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Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

885 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 885
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: 885 | Reviews: 405 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Cyberkedi


3.2/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Has a fairly strong hoppy aroma with a hint of honey and just a touch of apple brandy. It pours a clear coppery orange with a thick, fairly persistent off-white head. Flavor is fairly hoppy, a bit woody, and rather bitter - not terrific, but still palatable. Texture is smooth and just a little fizzy, leaving a hoppy and woody finish.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2010 21:05:01 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of DerAtomsmasher


3.25/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a gorgeous amber with a with a substantial head, quickly vanishing.

S: A sort of astringent hop aroma; herbaceous and alcoholic on the nose. A little bit of biscuit, too.

T: I guess this style could be more malty & sweet (not typically my thing), so I guess I'm happy that this is on the drier side. That said, this one's all hops & isn't all that much fun to get through after the first few minutes spent with it. Minty hops and bitterness that never lets the malts (and a weird grain bill it is) show themselves & the alcohol burn eschews any other flavors at the end.

M: A little chewy and bitter.

I bought this because an "Imperial Helles" sounded like the exact opposite of all the winter ales I've been punishing myself with lately. This was not as refreshing as I was hoping & I'm not sure where they get helles on here. It's interesting but not my thing, really.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2013 03:46:37 | More by DerAtomsmasher
Photo of utopiajane

New York

3.26/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This pours with brilliant clarity and s small stream of bubbles rising up to meet a thick head of off white foam from a vigorous pour that fell slow enough and left reasonable lace. Nose is at first bright with citrus peel and caramel malt. Then as it warms a mineral or metallic smell starts to evolve and a yeasty twang like in a traditional lager. The hops are floral and the malt is caramel instead of bread and I find that it smells a lot like a DIPA one minute and then a little bit like a lager the next. Orange peel. The taste is somewhat flat and muddled. I would even call it stagnant mid palate. The beer has a tremendous citrus but it isn't crisp it's just tart. The yeast trying to be a lager yeast adds a bit of sour twang and the metallic taste doesn't go well with that. The malt is sweet and caramel but bread would be enough. There's a bit of spice and a bit of alcohol on the palate.

This finishes with not only a hop bitter but a metallic aftertaste and a sour off flavor. It also finishes slick and with some hop oil. As this drinks it becomes more pleasant. Lemon takes over in the finish.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2013 14:54:52 | More by utopiajane
Photo of number1bum


3.3/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark copper color, slightly reddish, thick looking but with good clarity and a creamy three fingers of light beige head. Leaves an uneven lace, with a dollop in the middle and a good amount of stick around the rim and on the sides.

Smell has a very interesting hop aroma to it; it's citrusy but also quite floral, with a slight grassy quality to it. It's like an Americanized German hop bill, which I suppose makes sense. Also some malt sweetness and some grainy notes.

Taste is grassier than the smell, with more grassy and spicy noble hop flavor. Still some citrus, as well, and some lightly toasted grain and a bit of malt sweetness. There's also a weird sort of stinky cheese flavor going on. As is common with many Southern Tier brews, this is a bit on the hot side with a warming alcohol in the taste. It finishes with a prominent grassy bitterness left hanging on the palate along with some more stinky cheese. It's odd, and seems to be all over the place. It doesn't quite come together for me.

Mouthfeel is close to full bodied, with a nice creaminess. It's a little harsh though with the bitterness and sort of messy flavors.

This is interesting, but it's a bit over the top. Then again I guess that's to be expected with an imperial Helles. Worth a try, but probably not something I'd be inclined to come back to.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2008 02:20:09 | More by number1bum
Photo of jtierney89

New Jersey

3.3/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliantly clear and vibrant deep orange color with a super sticky 2 finger off white head. Sweet subtle caramel malt on the nose with hints of biscuit and grain. Some earthy hops hidden underneath it all.

Medium in body with good carbonation. Strange front of the tongue bitterness. Very subdued flavor with a weaker malt profile than expected. Some toasty butteryness but not much with grassy bitter hops. Drinks like a somewhat more bitter hellos lager but the strangest part about this beer is that for such modest flavor the alcohol content is nowhere to be found.

Good beer but I expected a bit more from southern tier.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2012 02:43:51 | More by jtierney89
Photo of david18

New York

3.31/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

You can always count on Southern Tier to offer crazy styles. Krampus drinks more like a double IPA than any sort of lager and I usually have it during those moods.

Appearance was light copper/gold. Nice head that definitely stuck around for a while.

