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Pothole Filler Imperial Stout - Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pothole Filler Imperial StoutPothole Filler Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

128 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 128
Reviews: 56
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 9.8%
Wants: 27
Gots: 13 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company visit their website
British Columbia, Canada

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
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

(Beer added by: BDTyre on 09-07-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 128 | Reviews: 56 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

Sammy, Sep 21, 2011
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.04/5  rDev -1%
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.

Phyl21ca, Aug 19, 2013
Photo of emerge077
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

emerge077, Jul 04, 2011
Photo of biboergosum
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 liter swing-top bottle, par for the course for this brewery (and a good thing, usually).

This beer pours a solid black, with broad southern cola highlights, and three fingers of foamy, creamy weak chocolate milk head, which leaves an attractive random webbed pattern of lace around the glass in its leisurely wake.

It smells of bitter chocolate milk powder, mildly roasted caramel malt, and zingy earthy, leafy hops. The taste is big bittersweet chocolate, mildly roasted coffee, creamed caramel, earthy semi-sweet molasses, and prominent earthy, weedy hops, their substantial potential bitterness somehow plowed under. In the morass that is the malt/hop showoff here, the big 9 points of booze get a pass as far as their oral effect is concerned.

The bubbles are nicely restrained, the body a solid medium weight, and just a bit prickly from hop and/or booze (who knows at this point) but overall things wind up pretty damned smooth. It finishes a mite bit drier than expected, the hops and bitter side of the chocolate aiding and abetting, but not without a still hefty nod to their existential better half.

One of the hoppier examples of an RIS I have thus far encountered, which is no bad thing, as the chocolatey malt counterpoint is more than equal to the task. Big, brash, and bold, yet somehow easy to drink. Approach with due care and attention, as you would the titular road conditions.

biboergosum, Mar 04, 2012
Photo of MasterSki
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

MasterSki, Jul 04, 2010
Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev -2%

imperialking, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of biegaman
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

biegaman, Mar 28, 2013
Photo of Viggo
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
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!

Viggo, Aug 12, 2010
Photo of liamt07
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from wordemupg, 1L swingtop into a tulip.

Blac with a light brown head. Thick head and dense retention/lace. Nose of baker's chocolate, brown sugar, molasses and light roast character. Definitely on the sweeter side of this. Taste has light smoke, roast, brown sugar, molasses, bakers chocolate and hops in the finish. Full feel, lower medium carbonation. A really solid imperial stout, well worth tracking down.

liamt07, Aug 23, 2012
Photo of beertunes
2.78/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a translucent light black color with about an inch of medium brown head that had OK retention and lacing.

The aroma was a below average showing of the typical grain and malt scents. The roasted malt was a bit bolder on the tongue, but still not above average.

The body was much thinner than average, lighter than most Porters. Drinkability was OK, but why bother. If you want to try this to tick it, go right ahead. Otherwise bypass this beer.

beertunes, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of Derek
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

Derek, Feb 05, 2012
Photo of wordemupg
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

1L capped bottle with swinging pop top stopper (like anyone would need to cap a liter of RIS) poured into tulip 8/7/11

A jet black with just a little cola at the lip, solid three finger mocha looks pretty sexy, especially when it just sits there staring back at you for some time, the foam falls uneven leaving a tilted rolling hill of foam that falls further too a thin film, beautiful looking beer, would be perfect if more then two big patches were lift behind

S lots of milk chocolate with some smoke, coffee, and coco powder, as it warms charred wood and booze come out pretty strong

T the chocolates darker in the mouth and I pick up on a little licorice and molasses I couldn't smell, the coffees leaning towards espresso, a darker roast version of the smell and the booze isn't as noticeable, tasty stuff for sure with only booze holding it back

M the darkness doesn't translate to the body, not thin but I expected pothole filler and it wasn't there, not watery but thin for the color, well carbonated and just a little sticky on lips with a flavor that lingers long but barley detectable

O some time might turn this into a foolish mans session brew, if the booze mellows out this one could have some real potential, not that there's anything even close to wrong with it today..but I could see this aging elegantly

Should I be surprised that I liked this beer as much as I did? I've liked Howe Sound in the past but this beer earns the brewery a new form respect from me. Pretty stoked I have a few of these to trade and/or sit on for ages, I won't complain about the bottle of Mega Destroyer in my closet either. Mr Hoff is a legend

wordemupg, Jul 09, 2011
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1L bottle to Bruery tulip.

A - Dark black with two fingers of bubbly medium brown head that reduced to one finger with good retention and really good lacing.

