Lava | Ölvisholt Brugghús

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91
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559 Ratings
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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
Ratings:
559
Reviews:
189
Avg:
4.09
pDev:
10.02%
 
 
Wants:
60
Gots:
60
For Trade:
2
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Ratings: 559 |  Reviews: 189
Photo of Sammy
3.87/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours opaque black with reddish brown 1.5 inches of soapy head that sticks to the side of the glass. Big roasty aroma with some smoke. Middling mouthfeel. The taste is definite smoked malt,with chocolate, the carbonation is right there. Alcohol somewhat hidden, it does feel a little boozy in aftertaste.

 304 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.34/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Beachwood BBQ in Long Beach, CA.

Pours an opaque dark brown with a dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of smoked malt, campfire, and smoked meats and cheeses. Taste is much the same with a medium roasty bitterness after each sip. This is a very good smoked beer with some awesome aromas and flavors.

 412 characters

Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

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.

 886 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of Knapp85
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a beer I had been looking to get my hands on for a while. Managed to get a bottle at Capone's bottle shop yesterday. Gave this one a pour and it came out as a very nice looking rich black color with a light brown colored head on top. The retention is really good and the lacing is minimal. The smell of the beer is smokey, roasted and slightly sweet also. The taste of the beer lightly smokey with a nice roast roasted malt flavor, some subtle sweetness and bitterness working well together. The mouthfeel of the beer is nice and thick, it's very smooth and creamy. Overall I'm enjoying this beer a lot. I think it was worth the wait, I would drink it again if the price was right.

 690 characters

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

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 BEERchitect
4.04/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Hello Iceland! Welcome to the craft beer scene. And you do so with aggression, boldness, and masculine qualities. ...I like it!

Their Lava Imperial Stout pours with a rich and lumbering patience. Dark (lack of) color is the deepest of brown that black hues pronounce. Largely oqaque, the dark beer impedes any light. Its patient and light carbonaiton slowly releases a skirt of foam that looks like coffee creme after the beer settles. Light lacing leaves random pockets of foam on the glass in its wake.

Strong smoke rises to the nose and strikes the olfactory senses with as much of a sense of barbecue as it does stout. But at its core, the scent of strong roast coffee, bitter chocolate, and walnut woodiness provide the supporting aromas that prop up the smoky cloud.

But flavors take a different turn- the taste of French-pressed coffee, chocolate and walnut command the taste, while reigning in the smoke flavors to the point where only moderate nuances reside. Sure the smoke makes its mark with an overall meaty taste, but its succulence brings rise to the choco-coffee blend that so irresistible. Bittered with as much roasted grain as hops, the finish culminates with a toasty-dry taste and semi-ashy dryness.

Full bodied early, the beer quickly digresses to moderately weighted texture that resembles apprehensive lightness in middle palate nearly causes the beer to seem light or thin. But just enough soft malt structure carries the beer to its powdery finish of pleasant warmth, semi-dryness, and smooth bite.

Lava is an exceptional beer, but you have got to like those campfire flavors and aromas from start to finish. Its level of smoke rivals traditional German rauchbiers, but fold in the complexities of imperial stout at every turn. It's not fore everyone. But for those savory freaks like me, this beer is built for me!

 1,846 characters

Photo of biboergosum
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle, courtesy of tbeckett - Skál! Nice label imagery of what I imagine most people think of when pressed to describe Icelandic topography (but perhaps not iconography).

This beer pours a solid black, with very slight mahogany edges when offered to the light, and two swathed fingers of thin foamy mocha head, which displays fairly stolid retention, eventually leaving a low ebbing glacier profile of lace around the glass. It smells of roasted malt, with a subtle smokiness, that seems innocuous when mixed with some tart fruitiness, milk chocolate, and earthy dark, sugary molasses. The taste is big bittersweet chocolate, some sharp toasty graininess, more sour dark fruit, this time ankle-deep in a kiddie pool of warming alcohol, and dry black licorice adding further to the mire. The carbonation is quite sedate, the body an agreeable medium weight, and smooth, and bordering on creamy. It finishes sweet, the graininess and chocolate interwoven, with a bit of understated, latent smoke to bring us full circle from the Arctic Circle...

