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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

433 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 433
Hads: 1,148
Avg: 3.91
pDev: 19.69%
Wants: 91
Gots: 153 | 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: 433 | Hads: 1,148
Photo of rickyleepotts
3.56/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I really like Southern Tier beers. We can't get them here in Arizona, but they have a great line of beers including their IPA, 2XIPA, and their Creme Brulee Stout. Oh, and their Choklat Stout. They are some pretty aggressive beers, and I am pumped to try this one. I have never had this, and was surprised to hear that it was a Christmas beer. It is almost July, so I guess we are going to have Christmas in July… or June. Today was the hottest day of the year, so it seems fitting! Pumped to try this. Let's drink!

In the Glass: I didn't expect this to be this dark. It is a nice rich copper color and a nice sticky lace. Not much head, but I am excited to dig in. Plus, this is imperial and has a big ABV. We are reviewing 3 beer tonight, so I hope I am not hammered by the time we finish! Let's see what this smells like.

Nose: It smells like a lager… fitting, right? It has a nice subtle sweetness to it, but nothing too exciting. The bottle does say to drink this at 48 degrees, which is quite cold. This is right from the fridge, so it should be near that temperature. The bottle also says a lot more… but we will get to that soon enough. I am ready to see what this beer tastes like. Cheers! (I am going to start saying that more often, for the record.)

Flavor: Whoa, that is great. It tastes like it smells, but WAY better. It has an immediate sweetness to it, and a somewhat spicy flavor. Not too much spice, but a nice subtle spice that I can groove with. I wonder if this pairs well with food around the holidays. Maybe I should trade for this again in a few months.

Mouthfeel: There are a few more bubbles than I wanted, but that's OK. They aren't overwhelming. I will say, as this sits on my mouth, the flavor really sticks around. I keep licking my lips and those spices are sticking around. They don't make a basic beer like this, but I would like to try it if they did. The imperial part throws me off, but helps me decide whether to buy a beer.

Aftertaste: There isn't much aftertaste here, but I keep going back to those spices sticking around on the inside of my mouth. This beer is dangerously drinkable. I bet I could drink a bomber of this and not even realize that I did. I call those beers dangerous!

This is good. I like the spicy flavors in the finish. The finish is also a big dry… and continues to dry as I sit here and swallow. Oh, and I like the label. The little guy is crazy scary! Not sure what bottle is up next, but we have two more coming. Cheers! (See, I told you I was going say this more often.)

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Photo of BeardedBoffin
4.51/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Imperial Helles, isn't that an oxymoron? In any case, Krampus appears a dark amber color with a nice cap of foam which clings to glass as the liquid interface falls. The aroma is a nice balance of caramel and lemony hops. The alcohol opens the senses. Surprisingly carbonated, almost prickly, on the palate. The malt notes (bread, biscuit, and dark fruit) are briskly swept away as the hops takes over. Resinous pine, grapefruit, old fashion bitterness and a wave of booze finish this off in a big dollop of hops. A nice brew that invites the drinker to have more. I don't know if I would call this a Helles, but it is good.

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Photo of Lemke10
4.29/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This pours a hazy, dark amber color with an average, beige head. The aroma is a mixture of sweet malts, hops, and some citrus. The taste is sweet, slightly fruity, and pleasant. There is a slight bitter finish. I agree with the people that say this is more of a Pale Ale/IPA than a Pilsner. Certainly unique, can’t say I’ve had anything quite like it.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

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Photo of RickS95
3.99/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I like it for a lager. A mild chestnut, light brown color. Fairly clear though the darkness keeps most light out. Head is minimal, but very contrasting in white against the darker background and a faint lacing left behind.

A lot of stuff on the nose and it comes from all directions giving it layers of scent. Malty, bready, and damp, musty hops. If you almost get your nose wet, you can pick up the 9% ABV.

Tastes nothing like I expected. The malts and bready smell are completely overwhelmed by the hops and alcohol. Really, it tastes more like an IPA or even a barleywine. There's really no flavor til mid-sip at which point the hops and alcohol really take over.

