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Lava - Ölvisholt Brugghús

LavaLava

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

396 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 396
Reviews: 159
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 9.47%


Brewed by:
Ölvisholt Brugghús visit their website
Iceland

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
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.

(Beer added by: stulowitz on 12-01-2008)
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Ratings: 396 | Reviews: 159 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Bouleboubier
Bouleboubier

Pennsylvania

4.16/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is a very nice, elegant, delicately-smoky, lightly roasty, decidedly Scandinavian-tasting double stout.

Something about the overall yeast profile, full, satiny malt body and flavor, with a healthy hint of black licorice and floral-medicinal phenolics that immediately brings to mind other regional stouts and porters like the ones from Haand and Nøgne Ø.

The beer was poured into a Teku glass from Rastal (one of my new favorite beer glasses). Jet black liquid, with a tall, open-structured dark cocoa brown foam. The aroma didn't pop quite as much as I'd hoped, even after taking about 30 minutes to finish it off. The smoked malt was somewhat overtaken by the alcohol and cake-ish malt at first, later emerging from below to establish a fine balance. Not much bitterness, from either hop or roast. Medium-bodied with a pillowy flow. Very nicely constructed, yet ripe for enhancement (herbs, juniper maybe?)

Serving type: on-tap

02-19-2014 18:53:22 | More by Bouleboubier
Photo of mothman
mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

4.16/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at monks.

Tan head with a lot of lace. Color is black.

Flavor profile is rich dark chocolate, roasted and caramel malts. A nice smoke flavor with notes of hot peppers. Lots of dark fruits. Raisins and molasses.

Mouthfeel: full bodied. Rich, smooth, and a bit roasted. Ends a little dry.

Overall, a really enjoyable beer. Easy drinking and full of flavor. Very complex.

Serving type: on-tap

11-15-2013 17:18:29 | More by mothman
Photo of aquazr1
aquazr1

California

4.61/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a small tulip, on-tap at Papago.

A - Pours an oil black with a short, tan colored head.

S - Roasted malts with chocolate, very inviting.

T - Picking up more of the chocolate with some hints of coffee and smoke.

M - Medium bodied with light carbonation.

A really good beer. The flavors are complex and I kept picking up different nuances along the way.

Serving type: on-tap

10-22-2013 20:08:04 | More by aquazr1
Photo of GreesyFizeek
GreesyFizeek

New York

4.59/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Blue Monk, in Buffalo, NY.

Pours black. Not the darkest beer I've ever had, some light might penetrate the liquid, but not much. 3 inch head, mocha-colored, forms on top of the beer.

Smells like roasted malt and chocolate- not much smoke in the aroma.

Much more smoke in the tastes. Sort of a campfire marshmallow taste, with some ash, chocolate. The smoke is restrained, and doesn't take over from the other flavors of chocolate, oak, and a bit of coffee.

Medium to full bodied, medium carbonation as well.

A great find, this wasn't on my radar at all, and I quite enjoyed it. Not the hugest fan of smoked beers usually- this struck a really nice balance for me. The bottle I bought later on was definitely smokier than the on-tap version.

Serving type: on-tap

08-11-2013 03:10:30 | More by GreesyFizeek
Photo of magictacosinus
magictacosinus

California

4.31/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I had been looking for this beer for as long as I can remember, and I really want to thank my friend for pointing out that Toronado Pub was tapping it, of all places. Poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a thick, charred viscous opaque black color. Literally no light shines through, not even at the liquid's edges when held against the light. There's a nicely toned mocha colored head that graces the top of the glass that's about 1.5 fingers large, but it actually dies down rather quickly and leaves no lacing, no bubbles, and not a ring of head to speak of halfway through consumption. It still maintained an appearance similar to cola, and the thickened feel did indeed fade with the carbonation's disappearance. Not bad, but not necessarily worth raving over.

