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Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter | Flying Dog Brewery

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Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial PorterBarrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter
757 Ratings
Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial PorterBarrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter

Brewed by:
Flying Dog Brewery
Maryland, United States

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by DogFood11 on 04-14-2007

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 757 |  Reviews: 330
Photo of caskstrength
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Had this on tap a few times, glad to find it at the bottle shop.

Pours black, some reddish brown at the edges. light brown head suggests adequate carbonation, more fizzy than thick, moves slowly to a ring. With swirls of the glass, carbonation shows up again.

The barrel is front and center on the nose. Vanilla is very strong. No alcohol noticed, not a lot of roast. Some brown sugar and milk chocolate sweetness, and maybe some darker fruits. But it's mostly vanilla and wood.

Oaky vanilla dominates the taste too. Milk chocolate adds some sweetness, but it's not what I would call a sweet beer. Some darker sweet fruits on the aftertaste. No alcohol at all, if this really is close to 10% that's some brewing magic there. Minimal roast or coffee. Tastes remind me of Older Viscosity, more of a barrel aged strong ale than a roasted porter.

Thin on the mouthfeel, maybe too much so. I didn't want this thick, but it could use a bit more fullness. (Disappears quickly on the tongue.) At times I notice a chalkiness at the end which I don't care for.

5-6 dollars for a single 12oz. A bargain if you consider this a poor man's Older Viscosity. On the other hand, I would b*tch and moan about paying $22 for a 4 pack.

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.07/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
Vintage: 2010(?)(Purchased May/June, 2010)
Thanks to Lunch for this hook-up, that I'm finally getting around to.

This one is a deep, dark, brown color that almost appears to be black. It has some very impressive ruby highlights, which can be exposed with backlighting. It produces about a single fingers worth of light brown colored foam for the head. The retention is okay. The lacing is in thin strands and little spots, but is nicely sticky.

My, my. The whiskey and oak notes come barreling right at you. (Just the way that I like it to be done.) It's not overpowering, just nicely prominent. There are some quite nice notes of light roast and milk chocolate sweetness, down below. Light traces of dark coffee beans.

Yum. This is a very nicely balanced barrel-aged brew, actually. It has all of the expected characteristics of Flying Dog Gonzo Porter, balanced with some nice hints of oak and vanilla and some good doses of Stranahan's Whiskey.
Very well done.

This has a medium-to-full body and a light-to-medium level of carbonation. It is nicely smooth and almost velvet-like, but the carbonation has a touch of sharpness to it that dispels any real creaminess.

This is definitely a nicely drinkable barrel-aged beer, even at 9.50%abv. It hides it's alcohol nicely.

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Photo of bubseymour
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured 12 oz bottle into Sam Adams pint glass.

Appearance - Dark and very small brown head. Relatively flat and little carbonation. No lacing at all.

Smell - I nice chocolately smell. No hop presence.

Taste - Chocolatey and spicy with some alcohol burn. Not sure if that is from the 9.5% or the whiskey barrell flavoring coming through. Much smoother and less hoppy than the regular Gonzo Imperial Porter. I was hoping for some smokey flavorings for a barrell aged porter but none were present on my pallet.

Mouthfeel - silky smooth

Drinkability - Because its so smooth this is pretty drinkable for a 9.5% beer. I could get in trouble with this one.

Overall - This is pretty good specialty brew from my local Fredneck home-boys. A little pricey but nice job none-the-less.

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Photo of jslot38
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had this beer in bottle form and liked it, was happy to see it on tap at Galaxy Hut.

App: served with a one finger head, dark tan. Black body, touches of lacing.

Smell: not too strong. Nice blend of vanilla, oak, and roastiness. A very good smelling stout with a touch of bourbon barrel.

Taste: also very well balanced. Good level of chocolate and roasted notes give way to vanilla, a bit of spiceness from the barrel aging.

Mouthfeel: moderate level of carbonation up front gives way to a smooth silky feel.

