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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: 1,149
Avg: 3.91
pDev: 19.69%
Wants: 91
Gots: 154 | 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: 1,149
Photo of Kromes
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A clear copper color with a thin off-white head that laces the glass.

S: Toasted malt and a crisp, grassy hop aroma.

T: More of the same from the aroma. Starts with a good toasted malt base and then the hops kick in. There are also some fruity esters that show up maybe peach and citrus. The grassy hop flavor is good and I was hoping it would finish clean, but it finished a little bitter and with a bit of alcohol flavor and burn.

M: Medium body with good carbonation and a bitter burn in the finish.

O: Pretty good. Not something I would go seek out, but for an imperial pilsner it is good.

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Photo of Jimmys
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bomber into tulip. DOB 12/05/11.

A: clear. bright orange. off-white head is very frothy and has good retention and lacing. lacing is very sticky. a bit dark, but this is an Imp. version so slightly expected.

S: boatloads of smooth malt sweetness. caramel. a very dense bready-ness. reminds me of banana bread without the banana aroma.

T: an underlying bitterness remains throughout a sweet, tangy malty body. a little bit of alcohol, but just the smallest touch. drinks clean with a dry finish.

M: moderate amount of carbonation on a very full body.

D: this is a big lager. i would actually recommend splitting this bottle between friends. overall i would say this drinks closer to an american strong (minus an intense hop character), than an imperial helles, but i still respect the effort.

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Photo of budgood1
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber.

pours out a clear perfect bronze colour with a light tan head leaving some chunky lace. first thing to assault the nose is some aggressive floral and spicy hopping. mostly of the noble variety if i'm accurate. a bit of candy like dark maltiness struggles to keep up with the hop nose...smells nice for a big lager such as this. the huge malt profile regains the upper hand in the taste profile, it's huge and sturdy showing off a blend of pale and dark malts with an underlying boozy kick. hop profile is all aggressive spice, providing a dazzling array of bitterness that lingers long in the finish. big, bold and brash best describes both the body and mouthfeel on this one. i wouldn't describe this as overly drinkable...nothing i want to chug too fast. double and imperial pils and the offspring they produce are still something i'm getting used to.

overall this is a pretty decent offering considering the difficulty in producing beers of this nature and making them approachable. on the other hand, it makes for a treat during bock season, which this brew so closely resembles. recommended.

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Photo of 57md
3.82/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep golden with a reasonable layer of head that dissipated quickly. The nose is of hops and apples (oddly enough). There is a mild malt flavor that is a bit thin. The hop finish was pretty strong for a helles.

I'd say - it's overwhelmingly ok.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: 3 finger frothy head with nice lacing on a clear 50/50 amber and golden body.

S: very malty and aromatous. Subtle sweet corn and earthy notes.

T: flavor is pretty boozy and sour. Malt and sweet corn in the background.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: The aroma is excellent. The boozy flavor is a little much but it mellows out as you drink it.

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Photo of FanofHefe
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber with no freshness dating that pours a light amber colored body that is mostly clear. Two-finger off-white head that has good retention and good lacing.

The aroma is very IPA-like with a citrusy orange note coming out of the gate first. A little bready and sweet malt in the background but not much else.

Well, the flavor is not what I expected from the aroma. The hops are still dominant but lean more toward a pine and grassy flavor than the citrus that I picked up in the aroma. There is clearly still some citrus to be had, but it comes in secondary. The other flavors that I expected to get from a helles lager are much more muted.

Medium texture in the mouthfeel and just an interesting combination of ingredients overall that I like fairly well. If you like something a little different, give it I try.

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Photo of jtierney89
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliantly clear and vibrant deep orange color with a super sticky 2 finger off white head. Sweet subtle caramel malt on the nose with hints of biscuit and grain. Some earthy hops hidden underneath it all.

Medium in body with good carbonation. Strange front of the tongue bitterness. Very subdued flavor with a weaker malt profile than expected. Some toasty butteryness but not much with grassy bitter hops. Drinks like a somewhat more bitter hellos lager but the strangest part about this beer is that for such modest flavor the alcohol content is nowhere to be found.

Good beer but I expected a bit more from southern tier.

