Gonzo Imperial Porter | Flying Dog Brewery

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter
2,950 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,950 |  Reviews: 1,481
Photo of froghop
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a deep dark brown with a small khaki head, good lacing.

smell has a lot to it, cocoa, molasses, a touch of coffee, vanilla, some malt.

taste is thick and smooth, milk and bitter chocolate, toasted walnuts, graham cracker, licorice hiding in the back, a touch of vanilla, end is nicely bitter and dry.

 308 characters

Photo of naterock
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours thick and black like used oil, medium tan head, about three fingers worth and heavy patchy lacing.

smells of rich malts, chocolatey anf creamy, fig notes are present in the nose, and something like raisins. actually has somewhat of a phenolic quality to it.

thick and rich flavors of bitter chocolate, I can taste some raisin in the finish. A very nice oakey feeling in the body that actually wins me in this beer. A bit too much alcohol in the taste, but it doesn't distract from the beer.

thick, oily. nice carbonation but could use less. I could enjoy a couple but this is one thick bastard. This is the best beer flying dog makes, but that doesn't say much about their other beers. this one is good but just shy of great.

 735 characters

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

**NOTE** This brew is listed here as having an 9.20% ABV, while my bottle and the Flying Dog website lists it at 7.8% ABV.

Presentation: 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- Very, very dark brown/borderline black, and opaque. Hard pour produces 2+ fingers of creamy tan head, which fades very slowly to a thin, complete cap. Thick, foamy lacing.

S- A strong grapefruit smell upon pouring. Vague cocoa notes begin to appear as it warms.

T- Citrusy hit on the front, and a nice smooth cocoa/coffee bitterness on the finish. Alcohol blends superbly with the grapefruity hops flavors/sensations.

M- Extremely smooth and wonderfully creamy for a porter. Very, very nice.

D- Excellent. This one could be savored as a sipper, or could be enjoyed consuming multiples at a faster pace.

Future outlook: Out of sight brew IMO. I will definitely be buying again, and am glad to have the rest of my 4 pack to dispose of.

 912 characters

Photo of snipedthetender
4.85/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was amazing. I bought the Canis Major four pack. All of the beers in it were delicious, but this one stood out. It was by far one of the best Porters I've ever had. Also the artwork on the bottle is amazing. Flying Dog set a new standard for bottle art by hiring Ralph Steadman .

 289 characters

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

Appearance: This beer pours an opaque black color with a small mocha colored head that had minimal staying power with no lacing on my glass.
Scent: Black malt and coffee dominate the nose on this beer, but as the beer warmed I also get dark fruit, smoke, and alcohol.
Flavor: The roasted malt comes in full force to start the beer, but is quickly followed by a rather strong hop bitterness. I also get more dark fruit, sugar sweet chocolate, and freeze dried coffee grounds. The flavors seem to be everywhere and nothing is really melding very well for me.
Mouthfeel: The texture is my favorite aspect and is very creamy and full bodied with good carbonation on this offering, but the alcohol was quite present on this offering.
Drinkability: I would most likely only have of these in a sitting, and I wouldn't seek out this beer very often.

I wasn't that big of a fan of this beer. The flavors were everywhere and the alcohol was still quite hot for me.

 955 characters

Photo of Nubster
3.51/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Drank from a pint glass, served cellar temp.

A - Poured creamy and very dark. Very nice inch and a half milk chocolate colored head. Lasted a few minutes then disappeared but maintained a thin layer covering the entire top of the beer.

S - Definitely malty with a hint of coffee and alcohol.

T - A little sweet on the tip of the tongue with a nice bitter on the back. Got some coffee for sure. There is a definite alcohol taste throughout. For me this is a strong tasting beer. Seems to be getting better as it warms (drinking while I type). At first I wasn't too sure but it is starting to grow on me.

M - Creamy. Coats lightly. Slight carbonation that is nice and mot too overpowering.

D - For me it is not there. I bought this one as a single and I am not sure that I would get it again. Maybe later as my tastes better develops as I am still very new to beer. I may have jumped in to this one too soon. I know for sure I could not drink more than this one in a single sitting.

