Barrel-Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter | Flying Dog Brewery

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Barrel-Aged Gonzo Imperial PorterBarrel-Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter

Brewed by:
Flying Dog Brewery
Maryland, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Aged and seasoned for three months in whiskey barrels.

Duplicate of this beer

Added by endincolorado on 11-18-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 49 | Ratings: 270
Photo of sidetracked
2.9/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours black with a nice foamy light brown head.

Aroma has a moderate bourbon presence, wood, some bitter roasted malts. Slightly sweet. Light alcohol heat as it warms.

Upfront taste is bitter baking chocolate, light bourbon and wood, and roasted malts. Finish is sweeter with some molasses and light bourbon, roastyness, and chocolate. Flavor isn't that strong. Some alcohol at the finish as it warms.

Medium to full bodied with a medium carbonation. Crisp and dry. Could be more substantial.

Falls short of what I expected. Aroma is great, but the taste and body don't match it. Seems kind of watery. Disappointing.


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Photo of justintcoons
3.26/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle poured into a large wine glass.

Pitch black with a short brown head that dissipates quickly.

Toffee, sugar and prune. Dark chocolate, raisin and a touch of blended whiskey.

Toffee, semi-sweet chocolate and cocoa nibs. Prune juice and raisin. Very sugary with touches of blended whiskey. Very light barrel character.

Medium bodied, smooth, silky and warming.

This one is very sugary sweet. Lots of toffee and prune. Again, this is very light on the barrel character. Not really worth the $8/12oz bottle.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.36/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

1714th Review on BA
Bottle to Hangar 24 taster

Split with the Beer Geek Radio Guys.

App- This was a very dark brown with a dark center and a nice puffy head on it. Filled up the taster glass. Semi decent cling, but looked really nice in the glass. A good looking little taster glass.

Smell- I get the porter notes, but there is a raisiny off flavor behind this one. The aromas are a bit sweet with some of the prickly whiskey coming up to great you. Doesnt smell all that impressive really.

Taste- This just didnt go well for me. The porter notes are a bit thin and what I could day as the raisins from the aroma come in as well. The beer is just a bit better than average and dont do all that much for me.

Mouth- A bit of a lighter medium body with a lighter carbonation. Fairly bubbly and a little creamy. Residual oaky and raisin flavors.

Drink- Just kinda above average for me. Wouldnt say meh. But just okay. Not my favorite profile.

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Photo of n2185
3.37/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours black with three fingers of brown head that fades into a thin layer with no lacing.

S: Roasted malts with semi-sweet chocolate, char, and touches of smoke. Hints of vanilla, oak, and whiskey follow, though they're pretty mellow.

T: Roasted malts with bitter chocolate and char dominate here. There is a light smokiness as well. The finish has some oak and whiskey notes along with a light alcohol burn.

M: Medium-thick body with moderately low carbonation, this beer is a little watery and boozy feeling in the mouth.

O: A decent beer overall, though not great. I'd like there to be a bit more presence from the whiskey barrels with less of an alcohol burn and a creamier body.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, split 3-ways. No bottle date but I think this is 2012. Poured this into my Boulevard tulip.

A: Pours a really deep brown/black. Really carbonated. About a finger of dark tan head. Nice alcohol feet.

S: Barrel really over takes the porter notes. It's not the normal woodiness or vanilla that I was expecting. It's just booze heat really. I don't get the chocolate or coffee porter hints.

T: I get the woodiness in the flavor though. It's a little over carbonated. Actually takes away from the flavors staying with you. The flavors don't have time to mingle on your palate at all. You get some oak and vanilla, but I wish more.

M: Medium because of the carbo.

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Photo of WesM63
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a large snifter.

A: Pours a dark brown with a nice 2finger light mocha head. Minor retention and lacing are present.

S: Smells of roasted malts some oak is present but faint. Something else I can't put my finger on.

T: Lots of roasted malts then oak and whiskey. A tiny hint of vanilla is present as well.

M: Medium body with loads of carbonation.

O: Not what I was expecting. While the BA process is present, it's faint and doesn't seem to add anything to the porter itself. The carbonation seems over the top as well. To me the carbonation is one of the huge downfalls of this beer. It comes in super strong mid taste and drowns out everything else out.

