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Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter | Flying Dog Brewery

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329 Reviews
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Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial PorterBarrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter

Brewed by:
Flying Dog Brewery
Maryland, United States

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by DogFood11 on 04-14-2007

For Trade:
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Reviews: 329 | Ratings: 746
Photo of Ozzylizard
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Undated bottle at 45 degrees into imperial pint glass
Aroma of roasted malt, oak
Head small (<1 cm), light brown, rocky, mostly lasting
Lacing good – many small islands and reefs with small bubbles
Body dark brown, opaque
Flavor begins with a light sweetness with vanillin and tannin coming through, as well as roasted malt.
No alcohol, no hops, no diacetyl.
Palate medium to full, creamy, soft carbonation.

Overall, a pleasant experience. This is better than the already great Gonzo IP – barrel aging seems to improve most beers.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

355ml 2011 bottle poured into tulip 4/7/14, cheers schnarr84 for the bottle

A nearing black, deep cola edge, large foam makes lots of noise as it fizzes out in seconds, perhaps a dirty glass, leaves some color behind after a swirl

S chocolate syrup, charred oak, vanilla, licorice, some booze, bourbon and rye, sour plums and sugar coated raisins

T just a hint of coffee and sour cherry to go with what I smell, lots of barrel considering it only spent 3 months aging on wood, no complaints

M not as thick as the color would indicate, some carbonation, some tannins, a little heat, sticky on the lips, charred wood and whiskey on the finish

O dark roast works well with the barrel, a little sour dark fruit plays a part, a little booze popping up here and there but it suits the beer

I'm a big fan of HST and Ralph Steadman and I kinda just wanted the label for my collection, the fact that the beers great was just an added bonus

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Photo of dar482
4.14/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The aroma has bright roasted malt, heavy whiskey, lots of sweet caramel, and chocolate.

The flavor has roasted malt, light chocolate, coffee, some sweet caramel and a whiskey throughout. There's a oak on the back with whiskey.

A good barrel aged brew with strong whiskey notes.

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Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, 2012 vintage bottling. Pours pitch black color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, coffee, molasses, toast, toffee, vanilla, oak, bourbon, dark bread, light smoke, and roast/oak earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and bourbon barrel notes; with good strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, coffee, toast, molasses, toffee, vanilla, oak, bourbon, dark bread, smoke, light char, and roast/oak earthiness. Fair amount of deep roast bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, roast, coffee, toast, molasses, toffee, vanilla, oak, bourbon, dark bread, smoke, light char, and roast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity of intense dark/roasted malt and bourbon barrel flavors; with a great malt/barrel flavor balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a moderately creamy, slick, and lightly chalky/bready mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an incredible barrel aged imperial porter! All around awesome complexity of intense dark/roasted malt and bourbon barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Re-review/edit from tap pour may, 2015 (original 4.02):
Beer poured dark amber brown with thin bubbles collecting at the side (edit: pour is more dark brown tending toward black, bubbles are almost soda-like but much more sustained than a soda), with little to no lacing. Smell hits you with whiskey barrels accompanied by cherries and a small hint of dark fruit.

The taste was no surprise given the nose. The woodiness of the aging comes through more in the taste. There is a subdued chocolatey sweetness that yields to an alcohol sting that is likely a combination of the ABV and the whiskey flavor (edit: more coffee and charcoal notes than chocolate). This beer would probably get a half a notch higher with just a little more body (edit: depth of flavor is fine, but watery feel).

Solid offering for the style. I would get this again, but caution to myself as well as others to let it warm to a proper temp - drinking this "cold" will not give you the best impression of this beer.

Re-review added .25 to taste.

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Photo of jtierney89
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Extremely dark with a light brown head that settles down rather quickly. American whiskey on the nose but this is subtle compared to the heavy oak notes that come through.

For being a flying dog beer and a style thats normally a but messy, this beer is not as all over the place as you expect and actually kind of restrained in a really nice way. A little smokey and definitely oaky throughout. The beer avoids some of the unpleasant dark fruit notes that in my opinion don't really work with the style. Notes of vanilla and black pepper, very light notes of roast, coffee and bitter black chocolate. Bourbon is restrained really nicely, pulled back to the back end of the tongue as a nice notes that makes some of the other flavors pop.

A nice change of pace that lets the original beer come through enough while accenting it with notes of oak and using a bit of whiskey for balance and flare. Nicely done.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.37/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice.

