Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager)Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

429 Reviews
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 429
Hads: 1,130
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 10.18%
Wants: 91
Gots: 145 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Pilsner |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: brewdlyhooked13 on 07-15-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 429 | Hads: 1,130
Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brilliant clear copper to amber topped with a 1” foam collar that dissipates quickly leaving good lacing with very strong hop aromas. Aggressively hopped but has good clean malt as well to back up the hops – the hops are where the action is and it is almost like a tonic. (275 characters)

Photo of barczar
3.25/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This is obviously from last year.

Aroma is floral, with a significant amount of caramel malt and that classic lager yeast character. There's a touch of specialty malt fruitiness.

Flavor reveals a more dominant fruitiness, likely attributable to specialty malt and citrusy hop character, with a crisp lager finish and fairly high bitterness. The toasted malt character is tea-like, and a boot overly done.

I'm not a huge bitter fan, so this is not to my liking. The citrus hop character is the only redeeming quality. (519 characters)

Photo of Brutaltruth
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a snifter from the bottle. This nice little Belgian pours a lightly hazy amber on the verge of orange with a beautiful head of off white foam that dissipates to ta thin layer, nice ring, and excellent lacing. Nose of grapefruit, citrus and piney hops, rich caramel, and some grainy alcohol. Flavors exceed the nose with caramel notes to the fore, then a fade into hops that is citrus forward and then piney on the back followed by a light honey aftertaste. Excellent for the style. Not being a hop head, this one dances with enough malt that I am not beaten over the head with the flavor profile. Alcohol burn comes through on the back and is smoothed out by a nice lightly creamy and sweet aftertaste and moderate carbonation. Exceptional.

Christmas in July

Cheers. (786 characters)

Photo of NiceTaps
3.77/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap, pint glass.
Clean clear golden color. 1F white head, heavy fat lacing.
Mild spice hop and malt aromas, some caramel.
Caramel malt, grassy, some hops.
Lots of bite, medium body.
Nice take, tasty and drinkable. (216 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
2.99/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Served from tap in a snifter at Beelow's.

About to return to the theatre, I decided to revisit the Krampus, see how it comes across these days. It pours a clear sunset amber-brass topped by a finger of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises melon, apricot, caramel, light sweet cereal grains, and a twinge of booze for good measure. The taste holds notes of boozy grass, sweet cereal, light vinyl, and mild corn syrup. The body is a stolid medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, not terrible, but the booziness and slightly-fruity sweetness clash and create something akin to higher-end malt liquors. Still not my cup o' tea, really. (674 characters)

Photo of hophugger
2.97/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

Pours a deep golden color, clear, with average to slightly less average head and commendable lacing all around. Aroma is both hoppy and malty. First taste is very bitter hops and then a little sweetness. This beer may be out of date, as the flavors are weak and somewhat watered down. The bitterness is not that pleasant and lingers and lingers.......and lingers........Overall, the flavors are there, but they won't go together, kind of like oil and vinegar. Will; have to check date and if it is an old bottle, will revisit in the future... (542 characters)

Photo of DrMullet
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Awesome label with a killer depiction of Krampus. Pours an amber color. Spicy/citrus flavor. Has a fair hint of malt with caramel/bread crust tones. Hoppy but not too much. I like it. (184 characters)

Photo of DackZ
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L-Light copper
S-Lots of aromatic Hops
T-Hoppy (earthy and piney, mostly). Intense, yet balanced and clean.
F-A bit viscous (in a good way)
O-Yet another super solid offering from ST. A nice change of pace for a winter seasonal. I've had other Hoppy Lagers/IPL's; this is the best I've had. (291 characters)

Photo of DuffmanCanNeverDie
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

First off, let me just start off by saying that IPAs are really not my thing. Now, this tasted A LOT like an IPA to me.. So much so that if you put like 5 different IPAs in front of me & threw this in the mix, I probably wouldn't be able to pick it out from the others. If you like IPAs, you'd probably enjoy this, but it's a bit too piney for my liking. (354 characters)

Photo of JPowell712
3.64/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was a little taken back by the taste. It is very hoppy and bitter much more like an IPA than a lager. It is a good beer that has a ton of smell and taste. I think it is a little too piney for my liking, but a good beer to try. (231 characters)

Photo of Treyliff
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, poured into a tulip

A- pours a clear deep amber color with a two-finger white foamy head that retains for a while, eventually settling to a small layer skimming the top, some lace left behind

S- piney and floral hop aroma with just a hint of citrus, earthy pine resin. Caramel, grains, and crackery malt, with a hint of lager yeast to close it out

T- big blast of piney hops up front with pine resin and earthy notes. Floral hop flavors kick in beneath the piney notes, quickly followed by some grapefruit peel. Lager yeast, along with caramel sweetness underlies the big hop flavors. Toasted grains finish with more piney hops on the linger

