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Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

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

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very good

944 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 944
Reviews: 405
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 12.31%
Wants: 73
Gots: 61 | 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: 944 | Reviews: 405 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bouleboubier
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Okay, as an "Imperial" pilsner, this works quite well. A hazy, rusty reddish amber color - looks like a Vienna lager. Nice, fluffy head at the start with some scattered lacing throughout. Ultra bitter hoppy blast up front in the smell - my, it's bold - wintry, piney, with the essence (not necessarily the flavor) of lime...You know, I hesitate to say "lime", but it's vaguely citrus and orange, lemon, and/or grapefruit don't seem to apply.

Anyway, the hops are screaming here - definite dry-hopped (fresh-picked) character (confirmed by the label). The hops really go apeshit in the taste, however. Almost too much. The sweet, sugary quality in the (crystal-like) malt, combined with the super-firm hopping, immediately say double IPA, but at the very finish there's a reminder that this has German malt in the bill. You can taste it, trust me. Yeah, it's kind of pilsner-like, but around double the sweetness.

Krampus drinks really clean and smooth and, I could be crazy here, has a Christmasy quality to the zingy pine of the hops - smell and flavor. The alcohol, while not overt in the taste, perhaps thins out the malt/hop combo, providing a refreshing undercurrent, enough to create a decent balance with all that's happening (not that it's complex). Hmmm, I liked it.

Bouleboubier, Nov 22, 2010
Photo of thekanna
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Gorgeous ruddy copper with very little white head and lacing down the side.

S: Strong caramels, sugar, alcohol completely infuse the nose.

T: Sweet malts and syrupy caramel devolve into a biting, bitter hop taste very quickly. Hops are slightly astringent, then give way to a saccharine taste afterward.

M: Medium body, thick sweetness and slight oilyness with lots of tiny effervescent carbonation.

D: Decently drinkable, but quite demanding on the palate. I was expecting something more relaxing to drink.

thekanna, Nov 19, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a moderate brown color with a bit of an off white head. The nose brings some caramel, toffee, and toasted bread along with some hard to describe (earthy?) hop components. Taste brings a moderate hop dose along with some lightly roasted malt, caramel, and toffee. Good body and not much alcohol. Really nice and a solid imperial pils.

Thorpe429, Oct 26, 2010
Photo of Seanibus
3.55/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very strong and malty and sweet. Not very lagery either - I would almost peg this for a smooth Double IPA of some sort, or even a gentle Barleywine.

Pours a deep hazy amber with a big fluffy head and sticky lacing. The aroma is the only clearly lagerish part of this beer, with a muted brown sugar aroma that would probably be sharper in an ale. The flavor is very malty and sugary, with toffee and caramel in abundance, a surprising hop bite, and a lingering hop bitterness in the background the mouthfeel is very thick and gooey with a little sting of alcohol on the finish that betrays the heavy duty ABV.

Seanibus, Oct 24, 2010
Photo of Genuine
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glad I was able to find this at a local package store...as I enjoy seasonals.

Poured from the bomber into a clean pint glass. Poured a very nice dark amber but becomes a very nice copper when light is passed through it. A bit cloudy.

Smell - the nose on this one is just amazing...it smells like Christmas in a bottle. Very fresh, piney and citrus notes come across the nose first, along with a hint of spices and the malts sing through as well.

Taste - I was hoping that this beer would not disappoint, and it doesn't! Very nice malts at first with crisp hops for the finish...the spices are not noticed till the beer has time to warm up. Liquid Christmas in a bottle.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with just the right amount of carbonation, this brew could not have been any more perfect.

Drinkability - this is a perfect sipper for a cold winter night, while counting down the nights till Christmas. Very nice to have around for family party's and get togethers. At 9%, it'll be sure to warm you up on the coldest of nights.

Had it again the other night.

New Notes:

Taste: found this one to be a bit sweet on the finish. Hops are present but not as much as I originally thought. Very citrus/fruity.