It's a bruiser. Normally lagers are more subtle, but being an imperial, you get the full force of the hop-alcohol 1-2 punch. Kind of bready feel, which is quickly transformed into a bitter, hot finish. Full bodied. Slight carbonation.

Overall, I liked it. It matched the name and story behind the beer as this is all about what Santa isn't. Going to sleep well tonight.

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Photo of jimmah120
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

bomber with no date into duvel

look is a deep aber brown with a rocky, khaki head. smells piney and bitter at first, with a lot of bubblegum, peppermint, and plastic coming in later. Taste is much better, grainy booze, hint of peppermint, drying grassy hops, and a lot of semi-sweet toffee malt. the flavors jive very well together. slickly bitter, slightly syrupy feel. lingering peppery bitterness.

one of the only holiday brews i've thoroughly enjoyed. ST didn't overdo the holiday spice and brought the hops, what else can i ask for?

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Photo of SawDog505
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a 13 oz tulip glass bottled on September 19, 2012. Pours a cloudy orange with a sticky two inch off white head, that clings to the glass. Smell is grapefruit, hard candy, tangerine, and plum. Taste is very similar to the noise lots grapefruit and hard candy, not complaining. Body is medium, plenty of life, a little dry, and very drinkable. Wasn't sure what to expect from this because of the style. I liked it a lot, different frommost beers this time of year.

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Photo of Docer
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: (4.0)
- Nice rich copper clear brew. Frothy and fluffy head settles to a slew of velvety bubbles and lace all about the glass. Certainly pretty.

Smell: (4.5)
- This brew has some dank hops. Lots of pungent earthy and resinous hops. Light citrus hiding in there as well, but more a sappy pine and skunky hop goodness. I must like it so much because it is dry-hopped with Willamette hops. Love 'em. Subtle sweet bready malts certainly seem to be there.

Taste: (4.0)
- This is one crispy and bitter brew with a killer sweet caramel malt to balance. Zesty pine and grassy hops hit sharp up front, and then finishes out with a lot of flavors. Bready malt flavors, pine resin, and grass. All melded very well. Certainly a beer to try.

Mouth Feel: (4.0)
- This is a full bodied creamy brew with a slight stickiness to it. The mad bitterness leaves the palate dry and thirsting for more. Bit chewy, and cloying. Overall a solid meal in a bottle.

Overall: (4.0)
- This is a fantastic beer, and one of the better ones I have had from Southern Tier. It seems as though it is very well balanced, but yet is still super bitter and hop forward. I don't mind that at all. I also like that it isn't some spiced up charred coffee table in a bottle. Kudos. Though I wouldn't mind if this beer was not an imperial.. I think it would be really killer being brought down to its standard self.

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Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into pilsener glass, bottled on 9/19/2012. Pours lightly hazy copper amber color with a nice 2 finger dense off white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass; with a good amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big caramel, toast, pine, citrus rind, toffee, biscuit, floral, grass, and piney spiciness. Damn nice aromas with good balance, strength, and complexity. Taste of caramel, toast, pine, toffee, biscuit, citrus rind, floral, grass, nuttiness, and piney spiciness. Good amount of pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, biscuit, toffee, pine, nuttiness, floral, citrus rind, and piney spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Great malt/hop flavor balance and complexity; with a solid sweetness/bitterness balance as well; minimal cloying flavors present on the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a creamy, sticky, and crisp mouthfeel that is very nice. Alcohol is extremely well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish; this is dangerously drinkable. Overall this is a highly excellent Imperial Helles style! Great malt and hop flavor balance and robustness; very smooth to sip on. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of ianjsullivan
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

ST: 22oz bomber poured into a snifter.

A: An interesting amber that when held up to the light takes on a bright orange hue. Spotty lacing all the way around the glass from a thin head that quickly settles to a mere mist on top. A few quick swirls brings back the head.

S: Strong citrus, grapefruit, and bubblegum that ( I guess) come from the Willamette hops. A slight bit of caramel is in the background. There is a slightly green or metallic aroma that is hard to place, but the aroma may just be the alcohol.

T: Bubblegum and citrus with slight burnt caramel is overpowered by a sharp, bitter, spicy, pine and grapefruit finish that does not go away. The hops are the star of this show.