Drinkability: at almost 10% a pint isn't a problem, but not sure I could do more than that. For this style its drinkable because it has a good balance and smoothness. Well done.

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Photo of BearsOnAcid
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm pretty sure this bottle is about a year old.

Black body with a small mocha head. Smooth dark chocolate, roasted malt, and caramel aroma. A medium toast from the barrel and faint whisky.

Soothing chocolate and whisky flavor. It massages the palate. Never offensive. This is like BA Yeti's little brother. Corn and straw tang from the whisky hits around the sides of the tongue. Dark burnt fruits (raisins, plums) round out the flavor. Silky mouthfeel. It seems thick and thin at the same time.

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Photo of Onibubba
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Great black pour with with kind of creamy beige head I normally look for in my impy stouts. Looks very good. Nice aroma full of dark chocolate and malts, but not the vanilla and bourbon I would expect. Taste follows suite. This is a fine porter, but I wish I had a bottle of the regular Gonzo to taste next to this. I think this may be a bit sweeter, which I am fine with, but if I did not know this was a barrel aged beer, I would not have guessed it. Nice smooth mouthfeel, and good drinkability.

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Photo of SurlyMe
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep brown/black color, avg speed pour yields a 1 finger khaki colored head which thins to a very light cap and leaves spotty lacing.

S - Nummy.... milk chocolate, vanilla, light bourbon, light licorice

T - Follows the nose pretty well, chocolatey vanilla bourbon barrel goodness comes through right up front followed by light light maple syrup, licorice, and coffee notes. The finishing taste is really where the wow factor comes in. Some heat noticed as it goes down, but only once it has warmed.

M - Carbonation was abundant at first but tames down to a low level as you drink. Medium to full in body, fairly smooth mouthfeel with a bit of a dry finish.

D - Cant tell that its 9.5% at all, drinks more like a 6%. Not sessionable in my opinion but you may want more than one...

Overall, this is some damn tasty stuff! I was a bit reluctant at first as I am not a fan of the original gonzo porter but I'm glad I picked one of these up now, even at ~$5/12oz bottle...

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Photo of Bmoyer0301
3.45/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5


Again I find a coked bottle that seems to want and find me the whole way, so I was forced to use my channel locks to extract it. Once It finally came out a very loud pop greeted me, and I poured straight on in my cognac snifter and was left with a very thin tan colored head that quickly dissipated to almost nothing except a thin whisp around the edges. As I hold it up to the light appears to be deep deep brown with no light passing through, no yeast chunks. Viscosity seems to be a little thin.


A lot of dark fruit here, black cherries, currants, and figs hit me first. Slight aroma of vanilla but very faint to zero oak or bourbon notes. Sweet maltiness , caramel , pipe tobacco, absolutely no hop presence.


Ahh...there is the bourbon. Followed up with earthy coffee, fruits, and ash. There is a strange tartness that rounds out the middle with some plum notes. Slight acidity and oak are blending with the heat alcohol very well. In the finish I'm noticing dark chocolate and cocoa nibs.


Great beer, not as thick as I would have predicted but still very good. Aroma could use more bourbon in my opinion but all around pretty easy sipping and smooth.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.49/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Vintage - 2009? Cork was bone dry and quite brittle.

Appearance -- Pours a rich dark brown with a slim, creamy beige head.

Smell -- This smells lovely: Vanilla, chocolate, gentle bourbon, caramel, maple sugar, and hints of dark fruit and figs.

Taste -- Not quite as good as the nose, sadly. Bakers chocolate, golden toast, caramel, dark fruit, berry-like tartness and yeast. The barrel character is quite nice: vanilla-like oak sugars, smooth sour mash bourbon, and oak wood tannins. There seems to be a slight touch of soy sauce and cork. Lingering flavors of oak, bourbon, cocoa, and caramel.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-light in body with gentler carbonation. Could gain from some additional body, and the carbonation was so gentle that halfway through the glass it became still.

