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Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

429 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 429
Hads: 1,134
Avg: 3.91
pDev: 19.69%
Wants: 89
Gots: 145 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) Alström Bros
Reviews: 429 | Hads: 1,134
Photo of Treyliff
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, poured into a tulip

A- pours a clear deep amber color with a two-finger white foamy head that retains for a while, eventually settling to a small layer skimming the top, some lace left behind

S- piney and floral hop aroma with just a hint of citrus, earthy pine resin. Caramel, grains, and crackery malt, with a hint of lager yeast to close it out

T- big blast of piney hops up front with pine resin and earthy notes. Floral hop flavors kick in beneath the piney notes, quickly followed by some grapefruit peel. Lager yeast, along with caramel sweetness underlies the big hop flavors. Toasted grains finish with more piney hops on the linger

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel and a crisp, bitter-dry finish

O- a piney hop showcase that keeps the crispness of a lager

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Photo of SHODriver
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: poured into a pilsner glass to a light bronze with a two finger dense off white head that retains well and leaves good lacing
S: smells of citrusy and spicy hops with some light caramel sweetness
T: taste is somewhat piney and resinous hops, citrus, spicy hops, with some caramel sweetness that struggles to balance out all the hops. swallow is spicy hops with more citrus and some tropical fruit with a little more caramel sweetness
M: medium in the mouth with slightly prickly carbonation and a resinous and oily hop finish
O: This is a great beer with plenty of delicious hop flavors and a decent malt backbone. Grab this and enjoy if hoppy beers are your thing

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Photo of MattyG85
4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

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Photo of are_doubleyou
4.34/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours a rich orange that looks golden in light and ruby in shadows with a nice thick white head that dissipates into a thin lace. The beer is very clear with moderate carbonation bubbles. Overall very nice, but a little dark for a Helles Lager.

S: Strong noble hop notes jump out. Very spicy, floral, earthy and piney. There is a strong malt backbone behind it with good bread notes and hint of caramel sweetness. A decently balanced aroma and very inviting.

T: Floral and spicy hops hit the palate immediately. Very good and make it clear that this is an imperial Helles Lager. The body is very spicy and earthy with a pine resin kick and solid backbone of bready malts. The finish is very strong pine resin that lingers on the palate. The hops overpower the malt a bit too much and the pine resin aftertaste is a bit more like an IPA than a lager. Very tasty, but a bit of a style deviation here in my opinion.

F: Rather thick and chewy. Here is where we really get the malt presence of the beer. Very clean and dry too. Very well characteristic of a lager and very pleasant on the tongue.

O: I enjoy this beer a great deal. It lives up to its namesake and punishes the tongue a bit with a heaping of hop flavor. I honestly think the biggest problem is marketing it as an "Imperial Helles Lager" when it is close to what I would consider an ideal "India Pale Lager" for its very strong hop presence. It's a bit unbalanced, but I imagine Krampus is as well. I'll look for it in future holiday seasons and if you are an fan of the hop flavors that I mentioned, I highly recommend it to drink as you warn the little ones in your family about Santa's helper who punishes the naughty.

This beer was poured from a 22oz bottle into a Blind Pig mug and enjoyed at apx 55F.

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Photo of B-J-B
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Not much in the way of smell - fresh, clean, and malty. Bright sweetness on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Big grapefruit, orange, apple hop flavors that linger and mix with a pleasing and drying bitterness. A very good beer.

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Photo of orcrist_cleaver
4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured into a pilsner flute. Color ranges from dark gold to bright and clear amber. SRM in the 9-13 range. Plenty of doughy and soft head, 2 fingers in depth.

S: Spicy cedar wood. Light malt sweetness, natural sap and resin. Smells like a christmas tree lot. Floral sweetness on top, apple blossom. Delicate light and fruity orange and grapefruit repose. Alcohol ethers can become dominant when warmed.

M: Very smooth, almost like silk. Medium-heavier body and thick, but countered by moderate carbonation. Not as crisp as I was expecting.

T/O: Higher bitterness level than normal Helles, but not overpowering and pairs well with slight alcohol warmth. Bright pine hops. Grass malt and bready malt quality. Lots of citrus fruit: grapefruit, lime zest, tangerine. I like the label, name, and overall uniqueness of having a winter lager seasonal, and it nails all those plus tastes like a real beer. Drink cold as it is very uneven as it warms.

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Photo of FLima
3.05/5  rDev -22%
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.

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Photo of bleedsblu
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Poured from an ice cold bottle into a custom Mad Elf goblet, jealous much.

It has a ruby color with noticeable carbonation, with and aggressive pour it produced a 1/2 inch head.

I smell the floral notes but no getting the pine, it smells fresh and inviting.

The mouth feel is thick and has strong bitter notes hitting the tongue.

