Lava | Ölvisholt Brugghús

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LavaLava
BA SCORE
4.09/5
Exceptional
563 Ratings
LavaLava
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ölvisholt Brugghús
Iceland
brugghus.is

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
Ranking:
#2,480
Reviews:
191
Ratings:
563
pDev:
10.51%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
59
Gots:
61
Trade:
2
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 563 |  Reviews: 191
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.

 675 characters

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.

 1,937 characters

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.

 668 characters

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.

 604 characters

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.

 623 characters

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.

 414 characters

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.

 664 characters

Photo of DrAnnaNemis
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

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.

 732 characters

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.

 323 characters

Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of tbryan5
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of Todd
4/5  rDev -2.2%

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

Picked up a 1 pint 9 oz. bottle of Lava Smoked Imperial Stout at the Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont, MA. Split the bottle with my stout enthusiast girlfriend. As usual, I drank this black nectar from my trusty Dogfish Head signature snifter.

Appearance (4/5): Lava pours a one and a half finger, tan-colored head that sits atop a body of motor oil black beer. I think stouts look great in stemmed glasses; this beer is no different and looks just outstanding. Very nice.

Smell (4/5): Lava smells heavily of smoked malt, though this isn't the only aroma emanating from the glass. Notes of chocolate, dark fruits, and only a slight bit of alcohol can be picked up, as well. So, the smoked malt, while dominant in the nose, mixes well with aromas more characteristic of traditional Russian Imperial-style stouts. I like that Lava is a different and unique-smelling stout, and for that it gets a bump in the smell category, but it's not close to the best Russian Imperial Stouts--one of the best smelling style categories in all of beerdom, in my humble opinion.

Taste (4/5): As with the nose, smoked malt dominates the taste of Lava. I can taste a smokiness from the smoked malt, and it is very pleasantly reminiscent of that beautiful scent given off by meat cooking on a grill...nice. I also pick up more traditional RIS flavors like chocolate, coffee beans, dark fruits, and a hint of alcohol that makes itself known moreso with a warming effect in the finish. I appreciate that the brewers didn't make this a booze bomb--while heavy ABV brews can be great, too much of an alcohol presence has been the downfall of many an imperial/double stout. The flavor is very nice and certainly unusual. It tastes like a cross between a German Rauchbier and a RIS and it's a very favorable fusion indeed. While this isn't the best tasting stout in the world, it gets a bump for being unusual and memorable.

Mouthfeel (4/5): mouthfeel on this beer is medium-thick, though not overly viscous like some stouts. It sits pleasantly on the tongue, and the smokiness of the beer does not have an adverse effect. I would say Lava strikes a good balance for an imperial stout and successfully avoids some of the problematic characteristics of heavy stouts--syrupy viscosity in the mouthfeel being one. Mouthfeel is, overall, very good.

Overall (4/5): Lava is, simply put, very good beer. It is a delicious, not overly complex new spin on a familiar style. (you don't have to add all sorts of strange ingredients to make a beer unique and memorable.) I enjoyed the smokiness of the beer very much, though I was not sure at first how well it would work with a beer brewed in the RIS style. It turned out to work great; Lava is actually quite well balanced and complex, and is not simply a smoked malt delivery system. I think anyone who enjoys imperial stouts but may be looking for something a bit different to give Lava a spin.

 2,915 characters

Photo of ste5venla
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of Arherring
4/5  rDev -2.2%

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

This beer is a thick inky black, perhaps some light creeping in just at the edges, very much appropriate for the style. A nice, compact but fairly sizable tan head displays good retention and leaves equally good lacing on the glass.
Peat and smoke lie in the foreground the whole way without detracting from the nature of the brew as an RIS or going charred or astringent. It's just a nice addition of smoke in an otherwise good stout, with all the bigness the style should have. It's not as huge, bold and heavy as its American counterparts, but it's very balanced without lacking. Malts lay a solid backbone with a roasty element and never fade. It offers the dark cocoa notes I would expect with a touch of dark fruits.
This beer is full-bodied but not too heavy. Some may want an RIS to go down like molasses and sit like a cement block, but this beer offers a nice, even, balanced, smooth feel.

 899 characters

Photo of Beerontwowheels
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of UWBadgerFan4Life
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of DruC4
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of jmccraney
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of Ralphs66
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of joemcgrath27
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

big ups to BA andrenaline for including this in a trade
A - jet black with a thumb of mocha head that retained at a thin covering, thin line of consistent lacing
S - peaty and smoky dominant, roasty and chocolate aromas in the background
T - WOW, a total smoke show, peat and charcoal with big roasty and mocha maltiness, a touch of sweetness on the tail end
M - relatively light for a stout, smooth with some prominent ABV warmth with a little bite, finishes with a dry charred feel
O - it delivers on all three descriptors: Smoked, Imperial, and Stout. Glad I had a chance to try this one, a treat for sure

 608 characters

Photo of Kevincredible
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Lava from Ölvisholt Brugghús
Beer rating: 4.09 out of 5 with 563 ratings
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