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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: 1,146
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: 1,146
Photo of MasterSki
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to jw347 for this extra. Served in a pilsener glass.

A - Pours with about two fingers of off-white foam that dissipates to a thin cap. Excellent lacing that coats the sides of the glass. Transparent golden orange color with the occasional slow moving bubble. A very handsome brew.

S - Very hoppy, although you can tell it has faded a bit since it was fresh. That said, the hops are very spicy and floral, with notes of citrus zest as well. Bready caramel malt backbone. Maybe a touch of estery alcohol in there as well. Not what I was expecting, but quite nice.

T - Taste is not as nice - very bitter, with spicy hops, and light fusel alcohol. The malt backbone is very bready. Could use a little more sweetness to balance things out. Nice, but a little dull and boozy.

M - Very stick and resinous, active but soft carbonation, medium body, with some mild alcohol heat to it. Quite pleasant - one of the best features of this brew.

D - I don't think I could drink 22oz of this myself, but it's certainly quite nice for 8oz or so. An above-average texture makes it very easy to sip but the alcohol get to me after a while.

If hoppy imperial pilseners are your thing then this is worth trying. I'd rather have a glass of Humulus Lager.

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Photo of jwc215
3.12/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours golden with a wisp rather than a head, though the wisp endurance a good part of the way.

The smell is of pine - like a Christmas tree - with perfume.

The taste is perfumy, and more grapefruity than piney, and sweetness. Hoppy, but in an "odd" way. I like "hoppy" and can appreciate "odd", but there is a perfumy quality to the pine (and some resin) that makes it more of an "artificial" pine than a "hoppy" one.

It's sticky - like pine sap - with abv showing. A very odd beer. I can see the Christmas connection, but too sweet, despite the hop-like pine-ness and perfumy for me to really enjoy much. Also, I don't understand the connection with Imperial Helles Lager here.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First off, the label of this beer is insane. Seriously insane. There is no born on date but it is recommended that I serve this beer at 48 degrees Fahrenheit, I'm pretty close to that. Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass. Beer is clear and reddish / brown, light in color. No head and therefore no lacing. Carbonation mild to moderate.

Lagerish in aroma, some sweetness, no bready or bitter notes, no yeast character at all, smooth and mild.

Medium bodied, interesting flavor. Overall good, decent. Some aftertaste, no bitterness really, some sweetness up front, an odd brew for sure. Second taste, I'm a little slow, this is my last beer for the night, some nutty character to it, and I can taste the alcohol, unfortunate. Drinkability moderate, mouthfeel is fine.

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Photo of tdm168
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper with a quarter inch of thin, foamy head that has decent retention. The nose is grassy and earthy with a strong lager yeast aroma. The taste is grassy up front with a very nice earthy hop character. The lager yeast also comes through here. The alcohol makes itself known in the taste. It's very warm and slightly boozy. This is a medium to full bodied beer with great carbonation.

This one's a little boozy, but it's good. The alcohol does not take away from the fact this is a solid German-style lager. It's very warm and full bodied for the style so it makes for a nice winter beer. If you're looking for a change of pace this winter try this one.

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Photo of billab914
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split this bomber with my girlfriend as she loves the Krampus as well. Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Russian River tulip glass. Poured a dark amber color with a one finger white head. The head settled down to cling to the side of the glass but left excellent lacing.

Aroma is hoppy with a good amount of citrus but also has a strong sweet malt presence with some caramel. Like the nose, the taste is pretty hoppy with a good amount of citrus. It also has a strong sweet malt presence. The malt gives it a sweet caramel and bready flavor that offsets the hoppyness very well.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good. This is one of my favorites from Southern Tier that I have bought the last 2 years. I'm not sure how well it fits with the style it's listed it's listed under, but either way it's delicious. A must try from Southern Tier.

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Photo of WesWes
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a crisp and refreshing hop nose along with a well balanced malt aroma. The taste is good, although I'm not sure what an imperial helles is supposed to taste like. It's quite a bit heavier than a regular helles and the hop character is quite a bit more. That said, I like this beer. It's flavorful and easy drinking, even at 9%. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking beer. I can't wait to see what's brewing next.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.03/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

09/07/09- Purchased at Buy-Rite Liquors in Plainfield, NJ.

Presentation- 22oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Dark yellow colored appearance. Nice full one inch plus head. Some chunks and leftover lacing. Quality looking.

Smell- Lots of hops and lots of super bready malt. Over the top on both aspects.

Taste- Super hopped and super bready, just as the nose would detect. Way too much for me in both aspects. Really harsh and quite intense.

Mouthfeel- Mid to heavier carbonation level..super bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability- Might be someones cup of tea, but not mine. Don't think it was spoiled, just didn't care for it. And I usually like Double Pils. My first disappointment from Southern Tier.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jwc215 for sending me this beer.

Pours an orangish-brown color with a white head. The aroma is grapefruit with some other citrus and a little bit of malt. The flavor is grapefruit hops with medium to high bitterness. Medium to high carbonation and a medium mouthfeel.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
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 Billolick
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 ouncer, w/o freshness/vintage/bottling info. Pours clear, very clear, cap of eggshell, frothy foam, dissolving to a collar and leaving fine, plentiful and scattered lace. Fresh minty nose, also hints of alcohol, perfume and more cool mint. Thick, thick stuff, with a nice velvety mouth feel. Flavors here are all over the place mint, perfume, alcohol, piney hops in full force and biting, I even get some mild hot sauce notes. I like just about every SN offering, and appreciate their adventurous attitude, but I doubt I would go for this one again real soon...