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel and a crisp, bitter-dry finish

O- a piney hop showcase that keeps the crispness of a lager (822 characters)

Photo of SHODriver
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: poured into a pilsner glass to a light bronze with a two finger dense off white head that retains well and leaves good lacing
S: smells of citrusy and spicy hops with some light caramel sweetness
T: taste is somewhat piney and resinous hops, citrus, spicy hops, with some caramel sweetness that struggles to balance out all the hops. swallow is spicy hops with more citrus and some tropical fruit with a little more caramel sweetness
M: medium in the mouth with slightly prickly carbonation and a resinous and oily hop finish
O: This is a great beer with plenty of delicious hop flavors and a decent malt backbone. Grab this and enjoy if hoppy beers are your thing (674 characters)

Photo of MattyG85
4.24/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a bright golden orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. Solid finger of off white head which settles into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a good amount of lacing.

Smell: A crisp, earthy, and floral balanced aroma of bitter hops and sweet malt. Upfront presence of floral and earthy hops with good hints of pine resin and grass. Also some citrus hints of orange and lemon zest. Big malt presence with hints of grains, straw, cracker, and lager yeast. Some apple like hints as well. A pretty good aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, an earthy, floral, and spicy hoppy taste with a good sweet malt balance. Big presence of earthy and floral hops with some upfront notes of pine resin, grass, and spice. Citrus hop notes of orange peel and lemon zest. Also some apple notes. Big pale malt presence with notes of straw, grains, cracker, and lager yeast. A really solid taste.

Mouthfeel: Fairly full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Spicy, juicy, and fairly oily with a drying finish. Alcohol heat is minimal.

Overall: A very good hopped up spin on an Imperial Helles Lager. Starts very hop forward but the lager element isn’t lost. (1,204 characters)

Photo of are_doubleyou
4.34/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours a rich orange that looks golden in light and ruby in shadows with a nice thick white head that dissipates into a thin lace. The beer is very clear with moderate carbonation bubbles. Overall very nice, but a little dark for a Helles Lager.

S: Strong noble hop notes jump out. Very spicy, floral, earthy and piney. There is a strong malt backbone behind it with good bread notes and hint of caramel sweetness. A decently balanced aroma and very inviting.

T: Floral and spicy hops hit the palate immediately. Very good and make it clear that this is an imperial Helles Lager. The body is very spicy and earthy with a pine resin kick and solid backbone of bready malts. The finish is very strong pine resin that lingers on the palate. The hops overpower the malt a bit too much and the pine resin aftertaste is a bit more like an IPA than a lager. Very tasty, but a bit of a style deviation here in my opinion.

F: Rather thick and chewy. Here is where we really get the malt presence of the beer. Very clean and dry too. Very well characteristic of a lager and very pleasant on the tongue.

O: I enjoy this beer a great deal. It lives up to its namesake and punishes the tongue a bit with a heaping of hop flavor. I honestly think the biggest problem is marketing it as an "Imperial Helles Lager" when it is close to what I would consider an ideal "India Pale Lager" for its very strong hop presence. It's a bit unbalanced, but I imagine Krampus is as well. I'll look for it in future holiday seasons and if you are an fan of the hop flavors that I mentioned, I highly recommend it to drink as you warn the little ones in your family about Santa's helper who punishes the naughty.

This beer was poured from a 22oz bottle into a Blind Pig mug and enjoyed at apx 55F. (1,774 characters)

Photo of B-J-B
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Not much in the way of smell - fresh, clean, and malty. Bright sweetness on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Big grapefruit, orange, apple hop flavors that linger and mix with a pleasing and drying bitterness. A very good beer. (235 characters)

Photo of orcrist_cleaver
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured into a pilsner flute. Color ranges from dark gold to bright and clear amber. SRM in the 9-13 range. Plenty of doughy and soft head, 2 fingers in depth.

S: Spicy cedar wood. Light malt sweetness, natural sap and resin. Smells like a christmas tree lot. Floral sweetness on top, apple blossom. Delicate light and fruity orange and grapefruit repose. Alcohol ethers can become dominant when warmed.

M: Very smooth, almost like silk. Medium-heavier body and thick, but countered by moderate carbonation. Not as crisp as I was expecting.

T/O: Higher bitterness level than normal Helles, but not overpowering and pairs well with slight alcohol warmth. Bright pine hops. Grass malt and bready malt quality. Lots of citrus fruit: grapefruit, lime zest, tangerine. I like the label, name, and overall uniqueness of having a winter lager seasonal, and it nails all those plus tastes like a real beer. Drink cold as it is very uneven as it warms. (948 characters)

Photo of FLima
3.05/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Hazy light brown color with a thin head with low retention.
Aroma with predominant sweet notes of caramel malt.
Malty flavor with notes of caramel, good spices, toasted malts, grass, lemon drops, some oxidation and booze, lager yeast, flowers, husk and pine. Dry and bitter aftertaste.
Medium body with mild carbonation. Alcohol of 9% is part of the taste but it does feel lower.
It seems a bit like a Doppelbock. Though this might not be fresh, hard to tell once this was bought in the US. (490 characters)

Photo of bleedsblu
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Poured from an ice cold bottle into a custom Mad Elf goblet, jealous much.

It has a ruby color with noticeable carbonation, with and aggressive pour it produced a 1/2 inch head.

I smell the floral notes but no getting the pine, it smells fresh and inviting.

The mouth feel is thick and has strong bitter notes hitting the tongue.

Again i'm getting to much bitterness for my taste but it is fresh and crisp. Its a good beer not just what I would go to on a daily basis, but its seasonal so don't forget to ask Santa. (521 characters)

Photo of gonzo000
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Very good beer. No holiday spices - Pours an amber color with a one finger head when poured into a red cup (classy). Smell of malt on the nose. Nice flavor. Will revisit this beer. (185 characters)

Photo of SteveB24
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%

super juicy and fruity, with a nice bitter finish, this tastes much more like a fine, creamy, IPA then any type of lager i've had but its really awesome. (153 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
2.52/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

BOTTLE: 650 ml. Brown glass. Black & grey branded pry-off pressure cap. Purchased at an Austin, TX bottle shop.

Reviewed live as an imperial helles lager per the label. 8.20% ABV. Expectations are above average given the brewery. Served cold into a snifter. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: A weak floater ring of off-white colour is all that manifests. The ring lasts about forty seconds. No lacing is left on the sides of the glass. Pretty pathetic...

BODY: Translucent semitransparent copper with orange hues. Average vibrance. Clean; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears adequately carbonated. Overall, it looks more like a pale ale than a helles lager. I can't say the appearance has me dying to try it.

AROMA: Overhopped for a helles lager. Mild piney hop character, floral notes, a kiss of evergreen, and some resins. Pale malts. Clean barley.

It's quite clean and ester-free in classic lager fashion, but aside from that it's really more of a pale lager.

Timid and light in intensity, but pleasant. Not a great aroma for any beer, and not to style by any means. Evokes a weak pale ale, if anything.

TASTE: Caramalt. Some bready malts. Clean lager yeast. Munich malts. It's overhopped, with way too much piney and floral character for a helles lager. A kiss of sour apple. Some light zest. Pale malts. Light spruce.

This is a chaotic mess of a build regardless of style, and a poor stab at a helles lager - imperialized or not. The beer has no focus or direction, and lacks basic cohesion. It's a hodgepodge of eclectic notes. Pleasant enough, but imbalanced as hell and poorly built overall.

It's complicated for a helles lager; I'm all for complexity but this is unnecessary and unsatisfying. Befuddlingly eclectic and diverse, with no clear aim and no unifying notes.

Alcohol is poorly disguised. There are no egregious off-notes.

True to the label, pine dominates.

Do I like it? It's not bad...definitely too sweet, overhopped though it may be.

Shallow depth of flavour. Average flavour duration. High flavour intensity (for a purported helles lager). Lacks any notable subtlety or nuance.

No yeast character comes through.

TEXTURE: Overcarbonated almost to the point of it being biting. Smooth, wet, overly full-bodied...it's just too hefty, heavy, and thick on the palate for a helles lager, and isn't in any way a refreshing brew. Not sure what they're going for with this one.

This texture is as unfocused as the taste. There's some rather unfortunate alcohol warmth - and this is a helles lager?

It's not gushed, astringent, harsh, or scratchy.

OVERALL: It's not an awful beer, but it doesn't really feel like a deliberate one either. It's as though a homebrewer just bought a bunch of ingredients at random and threw them in the brew kettle without any regard for a style...that could work, but it doesn't work here. A mess of a brew which is ultimately quite pedestrian and certainly below average. I'm all for experimentation, but this is quite a failure. Wouldn't recommend it to friends, wouldn't buy it again. Not the quality I hope for when I buy a beer with Southern Tier's name on the label.

Low C- (3,248 characters)

Photo of StoutHunter
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I picked up a bottle Southern Tier's Krampus last week for $7.49 at The Lager Mill. I know it's too early for winter seasonals, but I heard this was a good hoppy beer so I wanted to try it fresh and even though I'm not big fan of Southern Tier I thought I should still give this beer a chance, so lets see how it goes. 2014 Vintage, Fresh. Poured from a brown 22oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks nice, it goes good with the name and I like all the information that they added. It poured a hazy darker orange color that took on more of a amber orange color when held to the light with with just a little over two fingers worth of very light tan head that was almost off white and it died down to a thick ring that stayed till the end and it left some nice rings of patchy lacing behind. This was a very nice looking beer, I really liked the color.

S- The aroma starts off with medium amount of sweetness with the hops being the first to show up and impart a mixture of spicy, light floral, very light citrus rind and piney hop aromas with the piney hops sticking out the most and they are followed by a nice clean lager yeast aroma. Up next comes just a slight alcohol aroma followed by the malts which impart some pale malt, grainy, bready and sweet malt like aromas. This beer had a good aroma, it's inline with an imperial version of the style and I think the piney hops go well with the season.

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma and it starts off with a lower amount of sweetness with the hops being the first to show up and they impart the same aspects that they did in the aroma with piney hops still sticking out the most. Up next comes some of that clean lager yeast that goes right into the malts which are a little lighter than they were in the aroma and they impart the same aspects with the pale malts sticking out the most. On the finish there's a low amount of high bitterness with just a slight amount of alcohol that's hardly noticeable and it had lightly spicy and very piney aftertaste along with some lingering bitterness. This was a pretty good tasting beer and It's pretty much just what I would expect from a Imperial Helles Lager.

M- Fairly smooth, just a little crisp, alcohol was well hidden, a little creamy, on the thicker side of being medium bodied with a slightly lower amount of medium carbonation. The beer had a pretty nice mouthfeel that worked well with it.

Overall I thought this was a pretty nice beer and I thought it was a good example of a Imperial version of a Helles Lager, it had pretty much all the aspects that I would expect from a Helles Lager, but they were all much bigger, which was nice and it still kept a little bit of that good drinkability that the style is know for with some nicely hidden alcohol. This beer had nice drinkability, it was fairly smooth, just a little crisp, alcohol was well hidden, a little creamy, not too filling and the taste did a decent job at holding my attention, I think one glass is the perfect amount for me, but the since the alcohol is well hidden I don't think I'll have a problem drinking a bomber to myself. What I liked the most about this beer was the appearance and aroma, they were both good and they worked well with this beer and I also really liked how well the alcohol was hidden. What I liked the least about this beer was that the taste wasn't as balanced as the aroma, I wish more of those malty aspects came through in the taste. I would buy this beer again, but I will probably wait till it's released next year and I would recommend this to anyone who thinks a Imperial Helles Lager sounds interesting. All in all I was happy with this beer, I wasn't wowed with it, but it does good job of keeping most of the aspects that Helles Lager has and just making it bigger and bolder. It isn't my favorite Southern Tier beer, but it is one of the better of the style that I've had and I'm lumping ti together with Imperial Pilseners because that's what BA has it as and I find it to be very similar to that style. Nice job guys this was a tasty, keep up the solid work. (4,114 characters)

Photo of WhiteHillsStore
3.74/5  rDev -4.8%

Pours a dark yellow with a light head that trails the glass. The smell is full of hop bite in the beginning with a bit of a grapefruit scent, but also fresh bread comes through. The taste was very pleasant with a zesty bite in the beginning and then mellowing out into a very drinkable beer with the pilsner malts coming through in the finish. A nice beer to have in the winter. (378 characters)

Photo of PicoPapa
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I was surprised to see I haven't reviewed this one yet.

22oz bottle. Bottled on date of 10/09/14. Pours a translucent amber color with a 1/4 inch of head. Lots of lacing. The aroma is lots of piney and floral hops. The taste is a perfect mix for Xmas, piney hops. Flowery hops as well. A bit earthy at times with some more floral notes towards the end. Light amount of malt flavor. Bitter pine finish. Slightly sour. Somewhat boozey. Creamy mouthfeel. Overall, a hoppy, bitter Pilsner I always look forward to when Winter rolls around. (536 characters)

Photo of AtrumAnimus
3.54/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a nice amber, practically orange, beautifully rich color with a head that is thick and settles slowly. The head is just a tiny bit off white in color hinting that the amber is transferred to the foam. The head settles extremely slowly and leaves a nice lacing down the glass.

The nose is dominated by the hops with a floral undertone. Nice but not great. Adequate at best.

The taste matches the description and name sake for this beer, Krampus. He very much sounds like a bitter character and this is a very bitter beer. I would say it more reminds me of an ESB on steroids.The hopping subdues the lagering making this more of a hop heads dream come true.

I think this beer would make an excellent lager if they backed the hops off about 15%. As for an Imperial it is quite good.

The moutfeel is just right for this style, if it were thinker the hops would most likely have an unpleasant finish, this instance of extreme hopping finishes surprisingly clean.

Overall I like this but it isn't my favorite. I can see myself drinking this again, however, I see my self changing the direction my hand goes if I were to reach for as there are others that are much better for the same price.

I recommend trying it as this is a great IPA/Lager. Just not my favorite. (1,280 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 429 ratings.