1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

134 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 134
Reviews: 56
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 9.56%
Wants: 25
Gots: 15 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 134 | Reviews: 56 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of joemcgrath27
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - tar black, very tall thick brown head, left random blobs of lacing as it slowly receded
S - big roasty and burnt flavours, mild cocoa and licororice
T - intensely roasty and burnt malt, licorice root and mild dark fruits with a mild grassy hope note in the background
M - chewy low carbonated body, smoky and dry finish, 9% ABV undetectable
O - it a big thick in your face stout just as you'd expect, not an everyday drinker but maybe every other day

joemcgrath27, Apr 05, 2012
Photo of cwguy5
3.48/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

thanks to Sharpski for the hook-up on this one! poured into a De Molen snifter from the quart bottle.

A - black and oily with minimal cinnamon colored head that is mainly just a bubbly ring; lots of arching lacing left on glass

S - seasonal allergies are kicking my butt, but i am getting a light aroma of dark and roasted malt and not much else

T - lots of dark and roasted malts, espresso, black coffee, dry overall, molasses is very faint, dry-bitter finish

M - med-thick bodied with fine, light-moderate carbonation; long bitter finish is fairly strong

O - always love a 9% stout in a quart bottle! a solid dry & roasty stout overall, but the bitterness is a bit distracting for me. it starts to wear out my palate pretty quickly. this might be paired with cheese/food well.

cwguy5, Mar 27, 2012
Photo of TheStove
3.25/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Smuggled on a cruise ship from BC to USA! Poured into an imperial pint glass.

Pours a deep inky black with a nice mocha colored head.

Smells vary somewhat, from boozy to chocolatey malts to molasses. First sip reveals rich chocolate malt flavors giving way to a thinner lighter malty consistency ultimately ending with a light hop bite and some earth flavors at the end. A consistently malty, creamy and delicious beverage.

A solid offering yet in the world of imperial stouts this one doesn't particularly stand out.

TheStove, Mar 24, 2012
Photo of Drinkerofales
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown, almost black, with no light shining through. A large mocha head doesn't leave much lacing, but has good retention.

Smell is mostly roasted malt. There are whiffs of coffee, anise, and hoppy fruit.

Taste is sweet and bitter(straight from the wife). Mellow roasted malt, molasses, some coffee and hop bitterness on the finish and aftertaste.

Feel isn't thin, but isn't chewy, with a hop bite to it. Good thing it's smooth and drinkable.

Some of hop in almost all aspects, none of it taking over fortunately. Feels a tad on the thin side, but other than that, I liked the beer. I would have to say, the giant size is kind of strange, and while the swingtop can help save the beer for later, 32oz of a 9% is a bit much.

DOA

Drinkerofales, Mar 15, 2012
Photo of LampertLand
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Howe Sounds "Pothole Filler" Imperial Stout @ 9%
A-served cold into a chalice , poured a thick black almost oily , big tan head with good retention and lacing
S-rich and malty , molasses , bakers chocolate , espresso
T-heavy malt taste , coffee and chocolate , light hoppyness
MF-medium body especially compared to the robust and boozy flavor
Ov-very drinkable , good balance throught , hides the 9% well , highly recommended

Cheers LampertLand

LampertLand, Mar 10, 2012
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 leaddog
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pour a dark cola brown/near black with a one finger width of creamy beige head. Leaves a nice lacing around the glass.

Smell- Dark chocolate, molasses, bready aromas and caramel malts.

Taste- Dark chocolate and roasted flavours are most present with the sweet sticky molasses and caramel playing a supporting role.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied with light carbonation. There is a pleasant sticky characteristic to this one.

Overall- A very enjoyable RIS from Howe Sound. The dark chocolate and the roast flavours were pleasant. The molasses provides a nice variation on the style. The ABV is well concealed which makes this 1 L bottle even more dangerous. Definitely worth a try!

leaddog, Feb 20, 2012
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
Photo of w00ddy
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

w00ddy, Feb 11, 2012
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 towlea25
4/5  rDev -2%

towlea25, Jan 07, 2012
Photo of BraatenBrew
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

BraatenBrew, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of EskimoDave
5/5  rDev +22.5%

EskimoDave, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev -2%

imperialking, Nov 18, 2011
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 DaftCaskBC
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Howe Sound Brewing tap house:

A: Black liquid with a 1/8" light brown head that left a fair amount of lacing.

S: Espresso, black licorice, and alcohol.

T: The taste profile is a combination of bitter black coffee, toasted malt, and dark chocolate. The beer begins bitter, but has a smooth finish.

