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Lava - Ölvisholt Brugghús

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

422 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 422
Reviews: 162
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 9.47%
Wants: 33
Gots: 32 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Ölvisholt Brugghús visit their website

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: 422 | Reviews: 162 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of peensteen

Ontario (Canada)

3.43/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Ontario (Canada)

4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Ontario (Canada)

4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Ontario (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Ontario (Canada)

4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Ontario (Canada)

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

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Ontario (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Quebec (Canada)

4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

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


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

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

Serving type: bottle

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

Ontario (Canada)

4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Quebec (Canada)

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

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Manitoba (Canada)

4.7/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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


4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2010 19:04:00 | More by rarbring
Photo of oakbluff

Manitoba (Canada)

3.25/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark cola with a thin mocha head and very fine lacing. Nose- sweet smokiness, dark fruit and light roast. Taste- boozy dark stewed fruit, chalky with a bitter hot finish. Less smoke in taste than in the nose. Very little malt sweetness comes through. Its a little hot for my tastes, but the smoke is a nice touch.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2010 23:37:51 | More by oakbluff
Photo of bark


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 Ranbot


4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm reviewing this from memory from my vacation in Iceland. Since it's all from memory I'm not going to go too far into the details. But as far as drinking in Iceland this was by far the best beer I found there. It deserves more ratings on BA than it has.

The Lava has sweet moderately smoked/roasted malts and is mildly hopped. I think the malts were perfectly smoked to impart a strong smoke flavor without leaving an unpleasant ash after taste like many smokey imp stouts do. The body is moderate to heavy. The alcohol is there, but well disguised by the robust malts.

If you live in Iceland or on vacation there, I highly recommend seeking this one out. Icelandic beer is mostly a wasteland of flavorless adjuncts, but Olvisholt Brugghus is the exception (possibly Iceland's ONLY craft brewer). Regrettably I didn't have a chance to sample their other brews. (Tip for travelers: don't be afraid to ask the servers if they have other beers than what's printed on a menu - that's how I found the Lava!)

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2010 21:57:56 | More by Ranbot
Photo of OskarL


4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Thick black with a darkish head that disappears and leaves a bit of lacing.

Smell - Burnt malts, dark chocolate, coffee and smoke.

Taste - Roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, sweet, some alcohol and the taste that comes from your own smokery.

Mouthfeel - Creamy, smooth, slightly carbonated with a full body.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2010 15:28:59 | More by OskarL
Photo of dqrull


4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black liquid, doesn't let through any light at all, even with a flashlight behind it, had to try! A dark and creamy head rests briefly on top of this liquid black hole!

I smell huge dark maltiness! Roated malts blend in with heavily roasted coffee and dark, bitter chocolate, with a suprising smoky note to it, adding a woody character that's really nice and refreshing!

Taste is similair to the smell. But the smoky wood-character evolves! In the taste it is more like a smoked sweet honey-marinated beef jerky, a really nice meaty ting to it, that goes really well together with the mild notes of coffee and fudge I get from the malt. Some small notes of hops are detectable in the peak of the taste along with the ever-present smoky wood/meat-notes, and it finishes really slow and long with mellow sweet chocolate that transforms from bitter high cocoa% to a sweeter milk chocolate in the end.
All throughout the taste, this beer is very sweet, and the alcohol is detectable all the way, but in a good way, providing a sturdy foundation for the overall really distinct and clear flavours, as well as the at times great sweetness.

Creamy and viscous in the mouth, mid- to low carbonation levels and a really syrupy feeling thanks to the viscosity and the sweetness.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2010 13:30:59 | More by dqrull
Photo of Stockgnome


4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is actually a "smoked" imperial stout according to the bottle, something that does come across in the taste - in addition to the sweetness that accompanies each sip. The high alcohol content is well masked and the description of "pitch black" is definitely on the mark.

Although one would expect this to be an excellent winter beer, it was thoroughly enjoyed on a warm summers day - which is certainly something for such a solid thick stout. Perhaps it was the sweetness and near fruit flavor that came through amidst the smokiness. A great combination of tastes and an all around solid beer.

Was purchased at the Bishops Arms in Stockholm, Sweden - which hither to is the only place I have seen it for sale.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2009 15:31:38 | More by Stockgnome
Photo of stulowitz


4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After being told by the brewer that this beer was only for the Swedish market, Ölvisholt is now selling Lava at ÁTVR. Finally a Big, Bad beer in the very lame, lager-centric Icelandic beer scene.

A - Totally pitch-ass black with thick dark tan head.

Sm - Chocolate, coffee, roasty goodness and juicy fruit (yes! the chewing gum!). Very slight smoky-meatyness and alcohol.

T - A whole lot of sweetness! Chocolate and liquorice. Finishes syrupy with warming alcohol. A slight smokyness and I can´t find any hops.

M - Full body, no doubt about that!

D - THE most exciting beer produced in Iceland so far. It is a big beer that is great for sipping, but too sweet and syrupy to have another. Thank you Ölvisholt for having the balls to release Lava in Iceland, bravo!

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2009 16:59:35 | More by stulowitz
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Lava from Ölvisholt Brugghús
92 out of 100 based on 422 ratings.