Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Lava | Ölvisholt Brugghús

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding
188 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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
Reviews:
188
Ratings:
554
Avg:
4.09
pDev:
10.27%
 
 
Wants:
60
Gots:
59
For Trade:
2
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 188 | Ratings: 554
Photo of Evilyak
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

well this one delivers. pours black and inky. smells, and tastes, of smoke and mores smoke. maybe some overly-toasted grain in there too.

i'm not getting all the meat as referenced below - at least nothing porcine. there is what feels like some subtle saltiness. definite sweetness with just a hint of a tang to it.

mouth is creamy, but a bit overwhelming. as you'd expect from the pour, it's viscous and coats your mouth pretty well. booze is well hidden.

 459 characters

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 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 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 BlurryVisi0n
4.01/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter glass glass.

Appearance: Thick black bodied brew with a dark tan head which is a little weak, with a vigorous pour it rises to about one full finger's length. Settles nicely, and quickly with no lacing.

Smell: Smells like a light charcoal BBQ with lighter hints of malt.

Taste: Unique smoke feel coupled with dark chocolate and wood notes.

Mouth: Medium carbonation at its best, stickiness is just average at best.

Overall: Nice brew might might off a little heavy and feels a bit like a meal. Would have again without hesitation and doesn't really need tweaking, personally I think it's best paired with a meal..:.Salud!

 651 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black with an inch of tannish foam.

Smells smokey as hell with side notes of bitter chocolate and coffee.

Smokey, lots of roasted malt, bitter (dark) chocolate, toffee, not much of a coffee flavour. Pretty boozy.

Full bodied imho but superbly smooth on my palate.

Like a bumped up Alaskan Smoked Porter. I suppose that explains my love for it.

 365 characters

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Impeccable looking beer. Perfect dark khaki head and pitch-black body. 5

Smells of all types of smoke, campfire, smoked ham and bacon and woody mesquite. Awesome. 4.25

All the smokey loveliness I was getting from the nose hits on the taste. There's some dark chocolate that complements things and creamy caramel and vanilla. Earthy hops appear on the finish. 4

There's a bit of a soda-like carbonation to this that upsets the otherwise creamy, viscous and rich body. The feel is plenty smokey, earthy and bitter too. 4

Excellent. This is for the smoke lovers. If you like that in a beer, drink this.

 603 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 Roguer
4.11/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Beautiful black brew, topped by a sizable mocha head, with very good retention and nice lacing.

Very nice RIS aroma profile: roasted barley, a touch of grapes and dark fruit, a slight hint of sweetness, bittersweet chocolate and coffee, and just a bare hint of smoke.

Flavor follows, with quite a bit more sweetness on the palate, and a very nice complement of smoke on the back half. A little more chocolate, as well.

Medium fullness; very slick, lively, and smooth. Excellent drinkability.

This is a surprisingly nice beer all around. I love the balance of sweetness, roasted barley, and smoke, making for a really great blend of flavors.

 644 characters

Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an Ommegang goblet.

Look: Espresso coffee blackness with brown barely emerging around the edges. The cream colored head disappears completely, leaving no lacing.

Aroma: That inky, oily black licorice aroma from most imperial stouts emerges immediately. Smokiness is subdued, although it brings out a cooked meat aroma that is not unpleasant by any means.

Taste: Charred grains, roasted malts, smoked meats, and some burnt coffee grounds all come out. The finish is slightly tangy, and as the beer warms more black licorice is present in the finish.

Mouthfeel: A little thin and boozy.

Overall: I suppose. I think the mouthfeel hurt the overall quality, but I did appreciate that the smoke was not palate wrecking.

 730 characters

Photo of mynie
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Micro Bar in Reykjavik.

Pours dark with a respectable head. Smells of coffee, dark barley, and dry hops. Tastes very similar--dry and roasty, nice firm body with medium complexity.

It more resembles a good American double stout than a Russian Imperial.

 266 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Darrell.

Near black, opaque body with a thin beige head. Smoke, cooked sausage, campfires. Rauchbier character. Nearly 10% abv masked well. Easy drinking. Smooth with low to medium carbonation. Solid beer. Hooray Iceand.

 239 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 leroybrown10
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours black and viscous. Dark khaki colored head of about 1.5 fingers. Head sticks around for a while and leaves a small amount of lacing behind. Lacing vanishes quickly. This is completely opaque and seems quite thick.

Aroma is smoke, roasted malt, peat and tobacco. Overripe plum and herbal notes are faint on the back end.

Rich smoke flavor on the first taste. Makes me think of a campfire. Roasted malt, burnt toffee, and fire roasted nuts. Some creamy coffee notes. Maybe a hint of vanilla. Herbal notes of the aroma come through much stronger on the tongue.

Thick creamy body. More carbonation than I would expect. Oily and viscous on the tongue. Flavors linger, mild bitterness in particular.