Drinkability -- Overall it was okay. I fear my bottle was slightly corked as there were some noticeable off flavors. The smell is truly exceptional, so much so that the taste was a bit of a letdown. I'll be looking for this again in case my bottle was a dud.

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Photo of GehenHerzog
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into Rogue Dead Guy pint glass. Not my particular style but obviously this is a phenomenal beer. Beer purchased from Brawley's in Charlotte. Thanks Mike, always a pleasure doing business at your store.

A- Dark black. A very thin brown head that is gone almost immediately

S- This is a phenomenal smelling beer. Vanilla up front and the whiskey comes out at the end.

T- It tastes just as it smells. Vanilla up front and the whiskey just blows you away in the back end. Tastes of a very smooth whiskey.

M- Very smooth, very balanced. Nearly perfect carbonation.

D- For a 9.5% alcohol beer, the drinkability is tremendous. If you enjoy whiskey and enjoy beer, this beer is perfect for you.

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Photo of ImpairedPirate
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From November notes. I found this in a 12 oz. bottle at Westview Liquors in Frederick, MD.

A - Awesome dense light brown head with medium/large bubbles that form in the center of the glass. The head dissipates in a couple of minutes leaving a thin oily ring around the outside edge. A tiny layer of world's smallest bubbles are left on the top

S - Chocolate and vanilla permeate this one.

T - Taste aligns very closely to the smell. Chocolate, whiskey, and vanilla in order of arrival to the senses.

M - This drinks slightly dry, and it disappears on the tongue. Thin with a tiny bit of carbonation.

Bottom line: this beer is worth a try, but a little pricey at $7 for a bottle!

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Photo of dgilks
3.7/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep black colour with a tiny tan head. Poor head retention.

Rich and chocolatey with lots of vanilla notes. A bit one dimensional but still good.

A nice, spicy and rich alcohol complements coffee and chocolate notes.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Decent.

A good beer but it's nothing special and there are better beers out there.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.74/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 3.5

Super excited to have a bottle of this! Gonzo is awesome and put it in a barrel... the possibilities are endless.

A= The cork comes off with out a pop or nick.... Sounded flat on the cork pop. The pour is a beautiful black color with a head that looks like coca cola. Just a few really large bubbles. This looks like it may be flat.

S= Wonderful oak and vanilla notes coming through it. Good whiskey in it. The barrel is the dominate character in it for sure. Smells wonderful. Not much booze at all and a great sweetness to it. Not as roasty as the regular Gonzo.

T= The taste is just as smooth and delicious. The vanilla comes through as well as some excellent wood notes. The barrel is again the dominate character in this one letting the sweetness lie in back. Not much booze coming through and an excellent taste.

M= FLAT! What the hell is going on here. Not a speck of carbonation.

D= This is a completely flat beer. Great taste and smell just flat. No head to speak of and the aroma was most likely muted without any bubbles. Interesting.

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Photo of Mag00n
4.39/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a:Pours dark black with almost no head on an aggressive pour. What little head there is dissipates almost instanstly. There is thin tan ring around the edge of the class, it looks good.

s: wow, this beer smells amazing. Whiskey and bourbon dominate the nose. I also pick up on molasses and brown sugar. I could literally sit here and smell this beer for the 15 minutes and be perfectly happy.

t: just like the smell, i get a ton of smooth quality whiskey with hints of bourbon. Also pick up on some vanilla/molasses and a hint of raison. If you like whiskey or bourbon, this beer is for you.

m: Mouthfeel is nice but not great. Carbonation is spot on..possibly a taddd overcarbonated but probably note. Mouthfeel is a bit on the light/medium side...i really wish this beer was little thicker/chewier.

d: for the style, this is very drinkable. I wouldnt want more than 22oz in one sitting, but i feel that way about most barrel aged stouts/porters.

overall this is an awesome example of a barrel aged porter, a definite must try and i would seek it out again.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at good dog bar in philly. review from notes.

Pouring almost black as night, the beer starts with a thick, creamy head which surprisingly dissipates fairly quickly. The retention fades after a few sips, but the oily porter laces around the glass after every sip.