 986 characters

Photo of Jablonski
3.61/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: has a dark chocolate color, which has some red tints when held up to the light; small head that is a light brown in color

Smell: malt and alcohol both apparent in the smell

Taste: coffee and malt apparent as is the alcohol; tastes a bit like an imperial stout

Drinkability: no more than 2 at once, and maybe that's pushing it; however, it's not hard to finish a beer at all

 388 characters

Photo of chiapete
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this around a little while but seems to have held up well.

Poured a dark black , which wouldn't let light through , some dark red edges when up to light.
Has a light brown , tan head that fades to a nice top on the beer.
has some slight lace down glass.
Had a slight aroma , hard to pick out much . some woodiness , roasted malt.
taste was good bitter chocolate, roasted malt , some coffee , a little bitterness , but a good balance through the drink. I noticed more pronounced taste as the beer warmed. Alcohol in the back.
drinkable . better warmed a little bit . will try this one again with a little fresher bottle.

 626 characters

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

A - Opaque black with one finger of coffee head with a little lacing. Head fades quickly

S - Chocolate malt. A deeper scent develops as it warms up

T - Dark chocolate and malts

M - Medium body with light carbonation

D - Pretty enjoyable and easy to drink

 258 characters

Photo of morimech
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with one inch of tan head that had good retention. The head settles to a thick cap. A lot of lacing is left on the glass surface. THe aroma conists of roasted, mildly burnt malt, chocolate, with a hint of alcohol. The alcohol is nicely covered up in the aroma and taste even though it is up close to the 10% mark. The flavor is good but rather one dimensional. The malt comes through but it just leaves a slightly burnt bitterness that lasts through the finish. Slight warming from the alcohol. Medium body with low carbonation combines for a nice texture for a malty, high ABV beer. Not a beer I would drink more than one a sitting, but it is good for the style.

 675 characters

Photo of MacDomer
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from 2007

A - Very dark, almost black. Some faint ruby highlights when held up to some light. 1 inch light brown/tan head, if that...all my pours have weak head tonight. Pretty good lacing on this one.

A - Didn't get much from this at first, so I let it sit for 10 minutes and it opened up a bit. Thick and gooey, fudge-like actually. Toasty malts and smoke. Pretty appealling.

T - Begins with some nice moderate roasted malts, espresso spiked brownies, a nice richness. Well balanced with bitter hops which mix in some citrusy flavors before finishing with a nice coffee bitterness. A hint of alcohol in the finish.

M - Medium bodied, just right for a porter. Smooth and creamy, especially as it warms.

D - Let this one warm up!! Really nice after 20 minutes from the fridge. A "fast sipper" I'd call it - don't really need to take forever to drink this, but I wouldn't rush it either. Boy, this is really, really good towards the end...I'd drink this only slightly cold next time around. Really nice!!!

 1,017 characters

Photo of CHSLBrew
3.86/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A-Nearly black, opaque beer, topped with an initially thick and dense brown head. Head reduced slowly to a dense, thin layer of bubbles. Minimal lacing.

S-Very little aroma. Some very light roasty malts and light esters. I would have liked/expected a bit more aroma.

T-Deep, dark roasted malts, fading to a chocolatiness layerd atop subtle, dark fruits and raisins. This malts (at times almost sweet) are nicely balanced by a very present bitterness. Some mild roast astringency. Light alcohol flavor/feel in the last half of the taste.

M-The first thing I noticed was an alcoholic warmth on the palate and on the way down. Has a medium body feel in my mouth, wome viscosity almost. This beer moves around very quickly in my mouth. Low-moderate carbonation.

D-This is a nice beer. Pretty easy to drink, considering the alcohol content. A very good beer to keep me warm on a chilly late-November evening. I look forward to having this one again.

 975 characters

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

08 vintage

A: Pours a deep black with a silky-looking mocha head that fades quickly and doesn't leave much lace.

S: Nose is complex and pleasant, albeit a bit muted. Dark fruits, some black maltiness, citrus hops that add a nice dimension, and a woody, vanilla like aroma akin to oak-aged beer. Aroma could be stronger, but that's my only complaint.