Appearance: Pours a dark oily black with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of tan head that quickly fades away. Leaves a decent amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A rich, sweet, and roasty dark aroma with big whiskey barrel hints. Upfront barrel scent with hints of bourbon whiskey, vanilla, oak, and wood. Dark roasted barley malts with hints of sweet chocolate, coffee, caramel, toffee, burnt toast, biscuit, grains, smoke, and yeast. Sweet hints of burnt molasses and syrup. Dark fruit hints of dark cherry, raisin, and prune. Hints of booze as well. A very good rich aroma.

Taste: As rich as it smells, a sweet and roasty dark taste with a big barrel presence. Big barrel taste upfront with notes of bourbon whiskey, sweet vanilla, oak, and wood. Dark roasted barley malts with notes of sweet chocolate, coffee bean, burnt caramel, toffee, toast, smoke, biscuit, grains, and yeast. Sweet syrupy taste of burnt molasses along with a little anise. Undertones of dark fruit with notes of raisin, dark cherry, and prune. A little taste of booze also. A very good dark and rich taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Rich, creamy, syrupy, and somewhat sticky. A little alcohol heat is felt.

Overall: A very good imperial take on a Porter. Good rich chocolate notes with a very good whiskey barrel presence.

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Photo of pants678
3.38/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Black with a beige head.

Smells of darker malts, coffee and oak/whiskey.

Comes off unexpectedly sweet, a sort of raisin and wood. Has that whiskey and smoke flavor without being terribly hot. Taking a small shot of vanilla extract might be comparable. Well hopped but not sharp, no spice or coffee notes but still rich and complex.

Medium carbonation, porter as opposed to a stout.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured chilled at White house in ale glass

A: solid black, thin head, decent lacing; carbonation not evident
S: oak, caramel, molasses; strong aroma, lingers nicely; notes of vanilla
T: dark malt roast is dominant tone; oaks flavor is prominent; not much bourbon; sour grapefruit peeps through; bitter, resinous; a heavy beer
M: think mouthfeel, heavy but carbonated

Very fine beer, but not for the faint of heart.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.89/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from my dad. Hometown legend. Pours black with a huge creamy brown head. Big bourbon vanilla aroma with hints of chocolate and licorice. Flavor is sweet dark fruits up front fading into a smooth bourbon taste. Ends with a blast of vanilla bourbon, very smooth, and definite heat lingers. It has enough viscosity for the aging--which I find rare for these BA porters--but doesn’t hold up quite like an impy stout does in the barrel. Dry oak hangs around a bit with the bourbon heat. A nice beer.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance –Pours a deep brown color, bordering on black, with a big two finger billowy brown colored head. The head has a decent level of retention, slowly fading over time to leave a very light level of streaky lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is big of roasted and sweet smells. The roasted aromas are a nice blend of toasted malt, coffee, and cocoa with the sweeter smells being a mix of milk chocolate and a strong caramel aroma. Along with these smells comes the barrel aromas of a woody smell as well as a good showing of some boozy whisky. Overall the aroma is of a pleasant roasty and boozy nature.

Taste – The taste begins with a sweet caramel and chocolate flavor mixed with lots of roasted malt taste. As the taste moves on the caramel fades with more roastiness coming to the tongue. The roasted flavors are a mix of a toasted malt and coffee with the coffee taking on a more bitter and intense flavor as the taste moves toward the end. Along with the roasted and coffee flavors getting stronger, a woody barrel and boozy whisky flavor comes to the tongue more toward the middle and the end. All in all, with the mix of flavors, a warming, somewhat bitter, coffee and roasted boozy taste is left to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel –The body of the brew is on the thicker and creamier side with a carbonation level that is on the slightly lower side. Bother are quite nice for the roasted and boozy flavors and make for a nice slow sipper with a great warming feel.

Overall – A big robust porter with a sweeter start and more bitter and roasted finish all with a good showing of whisky and woody flavors. A nice slow sipper.

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Photo of ONUMello
4.02/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Pitch black with a full two-finger mocha-colored head
S: Molasses, cocoa and oak
T: Matches the nose. Lots of molasses up front, burnt caramel, bourbon, some cocoa & plums/raisins on the finish
M: Full-bodied, the alcohol is a touch noticeable but hidden overall
O: Good beer but I'm not sure I'd pay $6 for a 12oz bottle again

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Photo of screamking
4.39/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into snifter.
Vintage11AA whatever that means, I'm thinking a couple years old.

