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Lava | Ölvisholt Brugghús

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
91
outstanding
187 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:
187
Ratings:
552
Avg:
4.09
pDev:
17.36%
 
 
Wants:
60
Gots:
59
For Trade:
2
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 187 | Ratings: 552
Photo of ZorPrime
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Received from Liam in a recent trade. Thanks and cheers Liam!

The color is very very dark black color with a pretty dense foamy head on top of it. Its beige! It disappear quite fast although.

The aroma is superb... its is sweet with some smoked malts and in the back, I get some chocolate notes with some coffee grains. Nice aroma. Pretty intense.

The taste is dominated by smoke. I like smoke, so I like this taste but be prepared... It is not an aggressive beer, not that much bitterness. It is pretty sweet in the mouth too. When cold it is almost thin bodied... as it warms up, it gets more one the medium body beer range. The alcohol is well hidden, too well that it gets to you at the end of the bottle (drank a 500 ml bottle).

This is a pretty decent stout! Thanks Liam!!

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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.

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Photo of mrmanning
3.82/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from LCBO store 575. A very dark motor oil liquid decants in my goblet, and is topped with a respectable two finger mocha froth, leaving some pretty webbing on the glass. Roasted coffee bean nose hints at smoke, vanilla, leather, and licorice. Sweet and malty, with smoke and a marked hop bitterness to perfectly balance. Alcohol not really detectable in the full body and velvety finish. Great effort!

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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.

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Photo of Long813
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

BBE:

A: Pitch black body with two fingers of dark mocha head. Retention is fair and leaves decent lacing.

S: Strong notes of burnt wood mixed with chocolate and some coffee.

T: Much the same as the aroma, the taste is upfront with roasted malts and burnt wood.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Very smooth texture with a nice smokey finish. Alcohol notes aren't strong.

D: Pleasing beer. It was a well put together beer, not strongly highlighting the smoked part. It's an addition to the well made stout.

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Photo of JamesMN
3.71/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Super dark brown to the point of being black in color. Basically no head despite a vigorous pour but some tan residue on top.

Aroma: Dark fruit esters, alcohol, and dark malt. Mildly complex with a richness about it.

Taste: Immidiately hit with a bit of dark smoked malt but not nearly as intense as what follows. In fact, the flavor doesn't truly develop entirely until the finish and aftertaste. Finish is smooth and almost sweet with dark malt flavor. Aftertaste lends a huge smokey kick that slowly fades away. Very light bitterness throughout and the smoke flavor does the job of balancing out the sweet malt.

Mouthfeel: Lighter in body than its 9.4% ABV would suggest. Average carbonation and good drinkability for a beer with such strong smoked flavor.

Final Thoughts: If you like Imperial Stouts and smoked malt then Lava is the beer for you. Would I drink it again? Sure.

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Photo of GeezLynn
3.62/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Lava delivers a pretty sinister appearance – jet black with a modest but long-lived head. Nose shows an assertive woodsy smoke along with plenty of rich roasted maltyness and something I associate with damp soil.

The dominant flavor is an overly bitter charred roast accompanied by a drying smokyness that lingers through the finish. Flashes of cinnamon or some woody spice figure in there somewhere, along with a mild alcohol burn. This is a bit harsh for me. It could use a little sweetness to balance all that ashyness. Mouthfeel is pretty nice - dense, with good mouth coat. Carbonation is medium high and slightly prickly.

Not bad and I liked the level of smoke. Still, much too rough around the edges. Maybe this could mellow into something more enjoyable, but as is, I'll go for a Nils Oscar Rokaporter as a better Scandinavian smoked option.

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

Picked up a bottle from CBX. Poured into an Old Rasputin shaped pint glass...

A: Pours black; light tan head (two-finger), leaves a nice ring of retention, but no lace.

S: Black patent malt; sweet; smoke - a lot of smoke.

T: Super smoky; mesquite; roasted malt; some caramel notes smooth things out on the end... the smoke lasts, though.

M: Full; creamy; moderate-high carbonation; sticky.

O: Smokiest beer I’ve ever had - hands down; pretty tasty, even though its on the extreme end of smoked beers; I’d have it again.

