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 Derek
Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

4.53/5  rDev +10%

A: Black with a tan head, very thin ring of retention, leaves a bit of lace.

S: Light smoke (in a smoked ham sort of way), coffee and roasted nut, hints of demerara and licorice.

T: Very nice smokiness, not overdone, really compliments the roast. Roasted nut, coffee, molasses, licorice, generous use of fuggle hops, with a light peppery spicing as well. Alcohol is incredibly well hidden. A brew this big, with this much flavour and balance truly is exceptional!

M: Well-attenuated, full body has only a hints of acidity and alcohol warmth in the finish. Extremely well-crafted.

D: Incredibly well balanced and flavourful, though the strength and smoke may limit the drinkability a bit. I love it.

01-24-2011 01:34:44 | More by Derek
Photo of hopsolutely
hopsolutely

Ontario (Canada)

3.2/5  rDev -22.3%

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.

01-22-2011 22:35:01 | More by hopsolutely
Photo of Testytaster
Testytaster

Ontario (Canada)

2.33/5  rDev -43.4%

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.

01-22-2011 00:07:40 | More by Testytaster
Photo of WeedKing4
WeedKing4

Ontario (Canada)

4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Pours a dark black with a nice caramal coloured foam, into a brandy snifter glass. Tastes of roasted smoked flavours with some chocolate lingering in there. Drinks down very well and I didn't pick up any hint of the 9.40% alc. Very drinkable stout. Dangerously drinkable for the percentage. Good stout.

01-15-2011 21:29:52 | More by WeedKing4
Photo of OldGrowler
OldGrowler

Ontario (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev -2.2%

A pretty little beer, auburn-black with a transient caramel head. Malty and pleasant, despite moderate bitterness. Although the flavors aren't especially complex, it's very drinkable and skilfully hides the 9.4%. Slight metallic aftertaste. Starts on a fruity note, ends on a smokey almost-meaty one, mmm.

01-06-2011 00:42:57 | More by OldGrowler
Photo of mrnobody
mrnobody

Ontario (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev -4.6%

500 ml bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Pours dead black with one finger of coffee coloured head which dissipates to a film of bubbles.

S: Smells of smoke, coffee, alcohol, a trace of vanilla.

T: Tastes smoky and sweet, again some coffee flavour, a bit of chocolate, a bit of alcohol but fairly well hidden.

M: Mouthfeel is fairly full and creamy with low carbonation.

D: The drinkability is pretty good although the smokiness may prove tiresome.

01-03-2011 02:47:41 | More by mrnobody
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev -7%

Pours opaque black with reddish brown 1.5 inches of soapy head that sticks to the side of the glass. Big roasty aroma with some smoke. Middling mouthfeel. The taste is definite smoked malt,with chocolate, the carbonation is right there. Alcohol somewhat hidden, it does feel a little boozy in aftertaste.

12-31-2010 03:36:01 | More by Sammy
Photo of Long813
Long813

Ontario (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev +0.7%

BBE:

A: Pitch black body with two fingers of dark mocha head. Retention is fair and leaves decent lacing.

S: Strong notes of burnt wood mixed with chocolate and some coffee.

T: Much the same as the aroma, the taste is upfront with roasted malts and burnt wood.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Very smooth texture with a nice smokey finish. Alcohol notes aren't strong.

D: Pleasing beer. It was a well put together beer, not strongly highlighting the smoked part. It's an addition to the well made stout.

12-30-2010 03:19:00 | More by Long813
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev +0.7%

Lava looks less like lava and more like the ash that it's sure to leave behind; it is completely charred and blackened and no longer displays even a single twinkle of colour or sign of life. The liquid looks so dense I'm surprised it can slide down the glass. Despite promising signs earlier, there is not a bubble nor thread of foam anywhere on the surface or glass.

As if the near double-digit alcohol and the words "imperial stout" written on its label weren't enough to convey that this is a beer to be slowly savored on a cold winter's night by the fireplace, the fact that it actually smells a little like a fireplace should be enough for even the dimmest person to get the idea. (By the same logic, it also kind of smells like smoked meat so I suppose you could feel free to drink it at your local deli too.)

But I digress. Emphasizing the smoke is the wrong way of going about this review - unless I emphasize the *integration* of the smoke within the balance of the beer's other attributes. Yes, that antibacterial layer of absorbed smoke is present and highly perceptible, but so too are the dark malts and the hints of chocolate and coffee that they pass on. Truthfully, however, this isn't the most complex nor flavourful imperial stout I've tried...

But, because it has the smoke, that fact is considerably disguised and easily forgotten. This is the second such 'smoked imperial stout' I've had lately and I must confess: I think it's a brilliant idea and an innate match - better even than peanut butter and jelly! The smokiness of the roasted malts dissolves seamlessly into the actual smoke, the woody dryness of which is nothing but harmonious with the dry, bitter chocolate notes and fruity alcohol esters.