Appearance-pours black with a thin slightly darker than khaki head, head disappears very quickly. 4

Aroma-right up front huge bourbon aroma, vanilla and oak. Cocoanut, fig, plum round out the aroma. Some hints of chocolate in there too. 4.25

Taste-surprisingly, I'm getting mild chocolate coming thru first. Vanilla and figs sweetin things up a bit mid palate. Turning to more of a bitter cocoa powder finish. 4.5

Feel-heavy side of medium bodied, coats palate well, ABV is perfect for this style. 4.75

Overall-I picked this bottle up on a whim and it turns out it is probably a couple years old, which is great. This is defiantly one of the better porters I've had, the barrel aging improved the quality tremendously. I would consider this a lighter option for someone who loves a big bold barrel aged RIS. I will seek out the newer bigger bottles for sure. 4.25

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Photo of beersands
1.98/5  rDev -51.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Paid $38 for a 12oz-ish sized bottle at Queens Head in Stockholm, Sweden. Smelled like madeira/port, very similar smell to Utopias but a little less smooth. Poured very dark, but it had absolutely no carbonation and no head. Not a single bubble. I wonder if the bottle had maybe been previously opened and then resealed when the purchaser found out it was so expensive because the other reviewers claim there is normally carbonation. I invited 7 differen people to sample it, to make sure I wasn't crazy. NOBODY could drink this. it was like a ruined glass of port-type wine. DISGUSTING.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color porter with a deep brown color head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of whiskey notes are dominant with light vanilla and some nice black chocolates are also noticeable. Taste is also dominated by strong whiskey notes with some wood notes with nice creamy black chocolate notes and some light vanilla. Body is quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Solid beer with quite dominant barrel-aged characteristics.

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Photo of mactrail
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Public House in La Jolla. Dark brown, near black in the small nonic with a long-lasting foam. Rich and powerful with a great whiskey taste. Deeply flavored with the nicest vanilla taste. Silky and smooth with a tangy mouthfeel.

Boozy glow spreads in the chest after a couple sips of this. Powerful flavors with a deep spiciness. Hot with alcohol, but pleasingly so, like a liqueur. Hops give some balance without any excessive bitterness. Surprised to see 85 IBUs listed by the brewer, it is just not a hop bomb with an excellence balance without hops begging for atention.

Hints of coffee and chocolate from the many shades of dark malt. One of the best barrel aged beers I've had. The Baltic Porter style seems well suited to the treatment.

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Photo of ThickNStout
3.61/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Vintage 11BB, so I assume bottled in 2011. Served in a Burnt Hickory snifter.

Pours a deep dark brown, almost black with a finger and a half capucinno head.

I'm getting scents of whisky, lightly charred malts, cocoa powder and wet wood.

Strong whisky, richly sour dates, cocoa, burnt carmel and a hint of smoke. Very little noticeable booze.

Soft, smooth medium feel with light carbonation.

One of the best I've tried from Flying Dog. Nothing ground breaking however this is quite solid.

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Photo of rudzud
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Shared by JLindros, 2008 vintage.

A Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a dark black hue with a one finger khaki head that fades to leave s light halo.

S - Aromas of light chocolate and roast as well as faint malty sweetness.

T - Taste is semi boozy with nice bourbon notes, good chocolate, malty sweetness, definitely aged, nice old wood

M - Mouthfeel is nice surprisingly carbonated for the style. semi distracting.

O - Overall I felt this was a good beer, though the carbonation was a bit distracting. Still, s solid beer.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Flying Dog Brewery
Wild Dog (barrel aged Gonzo imperial porter)
*vintage bottle. Aged 2-3 years in the cellar

LOOK: Dark brown, a bit of sediment. Mocha creme head forms and recedes to a ring around the glass. Little to no lacing, this looks like a beer that is showing it's age a bit in the appearance. Still, has the ominous quality you look for in barrel aged dark ales.

SMELL: Oak and whiskey open up for a nice nose. Roast and borderline fruity solvent alcohol character play nicely together. Chocolate and old barrel round out the aroma.

TASTE: Strong in the whiskey, mild chocolate and date notes. Coffee and faint citrus lingers on the palate with some dry oak showing up late. A little smokey, certainly boozy, but still quite enjoyable. Aftertaste of chocolate malts is quite rewarding.

FEEL: Medium bodied, well carbonated, palate coating with noticeable tannins and sticky malts. Chocolate and mild whiskey in the finish with some oak. Only slightly dry.

OVERALL: Tasty beer here from Flying Dog,. Wild Dog is a pretty well done barrel aged brew. The whiskey is definitely noticeable, gelling well with the base beer of Gonzo. Rich and full of character, the aftertaste of chocolate malt makes a delicious reminder of how good this beer is.