S - Chocolate up front with plenty of roasted malts, some char, smoke and bitterness evident.

T - Bog roasted malt profile up front with char and licorice flavours present. Some dark chocolate and coffee flavours also come through with the roasted malts.

M - Medium body with a slight chew. Light carbonation.

TheSevenDuffs, Jun 03, 2012
Photo of spinrsx
4/5  rDev -2%

spinrsx, Aug 18, 2014
Photo of tbeckett
4.14/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My brother picked this up for me when it was part of the LCBO Winter release. Split with a friend. From notes.

A - Black pour with a two finger beige head. Good lace rings and a finger of retention.

S - Chocolate, espresso, mild alcohol, leather. Nice.

T - Alcohol, roast, grain husks, chocolate.

M - Dry finish, full and creamy body with mild carbonation.

O/D - A big stout. And one of the better Ontario-made ones. Roasty and tasty while being ballsy and aggressive. Very 'to style' IMO. Enjoyed it.

tbeckett, Aug 21, 2013
Photo of maximum12
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Somehow this ended up on the shelves of a western Wisconsin bottle shop. The name alone deserves my money - possibly the best beer name, ever, period. Add in my fondness for molasses & syrup, & my fond memories of swigging Howe Sound in Vancouver...come home with me, little 1L buddy!

Thirty-three plus ounces of liquid pig iron poured into two oversized snifters to contain the brew plus a soft, slightly dirty white head. Love the big, stylin' flip-top bottle. Smells are distant: roasted malt, bit o' sweetness, dark licorice.

Pothole Filler bring a whole horn full of flavors to the feast. My first impression is just to be overwhelmed; then, I ought to let this warm some. Lots going on here. Licorice might be topmost, & the molasses is prominent, but soft. Sweet malts put a solid stamp on the beer, along with a jolt of roast. Moving towards the finish line, there's a nice, refreshing flash of bittering hops. They form a nice backboard & mix in with the molasses on the fade. Which lasts a good long time. I find my hand straying back to the big snifter often, & it's emptying rather quickly. At 9%, perhaps I should slow down. An absolute joy to sip.

Excellent beer. The molasses is masterfully blended into this stout, & the hops give it a crowning touch. Beautifully crafted beer. If this is still around next time I cross the river, another bottle will be headed home with me.

maximum12, Apr 15, 2011
Photo of EgadBananas
4.04/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: inky black, brown head, spongy lace.

S: molasses, heavy roast, plums, dates, chocolate, tinge of coffee.

T: syrup, chocolate, roast, molasses, dark fruits, subtle booze.

M: thick, rich, full.

O: definitely a this, surprisingly drinkable RIS. Somewhat classic, and very solid.

EgadBananas, May 05, 2013
Photo of canucklehead
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

canucklehead, Dec 20, 2012
Photo of twelveinches
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

twelveinches, Apr 28, 2012
Photo of strongaf
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

strongaf, Oct 30, 2012
Photo of andrenaline
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A brew I was able to procure via private order through the LCBO, coordinated by Keep6Imports. Pretty stoked to get my hands on some of this.

A - Pours pitch black, two solid fingers of dark mocha head with solid retention and some nice chunky lacing.

S - Milk chocolate, hints of tobacco smoke, molasses, black licorice and leather on the finish.

T - Chocolate dominates with a rich mocha flavour, with the espresso and coffee serving to complement the chocolate. ABV is very well hidden and some leafy green hop notes come through on the finish.

M - Lighter bodied ale, but can still come across chewy on the finish. Goes down smooth and finishes surprisingly wet.

O - This stuff is super tasty, boasting loads of flavour and the chocolate notes certainly shine. I bought a case to split, but now I'm wishing I would've kept it all to myself!

andrenaline, May 04, 2012
Photo of bobsy
4/5  rDev -2%

bobsy, Nov 09, 2013
Photo of IronDjinn
4.01/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

IronDjinn, Mar 16, 2013
Photo of grub
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

grub, Jul 24, 2010
Photo of Rutager
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance. Pours black with a 1/4 finger of creamy tan head.

Smell. Lots of roasty, chocolaty malts with a little bit of fruit in the form of cherries and a hint of citrus rind.

Taste. Big roasty malts, some dark coffee, a little bitter chocolate and just enough slightly tangy, citrusy hops.

Mouthfeel. On the lower side of full bodied with below medium carbonation.

Overall. Nice big stout. Tons of great roasty flavour and still drinks pretty easy. Better grab another bottle of this one before it's gone!

Rutager, Feb 16, 2012
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Pothole Filler Imperial Stout from Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 128 ratings.