Skjálfti | Ölvisholt Brugghús

67 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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 67 |  Reviews: 48
Photo of jsnoek
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of crossovert
3.67/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle.

It pours a deep gold with a fizzy white head.

The smell is malty. There is a hint of citrus and pine.

The flavor is nice and malty, a tiny bit of hops on the back end. It really reminds me of a good helles lager mixed with a steam beer and an icelandic touch.

Pretty decent stuff.

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Photo of kelvarnsen
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of marty21
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nice clear copper colour with 1 finger worth of off white fluffy head. Eventually goes down to nothing and didn’t leave much for lacing. The colour of this beer is what was responsible for most of the points for appearance.

S: Bready malt, caramel, some grassy hops and a bit of sweet citrus on the finish.

T: Grassy hops and sweet citrus but is then taken over by a malty grainy taste.

M: Light carbonation with a light body.

O: Nothing crazy about this beer. I could easily turn this into a session beer but might get a little bored after awhile.

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Photo of Roke87
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
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 Kartoffeln
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy, coppery orange with a large, foamy, cream-coloured head. Diminishes to a foamy cap.

S: Sweet bready and toffee malts with floral, slightly spicy hops. Just a hint of citrus.

T: Toffee malts up front with roasted notes and smooth, understated wheat malts. A fruity character comes out in the hops, a bit of orange zest, along with an enduring earthy, floral finish.

M: Very smooth and medium-bodied, nearly no bite from the carbonation. It drinks a bit heavy as a result, but the lasting citric and earthy bitterness in the finish keeps it refreshing.

D: This is actually the first steam beer I've had, so I've little to compare it to. That said, it's a refreshing and pleasant middle-ground between ale and lager well worth trying.

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Photo of Digimaika2
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Rich copper with a nice two-finger thick head with white bubbles. Dissipates to a foamy blanket. Very nice.

S: Funky grassy and earthy hops, faint malts, and a bit of citrus.

T: Light tasting, but nicely balanced between grassy hops and sweet malts. Picking up some pronounced grapefruit and orange tastes.

M: Rather nice and oily mouthfeel.

D: Pretty easy to drink and refreshing brew, but I wouldn't likely seek this one out again.

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Photo of Stocean1
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
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
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours brillaint copper with a nice tall head that recedes quickly and leaves decent lacing. Very clear.
The aroma is dominated by light citrus and spicy and hops over subtle malt sweetness.
The flavour is lightly roasty with medium malt sweetness and a refreshing bitter finish. Flavourful and drinkable lager not unlike Anchor Steam.

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Photo of Mit
3.67/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a-Pours an amber clear colour with minimal head.

s-hoppy flavours come through in the smell. Some malt odours.

t-hoppy flavours right at the beginning with the finish being fairly typical of a wheat.

m-good for the abv.

o-I would buy this again in a heart beat. Really interesting find for the LCBO.

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Photo of liamt07
3.7/5  rDev 0%
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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Photo of peensteen
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice copper/amber colour, decent white head, light traces of lacing on the glass. Smell is not overly aromatic but nice smooth malt, light citrus, mildly hoppy. Taste is crisp, a nice hop presence is there, nice malt, a really flavorful lager. Good creamy mouthfeel, quite refreshing very smooth, perfect carbonation. Really solid beer, nice flavourful lager, I could drink this all day.

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Photo of irc
4.65/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A top notch bottled wheat. Sharp citrus with a nice head on the pour. Clean finish. The light amber colour was surprising. I thought it a most delicious pint and would partake of it's wheatie-citrus-ness again. And again. And again. And again. But probably not again after that.

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Photo of eat
3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
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 hopsolutely
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A beautiful clear amber with little effervescence, but still offers a delightful mouthfeel. Much more aroma and flavour than I expected from anything European, and truly pleasant to drink.

Hoppy aroma and well balanced taste, with a nicely bitter finish. A very nice surprise!

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Photo of bryehn
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, yellow-tinged amber colour with a thick head that leaves a fair amount of lace before settling as a thin layer.

It smells just wonderful to me. Freshwater and deep, bready malts with a real hoppy spiciness in its backing and a candied sweetness that comes through as it warms.

The taste is like toasted malt, but it also has a real fruitiness to it, as well as a light, lemon zest citrus accent. There's also a decent hoppy spiciness here, it's a very intriguing beer for certain.