The nose is distinctly dark and unusual, but still positive. There is a noticeable boozy fragrance which touches the nostrils, but manages to stay under control, with hints of vanilla and oak.

Upon first taste, assorted notes of licorice and spice burn through the palate, as the alcohol begins to warm the mouth. Cinnamon and dark fruits swirl through the brew, maintaining its dark characteristics without becoming overwhelming. There's a slight mildness from the barrel aging which projects while drinking, along with a touch of hard alcohol, but still in a positive style.

Full bodied and sticky, this is a slow sipper but still very tasty. The barrel aging prevails once again on this one.

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Photo of kbutler1
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Nice cork and cage bottle with artwork. Poured into a pint glass a dark brown color with a thin coastered tan head. Dark roast, dark chocolate, and Whiskey barrel notes in the nose. The taste is really smooth and balanced. Sweet start of dark chocolate transitions to whiskey oak notes then really smooth with only a slight amount of bitterness. Medium/heavy mouthfeel. Surprisingly easy drinking.

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Photo of ptykozoon
3.63/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black, lacing on the rim, not much lacing.

Salty soy, fudge, caramel and vanilla, along with standard chocolate.

Am I getting hops? A tad. Rich chocolate and syrup, not a lot of soy sauce in the taste which I'm thankful for. Not tasting too much oak.

Good carbonation, I swear I taste a tad of hops in this.

Very solid baltic porter.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
3.29/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle into Bruery tulip. Another pick-up from Bruisin' Ales in Asheville.

Pours pitch black from top to bottom. Thinnish light-brown head quickly fades to nothing. Decent legs, and a bit of short-lived lacing.

Nose is very nice - bourbon comes through clearly with notes of oak and coconut, bit of vanilla; booziness is quite reserved, with the alcohol taking on a light, spicy character. A barely discernible earthy hop character in there as well, as well as some dry, sharply roasted malt and a bit of chocolate as the beer warms.

Taste is an about face from the nose - dry up front, roasty, with an overly aggressive bourbon character that really dominates the landscape. That said, there are some nice notes in there - big, bold oaky coconut, vanilla and an almost minty character that's quite pleasant, light roastiness, and a light, dry hop bitterness sticking its head out towards the finish. Still, very much a one-note pony, and that one note isn't done particularly well at all. Taking an already fairly dry beer and throwing in a ton of bourbon doesn't create what I would call a balanced, nuanced beer.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, slick, slightly sharp in the carbonation department. Mouthfeel lacks the creaminess I always hope for in big stouts and porters like this, and the bourbon actually thins out the body just a hair.

Drinkability is fairly meh. Not a bad beer, but not again, fairly one-note and that note is really driven into the ground. The lack of supporting sweetness or richness from the base beer doesn't help either.

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Photo of boomer31
4.37/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Stub and Herbs and just loved it. Been seeking it out for quite some time and finally get my hands on a few bottles.

A - Pours a dark brown with lighter brown around the edges. A light tan head forms but disappates quickly. Beer does not stick on the glass

S - Sweet bourbon and roast malts. Bourbon dominates

T - Again, sweet bouron dominates up front. As it warms more of the porter comes through, light roast, some chocolate and no hops. Alcohol is there but not overwhelming, it adds a nice spice to the flavor.

M - Low carb and light body. the bourbon tends to stick to your mouth

D - If you like the barrel in your barrel aged beersr this is a great beer. The barrel is sweet and right in your face

Overall I love this beer. Then again I love mosts beers that are barrel aged

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Photo of stakem
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured at nearly room temperature into a snifter. This brew appears nothing short of black. Around the edges there is room for light to pass through showing clarity and some lighter indications of dark brown. The head initially appears very dark brown and recedes to nothing quite quickly. A penline of bubbles collects around the perimeter of the glass and faint spotty lace clings to the glassware.

