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Gonzo Imperial Porter | Flying Dog Brewery

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Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter
2,933 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
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Ratings: 2,933 |  Reviews: 1,479
Photo of vonnegut21
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of olympicgatorade
3.25/5  rDev -19.2%

Photo of drtth
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into an Imperial Pint glass the beer is dark brown, almost black color, with a 1" tan head that leaves some lacing on the sides as it recedes. Sipping creates scattered patches of lacing.

The aromas are basically roasted malt and dark chocolate.

The flavors are dominated by the dark roasted malt and the chocolate. There's also some toffee sweetness from the malt and a reasonable amount of bitterness, from the hops.

The mouthfeel is on the heavy side of medium bodied and quite soft with the light carbonation. The longish finish begins as the dark chocolate and roasted malt move from the scene, taking the sweetness with them, to leave behind some dry bitterness that seems both from the hops and the dark roasted malt.

A very drinkable beer with a good balance of flavors. I'll be looking to have this one again.

 835 characters

Photo of jjboesen
4.55/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

"Good people drink good beer." So said Gonzo journlist/writer/gadfly Hunter Thompson, whom this succulent porter honors. (And a vast improvement over the two crappy movies.)

It is dark and foreboding, the color of tar supplemented with a thin spongy cap of froth. Add to this appearance, a gummy, gooey and sticky lacing. Gonzo!

Upon cracking this beaut, the immediate air is pricked with the sweet miasma of cocoa powder and molasses. Sip it slow ... the palate becomes overwhelmed with said molasses, one with a slight alcoholic bite. There is the requisite toasty malt backbone and the subtle plum fade. Gonzo!

The body combines creaminess with chewiness in a big warm fuzzball of balance that teases you with a syrupy feint. In all, a maginifiecent specimen of that noble style we call Baltic Porter. Oh, yeah, I forgot .... Gonzo!

 838 characters

Photo of HungarianCount
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of TicoCali
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of troysoy2
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2011 12 oz bottle, poured into a Lagunitas mason jar -- because I can.

Ah, an old friend. It looks mean, with a finger of coffee foam-tan head, over a barely reddish brown, but mostly black body. The head sticks around in the form of an oil slick, and a frothy ring which sticks to the glass.

The aroma is nice, with a good deal of toffee-caramel, some roasted malt, and a laid back citrus hop presence.

The taste is multifaceted, with caramel and floral bitterness dominating the front, a mellow, sweet anise mid-palate, and a moderately dry finish, dominated by a tasty bitter, burnt malt and coffee. A perfect marriage of dryness and semi-sweetness. Subdued citrus and a hint of almost undetectable alcohol heat join the fray at the end. Impressive, considering it's 9.2%ABV. The mouthfeel takes a backseat to the taste, but it's decently well done. Medium bodied, a little thicker maybe, and a low to mid carbonation level.

If there really is a right way to do an Imperial Porter, I'm convinced this is it. Kudos to you, Flying Dog.

 1,048 characters

Photo of acat25
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of ATXRyan
2.75/5  rDev -31.6%

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

Appearance: Black. Pours a massive foamy head with a brown tint.

Aroma: Chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, coffee.

Taste: Plenty of bitterness, like 99% chocolate and espresso. Alcohol burn as well, but it's controlled -- not bad for a beer of this strength! It's rich, malty, hoppy, and full of chocolate and coffee flavours. Not much to improve on here!

Mouthfeel: Thick and soupy! Full bodied.

Overall: The main reason why I'm not going all out and giving full marks for the individual sections is because I haven't tried the variation of this beer yet. I wonder if they could actually have made it any better, because it is an excellent imperial porter. It's not trying to be anything fancy, just a full on robust porter with all the depth you could want. Good stuff.

 775 characters

Photo of cavale
3/5  rDev -25.4%

Photo of Niklas
4/5  rDev -0.5%

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

12oz Bottle 2010 vintage - thanks to pushkinwow for the trade

Appearance - Dark brown colour with a large size frothy brown head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, grains, faint dark fruits

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, coffee, chocolate, and some grains/oatmeal. There was also a touch of smoke, some hops, and a bit of a burnt flavour. It ends with a chocolatey aftertaste with a fair amount of bitterness from coffee/burnt notes/hops.

