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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 LittleBreeze

New York

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

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

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

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2008 17:51:10 | More by LittleBreeze
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

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

Thanks to ThirstyBird for his generosity. 22oz. bottle served in a pilsener glass. Poured a translucent copper with a half inch dense, off-white head embedded with copious ringlets. Multiple tiny specks of lace coated the glass throughout the course of the tasting. Nose is piney hops and peach. Taste reveals more piney hops, grapefruit, caramel and a light spicy quality (perhaps some mint in the mix). Mouthfeel fell between light- and medium-bodied with a consistent background carbonation and a slightly oily consistency at the finish. My first Helles. Reminded me of a DIPA in many ways. Another great offering from ST.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2008 01:33:44 | More by Jwale73
Photo of shaebs99

New York

4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into my hennepin glass with minimal head, but leaves nice lacing on the sides as I drink it

aroma is mostly of fruity and floral hops

taste is of the floral and citrus hops, but the aftertaste is reminiscent of a helles lager. Maybe I am thinking that because I just read it on the bottle. Besides the slight indescribable aftertaste there is no connection to a helles. Either way it is still enjoyable

Very smooth beer. I couldn't really pick too much up on the alcohol in this beer so I would give it a nice mark for drinkability. Even if this no longer resembles a helles lager I still approve and will get some more to drink. A nice hoppy lager that finishes dry and a surprising drinkability

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2008 22:08:31 | More by shaebs99
Photo of KeefD


4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice copper color with yellow highlights around the edges, a huge, pillowy off-white head that left some very nice lacing down the pilsner glass. A thick cap sticks around throughout. This is one of the best smelling lagers I've come across - Enormous amounts of hops, plenty of pine, light citrus, sweet, and lightly floral. I'm so glad they used American hops rather than the Nobles, which would have been the norm for this style. This is much better. Taste is bitter up front, plenty of oily hop resins, backed up by some toasty malt, sweet honey, and hints of smokiness in there somewhere. Very tasty! Creamy mouthfeel, smooth and crisp. Definitely some lager characteristics here, but this tastes like an DIPA. Maybe we should call this an Imperial India Pale Lager?

Oh so good. I didn't know a Helles lager could be this dark, but I'll bite. After all, this is ST. They do things differently, and I'm glad they do. Forget Santa Claus, this Krampus guy brings the real gifts! Excellent.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2008 04:32:49 | More by KeefD
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 orcasteve

North Carolina

4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a clear orangish red color with a heavy thick wite head that stays around for ever, the smell of hops in all ther floral glory take my nose on a rush of excitement. the taste is a strong pale malt at first, then floral hops and a hint of sourness, the middle is ware the hops change into extreamley strong piney flavors but thay only last for a few moments befor the sour comes back at the end, this is a great lager that acts more like an ipa till the verry end, southern tier has knocked anouther one out of the park.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2008 13:40:33 | More by orcasteve
Photo of Billolick

New York

3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 ouncer, w/o freshness/vintage/bottling info. Pours clear, very clear, cap of eggshell, frothy foam, dissolving to a collar and leaving fine, plentiful and scattered lace. Fresh minty nose, also hints of alcohol, perfume and more cool mint. Thick, thick stuff, with a nice velvety mouth feel. Flavors here are all over the place mint, perfume, alcohol, piney hops in full force and biting, I even get some mild hot sauce notes. I like just about every SN offering, and appreciate their adventurous attitude, but I doubt I would go for this one again real soon...

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2008 00:30:18 | More by Billolick
Photo of GbVDave


4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into two 16oz pint glasses. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Pours a crystal clear, tawny gold color with a creamy cap of slightly off-white head that leaves some thick ropes of lace.

S: Pleasantly fruity with nice dose of spicy hops, toasted malt, alcohol, and caramel.

T: Tangy fruit, spicy pine, sweet pineapple, biscuits, caramel apple, and bit of booze.

M: Creamy and coating with a bit of pepper and spice.