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Photo of woodsyy
3.41/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bomber poured into pint glass

a: pours a dark copper, very golden, good visibility throughout

s: the smell was very average to me, I was kind of disappointed. very small hoppy smell, slighty floral

t: very crisp tasting beer, most of the flavor I'm getting is hops.

m: bitterness, smooth, medium-to-light body

o: I want to preface this saying that I'm not a big lager drinker, overall the beer was just slightly above average to me - this just being that is probably one of the better lagers I've tried.

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Photo of Thingus
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Live tasting, bottle into Duvel Tulip

Appearance; pours a clear copper, with roughly two fingers of foamy straw colored head that quickly dissipates leaving a thin film of head with good lacing on the glass.

Smell; right out of the gate, Krampus hit me with a pretty wild fresh baked cherry almond bread kind of aroma... Wonderful, hoping it holds through to the flavor, as that is an incredible smell.

Taste; definitely yeasty and bready with some cherry or cranberry or other kind of red fruit esters creeping in at times... Missing is the almond and toast that I detected in the nose... A slight bit of alcohol astringency and hop bite on the finish.

Mouthfeel; slightly dry on the finish, that ties in well with the astringent alcohol notes in the beer, a little hop bite toward the end, with some residual bitterness...

Overall; I don't have a whole lot of experience with, or knowledge of this style, but I do know that I enjoyed the beer. I went into it with an open mind and a clean palate, while not an exceptional beer i do feel like it is a solid beer and I feel like this would be a good beer to drink in a liter mug!

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Photo of HopNelius
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served out of a bomber into an Irish Pint glass.
Appearance-amber with medium carbonation, some lacing.
Smell-crisp, like a lager but with some citrus hop notes coming through.
Taste-bread taste with some notes of citrus hops coming through, dark fruit notes but very light.
Mouthfeel-pleasant and refreshing, very drinkable.
Overall-not a bad beer, I have not had a lager in a long time when I tasted this however. I would try this again, it is good for what it is, which would be one of the better lagers I have had.

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Photo of TwelveOunces
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a pilsner glass.

A- Pours clear orange with a little quarter finger head, dissapates rather quickly as you would probably expect.
S- A really nice smelling beer. I get a nice hop aroma up front, seems very fresh. The hops smells are very itrusy in this one so grapefruit and some other dark fruits. A hint of brown sugar.
T- A truly unique tasting beer. This is somewhere inbetween an IPA and an Imperial Pislner. A good citrusy hop flavor and some dark fruit as well. The hop bitterness seems to overpower the feel of malts but there are malts back there. The malts are somewhat butter biscuit esque.
M- This is one bitter and dry pislner. It has the bitterness of an IPA and the dry feel of a pilsner which makes for a truly unique feel.
O- This is a pretty good beer and certainly a unique one but not one I will likely buy again... Well I may wait til next years release.

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

Krampus opens with a yeasty, hoppy, bready nose, each of these existing in good balance with each other. The hops bring a bright citrus aroma, full of lemon, pink grapefruit, and eucalyptus, while the malts add yeasty, floury rising wheat bread dough, French baguettes, and touches of brown sugar and caramel. The aromas are potent when the bottle opens, but do fade as the beer is left out, and after only a minute or two have lost much of their potency. Still, the aromas are tempting, if light.

On the tongue, the beer opens with a hoppy shock that would not go amiss in an Imperial IPA. Huge citrusy lemon, grapefruit rind, pine, and eucalyptus notes are present here, as well as a touch of dandelion stem and mint. The beer is also white pepper spicy. Malts are somewhat difficult to locate against the hop slam, but there are good toast crust and biscuit notes, as well as floury French baguette crusts. Some brown sugars help temper the brew. The aftertaste is mainly hops, with lingering floury breads. Mouthfeel is medium-light to medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, while I liked the hop flavors in here, I thought they overpowered the brew, making the malts difficult to locate. The beer as a whole feels unbalanced because of this, and the lemony hops combine with the floury baguette flavors to give the beer a lemon-lime soda undertone that seemed strange. The brew isn't bad, of course, and hopheads will find it lovely, but I thought a few more sugars and a better caramel-vanilla base would have helped.