Overall - The mouthfeel is a little lacking for an imperial and the beer is a touch too bitter for me. The alcohol is well hidden and the beer seems to have held up well for a few years. A good - not great - beer that was worth trying. There are too many better beers out there to drink though.

 897 characters

Photo of geneklingler
4/5  rDev -0.5%

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

Gonzo on cask at Pony Bar in Hell's Kitchen, NYC, served in a 14-oz pint. I've had this beer in many different servings (tap, nitro, bottle, barrel-aged) but never cask. Let's see...

Appearance: Super cask-y head, like a souffle rising in the oven. Then it goes down and settles into just a mantle of bubbly mocha head. Serious lacing, decent retention, super dark looks.

Smell: Strangely aromatic, sort of like a bed of spring flowers submerged in fresh tar. Essential oils, rosemary, Herbes de Provence. Enticing and different, but way weird for an Imperial Porter. Cheap men's cologne from Wal-Mart, lemongrass.

Taste: Again the herb-and-perfume thing. WTF! Country ham, smoke, spices. Indian food cooked with Kentucky bacon, that's it. Very rosemary-y at the end. None of the roastiness and presence of "regular" Gonzo. This is more like a dark beer geared for women and processed in a lavender field in Provence.

Mouthfeel: Fine for cask, with low carbonation, full lavender-smoky flavor and a creamy finish. Not too dry.

Overall: I liked it enough, but if you're coming here thinking you're going to get Gonzo, forget about it. This is pretty much an entirely different beer.

 1,190 characters

Photo of BruceBruce
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of MayorsAssistant
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of ptshrdn
3/5  rDev -25.4%

Photo of jeonseh
3.69/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From a bottle

A - Dark, chocolate brown color with a small amount of carbonation trailing upwards. Poured with a two finger mocha colored head that settled to a few small islands of foam that floated on top of the beer.

S - Sweet milk chocolate, cane sugar, and caramel with hints of roasted malt. Quite a nice smelling beer with a big, fragrant nose

T - Taste at first is sweet chocolate with hints of cane sugar. As the beer goes on, it actually has a surprising, pine and bitter hops that comes through. For a porter, it only has a slight roasted element that comes through. On the back end, you do get a kick from the alcohol. Actually, surprisingly, hoppy for the style.

MF - Light body with light carbonation. The lighter body helps make it drinkable but wish it was a bit creamier and smooth. Does become slightly astringent near the end.

O - Solid offering from Flying Dog. Has a great nose that you could smell all day. Surprisingly hoppy for the style. Will be curious to see how the BA Gonzo is and if it helps to mellow out some of this beer's rough edges.

 1,073 characters

Photo of sabitu
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of Chrily
4/5  rDev -0.5%

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

A-dark brown black color with a thick tan head and some lacing

S-chocolate, coffee and roasted malts with hints of sweetness

T-dark roasted malt, coffee and chocolate with some hop bitterness

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth and silky

O-a delicious porter with good flavor and balance

 303 characters

Photo of Vylo
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of onetodave
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of mvanaskie13
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip shaped pint glass, color is black, head presented quite thick (>1") then dissipated but clinged nicely.

Smell is a little boozy at first (nice.) but some more roast and chocolate notes as it warms, not much caramel in the nose, a hint of bitterness lingers.

Taste is a mixture of chocalate, light caramel, hints of biscuit some mixed esters and booziness with even some hints towards rum and even light smoke. Very nice hop presence, light in flavors but there to combat the strength of this brew.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly creamy upfront and even throughout, some biting ester tones but balanced by sweetness and biscuity/breadiness. Some nicely lingering roasted flavors in there as well.

Overall, very nice brew, I like the estery presence with the roasted malt and light sweetness... just a very tasty brew.

 838 characters

Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
Beer rating: 4.02 out of 5 with 2,933 ratings
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