The aroma makes me forget my disappointment with the beer's looks - this smells very fabulous, and definitely sets itself apart from the average RIS here. Dark chocolate, cherries, raisins, slightly smoked currants, vanilla, coffee, all coated underneath a cake-like batter sugary consistency. Not sure at all how this is "smoked" by any means (although according to the brewers, it is), but I supposed there's a little bit of charred phenols mixing with the sweetened, dark malts - but it's really, really subtle. The juicy, candied dark fruit flavor is not, however, and melded with the vanilla and chocolate, it's truly awesome.

The flavor actually has a lot less of the fruity, sugared consistency in the aroma, but it does take all of those flavors and melds them well rather than in a cloying, overtly sweet manner. There's a lot more of the roasted, slightly smoky character at the front, melding with fresh, jubilant coffee beans, chocolate, vanilla, a slight oaky sensation, and faded but present fruitiness, ranging from the light raisins to cherries. The finish is very calm, with no alcohol bite or burn to speak of. The flavors meld lightly with the dark malts and coffee flavor, and finish in an aftertaste that is only slightly astringent, yet thickened and full-bodied to the point of being a very easy drinking experience. Carbonation is good, despite what happened to the head. Everything is so well balanced here, which is crazy considering this is a big beer. Nothing is too sweet or too bitter, nor too roasted. Simply fantastic stuff.

I'm so glad I was able to find this! It was a great way to have my lunch in the bar with burgers that were cooked next door. The alcohol is well hidden and buzzed me out a bit by the end, but it was super relaxing and easy drinking as any great, strong stout is. Despite its thickness, there's nothing heavy about this, and it stands as a very versatile and flexible beer of its caliber, mainly due to its balanced yet flavorful presentation of ingredients. Awesome find - Iceland should hopefully keep producing more world class stouts like this.

Serving type: on-tap

05-22-2013 00:11:11 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of devlishdamsel
devlishdamsel

Washington

4.74/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow. This was amazing. Let me begin by saying that I absolutely have hated every smoked beer I have ever had prior to this one. Perhaps something regarding the lava and natural way this one was created made a huge impact? This is one of the best stouts I have ever imbibed. So very textural and viscous. It was the satin of beer; the texture was perfect. The taste was almost as good. I got some slight smokey notes but unlike the abrasive smoky beers i had prior, these were subtle hints. There was a huge malty, chocolate presence with a hint of salt( in the best way possible) as well. As far as a stout goes, does it really get better than this? I understand this was a rare beer, but id be in heaven if it was a regular occurrence!

Serving type: on-tap

04-07-2013 08:18:17 | More by devlishdamsel
Photo of Beer-A-Lot
Beer-A-Lot

Virginia

4.04/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Birch.

A - Beautiful head. Nice black color.

S - Burnt roasted smells, subtle, appealing.

T - Taste is of burnt, roasted flavors, woody.

M - Full bodied, very nice.

O - A very nice, tasty RIS. Will drink again if I have the chance.

Serving type: on-tap

02-04-2013 17:27:48 | More by Beer-A-Lot
Photo of BeerForMuscle
BeerForMuscle

New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-25-2012 04:28:17 | More by BeerForMuscle
Photo of Beer_HOPper
Beer_HOPper


4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap at 38 Degrees poured into a goblet. I wanted to try something else besides my usual Pliney. So, the server recommended this, not the bartender.

Appearance: Very dark brown to black, 1 finger head and some lace, looks delicious.

Smell: smoke, nuts, malt, was hard to detect.

Taste and feel: sweet, smoky chocolate syrup, no carbonation, medium body, smoke lingers into finish, a little creamy made this seem thick, a slight bitter finish. After settling for 10 minutes, the smoke really comes out, reminds me of Islay Scotch whisky. I was shockingly surprised, unique!

Overall: this was like drinking a very good, sweet & smoky BBQ steak sauce. An end of night beer, one and done in a good way.

