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Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

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

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very good

884 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 884
Reviews: 405
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 12.31%

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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: brewdlyhooked13 on 07-15-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 884 | Reviews: 405 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of padan7


2.28/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Being only 1 hour to the source we consider ourselves very lucky. We bought 2 fresh bottles.

The beer looks quite nice bright & deep golden.

Smells of yummy hops get the taste buds anticipating.

Taste is really a bummer. Munich helles lager? No it isn't. Nor is it delicious or even desirable. Bitter not as in nice but as in nasty.

Mouthfeel & drinkability are overshadowed by dissapointment.

We truly enjoy Hoppe & Oat & Unearthly & Java.

This was not even close to fun. We couldn't wait to get home to try it. That was 2 weeks ago. What are we going to do with the other bottle?

Hey if you want to trade...have at it.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2008 02:55:55 | More by padan7
Photo of jjanega08


2.4/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A= pours a golden amber color with a thin half finger head that has some pretty decent retention and some great lacing for how thin the head is. Really sticky on my glass.

S= Almost overly sweet. Good hop character to it. Nice pine and citrus smells come from it but then there is a cloyingly sweetness to it that I smell. Syrupy in the smell if that even makes sense.

T= Much much better than the smell. Good hop character in it. Hops up front and in the middle of the pallet. The sweetness that I smelled is gone and instead is more of a metallic or glass sort of flavor... Really interesting. Not a huge fan of this metal or old glass that I taste. The bottle I got was fresh from the box at the store so I know it isn't old. This really really tastes like glass. I love the hops at the front but this taste is off.

M= thick and syrupy. Overly sticky on my lips. Heavy and I really really hate the metal/ glass aftertaste that lingers in my mouth.

D= This beer I will for sure not buy again. Really a disappointment. I expect more from ST.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2009 05:16:22 | More by jjanega08
Photo of RonfromJersey

New Jersey

2.48/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A hazy orange body, topped by a slab atleast four fingers thick of off-white micro-bubbles. Very good lacing.

A quick burst of pine aroma when the bottle first opens, disappears oddly quick, and leaves a perfume note that while not repulsive is not especially inviting or enticing.

Taste begins with a quick sweet note down the middle of the tongue before bitter and flowery hops overrun everything. The odd perfume/floral aroma trait shows up in the finish and refuses to go away quietly. Its almost orangy citrus but takes a bad wrong turn.

Nice full mouthfeel. Off putting finsih kills drinkability.

I first thought an imperial helles would be bock-like, but this is nowhere near there. This is an imperial pilsner trying to be softer, but the hops just didn't cooperate. Love Southern Tier, but this will be a pass if re-released in the future.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2009 03:18:07 | More by RonfromJersey
Photo of TMB0424

New Jersey

2.78/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

from notes. poured into flute.

Pours a golden straw body with a tiny head that quickly disappeared. Good retention, however.

I don't know what they were going for with this, but it's not pleasant. Smells of pine - like straight up pine needles from a tree - and an odd, musk-like smell. Not much else here, and it's bad.

Taste is nothing like the smell, but it's not much better. The pine is translated into grapefruit, with that musky taste as well, with a little bit of caramel malts. It's bitter, yes. But hoppy? I don't know. It's very weird.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, pretty crisp in the mouth. Dry finish. I'm glad we split a bottle of this, because there's no chance I would drink a bomber to myself. Between the pine tree smell and the "offness" of the taste... I just didn't enjoy it.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2009 15:22:56 | More by TMB0424
Photo of taylor714914


2.78/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Um….well this is odd.  Taplist lists this as an imperial pilsner, however ST says this is a Helles.  Poured a shimmering deep amber color, Krampus smells of toffee, some wheat bread malts, and a touch of hops.  Flavor is off.  Mouthfeel is waters.  Not sure what to think, But I can’t finish this.  It reminds be of a watered down lager with some added sweetness.  Southern Tier misses on this one.

Serving type: on-tap

12-12-2013 19:35:06 | More by taylor714914
Photo of LittleBreeze

New York

2.8/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear amber. Off white head. The citrus and piney hop smells are attractive. There is something else there...Mint? Grassy? Spices?

