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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.

63 Reviews
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Reviews: 63
Hads: 163
Avg: 4.06
pDev: 16.5%
Wants: 24
Gots: 30 | 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: 63 | Hads: 163
Photo of Digimaika2
4.14/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

First review with the 0.25 increment system- Things are about to get crazy! ...

(4.5) A: Black with a beautiful thick and creamy mocha coloured head. Long lasting retention and very good lacing. Gorgeous stuff.

(4.25) S: Roasted malts with the focus on creamy dark chocolate, gingerbread, molasses, dark fruits (figs and dates), and a noticeable hop-like aroma leaning to the herbal side.

(4.0) T: Similar to the aroma with roasted malts and dark fruits upfront, with a transition to a fruitier and semi-herbal bitter hop taste. Hints of smoke detected. A fair amount of spice in this with some ginger and nutmeg, but the focus is towards the bitterness.

(4.0) M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Creamy with a chewy character.

(4.25) D: This is a well put together imperial stout that exhibits all those traditional imperial stout traits with probably a bit more hop bitterness than others. Bonus points for the enourmous swingtop bottle. I'm totally taking water to work in this.

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Photo of Stocean1
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- three finger dark mocha head with massive retention, near black body, thick lacing and big bubbles, so far so good.

S-herbal and floral hops, nutty malt, some tobacco

T - nice balanced hops up front with chocolate and some coffee coming through in the finish. Booze is well hidden (could be that I seem to be drinking only imperial stouts and IPAS lately and I have become immune to it).

M-medium bodied very smooth with plenty of carbonation for the style, refreshing bitterness that lingers, sweet flavours are balanced and not overdone.

An excellent imperial stout that is worth the $11 I paid for it (not bad given it has as much booze as a 12 pack of coors) - and for you homebrewers out there it comes in a handy reuseable 1L flip top bottle. Not one thing sticks out to me yet there is nothing I would add to it either - simply a great brew,

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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 cfalovo97
3.58/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Just got a bottle of this from the LCBO. Pours dark, brownish black color with a nice head. solid retention. It doesnt have a very strong smell, which threw me off a little bit, so I was pleasently surpised when I tasted it. You can taste the molasses and some vanilla and coffee. The taste lingers nicely.
Overall it was quite enjoyable. My first beer from this brewery and I look forward to trying others

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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 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 liamt07
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
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!

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Photo of andrenaline
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
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!

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
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

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Photo of cwguy5
3.48/5  rDev -14.3%
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.

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Photo of TheStove
3.28/5  rDev -19.2%
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.

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Photo of Drinkerofales
3.98/5  rDev -2%
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.


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Photo of LampertLand
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
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

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Photo of biboergosum
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of leaddog
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
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!

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Photo of Rutager
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
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!

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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 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 DaftCaskBC
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.28/5  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

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.6/5  rDev -11.3%
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.

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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 bamadog
3.66/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

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Pothole Filler Imperial Stout from Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 63 ratings.