The mouthfeel may keep me from having more than one at a time because I find it heavy on the tongue. There is a real bread-like quality to the finish, but there is a decent prickly carbonation at least.

Pleasant and unique (to me at least) offering that I'll have to try again.

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Photo of mrnobody
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
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 Reinheitsgebot71
3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
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 spinrsx
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
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 bylerteck
4.08/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Fizzy white head seems to be going fast but the middle is nice and pillowy so I'm hoping for some good lacing. Tons of carbonation on a hazy orange body. Head has calmed down now and is champing through midway with a nice one finger cap of thick, rocky, gorgeousness.

S - Could smell tons of fresh hops when I poured this. Grapefruit, orange. Nice citrus all over, a nice change for a lager. Slight grain.

T - Nice mild citrus hops. Really minute bitter finish appropriate for what this is. Crisp and refreshing at the same time.

M - Carbonation is less fierce than it looks. Keeps it dancing on the tongue with it's light-medium body.

D - High. A good refreshing lager with a nice hop kick.

Another well crafted beer from these guys.

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Photo of StephenRich
4.38/5  rDev +18.4%
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 ecoastman
3.3/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I didn't expect to find this one under a California Common / Steam Beer lager category but then again why not? The brewers tell you more about Icelandic earthquakes than the beer and the intended style on the label.

Overall, a decent beer that has much more flavour than a typical Euro Lager - not even compareable really. But I'll probably only buy it again the next time I'm in Iceland.

The appearance is a hazy straw colour with a head that recedes leaving no lacing. Sweet malt and earthy-pine hops are balanced in the light aroma. But there's a medium-high level of bitterness that stands out which lingers too long in the aftertaste for my palate.

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Photo of allergictomacros
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear light gold and decent head. Nose has an odd fruitiness to it, lychees and tropical fruit. Fairly bitter and sharply carbonated, again with a lychee flavour. Quite dry and a bit astringent with a herbal hop. Light toasted grain and caramel round out the flavours. A little bit on the acidic side as well. This one could use a bit more sweetness to balance the hops, but overall drinkability isn't bad.

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Photo of TerryW
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A nice solid effort out of Iceland. Pours a short head that settles to a creamy looking heavy film. Surrenders some very nice curtainy lace all the way down the glass. Clear medium amber in colour, very active in the glass with lots of small bubbles rising to the top.

Fresh fruity hop aroma with a hint of grass and pine. Very appetizing nose. Nice gentle hop bitterness up front, with a sweet malt backbone that comes around to a lingering bitter finish. Very tasty, very nicely balanced, nothing to overwhelm.

A nice drinking beer worth trying.

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Photo of biegaman
4.07/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Iceland may be known for its snow and eruptive volcanoes but this beer has little of the white stuff and a carbonation that could hardly be described as explosive. Its burnished golden colour, oddly enough, approximates a tropic sunset; it's somewhat unrepresentative of a country that sees only a few hours of daylight for half the year!

But hey, it looks good and, besides, the aroma is even more atypical. It has a significant sulfur-y component and an impressively confident bouquet that is ripe with hoppiness. Flower petals, earthy herbs and dried citrus shavings make for a lager as appetizing as it is unique while biscuity malts and heavy doses of lemon and grass add the finishing touch.

Such substantial hopping in lagers is still fairly rare - surprising considering just how delicious and distinctive the result is. I'm not saying I prefer the taste of hops to malts - both are flavourful in their own rights - but I do find the hop flavours can, in many ways, be better appreciated when showcased in lagers which can provide such a clean, neutral backdrop.

To be more specific, those hoppy flavours include foremost a dry and earthy grassiness as well as a bright, citric lemony attribute (both of which could not possibly be any tastier). Lesser, and more abstract, notes of pine and flower petals are also noted although they rank about on par with the tastes of toffee biscuits and honey smeared on toast.

It's befitting that the beer was brewed right over top of where the American and European continents come together - it has the refinement and quaffability of a traditional European lager but also the brawny bitterness and in-your-face hopping done the American style.

While I may not be able to pronounce its name, I can say for certain that Skjálfti is good beer and Ölvisholt Brugghús, seemingly, is a gem of a little brewery. The name of the beer translates to 'earthquake', ironic considering it brings the two continents' styles together rather than dichotomize them. I understand that Icelanders have a reputation for drinking a lot - but with offerings like this who can blame them?

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Skjálfti from Ölvisholt Brugghús
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 67 ratings
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