The taste is...not good. I described the taste as sort of skunked. I was assured that was on purpose. Okay...ick. Not my favorite style. Mouthfeel was rather nice. Not to much dancing on the tongue.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2008 17:51:10 | More by LittleBreeze
Photo of ScarletLady


2.8/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On tap.
A - amber in color nice head that left thin wisps of lacing
S - first a bit of hops followed by malt. had to really search for the aroma
T - hint of hop at first but mostly malt. sweet finish
M - slightly thick with almost no carbonation
D - just ok, wouldn't try it again

Overall a little disappointing and now the least favorite of my southern tier brews

Serving type: on-tap

12-02-2009 03:08:22 | More by ScarletLady
Photo of DIM


2.9/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

a: This was a bright, clear copper color. It pours with a big, craggy white head that leaves lots of lace in it's wake.

s: I got a strange combination of fresh, piny hops and sugary cherries.

t: There is a clash of flavors here that doesn't work for me. Up front I got dry, tart, and flowery cherries that had an artificial quality. The finish adds a resiny, piny hop to the mix. Not horrible, just a juxtaposition of flavors that comes up short.

m: Good body and carbonation, but the lingering, slightly solventy, mix of cherry and pine are a distraction.

d: After the novelty wore off, this became difficult to finish.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2009 11:34:57 | More by DIM
Photo of Bighuge


2.93/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Crystal clear dark copper body. Thin off white head. Bubbly collar leaves nice rings of lace as I drink.

Aroma: Warm, biscuity malt aromas. Slight alcohol. Perfumey and scenty hop nuances.

Flavor: Not overly impressed with this one. This does not resemble a helles lager. The biscuit notes I got on the nose are nowhere to be seen on the palate. It resembles a high octane blend of spiked punch and spearmint hop accents. Very bitter. And lots of pine as well.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Very viscous feel to this. But it does have noticeable carbonation as well. Syrupy in a way. The alcoholic heat is obvious and actually just a little overboard. This is just kind of a boozy mishmash with a side of hops.

I was hoping this experiment would parallel Great Lakes 'Imperial Dortmunder' undertaking, but it pales in comparison. This one has very minimal traits of the original style.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2008 02:44:08 | More by Bighuge
Photo of GClarkage


2.95/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

09/07/09- Purchased at Buy-Rite Liquors in Plainfield, NJ.

Presentation- 22oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Dark yellow colored appearance. Nice full one inch plus head. Some chunks and leftover lacing. Quality looking.

Smell- Lots of hops and lots of super bready malt. Over the top on both aspects.

Taste- Super hopped and super bready, just as the nose would detect. Way too much for me in both aspects. Really harsh and quite intense.

Mouthfeel- Mid to heavier carbonation level..super bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability- Might be someones cup of tea, but not mine. Don't think it was spoiled, just didn't care for it. And I usually like Double Pils. My first disappointment from Southern Tier.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2009 14:57:13 | More by GClarkage
Photo of cokes


2.95/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Shiny bronze colored with a mountain of sticky off-white froth on top. Lacing comes in sliding sheets.
A bready whiff is shoved aside by the resiny, sprucy, pulpy hops, and the juniper/quinine/botanical/citric qualities of gin, complete with the booze hammer.
Again, it's thoroughly bready as it scampers across the tongue. There's a nice balance here, at least at first. Hops bring florals, evergreens, resin, and mint. Dankly and loudly. Alcohol rears up later, with a bitter-sourness, and explosions of heat.
Thickish mouthfeel, syrupy from the booze quotient. The carbonation gives it levity up front, but eventually dies off, leaving it with all the more sting and burn. There should be something delicate and soft and balanced here, despite the imperialness...and there isn't. Not at all.
This doesn't work, despite a glimmer of hope off the bat with its deep breadiness. The hopping is huge to the point of abrasiveness, and the alcohol is beyond even that...pushing obnoxious. The world honestly doesn't need an Imperial Helles. And this isn't one. Call it an Imperial India Pale Lager (semantics...I know), and my gripes are the same. Too big, too dumb, too base, too conflicted, too hot, too unwieldy, and too unmeshed.
Too bad.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2009 09:25:41 | More by cokes
Photo of doughanson78


2.95/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass. First Helles Lager.

A: A medium dark orange/copper. Super clear. One finger bright white head with amazing retention and sticky lacing.

S: Not a huge aroma. Piney and earthy hops. Grains, breads and grassy notes. Slight spice notes.

T: Slight caramel along with grains and bread. Pine and floral hops along with a biscuity malt flavor. Finishes very earthy and grassy with a grapefruit bitterness. Weird hop profile and the off putting grapefruit in the end just messes this taste up.

M: Medium light body. Higher carbonation. Slight creaminess. Pretty dry finish.

O: Kind of like a very hoppy lager. Don't know if it's the hop profile of this beer or if it just doesn't go with lagers, but this one isn't for me. Not totally bad.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2012 02:48:01 | More by doughanson78
Photo of mfnmbvp


3/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle. Bottle reads "DOB 09/11/2012" so this beer is about 3 and a half months old chillin the bottle waiting for me to buy it and drink it.

