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Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

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

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

941 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 941
Reviews: 405
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 12.31%
Wants: 74
Gots: 59 | FT: 0
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: 941 | Reviews: 405 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brian44556
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%

Purchased this beer during the holiday season. Didn't see a freshness date. Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Guinness pint glass.

Pours a very dark orange, amber color. Reminds me of a DIPA. Has a thick, two-finger off-white head with nice lacing. Smells of butterscotch, banana, and clove. Has a great taste of hop bitterness, caramel, with a malty backbone. This beer is very carbonated and has a great thick mouthful. Overall a good beer. I haven't had much experience with the Helles Lager style, but after drinking this I'm a fan. This will be on my radar every holiday season.

brian44556, Apr 10, 2011
Photo of mountdew1
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a light orange amber with a 2 finger bubbly white head, with no cling. Constant streams of carbonation rose from the bottom. Aroma was slightly malty, with some hops and a bit of pepper. Taste was spicy, started off as bitter hop but mellowed and then changed to a pepper spicy ending. Felt ok in the mouth, perhaps a tad over carbonated. Wasn't overly thin or thick. A solid beer, well balanced.

mountdew1, Mar 21, 2011
Photo of claireoakhammer
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%

a - light amber with a bit of orange, no head

s- some citrus

t- bitter and caramely up front, but some high alcohol notes as well as some spiciness

m- crisp and light but also smooth

o- excellent, though I was hoping for something a little more lager-like.

claireoakhammer, Mar 21, 2011
Photo of washburnkid
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%

Reviewed from notes.

A: About a finger of head over light copper hue. Floating islands of retention. Plenty of lace.
S: Aromas are complex, with many competing notes just upon the first sniff. Willamette hops are strong and perfectly encompass the northeast hop profile. Pine and wood after a rainstorm. There's also an exceptional fruity character, complex in its own right. Citrus but also sweet. More ripe fruit than rind.
T: Big bitter tastes, both floral hops and caramel malt. Balanced, which is hiding any hint of alcohol that might have been present with such a big beer. The flavor is biscuity but nice. The flavors don't quite deliver what the aroma promises in terms of complexity.
M: Medium body with the thinnest coating of residue.
D: The aroma kicks ass, but the flavor falls just a bit short. Either way, the lack of alcohol presence makes this beer deceptively easy to drink. It definitely snuck up on me.

washburnkid, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of Lerxst
4/5  rDev +2.6%

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.

Lerxst, Mar 06, 2011
Photo of THECPJ
3.48/5  rDev -10.8%

Reviewed from notes

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

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

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

Mouthfeel: mild carbonation, well balanced

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


THECPJ, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of DrinkingDrake
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%

Poured out of a 22oz a deep amber with a thin amount of light tan head that laces out evenly across the top.

Some malty bread in the background but a lot of fresh wet hops in your nose. Very aromatic and zesty resins.

Initial taste is of sweet sugary, slightly toasty caramel with a slam of fresh citrus zesty hops. A balanced bitter tang with the solid molt body. For 9% this is a solid balance that disguises it well. Medium body but very solid in malts.

DrinkingDrake, Mar 01, 2011
Photo of OWSLEY069
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%

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.

OWSLEY069, Feb 19, 2011
Photo of Jesse13713
3.13/5  rDev -19.7%

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.

Jesse13713, Feb 17, 2011
Photo of seedsofchaos
3.38/5  rDev -13.3%

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

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

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

seedsofchaos, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of Metalmonk
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%

Pours an inch-thick creamy head, a bit rocky and made of various-sized bubbles. Liquid is burnt orange sunset moving toward the brown part of the spectrum (so not all that "helles" really). Glassy clarity with copious bubbles moving neither fast nor slow through the liquid. Looks like quality so far.

Super-clean and breezy hop-centric nose. Very much west coast in essence, and the lack of malty sweetness or toastiness in the nose makes it smell like a crazy-ass hop bomb. And it's a lager to boot. I'm intrigued...

Krampus is possibly the most hop-laden, hop-tastic, hop-thusiastic lager I've ever had. It's like a west coast hop bomb that accidentally was fermented with a lager yeast at a cold temperature. A "my chocolate in your peanut butter" kinda beer. And, best thing about it, it doesn't taste like a train wreck. There's clear definition here. First taste is, surprise surprise, a (green) flash of bright, fresh, citrus hops, with a little mint coming in behind. Then a toasted malt essence that leans on the sweeter side, caramel/toffee are present, and there's a pretty strong herbal tea vibe that sits squarely between that malt and hop characteristics of this beer. Resin-like, citrus rind bitter quality to the finish, and here is where I get the most pilsner-ish vibe in the taste, as there's also some sulfur-like flavor that comes with it. There's a lot to say about this taste, and a lot to enjoy about it, yet it's not the most complex imperialized beast of all time, nor is it even close to a mess. Very direct, very good, very clean.

