Pothole Filler Imperial Stout
Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company

Pothole Filler Imperial StoutPothole Filler Imperial Stout
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Style:
Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #392
ABV:
9%
Score:
91
Ranked #5,148
Avg:
4.06 | pDev: 9.61%
Reviews:
75
Ratings:
204
From:
Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company
 
British Columbia, Canada
Avail:
Winter
Wants
  25
Gots
  45
SCORE
91
Outstanding
Pothole Filler Imperial StoutPothole Filler Imperial Stout
Notes: This beer is a strong, inky dark ale, brewed with 6 malts and blackstrap molasses. It is a thick beer, with an intense roasted barley flavour, with notes of chocolate and licorice.

65 IBU
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Reviews: 75 | Ratings: 204
Reviews by souvenirs:
Photo of souvenirs
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark, malty and thick. Black, with brown head the colour of chocolate milk. Very nice. (I actually finished the litre bottle by myself in a single sitting.)

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More User Reviews:
Photo of canucklehead
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aged for about one year this beer really comes into its own with a thick luscious mouthfeel and very long roasty chocolate finish. One of the best Impy stouts in BC and thankfully not too hard to find. Since it comes in a big 1 litre swing top it is best to leave half for the next day when it will be even more interesting as the carbonation drops a little. Full of complex flavours redolent of cocoa nibs and coffee this beer is a winner from Howe Sound.

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Photo of SPLITGRIN
3.81/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Head is an inch and a half of toasted bread light brown tone. Body is like used motor oil black. Nose is a nice mix of roasty chocolate and hints of attractive coffee notes. Taste boarders on an oatmeal stout and an imperial stout. It is creamy and chocolatey with hints of strong alcohol and coffee. This is a solid beer at an attractive price point.

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Photo of IronDjinn
4.01/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From a 1 L brown bottle, capped with a flip-top lid. Pours out a dense opaque jet black hue, impermeable to light. Creamy tan head that settles to a thick frothy cap.

Roasty malts, some sweet dark malt, coffee notes on the nose, some faint dry toasty cocoa.

Flavour starts out on a sweet almost milky note, then turns roasty, while the two in turn evolve into a sort of cafe au lait charatcter, finishing with a dry roasty, somewhat burnt finish. Burnt malt aftertaste. It's only after a long while and the bottle nearly finished that herbal, spicy hops appear on the finish and aftertaste.

Full mouthfeel, full velvety texture, medium carbonation.

While not very intense for the style, it's a very enjoyable and approachable interpretation of an RIS, and masking the alcohol content incredibly well. In my honest opinion it seems more like a buffed up Stout, or a Robust Porter, however it's still mighty fine of its own accord.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of roasted malt with coffee notes and some black chocolate is quite enjoyable. Taste is a mix between some roasted malt notes with light bitter aftertaste and some light dry coffee notes with some nice black chocolate with light lingering bitterness. Body is actually above average but not as full or creamy as I was expecting with great carbonation and no apparent alcohol. This is a good rendition of the style but lacks a bit of body and creaminess that would showcase more of the black chocolate notes.

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Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle two half pints at Bar Volo Howe Sound takeover. Enjoyed it knowing is somewhere between a Russian IS and an oatmeal stout. Not up to the RIS standard. Significant acid but under control. Dark as night, with only a whisp of head. Above average mouthtfeel. Appropriate understated carbonation. Decent drinkability, it is a sipper.

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Photo of wedge
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Deep black color with a very creamy head that sticks well. Aroma is full of malty goodness: cocoa, molasses, smokey roast, prunes, nuts, and caramel. Pungent, in a way, but so easy to sniff and enjoy. Flavor has less of a fruity element...thick malts, char, espresso, and nuts. Thick, creamy, and smooth. This surprised the hell out of me. Very tasty, very dark, very smooth and just a delight to drink.

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Photo of ericj551
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Howe Sound Pothole Filler pours an inky black with a nice brown head. The aroma is sweet, caramel malt with tons of rich chocolate and dark, roasted malt. A caramel sweetness pops up in the flavor first, but the chocolate character quickly takes over. The dark malts build on the palette and lead to a moderately astringent, burnt character. The astringency is amplified by a solid bitterness, with some earthy, herbal hops. The bitterness lingers with the astringent, burnt malt. Overall this is a really intense imperial stout, especially for it's abv.

On a side note, the copy on this beer label is a bit confused, at the begining they claim, "unfiltered 100% barley mash," but they describe the beer as containing wheat and molasses.

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Photo of Viggo
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1 liter swingtop, generously given to me by my friend George when I was back west.

Pours a deep and opaque black, huge and thick tan head forms and slowly settles down to a very thick layer and ring around the glass, drops a ton of sticky lacing everywhere, looks pretty damn good.

Smell is great, rich and malty, big roastiness, toffee, chocolate, lightly fruity, some raisin, a bit of smoke and some licorice, vanilla, oak, brown sugar, very rich and balanced.

