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!

Lava - Ölvisholt Brugghús

Not Rated.
LavaLava

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

432 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 432
Reviews: 164
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 9.47%
Wants: 34
Gots: 34 | FT: 3
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Lava Alström Bros
Ratings: 432 | Reviews: 164 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jrenihan
jrenihan

Ontario (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev -5.3%

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.

02-04-2012 19:21:23 | More by jrenihan
Photo of KevinSP
KevinSP

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev -2.9%

02-01-2012 02:22:59 | More by KevinSP
Photo of oldp0rt
oldp0rt

Quebec (Canada)

3/5  rDev -27.2%

01-27-2012 00:51:32 | More by oldp0rt
Photo of bryehn
bryehn

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev -2.9%

01-23-2012 18:51:51 | More by bryehn
Photo of ThinkAgain
ThinkAgain

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev -2.9%

01-17-2012 06:59:52 | More by ThinkAgain
Photo of Kartoffeln
Kartoffeln

Ontario (Canada)

4.28/5  rDev +3.9%

A: Pours a dark, opaque mahogany-black with a modest but dense head of dark tan fizz. Decent retention, dissipating to a bubbly ring and leaving scant spots of lacing.

S: Chocolate and black malts and roasted barley mingle with a potent birch smoke note and undertones of black coffee and cinder toffee. Just a hint of charcuterie and ethanol.

T: Rich chocolate and black malts with notes of caffe mocha, molasses, and baker's chocolate. Mild smokiness throughout, and a plummy dark fruit note partway through. Faint, woody hops and a bit of a lactic tang in the finish with some slight, warming booziness.

M: Full-bodied with very mild carbonation and a thick, silky-smooth texture. The hops are mild but make for a surpisingly dry finish and excellent balance overall.

D: Overall an excellent RIS with an especially aromatic smokiness that blends seamlessly into the complex palate. A well-rounded and distinctive example of the style well worth trying.

01-16-2012 01:44:06 | More by Kartoffeln
Photo of irishkyle21
irishkyle21

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev -2.9%

01-13-2012 00:45:19 | More by irishkyle21
Photo of jsnoek
jsnoek

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev -2.9%

01-11-2012 02:00:06 | More by jsnoek
Photo of TerryW
TerryW

Ontario (Canada)

3.78/5  rDev -8.3%

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.

01-02-2012 01:26:25 | More by TerryW
Photo of Rijtjeshuis
Rijtjeshuis

Ontario (Canada)

4.28/5  rDev +3.9%

L ~ this one pours jet black in color and is totally opaque. The head was pretty nice: dark khaki with a touch of mustard in color; it rose up to about three fingers in a snifter off a hard pour; fell at an acceptable rate, but without any major lacing.

S ~ definitely get the smoke on the nose, which adds to what would otherwise be a fairly unexceptional Imperial Stout. In terms of malt, I get the usual characters: roasted barley and black patent coming out at the front line. The roasty/toasty malt notes play very well off of the smokiness that's present. No real fruitness, no real sweeter specialty malts, and a slight hint of earthier hops.

T ~ similar to the aroma. It definitely has the richness and complexity you would otherwise expect an Imperial Stout. Same malt character: black patent and roasted barley coming up front; the finish has a bit of sweeter burnt molasses into the finish. The smoke, which is the major flavor counterpoint to the malt, comes in a bit earlier and this leaves the end not quite as dry as it could have been. No real hop flavor, minimal bitterness (definitely not a US version on the style).

F ~ full body, light carbonation. There was little syrupy feel to the finish; I really get more of a velvet feel to this one. Some mild alcoholic warmth, but this doesn't play all that well with the burnt molasses-like finish.

I've had a good number of Russian Imperial Stouts and I really enjoyed this one. The introduction of smoke to the mix was well balanced and added an interesting component that I hadn't seen before. nicely done!

12-31-2011 04:07:10 | More by Rijtjeshuis
Photo of brewedbehaviour
brewedbehaviour

Ontario (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

12-23-2011 16:39:31 | More by brewedbehaviour
Photo of Stocean1
Stocean1

Ontario (Canada)

4.2/5  rDev +1.9%

Poured a half finger beige head on a deep brown body quickly dropping to a thin film. A little patchy lacing yet still a pleasant looking brew.

