Lava | Ölvisholt Brugghús

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188 Reviews
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BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ölvisholt Brugghús
Iceland | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.40%

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.

Added by stulowitz on 12-01-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
188
Ratings:
554
Avg:
4.09
pDev:
17.36%
 
 
Wants:
60
Gots:
59
For Trade:
2
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 188 | Ratings: 554
Reviews by wvsabbath:
Photo of wvsabbath
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - 16.9 oz bottle

Appearance - Dark black with nice 1 inch creamy, foamy head, and plenty of lacing.

Smell - Smoke, dark roasted malts, cocoa, chocolate, molassess, honey, brown sugars. Plum, rasin, some cherry. Smells really nice.

Taste - Starts off very smokey, with a nice sweet, fruit and sugar sweetness. Lots of roasted malts, cherry, honey, brown sugar and molassess. Very smooth, balanced and almost no alcohol present. Roasted malts add a nutty taste to the smoke. Finish has a little alcohol and a chocolate note.

Mouthfeel - Malts, sugars and smoke coat tounge with mild, yet bold flavors. Palate gets more of the same, along with some chocolate and a little alcohol. Aftertaste is smokey, malty and chocolate.

Overall - Excellent, balanced, flavorful, and really smooth and easy to drink for being 9.4%. Its sweet yet not over the top, malty and smokey, yet not overboard. Second only to alaskan smoked porter as my favorite smoked style beer. World class, try this one.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of bwood06
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%

A - Black. 1 finger head that dissipates to a very thin lacing. Head is dark tan. Reddish tint to beer around edges. Beer is opaque. Moderate carbonation visible. 4/5

S - Moderate smokiness with bit of chocolate and espresso. A bit of sweet malt as well as vanilla bean as well. 4.25/5

T - Flavor follows exactly what the nose suggests except that the smoke is more subdued here. Smoke balances with chocolate and espresso with a slight alcohol on the back end. Grassy and earthy bitterness as well as a nice touch of vanilla bean. 4.25/5

M - Very thick and viscous. Chewy. Smooth and creamy. Somewhat of a dry finish. Moderate carbonation. 4.25/5

O - Well balanced stout that has a nice complexity. Smooth and creamy but dry at the same time resulting in a nice dichotomy. 4/5

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.57/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oil black. Just beautiful. Tons of head.

The aroma has tons of smoke of Rauchbier levels. Lots of meats...salami, smoked pork, dark liqueur.

Taste is the flavor of well-smoked meats, salami, chocolate, milk...just amazingly perfect.

Feel is creamy and large, just doesn't quit.

I'll gladly have more of this if I can find it someplace other than on tap. What a fabulous and amazing beer. Top of its class.

 413 characters

Photo of beeryes
4.84/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Absolutely one of the greatest beers I've had in 30+ years of beer drinking. The smoke flavor magically drifts in and out of the utterly beguiling overall flavor profile. The mouthfeel is superb; so is the finish. What's not to like? Sets the standard for a dark smoked beer.

 276 characters

Photo of cjgiant
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap:
Near black, if not. Light brown head that I watched build from a lighter tap pull. Creamy cap stares at me a while.

Nose is a nice sweet smoke. Smoked meat, but definitely more like a sweet sausage. Level of smoke rivals classic Schlenkerla smokiness, but the malts come into play yielding a cedar-like note.

Sweetness comes in a slightly burnt caramel note. There's a hint of salinity that may be entirely my perception.

To me, the smoke is strong enough to cross the boundary this beer is straddling. As an RIS, straight up, it's too smoky. As a smoke beer, it's too malty sweet. What to do? Warmth seems to quell the smoke a tad, leading to more generic roasted malts coming out. Sill seems a tad sweet for the style, though. The smoke adds a light saline/cured meat note as well.

Taste reminds me of a fuller, yet sweeter Urbock from the Bamburg brewery I mentioned earlier. Guessing if I did a side-by-side, I'd find Schlenkerla's beer much more smoky. That said, I liked the malt balance against a decent dose of smoke.

 1,052 characters

Photo of braugon
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of Rijtjeshuis
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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!

