Lava - Ölvisholt Brugghús

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

180 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 180
Hads: 521
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 8.8%
Wants: 55
Gots: 55 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Ölvisholt Brugghús visit their website
Iceland

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: stulowitz on 12-01-2008

The active volcano Hekla is visible from the brewhouse door and occasionally, eruptions are visible from the Ölvisholt farm. The illustration resembles the view from the brewhouse door when an eruption occurs. Full-bodied, pitch black beer with a dense brown head. Richly flavored with notes of dark chocolate, roasted malt and smoke.
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Reviews: 180 | Hads: 521
Photo of DoubleJ
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Showing some Brazilians that there was craft beer available to purchase from Iceland, we took the plunge and added a bottle to our purchase and later tasted. From a 500 ml bottle, on to the beer:

No surpise, black is color of this Icelandic stout. Next....the smell. Licorice and a touch of cocoa hit, and surprising a smokiness that reminds me more of smoked Gouda cheese than smoked meat. The taste does follow much like the taste, with a few subtle changes. Licorice is still the main theme of the beer, roasty and cocoa notes hitting around. The smoked gouda note is replaced of a vague yet still appetizing soft smoked note. A thick stout being nearly heavy bodied, which you can attribute to the 9.4% ABV, but you'd be hard pressed to find much of it as it's hidden well.

Volcanoes and a serious banking crisis have put Iceland on the map in recent years. With Einstok and Olvisholt exporting beer to the US recently, perhaps it's time to add craft beer to the list. (975 characters)

Photo of PeterIngemi
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pourd from a 22oz bottle... Into a shipyard tulip.

A: pours a nice dark black with traces of dark brown when held to light... Nice almost finger of micha creamy head, dissapates slowly. Looks very nice... But not much lacing...

S: like campfire, and almost marsh mellowness. Light bacon.. Black coffee ... Black licorice. A very interesting nose.... Not as overwhelmingly smoky as I expected... Which is a good thing for me.

T: much light the nose.... Campfire, char, but not overwhelimg.... A bit of bacon, a sweetness like black licorice with notes of burnt coffe rines and dark chocolate.... Nicley complex.

M: medium bodied and slick, oily, very well rounded ... Low carbonation.... The thing i like about this is that the smoke ends nicley at the end of the beer and you aren't left with a intensely smoky, lingering aftertaste.

O: a good beer, I am not a huge fan of smoke beers, but this is not
Overwhelimg, I could see how if you were a fan of this style this would be an excellent brew... And I could see how this beer would be exceptionally good for food pairings. (1,080 characters)

Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark black with a hint of brown and a finger of frothy khaki-chocolate head. Fades fairly slowly.

S - Roasted chocolate and caramel malts, smoke, vanilla, molasses, black licorice, dark cocoa, coffee, dark fruits, and a bit of booze.

T - Chocolate and caramel malts, smoke, vanilla, black licorice, molasses, dark cocoa, roasted coffee, dark fruits, earthy hops, and a bit of booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth with a sweet, smoky, warming finish.

D - Nice smoked stout. Good overall balance and mouthfeel. (543 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

my first icelandic beer, cool! good stuff too. it pours a cloudy chocolate brown color with a fair bit of carbonation creating a two inch off white head. its got a nice smokey malt smell, with some cocoa and clever yeast behind it. almost smells like a s'more. the taste isnt as sweet at the nose. the smoke flavor is pretty pronounced, and the chocolate from the nose comes through in the taste as well. the alcohol taste is pretty strong here, but it cuts through the thick smokey malt flavor nicely to leave a reasonably clean finish for a beer of this style. the feel is a little over carbonated at first, but it settles down as it warms. the body is huge, made bigger by the yeast sediment, but i had no problem with a bomber of this. id be curious to try more beers from iceland, hopefully they wont be as expensive as this one was. thats the only reason i wouldnt buy this again. (886 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood I, the first Icelandic beer I've ever been able to buy in the US,

A: Pours very black with a full tan head, good lace and retention.

S: Definite smokiness, peaty malt, with some light dark fruit, orange.

T: Lots of dark malt and chocolate, some dark fruit. Rich and full-flavoured.

M: Full-bodied, soft carbonation, nice body weight, nice aftertaste.