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Photo of Auracom
3.62/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looked forward to this one for a while, nice pickup and share from my partner-in-crime. Thanks Dan! 4-5 oz. poured into a Kishimoto Duvel on June 20th, 2012.

A - Looks a bit more like a stout than a typical porter. Deep khaki head with quick dissipation. Decent lacing. Fair alcohol legs.

S Dark chocolate, toasted almonds and pecans, and lightly solvent whiskey-soaked oak. Robust and inviting beyond the traditional standard.

T - A bit more porter than stout here. Front end milk chocolate, middle coffee beans and cocoa. The oak and whiskey comes through at the rear with more wood character than sweetness, though there is a very light syrupy, sugar-like character.

M - Medium body, expected low to moderate carbonation, reasonable smoothness. Quite a lot of alcohol warmth after the semi-dry finish.

D - It's about as good as expected but not a bit more. I like the barrel character and it's got some panache for the style.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.65/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I realised I had this review in the wrong place, this makes more sense now that I can see the bottle pic. Originally reviewed May 30th.

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. Vintage 11BB.

Very similar to it's on tap brother, creamy large milk chocolate brown/tan head settles nicely to a good whispy top, classic dark walnut body and hints around the edges of red. Looks real nice.

Nose is spicy milk chocolate, and yes banana. Choco banana, and even some salt.

Taste seems kind of lacking. Mild licorice, not much of a big sweetness but some residual charring and roast. Slightly silky but also some weak wetness also and a hint of fizz.

Overall I forgot I had this before (didn't), but boy that was sometime ago and getting the bottom of a keg. THis is more enjoyable slightly a bit out of the bottle, it seems to have more roast character and not as sweet as I remember.

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Photo of bertram
3.66/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a thick, viscous black with a small amount of tan head.

smell is sweet, and malty, followed by chocolate, raisin & bourbon.

the taste follows the smell - chocolate, malt and bourbon, with a hint of raisin and fruit.

the mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and thick.

overall a nice enough beer - based on a very good porter IMO - and a style I'd like to see done more often.

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Photo of Vonerichs
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It's a fantastic looking beer. Dark brown color with a massive soft espresso colored head that's persistent.

Strong vanilla and wood bourbon notes with burnt malt.

The wood is overdone in the taste and drowns out anything the malt tries to contribute. It's extremely hot, even for a BA.

Mouthfeel has too much carbonation and is prickly.

Overall, an average at best BA beer and the price tag makes this a huge miss for me.

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Photo of jmarsh123
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a minimal mocha head fading almost immediately. Some lacing down the glass.

Just a touch of the roasted malt and quite a bit of the chocolate remains from the base beer aroma. The booze is subtle, but the barrel characteristics dominates. Loads of sweet vanilla and some oak are present.

Chocolate up front in the flavor. Some vanilla (though not as much as the nose), oak and leather come into play and it finishes with a roasted malt taste backed with a subtle hint of booze. Flavors are integrated well.

Smooth and creamy mouthfeel with medium carbonation levels. Would prefer a touch less carbonation.

Good solid beer, but nothing spectacular and I think I prefer the base beer. The booze is subtle on it, but it still gets a bit too sweet at times.

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Photo of jeonseh
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a bottle

A - Very dark brown, almost black. Poured with no head and only had a small edge of foam on the edges. Much darker than the original Gonzo

S - Dark chocolate, vanilla sweetness and a strong whisky presence as well. Get hints of oak from the barrel and hints of plum as well.. Actually a bit surprised by how much barrel you get in the nose give its only aged a few months

T - Chocolate, hints of brandied dark fruits and a hint of oak. Near the end of the beer, there are hints of vanilla and bitter coffee and hops. You do get a slight kick from the alcohol as well.

MF - Medium body with a light syrupiness to it. Has a decent amount of carbonation as well. Leaves a slight oak tingle on the tongue that lingers in the aftertaste

O - Good BA porter from Flying Dog. The barrel adds a new layer of complexity to the normal Gonzo. Worth trying if you find one.

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Photo of Gmann
3.79/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a near black color with brownish highlights at the edges. The creamy head is smallish and settles into a thick ring with some lacing on the glass.

The aroma is a bit faint for a whiskey barrel brew. I pick up some smooth caramel and vanilla with a hint of oak. Not much else.

