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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.
View: Beers (30) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 181 | Hads: 534
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.58/5  rDev +12%
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.

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Photo of tbeckett
4.48/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Thick tan head. Black and opaque like an Impy Stout should be.

S - Boozy but not over the top. Lot's of coffee and roasty aromas. Sort of like a BBQ in a way, a little smokiness too.

T - Alcohol is there but just enough to let you know what you're in for. Rich flavours, sweet. Finishes really smooth and pleasant.

M - Medium bodied. Velvetty and smooth.

D - Excellent. Alcohol is well masked but not non-existant. I could have a few easily. Easily the most drinkable Imp Stout I've had.

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Photo of drpimento
4.73/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fabulous beer! Poured at a good temperature with massive light brown head that settled after a bit and some lace. Color is (apparently) a clear, dark, almost, black ruby red. Aroma is malt, roast, smoke, vanilla. Flavor's like nose, with a subdued but very good balance between sweet, bitter, and carbonic tang. Also cocoa; smoke is there but very complimentary. Body is soft, full, lush, round with carbonation just right. Finish is surprisingly of average length despite the bold style of beer, making this exceedingly drinkable; slight booziness.

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Photo of Bung
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml. Picked up at Brawleys.
It's black, only some light around the brown edges. A light tan head, pretty thin layer.

Aroma, roast and some meaty smoke. Some anise and faint hops.

Taste, Earthy roast malt, caramel, dark chocolate and peat smoke. It is very well in balance. Leans to less bitter like many Scandenavian big beers. I like it. Smokey cocoa finish, just a tinge of anise.

I'd say not quite full bodied. Maybe just a tad thinner than one might expect. About a creamy carbonation. Alcohol is pretty well hidden. No problem finishing the whole 500ml.

Another good brew from the pseudo region. Not quite up to the Odin's Tipple, but a very good smoked imperial stout.

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Photo of tigg924
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

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

This beer is a thick inky black, perhaps some light creeping in just at the edges, very much appropriate for the style. A nice, compact but fairly sizable tan head displays good retention and leaves equally good lacing on the glass.
Peat and smoke lie in the foreground the whole way without detracting from the nature of the brew as an RIS or going charred or astringent. It's just a nice addition of smoke in an otherwise good stout, with all the bigness the style should have. It's not as huge, bold and heavy as its American counterparts, but it's very balanced without lacking. Malts lay a solid backbone with a roasty element and never fade. It offers the dark cocoa notes I would expect with a touch of dark fruits.
This beer is full-bodied but not too heavy. Some may want an RIS to go down like molasses and sit like a cement block, but this beer offers a nice, even, balanced, smooth feel.

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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 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 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 mynie
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Micro Bar in Reykjavik.

Pours dark with a respectable head. Smells of coffee, dark barley, and dry hops. Tastes very similar--dry and roasty, nice firm body with medium complexity.

It more resembles a good American double stout than a Russian Imperial.

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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.

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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 andrenaline
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes... A surprising find at the local LCBO as part of their winter seasonal release.

A - Pours pitch black, two fingers of dark mocha head with solid retention and sheeting lacing. Very appetizing.

S - Smoked wooden peat, with hickory and spicy mesquite smoke coming through, dark chocolate, espresso, malted milk and a hint of vanilla.

T - Loaded with smoke, reminiscent of a rauchbier, strong mocha chocolate flavours, loads of peat, quite rich and has a sweeter characteristic that lingers. ABV is almost undetectable.

M - Thicker bodied, chewy, syropy, smooth and a touch of dryness.

O - A tasty and bold offering from a country that I had no idea exported their beers. Definitely a worthy offering and a very unique experience with loads of memorable flavours.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Black color. Just about one finger of frothy medium brown head. Retention is a touch below average and just a few wisps of lacing are left.

4.25 S: The smoke in this is just great. It offers both the porcine meatiness and the campfire thing. Quite earthy with a big mineral component. Tangy molasses and dark fruits. Underneath is the typical chocolate, coffee, and caramel. Just a touch of char as well.

4.0 T: Much like the nose. Smoke again leads the way as described above. Strong mineral earthiness. Chocolate and caramel come to the forefront to join the molasses. On the drier side for a beer this big. Coffee and a light char aftertaste to round it out.

