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

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Ratings: 2,929 |  Reviews: 1,477
Photo of larsee01
3.45/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 0z glass bottle...Beautifully Psycho Ralph Steadman drawing of the Good Doctor. Poured into glass goblet.

A--Rich, thick, turbo-burnt brown pour...almost like coffee that's been on the burner too long. Used motor oil transparency. Thick dark mocha-colored head that quickly dissapated into nice lingering tan lacing.

S--Lots here...strong...some hops, phenols, coffee, malt, more coffee. Some mollasses and sweet chewing tobacco.

T--Sweet, malty booze to start, flowery transition into espresso and bitter spice (oil of bergamot?)

M--Thick, oily, chewy. Not a surprise based on this beer's character.

D-My definition of drinkable tends to be liberal, but this one is a challenge. I like this beer, but you're kidding yourself if you think it's sessionable....Well, unless you are HST himself I suppose. Strong, thick, tasty, challenging...you won't throw them back rapidamente.

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Photo of Spidey13
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gonzo Imperial Porter pours a very dark brown/almost black with a chocolaty brown, thin head that dissipates very quickly. The smell has some roasted coffe and chocolate, followed by raisins, alcohol, and a bit of piny hops. The taste starts with the sweet dark fruit, followed by an astringent/bitter aftertaste that gradually turns sweet. You get some alcohol, but it's not overpowering. The mouthfeel is medium with a mid-low amount of carbonation.

Though I probably couldn't drink more than one of these in one night, it is a very good, somewhat complex brew.

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

This brew pours an opaque ruby red. It produced a two finger light brown head of dense bubbles that dissipated quickly leaving only small speckles of lace.

Licorice and dry cocoa on the nose. Roasted smoky malts and a hint of citris hop oils.

Up front flavors of bitter sweet dark chocolate, followed by espresso like bitterness, anise, brandied cherries and smoky roasted malts. A citric rind hop twang lingers at the end along with a very slight hint of alcohol.

Velvety mouthfeel, with very slight carbonation. This porter goes down very easy for the higher abv. Quite drinkable indeed. A very nice offering from Flying Dog, but I still can't help but long for the days of Perkuno's Hammer.

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

A: pours dark black with brownish head. dissapates slowly as i begin the adventure that is to be

S: not much going on but a smell of bitter cocoa and roasted malts is very apparent

T/M: quite thin mouthfeel and light carbonation is the first thing i notice. as the beer warms the tastes become more prominant. coffee and roasted malts very apparent with a chocolate undertone. hops become apparent at end and balance out the sweetness with the bitter cocoa.

D: i actually was able to have several in a row of this beer. quite a easy drinker due to the light mouthfeel.

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

Poured from a bottle an opaque black with a healthy tan head and sticky lacing all around.

Aroma of toffee, chocolate, dark cherries and alcohol.

Taste is very nice with chocolate, coffee, dark cherries, hops, and roasted malts. Alcohol is present at the finish but does not overpower.

Medium mouthfeel, palate warming, and moderately carbonated.

This is some porter. Well balanced and complex. Definitely one to find and enjoy.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.42/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I just bought a bunch of different beer, but I didn't know where to start. I ended up rolling dice to determine which brew would go tonight, and it turns out Gonzo Imperial Porter will be the one. On to the beer:

Glassware geeks, send me your hate mail now. I have my own unorthodox way of serving this style; in a weizen glass.

It pours like thick, dark gunk and settles in the glass as an invincible layer of midnight black. The head is holding up very well thus far. The aroma is hoppy with a thin layer of cocoa underneath. Not as intersting as I hoped. I've even sniffed the bottle it came from and I'm not getting any change in smell. Something just doesn't seem right.

But surely, it has to taste good, right? It's a baltic porter! Fine, let me find out... like melted dark chocoate. The body has a very rich, smooth texture with a kick of booze. There's a touch of piney notes in there. Light touch of roasted malt is traced along the palate. As the beer warms, the chocolate flavor sweetens.

This is an adequate example of a baltic porter. Not extraordinary by any means, as there are better examples of the style out there.

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

Assertive, bold, powerfull - a few of the adjectives that come to mind. I'm on my second 4-pk (no, not tonight, silly) and find this one of the better beers I've tried. Truely a "big" beer.

