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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

429 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 429
Hads: 1,134
Avg: 3.91
pDev: 19.69%
Wants: 89
Gots: 145 | 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: 429 | Hads: 1,134
Photo of david18
3.33/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

You can always count on Southern Tier to offer crazy styles. Krampus drinks more like a double IPA than any sort of lager and I usually have it during those moods.

Appearance was light copper/gold. Nice head that definitely stuck around for a while.

Aroma was a bit boozy but otherwise quite malty, definitely the biggest difference from a double ipa.

The taste is also boozy but usually what I'm looking for when I order it. Malty and sweet there is also a good hop balance in this beer.

I like it and would recommend. It is among my favorite southern Tier selections.

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Photo of JAFoley
4.09/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pale orange clear body with off-white head, dense, nice retention and lacing.

S - Spicy malts, cinnamon, pine and citrus.

T - Really nice spicy and bitter hops; pine, lemon, floral. Rounded off by warm, earthy and roasted malts.

M - Moderate carbonation and body. Slightly sticky and resinous.

O - This is the best beer I've had from Southern Tier, very glad I picked it up. The hops are both bitter and spicy, giving it a flavor fitting for the holidays. It's fairly complex and with a high abv, I'll definitely be picking this up again.

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Photo of curasowa
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear, copper color with one finger of head that fades slowly with a thick curtain of lace.

Aroma: Toasted malt and a sugary-syrup sweetness, hints of cherry, earthy hops, a touch medicinal as it warms.

Taste: Big, smooth and creamy malt up front, sweet but not overwhelming, bitterness building on the back end, faint pine notes. Fully coats the mouth on the finish, with some lingering biscuit and oily hop bitterness.

The Rest: A great, slow sipping beer. A slight medicinal note is the only real knock against this one. Otherwise it hides it's 9% pretty well.

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Photo of brewskifan55
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

A: Clear golden with a white one finger head that glided away to a light feathering. Foamy lacing.

S: Mainly bready malts. Some grainy sensations, too.

T: Tangy, malty, citrusy. Honey, grainy. A slight hop bitterness, but nicely balanced with the malts. A good kick at the end. Never noticed the 9% until it was too late. Well hidden.

M: Light to medium with medium carbonation.

O: really enjoyed this festive helles lager. Smooth, sweet, slightly robust. Would drink again. Great label art.

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

A: clear, deep amber ale with a few fingers of ivory foam in a pilsener glass; laces adorn the inner glass

S: deep rustic malt aromas and herbal and earthy hops; suggestions of dry grain and wet pine

T: earthy and husky in both malts and hops, but lightened with a smooth toastiness, and a dank bitterness. Comes off just a bit too sweet and wet to be called crisp, has a honeyed sweetness as the malt warms underneath some chewy pine resin hops.

M: smooth and bittering, slightly coating, medium body with moderate sensation of carbonation

O: somewhere between a pilsener and an IPA, Imperial strength. Quite a nice drink - very enjoyable, and as other reviewers have noted, the high abv is well-hidden.

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Photo of schoolboy
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This certainly is an interesting beer. At first blush it looks like a monster beer-a pils gone mad. Its beautiful in the glass with loads of head. The aroma keeps growing. It's big and Holly smelling with some yeast to.

The taste is huge and malty and bitter. I thought it was an imperial pale or maybe a Scottish at first. Somewhat dark and very bitter. But it also has a sweet taste under it all. The aftertaste lingers dark and bitter.

This is a nice treat and you really should try it.

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Photo of RoamingGnome
3.89/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Southern Tier Krampus Imperial Helles Lager

From tasting notes... Enjoyed on tap at Benno's Christmas Party. This was a 10 oz tapper.

A) Golden amber with a festive shimmer to it. Not much head, just a little collar. No lacing noted.

S) Decent balance with the aroma. Started with some malty sweetness. Light caramel, a little yellow cake. The hops is a hint of citrus, but more earthy and floral.

T) Lightly roasted malt and plenty of hops. A little lemon zest, grapefruit, pine and grass. Good balance, but a little more hop forward from a flavor standpoint. I can't believe this is 9% ABV here... Very well hidden...

M) This was a full bodied brew. The carbonation is pretty soft. It's fairly smooth, and a bit sticky. It was my second beer of the evening, and it went down with ease.

O) Never had an Imperial Helles before, but I really enjoyed this. Excellent drinkability in my opinion. Maybe Krampus can pay my kids a little visit, and tell them to knock off the bullshit when dad's trying to watch football.

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Photo of buzzedup
4.85/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is the real deal . after one taste you will wish it is year round but then again. its nice to have something at that special time of the year to look forwatd too.

A. cannot look any better a perfect clear color with nice bubbles and perfect head

S. like Christmas smells like a pine tree dipped in uberness. nothing but east coast hops for the win.
T. perfect just perfect... taste like a Christmas tree with some malts and great aftertaste. again this is my all time new favorite beer for Christmas. it is that good!!!