Certainly the helles lager personality comes through strongest in the feel, having an active, crisp bubble feel, a lighter lager-like glide on the tongue...yet, yet, there's an ale-like sort of stick and/or heft to the texture that reminds you this is an imperialized, Americanized, proudly bastardized version of a German lager style. So be it.

So glad to have finally gotten a hold of the elusive Krampus (like Choklat, one of few Southern Tier beers that never seems to make it down to Virginia), and I thank my longtime pal Heath for this bottle. As Borat might say: great success!

Metalmonk, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of vapodge
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%

bomber poured into a pilsener glass

A - dark golden; quite a bit of carbonation gives it a considerable head; good lacing

S - flowery and hoppy, little bit of malt in the nose

T - hoppy and sweet malt -- lot of both, alcohol is there

M - coats the tongue with sweetness, but is dry nonetheless

D - smooth, but a huge amount of flavor so is not one to drink quickly

Yet another solid beer from Southern Tier -- these guys are pretty good.

vapodge, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of Dhren1979
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Vintage: 2010

Serving type: 22 oz Bomber poured into a Tulip glass:

A: Pours a amber color with dense, 1" head. The head holds its own and doesn't look to leave anytime soon. Clody & hazy!

S: A surprising hoppy presence. Sweet malty aroma as expected. All of the aromas are somewhat muted.

T: A malty begining which gradually develops into a bitterness hoppy finish.

M: One of the 1st craft beers that I can say is on the lighter side of mouthfeel. Kind of refreshing to be lighter and not as complex.

D: A good session beer for the winter. Would I want to buy a whole case of this? No. But a good beer to have a few around to sit back and read a book.

Dhren1979, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of anotherpg
4.65/5  rDev +19.2%

Here's an exceptional challenge to Stone's AB: a chewy, hoppy, high ABV double which finishes smooth without feeling like you need to brush your teeth after.

This pours a clean amber with a large, 1-2 finger head, drinks easy but with a full taste of hops. The ABV didn't show as I was drinking it-- it didn't taste hot or out of balance. The smell was of hops, but the taste was very well-balanced and it was juicy, almost buttery, as I drank it. The ABV and hops meant it slowed me down a bit from drinking more than one, but for a 22oz bomber, this was a great find and I'd gladly drink it again.

anotherpg, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of krazyboi
3.4/5  rDev -12.8%

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

krazyboi, Feb 08, 2011
Photo of adam42381
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber into a New Belgium globe.

Appearance: Pours a medium caramel color with orange highlights and a 3 finger fluffy white head. Excellent lacing. Looks like a double IPA.

Smell: Floral, citrus and piney hops with pale malt. Smells like a blend of American Pale Ale and a mild IPA.

Taste: Pale malt and bitter citrus up front followed by caramel in the middle and a blast of grapefruit at the finish. The alcohol doesn't come through until you've already swallowed. There's definitely some warmth on the way down. Aftertaste is a mix of bready malt and bitter citrus. This is a very hoppy beer. I'm not really sure what an Imperial Helles Lager is supposed to taste like, but I like whatever this is.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a good amount of prickly carbonation. Fairly sticky.

Drinkability: Good drinkability. Goes down pretty easy for a beer with an ABV of 9%.

Overall: Good beer overall. I don't see this as an Imperial Pilsner, but I'm not sure what an Imperial Helles Lager is anyway. Whatever it is, it's a tasty brew that will hit the spot for most hop lovers. Give it a shot.

adam42381, Feb 02, 2011
Photo of cjgator3
4.33/5  rDev +11%

22oz bottle

A- Pours a clear copper color with an off-white head.

S- The aroma is toasted malt and a good dose of hops. I was expecting a big malty beer but I am pleasantly surprised by the hops in the nose.

T- The taste like the aroma has some toasted malt up front with the bitterness from the hops quickly coming into play and lingering for quite a while into the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is light bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this beer. It was a very enjoyable beer that I will definitely purchase again. Recommended!

cjgator3, Jan 30, 2011
Photo of feloniousmonk
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Southern Tier Krampus Imperial helles lager.

Npt a bad brew for Christmas Eve. Beware the switcher of bad children. I'd love to quote the label, but it is soooo long. In brief, it'll warm coldest hearts...Christmas Devil, sticks and chains....fanged, goat-horned bully...naughty or nice?....replace the cookies, lager yeast, aged cold, Merry Kramp-mas to all, and to all a good pint!
So there you have it!