Taste is similar, really nice, toffee up front and a touch of biscuit, chocolate wafers, big roast, brown sugar, raisins, lightly smokey, wicked licorice character, oak and some vanilla, pretty solid bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low to medium carbonation, just silky smooth going down. A really great RIS, Thanks George!

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Photo of BDTyre
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sort of like an amped-up version of Diamond Head, this is a limited test run that may or may not be bottled in the future. I got the first pour out of the cask and this was very fresh. Dark black with a very thin, almost soda like head to it. Rich, heavy roasted malt smell with light hop notes.

A little heavy on the malts and a bit light on the hops in taste, but not nearly as bitter or vinous as some imperial stouts I've had. Good hit of coffee and chocolate, with a faint raisin-wine background. Very little hop presence. Nice and thick with out being too "chewy."

Not sure of the alcohol, but there was only a very light alcohol burn. I'd love to see this in bottles - I'm not sure if I could get through one of their jugs in a single sitting, but I'd try it!

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Photo of Derek
4.46/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Black with a tan head, great retention & lace.

Aroma is subtle, considering the strength: brown sugar, chocolate, coffee and roasted nut with hints of tar & fruity esters.

Flavours of coffee, demerara sugar, bakers chocolate, roasted nut, caramel, biscuit, rye bread, light cider-like fruitiness, good bitterness; only a slight hint of alcohol warmth.

This is like a protein shake! Full bodied and very smooth, without much residual sweetness. Awesome.

Incredibly drinkable for its strength. Overall, another extremely well-crafted brew from Howe Sound.

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Photo of emerge077
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Happy birthday Alex! 32 oz. Flip top poured into a plastic cup. Black body, dark brown as its poured, creamy mocha foam sticks around for the duration of the glass, lacing some around the edges.

Aromas of plum, dates, raisin, smoke, dry bakers chocolate.

Fudgy blend of cocoa and unsweetened chocolate, espresso, dark fruit, prune, toasted almond, mild char, mellow sweetness from the molasses.

Creamy and viscous body, mellow bitterness in the aftertaste. Not especially sweet, balanced elements of roast, dark fruit, cocoa. Reminds me a little of Expedition stout. Pretty drinkable, best shared considering the serving size. The 9% abv is completely hidden, masked by the creamy chocolate and dark fruit flavors. Not bad and certainly worth trying, but for my money Expedition is still my go-to for a big stout.

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Photo of grub
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

another treat shared by Viggo, brought back from his recent trip out west. thanks eric!

1 liter capped swingtop bottle. sampled july 1/2010.

pours deep dark brown, nearly black, with a big brown head. the head drops slowly and leaves spotty lace. inky and opaque.

aroma is great. espresso and coffee. caramel and toffee. dark and milk chocolate. bit of orange and tangerine. earthy and woody. light alcohol. multi-grain bread.

taste is good. dark and milk chocolate. bit of bittersweet chocolate. espresso and coffee. lightly sweet caramel and toffee. multi-grain bread and biscuit. light orange and tangerine. bit earthy and woody. hint of dark fruit.

mouthfeel is great. nice big body. medium carbonation level.

drinkability is great. great balance, hiding most of its 9%. nice depth and complexity.

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Photo of JMBSH
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of biegaman
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pothole Filler looks dark and thick enough to serve as exactly that; it's like someone poured tar into the glass. Normally, I wouldn't expect any head from a 9% beer in a flip-top bottle* but this is topped with a fluffy, deep-coloured foam that dresses the glass in designs reminiscent of a Banksy piece. This lacing could go on auction at Sotheby's.

The aroma is heavy on the nose with notes of burnt malt, cocoa and molasses - somewhere an Italian man drinking an espresso is experiencing the same thing. Typically the more impressive and overwhelming a beer, the more adjectives and tasting notes are used to try to describe it. In this case, it's straightforward enough that just the three listed should suffice.

The palate is a mouth-coating monument to roasted malt: coffee, dark chocolate, black cherry, smoke, pipe tobacco and a hint of clove are appreciated (in order of most to least). While the espresso and cocoa make up the vast majority of the flavour, they fall on brooding dark fruit and caramel notes. The tastebuds are kept occupied through the entire 1 liter.

Beneath the heavy cocoa and burnt malt notes is a beer that is less aggressive than assumed. This imperial stout holds a firmly bitter structure but, perhaps owing to the molasses, drinks with an ultra-velvety mouthfeel and passes over the palate with ultimate smoothness. It has a dry, poised finish (with a hint of chopped mint, i.e., hops) that helps conceal its true strength.

It be may a touch short of the best imperial stouts but Pothole Filler is every bit in the same vein and should be counted among Canada's best. While I didn't find myself doing back-flips over it, this is nonetheless absolutely what fans of the style should be on the lookout for. It won't have the biggest 'wow' factor but does provide everything else one could want.

