Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter | Flying Dog Brewery

330 Reviews
Read the review
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:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 330 | Ratings: 751
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.

 503 characters

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.

 1,705 characters

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

 367 characters

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

 969 characters

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.

 587 characters

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.

 481 characters

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.

 758 characters

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.

 510 characters

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.

 529 characters

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.

 1,257 characters

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.

 364 characters

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.

 686 characters

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.

 467 characters

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.

 778 characters

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.

 1,170 characters

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

 1,072 characters

Photo of charlzm
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The bottle is labeled "BAG Barrel-Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter" and the artwork does not match any of the variations listed here on BA. Huh.

Poured into a Bruery tulip, the liquid is just one shade of brown lighter than black. Opaque . A two-finger dark tan head forms during the pour and settles down soon into a think skin and a slightly sticky crown. Some sheeting.

Aroma is all bourbon. Well, there might be a hint of vanilla and chocolate.

Flavor is salty bourbon with a chocolate malt base. Not especially bitter, but what there is reminds me of coffee. Again, tiny hints of vanilla and chocolate. Not very complex, disappointingly.

Mouthfeel is a little smooth and a little creamy but thinner than anticipated.

This is a step up from the standard Gonzo, to be sure, but only a small one. Not the complex bourbon bomb I was expecting.

 843 characters

Photo of crnipeter
3.77/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Although labeled as Flying Dog Barrel-Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter I'm reviewing it here, assuming it is an alias.

Pours opaque dark brown with deep tan finger-thick head that sets to stable collar.

Dominant ester-aroma of cherries, plums and prunes mingles with obvious bourbon and darker malt reminiscent of unrefined sugar, chocolate and roast.

The flavor starts sweet with loads of dark fruits,however, the mandatory Schwarzbier-like roastiness quickly shows up persisting through the finish with notes of coffee. Malt foundation exhibits molasse-quality and coats the lips with sticky film. Bourbon barrel is evident providing significant alcohol warmth. Aftertaste is mild roast while hops are virtually non-existent. Seems that barrel aging has taken away lots of hop-character the beer might once possessed.

Body is medium with fine perhaps a bit understated carbonation.

In short, a Baltic Porter with pronounced dark-fruit and bourbon character (330 ml,Best Before reads (in that order) 17.11.13, into tulip).

 1,027 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
3.41/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at PPP, review from notes.

A: The beer is dark brown with a small mocha colored head on top that reduces to a thin cap on top. Some sheets of lacing.

S: A good bit of roasted malt with a bunch of alcohol. A lot of the nice aromas that exist with the base beer were covered up by the barrel.

T: Some dark stone fruit, roasted malt, and again a bunch of alcohol. It is a little on the sweet side as well.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Definite alcohol presence.

O: Had high hopes for this one, I like the base beer very much, but this one was too boozy for me.

 591 characters

Photo of AgentMunky
3.7/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet. A sticker on the bottom 019 13. Consumed along side a regular Gonzo, vintage 11KK.

A: Two fingers of tannish head erupts and has decent retention. Thick and tight. The beer is a shade away from black.

S: Boozy. Yeah, maybe it's only 9.5% but it smells much stronger. Berries, booze, and a touch of chocolate. Smells like a cupcake.

T: Hrm. Interesting. A bit thin -- but so is the original -- with an odd fruity bitterness. No follow-through. The lack of a substantial maintaste severely hampers the quality of the beer. A round, robust sweetness pervades the body and is presumably a product of the barrel aging.

M: Smooth and dull.

O: It improves as it warms, gaining spicy oakiness and other subtly enhanced qualities. I probably wouldn't recommend it or purchase it, but I'd recommend a few sips and I'd pick it up if it happened to be the same price per volume as standard Gonzo.

 945 characters

Photo of KevSal
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to shadesofgray for a pair of these guys, and for completely squashing me in the bif.

