Look, you don’t have to remind me, okay. I know I’ve missed the last two Sessions, but I’m a busy man. Now you’re asking me to open a bottle of limited release beer from my stash that I’ve been holding onto for quite some time. It’s a tough decision, like picking a favorite child, but I’ve gone with Flying Dog’s Gonzo Imperial Porter from 2005, aged in oak barrels with a dash of Brettanomyces for good measure.

The cork made a loud popping sound, and upon inspection was completely intact and moist at the bottom. A good omen, indeed. For being over three years old, I was shocked to see just over two fingers of latte-colored foam rise and descend slowly, clinging for dear life to the sides of the glass on the way down. The liquid was pitch black, ominous and foreboding in its own right. I became concerned as to what exactly I had gotten myself into.

Oaky was the bouquet, with that very bourbon-esque aroma. A sour funkiness was also present, displaying a unique and almost troubling combination. Notes of coffee grounds and dark chocolate danced delicately in the background.

Strangely enough, the dark malt presence was very mellow and hardly made a peep, while the oakiness from the barrels meshes incredibly well with the Brett funk. Even the finish threw me for a loop, fading gracefully and quicker than expected, allowing for soft, oaky bourbon sweetness to leave a small but pleasing trace at the back.

I’m no stranger to the Gonzo line from Flying Dog, but this one, aged in oak barrels with Brettanomyces added, completely surprised me with its silky texture and its ability to bring forth its best characteristics without any one in particular stealing the show. The interplay of these flavors, which I had neither tasted together before nor expected to go so well together, was phenomenal.

I must thank two people for making it possible for me to post this review: Alan McLeod at A Good Beer Blog for supplying this to me as a prize for a photo I took for the Visions of Beer Contest, and Steve, whose refrigerator full of beer was featured in said photo. I am a much richer man for having exploited your kindness for my own beery needs. Think I could get, like, 20 bucks? I think the new Weyerbacher Thirteenth is out.

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