The taste is of a light pumpernickle base with nice vanilla flavor and some caramel. A bit of oak and the whiskey pop through. Some roasty bitterness in the end, perhaps some dark chocolate. The whiskey doesn't really pop.

The feel is moderate with softish carbonation. Sweet on the palate and finishes with a slight bitter edge and dryness. Drinks very easy for a barrel aged brew, abv well hidden.

Falls a bit short for a barrel aged brew but it does have nice flavors and is quite easy to drink.

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Photo of Etan
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a brandy snifter. Looks like it's a 2011 ("VINTAGE11AA").

A: Pours an opaque black with a small tan head.

S: Whiskey dominates the nose. Big vanilla, oak, smooth liquor, a tiny bit of chocolate from the stout underneath.

T: Oaky liquor, heavy wood, very subtle vanilla tannins, a bit of chocolate in the background, raisins. Huge charred roastiness in the finish.

M: Full-bodied, fine carbonation.

O: The heaviness of the oak and roast in the flavor detracted from this beer. Looking for a little more sweetness. Good, but could have been better.

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Photo of WankelEngine
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter

A: As I pour there is hardly any head at all. Near the end of the pour, I pull the bottle away to try to stimulate some head. Even with this vigorous pour, there is only a one-finger dark tan head which fades quickly to a ring of foam around the edge of the glass leaving no lacing.

S: The nose leads with sweet brown sugar and molasses. There are also notes of dark chocolate and coffee. Raisin and fig meld well with the sugars and complement the bitterness. Whiskey is present and adds a little bit of heat.

T: Dark chocolate and raisins are the first thing I taste. As I savor, the chocolate flavor transforms into more of a coffee flavor. There is a little bit of spicy oak. Molasses and caramel sweeten everything up. The whiskey flavor is actually relatively mild and smooth, but still notable. The finish lingering and dry, but not overly bitter.

M: Not as thick as I would have expected. I wouldn't call it watery but it's definitely easier to drink that your typical whiskey barrel aged anything. Ever so slightly sticky and a playful effervescence.

O: A relatively easy drinking porter. Dark but smooth without an overwhelming whiskey presence.

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Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sour bourbon, edgy, big bourbon aroma. Nice imperial porter. 'bout time I rated it. Buffalo BA gathering. A sipper, smoother mouthfeel than the last time I had it, aided by understated carbonation.Deep brown colour. Must have something soothing after it.

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Photo of doughanson78
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Super black pour, pretty thick also. Pretty much no head save for a couple of bubbles.

S: Big oak and whiskey hit you in the face. Maybe a touch of chocolate.

T: Touch of chocolate upfront. Then big oak and whiskey hit your mouth. Some slight roasty notes. The whiskey is actually fairly smooth, with a mild bite in the throat.

M: Medium body. Almost no carbonation. Very light creaminess.

O: Not real impressed with this. I've heard how good it is, but it just doesn't do it for me. There wasn't anything wrong with it, but I like my porters with more porter qualities.

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

Vanilla, oak and booze swirl through the nose. Mouthfeel is thin to medium, right on for a porter but this looks so much like a stout that I was initially expecting more.

Taste-wise, this is a treat. The roasted flavors that are typical of a porter mesh beautifully with the barrel character. Vanilla is the dominant flavor from the barrel, but it doesn't overwhelm the other characters or the flavor of the beer itself. Well-balanced, smooth, and delicious. I'll buy this every time I see it.

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Photo of davey101
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage11BB. This is the "non wild dog" version. 12 Oz. bottle into a complimentary plastic hotel cup. Pours a dark brown body with a really dense mocha head. Thick lacing and retention. Smell is strong on the whiskey. Roasted malts, chocolate, toffee, dark fruits, and an oddly sweet finish. Taste is the same with some alcohol heat. Mouthfeel is medium with a coating finish. Not bad at all.

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Photo of TwelveOunces
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- Pours pitch black. A large lingering brown head.

S- Roasted malt. A nice bitterness and a faded hop smell. A little whiskey. Sweet and chocolatey.

T- A lot of carbonation at first. Followed up by a nice big roasted malt profile as well as a lot of chocolate notes. There is some toffee and caramel as well. The whiskey is subtle in this beer but does add another depth to it. The oak in this beer is noticable and ads a nice dryness to it.

