Gonzo Imperial Porter | Flying Dog Brewery

2,924 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

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Ratings: 2,924 |  Reviews: 1,477
Photo of BeenJammin
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a pitch black and had a wonderfully thick tan head. The nose was roasty and there was no lack of chocolate malts. The tastes is also bursting with rich chocolates and a bit of molasses. There is also a sufficient usage of hop character for this beer. The beer was very full bodied and thick. It is surprisingly drinkable despite it's richness. I don't know if that is a good thing given it's size. One could find oneself quite drunk after just of few of these things.

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Photo of ibbjamin
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Paid $1.99 for a loosey 12oz bottle from Monument Liquor in Concord, CA.

Watchout pouring this one - it gives more head than a drunken Saigon whore on New Years. A full 3-4 inches of brown frothiness that doesn't come down for a while. Black. Lacing diminishes in a matter of seconds.

Very smoky and roasted nose with a sweetness of molasses. They didn't skimp on the malts in this one. Alcohol very well masked for it just being under 10%.

Heavy roasted malts and smokiness in the mouth. Lasting malty aftertaste. Not as sweet as the nose. Again, very well alcohol concealment.

Thick, full bodied meal. Little carbonation present in the mouthfeel. A bit of a grainy afterfeel.

A good brew for the style. Recommended.

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Photo of MrHungryMonkey
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ok! Let's Party!

Good strong sweetness wrapped around dark, scrumptious malt with a hop smack right at the end. Dark espresso and chocolate, bit of dark ripe raisin and bright, juicy grape. Very appetizing rich malt character.

Essentially black with a small, creamy dark brown head.

Thick luscious brew teeming with malty goodness. Tart snap. An earthy/grassy over-extracted-hop-like bitterness finishes the initial taste. Fruit chimes in: dark raisin and juicy grape as above. A little hop flavor: earthy, herbal, and hinting at citric resin. Soft carbonation - like stiff-cut grass under a blanket - gives just a hint of texture against the black malty abyss.

Final Thought:
Ah yes, the great Gonzo. A pretty stout Porter overflowing with all the tasty things a Porter should have. I'd like it a even better with less grassy bitter funk in the finish and aftertaste. Overall it's pretty good and full of character, just like the late Mr. Thompson.

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

4 pack of 12 oz. bottles for $8.35. Poured from the bottle into a Bud Light Pint glass (I will have my new glasswear from Stone soon). Paired with a chocolate mousse dessert.

A- Dark brown, with little head. Perhaps my pour was not aggressive enough.
S- Surprisingly hops were the first thing I noticed, followed by roasted malts and some chocolate maybe.
T-Roasted malts, some chocolate, and a little bit of coffee. Also I noticed a little bit of hoppiness.
M-Thick, with good carbonation, no complaints here.
D-I don't think I'd want more than two of these, but this beer isn't intended to be a session beer.

I have recently started trying to pair the beers I have been drinking with different types of food, and in my very novice opinion I think this one worked as a dessert beer. It was delicious paired with the chocolate mousse my girlfriend made.

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

12 oz. bottle > Snifter

This one oozes out looking like dark brown resin and black ink with a very nice bubbly, dark brown colored crown that dissipates eratically and un-even in a slow manner, leaves plenty of sticky stuff around too. Some very trippy designs keep popping up in the foam, like a near perfect yin-yang symbol.

Right off, the aroma reminded me of something specific: Sierra Nevada Bigfooot hoppiness meets Bell's Obsidian Stout's chocolate malt. Massive citric, orange's and floral hop aroma's with sweet malty aroma's verging on chocolate cake, blackberries and rather sharp, hot heat at the end.

This has a medium malt body, not really very thick at all with flavor's of vanilla and light chocolate. The flavor of the hop's is also much like the SN bigffoot with it's over-powering citric-bitter and leafy effect, then add a slightly too hot heat and it's a bit overwhelming and "green" tasting. It's still a medium-full feel that is rather smooth as it goes down but the body is a bit thin.

