Lava | Ölvisholt Brugghús

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559 Ratings
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BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ölvisholt Brugghús
Iceland
brugghus.is

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
Ratings:
559
Reviews:
189
Avg:
4.09
pDev:
10.02%
 
 
Wants:
60
Gots:
60
For Trade:
2
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 559 |  Reviews: 189
Photo of daliandragon
4.55/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Definitely my first beer from Iceland, although I had to go to Ohio to find it. Smoked Icelandic RIS named after the nearby mountain and it's molten flame, game on. Looks the part with a thin creamy head atop an obsidian chunk. The nose is smoky, starting with porkfat and ending in a familiar peat bog.

The taste is a pleasant melange. The smoke hits first, along with a dark rich malt flavor, colored with baker's chocolate and dark fruit notes. There is steady hop presence down to the aftertaste, along with a moderate dose of booze. The texture is thick and luxuriant, and very smooth throughout, despite the abv. This is an awesome stout with plenty of character, and real aggressive smoke flavor. Not cheap but highly recommended.

 739 characters

Photo of brbrocc
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of russpowell
3.61/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My first beer from Iceland I believe

Pours mahogany with 2 fingers of mocha head. Some head retention & lacing

S: Carob, smokeyness, dark fruit

T: Follows the nose, much smokeyness, dryness, a hint of cherry taffy , & some woody hops up front. Smokeyness, dark fruit & carob rule the day as this warms. Finishes smokey with some dark fruit & a bit more taffy & boozeyness

MF: Thick, low carbonation, warming

Maybe a bit too smokey to drink all the time, but a nice one to take the chill out of the air, worth a go...

 522 characters

Photo of StaveHooks
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz served in a snifter.

A - Pours opaque with a creamy tan head that forms a thin wispy ceiling of micro-bubbles.

S - Roasted malts, burnt cocoa smoked peat, charred wood, sharp prunes, cedar and pine sap.

T - Bakers chocolate, rich roasted coffee, roasted black malts, licorice, smoked wood, dry bitter cocoa at the end, finishes with a solid dose of woody pine.

M - Light side of full bodied, smooth carbonation, creamy body.

Very balanced and the addition of the smoke gives it a little edge. The smoke shows up heavier in the nose while the malts really shine in the flavor and meld well with the smoke. Very tasty.

 626 characters

Photo of 6demonbag
5/5  rDev +22.2%

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

Pours out coffee black with just a hint of off-white suds. Lacing here.
Smell is nutty chocolate and coffee with a slight yeast/alcohol burn in the nose.
Taste is smokey for sure but not a fake smoke/liquid smoke. The alcohol is hidden very well here.
Mouthfeel is very clean after the smoke leaves the palate.
Overall I like this RIS and usually I don't like smoked anything. I have only tried Smoked Porters and this is my first Smoked RIS. Pretty nice except for the cost. 10 bucks for a pint.

 496 characters

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

Showing some Brazilians that there was craft beer available to purchase from Iceland, we took the plunge and added a bottle to our purchase and later tasted. From a 500 ml bottle, on to the beer:

No surpise, black is color of this Icelandic stout. Next....the smell. Licorice and a touch of cocoa hit, and surprising a smokiness that reminds me more of smoked Gouda cheese than smoked meat. The taste does follow much like the taste, with a few subtle changes. Licorice is still the main theme of the beer, roasty and cocoa notes hitting around. The smoked gouda note is replaced of a vague yet still appetizing soft smoked note. A thick stout being nearly heavy bodied, which you can attribute to the 9.4% ABV, but you'd be hard pressed to find much of it as it's hidden well.

Volcanoes and a serious banking crisis have put Iceland on the map in recent years. With Einstok and Olvisholt exporting beer to the US recently, perhaps it's time to add craft beer to the list.

 975 characters

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

16.9 oz bottle, no bottled-on date, poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

A- It looks goddamn awesome, pours pitch black, a rough pour produces a huge two-inch head, thick and cake-like, light mocha brown in color, good retention and nice lacing.

S- Interesting aroma, lots of the expected chocolate cake and roasted malt, but also a nicely integrated meaty campfire smokiness.

T- Chocolatey sweetness and roasted malt, alcohol is more noticeable here, although still marginally so. The chocolate, booze and a bit of dried fig flavors contribute to a mild sweetness that competes with a roasty, charred wood and smoke flavor.

