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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: 1,145
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 19.39%
Wants: 92
Gots: 152 | 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: 1,145
Photo of ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving: Bottle
A - The beer pours a fairly clear golden-copper color with a finger of frothy off-white head. The head fades slowly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - The aroma is mostly dominated by piney and floral hops. Though there is also a bit of citrus and some sweet malt in there as well.

T - Starts off with some good piney and earthy hops and some nice bitterness. Some sweet malts come in from the background and begin to build as well. Through the middle, the bitterness continues to grow, and some citrus hops and stronger sweet caramel malts come through as well. The finish is a mix of strong earthy hops and some sweet malt that lingers.

M - Medium-plus bodied with moderate lively carbonation. The beer feels very smooth and quite crisp, even given the strong flavors.

D - Very drinkable. The 9% abv here is dangerously well hidden beneath some great flavors. The hops and the malt are very well balanced and seem to play off each other very nicely.

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Photo of ckeegan04
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Very clear orangish-brown color. Big, creamy light tan head with very good retention. Leave sonly moderate lacing though.

S - Big aroma of piney hops and a hint of mint. A light sweetness underneath, but big pine forest is the dominant aroma.

T - Light, honey sweetness initially. Then the big, sappy pine taste comes in. Excellent bitterness along with it. Ther sopmewhat perfumy, mint/spice taste lingers underneath but the big pine hops are the star. Light, toasted breainess underneath. Excelent all around taste profile.

M/D - Medium bodied and very sticky. The hops resins just coat the mouth. Alcohol is well masked as well but still provides a nice warmth.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle. Served in a pilsner glass, the beer pours a clear amber/orange color with about an inch frothy off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both pretty good. The aroma is nice, it smells like pine and citrusy (grapefruit) hops with a bit of bready/biscuity malt too. The taste is similar to the aroma, but the malt comes out more in the taste than it does in the aroma (but the taste still has a good bit of hops in it). Some spicy hops, pepper and caramel are also noticable in the taste. Has a good sweet/bitter finish. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's slick and has decent carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth, has decent balance and the 9% ABV isn't noticable at all. Overall I'd say this is another very good Southern Tier brew, I'll definitely buy this again in the future.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to jwc215 for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a very nice clean/clear dark golden orange color, very nice carbonation, very nice one-finger thick creamy off-white head, which leaves some very nice thick sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, with some hops, citrus, and some pines. The taste is very nice, malty, slight hops, very nice chewy, citrus/pine notes. Medium body, slight bitter finish. Very drinkable, this is one tasty brew, I like, and highly recommended it. Thanks Joe.

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Photo of cbak999
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This lager pours a very clear, bright, orange with a small head that dissipates very quickly. The smell on this one is a bit off; almost like dish water, with I attribute to the lager yeast. But the hop taste is right on. The 9% is well hidden by the hop balance. Sweet at first with a strong hop after taste. A very nice treat. I look forward to more of these in the future!

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Photo of are_doubleyou
4.34/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours a rich orange that looks golden in light and ruby in shadows with a nice thick white head that dissipates into a thin lace. The beer is very clear with moderate carbonation bubbles. Overall very nice, but a little dark for a Helles Lager.

S: Strong noble hop notes jump out. Very spicy, floral, earthy and piney. There is a strong malt backbone behind it with good bread notes and hint of caramel sweetness. A decently balanced aroma and very inviting.

T: Floral and spicy hops hit the palate immediately. Very good and make it clear that this is an imperial Helles Lager. The body is very spicy and earthy with a pine resin kick and solid backbone of bready malts. The finish is very strong pine resin that lingers on the palate. The hops overpower the malt a bit too much and the pine resin aftertaste is a bit more like an IPA than a lager. Very tasty, but a bit of a style deviation here in my opinion.

F: Rather thick and chewy. Here is where we really get the malt presence of the beer. Very clean and dry too. Very well characteristic of a lager and very pleasant on the tongue.

O: I enjoy this beer a great deal. It lives up to its namesake and punishes the tongue a bit with a heaping of hop flavor. I honestly think the biggest problem is marketing it as an "Imperial Helles Lager" when it is close to what I would consider an ideal "India Pale Lager" for its very strong hop presence. It's a bit unbalanced, but I imagine Krampus is as well. I'll look for it in future holiday seasons and if you are an fan of the hop flavors that I mentioned, I highly recommend it to drink as you warn the little ones in your family about Santa's helper who punishes the naughty.

This beer was poured from a 22oz bottle into a Blind Pig mug and enjoyed at apx 55F.

