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Lava | Ölvisholt Brugghús

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
91
outstanding
188 Reviews
THE BROS
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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:
553
Avg:
4.09
pDev:
17.36%
 
 
Wants:
60
Gots:
59
For Trade:
2
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 188 | Ratings: 553
Photo of wethorseblanket
4.09/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle. From the land of ice.

A: Pours black with a one-inch thick mocha head which fades to a thin cap and rim leaving splotchy lace.

N: Smoke up front, roast, malts, dark chocolate, charred wood, slight peat, damp earth.

T: Smokey and roasty malts, dark chocolate. Well balanced.

M: Full body and medium carbonation. Finishes creamy, dry, smokey.

O: Impressed with this one. Well balanced and clean. Try it.

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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 TheBullsHorn
3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is a beer that plays on the enjoyability that touch of smoke can add. Prominent flavors of chicory, coffee bean, cocoa nibs, and a slight ashiness are complimented by flavors of overripe fruit. The smoke is present but not overpowering and doesn't seem to linger but fades into a soy sauce/ umami flavor. For a smoked beer, this is quite balanced (like the way the overall sweetness is offset by the ashy bitterness),providing a nice depth among dominant flavors.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a black body with one finger khaki colored head with minor lace and a mostly smoked malt aroma with some roasted, dark chocolate notes as well. Love the dark chocolate sweeetness in the beer as it keeps the mostly smoked (not meaty) , roasted malts that comprise the body of the beer. Beer is not only well balanced but has smoothness to it that is almost slick and there is even a hint of some dark fruit like figs or raisins in there. All around simple but well executed beer.

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Photo of Badger6
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750mL into a snifter.

A: Deep black pour, deep brown head receded quickly to a think layer not he surface.

S: Smokey, roast malts. Hints of dark chocolate.

T: Immediately smokey in the front. Roasted malts follow in quickly, slightly bitter finish with hints of chocolate and booziness. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

M: Very velvety mouthfeel, medium body with light carbonation. Slightly warm at the finish form the alcohol.

O: Not a fan of smoked beers, because so many are too smokey and taste like a wood fire in your mouth. Not this. Nicely smoked, distinct on the nose, but subtle and complementary in the taste. The smoke beautifully combines with the roasted malts. Really fine imperial stout, and unique flavor.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.26/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: jet black with a bit of crimson around the edges when held to light. A sparse mocha head.
Smell: as advertised smoke is front and center with a rich semi-sweet chocolate foundation. Pleasant and interesting.
Taste: profile is much like the nose though the layers of smoke and chocolate are more blended.
Mouthfeel: full and creamy.
Overall: really dug this stout. Smoke and chocolate worked. Alcohol is well hidden. Nice job.

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Photo of Nostrajonus
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- Pitch black pour with a thin brown head that vanishes rapidly leaving moderate lacing.

S- I can smell the smoke right off the bat, Its quite overwhelming but expected. There is some background sweetness with hints of chocolatey roasted malts.

T- Excellent. The smoke really comes through up front, but it doesn't overpower the other flavors. Rich roasted malts follow the smokeyness, and the finish leaves a bitter dark chocolate aftertaste.

M- If I thought perfection was attainable...I would have given this a perfect score for mouthfeel. It is smooth and silky; this drinks wonderfully.

O- I thoroughly enjoyed this brew. They didn't over-do the smoke. I have tried other smoked beers that tasted, well...meaty for lack of a better word. The smoke came through heavily on the nose, but it was much more gentle on the palate. If I see this on-tap I will surley give it another go.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.14/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is a very nice, elegant, delicately-smoky, lightly roasty, decidedly Scandinavian-tasting double stout.

Something about the overall yeast profile, full, satiny malt body and flavor, with a healthy hint of black licorice and floral-medicinal phenolics that immediately brings to mind other regional stouts and porters like the ones from Haand and Nøgne Ø.

The beer was poured into a Teku glass from Rastal (one of my new favorite beer glasses). Jet black liquid, with a tall, open-structured dark cocoa brown foam. The aroma didn't pop quite as much as I'd hoped, even after taking about 30 minutes to finish it off. The smoked malt was somewhat overtaken by the alcohol and cake-ish malt at first, later emerging from below to establish a fine balance. Not much bitterness, from either hop or roast. Medium-bodied with a pillowy flow. Very nicely constructed, yet ripe for enhancement (herbs, juniper maybe?)

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Photo of spinrsx
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for $5

Appearance - Dark brown/black colour with a large size frothy light beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, hops, chocolate, coffee, smoke

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and a far amount of smoke. There is also some coffee and a bit of a nuttiness.

Overall - Solid RIS and the smoke doesn't overwhelm the beer. Bottle says best before mid 2013, and it's holding up very well.

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Photo of rdickey
4.07/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an almost jet black into my tulip. A very thin, brownish head disappears almost immediately, although some spotty lacing remains.