D: Very enjoyable and I really like how they used non-traditional US hops, instead of Noble hops.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2008 00:27:22 | More by GbVDave
Photo of JayQue


4.43/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is to the Helles Lager style as much as Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marrow is to Brown Ales. You can call it whatever you like, but it is a great beer. The Helles lagers I have tried were mild and subtle with pillowy soft white heads.

This beer reaches out to grab you with the aroma alone. I have never smelled such a strong aroma of floral hops and citrus in a beer. It looks pretty good as well. Clear coppery amber with a nice size white head that fades to a covering on the glass. Good lacing on the glass.

The taste is floral hops, fairly intense bitterness to follow. There is little balance here. Mouthfeel is rich, kind of oily. Drinkability is ok, given the high abv, intense flavor and bitterness.

Grape and Gourmet got 2 cases of this and put it out for the Thursday beer tasting. Almost everyone who sampled it bought a bottle or two. I hope they can get some more!!! Very impressive.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2008 03:23:29 | More by JayQue
Photo of Bighuge


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

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

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

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

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

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

Serving type: bottle

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


3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear light amber color. The head is half an inch in height, and recedes quickly into sparse lacing. The aroma is of grapefruit, and pine with a nice bready and caramel malt backbone. The taste is quite bitter. Grpaefuit, pine, and herbal spice. The malt comes through more so as the beer warms, and it becomes quite balanced. The mouthfeel is full bodied with lively carbonation, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is a wonderful beer. I have never had an Imperial Helles before, but judging from the Imperial Pilseners I have had this seems to be what I would expect. I would certainly drink this again.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2008 01:44:09 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of corey0212


4.53/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a crystal clear coppery/amber color, decent sized tan head fades slowly, and leaves rings of lacing on the way down. Tons and tons and tons of piney aromas, some candy-sweet malt lingers in the background, but this is one piney smelling brew! Taste definitely delivers on the pine promise, but the malty flavors are actually pretty rich, some nice caramel flavors, and a faint alcohol hotness. Really clean mouthfeel, lots of lingering spice/hops...yeah, Southern Tier does it again. Love this.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2008 00:13:48 | More by corey0212
Photo of YonderWanderer


4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a solid dark amber with a thin layer of foam on top which dissipates quickly.

S: Hops. Pine and citrus hops mingle together in this, with a hint of sweetness laying below.

T: Rich in flavor, bursting with dark, sweet and spicy malts. The hops blend in effortlessly, adding to the spice, infusing hints of pine and citrus into it.

M: Smooth, with a solid amount of carbonation.

D: This is another great brew from Southern Tier. It's solid through and through, and a great beer for winter.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2008 20:22:38 | More by YonderWanderer
Photo of LilBeerDoctor

New York

3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Pours a clear amber/orange with a small white head. Aroma of clove with a light floral hops background. Flavor is quite sharp, with an initial citrusy hop bite followed by a spicy, clove finish. An IPA/lager-ish blend is the best way I can describe it. It's an alright beer but I kinda wish it was just more like an IPA instead of being a blend. The combination didn't really make a more interesting or tasty beer, just a different beer.
Aroma: 7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Flavor: 7/10
Palate: 4/5
Overall: 14/20

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2008 02:48:22 | More by LilBeerDoctor
Photo of aerozeppl

New York

4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Gotta give props for the art which I love. Can't help but think of the venture brothers.

A: Pours a crystal clear copper color with minimal white head. Good lacing.

S: Really reminds me of unearthly with some spices thrown in. Pine tree aged unearthly. Fairly big note of malt as well.

T: Really different beer. Tons of hops and malt. The spices are there as well. I like it but several people at a tasting did not and I do see where they are coming from. It really does remind me of a holiday version of unearthly. Kind of like yulesmith in that regard. Super bitter in the finish.

M: Thick. I always find holiday ales to feel thicker than they actually are.

