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 | 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:
188
Ratings:
554
Avg:
4.09
pDev:
17.36%
 
 
Wants:
60
Gots:
59
For Trade:
2
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 188 | Ratings: 554
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 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.

 613 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 tigg924
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: low carbonation, 1/4 inch head, opaque, black in color

Smell: earth, dark and milk chocolate

Taste: dark and milk chocolate--smoke is present throughout

Mouthfeel: sweet and smoky with light bitterness, medium body, moderate carbonation

Overall: Wow. What a pleasant surprise. As a rauchbier fan, this rivals German versions of the style. This one is highly complex and takes the best parts of a RIS as well. I will certainly be looking for this again.

 468 characters

Photo of tbeckett
4.48/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Thick tan head. Black and opaque like an Impy Stout should be.

S - Boozy but not over the top. Lot's of coffee and roasty aromas. Sort of like a BBQ in a way, a little smokiness too.

T - Alcohol is there but just enough to let you know what you're in for. Rich flavours, sweet. Finishes really smooth and pleasant.

M - Medium bodied. Velvetty and smooth.

D - Excellent. Alcohol is well masked but not non-existant. I could have a few easily. Easily the most drinkable Imp Stout I've had.

 495 characters

Photo of Bung
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml. Picked up at Brawleys.
It's black, only some light around the brown edges. A light tan head, pretty thin layer.

Aroma, roast and some meaty smoke. Some anise and faint hops.

Taste, Earthy roast malt, caramel, dark chocolate and peat smoke. It is very well in balance. Leans to less bitter like many Scandenavian big beers. I like it. Smokey cocoa finish, just a tinge of anise.

I'd say not quite full bodied. Maybe just a tad thinner than one might expect. About a creamy carbonation. Alcohol is pretty well hidden. No problem finishing the whole 500ml.

Another good brew from the pseudo region. Not quite up to the Odin's Tipple, but a very good smoked imperial stout.

 680 characters

Photo of drpimento
4.73/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fabulous beer! Poured at a good temperature with massive light brown head that settled after a bit and some lace. Color is (apparently) a clear, dark, almost, black ruby red. Aroma is malt, roast, smoke, vanilla. Flavor's like nose, with a subdued but very good balance between sweet, bitter, and carbonic tang. Also cocoa; smoke is there but very complimentary. Body is soft, full, lush, round with carbonation just right. Finish is surprisingly of average length despite the bold style of beer, making this exceedingly drinkable; slight booziness.

 549 characters

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

Recieved in the 2012 CANBIF from liamt07. Thanks for the Iceland tick, dude!

Appearance. Pours a deep dark brown, pretty much black with a finger of creamy tan head.

Smell. Chocolate and campfire, some dark roasty malts and a little bit briney smelling.

Taste. Sweet chocolate, roasty malts, anise and smokey wood.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body with low carbonation.

Overall. I like the smoke in this but the sweetness was a little too much for me.

 453 characters

Photo of papat444
3.7/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Never had a beer from Iceland. Thanks kjyost!

Poured from a 500ml. bottle, best before 240912.

Appearance: A dark brown body, almost black. Half the glass fills with brown foam but retention is average as it doesn't stick around too long. Clumps of lacing on the sides.

Smell: Strong smoke mixed with hickory and some coffee beans.

Taste: The smoke is felt more in the finish ans aftertaste. Flavor of meat smoked on a fire. Roasted notes mesh with some sweet BBQ sauce and a bit of charred wood.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy feel with low carbonation and easy to drink.

Overall: Found the flavor to be more in the finish. Starts very slow but good at the end. Decent overall the it is not have a great depth.

 709 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 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 andrenaline
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes... A surprising find at the local LCBO as part of their winter seasonal release.

A - Pours pitch black, two fingers of dark mocha head with solid retention and sheeting lacing. Very appetizing.

S - Smoked wooden peat, with hickory and spicy mesquite smoke coming through, dark chocolate, espresso, malted milk and a hint of vanilla.