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Photo of match1112
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: nice clear dark copper body with two fingers of thick creamy white head. excellent retention and lacing.

s: very malty with caramel standing out the most. piney hops.

t: sweet and malty with a strong pine hop presence.

m: thick and oily. good carbonation, a resiney taste is left on the tongue. a long dry bitter finish.

o: meh, dont hate it, but wont buy it again.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pale orange with a firm one finger very light tan head holds strong with a fair bit of lacing.
S- Aroma is fairly like a lightly hopped IPA. There is a pretty firm pale malt sweet, almost sugar cookie aroma with a citrus hop balance.
T- Bready, lightly sweet all the way through with a fair amount of malty sweetness. It is clear they used a fair amount of hops as the citrus nature of the hops comes through pretty well. A bit of pine resin.
M- Quite full bodied with a bit of sugaryness sticking to the tongue. Could use a bit more carbonation. The alcohol has a noticable presence.
O- It's an all around good beer but I don't know if it is so good as to merit it's price tag.

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Photo of k7sw
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a pilsener glass.
Pour dark clear amber with thick tall head and a layer of bubbles clinging to the bottom of the glass.
Smells sweet.
There's a hint of a floral taste which quickly gives way to the malty backbone. Afterwards a bitter taste sticks around leaving me wanting more.

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

A - Pours clear copper with three fingers of thick head with good retention.

S - More hops than I was expecting, mostly citrus, with quite a bit of caramel malt as well.

T - Again, a surprising amount of citrus hops, but definitely a pleasant surprise. Caramel malt comes in midway and lastes trough the finish.

M - Medium, slightly sticky mouthfeel with nice carbonation. Leaves a nice lingering bitterness.

O - Good beer. Not really to style, but enjoyable.

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Photo of Goliath
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a relatively clear rich amber color with a large two inch off white head. Head retention is excellent, and it subsides leaving some lacing behind.

The aroma is nice. It's a very rich scent with some faded hop quality and a big malt bill. The grain comes off as sweet with a big dose of caramel and cereal grain.

The taste is pretty good. It's much more mild mannered than I would have assumed. There is the faded presence of hops up front that turns into a light bitterness on the finish. The grain is a bit more subdued than I had hoped and I'm not getting most of the qualities I smelled. Nevertheless a slightly sweet grain is available. I'm a little wanting in this department.

The mouthfeel is decent. It's full bodied, thick, and oily. I really enjoy the substance that can be found in a mouthfeel like this.

Overall it's a solid beer. Very fun story to be paired with a Frankenstein style. It has some really great qualities I was just left wanting it to be a little bit more than it is. I'm wondering if I had picked up this bottle at the beginning of the holiday season as opposed to the end if it would have had those qualities I'm looking for? I think I'll grab one next year as soon as possible and see what I think then.

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

Poured from the bottle into a tulip snifter glass. Bottle date of December 5th 2011.

An off white quite thick and large head. Foamy in character, lots of retention. Body is a nice crystal clear brandishing ruby orange, with red hints and rising carbonation.

Nose is light malts, and faint hint of thick sweetness. Kind of closed as well. Nice bouquet but not much to really say here.

Taste seems to be interesting. More like a strong ale in character with a thick malt presence. Palate brings some nice hop body with a lingering bitterness and sense of subdued grapefruit, and a spicy finish.

Overall interesting beer, but nothing that makes me desire or want to have this again.

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Photo of JayS2629
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy orange color with a three finger white head that fades fast and leaves ok lacing.

The aroma has a malty, clean, bready backbone with caramel and toffee notes underneath a bouquet of grassy, earthy, floral and pine. Light fruity hints.

Follows the nose with light fruit touches of mango, floral hops, clove and pine. Caramel and bread hold things up with some nutty notes.

Smooth, medium body

Very interesting, enjoyable sipper

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Photo of doughanson78
3.01/5  rDev -23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass. First Helles Lager.

A: A medium dark orange/copper. Super clear. One finger bright white head with amazing retention and sticky lacing.

S: Not a huge aroma. Piney and earthy hops. Grains, breads and grassy notes. Slight spice notes.

T: Slight caramel along with grains and bread. Pine and floral hops along with a biscuity malt flavor. Finishes very earthy and grassy with a grapefruit bitterness. Weird hop profile and the off putting grapefruit in the end just messes this taste up.

