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Lava | Ölvisholt Brugghús

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Brewed by:
Ölvisholt Brugghús

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

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Reviews: 188 | Ratings: 554
Photo of Samp01
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. A deep dark black with a slowly dissipating brown head. Aroma of dark roasted malt, caramel, some mild dark fruit with a deep smoked essence. Taste is sweet dark roasted malt, some caramel ad mild dark fruity favors with a very distinct smoked flavor and mild bitterness. Palate is medium to full body, slightly creamy and oily with moderate carbonation. Finishes with a dark roasted caramel malt, dark fruit, ending with lingering bitter sweet smoked flavor and some alcohol. Smoked flavor and aroma are stronger as it warms up. Overall a very good, flavorful brew, very nice.

 591 characters

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

Pours out coffee black with just a hint of off-white suds. Lacing here.
Smell is nutty chocolate and coffee with a slight yeast/alcohol burn in the nose.
Taste is smokey for sure but not a fake smoke/liquid smoke. The alcohol is hidden very well here.
Mouthfeel is very clean after the smoke leaves the palate.
Overall I like this RIS and usually I don't like smoked anything. I have only tried Smoked Porters and this is my first Smoked RIS. Pretty nice except for the cost. 10 bucks for a pint.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Black color. Just about one finger of frothy medium brown head. Retention is a touch below average and just a few wisps of lacing are left.

4.25 S: The smoke in this is just great. It offers both the porcine meatiness and the campfire thing. Quite earthy with a big mineral component. Tangy molasses and dark fruits. Underneath is the typical chocolate, coffee, and caramel. Just a touch of char as well.

4.0 T: Much like the nose. Smoke again leads the way as described above. Strong mineral earthiness. Chocolate and caramel come to the forefront to join the molasses. On the drier side for a beer this big. Coffee and a light char aftertaste to round it out.

3.75 M: Not quite as viscous as I would have guessed. Heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Lightly creamy and super smooth. The booze is barely detectable.

4.0 D: Good beer all around. Pick it up if you stumble upon it like I did.

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

A: Pours an opaque almost jet black in color with some light hints of reddish brown when held up to the light. The beer has half finger tall beige head that quickly reduces to a thick ring around the edges of the glass and a couple of patches. Significant lacing is observed.

S: The aroma has quite a bit of smoke in it along with some charred woods, toasted/roasted malts, and some light bittersweet chocolate.

T: Lots of roasted and toasted malt flavors up front along with some sweetness, then the smoke flavors come in and leave a wonderful lingering bitterness. Some very light hints of bittersweet chocolate.

M: Full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: Slightly light in the body for a Russian imperial stout but a really enjoyable beer with very nice smoke hints which do not overpower the flavors. The beer has a pretty high ABV but no hints of the alcohol in the aroma or flavor. A great sipping beer and as someone born in Iceland, really happy to have found a good beer to sample from the country.

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

Pours a three finger brown head that fades quickly leaving some lace. Midnight black color, no highlights. Light-medium carbonation and heavy bodied. Smoky, chocolate nose and flavor is similar smoky baked chocolate malts. Best so far from Iceland. $11.30 for a 500ml bottle from Tully's Beer and Wine Wells, Me.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

My first Icelandic find is a smoked stout? Sometimes fortune does indeed smile upon us tickers... Anyway, this stuff pours a straight obsidian topped by a strong finger of light sienna foam. The nose comprises dark smoke, roasted malts, and what may or may not be some dark coffee. The taste brings in more of the same, though now the darkness beneath the smoke is more varied: roasted malts, molasses, coffee, and dark chocolate. Combined with the dark, almost peat-y smoke, this is one of the blackest, most metal beers that's ever graced my tongue. The body is a strong medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, a nice, deep, dark smoked stout, one certainly worthy to bear the name of such a powerful manifestation of our planet's inner mechanisms.

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Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a jet black color and a thick, impenetrable texture. There was an inch of creamy, tan-colored, fairly long-lasting head. Average lacing.

S: An interesting aroma of dark fruit, chocolate, malt and a smoky quality.