I'd be lying if I said I knew much about Iceland, or that I could pronounce even a word in that crazy language of theirs, but I do know this: Ölvisholt Brugghús is one of the most promising and impressive new breweries I've come across this year and must be - I'd wager anything - the best brewery on the island. If you have the chance, do support them.

12-29-2010 20:51:34 | More by biegaman
Photo of fostachild
fostachild

Ontario (Canada)

3.98/5  rDev -3.4%

picked up at an lcbo, best before: 14.09.2013. pours a really dark colour with a decent tan/brown head. didn't retain much lacing.

smokey coffee/mocha in the smell - quite nice.

taste bitter and alcoholic at times. the chocolate and coffee flavours were great. good carbonation - drinkability was okay. nice strong stout.

12-24-2010 05:07:11 | More by fostachild
Photo of peensteen
peensteen

Ontario (Canada)

3.43/5  rDev -16.7%

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.

12-21-2010 00:16:00 | More by peensteen
Photo of ThatWineGuy
ThatWineGuy

Ontario (Canada)

4.22/5  rDev +2.4%

Tar black beer with a foamy mocha head that took a while to die down, this beer catches no light. Smell of roasted malts, smoke, burnt coffee beans, bakers' chocolate, quite nice on the nose. Alcohol very well handled, this beer has a chocolate bitterness with a touch of sweetness, tons of toasty roasted malts, nice interplay of flavours pleases the palate A long lingering finish, burnt coffee and bitter chocolate pleases. Body in keeping with the style, weighty and substantial, this RIS impressed me and I'd certainly buy more for the holiday season; for those times around the fireplace when a simply refreshing beer won't do.

12-18-2010 03:11:09 | More by ThatWineGuy
Photo of paxkey
paxkey

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev -6.6%

purchased at LCBO poured into a chimay glass.

pours like black coffee. very dark with no head.

mmm. a whiff of alcohol followed by cinnamon.tangerine. more alcohol. black licorice

appears cola like and syruppy in glass. really alot of alcohol on the nose. very strong.

tasting some red wine oak.alcohol. bitter hops. sweet malt. not a bad balance. great paired with aged cheeses something tart to balance the sweetness of the beer.

there was a best before date on bottle for sept 14, 2013. i wonder if aging would tone down alcohol.

overall i like this.

12-18-2010 02:06:26 | More by paxkey
Photo of kwjd
kwjd

Ontario (Canada)

4.33/5  rDev +5.1%

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.

12-13-2010 04:01:23 | More by kwjd
Photo of JohnnyBarman
JohnnyBarman

Ontario (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev +0.7%

Bottle picked up as part of the surprisingly good LCBO winter release. Nearly capping off 2010, this brew serves as a great little reminder of that lovely, unpronouncable disruptive volcano from earlier this year. Kudos, Iceland!

Poured into a nonic. Nearly pitch-black with only the finest hints of chestnut when held to the light. Dark mocha head, thick and bubbly but dissolved into a thin ring after a few minutes.

Nose is lovely and rich, with roasted malts, chocolate, smoke, caramel and nuts.

Great stuff, a truly memorable and enjoyable RIS. Begins with the usual RIS suspects of roasted grain, chocolate and dark coffee, before doing an about face and blasting me with a lovely smoked wood and leather. Reminds me of the peat character often found in Islay scotch whisky. Very flavorful. More than justifed use of the word "smoked", a great tasting brew. Only fault is an overlying sweetness that could have been reduced in favor of more smoky goodness.

This brew is certainly easy to get down. Thick, coats the tongue well, carbonation is mild (could have been a touch zippier), alcohol burn is mild for something approaching 10%ABV.

2 for 2 from Olvisholt, 2 for 2 from Iceland. Great pickup by the LCBO - a superb Russian stout whose smoky character distinguishes it from the rest of the pack, giving this brew a uniquely Icelandic feel. Amazing that this brew came from a country with only twenty years of legal brewing experience.

12-12-2010 01:17:02 | More by JohnnyBarman
Photo of GodOfBeer
GodOfBeer

Ontario (Canada)

4.28/5  rDev +3.9%

Pours a thick black with a nice thick brown head. Very appealing.

Smells smokey upfront, some sweet brown sugar,vanilla and chocolate, pretty complex.

Tastes like it smells, smokey, very medicinal, some chocolate notes, the sweetness really lingers in the aftertaste.

Wonderfully thick mouthfeel and one of the most drinkable Imperial Stouts I've ever had, my god! This is a great smokey RIS.

12-11-2010 02:31:01 | More by GodOfBeer
Photo of liamt07
liamt07

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev -2.9%

Bottle from the LCBO, into a snfiter. Best before date of September 2013.

Pitch black in the snifter, with several fingers of creamy khaki head. Nose of smoked dark chocolate, roastiness and a hint of coffee. Taste is a heavy bitter dark chocolate and smoke, both of which dominate the palate. A bit of vanilla and brown sugar sweetnesss comes in around the late-middle/end of the mouth along with a hint of the alcohol. The alcohol is more pronounced as it warms. Thick and full body, really how I like my imperial stouts. A tad more than a sipper, but smooth going down regardless. Nice surprise to have picked this up.