T - Loaded with smoke, reminiscent of a rauchbier, strong mocha chocolate flavours, loads of peat, quite rich and has a sweeter characteristic that lingers. ABV is almost undetectable.

M - Thicker bodied, chewy, syropy, smooth and a touch of dryness.

O - A tasty and bold offering from a country that I had no idea exported their beers. Definitely a worthy offering and a very unique experience with loads of memorable flavours.

 777 characters

Photo of thagr81us
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Shared this one with aasher during his wedding week in Destin, FL! Served from bottle into a Boulevard tulip. Poured a massively dark brown with a half finger light tan head that subsided to minimal amount quickly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of roasted malt, smoke, smoked meat, and dark fruit. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, smoke, ham, and wood. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a fairly good brew. There was quite a bit of smokiness going on in this one. Makes sense since this brew is called ‘Lava’. It was fairly well balanced, but wasn’t the best from the style. Worth trying if you get the chance, but I doubt I would go out of my way to do so again.

 772 characters

Photo of popery
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a small tan head. The aroma has medium to light smokiness. The smoke is somewhere between meaty and peaty. Not super interesting but good. Roast is quite strong and dominates a bit much. There's also a healthy coffee note and a touch of dark chocolate. It sorta smells like a meaty dark roasted coffee. The taste is medium sweet with a hefty dose of roast bitterness. Hops chime in a bit. The finish is dark and meaty. Feel is smooth and nice, though there's a bit too much booziness at the end. It's a pretty good beer, but since trying MS Bar Fly, I haven't been overly impressed by another smoked imperial stout. Lava just doesn't have a tasty enough smoke flavor and needs more chocolate sweetness in the mix.

 730 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
4.52/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

In a Delirium glass. Pitch black color with almost a finger of tan head. Looks great.
Strong chocolate smell with roasted malt in the background. Hint of burnt wood.
Silky/creamy texture. Burnt taste, roasted malt, chocolate and burnt again. Tasty.
Low carbonation and a heavier body.
Outstanding, a pleasure to have.

 317 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 jrenihan
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

BB Sept 26, 2014

To the surprise of nobody, the beer is totally black. A vigorous pour results in a moderately sized tan head. Head bubbles rapidly and settles to a thin layer quite quickly. Decent lacing.

Smell contains roasted malt, coffee, smoke. Not a particularly strong smell.

The smoke is noticeable immediately in the taste, but it is not overpowering. Meshes with the roasted malt, coffee, and some bitter hops. Finishes with more smoke. The smoked aspect of the beer is quite well integrated. A bit of a sweet molasses taste.

Full bodied, but a little lighter than most RISs. Relatively low carbonation level. Oily.

Overall, a nice beer. Smoke is noticeable but not overdone, which is good.

 706 characters

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

 500 characters

Photo of MDDMD
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-dark brown black color with a small tan head and minimal lacing

S-coffee and mild chocolate and smoky notes

T-dark roasted malts, coffee, charcoal and some chocolate

F-medium body with light carbonation, nice smooth feel

O-a decent RIS, but needs a little more sweet chocolate to balance the smokiness

 307 characters

Photo of Jeffo
3.63/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this one last summer but let it sit for a year.

From a 500ml bottle into a snifter
Best Before 14 September 2013

APPEARANCE: A black pour yields a two finger, medium looking, very fizzy, tan head with decent retention. Head fades to a half wisp and ring. Jet black body with higher levels of carbonation. A half wisp and ring remain but leave no lacing down the glass. Thick and dark, but a little too carbonated and fizzy.

SMELL: Some roasted and smoky malts with a touch of dark chocolate. A strong licorice anise aroma as well, and more coffee and chocolate come out as it sits. Nice, but not quite bold enough to be memorable.

TASTE: Roasted malts and licorice anise up front, with some smoky malts through the middle into a bitter chocolate and coffee finish. Bold and lingering aftertaste of smoky, roasted malts, dark, bitter chocolate and coffee/espresso flavors. Bigger flavors and more impressive than the nose.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly sticky. A touch of heat lingers, but well measured.