T: Tasted of dark chocolate, roasted malt, dark fruit (plums), and the smoky quality. Surprisingly, not a coffee presence in the flavor (not a bad thing). A slightly more subtle, well balanced taste.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a slick finish. Medium- to full-bodied.

O: A well made, slightly different Russian Imperial Stout. Very drinkable.

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

Showing some Brazilians that there was craft beer available to purchase from Iceland, we took the plunge and added a bottle to our purchase and later tasted. From a 500 ml bottle, on to the beer:

No surpise, black is color of this Icelandic stout. Next....the smell. Licorice and a touch of cocoa hit, and surprising a smokiness that reminds me more of smoked Gouda cheese than smoked meat. The taste does follow much like the taste, with a few subtle changes. Licorice is still the main theme of the beer, roasty and cocoa notes hitting around. The smoked gouda note is replaced of a vague yet still appetizing soft smoked note. A thick stout being nearly heavy bodied, which you can attribute to the 9.4% ABV, but you'd be hard pressed to find much of it as it's hidden well.

Volcanoes and a serious banking crisis have put Iceland on the map in recent years. With Einstok and Olvisholt exporting beer to the US recently, perhaps it's time to add craft beer to the list.

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

Pourd from a 22oz bottle... Into a shipyard tulip.

A: pours a nice dark black with traces of dark brown when held to light... Nice almost finger of micha creamy head, dissapates slowly. Looks very nice... But not much lacing...

S: like campfire, and almost marsh mellowness. Light bacon.. Black coffee ... Black licorice. A very interesting nose.... Not as overwhelmingly smoky as I expected... Which is a good thing for me.

T: much light the nose.... Campfire, char, but not overwhelimg.... A bit of bacon, a sweetness like black licorice with notes of burnt coffe rines and dark chocolate.... Nicley complex.

M: medium bodied and slick, oily, very well rounded ... Low carbonation.... The thing i like about this is that the smoke ends nicley at the end of the beer and you aren't left with a intensely smoky, lingering aftertaste.

O: a good beer, I am not a huge fan of smoke beers, but this is not
Overwhelimg, I could see how if you were a fan of this style this would be an excellent brew... And I could see how this beer would be exceptionally good for food pairings.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark black with a hint of brown and a finger of frothy khaki-chocolate head. Fades fairly slowly.

S - Roasted chocolate and caramel malts, smoke, vanilla, molasses, black licorice, dark cocoa, coffee, dark fruits, and a bit of booze.

T - Chocolate and caramel malts, smoke, vanilla, black licorice, molasses, dark cocoa, roasted coffee, dark fruits, earthy hops, and a bit of booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth with a sweet, smoky, warming finish.

D - Nice smoked stout. Good overall balance and mouthfeel.

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

my first icelandic beer, cool! good stuff too. it pours a cloudy chocolate brown color with a fair bit of carbonation creating a two inch off white head. its got a nice smokey malt smell, with some cocoa and clever yeast behind it. almost smells like a s'more. the taste isnt as sweet at the nose. the smoke flavor is pretty pronounced, and the chocolate from the nose comes through in the taste as well. the alcohol taste is pretty strong here, but it cuts through the thick smokey malt flavor nicely to leave a reasonably clean finish for a beer of this style. the feel is a little over carbonated at first, but it settles down as it warms. the body is huge, made bigger by the yeast sediment, but i had no problem with a bomber of this. id be curious to try more beers from iceland, hopefully they wont be as expensive as this one was. thats the only reason i wouldnt buy this again.

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

On-tap at Beachwood I, the first Icelandic beer I've ever been able to buy in the US,

A: Pours very black with a full tan head, good lace and retention.

S: Definite smokiness, peaty malt, with some light dark fruit, orange.

T: Lots of dark malt and chocolate, some dark fruit. Rich and full-flavoured.

M: Full-bodied, soft carbonation, nice body weight, nice aftertaste.

O: A very well made smoked Imperial Stout. The flavours are very good, the price is a problem, but in the end this is a good beer.