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Photo of joefuzz
3.91/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750ml caged and corked bottle. No date but I think it is the most recent batch. Pours just like regular gonzo, deep brown with a small light brown head. Smells of choclate caramel and booze. Taste is very malty, lots of caramel and molasses and a slight hint of hops with a very nice bourbon vanilla aftertaste. Mouth is on the thicker side with light carbonation.

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at my favorite beer store in Belgium, Dranken Geers. Dark brown, nearly black pour with a one and a half finger caramel-colored head with nice lacing and decent retention. Sweet, earthy, whiskey-dominant nose with hints of oak, dark chocolate, licorice, and vanilla. The barrel-aging really comes out in the taste. Lots of oak and whiskey along with hints of vanilla, leather, cola, dark chocolate, and just a touch of black cherries. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly syrupy with medium carbonation and nice dry, bitter finish. Overall, this had decent body for a Porter and the barrel really came through nicely. Glad I picked up multiple bottles of this one.

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Photo of tewaris
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from a 12 oz. bottle purchased sometime in 2011 so approximately 18-24 months old at this point. Pours nice and dark with a good head. Smells fantastic with plenty of vanilla, barrel and stout underneath. Silky and smooth without any overpowering note... balanced roast and absent tartness is an instant hit in my book.

Wasn't expecting it to be that good because Flying Dog hasn't done it for me lately but this was an absolute delight. Highly recommended.

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Photo of bobhits
3.61/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Super excited to see this one again. Gonzo is good but barrels are always better!

Imperial porter, so I guess it is a hint lighter than some big stouts and nowhere close to the black holes that the really dark ones reach. Lacking Carbonation or that overly thick syrup look. Gonzo is well....a porter so in theory this is ok, but I'm not sold. It should be darker or be better carbonated.

Light nose, but espresso, chocolate, and faint light malts.

The barrel aged gonzo brings in a lot of hoppy stout flavor with harsh oak, faded chocolate and coffee notes.

Smooth body with some over the top alcohol notes.

Barrel-Aged Gonzo (no wild dog notation on this new batch but meh) is very good, but it misses on the greatness that other barrel aged stouts/porters have reached.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750ml bottle purchased a Puerto Rico Food & Liquors. Shared this bottle during the Super Bowl; it was the only MD beer I owned. Served in a pint glass.

A - Big tan foam settles to a thin cap and splotchy lace. Dark brown body with some reddish transparency at the fringes of the glass.

S - Lots of vanilla, whiskey, baker's chocolate, nuts, cola, caramel, and a lightly buttery note.
Not sure if the latter is from diacetyl or a barrel by-product.

T - Dark chocolate, nuts, whiskey, oak, some cola, a slight cherry Dr. Pepper note, and well-hidden alcohol. I like this significantly better than the aroma, as the buttery flavor is gone.

M - Medium body, dry and lightly tannic finish, surprisingly zesty moderate carbonation, and some light warming alcohol. A bit thin for 9.5% - could stand for a bit more creaminess to it.

D - I like that this was actually a porter rather than an Imperial Stout in disguise. The malt character is definitely English with the preponderance of brown malt flavors, and in that context the mild buttery note isn't totally out of line. Unique stuff that I'd drink again if offered; probably wouldn't actively seek it out again though.

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Photo of russwbeck
4.16/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Black pour with a huge brown head. Very large bubbles build up and create a beautiful looking beer. Retention is great, and a lot of lacing sticks to the sides of my Deschutes Tulip. 5

S: Whiskey forward aroma for sure. Chocolate and roast remain from the base Gonzo Imperial Porter. I'm not surprised some of the roast remains from Gonzo, and thankfully it plays well with the whiskey. 4

T: Stranahan's Whiskey is simply delicious. Not intrusive, this whiskey adds a nice character to the beer. Oak, vanilla, and whiskey come together with chocolate and roast to create a nicely balanced, albeit whiskey focused, taste. You start off with some whiskey and chocolate, graduate to stronger whiskey and perhaps a hint of booze, and finish with a big roast and lingering whiskey. 4.5

MF: My only wish is that the base beer of Gonzo imparted more body to this beer. It seems a bit thin. Low carbonation as I would expect, I just wanted this to be a bit more rich. Insanely drinkable. 3

O: This was $20 for a 750ml bottle, which I say was worth it once, but not again. 4

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Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
4.09 out of 5 based on 746 ratings.
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