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Lava - Ölvisholt Brugghús

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

181 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 181
Hads: 534
Avg: 4.09
pDev: 17.6%
Wants: 56
Gots: 59 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Ölvisholt Brugghús visit their website

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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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 181 | Hads: 534
Photo of Testytaster
2.41/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured very nicely into a frosted 300ml glass (split for two people), deep color, and thick head. Taste on the other hand...strong to very strong licorice flavor with slight coffee and smokey accents.

I feel that if the licorice flavor was muted a little bit it would have made the beer that much better. All in all I can appreciate the flavor, but will not likely purchase again.

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Photo of evianIPA
2.49/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

330ml bottle from Vinhusid Reykjavik, December 2014. Best before 08.10.17

First impressions...BACON LIQUORICE!

A - Opaque black with tan crema
S - Sweet medicinal/liquorice aromas, touch of alcohol and bacon
T - Liquorice and bacon with an alcoholic finish
M - Surprisingly light, with soft lingering finish
O - I was wowed initially, as I both love smoked beers and stout, but I'm less wowed with each sip. A nice idea, but fairly one dimensional. Possibly better with age and could certainly do with more body, bitterness and malt.

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Photo of TX-Badger
2.75/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Pours black like oil with khaki head. Smells of roasted malt, smoked malt, and some raw cocoa; follows onto the palate. Full bodied. Finishes with more smoke.

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Photo of hotsudge
2.76/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours with a thick and dark head, probably the darkest head I've seen.

Smells better than it tastes. There is so much smoke flavour that it overwhelmes all other flavours. I didn't enjoy it, my husband thought it was good. My favourite smoked oatmeal stout is Samual Smiths and this one doesn't come close to the smooth rich flavour I was expecting.

It was almost undrinkable because there is so much smoke flavour. Not burnt, just smoke.

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Photo of hopsolutely
3.23/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A Smoked Imperial Stout that delivers all elements of its name.

Almost black with a silky mouthfeel and lots of carbonation, pouring a decent head. Smoky aroma and taste definitely present at the back of the throat in the finish. Although the 9.4% is not hidden by any stretch, a respectable Imperial Porter - and much nicer than any beer we enjoyed while physically in Iceland last year.

Not a beer style I'd typically choose for myself, but definitely a representative of it that I'd recommend.

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Photo of oakbluff
3.3/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark cola with a thin mocha head and very fine lacing. Nose- sweet smokiness, dark fruit and light roast. Taste- boozy dark stewed fruit, chalky with a bitter hot finish. Less smoke in taste than in the nose. Very little malt sweetness comes through. Its a little hot for my tastes, but the smoke is a nice touch.

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Photo of smcolw
3.35/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good starting head, but it dies quickly to only rim bubbles. Minute spotty lace on the glass. Inky black color where no light shines through.

Relatively mild aroma for an Imperial Stout. Some cocoa, some alcohol, otherwise rather pallid.

The flavor is more impressive than the smell. Neutral body with a higher than expected carbonation level. The flavor starts soft, but comes through in swallow where an oily alcohol presence is combined with a decent hop bite and a dark chocolate taste.

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Photo of peensteen
3.42/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours jet black with glimpses of brown when it catches the light almost no head to speak of here. Smoked coffee and dark chocolate are the first things I could smell followed by a slight alcohol/medicinal scent. Tastes of smoked chocolate, roasted coffee beans and finishes on a semi dry smokey note. Mouthfeel is good not great, a little too much carbonation that I found hard to get past. I would have this again but wouldn't go out of my way ABV is barely noticeable and its pretty unique. Overall I will say that this is above average.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.43/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Acquired at a local SoCal beer store for $12.00. 9.4% ABV confirmed. 1 pint .9 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard unbranded pressure cap served into a New Belgium stem-glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given its current ratings.

Served after a brief rest following its removal from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Paired with salted pretzel twists.

A: Pours a half finger rich tan colour head of nice cream and thickness, but below average (~1 minute) retention. Body colour is a nontransparent opaque solid black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Appealing, if not up to par with recent examples of the style I've had. It looks as it should. No lacing as the head recedes.

Sm: Wood smoke, light bacon, dark malts, and maybe chocolate malt. The smoke is overwhelming. Licorice, charcoal, campfire. A light vinous note. My broken nose has trouble detecting anything beneath the dominant smoke; all apologies, lads. An appealing aroma of moderate strength.

T: Dominant smoke - but it's subtle and works well throughout, never overwhelming the palate or destroying the balance. Nice subtle woody tones throughout. Creamy chocolate notes help balance the rough smoke. A bit of coffee, but relatively little. No real caramel, which is a refreshing change. Not at all ashy. I get a hint of licorice/anise, but it fades. The wood notes are a highlight here, working well with the sweet chocolate. Pretty well balanced, with notable complexity and even subtlety - a rare trait in a smoked beer. I like it. In terms of flaws, there is a smoky wood rot note in the late second act that bothers me. This really holds it back, but it's still an enjoyable beer. It's too bitter, more from the roast and smoke than from its rather modest hopping.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Even a touch creamy. Good carbonation. Pretty good palate presence. Suits the flavour profile generally, but doesn't feel custom-tailored to it.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable, especially for a smoked beer. I think they fused the rauchbier and imperial stout elements well, but it didn't come off fantastic. An intriguing beer and one I wouldn't mind revisiting with some age on it, but I doubt I'll buy it again. Well priced for what it is, especially as an import. I'll have little trouble killing the bottle by meself.