Opaque, nearly black in colour, Gonzo oozes from the bottle almost oily in apperance. The head is slow to develop - as though the CO2 bubbles can't get through the viscous liquid - but the froth continues to form until a luxurious, long-lasting head is enjoyed! (metaphorical?). Anyway, the flavour is probably everything you would want from such a strong, dark brew.

You'll have to try it yourself if you want to know more....

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Photo of dsa7783
4.26/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz single bottle copped from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield... appearance was really exceptional - dark, opaque, jet-black hue with a real red-colored, tan head that exhibited serious staying power... Smell was replete with dark espresso and latte nuances along with roasted, toasted malts, and nuttiness... taste strongly resembled the aroma, with powerful cocoa, burnt chocolate, malts, and a powerful, tasty, cappuccino taste... this has to be one of the best brews from Flying Dog, and one of the best American Baltic Porters by far... excellent stuff with a great mouthfeel and good drinkability, where the hefty 9.2% ABV is barely noticeable... taste is ultra-rich, creamy, and thick, excellent, full-bodied and big, rich taste lead to an all-around amazing brew... Excellent stuff... Definitely recommended...

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

I was slightly leery about grabbing the four-pack of Gonzo, and not because of the Steadman portrait of Hunter S. Thompson, one of my favorite authors of the post-WW2 period. Rather, I've had very mixed impressions of Flying Dog's wares. I like the DIPA very much but found others rather mediocre. This is anything but mediocre. In fact, it's downright outstanding.

Two fingers of mocha froth top a black Black BLACK body, one in which light is obliterated. Better yet, the head wouldn't quit, and the lacing decorated the glass with curtains of mocha--magnificent presentation. The nose grew more complex as Gonzo warmed, emitting a surprising amount of hops but even more coffee, as well as chocolate. The taste was really terrific, presenting a different flavor in every mouthful--coffee in the start and finish, but fruit (berries), caramel, and rich malt follow as well. This beer doesn't waver one bit, and in good part it stems from the ideal mouthfeel--balanced, finely carbonated, and very smooth. As impressive as anything, this masks the high ABV (9.2%) extremely well.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro," as the great HST used to say. This beer is a pro, a big, bold but ultimately smooth professional beer. Just outstanding, and high on my list. I'm thrilled that I had the rare foresight to buy the four-pack. I'll treasure the other three--I just cracked the second. For that, I won't apologize.

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Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.65/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a straight pint. Gonzo pours a deep, rich black, black, black. Glorious tan head that linger for a few minutes with outstanding lacing. Rich roasted malty aroma, molasses, raisins, dark cherries, and some coffee. The taste of Gonzo, pays homage to Hunter S. Thompson, with its coffee and molasses front and smooth hoppy finish that slaps you in the face. Wonderful flavors, extremely complex. The mouthfeel is perfect, perfect on the palate, perfect carbonation, and perfect finish. Is it drinkable? Hell yes, and I do believe it is possessed by Mr. Thompson himself....boo!

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

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, beer is thick and black, with a dense, two-finger, brownish-tan head. The smell is an interesting meld of chocolate, coffee, roasted malt and a faintness of citrusy/piney hops. The taste is equally complex, with a big malty presence upfront and a slightly hoppy, alcoholic finish and a light burning sensation. The mouthfeel is full bodied but actually seems lighter than I would of expected. The carbonation is moderate for a beer of this caliber and dances on the tongue, finishes slightly bitter and dry. A pretty drinkable beer, one you should watch out for @ 9.2%!

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Photo of wardough
4.92/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Love this beer. Thanks to Bwatson for this gem.

A: Pours like black oil into a pint glass. Wow, looks like a nice RIS. A slight head rises and gives way to very, very light lacing. Beautiful.
S: Beautiful. Hops, chocolate malts. God, this is awesome.
T: Pick up more citrus in the taste. Nice malt backbone. The alcohol is well masked in this awesome beer.
M: As to be expected. Low carbonation, medium body.
D: For a high ABV beer, this is very drinkable.

I will gladly search this beer out. I didn't think that I would like this one. I don't like it....I LOVE IT.

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

12 oz bottle, vintage 7J, poured into a pint glass.