A - Pours a clear copper honey looking color. Doesn't look like much action so far.

S - Smells like your typical boring lager. There is maybe the vaguest hint of unrecognizable spice buried in there, but for the most part this is a bland senseless experience.

T - The faint hint of spice gives this beer some character, but that is all this brew has going for it. Doesn't exactly taste like it's advertised 9% abv, but then again, it doesn't really taste like much of anything.

M - Murky, sticky mouthfeel. Not pleasant, but this is by no means a bad beer. It is surely a well-made lager.

Overall, Southern Tier isn't a bad brewery, but their beers seem to lean toward mediocre, although I do remember enjoying the Southern Tier 2X Stout quite a bit. I would drink it again if it was offered to me, but I won't go out of my way to try this one again. The homage it pays to the holiday character of the Krampus is probably the best part of the gimmick this brew has going on.

Southern Tier Krampus Imperial Helles Lager ---3/5.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2012 02:08:32 | More by mfnmbvp
Photo of PBoegel

New York

3.03/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is flat out incorrectly categorized and off base.

It has no major brewing flaws or nasty foul tastes it simply is nothing close to Helles, Lager or anything of the sort, its "imperial" label not withstanding.

I really enjoy Southern Tier beers, and this beer is enjoyable but it simply is an ale with a big hop profile of woody and citrus character. It is certainly not a double or imperial pilsner nor a helles as the bottle states.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2009 04:05:05 | More by PBoegel
Photo of NODAK


3.03/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a beautiful, clear amber color in my glass. I don't hesitate to say this is the best part of the beer.

Has a pretty clean, grassy hop aroma to it. There are some bready grains there as well but it isn't a powerful smelling one.

The taste begins out with a malted grain, bready note that one would expect from a European style lager. After that though, there is quite the astringent, grassy hop, aspirin-like bitterness that ends the beer on a puckering note and lingers a fair while into the aftertaste. Wow, didn't see that coming!!

In the end, it's pretty average to me. Honestly, the bitterness ruled the day a bit much here and was sometimes too astringent for me.

Serving type: on-tap

12-31-2011 01:17:30 | More by NODAK
Photo of morimech


3.05/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Krampus is an Imperial Helles Lager that does not look like a Helles, does not smell like a Helles, and it definately does not drink like a Helles.

Pours a slightly hazy copper color with a small white head that has good retention. Large amounts of spotty lacing is left behind.

Well hopped up aroma. Pine and floral hop aroma with a little medicinal qualities sums things up.

The hops dominate the flavor as well. Resinous and medicinal qualities with very little malt profile makes this extremely unbalanced. Extreme bitterness like that is found in a DIPA. The alcohol is well masked.

Has a medium body which is needed to carry all the hops and alcohol. Low carbonation lends a nice texture without letting the flavors being cloying.

Another beer I don't get. Does not have any characteristic of a Helles Lager where everything is in balance. The American hop bill does not make me think of Munich. Tone the hops down a bit and allow the malt to come out and you might be onto something. Maybe use Mt. Hood hops instead of Willamette as well. I found it difficult to drink this 650ml bottle.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2008 21:34:46 | More by morimech
Photo of ZAP


3.05/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Interesting brew...thought this would be a bit maltier and helles like but it is pretty hot and hopped up.

Perfumy aroma....vodka soaked spearmint leaves, some mild bready maltiness also evident...

Taste is big on the booze and the minty hop notes...really lacks a helles lager feel to it.

Syruppy mouthfeel....but not sweet or sticky...

Not a bad beer but nothing I would want again....

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2009 02:23:26 | More by ZAP
Photo of kkosmoski

New York

3.05/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bomber poured into an Ithaca Excelsior! tulip. Appears a very rich copper color with a fair amount of thick off-white head. Very clear in the glass, but much darker than I was expecting. Kind of a weird floral or fruity aroma up front with some toffee tones. Blurred malt flavors trying to jump out and shine but are mostly held back and muddled together. Light caramel, toast and slight roast mixed into one mono-toned flavor - I don't find it very pleasing. Some lemony bitterness comes into play at the end. Heavy mouthfeel with medium carbonation. This is not very drinkable in my opinion. It is heavy, the malt flavors are not crisp and defined, and I'm picking up on some sort of a weird off-aroma. Not one of my favorites from Southern Tier by any means. I was looking for a completely different beer here - its a miss for me.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2009 01:44:37 | More by kkosmoski
Photo of jmalex


3.08/5  rDev -21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The latest from Southern Tier is the latest in my glass. Imperial Christmas lager? Sounds crazy.