3.75 M: Not quite as viscous as I would have guessed. Heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Lightly creamy and super smooth. The booze is barely detectable.

4.0 D: Good beer all around. Pick it up if you stumble upon it like I did.

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Photo of Fatehunter
4.52/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

In a Delirium glass. Pitch black color with almost a finger of tan head. Looks great.
Strong chocolate smell with roasted malt in the background. Hint of burnt wood.
Silky/creamy texture. Burnt taste, roasted malt, chocolate and burnt again. Tasty.
Low carbonation and a heavier body.
Outstanding, a pleasure to have.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.27/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice dark, pretty much pitch black, with a medium mocha finger of head. Bubbles were tiny, dissipating fairly quickly, leaving a little bit of lace and a foamy ring.

The aroma is great. Big smoke notes hit you first, quite charred and reminiscent of bacon. There's a fairly pronounced sweet milk chocolate aroma hidden in there, some roasted maltiness and even some touches of espresso.

Again, the smoke hits you first, like a nice BBQ note, with some charred wood. Chocolate sweetness mellows out the smokiness, with some molasses hints and some roasted characters. Finishes slightly peaty.

The feel is really the only aspect that leaves something to be desired. It's got a nice, robust full body, with some creamy textures, but the carbonation is a bit stingy for the style.

The carbonation takes a little away from the drinkability, but it goes down smooth still. You can't taste that alcohol, but you do feel it a bit in the back of your throat.

Overall, this is pretty killer. Smoked Imperial Stouts aren't a dime a dozen, especially from Iceland. And this is very nice one. The smoke never hides itself, yet doesn't overwhelm, while giving the big stout room to make a name for itself too.

Very glad to have found this.

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Photo of alexgash
4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

500 ml bottle.

Inky dark brown body. Viscous. Pinkie finger of tiny-bubbled, whipped, peanut brown head. Great lacing. Charred barley, mocha coffee, light molasses, figs, tobacco, a little chocolate, and light campfire smoke.

Roasted coffee bitterness starts off. Dark chocolate and sweet caramel fill in. Milk chocolate and molasses show up. Earthy, with notes of tobacco, licorice, and flint near the finish. Faint peaty smokiness. Finishes with lingering herbal bitterness, caramel, and dark chocolate. Medium-full body with a slightly oily feel. Nice.

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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.

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Photo of kwjd
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black colour with thick tan head that dissipates to a small ring on top of the beer. Some mild lacing around the glass. Smells of deep roasted malt, smoked wood, coffee and chocolate. Nice bitter flavour, some small amount of sweetness. A very well balanced smoke stout, as the smoke compliments the stout flavour instead of dominating it. Smooth mouthfeel. It is impressive that a country that legalized beer just over 20 years ago can have a better imperial stout than any made in Ontario.

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Photo of Oakenator
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a dark black color with some head. Veiled lacing leads to simple spotted.

S: Chocolate with a subtle sweetness.

T: Chocolate sweetness up front leads to a strong smoky flavor on the back. Some spices.

M: Has lots of body - malts provide a richness.

O: Really nice.

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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 sulldaddy
4.37/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampling a cellar temp bottle of this brew poured at cellar temperature into a snifter.
Beer pours a deep oil black hue with no light passing through the glass. Creamy tan head of .5 cm foams up and fades gradually to a sturdy edge layer.
ARoma is roasted malt and molasses, with some smokey burnt wood and a bit of dark cocoa as well. I dont get any hops in this brew and the booze is also well hidden.
First sip reveals a smooth silky textured brew that is fairly thick and features gentle rolling carbonation.
Flavor is deep roasted malt and smoke. I also get dark chocolate bar and a bit of molasses. Again no real hops, but there is a little warm booze on each swallow that heats up my throat and belly as it travels downward.
Even with the warming booze the beer is remarkably easy to drink and I find myself moving through the snifter quickly as I type these notes.
Certainly a robust brew that isnt for the light hearted, I would enjoy this with some smoked cheese and crackers in front of a fireplace on a cold snowy night. It is still pretty great tonite though too!

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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.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.05/5  rDev -1%
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

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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.

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