Aroma was a bit boozy but otherwise quite malty, definitely the biggest difference from a double ipa.

The taste is also boozy but usually what I'm looking for when I order it. Malty and sweet there is also a good hop balance in this beer.

I like it and would recommend. It is among my favorite southern Tier selections.

Serving type: on-tap

12-29-2013 15:05:48 | More by david18
Photo of drabmuh


3.35/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First off, the label of this beer is insane. Seriously insane. There is no born on date but it is recommended that I serve this beer at 48 degrees Fahrenheit, I'm pretty close to that. Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass. Beer is clear and reddish / brown, light in color. No head and therefore no lacing. Carbonation mild to moderate.

Lagerish in aroma, some sweetness, no bready or bitter notes, no yeast character at all, smooth and mild.

Medium bodied, interesting flavor. Overall good, decent. Some aftertaste, no bitterness really, some sweetness up front, an odd brew for sure. Second taste, I'm a little slow, this is my last beer for the night, some nutty character to it, and I can taste the alcohol, unfortunate. Drinkability moderate, mouthfeel is fine.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2009 06:33:52 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Jayli


3.35/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had at Bukowski's on 1/7

A: This beer pours a deep copper color with a one finger of creamy head. Head retains nicely coating the glass with lacing.

S: Nose is citrus and piney hops, with a healthy dosing of biscuit.

T: Taste starts out with a citrus bite to it, filled out by caramel malts and heavy biscuit flavoring. Finish is slightly piney.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, creamy mouthfeel with a slightly sticky finish.

D: Somewhat tasty, goes down easily. Not a bad beer, but one that I would pass on in the future.

Serving type: on-tap

01-11-2010 22:59:17 | More by Jayli
Photo of froghop


3.35/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours a clear orange with a medium size off-white head, and some lacing.

smell is faint, caramel, and some malt.

taste is somewhat watery, hops, caramel, nuts, and earth, ends somewhat dry and slightly bitter.

overall more of an IPA than a helles.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2010 21:07:47 | More by froghop
Photo of seedsofchaos


3.38/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A bottle is popped and the scent of fresh hops fills the vicinity. Strange.. Pacific Northwest hops in a Helles Lager. Pours a golden apricot. Excellent clarity. Beautiful head. A good one inch white and billowing head makes this very nice to look at. I haven't really been disappointed with Southern Tier's larger format bottle of any variety quite yet. Once in my pint glass the aroma is significantly different. Bready and sweet definitely but there is a hint of spice in there as well. The spice plays in the back of my nostrils much like a cold chai latte. Perhaps there's a touch of cinnamon or nutmeg in there. Can't grasp it long enough to make a solid correlation.

The flavor hits one first more like a pale ale. It's a touch medicinal with a full mouthfeel. Wow, this thing spiderwebs like crazy and that lacing doesn't seem to be going anywhere. A little bit of that signature lager yeast funk comes in but doesn't take away from the rest of the beer. A bit astringent and a bit of cardboard comes through. This bottle is a bit old... Found it on clearance at my local. Figured I'd still give it a whirl. The wonderful florals that come through in the aroma don't really carry over into the taste so whether or not this is due to design or age I can't really be sure.

This isn't a bad beer. This isn't a great beer. This sample probably was a bit too old of a beer though. Definitely filling and full-bodied but, still, this brew doesn't really do it for me personally. I think, as far as style goes, it's a fairly decent offering that's just had too many months on it. A seasonal for Christmas... drank in February...

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2011 23:54:06 | More by seedsofchaos
Photo of krazyboi


3.4/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a 30 oz. glass mug.
A:Dark amber color and pours a nice thick head which dissipates relatively quickly.
S:Piney hop aroma, somewhere inbetween an APA and an IPA. A bit of caramel also if you try to smell beyond the hops.
T:Bitter and sweet taste up front. Grapefruit towards the end.
M:Feels thicker in the mouth than it would seem.
D:Not bad. Easy to drink. Probably could drink two bombers of this and feel really good afterwards...

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2011 20:28:18 | More by krazyboi
Photo of Geegmasta

New York

3.4/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance- The body is a deep amber color with a white head that remains for quite awhile. The head is bubbly and about 0.5'' thick.

Smell- Hoppy with coriander and grassy. Has a slight fruity undertone.

Taste- A mild hop taste but semi-sweet then you get bombarded with a nice citrus/orange aftertaste with a slight bit of oregano. No hint of the 9% ABV.