Serving type: on-tap

09-02-2012 01:44:18 | More by Beer_HOPper
Photo of shivtim
shivtim

Georgia

4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Found on tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia. Served in a tulip. Very dark, opaque black with a slight deep brown head. Looks great. Good lacing.
Nose is intense campfire smoke. Strong malt and molasses. More smoked goodness. Taste is similar... fantastic smoke flavor, strong malt. Very good.
Mouthfeel is foamy and rich. Great beer all around. Would definitely get this again.

Serving type: on-tap

08-04-2012 03:06:41 | More by shivtim
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Beachwood BBQ in Long Beach, CA.

Pours an opaque dark brown with a dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of smoked malt, campfire, and smoked meats and cheeses. Taste is much the same with a medium roasty bitterness after each sip. This is a very good smoked beer with some awesome aromas and flavors.

Serving type: on-tap

06-19-2012 02:05:21 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of Rifugium
Rifugium

Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: on-tap

05-08-2012 12:27:42 | More by Rifugium
Photo of MDDMD
MDDMD

Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-dark brown black color with a small tan head and minimal lacing

S-coffee and mild chocolate and smoky notes

T-dark roasted malts, coffee, charcoal and some chocolate

F-medium body with light carbonation, nice smooth feel

O-a decent RIS, but needs a little more sweet chocolate to balance the smokiness

Serving type: on-tap

05-07-2012 01:23:53 | More by MDDMD
Photo of johnmichaelsen
johnmichaelsen

Oregon

4.48/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Never heard of these guys or this beer. No matter. On tap at Max's today.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and considerable lacing. The nose is impresive and unusual. I get considerable smoked meat, along with light coffee, vanilla and tobacco. I'm a sucker for smoked beer, so this is making me very happy. The flavor profile is every bit as good, and I'm amazed by how well the brewer has managed to interweave the smoked meat flavor into the dark chocolate, vanilla and coffee. There's even something of a light blueberry flavor in this beer that is intriguing, as well as a hint of licorice on the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, and this beer is very soft, long and smooth (it has almost a silk, satin-like mouthfeel that is unusual and impressive). Alcohol is well integrated into the flavor profile, though certainly you can tell it's up there a bit.

An unusual, very impressive beer.

Serving type: on-tap

04-28-2012 19:02:06 | More by johnmichaelsen
Photo of popery
popery

California

3.58/5  rDev -13.1%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-27-2012 22:15:04 | More by popery
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

4/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-11-2012 05:17:51 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of bark
bark

Sweden

4/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-17-2010 21:43:58 | More by bark
Photo of Badger6
Badger6

Virginia

4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750mL into a snifter.

A: Deep black pour, deep brown head receded quickly to a think layer not he surface.

S: Smokey, roast malts. Hints of dark chocolate.

T: Immediately smokey in the front. Roasted malts follow in quickly, slightly bitter finish with hints of chocolate and booziness. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

M: Very velvety mouthfeel, medium body with light carbonation. Slightly warm at the finish form the alcohol.

O: Not a fan of smoked beers, because so many are too smokey and taste like a wood fire in your mouth. Not this. Nicely smoked, distinct on the nose, but subtle and complementary in the taste. The smoke beautifully combines with the roasted malts. Really fine imperial stout, and unique flavor.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2014 00:22:55 | More by Badger6
Photo of cindyjeffsmith
cindyjeffsmith

Georgia

4.26/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: jet black with a bit of crimson around the edges when held to light. A sparse mocha head.
Smell: as advertised smoke is front and center with a rich semi-sweet chocolate foundation. Pleasant and interesting.
Taste: profile is much like the nose though the layers of smoke and chocolate are more blended.
Mouthfeel: full and creamy.
Overall: really dug this stout. Smoke and chocolate worked. Alcohol is well hidden. Nice job.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2014 22:57:08 | More by cindyjeffsmith
Photo of Nostrajonus
Nostrajonus

Oklahoma

4.41/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- Pitch black pour with a thin brown head that vanishes rapidly leaving moderate lacing.

S- I can smell the smoke right off the bat, Its quite overwhelming but expected. There is some background sweetness with hints of chocolatey roasted malts.