 1,576 characters

Photo of tbryan5
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of bulldogg915
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%

Photo of Satyr179
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of DaftPatrick
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of jdix106
4.62/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Todd
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of R_Kole
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of tigg924
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: low carbonation, 1/4 inch head, opaque, black in color

Smell: earth, dark and milk chocolate

Taste: dark and milk chocolate--smoke is present throughout

Mouthfeel: sweet and smoky with light bitterness, medium body, moderate carbonation

Overall: Wow. What a pleasant surprise. As a rauchbier fan, this rivals German versions of the style. This one is highly complex and takes the best parts of a RIS as well. I will certainly be looking for this again.

 468 characters

Photo of aquazr1
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a small tulip, on-tap at Papago.

A - Pours an oil black with a short, tan colored head.

S - Roasted malts with chocolate, very inviting.

T - Picking up more of the chocolate with some hints of coffee and smoke.

M - Medium bodied with light carbonation.

A really good beer. The flavors are complex and I kept picking up different nuances along the way.

 366 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.12/5  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.

 1,450 characters

Photo of gibgink
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of NilocRellim
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear, coffee colour (very black). Smells smokey, burnt grains, and not much else is getting through the intense smokiness. Tastes burnt grains initially, then the warming smokiness slowly build up, with a balanced, smokey/burnt grains finish. Full of flavour, balanced, great beer.

 291 characters

Photo of jondeelee
4.29/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Lava opens to a thick, smoky stout aroma that smells heavily of campfire smoke, as well as ash, tobacco, peat, and chocolate malt. The dark, ashy notes are held lightly in check by caramels and toffees, molasses and near-burnt vanilla, as well as thick brown breads and deeply toasted wholegrain bread crust. There are also some lovely fruit esters, including fig, plum, raisin, berry, and prune, lending the beer a sugary underbelly that resembles a cross between a port and a thickly-syruped fruit cocktail. There’s also an alcoholic overtone that resembles a syrupy, sugary ice wine, though with more notes of maple syrup than grape. The aromas increase greatly in this syrupy sweetness as the bottle remains open, until after a few minutes the early campfire smoke and peat notes are almost gone. Overall, the beer smells wonderful, being a battle between heavy maple syrup, concentrated dark fruit extracts, and smoke, and while the sugars are perhaps a bit too strong, they’re still very alluring.

On the tongue, the beer opens with the same heavy campfire smoke, ash, tobacco, and peat note detected on the tongue. These dark, ashy notes are joined almost immediately by vanilla, caramel, toffee, and molasses, as well as the dark fruit esters (fig, raisin, prune, plum, and berry) noted in the nose. Here, however, the ashy, smoky notes don’t fade over time, but keep pace with the sugars for the duration of the mouthful, joined by thick brown breads, rising whole wheat dough, biscuit, and toast crust. In subsequent mouthfuls the sugars to tend to increase in volume, the tawny port and sweet, maple syrup-laden ice wine notes becoming stronger early in the mouthful, but the ashy notes still catch back up as the beer is held on the tongue and the sugars die off. The aftertaste is a continuation of the heavily sweet, campfire notes of the main mouthful, but here the campfire smoke and ash notes grow and grow, until the mouth seems full of blackness, with only a few bits of syrup left for balance. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is excellent beer, the smoky notes blending well with what is obviously a very nice Imperial Stout in the first place. Fans of the style should definitely make this a must-try.

 2,260 characters

Photo of pat61
4.58/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Bright, deep ebony to black under a 2” dense foam collar with a very fine bead.
S: Light smoke, phenols, fruit, toast, traces of coffee
T: Light malt sweetness, caramel, smokey coffee, roast, with a drying, mildly astringent finish.
F: Creamy, full bodied, very fine soft carbonation.
O: A big, bold Russian Imperial Stout with a burnt grain smokiness rather than a peated of smoked malt smoke. Well done and deliscious.

 430 characters

Photo of chickenm
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of HopsForBrains
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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Lava from Ölvisholt Brugghús
91 out of 100 based on 188 ratings.
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