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Pothole Filler Imperial Stout - Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pothole Filler Imperial StoutPothole Filler Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

62 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 62
Hads: 158
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 5.15%
Wants: 23
Gots: 29 | 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:
Beer added by: BDTyre on 09-07-2008

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 62 | Hads: 158
Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
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. (335 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
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. (630 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
4.12/5  rDev +1%
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. (1,402 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
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. (817 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.11/5  rDev +0.7%
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. (958 characters)

Photo of biegaman
4.12/5  rDev +1%
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. (1,894 characters)

Photo of liamt07
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
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. (420 characters)

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. (474 characters)

Photo of beertunes
2.75/5  rDev -32.6%
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. (476 characters)

Photo of Derek
4.46/5  rDev +9.3%
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. (557 characters)

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! (816 characters)

Photo of wordemupg
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
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 (1,649 characters)

Photo of tbeckett
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
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. (506 characters)

Photo of maximum12
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
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. (1,394 characters)

Photo of Rutager
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
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! (514 characters)

Photo of StJamesGate
3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Jet with a sepia head that fades fast. 3.75
A whiff of oxidation, then fig, wood smoke and chocolate liqeuer. 3.75
Cocoa nibs up front, some boysenberry, a bit of char, and woody end. 3.75
Just about medium, oily, some chew, hot. 3.5

-- Chocolate is there, but there’s no hiding that it’s 9%. And the body isn’t there for the ABV. There are better example of such a competitive style. 3.75 (396 characters)

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. (282 characters)

Photo of papat444
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
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. (644 characters)

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! (848 characters)

Photo of canucklehead
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
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. (456 characters)

Photo of jrenihan
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer is black with a moderately-sized tan head. Decent retention.

Smell is very big and full of roasted malt. Also lots of milk chocolate, some black liquorice, coffee. Nice smell.

Taste is in line with the nose. Roasted malt, very chocolatey, a bit of black liquorice, Not as robust as the nose suggested. Moderately bitter, but some sweetness and molasses flavour as well. Some grassy hop flavours in the back. Good.

Full bodied, not as heavy as expected. Low carbonation. A bit oily.

Overall, good stuff indeed. I would prefer if it came in a slightly smaller bottle! (577 characters)

Photo of wedge
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
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. (409 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one from Rutager a while back. Cheers man!

From a 1L capped swing-top bottle into a snifter
Vintage: 2011
IBU: 65

APPEARANCE: A clear brown pour yields a two finger, thicker looking, fluffy, tan head with great retention. Clear black body with medium levels of carbonation evident. Head fades to a full foam cap and some chunky, sticky lacing is left on the glass. A swirly wisp and ring remain until the end leaving lots of good lacing. Nice head and all, but not dark enough for top marks.

SMELL: Big nose on this one. Lots of roasted barley, dark chocolate and caramel on the nose, Cocoa powder and still some light citrus hops too.

TASTE: Pretty good. Roasted barley, sweet caramel and dark chocolate up front. A roasted and caramel-sweet middle into more roasted and burnt grain with plenty of bitter coffee, dark chocolate lingering on the palate. Quite good.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Creamy on the palate, enough weight, goes down smooth and finishes a touch mouth coating. Good feel.

OVERALL: This is really quite good. Good flavors and aromas with a solid feel to support the show. A little light in color but the head and lacing worked really nicely. Something worth checking out if you get the chance; was easily able to finish the whole 1L myself over the course of an evening. Thanks again Rutager. Recommended. (1,362 characters)

Photo of peensteen
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Basically jet black, 1.5 fingers of tan head, some lace as well on the glass. Smell is quite heavy on the roasted malts with a good deal of chocolate as well, some molasses, coffee, pretty up front hop charachter and just a touch of smoke. Taste is big and roasty, lots of bakers chocolate, coffee, hop bitterness rolls in around mid palate, only lightly sweet, big roast and chocolate finish and aftertaste. Light-medium carbonation, medium body though felt thin at times also. Really solid stuff here however the serving size was a little much but I still saw this through to the end, next time I have one of these there will be another person or two involved. (662 characters)

Photo of Kmat10
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-Dark black opaque to any light, two fingers of light brown head, head reduces slowly

S- Dark chocolate, coffee, brown sugar, not a lot of malty hints

T- Piney hops mixed with sweet malt, malts are toasted, very creamy, lots of malts and little hops

M- Medium bodied, medium carbonation, very creamy, dry finish, not much heat from the alcohol,

O- Very good RIS, the alcohol wasn't overpowering and the little hops and lots of malt was a good balance (456 characters)

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Pothole Filler Imperial Stout from Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 62 ratings.