Smell is burnt malt, vanilla, dark fruit, and some ethanol

Taste follows the nose with a nice woody smokiness. Some chocolate and coffee notes. Not nearly as sweet as I expected.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a little carbonation to balance it out, nice amount of bitterness yet it is still smooth and almost creamy - definitely felt a nice warming as I progressed through the put.

Very nice RIS I will sample again while stocks last.

12-21-2011 23:01:26 | More by Stocean1
Photo of yerocdiamond
yerocdiamond

Ontario (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

12-19-2011 03:53:59 | More by yerocdiamond
Photo of MaryCeleste
MaryCeleste

Sweden

5/5  rDev +21.4%

12-16-2011 20:05:28 | More by MaryCeleste
Photo of bigox420
bigox420

Ontario (Canada)

3/5  rDev -27.2%

11-29-2011 06:54:00 | More by bigox420
Photo of RedAleMan
RedAleMan

Ontario (Canada)

4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

11-21-2011 02:18:16 | More by RedAleMan
Photo of sfprint
sfprint

Germany

4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

exp 010614

A: Impenetrible darkness, with a short creamy red head. MKicro rising carbonation barely visible on the edges.
S: Incredibly thick and heavy roasted malt, heavy coffee and smoke.
T: Very smokey, had an interesting almost spicyness which isn't too chemically and masks the alcohol well. An interesting smokey not so hot pepper. Very unique flavor and very nice. Not my favorite style but this one is great.
M: The carbonation is so perfectly tied to the spicyness making the mouthfeel very special. But simultaneously very creamy. Amazing mouthfeel.
O: Perhaps the best and most interesting imperial stout I've had.

10-29-2011 00:15:37 | More by sfprint
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

4.22/5  rDev +2.4%

500ml bottle, courtesy of tbeckett - Skál! Nice label imagery of what I imagine most people think of when pressed to describe Icelandic topography (but perhaps not iconography).

This beer pours a solid black, with very slight mahogany edges when offered to the light, and two swathed fingers of thin foamy mocha head, which displays fairly stolid retention, eventually leaving a low ebbing glacier profile of lace around the glass. It smells of roasted malt, with a subtle smokiness, that seems innocuous when mixed with some tart fruitiness, milk chocolate, and earthy dark, sugary molasses. The taste is big bittersweet chocolate, some sharp toasty graininess, more sour dark fruit, this time ankle-deep in a kiddie pool of warming alcohol, and dry black licorice adding further to the mire. The carbonation is quite sedate, the body an agreeable medium weight, and smooth, and bordering on creamy. It finishes sweet, the graininess and chocolate interwoven, with a bit of understated, latent smoke to bring us full circle from the Arctic Circle...

After having viewed a few documentaries about the pungency of smoked fish/alcohol/atmosphere from Iceland, I was a wee bit trepidatious about this brew. Turns out, I had nothing to fear - just a lovely multi-layered, heavy without the weight (?), big-ass RIS. From a place that should know about this kind of elixir, I'm so glad they get it right.

09-06-2011 23:03:18 | More by biboergosum
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev -4.1%

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.

08-02-2011 23:49:57 | More by DrJay
Photo of Beer4Baltimore
Beer4Baltimore

Maryland

4.43/5  rDev +7.5%

- from the notes and a small bottle
A - straight up coal black and opaque with a short head.
S - roasted malts and a distinctive smokiness that many smoked beers just don;t manage to obtain.
T - dark roasted malts/coffee flavors with an undeniable smoke flavor.
M - fairly thick and low carbonation.
D - excellent as the alcohol is near undetectable....until later.