Genuine, Oct 20, 2010
Photo of metter98
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is cloudy light yellowish amber in color and has a medium amount of carbonation. It poured with a finger high head that quickly died down into a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are lots of malty aromas in the nose along with notes of citrus and pine resin hops along plus some hints of spices.
T: Like the smell, the initial taste is very malty and transitions to a moderate amount of bitter flavors from the hops (reminiscent of a Double IPA) in the finish, which also becomes spicy as the beer starts to warm up.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer isn't that difficult to drink considering its alcohol content, provided that you can get through the amount of bitterness.

metter98, Sep 10, 2010
Photo of claspada
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very translucent amber colored body withh a good amount of active carbonation bubbles. The head is a thick off-white color, creamy and it has good retention. The lacing is fairly prevelant.

Aromas of mainly pale malts with notes of biscuity/bready malts as well. Slight sweetness along with a a good bit of hops in the background.

Tastes are quite heavy dominated bu the hops over the malt background. I feel lager yeasts tend to do this, which is why I prefer ales more often than not. There is still a good bit of pale malt sweetness along with some graham cracker flavors. This is very hoppy for a even a double pilsner and personally I would like the malt to express itself a little bit more.

The mouthfeel is pretty light for the abv, but it seems to fit the flavors rather well.

Overall a fairly good example of the style, I'm glad more people are stepping up the lager style to improve their boring nature, but this one is not the best I've had recently.

claspada, Sep 02, 2010
Photo of Mitchster
4.55/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle for $7.69 @ Bevco. 9.0% abv. * 20º plato. Brewed with 2-row pale, debittered black malt, munich malt, and caramel malt. Chinook kettle hops, and Willamette dry hops. Lagered for at least 30 days.

Pours out to a clear medium amber, forming a large sticky light yellow head with excellent retention and one big solid sheet of lace with a medium-light carbonation. Nice looking. The aroma is very nice....pineapple, mango and grapefruit for the citric hop nose, balanced by a large sticky amber malt body, akin to Arrogant Bastard, with apples, honey and cherries in there as well. Mouthfeel is very soft and very smooth with a dense, rich syrupy body. The taste is a recap of the aroma with lots of malts nicely balanced by the assertive hop flavor with an overall mild bitterness. Lingering sweetness in the aftertaste with freshly milled grain husk and toast hanging on the tongue. No perceptable off flavors or aromas. Excellent drinkability despite it's strength, but you might want to share it with someone. It's a meal unto itself.

This reminds me of what I would like Arrogant Bastard to taste like...sweeter, less bitter, and exceptionally smooth. Akin to an Olde Ale, I would gladly buy this again. Highly recommended!

Mitchster, Aug 25, 2010
Photo of flagmantho
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into a Pilsner glass.

Appearance: deep, rich golden-orange hue with a crystal clear body and three fingers of rocky ivory head. Head leaves a nice lace as it slowly dissipates.

Smell: a basic malt aroma, but huge in volume! Sweet, with bits of caramel, and a little bit of earthy hop struggling to make its way through. I'm impressed; there is a strong ale or barleywine quantity of malt goodness here.

Taste: huge base malt with a bit of bitterness toward the end. I feel like there ought to be more in the way of hop character here, seeing as it is an imperial Pilsner; there's a bit, but not enough. However, with the malt, this beer captures the best of what I'd think an imperial-strength Pilsner should be: clean yet strong; dialed-in yet complex in flavor. Good stuff.

Mouthfeel: sticky and syrupy in consistency with a pretty sizeable medium-thick body. Carbonation is pretty good and yields a pleasurable creaminess. Tasty.

Drinkability: dangerously drinkable. Flavor is good and compelling; it doesn't wear on the palate. Alcohol is high but not the focus, so for its ABV it is eminently quaffable. I'd definitely have this again.

flagmantho, Jul 13, 2010
Photo of cnally
4.55/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Another day, another beer influenced by devils. Is this all my life has become? Worshipping the evil snifter filled with hell's drink? Not a bad way to live, if you ask me.

The appearance is a fiery amber color in the body, transparent for the most part, with a confident white head that sticks nicely to the glass.

Aromas of a heavy dose of malt, pumpkin, aging white grape, and a flicker of piney hops.

An amazing convocation of initially heavy piney hop flavor and a sweetness from a caramel malt in the middle, with a distinct phenolic quality. The hop fades from the starter burst, and the beer finishes with a spicy orange peel and malt.

The mouthfeel comes off a little ragged, sticky and over thick, but still highly respectable.