High B-

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Photo of womencantsail
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours nearly black in color with a tall tan head. It’s certainly smokey. There is quite a bit of roasted malt and a touch of salted nuts. Pretty simple and straightforward aroma. A light sweetness on the palate; some toffee and a bit of chocolate to go with lots of roasted malt and smoke. There is a slight alcohol flavor in the background.

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Photo of popery
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a small tan head. The aroma has medium to light smokiness. The smoke is somewhere between meaty and peaty. Not super interesting but good. Roast is quite strong and dominates a bit much. There's also a healthy coffee note and a touch of dark chocolate. It sorta smells like a meaty dark roasted coffee. The taste is medium sweet with a hefty dose of roast bitterness. Hops chime in a bit. The finish is dark and meaty. Feel is smooth and nice, though there's a bit too much booziness at the end. It's a pretty good beer, but since trying MS Bar Fly, I haven't been overly impressed by another smoked imperial stout. Lava just doesn't have a tasty enough smoke flavor and needs more chocolate sweetness in the mix.

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Photo of russpowell
3.61/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My first beer from Iceland I believe

Pours mahogany with 2 fingers of mocha head. Some head retention & lacing

S: Carob, smokeyness, dark fruit

T: Follows the nose, much smokeyness, dryness, a hint of cherry taffy , & some woody hops up front. Smokeyness, dark fruit & carob rule the day as this warms. Finishes smokey with some dark fruit & a bit more taffy & boozeyness

MF: Thick, low carbonation, warming

Maybe a bit too smokey to drink all the time, but a nice one to take the chill out of the air, worth a go...

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Photo of GeezLynn
3.62/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Lava delivers a pretty sinister appearance – jet black with a modest but long-lived head. Nose shows an assertive woodsy smoke along with plenty of rich roasted maltyness and something I associate with damp soil.

The dominant flavor is an overly bitter charred roast accompanied by a drying smokyness that lingers through the finish. Flashes of cinnamon or some woody spice figure in there somewhere, along with a mild alcohol burn. This is a bit harsh for me. It could use a little sweetness to balance all that ashyness. Mouthfeel is pretty nice - dense, with good mouth coat. Carbonation is medium high and slightly prickly.

Not bad and I liked the level of smoke. Still, much too rough around the edges. Maybe this could mellow into something more enjoyable, but as is, I'll go for a Nils Oscar Rokaporter as a better Scandinavian smoked option.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.63/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16.9oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a short brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, smokiness, some dark fruit, chocolate and coffee along with a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a mild smokiness followed by flavors of dark fruit, chocolate and coffee. Then a hearty but not too heavy roasted malt character comes in. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly smoky and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, it’s a solid beer but there are others in the style that I would choose first.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.63/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this one last summer but let it sit for a year.

From a 500ml bottle into a snifter
Best Before 14 September 2013

APPEARANCE: A black pour yields a two finger, medium looking, very fizzy, tan head with decent retention. Head fades to a half wisp and ring. Jet black body with higher levels of carbonation. A half wisp and ring remain but leave no lacing down the glass. Thick and dark, but a little too carbonated and fizzy.

SMELL: Some roasted and smoky malts with a touch of dark chocolate. A strong licorice anise aroma as well, and more coffee and chocolate come out as it sits. Nice, but not quite bold enough to be memorable.

TASTE: Roasted malts and licorice anise up front, with some smoky malts through the middle into a bitter chocolate and coffee finish. Bold and lingering aftertaste of smoky, roasted malts, dark, bitter chocolate and coffee/espresso flavors. Bigger flavors and more impressive than the nose.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly sticky. A touch of heat lingers, but well measured.

OVERALL: It started out a little average, but ended up working out quite nicely. Bolder flavors with enough complexity make this a worthy drink. Something I'd gladly drink again. Recommended.

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Photo of papat444
3.7/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Never had a beer from Iceland. Thanks kjyost!

Poured from a 500ml. bottle, best before 240912.

Appearance: A dark brown body, almost black. Half the glass fills with brown foam but retention is average as it doesn't stick around too long. Clumps of lacing on the sides.

Smell: Strong smoke mixed with hickory and some coffee beans.

Taste: The smoke is felt more in the finish ans aftertaste. Flavor of meat smoked on a fire. Roasted notes mesh with some sweet BBQ sauce and a bit of charred wood.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy feel with low carbonation and easy to drink.

Overall: Found the flavor to be more in the finish. Starts very slow but good at the end. Decent overall the it is not have a great depth.