You gotta love the Ralph Stedman artwork on the lables!!

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

Flying Dog keeps advancing the banner of American big beer.

The aroma practically oozes out of the bottle - rich, sweet chocolate malts. Not getting much hop aroma. About a finger of dense light mocha colored head, diminishes into a foamy ring that follows the beer down the glass. The beer itself is as black as dark matter with some crimson hues at the bottom.

Taste is very similar to the aroma - bitter rich dark chocolate yet dry and fusel on the finish. The bitterness isn't distracting or unpleasant at all. Despite its sheer strength it isn't as smokey or roasted as a stout, less coffee/espresso flavor also, but much sweeter and very characteristic of a porter.

Thick and syrupy mouthfeel, no complaints.

This is hugely drinkable for such a big porter, you could just as easily sip this as gulp it. Not as complex as I had thought it was going to be, but it's still absolutely solid and delicious.

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Photo of swizzlenuts
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer is thick as fuck and has a nice sized tan head. The beer doesn't appear to have much carbonation. The beer smells hoppy with hints of malts. The beer actually takes mostly of malts, with a hint of hops. The beer is very bitter, but not from the hops, but from the coffee flavours. The chocolate in the beer is incredibly tasty as well. The beer is quite complex, yet it's not a beer that I can drink a lot of. The 85 IBUs of this beer for some reason some come out much except a bit in the after taste; however, it's kind of like an imperial stout in the bitterness. This is just an all around awesome porter.

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Photo of MisterClean
4.11/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottles purchased at total wine.

A - Dark brown, with a nice chocolatey head, which gave way, to slight legs.

S - Chocolate, cherries, and soy sauce.

T - Chocolate, cherries, roasted coffee, and malts. Slight alcohol feel.

S - Very smooth with only a slight alcohol feel.

D - Overall, very good, but as always, less fusel would be more desirable.

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

Pours black and completely opaque with a thin half inch light brown head. Decent retention.

Aroma is noteably hoppy throwing out some citrus tones. Some dark roasted malts lie underneath boasting some bitter chocolate and a bit of alcohol. But I'm diggin it.

Taste is alright. Dark roasted malts produce a good chocolate note paired with some coffee. A slight hoppiness and a bit of alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, creamy, and gently carbonated.

Drinkabilty is moderate. Decent flavor are pretty easily consumed, alcohol restricts it some.

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

I had this (2008) in a standard pint from a 12oz bottle, then followed it up with a cellared first batch bottle.
The color is as remarkable and dark as the Steadman art on the bottle with a head that has a deep dark tan that claws to the glass like reading Hells Angles.
A burnt coffe note is plentifull on the nose while holding hands with the aggressive hop note.
Vanilla coffee, dark chocolate, brown sugar and smooth hops sit on the pallette and never leave. The body is full and deep but eases up as you keep sipping and the glass warms up.

As for the cellared bottle I can only say, oh my f-ing lord this is an f-ing incredible beer. A bit sweeter and alot mellower on the alcohol, not as bitty either.
Make sure you save one and try it next year.

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

If a girl wants to know the way to my heart, she better be able to brew beer like this! 1 sweaty goblet.

A- So dark and mysterious, horror film effects people should take notice.
S- Big time roasted malt and still a decent hop aroma that is usually stunted in a beer like this.
T- great hop balance makes this a stand out amongst strong, dark ales
M- Smooth, thick with perfect carbonation
D- "from my cold, dead hands"

Maybe I should have sat on my bottles longer, but this tap was much smoother that my previous bottle experience. Maybe they should have bottled this in bombers. 40 minutes on a goblet. I never wanted it to end.

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

Notable for the postmortem portrait of Hunter S. Thompson on the label. But it's tasty as well as eye catching. The brew pours a dark black and smells of coffee and roasted malts. It tastes like mocha coffee, with a bit of brown sugar, and a clear note of hop bitterness. It's sweet, almost reminiscent of a coffee liqueur, but it's not thick or syrupy -- actually, it's quite smooth and easy to drink.