Mouthfeel- Light bodied with little carbonation. No real effects other than a standard liquid in your mouth.

Overall- Not a bad beer, I really thought I wasn't going to enjoy it from the smell but it turned out to taste much better than it smelled. It's just not a good beer though. I feel like nothing really blends well with this and is a bit bland in the beginning of the taste. I am likely not to buy this again.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2012 05:09:26 | More by Geegmasta
Photo of BattleRoadBrewer


3.43/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served cold in a Boston Lager glass.

Pours bright medium amber with a yellowish tan head of fine bubbles and slight lacing.

Aroma is a punch in the face of grassy and citrusy hops. Some toasty malty sweetness behind that.

Flavor is grassy, notably bitter, with ale-like esters. Reminds me of my homebrew Imperial Pils.

Overall the grassy citrus nose really dominates. If you love that, dry hop with Willamette, otherwise don't. It's a pleasant beer, but not one I'd grab a second bottle of instead of trying something different.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2009 19:31:03 | More by BattleRoadBrewer
Photo of BMoney575


3.43/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled on 3-28-10

Pours a clear amber color with a thick head that leaves big, craggy lacing.

Smell is earthy hops, quite tame, with a slightly sweet malt backing. A little spicy, and maybe a hint of adjunct.

Taste is very bitter, very earthy, and that's about it. The bitterness is in-your-face, drowning out and subtle flavors that might be there.

Mouthfeel is decent, but a little thin with strong carbonation that adds to the bitterness.

Drinkability is also decent, at least the alcohol is well masked.

Overall, not my thing, but try it.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2010 22:35:49 | More by BMoney575
Photo of woodsyy


3.43/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bomber poured into pint glass

a: pours a dark copper, very golden, good visibility throughout

s: the smell was very average to me, I was kind of disappointed. very small hoppy smell, slighty floral

t: very crisp tasting beer, most of the flavor I'm getting is hops.

m: bitterness, smooth, medium-to-light body

o: I want to preface this saying that I'm not a big lager drinker, overall the beer was just slightly above average to me - this just being that is probably one of the better lagers I've tried.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2012 01:44:17 | More by woodsyy
Photo of marcpal

New Jersey

3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

22oz bomber poured into Tremens tulip glass.

Bottle Graphics: 9/10. One of the best.

A: Amber cherry red with a filmy head and nice lacing throughout. Did I just pour myself a Pliny?

S: Intense hops like riding your bike in the dark and getting smacked in the lips of a pine tree or evergreen. I dont get the spices or the sweetness in the aroma, just a smattering of bitterness.

T: Sweet and piney. I see nothing that ties it to the helles family but Im surely not a helles epert. For all intents and purposes, this taste like a DIPA, a sweet one at that. Ridiculously bitter and I had to hunt down the spices and even with that didnt think there was nearly enough to create a balancing act.

M: Just a little bit of carbonation. Thick and enormously coating, somewhat off puttingly sweet when I poured it. My fault there in that I should have let it warm up where it did improve. This beer stings a bit.

D: Others have mentioned that the alcohol is barely noticeable, I highly disagree. Drinkability is not easy from a bomber. The bizarre hops and powerful fuel like alcohol dont make it easy. Still a solid cold weather sipper but not one Im pushing to get back to.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2008 01:56:38 | More by marcpal
Photo of smcolw


3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Modest off-white head that leaves spotty lace. Settles to a single layer of bubbles. Clear and amber colored.

Pleasant pine-hop smell with a solid malt base.

Lots of hops but without the biting bitterness. Dry and astringent. Full bodied with a low level. Outside of the bitter finish, this is a relatively mild flavored beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2008 02:41:06 | More by smcolw
Photo of Daniellobo

District of Columbia

3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Assertive and hefty larger. A bit harsh and predominantly bitter with a boozy and tiny sweet finish.

Presentation: 22 oz bottle. Contemporary design around a representation of Krampus, the deliverer of punishment to bad kids during Christmas. Side explains inspiration behind naming the brew after this devil, followed by a small note explaining the intent of the brew, and season greetings. No printed bottling date on side, does not note IBUs, but shows °Plato (20), and Alc. (9.0%) alongside detailed list of ingredients, and recommended drinking temperature and glassware. Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Medium to deep amber pour. Generous head, medium to low retention and little lacing.

S - Sweet and with a bitter hop range.