An excellent beer, any way you slice it. Refreshing, filling and really tasty with layers. I couldn't imagine a beer achieving much more than this beer, especially within the confines of an imperial pilsner.

cnally, Jul 09, 2010
Photo of dpnelson1978
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.
Original tasting: 12/12/2009

22 oz. bottle into glass pint.

$7.99 / ea.

S: Big floral hop aroma and sweet malty notes. Becomes more citrus as it warms to room temperature.

A: Big tight rocky head with great retention, and amazing lacing. A generous, creamy cover remains over a deep, clear copper body. Beautiful.

T: Nicely balanced. Not a hop bomb like I expected. Sweet caramel and malt backbone, with mostly floral notes and just a hint of citrus. Bitterness lingers well after the sip. Well hidden alcohol.

M: Medium body with medium carbonation. Crisp. Bitter bite remains on the tongue and back of the throat.

D: Very drinkable for such a big brew. Like an IPA, this gets even more drinkable with food to neutralize some of the lingering bitterness. Food or no food, this beer goes down way easier than it should.

O: Great example of the spicy, sweet malt character of an imperial pilsner. The color is redder, and the alcohol less aggressive than many.

dpnelson1978, Jul 05, 2010
Photo of canucklehead
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Eventhough we get a lot of ST beers in BC this one missed us so I found it on the shelf in Oak Harbour Washington in June. Poured a dark gold colour with a big head. The nose was hoppy but in that saaz style with a yeasty note thrown in. I really liked the way ST used a lager style that is often abused with boozy euro strong lagers and turned it into a complex hoppy beer that doesn't really show the alcohol. The mouthfeel was big as it is in most ST beers and the finish was long. Wish I had more of this in the cellar

canucklehead, Jun 15, 2010
Photo of larryi86
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber poured into a snifter

A- A nice hazy amber with a tint of orange and a two finger head.

S- Sweet malt with hints of oranges, caramel, and hops.

T- Caramel malt hits right away with hints of citrus that finishes smoothly with a hoppy bitter bit. The downfall of the taste is the 9% ABV is not hidden, but not overwhelming.

M- Smooth, a little on the trick side and a little sticky.

D- This is good and easy to drink. It is worth picking up a bottle and giving it a try, definitely if you enjoy Barelywines.

larryi86, Jun 02, 2010
Photo of Cyberkedi
3.2/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Has a fairly strong hoppy aroma with a hint of honey and just a touch of apple brandy. It pours a clear coppery orange with a thick, fairly persistent off-white head. Flavor is fairly hoppy, a bit woody, and rather bitter - not terrific, but still palatable. Texture is smooth and just a little fizzy, leaving a hoppy and woody finish.

Cyberkedi, May 31, 2010
Photo of kenpo23
4.6/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

just put it aside for a year.... amazing. i may be biased because i do love a helles lager but as usual...Souther Tier does it right. no need for more explanation...just trust me. if i'm wrong...and you live in the area i have no problem meeting up with you at Bukowski Tavern in boston and trying what you would think is better.

kenpo23, May 26, 2010
Photo of allergictomacros
4.58/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Clear amber/red with a dense head of foam.

S - Nose is hoppy, fruity and boozy. Citrus, pine, apple, and mango.

T - Sweet and intensely hoppy. There's a bare hint of caramel, but is quickly overwhelmed by a resinous pine hop. Sweet fruitiness and apple comes through as well. Finish is a moderately bitter and very clean and smooth.

M - Moderate body and carbonation. Again, smooth but not oily or heavy in any way.

D - Very drinkable. Tasty, and a bit different from a DIPA.

allergictomacros, May 26, 2010
Photo of htomsirveaux
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle tried 9 Feb 2010.

Served in a 512 One snifter. Moderately sized tight peachy colored head. Well carbonated. Clear dark copper color. Light aroma, a little floral and some hints of watermelon. Sweet and fizzy upfront with a melon flavor through the middle. Hops are quite floral with a touch of citrus, leaving a bittersweet finish and aftertaste. Medium light body. Touch of warming rum in the finish too.

Decent beer, awful name.

htomsirveaux, May 21, 2010
Photo of corby112
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clean dark golden amber color with golden yellowish orange hues when held to a light source and a one finger foamy tan head that quickly fades into a lasting ring. Minimal lacing.