Smell: A big snootful of liquorice and smoke – like I dumped a bushel of liquorice on my grill, waited ten minutes and stuck my head under the cover. Pretty intense.

Taste: In many ways this is a simple beer, but it’s very well done. The liquorice is joined by chocolate and, particularly as it warms, some coffee notes. The smoke surrounds everything, but doesn’t overwhelm anything. Well done, Iceland!

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, and almost creamy. Despite the massive flavors and significant ABV, though, it doesn’t feel heavy at all. In fact, the alcohol warmth doesn’t really hit until its in your chest.

Drinkability: It’s a sipper, but a highly drinkable one.

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Photo of rudzud
4.06/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this at Yankee Spirits in Sturbridge, MA. Had no idea Iceland exported beer, neat. As someone with a degree in geology, yah, this bottle is going right up on the shelf.

A - Poured a nice very, very dark brown with thin mocha head that even with a vigorous pour never really got more than a quarter inch. Very light side lacing.

S - Aromas of tons of smoke. Holy shit. A LOT of smoke. Faint chocolate and as someone else said salted nuts, big big smoky roasted malts. Light sweetness too.

T - Taste is almost kvass meets smoked meat and campfire. Weird. So yah, sweeter black bread, caramels, chocolate if overpowered by the big, smoky malts. Can't stress how smokey this is. If you can dig past the smoke you get nailed with some nice silky dark chocolate. Hard to get through all this smoke though.

M - Mouthfeel is really, really nice. Not quite silky but with a great full body feel and not a trace of alcohol.

O - Overall, this was a unique beer for sure. Easily the second smokiest beer I've ever had, second only to Rex Attitude by Yeast Boys which drinks like Lagavulin in beer form. This stout will definitely ruin your pallet with all the smoke so if you plan on having multiple beers end with this one.

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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.

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Photo of sveinnbirkir
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Stout done right - or at least to my liking.

Black as sin, thick and slightly caramelly. Smells of licorice, chocolate and sin. Feels a bit syrupy on the tongue. A very healthy 9.2% alc. level. The head dissipates a little too quick, but otherwise as close to a dream stout as anything I've tried. I am slightly hesitant to put down a perfect score, in case there is something better out there that I haven't tasted. This is excellent, however.

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Photo of secondtooth
4.31/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep black, with only a slight amount of tan carbonation. Virtually no lace.

Nose is nice smoky malts -- lots of dark chocolate and mocha notes. An appealing amount of smoke, though, is foremost.

Taste is charry and smoky, with some coffee notes popping through. The high ABV (9%) is well submerged, and this is a deliciously complex and enjoyable stout that I'd return to anytime. Loved it!

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Photo of jmgidicsin
4.61/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Asphalt black with thick, bubbly head of dark brown. My only gripe was that the head didn't last long and didn't lace as I expected it to.

Smell - Dark chocolate, espresso and licorice with some warm malt in the background

Taste - Sweet, dark chocolate -- but not cloyingly so -- on the entry, rounding out to warmer flavors of smoky coffee in the middle with a malty finish

Mouthfeel - Thick, full-bodied and syrupy, almost like what I would expect Texas crude to feel like. A beautifully lush and rich feel.

Overall -- An exceptional beer. I enjoyed it on my birthday and hope to enjoy it again on less-than-special occasions!

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Photo of mwilbur
4.39/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750 mL bottle into snifter.
A: Pours black as...well...an Icelandic night. Absolutely pitch black with no light emerging with backlighting. 1/4 inch dark mocha head quickly dissipates. Heavy and viscous appearing. Faint lacing. This is one serious looking brew.
S: Beech wood smoke, roasted caramel malt, dark chocolate, peat, vanilla, mild coffee, and a hint of anise and hop bitterness. Wow...wonderful aroma!
T: Milder than the powerful aroma. Beech wood smoke, char, bitter chocolate, medium roast coffee, sweet caramel malt (slightly burnt), anise, and a hint of nuts (hazelnut?). Nice complexity.
M: Medium-heavy feel. Sweet and smooth up front, then bitter and burnt which continues into the finish and after. Smoke especially in the finish and lingers on the palate.
D: Excellent complexity in an all-around solid brew. Lighter and more drinkable than you would think coming into this one. Seek it out! Drinking this makes one think of sitting in a low-roofed wood and earthen Icelandic house in the dark of winter with a warm fire keeping the chill at bay. Time to pull out the Icelandic Sagas again...

 1,123 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.86/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Colonial Spirits.
Solid dark brown with faint garnet at the edges with a long lasting somewhat small khaki head. Aroma is smokey with roast, chocolate, caramel, and brown sugar underneath. The flavor gives a solid hit of smoke up front with plenty of dark sugary sweetness to go around. Light chocolate and roast with just a hint of earthy hop flavor. Thick body with a light level of carbonation and a creamy silky smooth mouthfeel. Wow this is a really nice smoked imperial stout that I picked up on a whim. Thanks Todd.