APPEARANCE: Pours into my Victory becker a crystal clear, golden copper-orange. The head is a dark beige and holds pretty steady until finally dropping to a hearty collar with patchy bubbles all over the surface.

SMELL: Bready malts and spicy hops come through all at once. The hops are quite forward an seem a bit aggressive, but they allow the malt base to come through well. It's all finished off with a clean lager yeast.

TASTE: Definitely a huge beer. The bready malts from the aroma are here in massive proportions. It'd be extremely cloying if not for the significant hopping this beer has. It's a sturdy bitterness with spicy and piny elements in the flavor. The bitterness lasts long through the finish and lingers almost forever.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full bodied with a decent slickness to it. The carbonation was maybe a little on the low end, but well within range.

DRINKABILITY: There's a lot going on here and a lot of it. I'm not so sure a Helles works being ramped up the high. But considering the huge amount of malt in here, it's decently balanced. And the 9% ABV isn't detectable at all.

Eh, not what I'm looking for in a lager and not what I'm looking for in an imperial-strength beer. But I'm glad I tried it.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2008 19:47:36 | More by jmalex
Photo of jwc215


3.1/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours golden with a wisp rather than a head, though the wisp endurance a good part of the way.

The smell is of pine - like a Christmas tree - with perfume.

The taste is perfumy, and more grapefruity than piney, and sweetness. Hoppy, but in an "odd" way. I like "hoppy" and can appreciate "odd", but there is a perfumy quality to the pine (and some resin) that makes it more of an "artificial" pine than a "hoppy" one.

It's sticky - like pine sap - with abv showing. A very odd beer. I can see the Christmas connection, but too sweet, despite the hop-like pine-ness and perfumy for me to really enjoy much. Also, I don't understand the connection with Imperial Helles Lager here.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2008 01:17:48 | More by jwc215
Photo of Minkybut


3.1/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I poured this beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees the beer was a amber color that had a big caramel smell. The beer was a little bitter but really what stood out was the hot alcohol after burn. It just blew any taste away. The beer had decent lacing but whoop di doo. I will not buy again. Cool label.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2010 18:52:14 | More by Minkybut
Photo of JRed

New Jersey

3.1/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear, orange with a red tint topped by a light, white bubbles that do a speedy disappearing act. Light honey, corn, floral, rubber, and some grass in the nose. Corn, plastic, rubber, bitterness, dry metallic notes occupy the taste along with some booze. High carbonation and a slow sipper.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2010 00:48:12 | More by JRed
Photo of Jesse13713


3.13/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Looks like a slightly darker pale ale. Pours yellow and orange. A nice white, well distributed head.

Smell - Reeks of pine and burnt oak. At times, it honestly smells like cat urine. It isn't a very pleasant smell.

Taste - Very frothy at first, then slightly bitter; but it then smooths out. Quite piney with a chocolatey finish. The alcohol is hidden quite well. I taste some sort of different hop I havnt had before.

Mouthfeel - Not a very pleasant taste. Entirely too piney. However, quite smooth with bitter bites here and there.

Drinkability - Bitter on my tongue but sweet on the roof of my mouth. Definitely a sipping beer.

Verdict - I had this beer bottled a couple of months ago and absolutely hated it. I was quite surprised when I had it on tap tonight, however.

Serving type: on-tap

02-17-2011 02:12:34 | More by Jesse13713
Photo of Knapp85


3.15/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The Krampus poured out as a golden color that seemed to be a little on the thick side. The smell has some earthy and spicey notes to it, not the most appealing smell in my opinion. The aromas were just a little too strange I think. The taste carried the same elements that the nose did. It's got some pine and a light Christmas berry flavor going on in there. The mouthfeel is a little thick, not really carbonated. I just wasn't feeling this beer too much. One of my least favorites from Southern Tier for sure.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2011 16:31:19 | More by Knapp85
Photo of Onenote81

North Carolina

3.18/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle received from MeanGene in a recent trade. Thanks, Eugene!

Poured into a pilsner glass. Pours a dark ruby/amber with a big sticky off-white head on top. Excellent retention; left tons of sticky lace. Scents of sharp hops, pine, citrus, etc. Absent of some of the more commone pilsner scents. This smells more like an Amber ale.

The mouth is moderately crisp, but the alcohol slicks this one up a bit. Very boozy in the flavor. Lots of ethanol. Bitter with lots of hop presence. Finish is slightly boozy as well. I normally like this style, but as I've said with others, I'm not sure this style needs to be "imperial-ized."

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2010 16:48:10 | More by Onenote81
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Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 884 ratings.