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Photo of JamesMN
3.71/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Super dark brown to the point of being black in color. Basically no head despite a vigorous pour but some tan residue on top.

Aroma: Dark fruit esters, alcohol, and dark malt. Mildly complex with a richness about it.

Taste: Immidiately hit with a bit of dark smoked malt but not nearly as intense as what follows. In fact, the flavor doesn't truly develop entirely until the finish and aftertaste. Finish is smooth and almost sweet with dark malt flavor. Aftertaste lends a huge smokey kick that slowly fades away. Very light bitterness throughout and the smoke flavor does the job of balancing out the sweet malt.

Mouthfeel: Lighter in body than its 9.4% ABV would suggest. Average carbonation and good drinkability for a beer with such strong smoked flavor.

Final Thoughts: If you like Imperial Stouts and smoked malt then Lava is the beer for you. Would I drink it again? Sure.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Shared this one with aasher during his wedding week in Destin, FL! Served from bottle into a Boulevard tulip. Poured a massively dark brown with a half finger light tan head that subsided to minimal amount quickly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of roasted malt, smoke, smoked meat, and dark fruit. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, smoke, ham, and wood. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a fairly good brew. There was quite a bit of smokiness going on in this one. Makes sense since this brew is called ‘Lava’. It was fairly well balanced, but wasn’t the best from the style. Worth trying if you get the chance, but I doubt I would go out of my way to do so again.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours very black. Almost no light penetration. Head is frothy and tan. Head leaves a ton of lacing. Looks sludgy.

S-Very smoky and salty. Bonfire. Charred malts. Cured meat. Burnt coffee. Burnt chocolate chips. Light alcohol. Burnt rubber and leather.

T-Salty and smoky. Cured meat and leather. Tobacco. Scorched coffee. Burnt brownies. Lighter bitterness from the dark chocolate. Impressed by its leathery taste.

M-Fuller bodied. Soft carbonation. Mild bitterness. Booze well hidden.

O/D-Pretty cool. Not my style, but worth a trial. I feel slightly unimpressed by a $10.50 1pint.9oz. offering. I would recommend it to anyone who loves smoky beers. I would take this over any Rauchbier.

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Photo of TerryW
3.76/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks great when poured. Dark and tarry looking from the bottle. Walnut coloured. Pours a great big, handsome brown head that settles to a heavy film and gives some lace. Impressive look.

Aroma is understated. A hint of smoke alongside malt and roastiness. Looks far outstrip the smell.

Toast, roasted barley and coffee dominate. No chalkiness. Distinguished by just a touch of smoke. I've had too many beers where the smoke is overpowering and hits you like a club. In this brew. it's nicely integrated and adds to the drinking experience.

Mouth feel is slightly unctuous. Slick, but not syrupy. Finishes bitter.

Stern, but not overpowering. Decent, but not for the inexperienced.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.78/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

First had: on tap at Teresa's, Wayne, PA

Dark brown-black pour with a finger or so of tannish head displaying decent retention and lacing. Dark malts in the aroma, roast and smoke, a bit of peat. Taste was similar: dark malts, dark chocolate, some dark fruits, tobacco, peaty smoke, with a bit of candy sweetness. Body is on the heavier side of medium, with a bit of alcohol warmth hitting you in the end. Overall quite good.

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Photo of Axnjxn
3.78/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle into a tulip. no bottling date apparent.

Pours a pitch black color with an inch thick beige head. Pretty attractive pour. Smell is smokey chocolate malts. Taste is an intense smokey taste. A bit too smokey in my opinion. The chocolate malts are still there but are overshadowed by the smoke. Not so easy to drink. Heavier side of medium bodied with medium carbonation. An almost creamy texture. Definitely not syrupy like other imp stouts.

Overall it's different, but not my favorite. I wouldn't have another but i'm glad to have tried it.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.79/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle poured into a mini snifter.

Appearance - Pours without a head. Black with slight transparency at the edges.

Smell - Quite smokey. Chocolate. Caramel.

Taste - Markedly less smoke. More dark chocolate and a rich caramel base. Some smoke definitely present, but nothing like the nose.

Mouthfeel - Medium body, maybe pushing the light side. No booze. Medium low carbonation.

Overall - I like the smoke balance. A lot in the nose, but more of the base stout in the taste.

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Photo of mrmanning
3.82/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from LCBO store 575. A very dark motor oil liquid decants in my goblet, and is topped with a respectable two finger mocha froth, leaving some pretty webbing on the glass. Roasted coffee bean nose hints at smoke, vanilla, leather, and licorice. Sweet and malty, with smoke and a marked hop bitterness to perfectly balance. Alcohol not really detectable in the full body and velvety finish. Great effort!

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of rich black chocolate with notes of smoke and light bitter roasted malt. Taste is also a very good mix between some roasted malt with notes of rich black chocolate and some smoke though not as much as I was expecting. Body is quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very well brewed overall and quite enjoyable though more smoke would have improve the flavour profile IMHO.

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Lava from Ölvisholt Brugghús
91 out of 100 based on 181 ratings.