Again i'm getting to much bitterness for my taste but it is fresh and crisp. Its a good beer not just what I would go to on a daily basis, but its seasonal so don't forget to ask Santa.

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Photo of gonzo000
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Very good beer. No holiday spices - Pours an amber color with a one finger head when poured into a red cup (classy). Smell of malt on the nose. Nice flavor. Will revisit this beer.

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Photo of SteveB24
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

super juicy and fruity, with a nice bitter finish, this tastes much more like a fine, creamy, IPA then any type of lager i've had but its really awesome.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.52/5  rDev -35.5%
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-

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.84/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I picked up a bottle Southern Tier's Krampus last week for $7.49 at The Lager Mill. I know it's too early for winter seasonals, but I heard this was a good hoppy beer so I wanted to try it fresh and even though I'm not big fan of Southern Tier I thought I should still give this beer a chance, so lets see how it goes. 2014 Vintage, Fresh. Poured from a brown 22oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks nice, it goes good with the name and I like all the information that they added. It poured a hazy darker orange color that took on more of a amber orange color when held to the light with with just a little over two fingers worth of very light tan head that was almost off white and it died down to a thick ring that stayed till the end and it left some nice rings of patchy lacing behind. This was a very nice looking beer, I really liked the color.

S- The aroma starts off with medium amount of sweetness with the hops being the first to show up and impart a mixture of spicy, light floral, very light citrus rind and piney hop aromas with the piney hops sticking out the most and they are followed by a nice clean lager yeast aroma. Up next comes just a slight alcohol aroma followed by the malts which impart some pale malt, grainy, bready and sweet malt like aromas. This beer had a good aroma, it's inline with an imperial version of the style and I think the piney hops go well with the season.

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma and it starts off with a lower amount of sweetness with the hops being the first to show up and they impart the same aspects that they did in the aroma with piney hops still sticking out the most. Up next comes some of that clean lager yeast that goes right into the malts which are a little lighter than they were in the aroma and they impart the same aspects with the pale malts sticking out the most. On the finish there's a low amount of high bitterness with just a slight amount of alcohol that's hardly noticeable and it had lightly spicy and very piney aftertaste along with some lingering bitterness. This was a pretty good tasting beer and It's pretty much just what I would expect from a Imperial Helles Lager.

M- Fairly smooth, just a little crisp, alcohol was well hidden, a little creamy, on the thicker side of being medium bodied with a slightly lower amount of medium carbonation. The beer had a pretty nice mouthfeel that worked well with it.

Overall I thought this was a pretty nice beer and I thought it was a good example of a Imperial version of a Helles Lager, it had pretty much all the aspects that I would expect from a Helles Lager, but they were all much bigger, which was nice and it still kept a little bit of that good drinkability that the style is know for with some nicely hidden alcohol. This beer had nice drinkability, it was fairly smooth, just a little crisp, alcohol was well hidden, a little creamy, not too filling and the taste did a decent job at holding my attention, I think one glass is the perfect amount for me, but the since the alcohol is well hidden I don't think I'll have a problem drinking a bomber to myself. What I liked the most about this beer was the appearance and aroma, they were both good and they worked well with this beer and I also really liked how well the alcohol was hidden. What I liked the least about this beer was that the taste wasn't as balanced as the aroma, I wish more of those malty aspects came through in the taste. I would buy this beer again, but I will probably wait till it's released next year and I would recommend this to anyone who thinks a Imperial Helles Lager sounds interesting. All in all I was happy with this beer, I wasn't wowed with it, but it does good job of keeping most of the aspects that Helles Lager has and just making it bigger and bolder. It isn't my favorite Southern Tier beer, but it is one of the better of the style that I've had and I'm lumping ti together with Imperial Pilseners because that's what BA has it as and I find it to be very similar to that style. Nice job guys this was a tasty, keep up the solid work.

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Photo of WhiteHillsStore
3.74/5  rDev -4.3%

Pours a dark yellow with a light head that trails the glass. The smell is full of hop bite in the beginning with a bit of a grapefruit scent, but also fresh bread comes through. The taste was very pleasant with a zesty bite in the beginning and then mellowing out into a very drinkable beer with the pilsner malts coming through in the finish. A nice beer to have in the winter.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I was surprised to see I haven't reviewed this one yet.

22oz bottle. Bottled on date of 10/09/14. Pours a translucent amber color with a 1/4 inch of head. Lots of lacing. The aroma is lots of piney and floral hops. The taste is a perfect mix for Xmas, piney hops. Flowery hops as well. A bit earthy at times with some more floral notes towards the end. Light amount of malt flavor. Bitter pine finish. Slightly sour. Somewhat boozey. Creamy mouthfeel. Overall, a hoppy, bitter Pilsner I always look forward to when Winter rolls around.