2010 poured into a bruery tulip. Had side by side with the regular version.

A- looks awesome! This guy is very dark and the thin head and look give a good sign the barrel left its mark. Very different than the regular which had a huge head. Reminds me a lot ccb's milk porter, makes me wonder if they used stranahan barrels here too.

S- this is where this beer really shines! Huge chocolate and awesome whiskey upfront. Great sweetness and vanilla. A little bit of the base comes thru near the back.

T- The whiskey and chocolate are there but not over bearing. The base robust porter really shines thru tho and it's very nice. Alcohol non existent.

M- smooth and velvety. Not harsh at all. Either this was done right or the two years in the cellar did its job.

O- awesome beer! A real different beer than the base. I like them both for different reasons. If I had this guy available to me I'd be buying a lot of it! It's not in the same realm as kbs and ba ptf. But as far as ba porters go this guy is top of it's game.

Also I know people knock them for it but I love the presentation of these guys, the ba and regular version, but I am a big hunter thompson fan

 1,266 characters

Photo of mulder1010
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

355 ML poured into a Lost Abbey snifter
Thanks to Lukie for the bottle
4/22/12 BB

A-- Pours a dark cola color and settled jet black in the glass. Half finger of dark mocha colored head that fades to a decent ringed collar and a bit of film. Decent retention on swirling. Just a few bits of spotty lacing on the sides and some ABV legs. Attractive enough.

S-- Good notes of Oak and bourbon followed by a good amount of dark, stewed fruits. Quite earthy oak and bourbon. Well integrated. Barrel notes pick up more as the beer gets air.

T-- Earthy bourbon and oak followed by milk chocolate, caramel and vanilla. Still carries bits of heat from the ABV and bourbon is quite obvious.

M-- Rich and luscious in the front but smooths out to a bit of a astringent bourbon in the back that is quite dry and very ovious. Dairy milk mixed with bourbon is what I thought. Still carries a lot of punch for it's age.

O-- Nicely done beer. Not too over the top and still has some qualities of the base beer. Better BA beers out there but can not complain with this at all.

 1,066 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the brewery after my tour. Awesome group of guys there and the beer was better than I had anticipated as I had only had their standard beers we get in Florida. This time I got to try the local release stuff.

A: interesting look to this one. It poured with no head but as it sat a single finger tan head slowly formed.

S: pretty much all whiskey here. some tangy dark fruit notes and roasted malts.

T: mostly bourbon/whiskey. some roasted malts. the base beer seems to contribute little.

M: full body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: the base beer is definitly lost but that being said the whiskey isnt overpowering. overall a nice brew.

 662 characters

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

750 ml bottle from Pints O'Plenty.

Appearance: It's black. Black, thick, no highlights, dark head. Looks like a RIS.

Smell: It really smells good. Vanilla, caramel, chocolate cake. Bourbony, but not hot, nose burning booze. Some dark roast, but not a lot.

Taste: Very nice sweet chocolate and again caramel and bourbony vanilla. Cake like or like a brownie. The heat from the bourbon is hotter than I expected from the smell. It's roaster than most porters, but that helps it stand up to the barrel.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and creamy-soft. Not overly thick.

Overall: Its a really good beer, and could pass for a good RIS.

 631 characters

Photo of Gobzilla
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a dark brown in color with brown highlights when held to the light and had a thin head that left very little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: lots of oaky bourbon booze rules the aroma with vanilla, chocolate roasted malts, mild lactic notes, some dark fruits such as plum and traces of smokiness.

T: the bourbon oaky barrel character was more prominent on the taste alongside vanilla, dark fruits, roasted chocolate malts, and booze accents.

M: the brew was medium to full in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, chocolatey, oaky bourbon barrel, mild fruity and silky finish.

O: definitely a good solid beer all around and was glad to see this one on tap at the infamous 38 degress anniversary party.

 740 characters

Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
4.09 out of 5 based on 751 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.