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Photo of TheMistler
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours as if it is the remnants of an oil slick. Thick (doubly so) dark black, completely opaque. Dark tan head, sticks around right on top of the beer but not elsewhere.

Burnt sweet fruits on the nose. Some chocolate and coffee, as expected, but also a slight hint of hops.

Rolls into the mouth and along the palate, with the carbonation and hops slowly building to provide an ending bite. Dark chocolate precedes that. Not much sweetness to it. An oaked or whiskey or alcohol presence makes itself known just before you're left with a bitter, dark chocolate on your palate.

A darn good, and complex, porter. Flying Dog makes no claims - so far as I know, and I could be wrong - to actually brewing with coffee or oaked barrels or other such things. Nonetheless, coffee bitterness, chocolate sweetness, hints of vanilla - all are represented. Not too sweet by any means; I greatly appreciate the hop bitterness, though I feel it may lean a bit too much towards bitter towards the end.

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Photo of pmcadamis
4.88/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I tried this at a new joint in Galena called 111 on Main.

A - Pitch black and thick as hell. This looks like liquid midnight. I've seen more light pass through the muck from the LaBrea tar pits! The head is a massive four fingers, and tons of lace is left clinging to dear life on the glass before slowly sliding back into the madness below.

S - Hoppy and burnt at the same time. This is like the blackest espresso sniffed simultaneously with a big bunch of hop buds. Nice!

T - Espresso beans, vanilla creme, dank "marijuana-esque" hops, and dark chocolate sans the sugar....like a brick of bakers cocoa. Good, good stuff. I could live on this.

M - The very definition of full bodied and muscular. This is never flabby or sugary, but it's big like Aaron Nevil is big. Muscular, black, dangerous, and a little bit sweet. Everybody plays the fool....sometimes.

D - Out-friggin-standing! This is one of the better beers in existence IMO. I'm a huge fan of anything "imperial" or "double" and this is just about the best widely available Baltic Porter out there...it still doesn't trump Okocim though.

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

Pour deep dirty brown bordering on black. When poured aggressively large bubbly tan head produces moderate lacing,

Big roasted malt and some hopes as expected. Slight dark fruit notes.

Burnt/ roasted sweetness up front. Strange combonation but it works. Crisp hoppiness pulls through which is unexpected but pleasant. Complexity shows through as it warms, my pour did start out slightly colder than I would recommend.

Mouth feel is surprising smooth and creamy. Carbonation lively enough.

Nice sipping beer, take your time to enjoy.

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Photo of Jerzdevil1116
3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased at Joe Canal's in Egg Harbor Twp., NJ.

A: Dark brown, almost black, opaque body. 1 finger dark tan/brown head.

S: Full of roasted malt and hops.

T: Earthy roasted malt beginning. Slight piney hop backing. A little alcohol in the finish.

M: Medium body. Some tingle from the carbonation.

D: A nice, flavorful, drinkable beer. Even at 9.2 % alcohol.

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Photo of jamesm7485
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up the other day for 8 bucks for a 4 pack.

Pours like used motor oil with nice lacing a a nice tan head that faded after time

the smell is straight up roasted barley not much bourbon on the nose

Taste is fantastic with the roasted flavors hitting you right away

mouth feel is smooth but not super smooth like the abyss and what have you

Scary how easy it is to down 3 or 4 of these and not realize it till you don't remember your name

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

Appearance - Black. Like, really... Black. Pours about a finger of head, dark tan in color. Laces very well.

Smell - Chocolate, hops, roasted maltiness.

Taste - Complex in a good way. First thing that hits you is the heavily roasted barley. Slight chocolate flavor as well as the hops second. Woodiness there as well, tinge of caramel. Finishes bittersweet.

Mouthfeel - Excellent amount of carbonation, and the thickness of the beer sits just right. Very smooth finish.

