Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

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

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BA SCORE
87
very good

1,123 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,123
Reviews: 434
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 12.08%
Wants: 87
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: 1,123 | Reviews: 434
Photo of padan7
2.4/5  rDev -38.3%
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.

Photo of RonfromJersey
2.47/5  rDev -36.5%
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.

Photo of jjanega08
2.48/5  rDev -36.2%
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.

Photo of kojevergas
2.52/5  rDev -35.2%
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-

Photo of TMB0424
2.74/5  rDev -29.6%
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.

Photo of beaulabauve
2.75/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Looks orange when poured. Tastes way too sweet.

Photo of ScarletLady
2.78/5  rDev -28.5%
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

Photo of taylor714914
2.81/5  rDev -27.8%
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.

Photo of LittleBreeze
2.83/5  rDev -27.2%
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.

Photo of DIM
2.96/5  rDev -23.9%
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.

Photo of hophugger
2.97/5  rDev -23.7%
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...

Photo of TMoney2591
2.99/5  rDev -23.1%
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.

Photo of mfnmbvp
3/5  rDev -22.9%
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.

Photo of Bighuge
3/5  rDev -22.9%
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.

Photo of cokes
3.01/5  rDev -22.6%
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.

Photo of doughanson78
3.01/5  rDev -22.6%
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.

Photo of KenFolk1269
3.02/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

I work for leon farmer and distribute southern tier, it is a decent seasonal beer.

Photo of NODAK
3.03/5  rDev -22.1%
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.

Photo of GClarkage
3.03/5  rDev -22.1%
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.

Photo of PBoegel
3.04/5  rDev -21.9%
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.

Photo of FLima
3.05/5  rDev -21.6%
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.

Photo of kkosmoski
3.06/5  rDev -21.3%
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.

Photo of Jesse13713
3.07/5  rDev -21.1%
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.

Photo of ZAP
3.08/5  rDev -20.8%
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....

Photo of jmalex
3.11/5  rDev -20.1%
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.

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Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,123 ratings.