Skjálfti | Ölvisholt Brugghús

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72 Ratings

Brewed by:
Ölvisholt Brugghús

Style: California Common / Steam Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jdhilt on 07-27-2008

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 72 |  Reviews: 48
Reviews by jsnoek:
Photo of jsnoek
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

More User Reviews:
Photo of Rijtjeshuis
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Look (3.5/5) ~ Pours a deep gold, which is a bit light for the style. Clarity is fairly good, but not ‘brilliant.’ Head is good: cream coloured; raises well of an average pour; falls at a normal pace with no real lacing; and comes to a cap that lasts quite a while.

Smell (3.5/5) ~ A decent malt-hop balance. Hops have a good helping of pine and a bit of floral to them. The malt is caramel-like and nutty. Fairly crisp finish. I think that the aroma hops are not present enough for the style, although the smell is nice and balanced.

Taste (4.5/5) ~ A great balance of malt and hop bitterness. The malt is bread-crust and caramel, with a hint of melanoidin fruitiness (almost grape-like). The hops are of the same character on the palate as on the nose with a bit more of an herbal note, though I would characterize the hop flavor as medium-low. Hop bitterness is assertive and sets of the malt extremely well: the finish fades into a nice mix of lighter malt notes and hop bitterness. Finish is average-dry.

Feel (3.5/5) ~ Medium body and medium-low carbonation. There is a bit of an oily, mouth-coating feel from the hop oils, which compliments the long finish nicely by giving you something to chew on.

Generally, I’m not that big of a fan of brews where the hop bitterness outweighs the hop flavour (but that’s a personal preference and I’ll have to dial it in with a few more steam beers to see what’s good for the style) Anyway, I found that the style was really well balanced and delicious. A good one!

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Photo of R_Kole
3/5  rDev -18.5%

Photo of olradetbalder
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Icelanders have only been allowed to brew beer for 20 years (Mar. 1, 1989), but apparently they've picked up a few things along the way. This beer completely allayed my fears about an Icelandic import brew, and I'll definitely be back for more.

Poured into a nonic. A copper-golden hue, about a 1/2 inch of head. Decent retention: a substantial ring survives, as does some patches of lacing.

Nose is terrific. Apple, hops, resin, lemon, caramel.

Taste isn't far off. A bready, malty character pairs well with juicy, herbal hops. Citrus, caramel and a good piney, earthy character make for a highly drinkable brew.

Slightly watery, but with a decent level of pucker from the juicy hops, it's really hitting the spot on a warm evening such as this. Medium, biting carbonation.

Well done Iceland! A great example of the style, very drinkable and refreshing. Sleeper hit for the summer.

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Photo of mintjellie
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear copper body and a pile of off-white head. Decent retention and patch lace. Bready and floral aromas predominate, with lesser notes of citrus and sulfur. Toasted malt and tangerine hop flavour, with balancing bitterness in the finish. Not big and bold by any means, just a good balanced profile. Light-bodied but not thin, low carbonation, smooth. Nice session lager.

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Photo of Sammy
2.88/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Yellow body with initially a foamy head. Wafts initially a cheesy aroma, then reverts to a neutral one. A little lagerish taste, a tad beow average mouthfeel. Drinkable, but not too drinkable, and 500 ml. is too much for me. Rather uninteresting overall.

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Photo of CanuckRover
4.16/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks wonderful. Big, thick, dense, eggshell head fills up the top quarter of my pint glass. Lacings are nice and big all the way to the bottom. A very light amber with plenty of tiny bubbles floating to the top. 5 for appearance, looks great.

Yum. Nice caramel-y bread on the nose with just a subtle note of light fruit, peach maybe. A whiff of pint hints at the hops to come.

First impression is of a really well made, quality lager. Nice, refreshing, American hops right up front. A touch of sweet grapefruit followed by some piney bitterness that holds on to the tongue through to the aftertaste. Good rounded malts in the middle. Nice soft bread with just the slightest caramel sweetness. Pine and bread come together in the finish to give herbal mustardy type flavour. Nice long finish with plenty of hop resins.

Great mouthfeel. Not too much carbonation, really lets the flavours come out.

High marks for this one. Will it knocn you off your feet? Nope. But I can't come up with any drawbacks, and it fits the style to a 't'.

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Photo of traumaqueen
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of eat
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear amber body with a good cover of off-white head, fading to a ring around the glass. Very nice colour.

Smells of lots of yeast and sweet malt, salted caramel, a bit of citrusy hops. Quite sweet.

The flavour is on the light side and mostly of basic grain and hops. The wheat does show through and adds a nice character. Hops are more earthy here and linger for quite a while on the finish, along with the wheat, leaving a fairly strong drying feeling in the mouth. There is some sweet malt but it's out-balanced by the hop bitterness.

Nice full body with pretty mild carbonation. I like it this feel.

A basic and mostly unmemorable beer, though it's well-made enough and pretty drinkable. I'd probably drink this sometimes as a sessionable beer if I lived in Iceland to try keeping things local. Here in Canada, there are too many other good beers similar to this one.

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Photo of Danielr26
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Reinheitsgebot71
3.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An Icelandic beer at the lcbo never thought I'd see the day!

