Doctor Duvel

I'm like a sommelier, but for beer.

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Location: Upstate New York, United States

Favorite Beers: Orval, Samuel Smith, Duvel, Hennepin, Oude Gueze, Chimay, Dogfish Head, Anchor Steam, and anything made by Trappist monks.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter

My friend and colleague Steve hooked me up with this bitchin' beer. It's a tribute to the late Hunter S. Thompson in the form of a big ass beer. According to the Flying Dog site, it's brewed with "black, chocolate and crystal malts," hopped with Millennium and Cascades, for an ABV of 9.5%.

It's totally opaque black and the head is dark enough that one would be inclined to assume the presence of roast barley. The nose has got some serious roasty, burnt notes as well. The palate is huge, rounded, and silky (despite some definite sharpness from all the black and chocolate malt). I suppose the distinction between imperial porter and imperial stout is hazy at best. You could definitely serve this alongside a conventional imperial stout and no one would ever pick it out as the porter, unless I'm just missing something.

A week or so ago I lined up a Victory Storm King and an Old Rasputin. O.R. won pretty handily. What I like about that beer is that, despite the pretty intense roast, it has these dense, rich, winey layers. Gonzo has that as well, with an elegant winey quality and prominent burnt fruitiness, which I'm inclined to chalk up to fairly liberal use of Crystal 120. Very heady nose overall--lots of deep, deep chocolate as well. Terrific beer--really big, but also genuinely elegant. If you can find some, buy it. Imperializing my Smuttynose-derived Porter might get me in the ball-park, if I ever get around to it.


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