9% above, 2-row pale malt, munich, caramel malt, chinook & willamette hops, cool place, snifter, best at 48, blahbetty blah...

Let's drink it, look at it, smell it, you know...

Clear, pale reddish hue, eh, more like amber, slim head, lace leaving, ...looking pretty nice. ( On further pours, it's bigger, taller, prouder.)

Aroma: malty, sharp, smooth, mild hops, somewhat sweet, ...but a little shy, not giving much else up.

Taste: grainy, malty, fierce, and hot. And yet smooth-...ish, despite the high alcohol.
Clean, and smooth, and pretty tasty. Sweet malt, delicious booze. Yum, me like.
I'm still not crazy about imperial lagers, still like ales better, when they're bigger. Just not enough flavor coming through...mmm, imperial lager, wait, what's happening to me?

feloniousmonk, Jan 23, 2011
Photo of vkv822
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%

22oz. bottle into

Pours a clear golden orange with active rising carbonation and a thick foamy off-white head.

The aroma is of quite piney and spicy hop notes. Quite a bit more hops than I was expecting, but very pleasant. Some sweet malt backing.

The taste is of citric and piney hops upfront, much like an IPA, though as the flavors progress it blends into a floral spicy finish. There is a nice malty caramel backbone throughout that keeps this balanced. Really not much booziness from the high ABV.

Nice medium body with active carbonation that keeps it from being too heavy.

This is a very well done and easy drinking Imperial Pilsner especially when considering the high ABV.

vkv822, Jan 23, 2011
Photo of mahargcornsilk
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%

Nice light amber color with a quickly dissipating head

smell is very piney, wasn't really expecting this from a lager but hell it's awesome

the taste hits with malt right away with those delicious piney hops following right behind

mouthfeel is pretty nice, a lot thicker than I would have expected from the color and from the helles lager on the bottle

I definitely couldn't chug this guy, but would gladly sip it regularly

I got this because Krampus is hilarious and badass and it totally didn't dissapoint, tastes nothing like helles but is so very delicious in it's own right, definitely a delicious winter beer which I would love to revisit

mahargcornsilk, Jan 23, 2011
Photo of BigBlacke
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%

Krampus light caramel haze color with a nice foamy .5 inch head that quickly dissipates to a thin off white film. Smells of sweet caramel with subtle pine hops. Krampus has the perfect amount of sweetness too it. Not overbearing. A nice piney hop presence is noted. Mouthfeel is stick and creamy. Drinkability is high for me. Very impressive and balanced beer. Ummm.

BigBlacke, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of daveytheformer
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%

22 ounce poured into a snifter.

Pours a clear golden amber with a nice thin white head that remains as the beer recedes in the glass.

Smells like pine and citrus with a floral sweetness.

Tastes smooth and clean with a little spicy kick. Seems kind of like a Belgian style IPA.

Mouthfeel is medium with great carbonation.

Overall is a great beer. I had no idea what to expect from this beer but was beyond pleasantly surprised.

daveytheformer, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of aepb1
4.33/5  rDev +11%

A- Translucent brown body with a huge off-white head and lots of lacing

S- Crazy hoppy! Grassy and piney hops are huge in the nose

T- A hint of malt up front immediately followed by the big piney hops and finishes with a spicey bite, a great ride

M- Light-bodied, oily, good carbonation

D- Very cool beer and will definitely revisit this one

aepb1, Jan 19, 2011
Photo of PhillyStyle
4.25/5  rDev +9%

22oz bottle:

The beer poured a deep, dark clear amber color, with a very nice white head that was well retained that left behind some nice lacing.

The aroma was malty sweet with a hint of hops.

The taste was very good. Nice, bold malt flavor with some citrus hops to balance it really well. It also had a breadyness quality to it as well. It seemed as if the taste got better and better throughout the bottle.

Mouthfeel was good, medium body with the right carbonation. The beer was smooth and had a nice dry aftertaste. Overall, I was very surprised by this beer, I bought 2 bombers and have been wanting to go back and get some more.

PhillyStyle, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of babaracas
3.9/5  rDev 0%

Pours a clear orange, two finger foamy white head settles to a quarter inch, leaving a ring of lace. Smell: pineapple, spruce (and a little oak?), sweet slightly melon-y backdrop. Taste: resiny with a bit of sugared pineapple, caramel, lightly toasted in the finish. There's a little bit of garlic in the finish, not enough to ding on flavor, but it builds over the course of the bottle. Nov (Dec here) 2010 release.

babaracas, Jan 17, 2011
Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 941 ratings.