*while it has a flip-top, the bottle is actually capped.

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Photo of Hellpop65
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Latarnik
3.76/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of jaz58
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A real nice stout.

Poured in a clear pint glass.

Nice dark brown / black appearance.

The head was almost a smooth as a guinness yet more of a chocolate milk color.

Thin lace on the glass as it's enjoyed.

The nose is slightly sour with nice hints of toffee.

Taste is warm with hints of dark chocolate and toffee and a subtle clean bitters finish.

Mouthfeel is well rounded.

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Photo of Hornet2003
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1L swing top bottle. Purchased at the Central City liquor store.

Appearance: Jet-black. Creamy tan head that lingers.

Smell: Dry chocolate and coffee aromas.

Taste: A slight smoky coffee flavour backed up by a big chocolate backbone. very rich flavours. Not as much dark fruit action as other RIS like Brooklyn.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and sweet. Not overly sweet, just nicely complementary of the dry coffee flavour.

Drinkability: For a RIS, it's easily drinkable. Little to no alcohol burn.

Overall: Nicely blended malt, coffee and chocolate flavours make this a smooth drinker that is dangerous in it's large 1L serving size. Try to share it with a friend or two.

Note: Alcohol is actually 9% ABV

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Photo of smekermann
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of MasterSki
4.11/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1L swing-top courtesy of Viggo. Served in a Unbroue snifter.

A - Pours with a big tan foam that has great retention and leaves tons of sticky lacing. Big foamy cap remains indefinitely. Body is pitch black, with no hints of color even when held to the light.

S - Cocoa, light smoke and meat notes, some pungent earthy hop character. Roast malts, hints of molasses and caramel. Not quite as sweet as I'd like though.

T - The taste is a touch better with more caramel malt sweetness coming through. However, it's not quite enough to warrant a higher score. Nice roasty and bitter finish.

M - Soft, lower carbonation. Medium-thick body that is sufficiently sticky and chewy. Minimal heat, even though this year's batch is supposedly closer to 9%.

D - It took me a little while to finish my 10+oz, but it was never a chore. I'd love to try this again sometime. Good to see a decent Canadian RIS for a change - too bad it'll never get distributed in Ontario.

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Photo of papat444
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to chickenm for this one.

Poured from a 1L swingtop and shared with my wife.

Appearance: Pours a really thick and really dark body. Cascading head that doesn't overdo it but is plentiful. Great lasting power and thin veils of lacing all around.

Smell: Milky chocolate, sweet mixed with a bit over roasted notes, nuts, a bit figgy, raw cocoa powder.

Taste: Dates, nuts, bit of raisins, semi-sweet chocolate mixed with pure milk chocolate. Very easy to visualize what i'm drinking.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is spot-on, not too much and not too little. Creamy and next to no bitterness.

Overall: A pleasure to drink. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Electros
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - BLACK with a creamy head.

S - Chocolate, burnt, caramel, and black malt.

T - Creamy, lovely malt notes, lots of malt, low hope, aftertaste disappates quickly.

M - Lovely, surprisingly light.

O - I was really impressed by this beer, the alcohol was not over powering and the malt notes on this was very balancing!

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.26/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A- This one pours a very dark brown....almost black color and seems to have good clarity all things considered. The head is lovely with a solid two finger thick foam layer covering the liquid and it is nice and dense....plenty of wee tight bubbles that maintain their composure and slowly settle down into a caramel colored thick layer. Lacing also appears to look good, as there is a good number of small sticky protein pockets clinging to the side of my glass!

S- This has an interesting smell.....definitely sweeter than a normal Imperial Stout. Dark chocolate, coffee and burnt woody aromas give way to the molasses used in this, which brings a clever baked molasses cookie richness, as well as cashew/almond hints....like a burnt almond chocolate bar. The finish seems to linger, again being a mix of sweet and dry....caramel and/or dried fruits, yet Earth tones.

T- This is good! It reminds me somewhat of a Milk Stout in terms of sweetness, but it has a yeasty/creamy character throughout the taste. Dark chocolate, creamy almond bark, mocha and slightly astringent blackstrap molasses sweetness are the main flavors, along with background notes of char, Earth, bittering cocoa, nuttiness, heavily toasted malts, vanilla bean, cooked brown sugar, and a sweet, turning into a quick bitter hop finish....this lingers on for a minute before another sip is in order!

M/O- Medium-full bodied, I feel like there is something to chew on here! The carbonation is creamy smooth and as the appearance suggested, bubbles are in fact wee tight and really allow the flavors to come through on the palate! The alcohol is well hidden and the velvety feel makes this a highly drinkable Stout! I would be happy to enjoy this on any given night, and it really calms down the stomach after a big meal! Full marks and I recommend it! I will seek out again!

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Photo of irishkyle21
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

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Pothole Filler Imperial Stout from Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 204 ratings