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Photo of washburnkid
4.34/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of Doomcifer
4.35/5  rDev +11%
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.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a crystal copper color with a firm tan head.

Nose is wonderful fresh pineapple with a hint of carmel and spice/black pepper. Big, rich, creamy mouthfeel.

Aggressive ripe sweet peach front gives way to a grapefruit hop and nice pine resin finish. Complex, layered, rich and full with great balance and character.

A very good drinking beer.

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Photo of brauseboof
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was quite pleased with this choice.
I have to say that I didn't know what to expect with an Imperial Helles Lager, but this one didn't disappoint, considering my usual beer picks.
Poured a thick lacy head with good retention. The color was clear copper.
A heady aroma of yeast, citrus, and pine was evident.
As is often found, the grapefruit bitterness hit first, but was followed by a complex sweet, floral note, with a strong caramel malt.
Nicely carbonated, and eminently drinkable.
I loved the Krampus bottle, having just listened to a Krampus Christmas on WFMU.
Merry Krampus

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Photo of orcasteve
4.36/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

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Photo of daveytheformer
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of orcrist_cleaver
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured into a pilsner flute. Color ranges from dark gold to bright and clear amber. SRM in the 9-13 range. Plenty of doughy and soft head, 2 fingers in depth.

S: Spicy cedar wood. Light malt sweetness, natural sap and resin. Smells like a christmas tree lot. Floral sweetness on top, apple blossom. Delicate light and fruity orange and grapefruit repose. Alcohol ethers can become dominant when warmed.

M: Very smooth, almost like silk. Medium-heavier body and thick, but countered by moderate carbonation. Not as crisp as I was expecting.

T/O: Higher bitterness level than normal Helles, but not overpowering and pairs well with slight alcohol warmth. Bright pine hops. Grass malt and bready malt quality. Lots of citrus fruit: grapefruit, lime zest, tangerine. I like the label, name, and overall uniqueness of having a winter lager seasonal, and it nails all those plus tastes like a real beer. Drink cold as it is very uneven as it warms.

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

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Photo of edmonan
4.39/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have never had a beer like this. I hope I can grab a couple more bombers before this seasonal disappears.

It pours a deep, clear, golden with a solid, foamy head that sticks around.

The aromas are are yeasty with papaya and rich decay notes.

The flavor is malty with a hoppy layer. More complexity as the flavors and aromas mix. This one needs a snifter/tulip/red wine glass - something you can stick your nose in.

It has a rich and creamy feel, that dances right up to the line of being heavy.

It's a slow-drinker, inspiring a great detail of attention.

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Photo of mikeborglum
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz Bottle... Poured a nice clear amber color with a small, creamy, off-white head - nice lacing. Aroma is musky, earthy, pine and resin with a touch of citrus, grapefruit. A full bodied brew with modest carbonation. Very malty and sweet, but good balance with generous bitter hops. Bittersweet finish that dries out and long lasting. Nice and creamy on the palate. Very drinkable!

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Photo of Lunch
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 22oz. bottle generously gifted to me into my Rogue Morimoto glass at an appropriate temperature (01/26/10). Was not sure what to expect from this beer, but being a fan of Southern Tier, I expected it to be nice and it blew me away.

A: Pours beautiful shade of dark, golden copper with an excellent 3 finger head with nice retention leaving wonderful rings of lace.

S: Toasted malt jumps out first with a nice tones of bitter, citrus hops, toffee, and caramel.

T: The palate is greeted with toasted malt, toffee, caramel, and hints of bitter citrus hops. I am not doing justice at all with my description, but this is a tasty beer.

M: Great mouthfeel that is on the fuller side of medium-bodied with a slick characteristic and creamy carbonation.

D: Drinkability is only suffered by the high abv. even though it is hidden quite well and the some sweet charter of the beer.

Overall I find this to be an excellent beer and a strong effort from Southern Tier. Recommended.

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Photo of JasonA
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Seems to pour a bit thick. Solid 2 head, maybe a bit dark for style though.

Smells an ABV lager. Perfect I think. Quite hoppy for a lager. Doesnt smell exactly like German hops I think. Though tough to keep track with ABV.

Hoppy ABV lager. There is something very nice in there, unlike a standard imperial pilsner. Very nice.

Might be a just bit thick. Almost syrupy. Carbonation is swell. Nice after taste.

I definately want more.

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Photo of bminor7
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22 from Hoosick in Troy.

A - chestnut brown. light lacing.

S - very sweet hops smell. very inviting.