O: A very well made smoked Imperial Stout. The flavours are very good, the price is a problem, but in the end this is a good beer. (506 characters)

Photo of JayQue
3.99/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first beer from Iceland...very nice. Pours a totally dense brown color with no light getting through...takes a hard pour, but you get a medium size brown (ten fidy colored) brown head. Some lacing and average head retention for such a strong beer.

Smell is excellent, smoky roasted malts and some chocolate. very pleasant. Taste is similar. The smokiness is prominent but not overpowering. Flavor is more of the same. Big smoky malty flavor, some chocolate and a little bit of bitterness in the finish. The smokiness is not overpowering. Just blends in with the other flavors.

Mouthfeel is rich and fairly smooth. There is a very slight bit of alcohol harshness, but not much. Goes down real easy.

An outstanding strong stout. (732 characters)

Photo of fostachild
3.99/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

picked up at an lcbo, best before: 14.09.2013. pours a really dark colour with a decent tan/brown head. didn't retain much lacing.

smokey coffee/mocha in the smell - quite nice.

taste bitter and alcoholic at times. the chocolate and coffee flavours were great. good carbonation - drinkability was okay. nice strong stout. (323 characters)

Photo of bark
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The colour is black; the two finger head sinks slowly, leaving lots of thin lacing.

The light smell is sweet with some roasted notes and hints of fruit. No noticeable alcohol.

The taste is sweet with Grand flavours without getting heavy. Quite neutral, but not simple at all: Clean and balanced. Some dried fruits in the aftertaste. Dangerously drinkable.

The carbonation is medium strong, the liquid is semi-smooth.

Surprisingly drinkable... I have heard that it should have quite a lot of liquorice, but I couldn't find any such flavours.

A beer tat probably wouldn't have reached the Swedish market if it wasn't for the crash of the Icelandic currency. (664 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with a half inch tan head that went away quickly. There's a small amount of lacing. The brew smells like smoked malt/meats, chocolate, molasses and coffee. Taste is pretty much just like the aroma, it tastes like smoked malt/meats, milk and bittersweet chocolate, coffee, burnt/charred malt and little bit of licorice. There's also a nice lingering bittersweet smoky finish. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's creamy and coating with moderate carbonation. I think it's a solid overall beer, and it's definitely worth a try. $11.49 a bottle. (604 characters)

Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Black bodied beer with a rich crayon brown head.

S - Salty smoked meats come to mind. Smoked fish and cured meats. Toasted, roasted grains and burnt wood.

T - Very smokey on the palate like the nose eluded. Akin to liquid smoke. Notes of charcoal, beef jerky, and firewood. Roasted blackened grains mixed with espresso. Plenty of bitter black flavors with a little hint of hops. The black roasty character is the star here.

M - This beer is dry and roasted to the max. This is close to drinking charcoal.

O - They certainly hit the mark with the amount of smoke this beer has. Put liquid smoke in a cup of espresso. (623 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is essentially jet black in color—traces of amber are visible near the edge of the glass. It poured with a thin light tan head that quickly died down and left some lacing on the surface and a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light to moderately strong aromas of roasted malts in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of roasted malts along with notes of smoke.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is lighter in body compared to other Russian Imperial Stouts and resembles that which you would expect from a porter. The alcohol is well hidden from the taste. (675 characters)

Photo of jlindros
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On a day that is like summer out, why not crack a 9.4% abv beer. My first Icelandic beer (I think) so this should be interesting.

Pours a light fizzy darker colored head that fades instantly, practically no head which is typical for the style and abv, so nothing weird going on here, with a pitch black beer, no light escaping its folds of darkness, and some decent looking legs on the sides.

Nose has plenty of dark roasty stout aromas, dark roasted malts with a little bit of over roasted almost burnt but not quite. A nice smoke cuts through, bringing some campfire and light smoked cheese. Then a little bit of baker's chocolate but not much. The smoke is predominant, but gives way to a bit of vanilla and caramel, and a bit of booze rides the wave in.

Taste starts with the smoke again, not overpowering but definitely there, bringing a light campfire and a light smoked cheese rind, a bitterness of the rind and smoke brings a slight briny flavor. The smoke brings light phenolic flavors but not a lot. Then follows layers of stout flavors, some roast but not nearly as much as I expected. A little bit of cocoa and very dark bitter chocolate. Then some some light booze with a slight fusel flavor but not much. The malts also bring very light biscuit and vanilla. Bitterness is there throughout, some earthy hops there but plenty from the bitter roasty malts and some of the booze even. Finish is semi bitter, a bit more dark chocolate and cocoa coming through on the finish, with some light earthy hops, and a hint of roast, a bit of smoke is there but mostly faded at this point. The chocolate really comes through on the finish nicely.