Drinkability - I like this one a lot, one of my favorite porters. I could drink this one all night long, but I like heavy beers. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Brad007
4.88/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Color: Pitch black with a thick, frothy brown head and decent lacing.

Aroma: Strong and hoppy on the nose with a decent whiff of cocoa and coffee.

Taste: Hoppy with a very nice mixture of cocoa and coffee flavors. Creamy. Smooth. There's also a nice amount of caramel in the flavor.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy. Hops, chocolate and coffee linger.

Drinkability: Starts out hoppy but mellows in flavors. Very much worth the price and I have 3 more to drink.

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

Deep dark brown on pouring, black in the glass, lots of chocolate milk coloured head. Plenty of staying power to the head and an abundance of lacing. Very pretty.

Smokey roasted aroma. Some dark chocolate and chocolate liqueur.

Tastes of black licorice, dark roast coffee and faint dark chocolate. Finishes slightly hot and bitter. Alcohol subtle but notable.

Mouthfeel is thick and full, chewy even. Carbonation is just enough to cut through the body, not much more. Works very well for this beer.

This is good, but I wouldn't want more than one in a sitting. Easy to sip on and savour.

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Photo of ericj551
4.58/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Flying Dog Imperial Porter pours an inky black with a thin, brown head. The aroma is delicious chocolate, toffee, and caramel. I could be smelling some kind of wonderful desert. The flavor is rich, burnt chocolate and tons of caramel without the astringency I would expect from the amount of flavor in this beer. Damp, herbal hops flavor as well as bitterness back up the sweet caramel in the beer. The alcohol is completely hidden, thought its a sipper for sure, I could drink the beer all night.

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

Pours very dark brown, almost black. The modest tan head dissipates quickly to form a thin ring.

Aroma is unusual. Smokey and bitter with dark fruit notes. Dry cocoa, vanilla, and leafy herbal hop.

Taste is smokey roasted malt. Initially sweet dark fruitiness changes to a tart sourness. Generous leafy herbal hop bitterness really fills this one out. Woody finish is dry and holds coffee, milk chocolate and a decent amount of anise that lingers on the tongue.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

Overall a decent and unusual porter. flavors lack a certain unity, are are still interesting. Alcohol is well concealed. Surprising amount of hops for a porter. Certainly worth a try.

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

Apperance: Poured right into a mug. Dark red color appears. Two fingers of foam which stay with the beer, throughout the drink.

Smell: Chocolate, licorice, almost wine smell, hops and alchol.

Taste: Heavy dark chocolate, roasted malts, and hoppy flavor. Very unique like nothing I've ever had!

Mouthfeel: Smoky hops and malts that stay in your mouth for the full drink.

Drinkability: Not everybody would like this one. It is more for those that are familar with the Flying Dog types of beer and those looking for a unique beer.

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

This dog pours thick, rich and heavy cream-like. Its dark black, no light allowed in this glass. The head for me was full, thick yet soft and milk chocolate in color. Carbonation is low enough that the head does not cascade or put on much of a show.

The aroma is suttle with burnt malts, dark chocolate, molasses and old coffee.

The taste follows up with the burnt malts, heavy roasted coffee bean, bakers chocolate, oatmeal with brown sugar and molasses. Alcohol at over 9% isn't really noticed accept in the wiff to the nose during the drink.

Mouthfeel is left slightly dry with a burnt, yet alcohol clean feel.

Drinkability, sure. For a porter it is smooth, rich, drinkable and a meal in itself.

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Photo of fitzy84
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Creamy, dark, black appearance. Brown color head that thins out with thick lacing at the side. Aromas are rich in mocha, malts, bitter fruits wrapped in perfect roast. The taste is thick, creamy and milky. Bittersweet mocha with an excellent dry aftertaste. The mouthfeel really helps the drink remain consistent and excellently enjoyable throughout sipping. Overall, fantastic.

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Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
4.02 out of 5 based on 2,924 ratings.
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