, clear. Head is not worth describing because it poured next-to-none, and what there was fell almost instantly.

S- the aromas of roasted malt. Caramel and chocolate, sweet and sugar. Also alcohol is noticeable, as is a wine-like (though not especially fruity) aroma.

T- sweet, roasted malt flavors, fading eventually into a more chocolaty, more cacao, more coffee, more roasty flavor. Swallow is chocolate malt and a hint of cleansing hops, while the after taste is a relatively clean hint of roast.

Edit: as the beer warms and flattens over the coarse of the glass, it goes from pleasant, to unpleasant: cloying, heavy, and too-sweet. At 9.2%, rushing it is a poor option, so I recomend drinking this one a bit cold.

M- I would prefer this beer to be a bit creamier, to complement the flavors more; but porters aren't especially heavy-in-the-mouth beers, so this one isn't overly light for the style, just a bit lighter than I would prefer.

D- Ok. This is a tasty, enjoyable beer, when cold, but when warm, it is a flat, syrupy thing I don't much care for. I'll finish the four-pack, but I doubt I will hurry to buy more, Thompson or no Thompson.

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Photo of alpinebryant
4.82/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 9.6% abv 12 oz bottle
Appearance - Nice and dark. Has a slightly thick colored head.

Smell - Smoky aroma of sweet chocolate , fruity aroma in background of maltiness, smells delicious

Taste - Taste quickly made me a believer that there have to be great porters out there that I have never been aware of. Slightly heavy malt taste, possibly could be from sitting on the shelf for too long, but great nonetheless

Mouthfeel - Nice and thick, but not too thick that you think you are drinking a Guiness or a stout. Gentle on taste, but complex with smoke and coffee hints

Overall opinion.... I believe I have a favorite Porter on my list now, and I wasnt sure that I liked porters before drinking this beer. Ill have another please

Since the alcohol has been lowered to 7.8% abv, I thought I would add that I could not taste any major differences in the beer other than it all around seemed sweeter than the 9.8 abv that I had tasted before. The difference in taste could have to do entirely with how old the 9.8% abv had been. I still love the beer after losing 2% abv.

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

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Pours a deep, dark brown, red around the edges. A thin soapy brown head quickly receded into non-existence.

S: Charcoal smoke and burnt chocolate with a faint pumpernickel aroma.

T: Chocolate and dark roasted coffee up front with molasses and faint herbal hops following. There's a certain unctious quality missing. A noticeable alcohol warmth reminds you of the ABV.

M: Medium-heavy viscosity with slightly more carbonation than I prefer in a porter.

D: I could drink this as a nightcap, but there's several others I'd prefer.

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

A: deep dark brown pour with thin head.

S: deep malty smell with hint of coffee.

T: Complex balanced with a frituy blackberry finish.

M: On the thin side but paired well with a steak.

D: When in the mood could sip a couple of these in an evening.

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Photo of biker30x
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a pint, nearly pitch black with a thin brown head that is quickly gone. the smell is of burnt coffee and rich figs. Those two themes carry over to the taste which also adds dark molasses and a hint of nuttiness to a thick and rich mouth-filling feel. the coffee and sweetness (both dark and deep) linger afterwards with a roasted fullness that is not overpowering. a full and warming drinking experience that is not too filling or to bitter. perfect on a cold winter evening.

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

A- Pours a pitch black color with a 1 finger thick tan/brown head with great retention. Sticky lacing rings the glass.

S- Very nice dark chocolate, raisin, fig, blackberry, nice roasted malts, fresh coffee notes, and cascade aroma.

T- Starts out with very nice dark chocolate, hints of coffee and a blackberry note right in the middle that is extremely reminiscent of chocolate covered fruits. The finish is fruity but has a nice whack of dryness from the hops. Eventually into the finish, bits of coffee come into play.

M- Nice big feel with light carbonation. Finish is very long and complex.

D- This is a pretty nice imperial porter. It has a big juicy fruit note in between the typical chocolate and coffee. I'm sure I'll drink this again sometime.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. single - $2.79 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia. Listed as "Vintage 09".

Appearance: Pours a black body topped with a frothed, tan-colored head.

Smell: Cutting aroma of charred black malts, dark chocolate, fragrant colophony, and even chiffonade mint leaves.

Taste: Bittersweet, fudge-like chocolaty malts coupled with sharply roasty black maltiness and its taste of fire-scorched coffee grinds. Strongly sweet, though this is tempered somewhat by the bitter qualities of the roasted malts blended with the bitterness of the earthy, resinous, pine-tinged hops. As with the nose, there's a touch of spicy mint. Drying, bitterish finish with a final lingering taste of creosote.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Soft, creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: It's certainly one of Flying Dog's better offerings. Paired well with the bittersweet, oft melancholy tones of the Kings of Convenience and Pedro the Lion. It makes me a bit wistful for the barrel-aged Gonzo.

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Photo of webbcreative
4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured motor oil black...nice 2 finger head that dissipated pretty quick. Smells wonderful of the roasted malts. Can taste the hops - not bitter at all. Taste of dark malt and really picking up a chocolate, coffee flavor. finish a bit stout due to the alcohol bite, but is by no means overwhelming. Wonderfully flavorful beer and one that i will definitely have to get again.

