Lava | Ölvisholt Brugghús

560 Ratings

Brewed by:
Ölvisholt Brugghús

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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 560 |  Reviews: 190
Photo of spry
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of AltBock
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

16.9oz bottle with a drawing of a volcano erupting at the top and 3 shacks at the bottom of the oval. These little shacks are screwed. Over the drawing is a purple ribbon with the name of the beer. To the right of the drawing is the US Government warning and to the left is a paragraph that has a brief history of the brewery and a short description of the beer. Poured into a Cigar City Snifter.

Imagine starring down into the opening of an inactive volcano. That's how black the color of this beer was. Just pitch darkness. Holding the glass up to the light was a waste if time. There's no way light could penetrate this beer's solid black color. On top of this black brew was a short lived light mocha head of foam. At its height, it was about 1/2 an inch. I guessing the head of foam had somewhere to be so it only stuck around for a few seconds. It only managed to leave behind a faint string of rings and one single spot of lace.

It was smoky, but not Rauchbier smoky. Under the cloud of smoke, I was able to pick up smoked malts, smoked wood, dark chocolate, a hint of roasted coffee beans, smoked meats like bacon, a whiff of green olives, a drop of caramel and toffee, and then the smell finishes up with some dark fruits like plums and raisins. I really enjoyed the aroma. It seemed like there was a new aroma around every corner. The aroma's smoked aspect added a really nice touch.

Not only was the taste smoky, but I also detected some roasted elements in here as well. It was smoky up front. The smoke let through the roasted elements shine through first. In the beginning, there was roasted coffee beans, dark roasted malt, and dark chocolate. After the taste got that our of the way, in comes all the smoke. This part of that taste featured campfire smoke, smoked meats, a little green olive, smoked wood, smoked hops, and then the taste ended with a subtle dark fruitiness. The roasted flavors couldn't control the beer's smoked flavors. Smoky, but not overly smoky.

The mouthfeel was medium to full bodied, chewy, and with a full flavored smoky aftertaste. You'll find more smoky flavors like smoked wood, campfire smoke, smoked meats, roasted coffee beans, and dark chocolate. The smoke was so thick that it will take a few glasses of water to wipe clean your mouth of this smoke.

A smoked Imperial Stout from Iceland? That sounds like an experiment or a novelty beer. It is not any of those! It's truly a really good Imperial Stout. It has a little uniqueness to it that separates it from everybody else's Imperial Stout. The only problem I found with this beer was the steep price. It was in the $10-$13 range for this 16oz bottle. If you want to try an Imperial Stout that's a little unique, pry open your wallet for this winner.

 2,761 characters

Photo of devlishdamsel
4.72/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow. This was amazing. Let me begin by saying that I absolutely have hated every smoked beer I have ever had prior to this one. Perhaps something regarding the lava and natural way this one was created made a huge impact? This is one of the best stouts I have ever imbibed. So very textural and viscous. It was the satin of beer; the texture was perfect. The taste was almost as good. I got some slight smokey notes but unlike the abrasive smoky beers i had prior, these were subtle hints. There was a huge malty, chocolate presence with a hint of salt( in the best way possible) as well. As far as a stout goes, does it really get better than this? I understand this was a rare beer, but id be in heaven if it was a regular occurrence!

 736 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is definitely a thick stout. In flavor profile and on the body. There is a good touch of molasses on here, but what I really like most of all is the kind of berry tone that is really showing nicely after a little while of it being opened. The smoke mellows at the same time the berry thing shows up. Body is thick. This beer stays consistent. And I like it a lot. The price point is pretty high, which is somewhat of a discouraging factor, but I am happy to drop the coin.

 477 characters

Photo of chickenm
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of Gotti311
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of tbryan5
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of Tblecptn
4.84/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark smokey beer and 9.4%. Smokiest beer I have ever had, so much so that its like drinking a campfire. That's the best comparison I can make. The taste of the beer goes through so many many flavors ending on a smokey flavor. Don't try drinking a different beer after having the lava. It won't compare and you be left wanting another.

 334 characters

Photo of Weas
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of alexgash
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
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 billab914
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of dmorgan310
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of GeezLynn
3.62/5  rDev -11.7%
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.

 853 characters

Photo of allan
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of andylipp
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of BrkfstOfChmpns
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of gameface23
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of brentk56
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
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 DarkLordPsycho
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of kojevergas
3.43/5  rDev -16.3%
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 mjacquard
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%

Photo of Picaroon
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of thinwhiteduke
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of Cramshawbar
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Lava from Ölvisholt Brugghús
Beer rating: 4.1 out of 5 with 560 ratings
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