D: Drinkability is tough. It pine tree esque. Super bitter from the hops. I like it though. Definately not for everyone. I think it makes for a good winter/holiday beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2008 01:53:20 | More by aerozeppl
Photo of PittBeerGirl


3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Body is a transparent dark golden hue with some bubbles rising to the top and sticking to the glass. Pours with a 1/2 finger head which has perfect retention. Plenty of lacing left all the way down the glass.

S-Mmm. smells like Christmas. Lots of piny hops and a lot of spice come through initially but reveal a sweet candy like malt backbone.

T- A big spiciness upfront with a piny hop overtone. Sweet Munich Helles lager malt balances this in a big way in the background. A hint of piny bitterness and some alcohol come through also for the finish but lots of spiciness is left behind. A medium residual bitterness also lingers.

M-Medium carbonation and nice light, drinkable body.

D- This is one unique Christmas beer. Not how a pictured an imperial Helles...but you can certainly tell it has some helles characteristics. But the main characters in this one are the spiciness and the pine...an awesome Christmas beer that I hope ST brings around again next year.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2008 01:38:06 | More by PittBeerGirl
Photo of NJpadreFan

New Jersey

4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Southern Tier- Krampus

A- Bright copper red with a small light lacing head.
S- Big sweet pinecone hops and a strong spicy peppery malt base.
T- Big sweet spicy malt with a touch of black pepper. Thick sweet pine resin hops, like a DIPA.
M- Slightly perfumy feel vaporizes up into your sinuses. Thick malt and pine resin hops make this go from clying and sweet to dry and hoppy.

Overall- Not a Helles Lager in my book, but Southern Tier says otherwise. Regardless, delicious and definitely worth seeking out!

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2008 21:27:29 | More by NJpadreFan
Photo of mjryan


4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Southern Tier, sometimes they hit, sometimes they miss, but they are always interesting. Krampus hit the bullseye for me! Smells like flowers and pinecones. The aroma reminds me of cutting open the little bag of pellet hops and stinking my nose in their on brew day. There is also a bit of bready malt character in the aroma as well. The colour is a clean golden. Big, white head with good retention and moderate lace. Flavour is very hoppy, and tastes very much like it smells. The malt character is simple and bready, much like a helles should be. Bitterness is present but not intense. Very light bodied and dry for such a huge beer. The 9% abv is totally masked. Overall this beer is fantastic! Its more akin to a DIPA than a Helles lager...but the lager character is still present. Nicely done and highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2008 20:07:42 | More by mjryan
Photo of rhinos00


4.72/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a pint glass.

A- Clear amber. Nice off white 2 finger thick head. Reduced to a nice thin layer and provided beautiful lacework as the beer was consumed.

S- Smelled like a bouquet of flowers. Detected a hint of sweetness in the background.

T- Amazing. Fresh hops are the first thing to hit the palate. This was followed by a distinct, yet subtle sweetness as the beer was consumed. Perfect.

M- Medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation. Coated the tongue and palate very nicely.

D- The alcohol content was virtually undectable. I could proabably drink a 6-pack and not think anything of it.

Overall, very impressed. ST should make this a traditional christmas brew as I would make sure to stock up on this every year. After I finished off this bomber, I felt like Krampus gave me a few good whacks on the head with his wooden stick. Mass respect for ST on coming out with this quality brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2008 00:27:06 | More by rhinos00
Photo of kylephillips


4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a transparent copper color. Doesn't start with much head but leaves some decent lacing.

The aroma has some piney hop smell as well as some spicey notes.

The beer has a medium body and medium level of carbonation.

The taste on this one is pretty complex. There is an initial sweet and sour taste that is replaced with a bitter aftertaste. There is some sort of spice going on in there too. It is balanced fairly well.