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Photo of beermanWV
4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of Flying Dog's best, if not their best. Pick one up if you have never tried it

A- Very dark brown, almost black. You cannot see through Gonzo. Pours a nice head which is is a lighter brown, and sticks to the glass at first but then disappears into a ring

S- A ton of smells packed into one glass. Dark coffee, burnt toast, light vanilla, roasted malt, and a hint of bourbon. The smell is complex, and changes as the beer warms.

T- Complex, like the aroma. Big roasted malt, but there is a nice hop balance to complement the malt. The big complex roasted malt tastes predominates.

M- Not a whole lot of carbonation, but it works well. Aftertaste is smokey, and thick. You get a slight bourbon aftertaste, but this is very nice- even for those who don't especially love bourbon like me

D- Not a session beer. This beer is meant to be enjoyed slowly. Pour it into your glass straight from the refrigerator and drink it slowly so you get the spectrum of tastes and aromas.

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Photo of thain709
3.86/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pitch black...a caramel head forms to the size of one finger but fades into a ring...no lacing

S - I thought the aroma was very complex...big whiff of roasted malts...then I got some hops...and alcohol

T - The taste was the same way...but it was in a good way!...huge roasted malt flavors...and an interesting blend of hops and alcohol through the middle...but then...booom!...that great aftertaste of chocolate and coffee

M - Actually a little thin...but smooth

D - That alcohol taste warmed me up as it went down and the coffee aftertaste was wonderful...all in all a solid beer

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

Bottle 12 oz.

Poured black color with a large light brown head that diminished slowly with good lacing. Full complex aroma of roasted malt, smoky with alcohol. Full body with a creamy texture. Full malt, toffee and coffee with a long finish with a hoppy bitter bite.

Clearly a Flying Dog version of a porter.

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

Appearance - Good and dark. Leaves a nice chocolate milk colored head. Decent lacing on the side.

Smell - Like a nice porter, with a hint of coffee and/or chocolate. Smell makes me think of a nice stout.

Taste - Taste instantly reminds me that this beer is a deep strong porter.

Mouthfeel - Taste stays in mouth for a nice long drink. A beer that would last me throughout dinner.

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Photo of Fatduck
3.29/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

This bottle was a gusher, I managed to get it into the glass just in time to have it flow over the rim of my glass. Tasty foam tho.

Pours a deep black with a large rocky head. Smells sickly sweet as soon as I open the bottle. Its hard to get past that smell, the overly sweet malty aroma. Smells like something from Rogue in the XS line. Taste is a little bland after that bit scent. Thin bodied, a little lackluster. I cant really put my finger on it, but this beer is lacking something.

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

Poured from 12oz bottle to pint glass.

A: Pours dark brown with a light brown yellowish head that has decent retention but not much lacing.

S: Smells strongly of molasses, with roasted malts and some coffee.

T&M: Roasted malts, chocolate, little bit of a molasses taste followed by noticeable hops into a coffee finish. Well carbonated and bubbly throughout the entire drink, also very smooth.

Overall: Very, very good porter. Nice balance of flavor that isn't too strong in any area and still provides great drinkability for the alcohol content.

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

Picked up a 4 pack at BevMo as I saw the label in an ad or something and thought I must give it a shot. This poured as a nice dark midnight with a minimal head. Smelled of dark chocolate, and small hints of coffee. You could also get some of the hoppy smell which is different from deep porters or stouts. Great taste, I initially thought it to be more of a stout due to the low bubbles. It definitely dint represent the typical porter carbonation. Very smooth and tastes of roasted malts and chocolates throughout. To me it was more of a stout but loved every sip. Excited to have another tonight.

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Photo of surfer4life
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Pint glass from a 12oz bottle.

A - Dark brown, almost black. Head is very dark brown, and stays around for quite some time. Decent Lacing left on the glass.

S - Roasted Coffee, Molasses, medium hoppy smell, bbq'd food.

T - Very oaky through, coffee comes through as does the hoppiness. I taste old leather as well, caramel sweetness in the end.

M - Medium Carbonation, creaminess coats the mouth and is very pleasant.

D - Very, awesome porter here. Probably the best I've had so far.

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Photo of bigbelcher
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not really a baltic porter but a American Imperial Porter. Color is very black with a large tan head. The aroma is roasted malt, chocolate with some hop background still coming through. The flavor is dominated by roasted malts and strong bitter dark chocolate with some coffee notes. Really well balanced for a strong beer and it masks the alcohol well.

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Photo of Dulliwhig
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - pours midnight black with a dark tan head that dies quickly. Decent spotty lacing.

S - chocolate roasted malts, charred fruit.

T - smoked chocolate, bitter sort of citric finish, alcohol warms the chest, but not harsh and overpowering. Good stuff.

M - thick, lighter than average carbonation.

D - this beer is a good one before I go to bed, but not something that I could drink a whole lot of.

This is a good beer to drink by a fire on a cold winter night.

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Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
4.02 out of 5 based on 2,925 ratings.
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