T&M: Dark chocolate and coffee flavor mixed well with some sweet caramel flavor and a pleasant piney, citrusy hop flavor that doesn't overpower. There's also a balancing acidity to it that's quite enjoyable. Finish is long and complex--a reprise of hop flavor, some chocolate and coffee. The flavor of this beer exudes balance and boldness. It's big-bodied with a touch more carbonation than a RIS, which gives it a nice peppy mouthfeel.

D: For being so big, it actually drinks pretty easily. Additionally, the high ABV didn't factor into the flavor at all for me, which is always a plus. I'll definitely be seeking out this beer again in the future.

 1,004 characters

Photo of currysage1
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep garnet red with chestnut around the edges, seems to be quite clear. Topped with one finger head that took a hard pour to bring about, sinks to a nice spotty covering with great lacing.

Smell is a hoppier version of what I am used to for Baltics, has the typical dark fruit but with more of a booze undertone. nice toasted grains in there as well, this has a straightforward clean smell.

Taste is baking chocolate mixed with prunes and mission figs, definate booze toward the end, very pleasing. Nice hop bitterness towards the end.

Feel is what I would expect, thicker than what I associate with a Baltic but totally within style, nice and creamy. Carbonation is prickly and doesn't allow the heavy flavors to get boring. I could have another but need to switch after that.

 789 characters

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

12oz bottle, 08aa vintage

A - Dark as night. Very thick. Reminds me of a stout consistency. Looks syrupy. The head is minimal, but what little is there is mocha in color. Dissipates quickly.

S - Very pungent. Strong notes of chocolate and roasted barely. Perhaps something like maple. Very sweet to the nose.

T - Starts the smooth dark chocolate flavor. Moves to a roasted malt mid-finish that includes just a hair of coffee. Finishes with some phenolic notes associated with its high abv.

M - Thick and syrupy. Lots of body. Smooth as it goes down. Obviously is loaded with sugars.

D - Deceivingly easy to drink. The high abv is fairly well hidden, and the malty flavors aren't overbearing. In the category of a high abv porter, this works for me.

 754 characters

Photo of chaz410
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this at the second anti-oktoberfest on tap next to the tire bite. What a contrast! This beer is exceptionally good and unique for the style of porters. First off it is an imperial porter, making it obviously more thick and rich (and more alcohol-ic tasting) in the overall profile. Secondly it has a unique hoppy-floral note lacing the more typical roasted chocolaty, malty and mocha. This is the most impressive part of the beer, it's hoppy sweet floral notes and slight bitter hints really make this normally dark beer far more crisp tasting. I really love this beer but recommend you have it in smaller dosage just because of the robust character and really thick mouthfeel.

 681 characters

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

poored almost like a thin used motor oil, what head it did have left almost as soon as it showed up but foam stuck around the edge of the glass and left decent lacing
Smells of dark burnt malts and a slight alcohol hint
tastes of roasted coffee and a burnt dark chocolate hint, hops very present nice bitterness
feels good in the mouth slight thickness as you would expect
not something you'd sit around and drink a case of but a nice beer either way

 450 characters

Photo of mugglesandhops
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I am a huge Hunter S. Thompson fan so I was looking forward to drinking this beer

A: Looks like a stout how dark it is, decent tan head.lots of lacing

S: Some chocolate, coffee

T: Little bit of chocolate, burnt coffee

M: very full

D: good beer, i dont know if i would drink it again though, a little too much for my blood

 326 characters

Photo of bbothen
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 version.

Pours a deep dark black with a frothy 2 finger deep espresso colored head.

Sweet maltiness, roasted coffee, chocolate, faint rasiny aroma.

Roasted/toasted malts, distinct hop bitterness, fruitiness, big boozy character, burnt bitter finish.

Big & full bodied, moderate carbonation, warming booziness.

Big beer. The 9% is distinct & warming. 2 in a sitting is enough.