M: Medium and very dry.

O: Lots of hop flavor dominates this beer and gives it a Krampus bite. The malt is lost quickly in the never ending hop finish. In fact, the beer could use a bit more balance even if it is labeled an imperial.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle. Bottle reads "DOB 09/11/2012" so this beer is about 3 and a half months old chillin the bottle waiting for me to buy it and drink it.

A - Pours a clear copper honey looking color. Doesn't look like much action so far.

S - Smells like your typical boring lager. There is maybe the vaguest hint of unrecognizable spice buried in there, but for the most part this is a bland senseless experience.

T - The faint hint of spice gives this beer some character, but that is all this brew has going for it. Doesn't exactly taste like it's advertised 9% abv, but then again, it doesn't really taste like much of anything.

M - Murky, sticky mouthfeel. Not pleasant, but this is by no means a bad beer. It is surely a well-made lager.

Overall, Southern Tier isn't a bad brewery, but their beers seem to lean toward mediocre, although I do remember enjoying the Southern Tier 2X Stout quite a bit. I would drink it again if it was offered to me, but I won't go out of my way to try this one again. The homage it pays to the holiday character of the Krampus is probably the best part of the gimmick this brew has going on.

Southern Tier Krampus Imperial Helles Lager ---3/5.

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Photo of negroobserver
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Photo of NuclearSoAndSo
3.91/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a beer mug. Born on date reveals it to be a little over a year old, but I figured it would be alright since it's 9% abv.

Appearance- Pours to about a 3 finger off-white head; dark caramel color.

Smell- Lightly citrus and hoppy; vaguely fruity, and you can pick up on the alcohol a bit.

Taste- Hoppy with a distinct flavor I can't quite put my finger on. It's interesting for sure; floral.

Mouthfeel- Very smooth with light carbonation. Still a sipper though, I would say.

Overall- I really liked this. It was a nice beer for Christmas Eve, and I would buy it again. Again, there's a flavor here I can't really seem to describe, but it's different and I enjoyed it.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.01/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Deep amber colored body with a sticky beige head. A little darker than most helles with a ton of good lacing.

S- Biscuity malts, caramel malt, piney hops, lager yeast, some fruity aromas.

T- Sweet malt dominates the flavor with a nice bitter hop flavor in the back, along with some fruity flavors. Dried fruit comes in at the end along with a bitter hop finish.

M- Medium-full bodied with medium carbonation. A slight crisp bite at the end.

O- A pretty unique offering, especially for the holidays. Good mix of traditional lager flavors, with a great hop punch and well hidden abv.

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Photo of Geegmasta
3.39/5  rDev -13.3%
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.

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Photo of BrownAleMale
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a Kasteel chalice glass.

Appearance- An orangish color with a quarter inch of whispy white head that dissipates into a light layer on the surface. Some very very slight lacing.

Smell- At first a piney hops then a srtong bready malt aroma.

Taste- Wowza, what a malt bomb. Bread malts, biscuits,grains, and corn with a slight piney hop finish. Also, a slight roasy quality on the finish.

Mouthfeel- Thick mouthfeel. Almost like eating fresh bread. A meal in a bottle for sure. This is like doppelbock style.

Overall- Great beer that would be nice on a cold night with a slice of warm buttery bread. This sets the standard for lagers.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.96/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a flute glass.

Appearance: Not gold like most lagers, brownish gold with an off-white head and pretty damn thick coming off almost a full inch off the body.

Smell: Light hops, little more potent than your regular lager but nothing impressing.

Taste: Lightly bitter, roasted hops are pretty evident. The strength of hops and a lighter malt feel are way what is this brew boasts of.

Mouth: A crisp toasted bread feel that comes off dry but effectively compliments the after-taste. Smooth with medium carbonation that feels heavy at first gulp.

Overall: This in the end is a Vienna lager on roids, hearty and ridiculously full of flavor. It's not one of those complex brews because it comes at you straight forward. It is what is is really good beer. Salud!

