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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

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 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 RoamingGnome


3.9/5  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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-21-2013 13:11:06 | More by RoamingGnome
Photo of cjgiant

District of Columbia

4.24/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: pours golden amber, thin surface head, decent lacing
S: initially it smelled like a mildly spiced lager, maybe clove, then I got some light tobacco notes. I have no confidence I'd smell the same on my next tasting, they were so faint.
T: crisp front that is quickly backed by a hops bite. The beginning has maybe a note of caramel, cinnamon bread, cola, but the earthy hops turns the taste into an earthy almost ale taste, with some winter came spice notes (nutmeg, clove).
M: the dry bite of the hops lingers, combining with some lingering carbonation to produce in interesting sensation
O: I had this last year in bottle and really enjoyed it that I looked forward to it this year. I had actually forgotten it was a lager. I had a little trouble placing some flavors as it seemed to change slightly with each taste. I will look forward to this each year as a slight alternative to the winter ales, a lager with a little bite.

Serving type: on-tap

12-20-2013 23:04:09 | More by cjgiant
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 micromaniac129


3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Had this on tap the other night and as it turns out I didn't much care for it.
Had a color like orange amber, very little head and even less carbonation.
Aroma smelled almost like a pale ale. Some orange and pine can be pulled out but is quite sutle. There is a big alcohol presence in the nose also.
Taste is malty with a big dose of alcohol. light tastes of grapefruit and pine too.
Drinks smooth and sweet with a warm finish.
I wouldn't get this again. Perhaps this beer has been sitting around and I think thats the case so I should really hold off till I can confirm a fresh or somewhat fresh brew.

Serving type: on-tap

02-03-2013 13:32:19 | More by micromaniac129
Photo of negroobserver

New York

4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hard to believe that this is technically a lager. Its appearance is that of an ale. Color is a nice golden brown color. Pours with about a 1/4 inch of white head which lingers for a bit and leaves light lacing on the glass.

Smells sweet, a bit hoppy/grassy.

Tastes a little sweet with the hoppy bitterness and sweet maltiness in the middle. It's very nicely balanced and flavorfull. LIght to moderate bitterness at the back end, which transitions into a largely clean finish.

The weight of the beer is nice. It's not too dense or light. It has body and weight without being the dominant characteristic and also without making you feel like something is missing. Very Good.

Overall, I find that the beer is smooth and easy to drink. Not sure what the ABV on this is, but I'd have to guess that it's closer to 8+%. The remarkable thing is that the alcohol doesn't show up in the aroma. No phenols that I can identify. VERY GOOD.

Serving type: on-tap

12-25-2012 20:10:39 | More by negroobserver
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 Chico1985


3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It just can't be the holidays without hanging with Krampus...

Pours a light auburn-ish color with a 2-finger off-white head, retains pretty well leaving some lacing too.

Intense earthiness and pine in the nose, almost peat-like.

Taste also has an intense, almost dirty, earthy and pine sap quality to it. Big floral, grapefruit peel and maybe some light citrus there too. Solid caramel malt backbone; and a big toasty/grainy presence reminds you that this is still a lager at heart. Lots of bitter hops and some big malts to counter it.

A bit foamy, maybe high on the carbonation but a fine mouthfeel overall. Not much booze, crazy big hops+malts ravage the palate.

Somewhat forgotten about compared to Southern Tier's other big beers. This feels much more complex and drinkable than most of it's brethren. It maintains its lager backbone while delivering a a strange but intriguing earthy-centric hop profile. A cool, unique beer, I try to get this every winter.

Serving type: on-tap

12-30-2011 16:07:12 | More by Chico1985
Photo of zoolzoo


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

On tap at Dive Bar, West Haven CT.

A: Pours deep amber, clear, slightly off white foamy head. Excellent retention, sticky lacing.

S: Doughy bread, grain, distant hops. Aromas are subtle but distinct.

T: Husky, grainy malt. Second malt component mid sip is more like honey drizzled biscuit. Hops kick in mid sip to finish as well...think fading DIPA, pine sappy, sugar coated. Could have done without the cranked up hoppiness this time. Too much bitterness.