M- Medium-to-full bodied, has a nice smooth feel.

O- A very good beer overall, the smoke and chocolate work nicely together, it's also cool to try such a good beer from Iceland, although it's a bit pricey for the same reason. Still, definitely pick this up if you see it.

 897 characters

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

My first Icelandic beer, and one I've been wanting to try for a while. Quite an interesting beer- very dry, but big, and with a pronounced smokiness that is subtle enough to play well with the roastiness, licorice, and chocolate notes and noticeable enough to provide a unique element to the stout. There is also a nice ashiness that works well with the smoke. Lava indeed. Very nice.

 384 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 scottiethebody
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%

Photo of aztraz
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

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

my first icelandic beer, cool! good stuff too. it pours a cloudy chocolate brown color with a fair bit of carbonation creating a two inch off white head. its got a nice smokey malt smell, with some cocoa and clever yeast behind it. almost smells like a s'more. the taste isnt as sweet at the nose. the smoke flavor is pretty pronounced, and the chocolate from the nose comes through in the taste as well. the alcohol taste is pretty strong here, but it cuts through the thick smokey malt flavor nicely to leave a reasonably clean finish for a beer of this style. the feel is a little over carbonated at first, but it settles down as it warms. the body is huge, made bigger by the yeast sediment, but i had no problem with a bomber of this. id be curious to try more beers from iceland, hopefully they wont be as expensive as this one was. thats the only reason i wouldnt buy this again.

 886 characters

Photo of sulldaddy
4.37/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampling a cellar temp bottle of this brew poured at cellar temperature into a snifter.
Beer pours a deep oil black hue with no light passing through the glass. Creamy tan head of .5 cm foams up and fades gradually to a sturdy edge layer.
ARoma is roasted malt and molasses, with some smokey burnt wood and a bit of dark cocoa as well. I dont get any hops in this brew and the booze is also well hidden.
First sip reveals a smooth silky textured brew that is fairly thick and features gentle rolling carbonation.
Flavor is deep roasted malt and smoke. I also get dark chocolate bar and a bit of molasses. Again no real hops, but there is a little warm booze on each swallow that heats up my throat and belly as it travels downward.
Even with the warming booze the beer is remarkably easy to drink and I find myself moving through the snifter quickly as I type these notes.
Certainly a robust brew that isnt for the light hearted, I would enjoy this with some smoked cheese and crackers in front of a fireplace on a cold snowy night. It is still pretty great tonite though too!

 1,076 characters

Photo of bump8628
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of zonker17
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of crobinso
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of Molson2000
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

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 pjs234
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of Satyr179
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Beer_HOPper
4.16/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap at 38 Degrees poured into a goblet. I wanted to try something else besides my usual Pliney. So, the server recommended this, not the bartender.

Appearance: Very dark brown to black, 1 finger head and some lace, looks delicious.

Smell: smoke, nuts, malt, was hard to detect.

Taste and feel: sweet, smoky chocolate syrup, no carbonation, medium body, smoke lingers into finish, a little creamy made this seem thick, a slight bitter finish. After settling for 10 minutes, the smoke really comes out, reminds me of Islay Scotch whisky. I was shockingly surprised, unique!

Overall: this was like drinking a very good, sweet & smoky BBQ steak sauce. An end of night beer, one and done in a good way.

 704 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 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.

 1,491 characters

Photo of JohnnyMc
4.37/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first Icelandic beer!

This pours out a pitch black with about 3 fingers of dark brown/mocha tan head.

The aroma has a little smoke, but not much and a good deal of roasted malt and dark chocolate with a hint of vanilla.

The taste has a lot of charred/roasted malt along with the slightly bitter and slightly sweet dark chocolate notes. There is more smoke in the taste than the aroma, but still not a lot. It's a blend of meaty smoke as well as camp or bonfire. Right at the end there is a little vanilla that ties it all together.

The mouthfeel is extremely creamy and this is a very rich and full-bodied beer.

Overall, I really, really enjoyed this beer, but at $12 for a bottle smaller than a bomber it is a bit too steep. I know imports are more expensive, but still. If you can find it though pick it up.

 819 characters

Lava from Ölvisholt Brugghús
4.09 out of 5 based on 559 ratings.
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