M- High carbonation, a little too high in my opinion. A good silky feel to it otherwise. A fairly dry and roasty finish.

O- A tad disappointing but not bad. Also, no idea how old this beer is.

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

Poured a dark black with no light making it through. A dark brown, slight ashy grey colored fluffy head sat gentlly on top about 3/8 inch high. Left nice lacing rings in the tulip after each sip.
Hints of espresso, caramel, chocolate, oak, vanilla, honey, we're all present, but there was an intense bourbon bath for all the other smells. A stinging alc pierced the nose like smelling a snifter of bourbon.

The pallet was a little over run by the bourbon at first, but gentlly opened over the next 15 then 30 45 mins. The alc died, leaving the choch and espresso leading the way dragging along with it an oak aged vanilla bean. Pretty tasty.

Again hot on the pallet at first with surprising gentle viscosity. Sipping and patients allowed a long finish to hang on the pallet. Very drinkable, giving you good flavors and a buzz after two, without being too heavy.

Overall I like this beer, would love more. Glad to know that not only the art work by Steadman was good but the beer as well.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.91/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: really dark black porter. head is light to medium brown poring out to 1 full finger of head that dies down to a ring around the top of the beer. good looking dark beer!

Smell: strong whiskey and oak notes that overpower all else. The nose is all business, nuff said.

Taste: upfront some malty sweetness represented by a chocolate bar and a mild roasty coffee. U get a little bit of vanilla mixed with black licorice and oak. Then the whiskey takes over and dominates this beer from midtaste to the aftertaste. Mild boozey kick that works good with the flavors that are present.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied beer with low to carbonation. Appropriate for the beer style, fairly close to where it should be. Oily and fairly viscous for a baltic porter. Still feels a bit thin, but I am used to drinking barrel aged stouts and this is a porter. So that is to be expected.

Overall: really nice barrel aged porter. Had the non-barrel aged version of Gonzo many times before and I prefer the whiskey barrel treatment for this beer... it really does wonders for this porter. I would have to say that this beer is the best offering I have ever drank from flying dog brewery.

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Photo of dlello2
3.91/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pitch black. No light getting through the glass. Some red tinges to the corners. Some head but it faded quickly.

S - Chocolate AND bourbon bourbon bourbon. Smells REALLY sweet, almost overwhelmingly so. Just balanced enough that I'm excited to drink it though.

T - Mouthfeel is thick! - Taste is very sweet and major coffee notes shine through. Now I'm getting lots of chocolate. Bourbon smells wonderfully after drinking. Initial aftertaste of coffee/chocolate fades to a less pleasant bitterness. Coffee is lingering as well.

O - This is good. I don't know how drinkable it is... 12oz is a lot as it is so thick and sweet. The aftertaste doesn't exactly make you want to drink and drink.

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter

Pours an opaque black with a beige one and a half finger head with dissipates into a thin foam ring bordering the inside of the glass. A aroma of chocolate, oak, roasted malt, and a bit of whiskey booziness rises from the glass. Initially chocolate and a bit of dark fruit, transtions into slight sweet roasted malt which eventually finishes with oak and whiskey and a bit of alcohol heat. Very pleasant mouthfeel. Perfect level of carbonation with a heavier medium body. Very smooth from start to finish. A very solid barrel-aged porter and an overall tasty brew. Recommended and worth revisiting.

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

thanks to bbarak for sending this 12oz'er my way. enjoyed from a duck rabbit snifter.

a - brew poured a deep dark ominous black with a finger plus of tan head that fizzled away in a matter of minutes leaving a ring on the surface of the brew.

s - whiskey barrel with nutty chocolate. the wood is definitely present and brings a good amount of peat to the nose. more whiskey than i remember from the wild dog version.

t - lots of char and chocolate with strong woody peat characteristics. more stout than porter.

m - a bit thin for such a big beer, but overall medium bodied. thicker than a typical porter.

o - overall, a nice beer. it is pretty enjoyable. wish i had a regular gonzo to compare it to. memory says that it is similar to the wild dog, but the barrel seems more present than the larger format wild dog series. the wood is fairly present. i am a big fan of whiskey barrels as opposed to bourbon barrels, but certainly doesn't feel like the most top shelf whiskey. none-the-less, enjoyable.

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Barrel-Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
4.02 out of 5 based on 270 ratings.
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