M: Thick but well carbed.

O: A slightly confused lager. Didnt really like the hop profile in this otherwise great beer.

Serving type: on-tap

12-29-2011 18:58:05 | More by zoolzoo
Photo of barleywinefiend


3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured light copper body, rather ood for the style, had a small white cap

S: Grains, honey, light booze

T: A bready malt base with some grains, herbal notes, some honey, a bit slick and syrupy

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

O: A cut above average

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2011 15:34:54 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of hoptualBrew


3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pint of this at Hurricane Wings, happy hour - yes. Burnt orange color with cream head up top and a good amount of lacing going around the glass. Highly hopped in the nose, spicy floral hops with a nice caramel malt backbone. Crisp, clean, spicy, hoppy, perfect with wings.

Serving type: on-tap

12-19-2011 21:36:18 | More by hoptualBrew
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 Lerxst


4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Kickbacks

A-Pours amber with a slight orange tint. Nice one inch head that has good retention and leaves some lacing.

S-Floral and citrus hops are prominent but a nice caramel malt presence is making itself known.

T-Big hop bite, slightly resinous, citrus and floral notes as well. Semi sweet malt comes in in the middle but gets overwhelmed by the hops in the finish. A slightly astringent quality comes in near the finish that detracts a bit from the overall experience, but its still good.

M-Medium body, crisp carb bite that is not unpleasant. Dry finish.

D-This one went down easily and I could have another no problem.

A good job from ST.

Serving type: on-tap

03-06-2011 16:00:53 | More by Lerxst
Photo of OWSLEY069


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

Pours a clean orange-ish to amber color, with an off white head. In the aroma, sweet malt and some fruit notes. In the taste, semi dry malt, some lager like notes and hints of alcohol. A small bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry lager like aftertaste. A malty, big lager. Hints of alcohol, but not too over the top.

Serving type: on-tap

02-19-2011 23:44:44 | More by OWSLEY069
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 glid02


4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

01-06-2011 21:32:42 | More by glid02
Photo of yeahnatenelson


4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance -- Bright amber hue with a slim sudsy beige head and an abundance of lace.

Smell -- Quite hoppy with bright citrusy zest, leafy hops, hemp seed oil, caramel malt, and husky grain.

Taste -- Lots of hop character, and quite unique: citrus pith, leafy bitter vegetation, spearmint, and hemp. Biscuit and husky malt serve as the backbone. Still plenty of lager character, specifically plum-like esters and crisp finish. Hop bitterness is Lingering flavors of citrus rind and leafy hops.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-bodied with nicely active carbonation. Finish is crisp. Overall, pretty nice finish.

Drinkability -- This was a nice swap when the keg of Unearthly IPA went dry. Quite hoppy, would put many IIPA's to shame, but still has a decent amount of lager character, most notably in the fruity esters that wind up gelling with the citrusy/leafy hops quite well. I would've been happy to drink this all night.

Hopheads: consider this strongly.

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2011 03:14:03 | More by yeahnatenelson
Photo of Duff27


4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a clear copper with a one inch white head. Great lacing and decent head retention. Looks great.

S- Sweet, bready.

T- Delicious. Some citurs, danky(!) pungent hops.

M - Mouthfeel is medium for a lager.

D/O- GD, this is a great easy, yet imperial, drinker. Might be my favorite ST release thus far. After the first sips I didn't know what I had got myself into, but by the end it was my favorite new beer of the day.

Serving type: on-tap

01-02-2011 22:16:54 | More by Duff27
Photo of beersensei305


3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark amber color, a little hazy, nice white head with good lacing

S- Malts and piney hops, a tad sweet

T- big hoppy and citrus flavor, very malty sweet, not biter from the hops, citrusy, and a tad piney

M- The taste lingers, syrupy, mdeium bodied

D- reminds me more of an IPA than a Pilsner with all the hops and citrus. a sipping beer. fairly complex.

Serving type: on-tap

01-02-2011 20:15:24 | More by beersensei305
Photo of AdamBear


4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A-amber with a good cream colored head. lacing.