Nice smokey malt aroma with hints of caramel, nut, citrus hops, crisp light fruit and hazelnut.

Medium bodied with soft carbonation up front leading into a roasted nutty malt flavor. Hints of peppery spice along with some clove, light fruit and hazelnut. Bitter up front with a sweet malty center that continues into a dry, spicy and hoppy finish. Very quaffable with a nice alcohol warmth in the finish, but overall the ABV is well masked.

corby112, May 14, 2010
Photo of Hibernator
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Southern Tier Krampus
22 oz brown bottle
Served in a 16 oz glass

Pours a hazy burnt orange color with a decent head on top. This beer leaves frothy trails of sticky lacings all over the glassware.

Malty-sweet nose with some strong hop whiffs.

Juicy caramel malt backbone with a zing for a hop finish. Mixed flavors of orange and apricot. Can't help but notice the toasted biscuit and clean lager yeast combo. Medium carbonation level.

I may have sampled this brew just a tad past it's prime, but nevertheless still enjoyed this beer.

Hibernator, Apr 27, 2010
Photo of bamadog
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

bamadog, Apr 18, 2010
Photo of ZimZamZoom
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a bomber into a tulip glass. A beautiful copper colored beer that has an equally beautiful thick tan head. Head goes rocky as it fades and gooey lacing is left behind in abundant quantities.

Big spicy hops in the nose, piney and bitter. Some roasty malt in the background. Tastes of pine, spice, and alcohol, entwined around a sweet caramel maltiness. Big bitter finish, with a hop bite and alcohol warmth that linger pleasantly. Is there a clean lager finish behind that? Maybe...but I might be imagining it because if you told me this was an American Strong Ale I would believe you.

Big bodied, noticably viscous, but oh so drinkable. Style aside, this is a tasty beer.

ZimZamZoom, Apr 18, 2010
Photo of WeedKing4
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber bottle pours a clear, dark amber with a decent amount of foam forming in the glass. The taste up front is like a very malty caramal pine hop, if thats possible. Its got that bitterness too it and its a pretty good beer overall. Very easy to drink for the 9% alc. Glad I picked this one up.

WeedKing4, Apr 14, 2010
Photo of DmanGTR
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes on 9/18/09

A - lovely clear-as-crystal toasted tangerine orange. A magnificent, towering beige head of 3.5" formed in my Ommegang goblet. Wonderful retention (the whole time) and lacing. Spiderwebby/patchy/strands of lace everywhere. 5.0

S - lots of pineapple, passionfruit, and a sweet malt-liquor like base. Slight citrusy hops round out the aromas with a hint of pears as well. 4.5

T - somewhat a malt bomb. Lots of caramel, followed by a hearty dose of bitter herbal Chinook hops. The grapefruity flavors meld with the spicy alcohol and creates a wonderful blend of happy and hoppy deliciousness. Absolutely amazing. 4.5

M - Medium bodied, well carbonated to smoothness, mildly sticky on the palate. 4.0

D - Very drinkable for 9%. Dangerous because it drinks like a 6%. 4.0

Overall - Got this for a steal at $5.33, post seasonal. Still drinks very well a number of months after bottling. Highly recommended for any hophead.

DmanGTR, Apr 07, 2010
Photo of beertunes
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a reddish-gold color with a half-inch of khaki colored head that average retention and good lacing.

The aroma was surprisingly malty, it reminded me of a bock, and had a slight spice note in the background. The flavor had a similar profile, with everything being amplified.

This beer is very full-bodied and quite drinkable. This my first shot at an "Imperial Helles", and I'm not sure what this style is supposed to be like, but I enjoyed this beer quite a lot.

beertunes, Apr 01, 2010
Photo of BMoney575
3.43/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled on 3-28-10

Pours a clear amber color with a thick head that leaves big, craggy lacing.

Smell is earthy hops, quite tame, with a slightly sweet malt backing. A little spicy, and maybe a hint of adjunct.

Taste is very bitter, very earthy, and that's about it. The bitterness is in-your-face, drowning out and subtle flavors that might be there.

Mouthfeel is decent, but a little thin with strong carbonation that adds to the bitterness.

Drinkability is also decent, at least the alcohol is well masked.

Overall, not my thing, but try it.

BMoney575, Mar 28, 2010
Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 944 ratings.