A: Yikes, this looks like a nice imperial stout. Pours out a sludgy black liquid with little carbonation and thin dark tan head that quickly dissipates to nothing with a little lacing.
S: Slightly bitter, hoppy, alcohol smell is first followed by expected roasted/malt/chocolate/cocoa smell. A little thin overall.
T: Smooth and creamy with a strong bitter bite of hops and burnt malt. Strong hop presence as well but not overwhelming, nice for balance. The roasty, chocolate, etc flavors are strong but more present in the background. Compared to better porters its not the best, but on its own very nice flavors and a cross of an imperial stout and porter. Did not pick up much sweetness from dark fruit like others mentioned.
D: Alcohol is well hidden for 9.2% but still very warming. Not my favorite porter but nice for a change of pace when I want one stronger to sip on.

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

12 oz. bottle. Vintage 7J. Bottle conditioned. Served in a brandy snifter. Pours an opaque black with a good finger of tan head. Lots of hops in the aroma, also some roasted malt and a little alcohol. Full bodied. Lots of malt, some fruity sweetness followed by some dry chocolate/coffee flavor. Lots of hop bitterness. Dry hop finish. Tasty!

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Photo of BeardedBoffin
3.21/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a deep oily black with a nice looking tan cap of foam. The head receded quickly and no lacing remained. The aroma is light chocolate and caramel from the roasted malt mixed with some piney hops. A very slight hint of alcohol is present as well. This beer bites the palate. There is a slightly burnt aspect to the coffee and dark chocolate flavors from the roasted malt which come across slightly burnt. The bitterness of the hops also contributes. However, pleasing chocolate flavors are also present. A burnt residue and dryness lingers around on the palate. This would be a fine night cap, but I don't know if it is as gonzo as Hunter.

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

10 oz pour at O'Briens. Haven't seen this on tap before, pretty great opportunity to give it a shot.

Pours basically black with a brown frothy head. Not much lacing but probably only because I drank it so fast.

Great aromas of chocolate and espresso, roasted malts and some definite alcohol presence that is not over the top.

Taste is quite similar to the smell. Chocolate, sweet caramel flavors and definite coffee characteristic. Surprising amount of roast for a porter, but I'm admittedly not that up on the Baltic Porter style. I think its closer to a stout than the other porter styles.

Nice full bodied mouthfeel with a full carbonation and rather smooth going down. Pretty easy to drink for 9.2% but I wouldn't want more than a pint or two of it. I could see this going well with some fruity desserts like a cherry pie. Mmmm....

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

Good looking label, Hunter's quote goes nicely with the beer.

A: Good dark color, no light goes through. Good used engine oil color, but if your engine oil looks like this? you need to change it more often.

S: Great smell come from this brew, roasted caramel and a superb malt smell. Good head with an aggressive pour. Good lacing that clings to the side of the glass for dear life.

T: Good taste of roasted malts with a good balance of caramel and chocolate. This brew really tastes like the best porters.

M: Average mouth feel, this brew on Nitro would be a sure 5. But it definitely rank up there as a better one.

D: Very easy to drink and easy to enjoy. This is sure to be on my top 10. Strong taste and a strong offering from flying dog.

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

Flying Dog- Gonzo Imp. Porter

A- Thick black with a creamy tan head. solid head and good messy lacing.
S- Huge pine hops blended into a sweet chocolate aroma.
T- Chocolate caramel malt with a big sweet dose of hops. Slightly spicy in the end, a touch of vanilla and pepper.
M- Sweet and thick. Very creamy throughout with a hot alc. finish. Could become cloying after a few.

Overall- This is quite tasty. At 9.2% alc. 2 pints would do.

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Photo of slvrmon82
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Wow. It is a dark dark dark porter. The smell is incredible lots of roasted barley with tons of smoke and chocolate coming through. Taste is great. It was a little thick and a little bitter as well. The mouthfeel was very enjoyable. Not as thick as I assumed. Drinkability is high for this type of beer. You will finish a 4 pack but you might feel it in the morning.

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

The good doctor would be proud of this Baltic/Imperial Porter. The artwork on the bottle is one of the best from Flying Dog. The bottle was from 2007 and featured the peyote fist as well as HST himself (not sure if it changes year to year).

Poured a deep, darkened brown with a one finger tanned head. When slightly tilted, I noticed a full range of orange, amber, tan, and brown, a veritable ale rainbow if you will. Smell was just as dynamic as HST himself, chocolate and spice, cinnamon then sweet, ever enticing me to keep smelling in order to find out more. One taste and I knew that I would be cellaring this for years to come. Full bodied porter with a slight alcoholic feel that is definitely not too overpowering. It's there, but where else would it be? I enjoyed this porter very much even though it doesn't rate as high as others. I will give it a try in 6 months and see what else comes to light.