M: Medium light body. Higher carbonation. Slight creaminess. Pretty dry finish.

O: Kind of like a very hoppy lager. Don't know if it's the hop profile of this beer or if it just doesn't go with lagers, but this one isn't for me. Not totally bad.

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

bomber split with my gf. snifter.

a - pours an orangey, copper color with a 2 finger, off white head. retention is good, calming to a thin film. lots of leggy lacing in this glass.

s - caramel, clove, chocolate, hint of mint.

t - caramel malt with massive hop character. notes of citrus and light pine and maybe a little vanilla. tastes like a west coast ipa, bitternes isn't as intense though.

m - heavier side of medium with adequate carbonation.

o - a pretty damn good beer overall and very enjoyable. if i didn't know better i'd put this squarely in the american ipa category. i suspect this bottle has been sitting on the shelf since last year, so i may have to certify a fresh bottle and try again.

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Photo of GallowsThief
4.14/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of a growler into my tulip.

A – Poured out a copper amber with about a finger of stark white head that receded quickly.

S – Big hops smell. Piney and grassy.

T - Packs a pretty big hop punch right up front that balances well with the malt. Piney and earthy. Citrus. Caramel like sweetness comes through a bit. Nice floral quality as well.

M – Medium bodied with good carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel.

O – I was surprised by this as I did not know what to expect but its damn fine. Really balanced flavors and creamy smooth. Great drinker.

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Photo of NODAK
3.03/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a beautiful, clear amber color in my glass. I don't hesitate to say this is the best part of the beer.

Has a pretty clean, grassy hop aroma to it. There are some bready grains there as well but it isn't a powerful smelling one.

The taste begins out with a malted grain, bready note that one would expect from a European style lager. After that though, there is quite the astringent, grassy hop, aspirin-like bitterness that ends the beer on a puckering note and lingers a fair while into the aftertaste. Wow, didn't see that coming!!

In the end, it's pretty average to me. Honestly, the bitterness ruled the day a bit much here and was sometimes too astringent for me.

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Photo of DCon
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought a 1 pt. 6 fl.oz. 650ml bottle of this from Lukas Liquor in Ellisville, MO for $6.49. Poured from the bright green labeled bottle w/ a Krampus (Austrian creature who accompanies St. Nick during Christmas) into a 16oz Tulip Glass. Does not have a freshness date on the bottle (normal w/ Southern Tier).

Aroma- Has a high amount of mango and citrus hop in the aroma with a clean backend. Malt is well blended in but far from a Pilsner.

Appearance- Pours a .5 finger head that is bubbly. Has a dark/reddish copper body that stays clear. Leaves good lacing behind.

Flavor- Initially sweet with tons of hop flavor. Is a bit biscuit like with the malt character and toffee comes around as well. Light fruitiness a then spice at the finish. Light-Medium Bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Light-Medium Bodied, Medium-High Carbonation, Smooth, and leaves hops on the finish.

Overall Impression- A very different brew from Southern Tier! Can't put my finger on the style but definitely not a 2X Pilsner. Has too much hop and spice for this. I bought this brew b/c of the Krampus on the front and just like the Christmas character, this one was very strong and wild. Would recommend trying!

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Photo of Chico1985
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It just can't be the holidays without hanging with Krampus...

Pours a light auburn-ish color with a 2-finger off-white head, retains pretty well leaving some lacing too.

Intense earthiness and pine in the nose, almost peat-like.

Taste also has an intense, almost dirty, earthy and pine sap quality to it. Big floral, grapefruit peel and maybe some light citrus there too. Solid caramel malt backbone; and a big toasty/grainy presence reminds you that this is still a lager at heart. Lots of bitter hops and some big malts to counter it.

A bit foamy, maybe high on the carbonation but a fine mouthfeel overall. Not much booze, crazy big hops+malts ravage the palate.

Somewhat forgotten about compared to Southern Tier's other big beers. This feels much more complex and drinkable than most of it's brethren. It maintains its lager backbone while delivering a a strange but intriguing earthy-centric hop profile. A cool, unique beer, I try to get this every winter.

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