T - Hoppy profile with a distinctive larger flow but leans on a bitter range, not a very remarkable bitterness though. Sweet finish sometimes as it warms a bit. Comes an goes. Malt coated in crash bitterness.

M - Medium body, leaning on a heavy finish, and medium carbonation. Bitter finish with a thick textured note.

D - Not a sipper, but tries to be a complex boozy brew, and it is left somehow as an assertive larger. Not bad but not that drinkable.

Notes: It's decent but not particularly of my liking. I'm not specially fond of the larger strain and here it is pumped up and expanded, so if that is something that sounds enticing this might be for you. Biting and a bit harsh for me in this incarnation...

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2009 02:01:15 | More by Daniellobo
Photo of Thingus


3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Live tasting, bottle into Duvel Tulip

Appearance; pours a clear copper, with roughly two fingers of foamy straw colored head that quickly dissipates leaving a thin film of head with good lacing on the glass.

Smell; right out of the gate, Krampus hit me with a pretty wild fresh baked cherry almond bread kind of aroma... Wonderful, hoping it holds through to the flavor, as that is an incredible smell.

Taste; definitely yeasty and bready with some cherry or cranberry or other kind of red fruit esters creeping in at times... Missing is the almond and toast that I detected in the nose... A slight bit of alcohol astringency and hop bite on the finish.

Mouthfeel; slightly dry on the finish, that ties in well with the astringent alcohol notes in the beer, a little hop bite toward the end, with some residual bitterness...

Overall; I don't have a whole lot of experience with, or knowledge of this style, but I do know that I enjoyed the beer. I went into it with an open mind and a clean palate, while not an exceptional beer i do feel like it is a solid beer and I feel like this would be a good beer to drink in a liter mug!

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2012 05:18:11 | More by Thingus
Photo of Reagan1984


3.48/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pretty damn good looking beer. Creamy off white head... Perfect clarity and almost a perfect amber color.. very sporadic carbonation making its way to the surface. Very good retention on the head. Some clumpy lacing remains..

Aroma is very nice, quite hoppy and floral. A touch of ginger perhaps. Maybe another spice.. More citrus/lemon comes through as I work through the glass.

Pretty interesting flavor.. Certainly bigger than the style dictates, but it is called an Imperial Helles... So I have to give them some poetic license. Starts with a citrus flourish, then some spices which appear to come from the yeast strain...? A bit of sweetness in the middle and some lemon... Then a moment of tartness and some hop bitterness. In the background there is a subtle black pepper note. You do know it has 9% abv.. The alcohol is there all through the flavor... I think this would be a better beer at 7% with less of this...

Medium/light body, big on flavor...

Not sure I want to kill the entire bomber myself. This is perhaps one to share...

Interesting, not great.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2009 20:29:35 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of THECPJ


3.48/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes

Appearance: dark golden yellow with an amber hint, 1 finger head that lasts for some time

Smell: more hoppy than expected, mostly hoppy at first whiff, then settles into sweet malts

Taste: much like the smell, big hit of hops, but mellows out into sweet malts

Mouthfeel: mild carbonation, well balanced

Drinkability: a pretty decent beer, easily drinkable. This one got left out for Santa with some Christmas cookies, needless to say, he didn't leave any behind.


Serving type: bottle

03-04-2011 02:09:40 | More by THECPJ
Photo of BEERchitect


3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-13-2011 17:31:57 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of danadeny


3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a rich copper orange clear body and average head. carbonation is average. the smell is mostly hoppy, citrussy grapefruit. the hops overpower all other smells except a little alcohol. flavor is dominated by hopps. tangy citrus hops. soo much hops that i wouldnt be able to tell you this is a helles style to start with. it tastes like a rich american pale ale or ipa. the alcohol is the only other flavor that is not drowned out by the hopps, and a fruity finish is nice. mouthfeel is oily and slick. drinkability is averiage, although for being 9% i find it's pretty smooth. overall this is an imperial style for sure. but a hells is so delicate in the first place that adding a bunch of hopps just drowns out all the other characteristics that make it a helles. this beer is more like a rich ipa.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2008 00:36:36 | More by danadeny
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A quality Euro strong lager,a good example of that style, with significant hops. A little soapy head on orangey body, a good amount of lace. The hop aroma is there. Creamy mouthfeel, initially, and then more or less average mouthfeel. Not too drinkable, but drinkable bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2008 00:17:04 | More by Sammy
Photo of lordofthewiens


3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2008 13:53:07 | More by lordofthewiens
Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 885 ratings.