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Photo of findlayfan
3.16/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Second of my basement beers. Vintage 05 on label.

First "foamer" I've had in quite a while. After losing an ounce or so (on the floor and in the sink), a very gentle pour still produced a huge light brown 3" head - couldn't get it all in a pint glass.

The body was TRULY opaque - absolutely NO light came through, even from my 60W clear bulb! I don't know if I've ever seen a darker, denser brew.

Roasty malt on the nose but not much indication of sweetness.

Alcohol was well-hidden, but there was a lot of bitterness and considerable aftertaste (which hung around for quite some time).

Mouthfeel was surprisingly good - with all the initial foam I expected a lot of fizz, but it actually worked quite well: reasonable carbonation but not Coca-Cola fizz.

I still have another one of these in the cellar, so I'll be interested to see if it, too, is a "foamer" (and I'll be better prepared in case it is). Perhaps next weekend.

An interesting beer, but not a sessionable one - nor one I'll really seek out.

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Photo of dubhlain
4.44/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A = Dark and syrupy. Head is a nice fingers worth that dissipates leaving nice lacing.

S = Love the smell on this one, roasty malts, chocolate, and some alcohol.

T= Roasted sweet chocolaty matly. It is quite grand.

M= A little initial shock but ends with a mouthcoating smoothness. Has a fullness to it a bit chewy.

D- Dangerously drinkable has a great smoothness to it that makes it easy to enjoy.So great that it caused me to write my first review!?!

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

Best artwork of all the Flying Dog art. Hats off to Ronald Daul.

Pours a very dark black. Head is espresso foam and very small, even after a big pour.Lacing sticks around throughout the beer, so good retention, but this is appearance we're talking about so...

In this order: alcohol (astringent), hops of English to English-American hybrids (perhaps Perle or Challenger?), Roasted and black patent barley malts (also astringent). I know I know, a porter with big hops...just telling it like it is. *Amendment* When it warms the hops settle down and the malts come out in a big way, eclipsing the alcohol. Still, not easy to smell'em.

A pleasant surprise. Chocolate, caramel, and very light coffee and roasted barley characteristics. Hops are indeed both bready soft and spicy hop, leading me to once again assume an English-American hybrid like Challenger or something.Alcohol is way, way in the back and barely noticeable. I would give this one a five, but for the style there could be stronger, more varied flavors.

Smooth and creamy. The lack of head gives way to a nice carbonation that helps to increase the smoothness. What can I say, its not too syrupy and not too watery. The mouthfeel is like velvet. Creamy, smooth, crisp, carbo bite... very nice. Someone send me a beermail telling me how this could have a better mouthfeel and I'll consider it and potentialy change my review.

Great brew. Lacking in areas, but makes up for in taste and mouthfeel, which are big sellers for me. Could even see myself sessioning this one, though I would be pretty F'ed up after a whole four pack of this sweet nectar.

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Photo of Fish113d
3.99/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A nearly opaque pour into my glass, with a copper-colored sticky head that foams to the top of 2 finger thickness, and begins to dissipate soon after.

Nice aroma of pine hops on the nose. A sour toffee aroma also comes through behind with a bit of roasty malt. Not too complex but nice.

Sipping reveals a rather sweet treat of toffee & chocolate on my palate with soem dry roast coming through after. Very nice body character; medium to full bodied, and with a nice drying finish. Just a bit of alcohol at the finish.

very good brew. I could drink this all night long until I fall over from a drunken stuper. Alcohol is well-hidden which is dangerous!

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Photo of Lothar666
4.11/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A very dark brown, opaque, and almost black body with a thin layer of almost nonexistant head that receeded fairly quickly. Sediment was readily visible, and lacing left on the side of the glass was thick and muddy.

S- Aroma is full of dark malts and some traces of strong alcohol. A hint of coffee is also present.

T- Sweet dark roasted malts with a nice bitter finish. Espresso and coffee notes are much more prevalent in the flavor profile than in the nose, lending an obvious but not unwelcome acidity that is balanced well by the dark malts and hops.

M- Carbonation is low but the mouth texture is thick, full bodied and creamy. The sediment that falls from the glass as I pour is a testament to the excellence of this beer. The oily texture makes this one a joy to sip on.

D- Wonderfully smooth and drinkable for such a high ABV, especially as a companion to a meat topped pizza. This is definitely my favorite beer from this brewery.

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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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