M. very thick nice syrup , full body taste , perfect for tis the season.


happy HOLIDAYS....

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Photo of cjgiant
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: pours golden amber, thin surface head, decent lacing
S: initially it smelled like a mildly spiced lager, maybe clove, then I got some light tobacco notes. I have no confidence I'd smell the same on my next tasting, they were so faint.
T: crisp front that is quickly backed by a hops bite. The beginning has maybe a note of caramel, cinnamon bread, cola, but the earthy hops turns the taste into an earthy almost ale taste, with some winter came spice notes (nutmeg, clove).
M: the dry bite of the hops lingers, combining with some lingering carbonation to produce in interesting sensation
O: I had this last year in bottle and really enjoyed it that I looked forward to it this year. I had actually forgotten it was a lager. I had a little trouble placing some flavors as it seemed to change slightly with each taste. I will look forward to this each year as a slight alternative to the winter ales, a lager with a little bite.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.66/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber into a perfect pint glass. 11/25

Pours shiny bronze with ring of bubbly white foam. Light malty/helles nose. Taste is a light lager with firm hearty bitter. Slight cookie taste. Very light sweetness. Tasty. Building bitter. Certainly worth a go.

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Photo of BWED
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a tulip.

A- Beautiful crystal clear orang-gold in body. There are some great red/amber hues. Off white head with great sticky rings of lacing.

S- Bright citrus rind. A little resin. Heavy malt background (yet still in the background). Caramel, Sweet biscuit.

T- Very earthy/resinous/bitter/floral hop character. A lot to pick up on, but very harmonious. Sweet malt in the end with a little citrus tang.

M- Medium-full body. Rather drinkable. Bitterness lingers, along with a slight sweetness. Leaves a dry, velvety feel.

O- Full of flavor, beautiful. Strong and great! This is a good warm up to DIPAs. Very hop forward, yet not overwhelming.

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Photo of taylor714914
2.81/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Um….well this is odd.  Taplist lists this as an imperial pilsner, however ST says this is a Helles.  Poured a shimmering deep amber color, Krampus smells of toffee, some wheat bread malts, and a touch of hops.  Flavor is off.  Mouthfeel is waters.  Not sure what to think, But I can’t finish this.  It reminds be of a watered down lager with some added sweetness.  Southern Tier misses on this one.

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Photo of DerAtomsmasher
3.29/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a gorgeous amber with a with a substantial head, quickly vanishing.

S: A sort of astringent hop aroma; herbaceous and alcoholic on the nose. A little bit of biscuit, too.

T: I guess this style could be more malty & sweet (not typically my thing), so I guess I'm happy that this is on the drier side. That said, this one's all hops & isn't all that much fun to get through after the first few minutes spent with it. Minty hops and bitterness that never lets the malts (and a weird grain bill it is) show themselves & the alcohol burn eschews any other flavors at the end.

M: A little chewy and bitter.

I bought this because an "Imperial Helles" sounded like the exact opposite of all the winter ales I've been punishing myself with lately. This was not as refreshing as I was hoping & I'm not sure where they get helles on here. It's interesting but not my thing, really.

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Photo of Gatch
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 10/17/13

A: Clear, unfiltered, and light copper in color. Off white, yellowish, fizzy head with good lace and retention.

S: Lots of fragrant, roasted malt and a fantastic hop presence without being overly hoppy. Fruit, bread, and a bit of booze. Exactly as I expected an Imperial Helles to smell.

T: Malt shines here. Booze complements it. Slightly fruity with a tasty hoppy finish.

M: Super smooth, a bit of pleasant sweetness and booze, and the proper carbonation and body.

O: Unique style with what seems to be an accurate representation. I love Helles Lager and this truly is an imperial. A great sipper with massive lager qualities and flavor. Well done!

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Photo of dheacck11
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark amber pour but crystal clear. Not much on the way of head, but a little white lacing. Nose is pretty faint and mellow, just a little bit of malt but not much.

Tastes really interesting. Great amount of sweet malt and lager flavor initially. Some juice and jamminess. Then changes rapidly into a surprisingly bitter hoppy bite on the end. Very dry finish. Nice flavors of caramel, brown sugar.

Feel is surprisingly medium full. Can defiinitely detect the booze on the finish.

Really interesting style and flavors. The contrast is a little harsh for me personally. But great to try.

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Photo of bmwats
3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a a 650 ml bottle into a pilsner.

A: Amber hue. Continually rising effervescence. Pours a 1 finger, foamy, white head. Settles very slowly, and not completely leaving some dry residue behind as it does. Thick, persistent, beer ring lacing.

S: Roasted malt, pecan, and licorice.

T: Pungent rye. Bitter pecan shell. Almost a citrusy bittersweetness... maybe triple sec.

M: Thick and syrupy feel. Kind of boozy. Pungent, lasting finish. High alcohol is apparent.