The beer pours a fine clear bronze colour, very nice. An off white head about a finger thick tops this but doesn't stick around long though it does leave decent lacing.

Fresh citrus hoppiness hits the nose first followed by aromas of honey and half baked bread. Musky grain warehouse and wet burlap smells add a curious note to the nose. Rounding out everything are faint hints of pear and caramel.

Bitterness is right up front on this one. The malt body shows strength and caramel notes in the middle fading to a mellow hop finish. The bitterness is very dry reminiscent of citrus pith. There is a slight metallic tinge in the finish.
A medium light body supports reasonable carbonation providing a very quaffable brew.

A nice offering and my first experience with the steam beer style outside of Anchor. I am looking forward to the smoked stout from the brewery later this year.

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Photo of BuddhaBrowett
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of Stocean1
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - poured from a bottle into a tall wine glass -nice pillowy two finger head - good retention eventually settling to a thin foamy layer of tiny bubbles - neat lacing - very thin film that slowly slides down the side of the glass like cream - colour - amber/copper like an IPA

S - grassy hops and orange peel and a little earthy

T - grass and a hint of citrus up front with a pleasant bitter after taste

M - medium body and carbonation - pleasant tingling on the tongue from the well balanced hops

O - refreshing lager picked up from the LCBO - somehow tastes very similar to Grand River Curmudgeon IPA - I will definitely pick this up again - easy to drink and sessionable - my go to iceland beer!

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.54/5  rDev -31%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle: Poured a bright golden color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of clean cereal with light residual sugar notes. Taste is also dominated by floral cereal with a clean dry finish with some subtle residual sugar notes. There is also some light cooked vegetables which I could have done without. Body is quite full with slight oily texture with good carbonation. Not bad thought it doesn't really stand out and the light DMS touch is not that pleasant.

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Photo of Helgi
1.23/5  rDev -66.6%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.25

Photo of ThinkAgain
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.44/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased at Scandinavia in Reykjavik, Iceland.

This pours a pretty light amber, with a small head, and no lacing.

Smells like caramel and bready malt, some piney and grassy hops, and grapefruit.

I'm not entirely sure what the style is here. There's definitely some malt sweetness, with a firm hop bitterness, and some fruity hoppiness. A little bit less caramel sweetness would make this great.

This is lighter bodied, crisp but a little slick, with a normal level of carbonation.

Not too bad, but a little confusing at times.

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Photo of StephenRich
4.38/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An earthquake hits on Ontario as a volcano erupts in Iceland. Well, thats only partly true. The Eyjafjallajokull volcano has of course been erupting and Iceland, disrupting flights all across the worls, but Ontario has not been hit by an earthquake - hitting shelves at LCBO's all across Ontario is Ölvisholt Brugghus Skjalfti (Skjalfti is Icelandic for Earthquake).

It is a bit of a miracle that the Skjalfti has made it to Ontario. It is brewed by Iceland's number 1 craft brewery in terms of sales and exports; a company that is only 2 years old. But, from 1915 to 1989 beer was banned in Iceland! Ölvisholt Brugghus has defied all the odds by brining unique and flavorful craft beers to the Icelandic beer market which was previously dominated by the bland light lagers which plague much of the world. So well done Ölvisholt Brugghus! It is always a pleasure to see people around the world celebrating the real flavors that craft brewed beer has to offer.

Luckily for us now, the Ölvisholt Brugghus Skjalfti becomes the very first Icelandic beer to ever be sold in Ontario. It is available in 500ml bottles at 5% abv. It has been brewed with a 3 varieties of hops, 5 barley malts, and malted wheat giving it a surprisingly unique and complex flavor profile.

For 74 years beer remained an illegal beverage in Iceland, but now each year on March the 1st Iceland celebrates Beer Day - I think we should be doing the same. Helping ring in this holiday are beers like Skjalfti, a Premium Lager with huge complex flavors and massive quenching capabilities. It did really take me by surprise.

I opened the Skjalfti cold around 5C (40F) as is appropriate for a refreshing lager of this sort. Right from the get-go this beer impressed me. The pour was luscious and smooth building a golden and amber orange beer with lots of life, excitement and depth. The beer was transparent showing rich colors and glowing gold in the light. A softly dense and perfumey head built about two inches gently above the beer in a pillow of off-white delight.

Right away this is why I was surprised and impressed. I have had so many bland pale beers which claim to be a Premium Lager - the Skjalfti really proved to be crafted with passion and heart. It showed real golden copper colors and rich character erupting from the beer.

In I went for a nose, but not to much is there. Really though by definition a Premium Lager is not going to burst with aroma. But soft pale malts and earthy herbal hops played lightly in the air brining with them touches of apple, citrus, light caramel and biscuit.

Here came the real treat - the Skjalfti lets in a big wave of refreshing but creamy pale malts, wide and crisply bitter hops with delicate ripe fruit and floral flavors. The malts show great complexity and full body roundness with soft caramel, toffee, and hints of pepper. Hops play a balancing role here with fresh earth and light pine urging in great crisp bitter flavors and a supremely satisfying zest.

