Lava | Ölvisholt Brugghús

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188 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:
188
Ratings:
554
Avg:
4.09
pDev:
10.27%
 
 
Wants:
60
Gots:
58
For Trade:
2
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 188 | Ratings: 554
Photo of shivtim
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Found on tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia. Served in a tulip. Very dark, opaque black with a slight deep brown head. Looks great. Good lacing.
Nose is intense campfire smoke. Strong malt and molasses. More smoked goodness. Taste is similar... fantastic smoke flavor, strong malt. Very good.
Mouthfeel is foamy and rich. Great beer all around. Would definitely get this again.

 377 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 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 smcolw
3.35/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good starting head, but it dies quickly to only rim bubbles. Minute spotty lace on the glass. Inky black color where no light shines through.

Relatively mild aroma for an Imperial Stout. Some cocoa, some alcohol, otherwise rather pallid.

The flavor is more impressive than the smell. Neutral body with a higher than expected carbonation level. The flavor starts soft, but comes through in swallow where an oily alcohol presence is combined with a decent hop bite and a dark chocolate taste.

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

Poured into a Black Raven pint glass. Pours a very dark brown, appearing black in the glass. One finger light brown head with good retention and lacing. Aroma a pleasant roasted malt, chocolate, wood smoke and mild dark fruit. Taste follows with roasted malt, smoke, chocolate, dark dried fruit; finishes with light hop bitterness, smoke, malt and a hint of chocolate, nice. Well integrated and flavorful. Medium bodied with light creaminess. An excellent smoked imperial Russian stout. The high ABV is well hidden. Well done.

 526 characters

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

Pours nearly black in color with a tall tan head. It’s certainly smokey. There is quite a bit of roasted malt and a touch of salted nuts. Pretty simple and straightforward aroma. A light sweetness on the palate; some toffee and a bit of chocolate to go with lots of roasted malt and smoke. There is a slight alcohol flavor in the background.

 343 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

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Photo of Cresant
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this 1 pt .9 oz. brown bottle into a Sierra Nevada Hops Glass. No date. The body was brown/black with a rich tan head. Specks of lace remained.

The smell was of Band-Aids and molasses. Chocolate and hints of smoke. I was expecting more smoke, but there was enough.

The taste was gentle roasted malts and a nice lingering bitter aftertaste. Very nicely balanced. Understated smoke and lightly sweet. Chocolate and a bit salty.Very well hidden alcohol. All the characteristics seem to work very well here.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied and silky.

 558 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.

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Photo of Vec2267
4.11/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - jet black, tan head that persists, spot on

S - smoke, roast malts, chocolate, licorice, sour, booze

T - chocolate, smoke, licorice, a very nice blend, nothing overpowering, assertive with overwhelming

F - the smoke adds richness without overwhelming the beer

O - the booze is much more noticeable in the nose than the taste, a great mix of flavors

The sour boozy nose detracts from what is otherwise a great RIS, still this is great beer. The price will preclude this being a regular, but I will definitely treat myself to another if it is still available. The smoke adds a unique twist without detracting.

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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 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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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

Pours a three finger brown head that fades quickly leaving some lace. Midnight black color, no highlights. Light-medium carbonation and heavy bodied. Smoky, chocolate nose and flavor is similar smoky baked chocolate malts. Best so far from Iceland. $11.30 for a 500ml bottle from Tully's Beer and Wine Wells, Me.

 312 characters

Photo of Rifugium
3.78/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

First had: on tap at Teresa's, Wayne, PA

Dark brown-black pour with a finger or so of tannish head displaying decent retention and lacing. Dark malts in the aroma, roast and smoke, a bit of peat. Taste was similar: dark malts, dark chocolate, some dark fruits, tobacco, peaty smoke, with a bit of candy sweetness. Body is on the heavier side of medium, with a bit of alcohol warmth hitting you in the end. Overall quite good.

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

500ml bottle poured into tulip 29/4/12 bottle sent by liamt07 thanks for the long standing want

A shes pretty black with deep cola edges when held to the light, a large 3 finger mocha head falls fairly quickly and leaves no lace

S licorice, black-strap molasses and pipe tobacco come out right away, its a little smokey but not what I would expect from a smoked malt stout as its pretty mellow, some chocolate covered cherry, a little espresso and a fair amount of booze being my only major complaint

T some charred wood adds to the dark roast, less booze and more burnt espresso and bakers chocolate, everything I smell is still there but stronger, some burnt brown sugar on the finish

M a little thin but bubbles give it creamy feel, some heat and a long aftertaste of burnt caramels and char lingers for ages

O solid beer with awesome depth of flavors, it could use some age but still very nice

My first beer from Iceland and It's something I'd look for again, give it a try if you like the dark stuff. Thanks again liamt07 for sending it out my way

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Photo of John_M
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Never heard of these guys or this beer. No matter. On tap at Max's today.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and considerable lacing. The nose is impresive and unusual. I get considerable smoked meat, along with light coffee, vanilla and tobacco. I'm a sucker for smoked beer, so this is making me very happy. The flavor profile is every bit as good, and I'm amazed by how well the brewer has managed to interweave the smoked meat flavor into the dark chocolate, vanilla and coffee. There's even something of a light blueberry flavor in this beer that is intriguing, as well as a hint of licorice on the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, and this beer is very soft, long and smooth (it has almost a silk, satin-like mouthfeel that is unusual and impressive). Alcohol is well integrated into the flavor profile, though certainly you can tell it's up there a bit.

An unusual, very impressive beer.

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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 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 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.

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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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Lava from Ölvisholt Brugghús
4.09 out of 5 based on 554 ratings.
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