D: Sip and enjoy. The character will dictate it.

Atmosphere is really nice. Solid lasting head, continual effervescence, and thick persistent lacing. Roasty with nut and bitter components. Pungent and bitter flavor components, but the high alcohol characteristic seems to offer up a slightly sweet component for balance. Overall, this is a really good quaff.

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Photo of stella77artois
4.31/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber, poured twice into a pilsener glass. Had been searching for this for a while, as I'm a huge fan of Helles Lagers, and big fan of big beers! I figured the beer would be very IPA-ish, hence being a BS call of an Imperial Helles, as those don't seemingly go well together.

A - Pours a slightly dark amber, very clear. A fair amount of carbonation visible, with an average sized head, which dissiapted slowly. Only small amounts of residuals left behind.

S - Really does smell like a Helles, but stronger! Lot's of malt up front, especially sweet malts. A fair amount of noble-like hop aroma, none of the fruitiness. Slight smoky smell as well, and an ever-so-slight alcohol aroma. Very nice smelling beer.

T - I was impressed, and was wrong. If I could picture how an Imperial Helles would taste, this would be it. All the flavors of a Munich Helles; crisp and slightly sweet malts, lighter tasting hops, slight bitterness, but just stronger. I didn't think this could accurately be pulled off, but I was wrong. Hoppy bitterness is much stronger in the aftertaste, and I could notice just a slight bit of alcohol heat. Very nice smelling beer.

F - Wasn't too crazy about the feel. A little on the sticky side, and didn't feel outstanding in the gut. Not an unpleasant feeling, but this wouldn't be a beer I'd enjoy with food. I do however, can picture having a glass of this outside during a cold day!

O - I give Southern Tier credit for creating this unique brew. It really does taste like an Imperial Helles. Lot's of great malt flavor and a good amount of hoppy bitterness. It's unique, as most hoppy beers I've tried give off at least a bit of fruitiness, I didn't get any from this. I do love fruity hops, but this is a nice change. Highly recommended.

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

Appearance: Clear, deep copper. Nice head at first.
Smell: Biscuit, lemon. Maybe a hint of grapefruit.
Taste: Same as smell, with bitter hoppiness.

This is great. First, it's beautiful in color. It's a darker copper, and excellently clear. Second, the smell is excellent with the citrus biscuits. Then the taste mirrors quite well the smell. It is certainly a hop and malt delight. It has an oily, slightly bitter aftertaste...which you only want more of. I would get this again.

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Photo of utopiajane
3.28/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This pours with brilliant clarity and s small stream of bubbles rising up to meet a thick head of off white foam from a vigorous pour that fell slow enough and left reasonable lace. Nose is at first bright with citrus peel and caramel malt. Then as it warms a mineral or metallic smell starts to evolve and a yeasty twang like in a traditional lager. The hops are floral and the malt is caramel instead of bread and I find that it smells a lot like a DIPA one minute and then a little bit like a lager the next. Orange peel. The taste is somewhat flat and muddled. I would even call it stagnant mid palate. The beer has a tremendous citrus but it isn't crisp it's just tart. The yeast trying to be a lager yeast adds a bit of sour twang and the metallic taste doesn't go well with that. The malt is sweet and caramel but bread would be enough. There's a bit of spice and a bit of alcohol on the palate.

This finishes with not only a hop bitter but a metallic aftertaste and a sour off flavor. It also finishes slick and with some hop oil. As this drinks it becomes more pleasant. Lemon takes over in the finish.

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Photo of LI_PO12
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into Tulip

Appearance- Copper, white head, clear

Aroma- Bready buscuity malts, lemon, minty herbal hops, gets better as it warms

Flavor- deep bready malts, slightly toasted, herbal lemon hops notes, up front bitterness, followed up with a sweetness, and finishes dry with some alcohol warmth

Mouthfeel- medium, moderate carbonation, some alcohol warmth

Overall- This is a great beer, its an interesting style to imperialize, but its def pulled off here. I wish this was year round, but Ill drink it up while I can each winter.

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Photo of CloudStrife
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled 10/23/13.

A: Pours a clear golden amber with a slightly yellowed head on top. Just a bit of visible carbonation in the body. Nice lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Pretty nice hop aroma coming across on this one. Fruity aspect adds a raisin or grape like quality. Can sniff out a touch of the booze in this imperial pilsner.

T: Interesting blend here, remains malt forward with a toasty lagery malt. Ample fruit backing and a big hop bitterness kicks in at the end. Some spiciness to it that rounds out the flavor. More hop bitterness than I remember.

M: Medium body with mild carbonation. Touch of stickiness but besides that a crisp finish. Booze isnt too hot with a bit of a warming feel.

Overall this is a hoppy beer when fresh that mellows out nicely. A real nice example of a properly done imperial lager. Hops add some great bitterness despite this remaining a malt forward beer.

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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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Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 429 ratings.