S-i smell berries and hops. quite a good balance. smells good but not entirely strong, smells a lot like an IPA.

T-its hits with an impressive amount of quality barley and hops...mostly hops though. it ends with a decent amount of bitterness with an after-taste of slightly aged hops and grains. it's a high quality flavor.

M-a good creamy carbonation with a dry finsh

D-this is a really good pilsner. one of the best out there. the taste itself is flawless. it isn't a long lasting experience, but it is awesome. the more i drink this, the more i like this. I'll always get at least one bottle during the season, most likely more!

Serving type: on-tap

12-31-2010 17:54:56 | More by AdamBear
Photo of JLeege


4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- On draft into a 12 oz flute. Pours a clear orangeish color with a creamy two finger head, good retention and lacing.

Smell- Pine hops all over the place.

Taste- Has an Imperial IPA flavor to it, balanced with some toasted and bready malts. A bit earthy and floral in the taste, but pine rises up above the rest. Not overley bitter, a slight alcohol warming.

Mouthfeel- Medium body and carbonation, incredibly smooth.

Overall- Very suprised by this one, in a great way! Imperial pilsners are usually not my thing, but this has a great hop presence, drinks like a big IPA. Seek this out!

Serving type: on-tap

12-30-2010 00:58:20 | More by JLeege
Photo of Thur123


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

This brew pours a clear orange brown color with minimal white head. Slow and sparse carbonation. Smell is one note malt sweetness with a slight hop presence. 

Glug glug glug

The flavor is big bread malt with sweetness  a healthy noble hop edge comes through as well. A kind of veggie flavor comes through at the end. Overall a pretty good Brew but I'm not sure this style benefits from the Imperial treatment. Mouthfeel is a but thick and heavy and the drinkability is lacking as well. Not bad but I'm glad I didn't shell out the bucks for a bottle. 

Serving type: on-tap

12-30-2010 00:50:16 | More by Thur123
Photo of bamadog


3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review is from notes taken on 4/15/2010 at the brew pub and from the tap to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pour is a pretty perfect coppery color and starts with a 1/2 finger head that fades to a thin and uneven skim with a thick and foamy ring around the surface; body is pretty clear and shows moderate carbonation; nice washes of delicate lacing hold to the sides of the glass and remain while I nurse this one down.

Smell: Pretty weak and hard to pull much out at all -- I'm a little disappointed in this notion as I typically find beers on-tap to be a little more potent in the nose. Overall, there's a light but pleasant maltiness that comes out and it just smells sweet and good.

Taste: Very nice! There are some great bitter citric hops right up front and they're balanced out quite well by a fairly complex malty backing ! I did not expect this level of hoppiness in this beer based upon the weak smell! The malts are super strong and toasty and biscuity as well and seem to be the dominant flavor, but still allows the bitterness and citric flavors of the hops to shine through; just a bit of an alcoholic vapor in the flavor at the far end -- but not too bad for something that's 9%.

Mouthfeel: Wonderfully thick and creamy -- carbonation is just about perfect and keeps the body lively; tons of stickiness is left all over the mouth and holds the multitude of flavors amazing well.

Drinkability: A sipper for sure, but amazing flavors and a near perfect mouthfeel make up for the higher ABV and would definitely keep me coming back for more. Great for anytime of year, but I could definitely see me enjoying this one in the early spring and fall.

Serving type: on-tap

04-18-2010 19:13:33 | More by bamadog
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 blackie


4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: shaker pint serving, pale golden in color with a creamy, well retained white head, lots of lace

s: lots of honeyed biscuits and some light florals, rich but not terribly complex, pineapple, buttery sugar cookies, sweet grapefruits

m: full and smooth, a little syrupy

t: rich, a little more here than was picked up on the nose, lightly spiced sugar cookies and honeyed biscuits, tropical fruit cake, sugary but the citrusy hops provide a semblance of balance

d: no issues here

sampled at Galaxy Hut, Arlington

Serving type: on-tap

01-09-2010 23:54:41 | More by blackie
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Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 884 ratings.