*from notes (6-15-12)

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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 sfprint
4.49/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

exp 010614

A: Impenetrible darkness, with a short creamy red head. MKicro rising carbonation barely visible on the edges.
S: Incredibly thick and heavy roasted malt, heavy coffee and smoke.
T: Very smokey, had an interesting almost spicyness which isn't too chemically and masks the alcohol well. An interesting smokey not so hot pepper. Very unique flavor and very nice. Not my favorite style but this one is great.
M: The carbonation is so perfectly tied to the spicyness making the mouthfeel very special. But simultaneously very creamy. Amazing mouthfeel.
O: Perhaps the best and most interesting imperial stout I've had.

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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 hotsudge
2.76/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours with a thick and dark head, probably the darkest head I've seen.

Smells better than it tastes. There is so much smoke flavour that it overwhelmes all other flavours. I didn't enjoy it, my husband thought it was good. My favourite smoked oatmeal stout is Samual Smiths and this one doesn't come close to the smooth rich flavour I was expecting.

It was almost undrinkable because there is so much smoke flavour. Not burnt, just smoke.

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

Good cover of mocha-coloured head. Black, opaque and viscous body. Head fades to a sparse cover.

Smells like smoke, minerals, very roasted malt and a little molasses with some soily hops.

Tastes of dark hops with bits of caramalized banana, smoked salmon and slight coffee. Dry cocoa on the finish with some warming alcohol. The balance is a little off but it maintains some definite interesting quality. Unique for sure.

A decently viscous stout. Medium-thick body with moderate carbonation...maybe a little too much carbonation for a stout of its size.

This stuff is pretty interesting. Quite drinkable and I'd be happy to buy some more of this stuff. I'd be interested to try it aged. I can't imagine there would be many better brews than this one coming out of Iceland. Impressive for such an obscure beer destination and especially as a pretty new take on the style for my palate.

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Photo of ludachris
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The only thing I see when I hold this beer up to the light is my reflection; this beer is pitch black. Two fingers of rich frothy mocha head sit on top of this sucker, leaving thick fluffy patches of lace as it slowly dwindles. A fine looking RIS.

Served at cellar temp, it doesn't need any warming for notes of smokey ham, roasted malts, black licorice, warm and mushy brown sugar, and bakers chocolate to pour out of the glass. I really like the smokey side of this beer, giving it a unique edge and blending well with the rest of the staple stout characteristics.

The smoked malts are beautifully rendered, not being too robust and pairing extremely well with the roasted side of this beer. Cocoa powder comes midway through with a touch of silky dark chocolate. I don't pick up on the brown sugar at all. Licorice notes flow across the back of the palate and hook into the finish, sitting side by side with an assertive dry roasted character.

Full bodied and creamy in the mouth with almost a foam-like feel at times. The question of where is the alcohol keeps coming up. The 9.4% ABV is virtually indetectable with only a slight warm feeling in the chest that gives you a clue of the alcohol content.

Overall, a fantastic RIS with a unique, flavourful, and very well rendered smokey character. It's heavy but it's also one of the easiest drinking RIS's I've had in a long time. This has been sitting in my cellar for a couple of months now and it's long gone from the LCBO's line-up. If they choose to bring it back next winter, I'll be sure to grab a few bottles.

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

Poured into a snifter.

A: Pitch black with a one-and-a-half-finger, tan, creamy, foamy head that lasted a couple minutes. Pretty good lacing.

S: Coffee and bittersweet chocolate.

T: Moderate sweetness and light bitterness. Dark chocolate and coffee. Really (really) smokey finish - it actually does taste like beef jerky as others have mentioned.

M: Medium bodied with fizzy carbonation. Creamy.

O: I like the look and smell of this Russian Imperial and the smokey was flavor was interesting.

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

Tar black beer with a foamy mocha head that took a while to die down, this beer catches no light. Smell of roasted malts, smoke, burnt coffee beans, bakers' chocolate, quite nice on the nose. Alcohol very well handled, this beer has a chocolate bitterness with a touch of sweetness, tons of toasty roasted malts, nice interplay of flavours pleases the palate A long lingering finish, burnt coffee and bitter chocolate pleases. Body in keeping with the style, weighty and substantial, this RIS impressed me and I'd certainly buy more for the holiday season; for those times around the fireplace when a simply refreshing beer won't do.