This was an excellent smoked stout. Smoke is strong but rich and balanced. Some smoked beers I've had were rather astringent but this goes more towards creamy.

 882 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 flagmantho
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I had this beer on-tap in a snifter at Brave Horse Tavern in Seattle.

Appearance: completely black color; dark, deep, cloudy, everything you want in the style. There's a slim ring of dark tan foam atop; quite attractive indeed.

Smell: sweet, fruity and smoky. There's a light alcohol fruitiness and some dark fruit from the malt; roasty with a little bit of chocolate, and a low but distinct smokiness in the aroma. Complex and intriguing; I love it.

Taste: very rich and very sweet. Roasty with a nice bitterness and a little bit of an astringency toward the end, but mostly it's a bit syrupy and sticky. Chocolate, dark fruit, raisin, date; the smokiness is more pronounced in the flavor than in the aroma. I quite like it.

Mouthfeel: big, rich body with a nice carbonation and a silky texture. This is a rich and creamy beer indeed.

Overall: smoked Russian imperial stout -- there's not much more to know about this beer. It's rich, black and tasty.

 970 characters

Photo of The_Dude_710
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber. Very good smoked RIS. Not overly smokey, but just enough to add to the beer not subtract from it.The smoke and the body hide the 9.4% abv very nicely.

 172 characters

Photo of evianIPA
2.49/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

330ml bottle from Vinhusid Reykjavik, December 2014. Best before 08.10.17

First impressions...BACON LIQUORICE!

A - Opaque black with tan crema
S - Sweet medicinal/liquorice aromas, touch of alcohol and bacon
T - Liquorice and bacon with an alcoholic finish
M - Surprisingly light, with soft lingering finish
O - I was wowed initially, as I both love smoked beers and stout, but I'm less wowed with each sip. A nice idea, but fairly one dimensional. Possibly better with age and could certainly do with more body, bitterness and malt.

 535 characters

Photo of fourstringer
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 0.5L bottle into a Brewer's Art goblet. Moderate hand. Stamped a cryptic 20:59C3L038/12.

A: Very dark brown body on the pour and opaque black in the glass. 1/2 finger of mocha-colored head. Ok retention. Light lacing.

S: Roasted malts with notes of woody smoke, toasted almonds, dark chocolate, coffee. Trace raisin.

T: Tangy, smoky malts open and persist throughout. A touch of bacon at times. A cacao-type bitterness slowly builds to a fairly dry finish. Alcohol presence is well hidden for 9.4% ABV. Lingering tobacco, dark chocolate, roasted malt and smoke in the aftertaste.

M: Moderate carbonation with a medium body for style. Slightly prickly, but overall nice.

O: Nicely balanced imperial stout with a tasteful degree of smoke. Rich, but very drinkable. Color me impressed.

Prost!

 836 characters

Photo of Flounder57
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9 oz bottle was poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: A two finger mocha head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a pitch black color with no vision of anything. Spotty lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Smokey, caramel, molasses, roasty, chocolate, warm alcohol, and bready malts.

Taste: Nice smoked malts, molasses, caramel, leather, chocolate, roasty, a little soy, dark fruits, alcohol, and bready malts. More flavors opened up as the beer warmed up.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, full bodied, smokey, low to medium carbonation, a little chewy, and deceiving warm alcohol.

Overall: I think I enjoyed this one more on draft. Still a solid and smoked imperial stout. I'll definitely revisit this one again.

 748 characters

Photo of TX-Badger
2.75/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Pours black like oil with khaki head. Smells of roasted malt, smoked malt, and some raw cocoa; follows onto the palate. Full bodied. Finishes with more smoke.

 158 characters

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.

 960 characters

Photo of Alex-Alkis
4.61/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A huge aroma, with lots of smoke and ash. Smells like a real volcano, but with dark chocolate and black malt. The flavor is very strong. Lots of dark chocolate, smoke and licorice. Finally, a hearty, yet not intrusive alcohol warmth. I am very impressed by this beer.

 267 characters

Photo of Ozzylizard
4.31/5  rDev +5.4%

$ 11.29/16.9 oz bottle at Vintage Estates, Boardman, OH
Bottle at 45 degrees into imperial pint glass
Aroma of roasted malt, smoke, and bitter chocolate
Head small (1 cm), light brown, fizzy, rapidly diminishing to 2 mm ring
Lacing none
Body dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor of roasted malt and bitter chocolate with a light smoke overlay; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium to full, creamy, lively carbonation

Appearance 4, Aroma 4.25, Flavor 4.5, Palate 4, Overall 4.1875. Final weighted score: 4.3125
A very pleasant smoked imperial stout. The smoke is not overpowering but complements the roasted malt/bitter chocolate notes. The lack of lacing and rapid depletion of the head detract from the appearance.

 728 characters

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

 799 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Lava from Ölvisholt Brugghús
4.09 out of 5 based on 554 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe