Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

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Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager)Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager)

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BA SCORE
87
very good

1,119 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

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Ratings: 1,119
Reviews: 433
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 12.08%
Wants: 85
Gots: 143 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,119 | Reviews: 433
Reviews by BrownNut:
Photo of BrownNut
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - 4.5 - Nice orange amber. Great, textured, cream-colored head. I want this kind of head on every beer. Very active carbonation.

S - 4.0 - Floral, sweet. I wouldn't have been able to isolate citrus but someone else mentioned it and I can see that. The aroma is so rich that I wanted to call it something else.

T - 3.75 - Bready malt, caramel, leaving behind a mild bitterness in the aftertaste.

M - 4.0 - Medium body, nicely smooth

O - 3.75 - Here's a lager with some welcome substance. Reminds me a bit of a DIPA.

More User Reviews:
Photo of BEERchitect
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My taste buds get their feelings hurt when I read the terms "imperial" and "helles" in the same title. It's not clever, it's the flavor equivlent of using double negatives in fine literary works.

Krampus has a darker-than-expected golden color with mild haze. A froathy white head caps the beer and allows spotty lace with good retention.

Jumping out immediately is the high hopping rates that provide a sharply citric and spicy earth aroma, taste, and bitterness. Supportive malts seem deeply caramelized and give nearly as much Pale Ale character as that of Pilsner. Bread crust and light yeasty taste provide slight apple-like esters and sulfur character that adds a bit of zest to usher in a semi-dry malt finish with 9% warmth and a minty-cool taste and texture.

Where Imperialized Pilsners usually don't settle particularly well with me, the added caramel and bread crust flavor supports the assertive hop additions very well, allowing me to read the flavor and balance of IPAs moreso than a big Pilsner. Just don't make me read the self-promoted label again.

Photo of MattyG85
4.24/5  rDev +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.

Photo of RoamingGnome
3.89/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Southern Tier Krampus Imperial Helles Lager

From tasting notes... Enjoyed on tap at Benno's Christmas Party. This was a 10 oz tapper.

A) Golden amber with a festive shimmer to it. Not much head, just a little collar. No lacing noted.

S) Decent balance with the aroma. Started with some malty sweetness. Light caramel, a little yellow cake. The hops is a hint of citrus, but more earthy and floral.

T) Lightly roasted malt and plenty of hops. A little lemon zest, grapefruit, pine and grass. Good balance, but a little more hop forward from a flavor standpoint. I can't believe this is 9% ABV here... Very well hidden...

M) This was a full bodied brew. The carbonation is pretty soft. It's fairly smooth, and a bit sticky. It was my second beer of the evening, and it went down with ease.

O) Never had an Imperial Helles before, but I really enjoyed this. Excellent drinkability in my opinion. Maybe Krampus can pay my kids a little visit, and tell them to knock off the bullshit when dad's trying to watch football.

Photo of oberon
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pilsner glass a slight hazed medium to full golden with a large foamy white head that took forever to settle.Love the aromas,full on citric and spicy chinook hops with a big caramel malt note.Flavors are big citric and herbal/spice up frotn with some big caramel sweetness with a touch of honey,as the beer warms the alcohol zing really comes thru more.Its a little heavy and the alcohol does creep but its tasty.

Totally not true to the style and although I liked this beer it just leaves me wondering why a beer of this style is made.

Photo of steelerguy
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Completely clear and bright. Moderate carbonation with a nice creamy white head that fades to a persistent covering while leaving a good deal of lacing.

S - Earthy hop, light caramel malts, and some toasted bread notes.

T - Very hop forward but in a balanced way, the bitterness persists throughout in a nice even manner to the finish. Very clean malt flavors, lots of malt depth and toastiness from the Munich malt. Finishes with some alcohol.

M - Moderate body, smooth feeling, some dextrins in there coat the mouth. Some alcohol warmth at the end.

D - Big beer, with smooth and balanced flavors. Drinks like an IPA in hopiness, but the malt character of a Maibock.

Photo of JasonA
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Seems to pour a bit thick. Solid 2 head, maybe a bit dark for style though.

Smells an ABV lager. Perfect I think. Quite hoppy for a lager. Doesnt smell exactly like German hops I think. Though tough to keep track with ABV.

Hoppy ABV lager. There is something very nice in there, unlike a standard imperial pilsner. Very nice.

Might be a just bit thick. Almost syrupy. Carbonation is swell. Nice after taste.

I definately want more.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've enjoyed all the Southern Tier products I've tried, but this one just didn't do it for me. In my pilsener glass the beer was an amber color with a thick white head that quickly dissipated. The aroma confused me a little: malt, fruit, and spice that didn't go well together. Same thing with the taste. I thought the beer was overly spiced, and not terribly enjoyable.

Photo of warnerry
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours clear copper with three fingers of thick head with good retention.

S - More hops than I was expecting, mostly citrus, with quite a bit of caramel malt as well.

T - Again, a surprising amount of citrus hops, but definitely a pleasant surprise. Caramel malt comes in midway and lastes trough the finish.

M - Medium, slightly sticky mouthfeel with nice carbonation. Leaves a nice lingering bitterness.

O - Good beer. Not really to style, but enjoyable.

Photo of generallee
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 22oz bottle into a pilsener glass.

Appearance: The body had a good dark golden amber color with very good clarity. It also had some slow moving, small carbonation bubbles that make there way up the glass to the lovely creamy colored head. The head was of average size, had very good retention and made lots of cool lacing on the glass.

Smell: Its aroma had an assertive heavy and sweet character along with a strong hit of floral hops and just a touch of lemony citrus as well.

Taste/Mouth feel: The flavor like its aroma is big, bold and full bodied. Big floral and slightly citrusy hops mix with an equally big malty body that shows its 9% alcohol. The finish is slow with hop bitterness hanging on to the tongue. Its texture is slick, smooth, a bit thick, well rounded and slow sipping.

Notes: This was a delicious big bold slow sipper of a beer.

Photo of Doomcifer
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a gluggily clear, bright amber color with a big creamy head that goes nowhere. Great lacing. Smells like a delicious IPA. HUGE on citrus and piny hop aromas and sweet malt and a touch of white pepper, even lemons and bits of ginger. Taste is more hops. Extremely hoppy, in fact. Big citrus and tons of pine flavor, some earthy notes, crazy astringent bitter finish. Fantastic malt bill gving a sweet backbone to balance off the insane hoppiness. Its almost like an even hoppier/bitter DFH 90-minute IPA. Leaning towards a heavy body and dry finish. Extremely crisp. Burping up pine cones. Demolished palate. Blindfolded, Id say this is one of the best DIPAs I have ever had. SICK beer.

Photo of Jason
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown bomber with no freshness date. Love the theme of having Santa's opposite, getting a lump of coal sounds good compared to what Krampus was capable of doing.

Dense two fingers of head leaves a nice rim of lace on the glass. Bright amber color. Big juicy aroma of pungent hops that run form wild flowers to grapefruit rind, some caramel maltiness make it to the nose as well. A think beer with a mild smoothness. Huge wad of hoppiness on the palate, not a bitter as I anticipated but certainly more than enough to overcome the brawny malt character. Hop flavor lends suggestions of hemp seed oil, grapefruit rind and spearmint. The alcohol is warming but does not flash 9.0% anywhere. Maltiness comes in first with a toasted, almost biscuit flavor then broadens to more of a caramel sweetness until the hops in the finish flatten most of that down. Finishes hoppy and a little sweet.

Its not the alcohol that makes this a sipper, its the sheer amount of hop flavor and a good amount of malt crammed into this beer. Your taste buds can only handle so much but I love that beers like this are pushing the limits.

Photo of Billolick
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 ouncer, w/o freshness/vintage/bottling info. Pours clear, very clear, cap of eggshell, frothy foam, dissolving to a collar and leaving fine, plentiful and scattered lace. Fresh minty nose, also hints of alcohol, perfume and more cool mint. Thick, thick stuff, with a nice velvety mouth feel. Flavors here are all over the place mint, perfume, alcohol, piney hops in full force and biting, I even get some mild hot sauce notes. I like just about every SN offering, and appreciate their adventurous attitude, but I doubt I would go for this one again real soon...

Photo of tigg924
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: huge two inch head, moderate carbonation, brownish/gold in color, cloudy

Smell: hops, grass, and grapefruit

Taste: better than the smell, grass, hops, bread, caramel

Mouthfeel: bitter start that gets sweeter and spicier towards the finish, medium/high carbonation, medium bodied

Drinkability: Very good for the style. I would have only one due to the high abv, but would want one more in the season..not a case. The hop mix is strong, but not overpowering. This was a nice surprise.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jwc215 for sending me this beer.

Pours an orangish-brown color with a white head. The aroma is grapefruit with some other citrus and a little bit of malt. The flavor is grapefruit hops with medium to high bitterness. Medium to high carbonation and a medium mouthfeel.

Photo of GerryPendry
4.21/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

4.5 in looks because I like the haziness. YMMV.

Photo of kingcrowing
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a snifter.

Pours a very clear amber/gold with no head, very nice looking. Nose is sweet malty and very nice hoppiness.

Taste is smooth and toasty. Really good beer I like it a lot, has a light hop to it and a light sweetness in the body.

Photo of jondeelee
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Krampus opens with a yeasty, hoppy, bready nose, each of these existing in good balance with each other. The hops bring a bright citrus aroma, full of lemon, pink grapefruit, and eucalyptus, while the malts add yeasty, floury rising wheat bread dough, French baguettes, and touches of brown sugar and caramel. The aromas are potent when the bottle opens, but do fade as the beer is left out, and after only a minute or two have lost much of their potency. Still, the aromas are tempting, if light.

On the tongue, the beer opens with a hoppy shock that would not go amiss in an Imperial IPA. Huge citrusy lemon, grapefruit rind, pine, and eucalyptus notes are present here, as well as a touch of dandelion stem and mint. The beer is also white pepper spicy. Malts are somewhat difficult to locate against the hop slam, but there are good toast crust and biscuit notes, as well as floury French baguette crusts. Some brown sugars help temper the brew. The aftertaste is mainly hops, with lingering floury breads. Mouthfeel is medium-light to medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, while I liked the hop flavors in here, I thought they overpowered the brew, making the malts difficult to locate. The beer as a whole feels unbalanced because of this, and the lemony hops combine with the floury baguette flavors to give the beer a lemon-lime soda undertone that seemed strange. The brew isn't bad, of course, and hopheads will find it lovely, but I thought a few more sugars and a better caramel-vanilla base would have helped.

Photo of Osiris9588
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into a pint glass. A nice fluffy, off-white cap of foam formed, displaying tremendous retention, leaving significant lacing. The rusty body of the beer appeared somewhat hazy, tiny bubble lallygagging about.

The aroma is piny and fruity with slight spice undertones, a solid precursor to the flavor which has some cherry maltiness and spicy woodsyness. It begins somewhat sweet on the tongue, then dries out before that smack of sticky phenols on the finish. Not really what you'd expect from a Helles, but seems to make more sense as a fall or winter brew.

It is not overwhelming in any one respect, but see it as slightly too syrupy to be exceptionally drinkable. It's not a beer I would go out of my way to seek out, but wouldn't mind receiving as a gift.

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.26/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into tulip; clear orange, visible rising bubbles with a huge fluffy white head that fades slow leaving chunky lacing.
Smell is floral hops as well as more bitter earthy ones, along with lager yeast and darker breadiness.
Taste is slightly dark bready malt, bitter floral hops and earthy notes, along with a slight puff of alcohol heat. A very hoppy lager, delicious.
Mouthfeel is smooth, medium-light bodied and well-carbonated.
Overall, another beer I'm glad I picked up to give a full review. I forgot how good it was. It's a great hoppy strong lager, and I also enjoy the fact that they didn't feel the need to call it "India" something just because it's well-hopped. Another great beer from ST.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've had this on tap in the past and it was always straight up onion/garlic hops to me. This year in the bottle it seems alot more palatable to me than straight onion/garlic. Imperial helles lager my ass, this is as pale/ipa/double pils as it comes flavorwise. Lager yeast maybe, lagering time yeah, but flavor wise blind folded it tastes like a hopped up ale. First of helles means light this is a copper amber colored beer. Crystal clear filtering, fine light off white head forms thick with speckled even lacing. Aroma really nails an imperial IPA nose with big layers of hops pine, citrus, hints of onion/vegetable greeness even spicy herbal qualities. Big malt layers are eclipsed in the nose, a touch of alcohol tickles your nares to let know to be ware. Flavor hits with an aggressive spicy oregano/greeness herbal/citrus/pine explosion almost feels like heat from a pepper in the back of your throat. Malts are caramelized enough to provided sugar coating amongst the hops but don't necessarily make the experience any sweeter. I could pair this with some Thai or Indian food because of the vegetal greeness/spiciness that the hops provide here. Mouthfeel can get a bit rough with residual sugars and hot alcohol, best advice is split it with a friend or someone who has been naughty this year. Drinkability is decent not a regular that I would pursue but seasonally once a year I could tolerate this. Truely unique and somewhat of a clusterfuck but at the end of the day I would say I actually enjoyed drinking it.

Photo of daveytheformer
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce poured into a snifter.

Pours a clear golden amber with a nice thin white head that remains as the beer recedes in the glass.

Smells like pine and citrus with a floral sweetness.

Tastes smooth and clean with a little spicy kick. Seems kind of like a Belgian style IPA.

Mouthfeel is medium with great carbonation.

Overall is a great beer. I had no idea what to expect from this beer but was beyond pleasantly surprised.

Photo of glid02
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Porter Beer Bar in Atlanta.

Pours a clear light copper color with a half-finger white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of light malts with large amounts of citrus and herbal hops. Also present are very slight amounts of crisp lager yeast and slighter still amounts of green apple aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells although the hops aren't quite as robust. Crisp light malt flavors with a slight syrupy sweetness kick things off and are joined quickly by moderate amounts of citrus hops. Midway through the sip the citrus flavors turn more toward herbal with hints of tropical fruit. The hops carry through to a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I had no problems finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall I was surprised by the high amount of hops in this beer but looking back I shouldn't be surprised by that in a beer put out by ST. Far from a traditional take on the beer but one that hopheads will appreciate. Worth a shot.

Photo of ianjsullivan
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

ST: 22oz bomber poured into a snifter.

A: An interesting amber that when held up to the light takes on a bright orange hue. Spotty lacing all the way around the glass from a thin head that quickly settles to a mere mist on top. A few quick swirls brings back the head.

S: Strong citrus, grapefruit, and bubblegum that ( I guess) come from the Willamette hops. A slight bit of caramel is in the background. There is a slightly green or metallic aroma that is hard to place, but the aroma may just be the alcohol.

T: Bubblegum and citrus with slight burnt caramel is overpowered by a sharp, bitter, spicy, pine and grapefruit finish that does not go away. The hops are the star of this show.

M: Medium and very dry.

O: Lots of hop flavor dominates this beer and gives it a Krampus bite. The malt is lost quickly in the never ending hop finish. In fact, the beer could use a bit more balance even if it is labeled an imperial.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip glass)
A- This beer has a slightly hazy aged copper body with lots of strands of tiny bubbles and a thick sticky head of antique white foam that last a good bit.
S- There is some caramel malt sweetness that soon gives way to a green pungent hop finish.
T- There is a mellow but rich caramel flavor that leads to a pungent hop bite that lingers just a moment after the finish.
M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a soft fizz finish and no alcohol heat.
D- The rich caramel malt is well balanced by the full pungent hops. Full flavor but very easy to drink.

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Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,119 ratings.