12-10-2010 20:46:48 | More by liamt07
Photo of MattyV
MattyV

Ontario (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev -1.7%

Pours a thick opaque black colour with a creamy mocha head. Nose contains dark roasted coffee, roasted malt, and a hint of smoke. Taste is of a solidly-crafted RIS with big flavours of burnt malt, coffee, dark chocolate, raisins, and a burnt/bitter coffee finish with some faint boozy warmth that lingers. The smokiness plays a complementary role, present in the background but not overpowering. Slick oily body with modest creamy carbonation, quite enjoyable mouthfeel, suits the beer.

My first smoked beer, I can see myself enjoying the style if it's done in moderation, as is the case here, where it adds an interesting layer of complexity.

12-07-2010 05:19:30 | More by MattyV
Photo of tbeckett
tbeckett

Ontario (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

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.

09-04-2010 05:43:14 | More by tbeckett
Photo of eat
eat

Quebec (Canada)

4/5  rDev -2.9%

Good cover of mocha-coloured head. Black, opaque and viscous body. Head fades to a sparse cover.

Smells like smoke, minerals, very roasted malt and a little molasses with some soily hops.

Tastes of dark hops with bits of caramalized banana, smoked salmon and slight coffee. Dry cocoa on the finish with some warming alcohol. The balance is a little off but it maintains some definite interesting quality. Unique for sure.

A decently viscous stout. Medium-thick body with moderate carbonation...maybe a little too much carbonation for a stout of its size.

This stuff is pretty interesting. Quite drinkable and I'd be happy to buy some more of this stuff. I'd be interested to try it aged. I can't imagine there would be many better brews than this one coming out of Iceland. Impressive for such an obscure beer destination and especially as a pretty new take on the style for my palate.

07-20-2010 23:21:10 | More by eat
Photo of eduardolinhalis
eduardolinhalis

Switzerland

4.48/5  rDev +8.7%

330ml bottle poured in a chalice.

First of all, thanks to Pall for bringing me this "precious" from Iceland.

A: Nice art, first of all. Pours a very oily black color with a reasonable beige to brown head which is creamy and dissipates leaving not much lacings

S: Very nice smell of roasted malts. Coffee. Sweet and light smoky in the nose. Also reminds a brown bread with some alcohol in the end. Yeasts

T: Tastes follows the nose. Sweet upfront. Roasted malts, dark chocolate and some hints of coffee. Yeasts. Great bitterness, delicious taste

M: Creamy molasses body. Medium to low carbonation. Excellent roasted bitter aftertaste

O: Very drinkable despite the high ABV, an authentic and well done, european Russian Imperial Stout

07-14-2010 19:20:46 | More by eduardolinhalis
Photo of ritzkiss
ritzkiss

Ontario (Canada)

4.08/5  rDev -1%

500ml bottle, thanks to eat for bringing it back from Manitoba.

Pours a deep dark black with two fingers of mocha head which lingers and leaves some lacing - looks decadent.

This beer is dominated by the smoke but not in a bad way as it is well integrated with a fudgey brownie like chocolate, a slight hint of bitter bakers chocolate, a light fruity sweetness which I peg as perhaps strawberry or even banana, dark fruitiness, a hint of coffee. Quite rich and sweet like a baltic porter, smooth rich mouthfeel. Very tasty, I just wish perhaps it was a little more integrated, just a little more refined but this is a world-class beer as is.

A real treat, this brewery is doing some good things in a place I wouldn't expect - glad we're getting some of their stuff in Canada.

07-14-2010 17:20:54 | More by ritzkiss
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev -6.6%

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.

07-12-2010 19:27:44 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of kjyost
kjyost

Manitoba (Canada)

4.7/5  rDev +14.1%

Bottle numbered 240912. Poured into a large snifter / tulip - like glass.

Pours a thick oily black stout with a reddish-mocha head that recedes too quickly and only laces lightly. Aromas of molasses, licorice and a bit of smoke are prevalent, with a distinct chocolatey sweetness above it all. The first thing that hits you is the smoke, but it is nowhere near overpowering the other flavors that you would expect from an RIS. The licorice and molasses couple beautifully with the smokiness that almost disappears over time. The carbonation is too strong IMO for the style, but it is a fantastically drinkable RIS to sip on, especially because you can't notice the almost 10% ABV.

06-29-2010 04:01:52 | More by kjyost
Photo of rarbring
rarbring

Sweden

4.22/5  rDev +2.4%

The beer is pitch dark, almost oily, a brown head, leaving little lacing but some curtains.

The smell is roasted malts, dark bread, burnt wood and smoked sausage.

Starting with a sweet taste, Madeira, then dark bread, and chocolate and coffee beans. The finish is bitter.

Low carbonation, a complex beer, smooth and harsh.

04-12-2010 19:04:00 | More by rarbring
Lava from Ölvisholt Brugghús
92 out of 100 based on 432 ratings.