M: Medium viscosity with a low level of carbonation.

O: This Imperial Stout is the type of beer that you have to settle into, especially if it is served cold. As it warmed it became less aggressive and much more drinkable.

DaftCaskBC, Aug 21, 2011
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 yeahnatenelson
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance -- Pours a deep, dark brown with slim chestnut higlights and a voluminous tuft of stiff cooca brown head.

Smell -- Bakers chocolate, molasses, patent malt, black leather, and a little bit of woodsmoke. Rich and roasty, but not as saccharine as a black strap molasses stout would have you believe.

Taste -- Molasses and dark cocoa sweetness, as well as leather, smoke, and anise. Earthy hops in the finish keep things from getting too saccharine. The alcohol is not well-hidden, but it's not a terrible distraction, either.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-light in body with moderate carbonation. Feels thin, especially compared to the robust and boozy flavor.

Overall -- Overall, pretty good. It didn't wow me with it's complexity, and the mouthfeel needs a boost, but it works. Worth trying.

yeahnatenelson, Jul 06, 2011
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 bamadog
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Special thanks to beerman207 for bringing this back from his latest trip out west. Poured from the bottle to a pint glass, review is from notes taken on 4/22/2011.

Appearance: Pour is a dark espresso brown/near black color; starts with a big 3 finger creamy tan head with solid retention that leaves a thick curtain of lacing trailing down the sides as it slowly fades; body is dark and nearly opaque, but does show some dark ruby/mahogany highlights near the bottom.

Smell: Not very robust or potent, bit of a let down (fortunately, the taste makes up for where it lacks here); smell is of molasses/bittersweet chocolate; warm earthy roastiness; slight presence of alcohol.

Taste: Solid! Molasses is definitely the prevalent flavor; bit of a woody and oaky presence that has a touch of vanilla to it; smokiness lingers; slight burnt coffee roastiness to it as well as some warming alcohol; very nice overall.

Mouthfeel: Body is a little heavier than what I would consider medium and the carbonation is essentially non-existent, but that's OK in a thicker beer like this that has some ABV to give the body a little bit of life and warmth; body is definitely a little slick and oily; a moderately thick and dry coating is left on the roof of the mouth; gums are left tingly and the belly is left warm from the ABV.

Overall: Nice -- a solid offering from a brewery that I've never heard of until now. I really enjoyed the molasses flavor and the sweetness balanced by the grittier and earthy roastiness; ABV and weight would limit it a little bit, but it's something that is great to share with friends.

bamadog, Apr 23, 2011
Photo of beerman207
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought the 1 L swing top. Just an awesome bottle and lots of stout to share with friends

A: Pours a deep dark brown with a nice tan head that starts at about 1 finger and lingers throughout the entire session - nice

S: Nose is smoke, malt, mollases (bootstrap variety), chocolate

T: Taste is like whopper candy and smoke, malt strong, some light hop

m: Medium body - a bit thick and oily/wet, nice

O: Fantastic offering from Howe Sound. Never had a brew from them but look forward to finding more in the future.

beerman207, Apr 23, 2011
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 chickenm
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a thick brown head that leaves some lacing. Aroma has coffee, chocolate, and a little smoke and licorice. Flavor of bittersweet chocolate, coffee, molasses, and ash. Medium bodied and smooth, and has a lingering slightly burnt aftertaste. Just a little alcohol is noticable. Overall, it's not in the top tier of Imperial Stouts, but it's still a very solid beer. I had no trouble finishing the 1L bottle!

chickenm, Mar 20, 2011
Photo of Mages64
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a swing top bottle into 12oz snifter. Filled glass twice, once cold and once when it had warmed to room temp. Reviews are from combined notes from both temps. It must be stated that room temp is WAY better than cold.

A: deep dark brown but edges are translucent. Fantastic head retention and visible carbonation.
S: Smokey, peated malt, licorice/anise, burnt molasses, roasty
T: Fresh Coffee, peated malt, dark chocolate, caramel, smoke and hints of molasses and spices (tarragon?). Finish is sweet and hint of hops, nice vanilla and LOOOONG chocolate finish.
M: chewy when warm but thin when cold.
D: hides 9% abv well! balanced and fun. Almost drank the entire Liter in one shot. I could have though and wanted more. it's both sweet and a little savory and could match some select dishes well!

I'd put this RIS up there with the best of them. Certainly not stellar but really damn good!

Mages64, Feb 25, 2011
Pothole Filler Imperial Stout from Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 134 ratings.