05-23-2011 03:56:40 | More by Beer4Baltimore
Photo of mintjellie
mintjellie

Ontario (Canada)

4.35/5  rDev +5.6%

Pitch black. Black like basalt. Like obsidian. Appropriate for a beer name after pyroclastic flow. It's tan head is thick and dense, but short lived, leaving little lace behind. Aromas of smoke, espresso, and burnt sugar. Powerful roasted malt flavour. Tastes like black coffee, madeira, molasses, and campfire. Full bodied with low carbonation. Lush, smooth mouthfeel. Excellent.

05-08-2011 06:27:18 | More by mintjellie
Photo of BBP
BBP

Ontario (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev -0.5%

A- Pours dark with a medium mocha head which slows down and becomes a thick film for the rest of the drink. Very good lacing.

S- There's a pretty basic imperial stout aroma here buried underneath all the smokiness. In that way it's quite familiar but still new at the same time due to the tremendous smokiness. The sad thing was how weak the aroma was, or how little could be picked up from under the smoke.

T- This is probably the first smoked porter/stout that has featured such a prominent smokiness. I haven't encountered many smoked beers with this much smokiness to them. That being said, it took me a while to figure out whether I thought the smokiness improved the drink or took away from it. The rest of the drink features tons of roasted malt, as well as coffee and chocolate. The first thing that comes up is a combination of the three with significant bitterness from the roasted malt and perhaps it's share of hops. These flavors stay but the smoke overpowers them a bit. At the same time, it really keeps it interesting.

M- Somewhat thin for an imperial stout, but a bit creamier than most. It leaves a slightly dry, sticky finish. Carbonation is done nicely.

D- I have to agree with all the others and say that the drinkability was aced. The 9.4% is surprising as there's little alcohol heat to it.

A great effort and a great example of a smoked stout.

03-24-2011 00:08:09 | More by BBP
Photo of mrmanning
mrmanning

Ontario (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev -7%

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!

03-04-2011 17:12:37 | More by mrmanning
Photo of ludachris
ludachris

Ontario (Canada)

4.38/5  rDev +6.3%

The only thing I see when I hold this beer up to the light is my reflection; this beer is pitch black. Two fingers of rich frothy mocha head sit on top of this sucker, leaving thick fluffy patches of lace as it slowly dwindles. A fine looking RIS.

Served at cellar temp, it doesn't need any warming for notes of smokey ham, roasted malts, black licorice, warm and mushy brown sugar, and bakers chocolate to pour out of the glass. I really like the smokey side of this beer, giving it a unique edge and blending well with the rest of the staple stout characteristics.

The smoked malts are beautifully rendered, not being too robust and pairing extremely well with the roasted side of this beer. Cocoa powder comes midway through with a touch of silky dark chocolate. I don't pick up on the brown sugar at all. Licorice notes flow across the back of the palate and hook into the finish, sitting side by side with an assertive dry roasted character.

Full bodied and creamy in the mouth with almost a foam-like feel at times. The question of where is the alcohol keeps coming up. The 9.4% ABV is virtually indetectable with only a slight warm feeling in the chest that gives you a clue of the alcohol content.

Overall, a fantastic RIS with a unique, flavourful, and very well rendered smokey character. It's heavy but it's also one of the easiest drinking RIS's I've had in a long time. This has been sitting in my cellar for a couple of months now and it's long gone from the LCBO's line-up. If they choose to bring it back next winter, I'll be sure to grab a few bottles.

02-17-2011 02:24:56 | More by ludachris
Photo of marty21
marty21

Manitoba (Canada)

4.13/5  rDev +0.2%

A: Pours pitch black with one finger worth of dark brown head. Settles to a large ring and leaves a couple specs of lacing.

S: Dark chocolate with some roasted malts and smokiness.

T: Dark chocolate, roasted malt and some coffee. There's some smokiness that lingers in the after taste. Alcohol is completely hidden.

M: Light carbonation with a full body.

D: My palate must have changed because I remember the first time I tried this beer awhile ago I didn't like it at all. But this time around I really enjoyed it. It's a really good Imperial Stout and the smoked part makes it different from others. It's one of the easiest drinking Imperial Stouts i've ever had which explains the very high mark for that category.

02-11-2011 21:10:17 | More by marty21
Lava from Ölvisholt Brugghús
92 out of 100 based on 432 ratings.