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Photo of JayQue
3.99/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first beer from Iceland...very nice. Pours a totally dense brown color with no light getting through...takes a hard pour, but you get a medium size brown (ten fidy colored) brown head. Some lacing and average head retention for such a strong beer.

Smell is excellent, smoky roasted malts and some chocolate. very pleasant. Taste is similar. The smokiness is prominent but not overpowering. Flavor is more of the same. Big smoky malty flavor, some chocolate and a little bit of bitterness in the finish. The smokiness is not overpowering. Just blends in with the other flavors.

Mouthfeel is rich and fairly smooth. There is a very slight bit of alcohol harshness, but not much. Goes down real easy.

An outstanding strong stout.

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Photo of fostachild
3.99/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of DoctorZombies
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Black pour with khaki/tan head; ok lace, not much cap or carbonation. Just a whisper of smoke in the nose (I was expecting more...). Subtle smoky and roasted malt flavors up front; bittersweet dark chocolate as the liquid warms; roasted malt finish. Dry, bittersweet medium lite mouthfeel and roasted malt (smoke?) tongue coating. Overall, the dry roast/smoky linger subsumed the underlying dark chocolate flavors.

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Photo of bark
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with a half inch tan head that went away quickly. There's a small amount of lacing. The brew smells like smoked malt/meats, chocolate, molasses and coffee. Taste is pretty much just like the aroma, it tastes like smoked malt/meats, milk and bittersweet chocolate, coffee, burnt/charred malt and little bit of licorice. There's also a nice lingering bittersweet smoky finish. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's creamy and coating with moderate carbonation. I think it's a solid overall beer, and it's definitely worth a try. $11.49 a bottle.

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Black bodied beer with a rich crayon brown head.

S - Salty smoked meats come to mind. Smoked fish and cured meats. Toasted, roasted grains and burnt wood.

T - Very smokey on the palate like the nose eluded. Akin to liquid smoke. Notes of charcoal, beef jerky, and firewood. Roasted blackened grains mixed with espresso. Plenty of bitter black flavors with a little hint of hops. The black roasty character is the star here.

M - This beer is dry and roasted to the max. This is close to drinking charcoal.

O - They certainly hit the mark with the amount of smoke this beer has. Put liquid smoke in a cup of espresso.

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Photo of metter98
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is essentially jet black in color—traces of amber are visible near the edge of the glass. It poured with a thin light tan head that quickly died down and left some lacing on the surface and a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light to moderately strong aromas of roasted malts in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of roasted malts along with notes of smoke.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is lighter in body compared to other Russian Imperial Stouts and resembles that which you would expect from a porter. The alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

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Photo of jlindros
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On a day that is like summer out, why not crack a 9.4% abv beer. My first Icelandic beer (I think) so this should be interesting.

Pours a light fizzy darker colored head that fades instantly, practically no head which is typical for the style and abv, so nothing weird going on here, with a pitch black beer, no light escaping its folds of darkness, and some decent looking legs on the sides.

Nose has plenty of dark roasty stout aromas, dark roasted malts with a little bit of over roasted almost burnt but not quite. A nice smoke cuts through, bringing some campfire and light smoked cheese. Then a little bit of baker's chocolate but not much. The smoke is predominant, but gives way to a bit of vanilla and caramel, and a bit of booze rides the wave in.

Taste starts with the smoke again, not overpowering but definitely there, bringing a light campfire and a light smoked cheese rind, a bitterness of the rind and smoke brings a slight briny flavor. The smoke brings light phenolic flavors but not a lot. Then follows layers of stout flavors, some roast but not nearly as much as I expected. A little bit of cocoa and very dark bitter chocolate. Then some some light booze with a slight fusel flavor but not much. The malts also bring very light biscuit and vanilla. Bitterness is there throughout, some earthy hops there but plenty from the bitter roasty malts and some of the booze even. Finish is semi bitter, a bit more dark chocolate and cocoa coming through on the finish, with some light earthy hops, and a hint of roast, a bit of smoke is there but mostly faded at this point. The chocolate really comes through on the finish nicely.