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Photo of woemad
4.14/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From notes.

16.9oz bottle purchased at Total Wine in Spokane, Washington, for $9.99. No obvious freshness date. My first Icelandic beer.

Poured a viscousy dark brown color, looking virtually black in the glass. No light could penetrate this beer. There was a thick finger's worth of mocha colored head. Said head dropped to a foam collar after a few minutes.

The aroma of this beer featured smoke, coffee, and chocolate - pretty much in that order. Happily, the smoke aroma was not overpowering, but rather nicely balanced with the other above-listed attributes.

Although the smokiness was stronger in the taste than in the aroma, there were still some chocolaty, dark malt flavors cutting through. There was also a more bitter, coffeeish flavor, but it still balanced well. There was a hoppy zap to the palate at the swallow.

Full-bodied, with a mouthfeel that was oilier than I expected, but not to a disturbing degree.

Not destined to be my favorite Impy Stout, but not bad at all. Apparently they brew good beer in the land of Bjork and perpetually active volcanoes.

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Photo of mothman
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at monks.

Tan head with a lot of lace. Color is black.

Flavor profile is rich dark chocolate, roasted and caramel malts. A nice smoke flavor with notes of hot peppers. Lots of dark fruits. Raisins and molasses.

Mouthfeel: full bodied. Rich, smooth, and a bit roasted. Ends a little dry.

Overall, a really enjoyable beer. Easy drinking and full of flavor. Very complex.

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Photo of aquazr1
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a small tulip, on-tap at Papago.

A - Pours an oil black with a short, tan colored head.

S - Roasted malts with chocolate, very inviting.

T - Picking up more of the chocolate with some hints of coffee and smoke.

M - Medium bodied with light carbonation.

A really good beer. The flavors are complex and I kept picking up different nuances along the way.

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Photo of JayQue
3.99/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first beer from Iceland...very nice. Pours a totally dense brown color with no light getting through...takes a hard pour, but you get a medium size brown (ten fidy colored) brown head. Some lacing and average head retention for such a strong beer.

Smell is excellent, smoky roasted malts and some chocolate. very pleasant. Taste is similar. The smokiness is prominent but not overpowering. Flavor is more of the same. Big smoky malty flavor, some chocolate and a little bit of bitterness in the finish. The smokiness is not overpowering. Just blends in with the other flavors.

Mouthfeel is rich and fairly smooth. There is a very slight bit of alcohol harshness, but not much. Goes down real easy.

An outstanding strong stout.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.58/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Blue Monk, in Buffalo, NY.

Pours black. Not the darkest beer I've ever had, some light might penetrate the liquid, but not much. 3 inch head, mocha-colored, forms on top of the beer.

Smells like roasted malt and chocolate- not much smoke in the aroma.

Much more smoke in the tastes. Sort of a campfire marshmallow taste, with some ash, chocolate. The smoke is restrained, and doesn't take over from the other flavors of chocolate, oak, and a bit of coffee.

Medium to full bodied, medium carbonation as well.

A great find, this wasn't on my radar at all, and I quite enjoyed it. Not the hugest fan of smoked beers usually- this struck a really nice balance for me. The bottle I bought later on was definitely smokier than the on-tap version.

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Photo of soju6
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: 500 ml bottle. Pours an almost black color with a small tan head and bits of lacing.

S: Aroma of roasted malt, dark chocolate, some coffee and just a bit of smoke.

T: Taste of roasted malt, almost burnt, dark chocolate some coffee, bit of caramel sweetness and a trace of smoke. Has a distinct bitterness and a dry finish.

F: Fully body, smooth with a rich texture. A well crafted beer, with the 9.4% ABV very well hidden.

Excellent beer. I did not associate world class beer with Iceland until now.

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

Pitch black color once poured with a dark tan, 1/2 inch head that went to a thin one as drinking continued. Smells of anise, bitter chocolate, coffee, dark cherries, some smoke, toasted marshmallows. The sweet taste is up-front and a bit too pronounced. That said, there's a nice wood-grilled taste, malt, more of a milk chocolate taste. The alcohol is there, and flavors of Kahlua come through, coffee, too. The carbonation is minimal, and it is not overly syrupy in consistency. Not too shabby.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass

A: Blackish brown with a tan half-finger head that whittled down to big bubbles. Curtain-y lacing.

S: Chocolate and malts pour down the mountainside in a torrent of toffee and caramel. Mmmm.

T: Follows nose with a smooth, sweet and smokey essence. A definate sipper. Warming. Smoke is not overwhelming. Alchohol seeps in for a pleasant mellowness.

M: Medium to heavy with a frothy carbonation. Let this one play on your tongue a while.

O: A bit pricy, but I was using a gift certificate, so well worth the indulgence. Great with a chocolate chip cookie. And being a stout, it only gets better as it warms. Recommended.

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Lava from Ölvisholt Brugghús
91 out of 100 based on 188 ratings.
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