Drinkability is awesome! The complex taste leaves you wanting more after each taste.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2008 23:30:05 | More by kylephillips
Photo of PlaywrightSam

New York

4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber picked up at Bowery Beer Room at Whole Foods in NYC. Aroma is a lot like a bock, with a bigger hop presence; pine, some citrus, really interesting. Taste is sort of surprising, really DIPA-y, but with a lot of herbal notes. Citrus as well. At first the hops are pretty aggressive but it mellows pretty quickly. Reminds me of the Sam Adams Imperial Pilsner quite a bit, but I think it has more to say for itself. Happily it's not overbearing at all, really well balanced with a nice smooth mouthfeel. Excellent drinkability, alcohol is well hidden. Really original, another great, unique beer from Southern Tier.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2008 04:54:57 | More by PlaywrightSam
Photo of Doomcifer

Rhode Island

4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a gluggily clear, bright amber color with a big creamy head that goes nowhere. Great lacing. Smells like a delicious IPA. HUGE on citrus and piny hop aromas and sweet malt and a touch of white pepper, even lemons and bits of ginger. Taste is more hops. Extremely hoppy, in fact. Big citrus and tons of pine flavor, some earthy notes, crazy astringent bitter finish. Fantastic malt bill gving a sweet backbone to balance off the insane hoppiness. Its almost like an even hoppier/bitter DFH 90-minute IPA. Leaning towards a heavy body and dry finish. Extremely crisp. Burping up pine cones. Demolished palate. Blindfolded, Id say this is one of the best DIPAs I have ever had. SICK beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2008 00:50:29 | More by Doomcifer
Photo of johnmichaelsen


4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The beer pours an intense orange gold color with decent head retention and very good lacing. The nose on this beer is intriguing. I get some brown sugar and root beer, with some underlying butter. Smells quite decadent. This is a helles lager? On the palate this beer is amazing. There is so much going on, not all of which I like. Nevertheless, I'm impressed. The flavor profile consists initially of an almost DIPA pine citrus flavor, which then dove-tails into some sweet malt and some weird bitterness (not from hops). The mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, with the alcohol very, very noticeable. Drinkability is not this beers best attribute, but nevertheless, this is an impressive offering from ST. I don't like most of ST's high alcohol experimental offerings, but they got me on this one. Can't imagine drinking much of this, but the flavor and alcohol blends/wends together so well with this beer.

The hoppy bitterness completely saves the day with this beer and has made me a fan. It helps to buoy the high alcohol and the sweet malt. Not sure anyone would call this a helles lager, but I will say this. This is an excellent beer. Hopefully availability will be such that I can order this beauty again. Well done ST.

Serving type: on-tap

11-22-2008 22:42:05 | More by johnmichaelsen
Photo of dick783

New York

4.53/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours a copper color with a fine white head.

S - Smells of sweet toasted malt with some grassy hop notes come through. Has a great aroma with nothing overpowering the nose.

T - Fantastic. The flavors almost work their way down the tongue, starting sweet at the front and finishing with a light bitterness from the hops at the back. Clean taste, its almost like an ESB but with a cleaner finish.

M - Its got body, but its a body with a clean crisp edge. Good carbonation that cleans the pallet well after each sip.

D - Fantastic drinkability. You could tell me this was a 4% session beer and I'd believe it. And with the crip clean finish it doesn't grow old, you could drink these as long as you can see straight and never get tired of it. An excellent winter beer, Ill be having more for sure.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2008 18:08:03 | More by dick783
Photo of dreadnatty08

District of Columbia

4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear medium to dark amber color with a bountiful, dense off-white head. Aromas are extremely hoppy, leaning towards the floral and spicy hops with little citrus. There's also a backnote of smokey, toasty malts that nicely round out the nose. On the palate, things are just really weird. There is a vague sourness mixing with bitterness of the hops and then a touch of roastiness from the malts. It is just an altogether different experience from any other beer. This is slightly similar to other imperial Pils, but different. Either way, it's the pioneering sense that ST has that really excites me to try their future beers.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2008 21:51:06 | More by dreadnatty08
Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 885 ratings.