After having viewed a few documentaries about the pungency of smoked fish/alcohol/atmosphere from Iceland, I was a wee bit trepidatious about this brew. Turns out, I had nothing to fear - just a lovely multi-layered, heavy without the weight (?), big-ass RIS. From a place that should know about this kind of elixir, I'm so glad they get it right.

 1,401 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.43/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Acquired at a local SoCal beer store for $12.00. 9.4% ABV confirmed. 1 pint .9 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard unbranded pressure cap served into a New Belgium stem-glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given its current ratings.

Served after a brief rest following its removal from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Paired with salted pretzel twists.

A: Pours a half finger rich tan colour head of nice cream and thickness, but below average (~1 minute) retention. Body colour is a nontransparent opaque solid black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Appealing, if not up to par with recent examples of the style I've had. It looks as it should. No lacing as the head recedes.

Sm: Wood smoke, light bacon, dark malts, and maybe chocolate malt. The smoke is overwhelming. Licorice, charcoal, campfire. A light vinous note. My broken nose has trouble detecting anything beneath the dominant smoke; all apologies, lads. An appealing aroma of moderate strength.

T: Dominant smoke - but it's subtle and works well throughout, never overwhelming the palate or destroying the balance. Nice subtle woody tones throughout. Creamy chocolate notes help balance the rough smoke. A bit of coffee, but relatively little. No real caramel, which is a refreshing change. Not at all ashy. I get a hint of licorice/anise, but it fades. The wood notes are a highlight here, working well with the sweet chocolate. Pretty well balanced, with notable complexity and even subtlety - a rare trait in a smoked beer. I like it. In terms of flaws, there is a smoky wood rot note in the late second act that bothers me. This really holds it back, but it's still an enjoyable beer. It's too bitter, more from the roast and smoke than from its rather modest hopping.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Even a touch creamy. Good carbonation. Pretty good palate presence. Suits the flavour profile generally, but doesn't feel custom-tailored to it.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable, especially for a smoked beer. I think they fused the rauchbier and imperial stout elements well, but it didn't come off fantastic. An intriguing beer and one I wouldn't mind revisiting with some age on it, but I doubt I'll buy it again. Well priced for what it is, especially as an import. I'll have little trouble killing the bottle by meself.

High B-

 2,446 characters

Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of brentk56
4.29/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown capped by a tan head that delivers some decent lacing

Smell: Smells like a campfire with dark bread and roasty malt elements

Taste: Opens with the black bread and caramel flavors that are buttressed, in the middle, by the campfire smoke flavors; big malt and smoked elements in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Overall: I wouldn't have pegged this as a RIS but really enjoyed the beer and its smoke elements

 474 characters

Photo of oline73
4.14/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Hunahpu's snifter.

Appearance: The beer pours a dark, almost black color with a finger of creamy tan head that fades to a decent sized ring around the glass.

Smell: This is a very smokey stout with a sweet, dark fruit undertone. Hints of dark chocolate and smoked meat.

Taste: Just as smokey as the smell. This has a perfect taste for a land of volcanos. Dark fruit notes remind me a bit of barbecue sauce. There are some sweet notes, but I wouldn't say this is a sweet beer at all. The finish is quite smokey and a bit burnt.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thicker side, but it isn't syrupy. The carbonation is very fluffy with a dry finish.

Overall: I really enjoyed this beer. The smoke and dark fruit notes went well together. They were out of this one when I was in Iceland, so I was excited to see it at Capones.

 852 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of rich black chocolate with notes of smoke and light bitter roasted malt. Taste is also a very good mix between some roasted malt with notes of rich black chocolate and some smoke though not as much as I was expecting. Body is quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very well brewed overall and quite enjoyable though more smoke would have improve the flavour profile IMHO.

 516 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

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Lava from Ölvisholt Brugghús
4.09 out of 5 based on 559 ratings.
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