T - one of the sweetest beers i've ever tasted. close to cloying but delicately avoids it. can't say that i've had many examples of the style but this is very good. complex malt interwoven with knockout hops presence.

M - excellent thickness and carbonation. gave this a 5 here.

D - good. Southern Tier recommends rather cool temperatures for serving their beer; this is no exception at 48 F. I think this is too cold to really respect the abundance of flavor in this beer.

overall, has a strong character very fitting of the christmas motif. wish it was available all the time - get it if you can!

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Photo of Brad007
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Here's something that just doesn't come around often enough: an imperial helles lager.

Pours a dark golden-amber color with a thin one-finger head into my glass. Looking good so far.

Aroma is full of floral, grassy hops with a good dose of sweet malt in the middle. Aroma makes it very appealing.

Taste is chock full of grassy hops and sweet malt with a small kick of alcohol heat. Very chewy, almost syrupy in nature.

Mouthfeel is full of a lingering kick of grassy hops and sweet, chewy malt. I mean, why separate taste and mouthfeel? I suppose the only difference is that the alcohol heat isn't as pronounced here and the carbonation is just right.

A deceptively drinkable imperial helles lager that is much better than most holiday offerings I've had thus far. The only reason being that it pushes the envelope for what a helles lager can be. Not all beers need to be imperialized. However, if you have the skills and the patience, do it.

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Photo of jera1350
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep golden color in a tulip. The head is rich and offers plenty or lacing.

The nose is the best of both worlds. Huge hop scent, both floral and citrus. Then there is the honey and sweet bread malt.

Sweet crackery and bready Malta with a major dose of hops that offers up citrus notes especially grapefruit. Really a nice duet happening.

Medium bodied, smooth, but very dry.

I am overly impressed with this beer. I am not a pilsner fan, but this is outstanding in the sense that it is so big on flavor. This beer really does have a holiday presence in its flavor. Truly a great brew.

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Photo of pershan
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured a deep honey-amber with a thin white head into a pint glass. The aroma was of fresh, piney hops - very nice. The flavor was an appealing combination of caramel malt in the forefront, with a smooth hop flavor and fairly significant hop bitterness at the finish. A bigger, more bitter version of your standard German helles, but a good fit for the high ABV. Very drinkable.

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Photo of YesFest
4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


Pours a heady white-over-bronze trophy, some modest lacing which arches around delightfully un-predictable shapes... I think I see a war-elephent trumpeting Hannibal's decent from the alps...

Smell was somewhat subdued, I didn't have any good glassware handy, I used a big wine glass. Smell was suggestive of good things to come, but nothing terribly fancy.

This is where the fun really starts. It tastes reminiscent to the strong Belgian/Quebecois tripples, but more crisp, less in-your-face, not as overpoweringly sweet. It has an awesome bite, just awesome. Nothing too bitter, just about perfect.

Mouthfeel is decent, leave's a beer-y aftertaste (my favorite kind!) moderate coating, taste stays in your mouth for just the right amount of time.

Very drinkable despite it's strength. I think I just drank most of a bomber while writing this, and I'm feeling a bit of panic that I only have one.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours from the devilish yet festive looking bottle a deep orange/bronze with a brooding storm of carbonation bubbles in the glass. The dense head lasts forever, its not very big but it never disappears and it drapes the glass in foam. Bready, sweet malts, herbal, spicey hops and fruity, bubblegum notes make up the aroma. The taste shows much more hops and bitterness then the nose let on. Scads of floral hoppiness, a bit of sourness and some warming alcohol also show. Malt is biscuity and prominent enough to provide some semblance of balance. The mouthfeel is quite full and creamy. The finish is earthy and as bitter and long lasting as any respectable IPA or Imperial Pilsner.

This is an interesting and delicious beer. Doesnt have any Helles qualities except maybe the clean malt profile, but its a joy to drink anyways.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.44/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Looks good pretty good. Head is minimal with a mild lace. Carbonation is good.

S - Wow I surprised to actually get pine and citrus hops on the nose from a Helles Lager! Mild bit of honey on the nose as well.

T - Quite smooth. The hops are pretty subdued but so is the grain by a mild honey sweetness. I detect no ABV burn at all which is a surprise for 9 percent. Sweet finish with very little hop bitterness.

M - Medium bodied and very drinkable.

D - I am going to need to go to ST brewery to get me some cheap possible fresher bottle of this since I feel it is underrated maybe due to quality issues of freshness. Man they really need to add bottle or best by dates on this stuff. It was worth 8 dollars a bottle though.

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