As the beer warms a touch it looses none of its quenching power but gains all of its flavor. Bread and biscuits begin to emerge along with a warmer caramel and big and juicy hops which once again balance the scale evenly. The overall production here is perfect - complex, malty and lightly sweet, with great big bitter hops that wrap around your palate with ease.

The mouthfeel was also perfect aiding the beer's overall impression. It was smooth and lively showing precise carbonation without being aggressive or effervescent. It provided a medium soft body with dept and sophistication.

The finish was on the mark - quenching and crisp without snapping or biting you. It was lightly dry but long with sweet malts fading into your palate. A perfect match for the summer heat. This beer would be so perfect with so many dishes. Almost anything fish, weather it is strong or light will work perfectly with the pale malts and delicate floral flavors of the beer. Pasta, red meat, BBQ, pub fair, Indian, Thai, and on and on. Really because it is 5%, full bodied, perfectly balanced and amazingly refreshing, if will be genuinely delicious with about anything except deserts. Even at that, I bet its nice with cheesecake. I had it with sushi, and it was the perfect compliment and quencher.

Really I am very happy to have enjoyed this beer, and am happy that the Skjalfti will be available at the LCBO. It can be hard these days to find a good full flavored lager - the Ölvisholt Brugghus Skjalfti is a Premium Lager which honorably reflrects the style, and has provided me with the perfect solution!

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Photo of mrnobody
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a clear amber with one finger of soapy white head that disappears immediately.

S: Smells of European hops; a clean pilsener-like aroma.

T: At first, I thought again of a pilsener but this has more heft as well as a bit of robust smokiness. I can certainly see the style similarity to something like Anchor Steam and this compares favourably.

M: Medium mouthfeel with suitable carbonation.

D: The drinkability is very good. I could see enjoying this a lot in the summer.

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Photo of ritzkiss
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle, an unheralded addition to the LCBO's summer release.

Pours a crystal clear golden hue, a few shades darker than your average pale lager that glints a coppery almost pink. Two to three fingers of pillowy head build and then slowly recede to leave a nice covering and spots of lace.

Nose is all lemon and grass, a hint of other citrus fruits and a floral touch as well. Light biscuity malt backing. Smells fresh.

Floral arrangements, fresh cut grass, lemon zest, a slight hint of minerals, biscuity malt, honeysuckle sweetness, dry finish - all marks of a pretty darn good lager. Slightly heavy on the carb (only slightly) but it aids the quick disappearance from my glass.

An excellent summer quaff, it's only too bad that the price doesn't correspond. Still, a quality offering and I would gladly try whatever else makes its way here from the far-off land of ice.

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Photo of Roke87
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle, chilled and poured into a pilsner glass.
Best before: 04.01.2012

Appearance- Pours a dark copper colour with three fingers of billowing fluffy off white almost tan head that takes a while to dwindle down to a nice thick bubbly top that never really leaves, leaving tonnes of lacing throughout the glass right till the finish.

Smell- The nose on this one is very sweet, right off the bat I am hit with an intense aroma of caramel/toffee malts, some mild grassy hops in there as well but not overpowering in anyway, the aromas actually really remind me of a doppelbock.

Taste- Is much the same as the smells, the taste comes through with a dominant sweet caramel/toffee malt flavour mixed with a nice grassy hop flavour, I detect a very mild touch of citrusy fruits in there as well.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied with very good carbonation, this is a very smooth and easy drinking beer, it does finish a little on the dry side though.

Overall- This is a very interesting beer, right away this kind of reminded me of a doppelbock from the smells and even initially on the tastes as well. I did really enjoy this one although I kind of had low expectations, which I am quickly finding out that these Scandinavian offerings are a little more above average than I initially thought. Great balance although there is not a whole lot going on in this beer, but I do like the ice sweet caramel bread malts mixed with the mild hop presence and an even more mild citrusy fruit presence in there as well. All in all I wish I would have picked up a few more of this one because I actually liked it!

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Photo of spinrsx
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a hazy amber/orange colour with an average size fizzy and frothy off white colour head. I can't see much carbonation due to the haziness of the beer.. The head last for only a few minutes before it was gone.

Smell - hops, honey, malts, a grassiness

Taste & Mouth - a very nice mouth feel; perfect combination of carbonation and smoothness. The beer has a very nice mild hop flavour, similar to that found in say a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but much more toned down. There is also a honey sweetness and notes of toffee and lemon juice. The beer finishes with a malty slightly bitter hop aftertaste.

Drink - A pretty decent brew that is definitely worth a try if you happen to see it on the shelves. Sure hit the spot while watching nfl football today.

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Photo of RedAleMan
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of liamt07
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from the LCBO, best before April 1, 2012. Into a tulip.

Pours a golden orange, with a creamy offwhite head. Good retention and some lace. Nose has some distinct grassiness, fairly leafy. Taste has more of the grassiness in it, bitterness is evident but not overpowering. Again, leafy with some pine notes as well. Moderate malt base, some breadiness but subdued. A bit of butter. Finish lingers a bit, but overall a decent beer.

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Skjálfti from Ölvisholt Brugghús
Beer rating: 3.68 out of 5 with 72 ratings