Mouth is med to a bit fuller bodied but feels somewhat thin, decent carb, and decent amount of booze.

Overall pretty good, nice malts, roasted malts aren't too big, some decent smoke flavors that get a bit harsh but never overpowering, and the nice chocolate finish adds a nice touch. (1,937 characters)

Photo of DrJay
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of northyorksammy. Thanks!
Black beer with the faintest of ruby edges. A thin skim of fine, dark brown bubbles formed on the surface of the beer during the pour. A bit of transient lacing formed, but didn't last beyond a couple of sips. Smoky aroma, roasty and sweet with a bit of licorice. Sweet up front, dark chocolate and brown sugar, smoky and roasted malts, dry roasted nuts, light alcohol in the finish. Decent texture, medium plus body with lowish carbonation, light astringency with some alcohol warmth. Enjoyable overall. It had an interesting character and wasn't over the top in any one area, which kept it fairly drinkable for a big stout. (668 characters)

Photo of n2185
3.94/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours black with a finger of tan head that fades into a tbin ring with no lacing.

S: lots of smoked meat and campfire notes on the nose with undertones of roasted malts and bitter chocolate.

T: similar to the aroma, tons of smokey flavors with roasted malts and bitter cocoa.

M: medium-heavy body with medium carbonation, this beer is surprisingly light-bodied for the style, but it works well with the smoke flavors

O: a good beer overall. Not terribly complex, but quite tasty and enjoyable (500 characters)

Photo of Naugros
3.94/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

I was really excited to see a beer from Iceland on my local beer store's shelves and even more so to find out it was a smoked stout.

Got it home and poured it into my Raspy nonick glass and watched as the head rose, sizzled a little and went bye-bye entirely. The color is nice though, almost black in the glass with ruddy edges, the pour looked to be a really dark coppery brown.

The smell is mostly smoke and roast. Smells a lot like a rausch without being overbearing in the burnt-down building smell. A touch of floral hops will give a nice counterpoint if you're looking for it.

Lots of flavor and the smoke is the star. If you don't like smoked beers then you can skip this, but it's not a ton of smoke. Not quite as subtle as Sam Adams' Cinder Bock or Weyerbacher's Fireside, but not as aggressive as Victory's Otto or anything by Aecht Schlenkerla. Other flavors include red wine (the dark, chewy stuff), cola, some spice (which might just be alcohol burn disguised by the other flavors) and bitter dark fruit.

The body is a bit lacking, thin and watery with a touch of satin that makes it slide down your throat...but so does water. Maybe some oatmeal would help here or a larger grain bill, but the 9.4% is sneaky enough as it is without raising it.

Not horrible and with a reworking to increase the body, this would be a very nice beer, it's just too thin for a stout. However, I do leave impressed that a stout this thin can manage to balance the flavors it dumps on you. (1,491 characters)

Photo of TheBullsHorn
3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is a beer that plays on the enjoyability that touch of smoke can add. Prominent flavors of chicory, coffee bean, cocoa nibs, and a slight ashiness are complimented by flavors of overripe fruit. The smoke is present but not overpowering and doesn't seem to linger but fades into a soy sauce/ umami flavor. For a smoked beer, this is quite balanced (like the way the overall sweetness is offset by the ashy bitterness),providing a nice depth among dominant flavors. (468 characters)

Photo of decimator
3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into a pint glass. ABV 9.4%.

A - Poured a near black with a 1cm brown head. One of the darkest beers I've ever seen. Head reduce to some surface bubbles. No lacing.

S - Coffee and charcoal.

T - Standard stout flavour with lots of smoke. I'm having a hard time picking out the various flavours because of its smokiness. Burnt toast and hops in the finish. The ABV is very well hiden.

M - Medium-heavy body, average carbonation, nice thick syrupy texture that isn't too sticky, dry finish. Very nice mouthfeel overall.

O - Easy to drink for sure. I think the mouthfeel helps this beer a lot. (616 characters)

Photo of mrnobody
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Pours dead black with one finger of coffee coloured head which dissipates to a film of bubbles.

S: Smells of smoke, coffee, alcohol, a trace of vanilla.

T: Tastes smoky and sweet, again some coffee flavour, a bit of chocolate, a bit of alcohol but fairly well hidden.