 387 characters

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

I poured a 12 ounce bottle into my SA pint glass. While pouring this beer looks like dirty, used motor oil. The beer is dark, and impervious to any light. A thin tan head forms, making this beer look alot like a RIS. I really enjoyed the smell of this beer. There are hints of coffee, caramel, and alcohol. The taste is smooth and clean. Chocolate, toffee, and coffee are all flavors I pick up, along with some hints of overripe fruit. The feel of this beer is a medium/full bodied sipper. The beer hides its 9% ABV very well. I will definitely buy this one again.

 564 characters

Photo of williamherbert
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A flat dark brown color. A finger of light brown head, which turns into a decent-sized film. Just really dark and not much more.

Has a nice toasty malt aroma. Mild mocha coffee and dark chocolate. Sweet and a little roasted but not at all burnt. Mild earthy raisin and black licorice. Real real nice.

Pungent licorice/raisin sweetness in the taste, but also a heavily burnt malt. Strong alcohol. A mild, piney hop. Strong but also full of flavor. Doesn't use the alcohol to mask flavors.

Thick, chewy and dry feel. This drink s strong, but really very nice. It's a combination of sweet, but also roasted dark malts.

 618 characters

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Vintage 08DD

4.0 A: Stout like in appearance, black in color, thick tan head. Decent retention, but nothing special. Tons of lacing initially, but much less later into the beer.

4.0 S: Big chocolate aroma, as in super big. Caramel and roasted barley.

4.0 T: Chocolate again, though not as strong as in nose. Dark fruit and burnt flavored malts. Nuts, then a big of an alcohol tinge. Hops are there with herbal tones, but malts take the show. Very good, this is definitely worth trying.

3.5 M: Full bodied. Chewy and to a lesser extent creamy.

3.5 D: Very good beer, but one would be plenty. Big flavor and filling, and complete. The main problem is that it's too sweet to drink any more of.

 722 characters

Photo of gueuzeonhigh
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was too hasty with the barrel aged version of this beer. It would have been a very interesting taste-off between the "regular" (and much cheaper) Gonzo Imperial Porter versus the "Premium" barrel aged imperial porter.

Pours a tar color coal black producing a coarse bubble but short lived frothy head.

Nose was nothing to speak of- hints of alcohol, and a bit of toasted malt.

The flavor makes up for the lack-luster presentation. A nice ale bitter start comingled with malt but not a lot of other flavor hints. As I recall the barrel aged version of this beer had a "fatter", "rounder" flavor with somewhat more complexity.

Finish is long lasting clean dissolution of the bitter start signature.

Mouthfeel is quite cordial and invites another bottle. (I only wish I had a bottle of the barrel aged in stock-- I'd open it).

Drinkability comes along with the mouthfeel. No problem enjoying another Gonzo Imperial Porter.

Nevertheless I have tasted more complex and more satifying porters.

 998 characters

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


Dark brown/black with tan foam and no light shining through. Foam is gone in a few second leaving behind some average lacing. Aroma of bitter roasted malts, booze, and slightly hoppy. Flavor follows suit. Bitter roasted malt, slightly chocolaty, some coffee notes and nice dry hop bitterness on the finish. Average mouthfeel, decent carbonation. A bit strong to drink too many in one sitting, but a nice bottle to have around.

 439 characters

Photo of daythree16
4.6/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. It pours a jet black with a one-finger brown head.

There are a ton of aromas to sort out. There's a big dose of west coast hops up front with the lingering sweetness of caramel, followed by some coffee. As it warms, some molasses begins to creep in.

The taste is phenomenal. Some dark chocolate bitterness is noticeable at first. There is also a touch of caramel sweetness. Big nutty, almost peanut buttery flavors go well with the bitter, hoppy finish. As the beer warms, some light sour notes become apparent. The alcohol warmth is noticeable, but not overdone.

Mouthfeel is fairly smooth and very full bodied. Drinkability is not the greatest, because this a pretty big beer, but it's not bad either. I'm very glad I got a hold of this one. Highly recommended.

 812 characters

Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
Beer rating: 4.02 out of 5 with 2,950 ratings