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.26/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into tulip; clear orange, visible rising bubbles with a huge fluffy white head that fades slow leaving chunky lacing.
Smell is floral hops as well as more bitter earthy ones, along with lager yeast and darker breadiness.
Taste is slightly dark bready malt, bitter floral hops and earthy notes, along with a slight puff of alcohol heat. A very hoppy lager, delicious.
Mouthfeel is smooth, medium-light bodied and well-carbonated.
Overall, another beer I'm glad I picked up to give a full review. I forgot how good it was. It's a great hoppy strong lager, and I also enjoy the fact that they didn't feel the need to call it "India" something just because it's well-hopped. Another great beer from ST.

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Photo of tlazaroff
4.11/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very piney and citrusy on the nose. Not at all what I was expecting from a Helles, but then again, this is Southern Tier. No grain at all, but a sweet almost syrup characteristic on the tail end of the aroma.

Beautiful honey-like gradient, white head, clear liquor, and nice lacing.

Krampus has a deep, sweet caramel, honey, and molasses-like character to it. It's bitter, but only enough to take some of that sweetness away. This beer is pretty sweet having said that. It's almost cloyingly sweet. It is beyond full-bodied, it's sticky, smooth, has low carbonation, and dangerously easy to drink.

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Photo of BrownNut
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - 4.5 - Nice orange amber. Great, textured, cream-colored head. I want this kind of head on every beer. Very active carbonation.

S - 4.0 - Floral, sweet. I wouldn't have been able to isolate citrus but someone else mentioned it and I can see that. The aroma is so rich that I wanted to call it something else.

T - 3.75 - Bready malt, caramel, leaving behind a mild bitterness in the aftertaste.

M - 4.0 - Medium body, nicely smooth

O - 3.75 - Here's a lager with some welcome substance. Reminds me a bit of a DIPA.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.46/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Stellar appearance. Deep, dark golden bronze body. Crazy lace and retention on a bone white head.

S - Dusty floral hop. Earthy barn notes.

T - Smooth, creamy toffee ramps into a wet hay and horse blanket hop. Residual bitters balance a earthy caramel finish. Exceptional malt character.

M - Incredibly smooth with a well balanced full body.

O - A brilliant beer.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 9/2010 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a medium orange amber. One finger head and nice lacing. An attractive pour. Aroma of strong hops and citrus. Nice rich malts and hops combination, citrus and pine. Start and middle are phenomenal, but somewhat dry and astringent in the hop finish. Points off for the astringency. This a refrigerated one year old bottle, but still tastes good. Will update after drinking a fresher one.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber into snifter

Appearance – Poured a lightly hazy orange/amber color with a one finger white head. The head fades rather quickly to leave a fair amount of lacing.

Smell – The aroma is largely of citrus as well as a nice floral/herbal aroma. Mixed with this is a light funky aroma as well as some hints of alcohol.

Taste- The taste begins bready and malty with some citrus and yeast flavors. The citrus develops more toward the middle with it being largely of a more bitter grapefruit At the end an alcohol taste as well as a strong presence of some earthy and grassy flavors come to the tongue leaving a rather interesting slightly off flavor on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The beer had a nice creamy body with a low level of carbonation. Good for the malty and floral hop flavors.

Overall – It was a tasty brew, but nothing that was really worth going out of the way for.

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Photo of wcintula
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I get nostalgic drinking beers like this. I saved this one from Christmas '11. Poured into a half-liter pokal, it's a gorgeous amber color with a big ole ecru colored head that sticks all over the place. Big hop smell, fantastic caramel/honey, alcohol esters invite you into a nice warming brew that's not so boozy, but it let's you know it's a strong one. Not what I expected with 'helles' on the label, but certainly satisfying.

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Photo of facundoCNB
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

extremely clear deep orange pour with about half inch of head that remained throughout the whole glass. smells of rich grains, yeast, bready. tastes bitter up front with a sweet backbone of caramel/brown sugar, tastes of pilsner and wheat malts. refreshing, crisp, medium bodied but has the refreshing sensation of a light bodied beer. this is perfect for the style of beer that it is. i generally don't like lagers/pilsners, but this one changes the game.. give it a shot!

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Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 433 ratings.