OVERALL: It started out a little average, but ended up working out quite nicely. Bolder flavors with enough complexity make this a worthy drink. Something I'd gladly drink again. Recommended.

 1,302 characters

Photo of EgadBananas
4.27/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice dark, pretty much pitch black, with a medium mocha finger of head. Bubbles were tiny, dissipating fairly quickly, leaving a little bit of lace and a foamy ring.

The aroma is great. Big smoke notes hit you first, quite charred and reminiscent of bacon. There's a fairly pronounced sweet milk chocolate aroma hidden in there, some roasted maltiness and even some touches of espresso.

Again, the smoke hits you first, like a nice BBQ note, with some charred wood. Chocolate sweetness mellows out the smokiness, with some molasses hints and some roasted characters. Finishes slightly peaty.

The feel is really the only aspect that leaves something to be desired. It's got a nice, robust full body, with some creamy textures, but the carbonation is a bit stingy for the style.

The carbonation takes a little away from the drinkability, but it goes down smooth still. You can't taste that alcohol, but you do feel it a bit in the back of your throat.

Overall, this is pretty killer. Smoked Imperial Stouts aren't a dime a dozen, especially from Iceland. And this is very nice one. The smoke never hides itself, yet doesn't overwhelm, while giving the big stout room to make a name for itself too.

Very glad to have found this.

 1,250 characters

Photo of kwjd
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black colour with thick tan head that dissipates to a small ring on top of the beer. Some mild lacing around the glass. Smells of deep roasted malt, smoked wood, coffee and chocolate. Nice bitter flavour, some small amount of sweetness. A very well balanced smoke stout, as the smoke compliments the stout flavour instead of dominating it. Smooth mouthfeel. It is impressive that a country that legalized beer just over 20 years ago can have a better imperial stout than any made in Ontario.

 505 characters

Photo of alexgash
4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

500 ml bottle.

Inky dark brown body. Viscous. Pinkie finger of tiny-bubbled, whipped, peanut brown head. Great lacing. Charred barley, mocha coffee, light molasses, figs, tobacco, a little chocolate, and light campfire smoke.

Roasted coffee bitterness starts off. Dark chocolate and sweet caramel fill in. Milk chocolate and molasses show up. Earthy, with notes of tobacco, licorice, and flint near the finish. Faint peaty smokiness. Finishes with lingering herbal bitterness, caramel, and dark chocolate. Medium-full body with a slightly oily feel. Nice.

 558 characters

Photo of beergoot
4.41/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opaque ebony body with a rich, sticky tan head. Excellent lacing and rings down the glass.

Robust, rich grains bringing to mind black coffee and bitter chocolate with a touch of smokiness that tries to hide the alcohol (but not quite succeeding!).

Wow! The smoked malt hits you right off the bat, quickly bringing dark chocolate, mocha, and dark roast coffee. Alcohol warmth becomes noticeable but is quickly tamed with an excellent combination of smooth malt sweetness and touch of mild bitterness.

Medium bodied, smooth and silky at first, giving way to a soft carbonation on the tongue.

A very fine imperial stout. The upfront smokiness really sets this one apart. Although intense, at first, the smoke blends in well with the rest of the malt character. Rich and complex, high ABV, intense from all angles, this beer is well-suited for lovers of smoked beers and/or imperial stouts.

 890 characters

Photo of peensteen
3.42/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours jet black with glimpses of brown when it catches the light almost no head to speak of here. Smoked coffee and dark chocolate are the first things I could smell followed by a slight alcohol/medicinal scent. Tastes of smoked chocolate, roasted coffee beans and finishes on a semi dry smokey note. Mouthfeel is good not great, a little too much carbonation that I found hard to get past. I would have this again but wouldn't go out of my way ABV is barely noticeable and its pretty unique. Overall I will say that this is above average.

 539 characters

Lava from Ölvisholt Brugghús
91 out of 100 based on 188 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.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe