Flying Dog Barrel-Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter
I’d actually had a few bottles of Flying Dog’s Barrel-Aged Gonzo before slowing down and taking a moment to jot down some notes. It’s just such a tasty brew that I didn’t want to spoil any of the experiences by nerding out with a pad and pen. The Maryland brewery’s standard Gonzo Imperial Stout is one of my favorite brews from the company. It’s one that I also don’t run across all that much on my shopping trips, so when the opportunity to snag a couple of bottles of this barrel-aged version of the beer arose, it was a no-brainer for me to grab all that I could.
This already big and robust porter was aged in retired whiskey barrels for at least 180 days in order to come up with this limited release. That amount of time has given the beer just the right amount of whiskey influence as well as a hint of wood, making the beer one hell of a treat.
A full and creamy light-brown head sits atop the oil-black brew.
Subtle whiskey notes, light oak, coffee and cocoa all come together smoothly for a well balanced and inviting nose. This beer just smells great.
The first thing you notice is just how smooth this beer is. Despite it’s alcoholic impact (it is quite warming), the beer’s soft carbonation and full mouthfeel allows the brew to flow effortlessly over the palate, carrying a decent bit of whisky flavors, light oak and coffee. Hints of chocolate and tobacco are also present as well as a touch of vanilla as the beer warms. For all that’s going on within this beer’s black depths, it’s well balanced from the rich first impact as the beer hits your tongue to the slightly drying and lasting finish.
Flying Dog has taken and already great product and made it that much better. That’s not always the case when a brewery decides to barrel age one of its flagship beers, but for this particular beer, it works out wonderfully. I still have a couple of bottles left and I’m curious to see how the flavors meld over time, but I’m also too damn greedy to lit it sit that much longer.