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Photo of AtrumAnimus
3.54/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a nice amber, practically orange, beautifully rich color with a head that is thick and settles slowly. The head is just a tiny bit off white in color hinting that the amber is transferred to the foam. The head settles extremely slowly and leaves a nice lacing down the glass.

The nose is dominated by the hops with a floral undertone. Nice but not great. Adequate at best.

The taste matches the description and name sake for this beer, Krampus. He very much sounds like a bitter character and this is a very bitter beer. I would say it more reminds me of an ESB on steroids.The hopping subdues the lagering making this more of a hop heads dream come true.

I think this beer would make an excellent lager if they backed the hops off about 15%. As for an Imperial it is quite good.

The moutfeel is just right for this style, if it were thinker the hops would most likely have an unpleasant finish, this instance of extreme hopping finishes surprisingly clean.

Overall I like this but it isn't my favorite. I can see myself drinking this again, however, I see my self changing the direction my hand goes if I were to reach for as there are others that are much better for the same price.

I recommend trying it as this is a great IPA/Lager. Just not my favorite.

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Photo of david18
3.33/5  rDev -14.8%
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.

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Photo of JAFoley
4.09/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pale orange clear body with off-white head, dense, nice retention and lacing.

S - Spicy malts, cinnamon, pine and citrus.

T - Really nice spicy and bitter hops; pine, lemon, floral. Rounded off by warm, earthy and roasted malts.

M - Moderate carbonation and body. Slightly sticky and resinous.

O - This is the best beer I've had from Southern Tier, very glad I picked it up. The hops are both bitter and spicy, giving it a flavor fitting for the holidays. It's fairly complex and with a high abv, I'll definitely be picking this up again.

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Photo of curasowa
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear, copper color with one finger of head that fades slowly with a thick curtain of lace.

Aroma: Toasted malt and a sugary-syrup sweetness, hints of cherry, earthy hops, a touch medicinal as it warms.

Taste: Big, smooth and creamy malt up front, sweet but not overwhelming, bitterness building on the back end, faint pine notes. Fully coats the mouth on the finish, with some lingering biscuit and oily hop bitterness.

The Rest: A great, slow sipping beer. A slight medicinal note is the only real knock against this one. Otherwise it hides it's 9% pretty well.

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Photo of brewskifan55
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

A: Clear golden with a white one finger head that glided away to a light feathering. Foamy lacing.

S: Mainly bready malts. Some grainy sensations, too.

T: Tangy, malty, citrusy. Honey, grainy. A slight hop bitterness, but nicely balanced with the malts. A good kick at the end. Never noticed the 9% until it was too late. Well hidden.

M: Light to medium with medium carbonation.

O: really enjoyed this festive helles lager. Smooth, sweet, slightly robust. Would drink again. Great label art.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: clear, deep amber ale with a few fingers of ivory foam in a pilsener glass; laces adorn the inner glass

S: deep rustic malt aromas and herbal and earthy hops; suggestions of dry grain and wet pine

T: earthy and husky in both malts and hops, but lightened with a smooth toastiness, and a dank bitterness. Comes off just a bit too sweet and wet to be called crisp, has a honeyed sweetness as the malt warms underneath some chewy pine resin hops.

M: smooth and bittering, slightly coating, medium body with moderate sensation of carbonation

O: somewhere between a pilsener and an IPA, Imperial strength. Quite a nice drink - very enjoyable, and as other reviewers have noted, the high abv is well-hidden.

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Photo of schoolboy
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This certainly is an interesting beer. At first blush it looks like a monster beer-a pils gone mad. Its beautiful in the glass with loads of head. The aroma keeps growing. It's big and Holly smelling with some yeast to.

The taste is huge and malty and bitter. I thought it was an imperial pale or maybe a Scottish at first. Somewhat dark and very bitter. But it also has a sweet taste under it all. The aftertaste lingers dark and bitter.

This is a nice treat and you really should try it.

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Photo of RoamingGnome
3.89/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of buzzedup
4.85/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is the real deal . after one taste you will wish it is year round but then again. its nice to have something at that special time of the year to look forwatd too.

A. cannot look any better a perfect clear color with nice bubbles and perfect head

S. like Christmas smells like a pine tree dipped in uberness. nothing but east coast hops for the win.
T. perfect just perfect... taste like a Christmas tree with some malts and great aftertaste. again this is my all time new favorite beer for Christmas. it is that good!!!

M. very thick nice syrup , full body taste , perfect for tis the season.


happy HOLIDAYS....

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Photo of cjgiant
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.66/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber into a perfect pint glass. 11/25

Pours shiny bronze with ring of bubbly white foam. Light malty/helles nose. Taste is a light lager with firm hearty bitter. Slight cookie taste. Very light sweetness. Tasty. Building bitter. Certainly worth a go.

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Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 429 ratings.