T- Excellent. The smoke really comes through up front, but it doesn't overpower the other flavors. Rich roasted malts follow the smokeyness, and the finish leaves a bitter dark chocolate aftertaste.

M- If I thought perfection was attainable...I would have given this a perfect score for mouthfeel. It is smooth and silky; this drinks wonderfully.

O- I thoroughly enjoyed this brew. They didn't over-do the smoke. I have tried other smoked beers that tasted, well...meaty for lack of a better word. The smoke came through heavily on the nose, but it was much more gentle on the palate. If I see this on-tap I will surley give it another go.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2014 02:21:19 | More by Nostrajonus
Photo of spinrsx
spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2014 01:33:38 | More by spinrsx
Photo of rdickey
rdickey

New Jersey

4.09/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an almost jet black into my tulip. A very thin, brownish head disappears almost immediately, although some spotty lacing remains.

Smell: A big snootful of liquorice and smoke – like I dumped a bushel of liquorice on my grill, waited ten minutes and stuck my head under the cover. Pretty intense.

Taste: In many ways this is a simple beer, but it’s very well done. The liquorice is joined by chocolate and, particularly as it warms, some coffee notes. The smoke surrounds everything, but doesn’t overwhelm anything. Well done, Iceland!

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, and almost creamy. Despite the massive flavors and significant ABV, though, it doesn’t feel heavy at all. In fact, the alcohol warmth doesn’t really hit until its in your chest.

Drinkability: It’s a sipper, but a highly drinkable one.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2014 01:59:01 | More by rdickey
Photo of rudzud
rudzud

Massachusetts

4.06/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this at Yankee Spirits in Sturbridge, MA. Had no idea Iceland exported beer, neat. As someone with a degree in geology, yah, this bottle is going right up on the shelf.

A - Poured a nice very, very dark brown with thin mocha head that even with a vigorous pour never really got more than a quarter inch. Very light side lacing.

S - Aromas of tons of smoke. Holy shit. A LOT of smoke. Faint chocolate and as someone else said salted nuts, big big smoky roasted malts. Light sweetness too.

T - Taste is almost kvass meets smoked meat and campfire. Weird. So yah, sweeter black bread, caramels, chocolate if overpowered by the big, smoky malts. Can't stress how smokey this is. If you can dig past the smoke you get nailed with some nice silky dark chocolate. Hard to get through all this smoke though.

M - Mouthfeel is really, really nice. Not quite silky but with a great full body feel and not a trace of alcohol.

O - Overall, this was a unique beer for sure. Easily the second smokiest beer I've ever had, second only to Rex Attitude by Yeast Boys which drinks like Lagavulin in beer form. This stout will definitely ruin your pallet with all the smoke so if you plan on having multiple beers end with this one.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2014 01:20:01 | More by rudzud
Photo of tigg924
tigg924

Massachusetts

4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: low carbonation, 1/4 inch head, opaque, black in color

Smell: earth, dark and milk chocolate

Taste: dark and milk chocolate--smoke is present throughout

Mouthfeel: sweet and smoky with light bitterness, medium body, moderate carbonation

Overall: Wow. What a pleasant surprise. As a rauchbier fan, this rivals German versions of the style. This one is highly complex and takes the best parts of a RIS as well. I will certainly be looking for this again.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2014 19:59:36 | More by tigg924
Photo of sveinnbirkir
sveinnbirkir

Iceland

4.75/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Stout done right - or at least to my liking.

Black as sin, thick and slightly caramelly. Smells of licorice, chocolate and sin. Feels a bit syrupy on the tongue. A very healthy 9.2% alc. level. The head dissipates a little too quick, but otherwise as close to a dream stout as anything I've tried. I am slightly hesitant to put down a perfect score, in case there is something better out there that I haven't tasted. This is excellent, however.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2013 16:56:19 | More by sveinnbirkir
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Lava from Ölvisholt Brugghús
92 out of 100 based on 396 ratings.