1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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

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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 128 | Reviews: 56 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of YamagamiTravis
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

YamagamiTravis, May 18, 2014
Photo of schnarr84
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

schnarr84, Feb 16, 2013
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 hopsolutely
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A solid RIS, enjoyed from a 1L bottle that's been in the basement for at least a year. It has aged well!

Pours an oily black with only the faintest hints of auburn at the edge of the glass when held up to the light. Creamy, coffee-coloured head dissipates more quickly than I'd expected. Robust yet subtle aroma of roasted dark malts, with the smoky barrel tannins I associate with this style. The rich mouthfeel is a pleasure to sip, and the taste is well balanced but sufficiently complex to be interesting. Sweet caramelized chocolate and black malts with a bitterly dry aftertaste that still maintains sugary molasses elements. Hints of peat and aged wood flesh out the combination. The 9% ABV is evident in some alcohol warmth at the end, and I'm glad to be sharing this bottle!

Not a beer I'd choose every night, but one I'd recommend and definitely worth the splurge.

hopsolutely, Jan 13, 2013
Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Massive 1L swingtop from the Conestoga LCBO, enjoyed over a couple of evenings (a litre of imperial stout is a bit too much for this guy in one night).

Poured into my Duvel tulip. Black as pitch (go figure), with about a half inch of dark tan head that recedes into a thick ring. Some lacing. Your classic RIS.

Nose is rich and bitter, with a bit of sweetness lingering in the back. But yes, all the usual suspects are here: bitter coffee, roasted malt, caramel, licorice and hops. Very nice.

If you like your RIS's dry and generously hopped, this one is definitely for you. Quite bitter, puckery hop finish, with roasted coffee, caramel and licorice as well. Well crafted. Medium-thick, mild carbonation, silky.

Solid RIS, and I enjoyed the near growler-sized bottle on both evenings. Worth seeking out while its here.

JohnnyBarman, Feb 05, 2013
Photo of jrenihan
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
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!

jrenihan, May 13, 2012
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

Kmat10, May 20, 2013
Photo of ericj551
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

ericj551, Dec 09, 2012
Photo of BDTyre
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
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!

BDTyre, Sep 07, 2008
Photo of bdawe
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 1L swing top bottle into a 12oz mug

deep, deep black, with a thick brown head that holds for some time
smells like an imperial stout

tastes less intense then other imperial stouts I've had, and is much easier to drink. Somewhat less bitter than say, Old Rasputin

The beer contains molasses, and I wonder what stage of the brewing they added it in.

bdawe, Apr 23, 2010
Photo of decimator
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

1L bottle, yes that's right, 1 whole litre of 9% beer. And with a swingtop too so my pint glass can get a refill later.

A - Pours nearly black, hints of brown on the edges, thick bubbly creamy light brown head, foam reduced slowly, and plenty of lacing.

S - Coffee, toasted bread, dark chocolate, brown sugar, a bit of fennel, grass.

T - Roasted & toasted flavours upfront, some brown sugar, herbal hop bitterness and a bit of alcohol in the finish. A bit lighter than the aroma let on and the finish has a slight harshness to it at times. Still good overall.

M - Medium carbonation, medium-heavy body, creamy, oily, sticky, dry finish with some heat. Not as thick as a name like pothole filler would suggest.

O - Very good RIS. One of the best I've had so far.

decimator, Feb 16, 2013
Photo of peensteen
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

peensteen, Jan 29, 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 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 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 Hornet2003
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
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

Hornet2003, Sep 19, 2010
Photo of Digimaika2
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Digimaika2, Jan 12, 2013
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 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 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 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 Electros
4.08/5  rDev 0%
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!

Electros, Feb 04, 2013
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 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 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
Pothole Filler Imperial Stout from Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 128 ratings.