Mouth is med to a bit fuller bodied but feels somewhat thin, decent carb, and decent amount of booze.

Overall pretty good, nice malts, roasted malts aren't too big, some decent smoke flavors that get a bit harsh but never overpowering, and the nice chocolate finish adds a nice touch.

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Photo of DrJay
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of northyorksammy. Thanks!
Black beer with the faintest of ruby edges. A thin skim of fine, dark brown bubbles formed on the surface of the beer during the pour. A bit of transient lacing formed, but didn't last beyond a couple of sips. Smoky aroma, roasty and sweet with a bit of licorice. Sweet up front, dark chocolate and brown sugar, smoky and roasted malts, dry roasted nuts, light alcohol in the finish. Decent texture, medium plus body with lowish carbonation, light astringency with some alcohol warmth. Enjoyable overall. It had an interesting character and wasn't over the top in any one area, which kept it fairly drinkable for a big stout.

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Photo of n2185
3.94/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours black with a finger of tan head that fades into a tbin ring with no lacing.

S: lots of smoked meat and campfire notes on the nose with undertones of roasted malts and bitter chocolate.

T: similar to the aroma, tons of smokey flavors with roasted malts and bitter cocoa.

M: medium-heavy body with medium carbonation, this beer is surprisingly light-bodied for the style, but it works well with the smoke flavors

O: a good beer overall. Not terribly complex, but quite tasty and enjoyable

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Photo of Naugros
3.94/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

I was really excited to see a beer from Iceland on my local beer store's shelves and even more so to find out it was a smoked stout.

Got it home and poured it into my Raspy nonick glass and watched as the head rose, sizzled a little and went bye-bye entirely. The color is nice though, almost black in the glass with ruddy edges, the pour looked to be a really dark coppery brown.

The smell is mostly smoke and roast. Smells a lot like a rausch without being overbearing in the burnt-down building smell. A touch of floral hops will give a nice counterpoint if you're looking for it.

Lots of flavor and the smoke is the star. If you don't like smoked beers then you can skip this, but it's not a ton of smoke. Not quite as subtle as Sam Adams' Cinder Bock or Weyerbacher's Fireside, but not as aggressive as Victory's Otto or anything by Aecht Schlenkerla. Other flavors include red wine (the dark, chewy stuff), cola, some spice (which might just be alcohol burn disguised by the other flavors) and bitter dark fruit.

The body is a bit lacking, thin and watery with a touch of satin that makes it slide down your throat...but so does water. Maybe some oatmeal would help here or a larger grain bill, but the 9.4% is sneaky enough as it is without raising it.

Not horrible and with a reworking to increase the body, this would be a very nice beer, it's just too thin for a stout. However, I do leave impressed that a stout this thin can manage to balance the flavors it dumps on you.

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Photo of TheBullsHorn
3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is a beer that plays on the enjoyability that touch of smoke can add. Prominent flavors of chicory, coffee bean, cocoa nibs, and a slight ashiness are complimented by flavors of overripe fruit. The smoke is present but not overpowering and doesn't seem to linger but fades into a soy sauce/ umami flavor. For a smoked beer, this is quite balanced (like the way the overall sweetness is offset by the ashy bitterness),providing a nice depth among dominant flavors.

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Photo of decimator
3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into a pint glass. ABV 9.4%.

A - Poured a near black with a 1cm brown head. One of the darkest beers I've ever seen. Head reduce to some surface bubbles. No lacing.

S - Coffee and charcoal.

T - Standard stout flavour with lots of smoke. I'm having a hard time picking out the various flavours because of its smokiness. Burnt toast and hops in the finish. The ABV is very well hiden.

M - Medium-heavy body, average carbonation, nice thick syrupy texture that isn't too sticky, dry finish. Very nice mouthfeel overall.

O - Easy to drink for sure. I think the mouthfeel helps this beer a lot.

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Lava from Ölvisholt Brugghús
4.09 out of 5 based on 554 ratings.
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