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Photo of Neorebel
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

"Lava" has the an appealing appearance similar to an espresso... it's the deepest shade of brown topped with a thin ring of tan colored froth. There does not seem to be much carbonation, if at all. Observed after the beer was finished, were some small patches of lacing clinging to the sides of the empty glass.

The aroma was very surprising to me, in that there was very much a burst of dark and sweet fresh fruit esters coming through the campfire smells typical to any smoked beer. The flavor itself however, did in fact lend itself mostly to earthiness and woody, charcoal smoke. There was also a savory aspect, like simple food cooked on open flames.

The mouthfeel is relatively light, as is the perceived alcohol heat, so, as log as you are predisposed to like smoked beers, this will go down very easily. Overall, I am excited to have a beer made in Iceland, and would recommend this to anyone into Rauchbiers. The smoke intensity rivals that of Schlenkerla... My only detractor is that the hoppiness in the beer, while tasty, may not be the most appropriate thing for the style. I may not have categorized this as a RIS in a blind tasting given the opportunity. I would love to have this again and try something else from this brewery as well.

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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.

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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 Teleweizen2
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a viscous opaque black with a frothy light tan head. decent retention. leaves spotty lacing.

S - It's like putting your nose in a volcano, or a bbq pit. notes of Bacon, campfire, and dry rub spices dominate the aroma. there is touch of roast and chocolate underneath the raging smoke notes.

T - essentially a more nuanced version of the nose. Roasty coffee notes up front, followed by hints of bakers chocolate. smoke and spice notes enter mid palate. smooth dry finish.

M - creamy texture. medium bodied verging on full with medium carbonation.

O - Excellent. a fantastic blend of roast and smoke.

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Photo of oakbluff
3.3/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark cola with a thin mocha head and very fine lacing. Nose- sweet smokiness, dark fruit and light roast. Taste- boozy dark stewed fruit, chalky with a bitter hot finish. Less smoke in taste than in the nose. Very little malt sweetness comes through. Its a little hot for my tastes, but the smoke is a nice touch.

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Photo of BBP
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Pours dark with a medium mocha head which slows down and becomes a thick film for the rest of the drink. Very good lacing.

S- There's a pretty basic imperial stout aroma here buried underneath all the smokiness. In that way it's quite familiar but still new at the same time due to the tremendous smokiness. The sad thing was how weak the aroma was, or how little could be picked up from under the smoke.

T- This is probably the first smoked porter/stout that has featured such a prominent smokiness. I haven't encountered many smoked beers with this much smokiness to them. That being said, it took me a while to figure out whether I thought the smokiness improved the drink or took away from it. The rest of the drink features tons of roasted malt, as well as coffee and chocolate. The first thing that comes up is a combination of the three with significant bitterness from the roasted malt and perhaps it's share of hops. These flavors stay but the smoke overpowers them a bit. At the same time, it really keeps it interesting.

M- Somewhat thin for an imperial stout, but a bit creamier than most. It leaves a slightly dry, sticky finish. Carbonation is done nicely.

D- I have to agree with all the others and say that the drinkability was aced. The 9.4% is surprising as there's little alcohol heat to it.

A great effort and a great example of a smoked stout.

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Photo of Phocion
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into a Stone IRS tulip. Jet black with only the silghtest traces of red along the edge when held up to the light. Solid finger of frothy brown head with moderate retention, that drops down to a chocolate milk like crown. Thick layers of creamy lacing.

The aroma is definitely dominated by smoke. Smoked malts that are almost Scotch-like and kippery. Dark roasted and bitter chocolate along with a woodiness are evident.

The nose is extremely smoky, but the flavor is only moderately. Bitter unsweetened chocolate and dark roasted coffee take over. Heavily roasted and smoked malts. Very little alcohol presence and minimal dark fruity esters. Bitter finish with a touch of smoke.

Low-moderate carbonation and a heavy body. Thick, chewy, but a little more slick than velvety like is typical in the style.

Overall, this is a little rough and likely could improve significantly with age. The finish is a bit too bitter and the mouthfeel isn't as creamy as it should be, but the level of smokiness is executed perfectly. Very savory; if you're unclear on what "umami" is, drink this beer and you'll understand.

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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.

 1,080 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

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Lava from Ölvisholt Brugghús
91 out of 100 based on 187 ratings.
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