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Lava - Ölvisholt Brugghús

Not Rated.
LavaLava

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

435 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 435
Reviews: 166
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 9.47%
Wants: 35
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
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Ratings: 435 | Reviews: 166 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of thehyperduck
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%

500 mL bottle from the LCBO; best before September 2014. This is the first time I have had a beer from Iceland, not to mention my first true RIS review.

Pours black as night; I can't even make out any twinges of colour under the light. Topped with a luxurious, creamy brown head a little more than a finger thick. Fairly good retention. Rich aroma with roasted wheaty malts, molasses, dark chocolate, figs and some light smoky character. Herbal and a little boozy.

Malt-forward taste with a smooth underlying smoked flavour. Lots of roasted malts on the palate, wheaty with mocha and bittersweet baker's chocolate flavours being prominent. Some herbal anise notes followed by a dry, roasted finish with some warmth from the alcohol. Full-bodied with an amazingly silky-smooth mouthfeel. Leaves a slick feeling behind on the palate. Very soft carbonation.

This is a fabulous stout, and at 9.4% a little too easy to drink. Satisfying and an ideal winter sipper without a doubt; more than complex enough to satisfy most beer geeks, with the perfect amount of smokiness. Much more drinkable than most heavy stouts.

Final Grade: 4.3, this is A-grade material. One of the best stouts I've had in a long time, giving Peche Mortel a good run for its money. Lava is a pricy brew, but worth every penny in my opinion. The LCBO needs to make this an annual import.

thehyperduck, Feb 08, 2012
Photo of andrenaline
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%

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.

andrenaline, Feb 06, 2012
Photo of tedstertm
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

tedstertm, Feb 05, 2012
Photo of jrenihan
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.

jrenihan, Feb 04, 2012
Photo of KevinSP
4/5  rDev -2.9%

KevinSP, Feb 01, 2012
Photo of oldp0rt
3/5  rDev -27.2%

oldp0rt, Jan 27, 2012
Photo of bryehn
4/5  rDev -2.9%

bryehn, Jan 23, 2012
Photo of ThinkAgain
4/5  rDev -2.9%

ThinkAgain, Jan 17, 2012
Photo of Kartoffeln
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.

Kartoffeln, Jan 16, 2012
Photo of irishkyle21
4/5  rDev -2.9%

irishkyle21, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of jsnoek
4/5  rDev -2.9%

jsnoek, Jan 11, 2012
Photo of TerryW
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.

TerryW, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of Rijtjeshuis
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!

Rijtjeshuis, Dec 31, 2011
Photo of brewedbehaviour
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

brewedbehaviour, Dec 23, 2011
Photo of Stocean1
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.

Stocean1, Dec 21, 2011
Photo of yerocdiamond
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

yerocdiamond, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of MaryCeleste
5/5  rDev +21.4%

MaryCeleste, Dec 16, 2011
Photo of bigox420
3/5  rDev -27.2%

bigox420, Nov 29, 2011
Photo of RedAleMan
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

RedAleMan, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of sfprint
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.

sfprint, Oct 29, 2011
Photo of biboergosum
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.

biboergosum, Sep 06, 2011
Photo of DrJay
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.

DrJay, Aug 02, 2011
Photo of Beer4Baltimore
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.

Beer4Baltimore, May 23, 2011
Photo of mintjellie
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.

mintjellie, May 08, 2011
Photo of BBP
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.

BBP, Mar 24, 2011
Lava from Ölvisholt Brugghús
92 out of 100 based on 435 ratings.