M: Mouthfeel is fairly full and creamy with low carbonation.

D: The drinkability is pretty good although the smokiness may prove tiresome. (449 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for $5

Appearance - Dark brown/black colour with a large size frothy light beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, hops, chocolate, coffee, smoke

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and a far amount of smoke. There is also some coffee and a bit of a nuttiness.

Overall - Solid RIS and the smoke doesn't overwhelm the beer. Bottle says best before mid 2013, and it's holding up very well. (610 characters)

Photo of crossovert
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just saw that this is distributed to the US. I had another beer form this brewery when I was in Winnipeg. This one sounds eve better, love smoked impy stouts. 500ml bottle.

It pours a dark black with reddish brown on the edges and a foamy dark tan head that recedes rather quickly leaves a few splotches of lacing.

The scent of this one is great. It is smokey with a certain sweet spiciness to it ala cinnamon, but not a cinnamon scent. It just shoots out of the bottle as soon as you pop the top and pour it.

The flavor is good but not amazing. It seemed smokier in the scent. This one is sweet and malty in the flavor. A typical nordic imperial stout. Nice sweetness, an exotic bit of spice, and rich chocolatey malt notes. The smokiness is here but blends with the sweetness to a high degree and is quite mellow.

Overall it is a solid brew and very smooth and balanced. If you aren't used to big smoky beers this is a good start. (936 characters)

Photo of WanderingFool
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lava pours black with a tiny, thin head on top. The foam dissolves down to a ring around the surface leaving behind a few spots of lace.

The aroma is malty with notes of chocolate, roasted malt, coffee and smoke. A touch of pine is also present.

Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer is smooth, creamy with a moderate carbonated fizz. Seems a tiny bit thin for nearly 10% abv. The flavor is sweet with rich notes of chocolate, roasted malt, coffee and smoke. Nuttiness and grassy notes finish off each sip. Once gone the grass and chocolate lingers on the palate.

Quite an enjoyable beer that has a well balanced flavor. Sweet with enough bitterness to make it nice. (675 characters)

Photo of DIM
3.91/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: This had a pitcj black body and it poured with a big, sticky tan head.

s: Smoke, with a hint of sour poter, sweet bread, and a little dark fruit.

t: More chocolate than the smell suggested. Sweet dark bread with smoke throughout, getting stronger at the end.

m: Full bodied and creamy.

o: Very enjoyable, why aren't there more smoked stouts? (348 characters)

Photo of Rutager
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Recieved in the 2012 CANBIF from liamt07. Thanks for the Iceland tick, dude!

Appearance. Pours a deep dark brown, pretty much black with a finger of creamy tan head.

Smell. Chocolate and campfire, some dark roasty malts and a little bit briney smelling.

Taste. Sweet chocolate, roasty malts, anise and smokey wood.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body with low carbonation.

Overall. I like the smoke in this but the sweetness was a little too much for me. (453 characters)

Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an Ommegang goblet.

Look: Espresso coffee blackness with brown barely emerging around the edges. The cream colored head disappears completely, leaving no lacing.

Aroma: That inky, oily black licorice aroma from most imperial stouts emerges immediately. Smokiness is subdued, although it brings out a cooked meat aroma that is not unpleasant by any means.

Taste: Charred grains, roasted malts, smoked meats, and some burnt coffee grounds all come out. The finish is slightly tangy, and as the beer warms more black licorice is present in the finish.

Mouthfeel: A little thin and boozy.

Overall: I suppose. I think the mouthfeel hurt the overall quality, but I did appreciate that the smoke was not palate wrecking. (730 characters)

Photo of jrenihan
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

BB Sept 26, 2014

To the surprise of nobody, the beer is totally black. A vigorous pour results in a moderately sized tan head. Head bubbles rapidly and settles to a thin layer quite quickly. Decent lacing.

Smell contains roasted malt, coffee, smoke. Not a particularly strong smell.

The smoke is noticeable immediately in the taste, but it is not overpowering. Meshes with the roasted malt, coffee, and some bitter hops. Finishes with more smoke. The smoked aspect of the beer is quite well integrated. A bit of a sweet molasses taste.

Full bodied, but a little lighter than most RISs. Relatively low carbonation level. Oily.

Overall, a nice beer. Smoke is noticeable but not overdone, which is good. (706 characters)

Lava from Ölvisholt Brugghús
91 out of 100 based on 180 ratings.