People of Earth, do not be alarmed
Posted on 9/5/2011 (1106 days ago, 145 of 652 reviews)
7/10 Appearance | 7/10 Aroma | 6/10 Mouthfeel | 8/10 Flavor
The battle between porters and stouts started a long time ago in a brewery far, far away. For quite some time, the two styles fought tooth and nail for the crown of tastiest darker brew. Stouts took the more aggressive roasted stance while porters took the more smooth savory stance. Their battle tactics eventually included stealing traits from one another to entice drinkers over into their camp. Year after year this happened until the two styles crossed the line of indistinguishably. Porters became stouts and stouts became porters. And in today's microbrew world, it can be hard to find much difference between the two, just the remnants of some core stylistic bench marks. Case in point, Flying Dog's Gonzo Imperial Storter... Pout... Portouterstout... whatever.
In the glass, this beer is stark black with no transparency, which to my eyes definitely leans more towards stout territory. The aroma is very thin, biting and consists mainly of roasted coffees. The intro is very aggressive for a porter. I wouldn't say it's a bad thing, but it's definitely edgy for the style. Course, we've come to expect that from Flying Dog.
The first sip is front loaded and aggressive, so you should properly prepare yourself. Gonzo has a stingy hop profile, which definitely counterbalances the roasted goodness. Coffee notes abound, which give the beer a very satisfying gravitas. I'd say the only downfall with this beer is the mouthfeel, which is very thin and chalky. It doesn't go well with the rest of the traits and is hard to rectify. About halfway through, the beer warms into a more nutty flavor. The finish is bitter, hoppy and stays with you for quite some time.
Overall, Flying Dog's Gonzo Imperial Porter is a very nice imperial which freely jumps the fences between porters and stouts. Fans of more savory porters might find Gonzo a bit on the aggressive side, while fans of imperial stouts will find Gonzo a worthy addition to their arsenal. Novices should stay away from this beer simply due to the fact that they won't be able to make it past the mouthfeel to appreciate other traits. You definitely need a dark imperial palate to fully appreciate this beer. But once you do, it's quite the taste adventure. This is a big and mean beer, but as the Great Gonzo once said, ''People of Earth, do not be alarmed!''