The aroma of this brew is dark burnt grain which is reminiscent of a toasty sort of charcoal. However there is a solid amount of fruity character smelling like raisin and/or plum with a slight vinous quality about the nose. The woodsy character of the oak aging is prevalent with a bitey woody character instead of the typical vanilla contribution. However, there is a faint vanilla smoothness and sweetness that pokes in the back of the aroma from time to time.

The taste of this brew is strikingly a total summation of all the characteristics included in the aroma. The dark taste of charred malt hits you upfront tasting dark and burnt like a heavily roasted coffee with a solid amount of bitterness that lasts inside the mouth with indications of bitter chocolate. Throughout the body are woodsy oak notes that are drying to the tongue with a very faint vanilla sweetness. The alcohol is prevalent with a bold whiskey character that really draws attention to the drying quality about this brew. Slight fruity flavors are evident tasting like plum, raisin and a bit vinous. Overall this is a solid bitter brew with the bitterness being imparted by the heavy roast of the grain instead of the hops. A lasting burnt quality resides inside the mouth that hinges on almost tasting smoky.

This is a medium to full bodied brew with a very modest to high level of carbonation. The level of carbonation inside this brew could really be turned down a few notches to make it perfect. This brew really has a lot to offer, it is deep and complex with a lot of flavor to take in. It will be interesting to see how this brew develops as this is not the first time flying dog released this brew. Being a fresh 2010 release, I fully anticipate my enjoyment level growing as I hold on to a few bottles of this to sample in the future.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a nice black color with a good mocha head and a bit of sticky lace. The nose brings some nice bourbon, oak, coffee, vanilla, and light chocolate. Flavor is a bit more tame with some roast and bourbon; it's not as integrated as the nose. Good heavy body with nice booze. Very drinkable.

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Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a nonic a near pitch black except for ruby highlights when held to the light,a fluffy one finger toasted almond colored head atop that stuck like glue to the glass.A mix of toasted oak,roasted nut,and bitter chocolate in the nose,a great mix,quite rich.Flavors have a buttery and burnt element to them intertwined with some vanilla,black licorice, and wood,the wood really lingers in the finish.Smooth and full this beer is rich and a bit of a sipper but its really a niced oaked Baltic porter.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A dark, almost black color. Minimal brown head that didn't leave any lace or anything else behind.

S - Little boozy, roasted malts, some whisky, it's actually not bad, but there is a slight vitamin smell here that knocks it down a notch for me.

T - Nothing amazingly complex, but this is a solid beer. Roasted malts, little cocoa, bit of vanilla. Nice barrel influence on this one. I like it quite a bit, even if it is somewhat simple.

M - Smooth, moderate carbonation, went down pretty easily.

D - This is one I'd have again, it's a little hot, but it's pretty good. Not quite world class, but this is a great beer.

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Photo of RRC87
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2008 vintage
on-tap at Stub and Herb's on Darkness Eve

A: Pitch black opaque, with a creamy mocha head. The head retains amazingly well leaving concentric circles at each new level.

S: Amazing sweet toffee, molasses, and figs. There is also a fair amount of bourbon, but the malt profile is strong enough that it can hold it's own and shine through.

T: Lots of dark fruits and caramel dominate. There is also massive vanilla notes with just a hint of alcohol. Minimal amounts of hop bitterness find their way through at the end to lighten things up.

M: Heavy and resinous with just enough carbonation and alcohol to prevent it from getting to heavy. It coats the palate quite well.

D: Oh god, I want to drink it all night. I can't understand how something this bold and this thick with this much alcohol can be this drinkable.

Overall: I tried it fresh and it was good, but the age has made it simply amazing. I put this in the top five beer I have had.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap into a 4oz tasting tulip...Black pour with nice lacing and retention...A super sweet aomr of all whiskey and vanilla, sweet but I do like it...The taste is all really sweet but its not so sweet I can't drink it, in fact it makes it easy to drink. Wish it was a tad more complex but if you want a really sweet beer with high alcohol give this a shot

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Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
Beer rating: 4.14 out of 5 with 757 ratings
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