Review: Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter

In Beer Reviews by Ryan

Flying Dog says:

“Like Hunter S. Thompson… Gonzo Imperial Porter is deep and complex. This turbo charged version of the Road Dog Porter is mysteriously dark with a rich and malty body, intense roasted flavors, and a surprisingly unique hop kick. With Gonzo weighing in at 9.2% ABV, it will bite you in the ass if you don’t show it the proper respect.”

Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter
Baltic Porter, 9.2% ABV

Sayeth the Guys:

Ryan: Sometimes, for reasons beyond my control, it takes me a while to get around to trying a really good beer.  Sometimes I may not be crazy about the brewery.  Or the beer may not be readily available in Chicago.  Or I may not be big on the style.

But I have no aversion to Flying Dog Brewery.  In fact, I like a lot of their beers.  I have seen Gonzo on store shelves before so its not like I don’t have access to it.  And I sure as hell love a good porter.  But, for whatever reason, I have never had this up until a few weeks ago.  And I’m wondering what took me so long.

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I love the idea of imperial anything; Imperial IPA, Imperial Stout, Imperial Pilsner.  While I can surely appreciate a good session beer I can also appreciate a brewery pushing the limits of a style or taking a beer up a notch.  And that is exactly what Flying Dog did here.  They took their porter and pumped it up.

The Gonzo pours black as night with a cocoa tan head that, with the slightest shifting in the glass, is already starting to leave some nice lacing behind.  The nose gives off a slight bit of citrusy hops and some roasted malts.  The hop scent is really intriguing and kind of threw me off some.  Not at all what I was expecting.  Take a sip and, again, I’m kind of thrown for a loop.  Instead of the typical greeting of roasted malts I get a splash of orange peel and tangerine followed by the anticipated roasted malts and a bit of peanut butter on the finish.  The citrus hops become even more pronounced the warmer this beer gets, even overtaking the peanut butter finish.

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Flying Dog describes this as having a “unique hop kick.”  That’s probably the best way to explain it.  The hops are there.  They aren’t expected.  But they are welcomed.  I’d like to see though what happens to those hops after this beer has had some time in the cellar.  I liked the roasted malt characteristics of this beer but I feel like I was teased a bit.  I want more of those and less of the hops.  Looks like I’ve found a new cellar candidate.

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About the Author



Equal parts beer nerd and policy geek, Ryan is now the curator of the Guys Drinking Beer cellar. The skills he once used to dig through the annals of state government as a political reporter are now put to use offering unique takes on barrel-aged stouts, years-old barleywines and 10 + year verticals.

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