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Photo of Gavage
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: clear brilliant orange color with a 1/2" head with some large bubbles. Some bit of lace develop.

Smell: malt sweetness, grass, and some floral hops are easily detectable.

Taste: nice malt profile with some green grapes, large amount of grassiness, and loads of bitterness. Alcohol provides some warming and is noticeable.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp to start, smooth and a bit dry at the finish. Medium bodied. Surprisingly short aftertaste despite the big flavors.

Drinkability: a slow sipping beer, but I found myself wanting to open up a second bottle after this emptied. Interesting beer that goes well in front of a fire on a cold winter evening.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper with a good sized off white head that sticks around for a while. Smells of citrus and floral hops, a bit of caramel malt, some alcohol and an almost Belgian yeast character in there too. Tastes more malt than the aroma would suggest. Caramel and spicy floral and citrus hops fight it out. A bit of mineral in there as well. Full bodied, crisp carbonation, creamy/syrupy mouthfeel. This is definitely another outside the box brew from southern tier, God I love them for that. This one reminds me of a barley wine at times. I need to procure another one for further evaluation.

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Photo of tempest
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bomber at the Cellars in Woodbury for about $7. Poured a hazy yellow with a very short head. I'm really not sure this beer fits into any style. While it is light in color and presumably a lager, it bears little resemblance to a Munich helles lager. I'm not complaining, this is a big, and relatively drinkable hop-bomb. The Willamette dry hops give a light and juicy citrus start that rolls into woodsy herbs. Worth a try and tasty.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was prepared to dislike this beer, as it is not always my favorite style, but I was pleasantly surprised by how nice this beer was. Ocassionally I'm taken by the style (Sam Adams Imperial Pilsner comes to mind), and this one grabbed me too. Pours darker amber with a fair head that leaves some lacing and is fed by a constant small stream of bubbles from the bottom of the glass. Smells bready without being grainy, and fruity and herbal. Lots of citrus juice, some mango and guava, and herbal with dill and epazote. Some tanginess there as well, a faint yogurt trace. The taste is similar, with less breadiness and more herbal and fruity bitterness with the same faint yogurt tanginess that mingles nicely with the citrus and bitterness on the end. I get pine in the bitter notes here as well- fairly heavily at that, along with that unmistakeable tangy skunkiness of summit hops. Very nice!

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Photo of biegaman
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

"Merry Kramp-mas to all, and to all a good pint!"

Coppered orange dressed with brass medallion, the beer bounces light with a glinty, polished luster. The caramel malt seems to have imparted a lot of caramel-like colour, the black malt remains undetected at this point. Although its foam was too weak to ever establish a head of any consequence, tatters of white have been shredded over top and cling to the sides.

My first impression was a wonderful one: nose meet delicious hops, delicious hops meet biegaman's nose - I think these two will be getting along just fine for the course of this 650ml encounter! The smell is pungently green with a sensation of having vines of hops swayed under your nose. Combined with a pinching high gravity the bouquet becomes very piny, with an almost antibacterial detergent character.

Despite a touch of grapefruit and a dab of pineapple this doesn't come across much as a typical strong American hop bill; rightfully so, this is suppose to be a German inspired recipe. While the Willamette hop isn't a traditional English variety, it certainly carries all the same mild character and slight spiciness as the Fuggles or Goldings.

What also comes through in the aroma, even more so in the taste, is a nice bill of toasted malts. Although not overly appetizing, it's a pleasant flavour of honey coated biscuits topped with pine syrup, bubblegum and citrus peel shavings. The light amount of spice and citrus adds a touch of depth. The black malt seems to have added little-to-no flavour, why add it then? I guess it's meant to be symbolic of St. Nicholas' "evil side"?

It has a little zest, a little sweetness, a little spice, and a lot of punch. Hell, even Southern Tier says it "will warm even the coldest hearts"! The beer may taste something like a German helles lager but the notion of gluttonously, obnoxiously, boldly, and defiantly sticking 9 big percent into a "bright" lager is purely American. The idea of putting a beer this strong into a 650ml bottle is even more proof!

This is undeniably different from Germany's helles lagers; it has a different disposition, drinks in a different way and serves a wholly different drinking experience. Still, I liked the Krampus and it's whole devilish, Grinch-like bottle art too. Then again, I seem to like most everything Southern Tier puts out, seasonals in particular. If Krampus is for the bad, then it's got me now debating between being naughty or nice this season.

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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 Duff27
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a clear copper with a one inch white head. Great lacing and decent head retention. Looks great.

S- Sweet, bready.

T- Delicious. Some citurs, danky(!) pungent hops.

M - Mouthfeel is medium for a lager.

D/O- GD, this is a great easy, yet imperial, drinker. Might be my favorite ST release thus far. After the first sips I didn't know what I had got myself into, but by the end it was my favorite new beer of the day.

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Photo of John_M
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The beer pours an intense orange gold color with decent head retention and very good lacing. The nose on this beer is intriguing. I get some brown sugar and root beer, with some underlying butter. Smells quite decadent. This is a helles lager? On the palate this beer is amazing. There is so much going on, not all of which I like. Nevertheless, I'm impressed. The flavor profile consists initially of an almost DIPA pine citrus flavor, which then dove-tails into some sweet malt and some weird bitterness (not from hops). The mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, with the alcohol very, very noticeable. Drinkability is not this beers best attribute, but nevertheless, this is an impressive offering from ST. I don't like most of ST's high alcohol experimental offerings, but they got me on this one. Can't imagine drinking much of this, but the flavor and alcohol blends/wends together so well with this beer.

The hoppy bitterness completely saves the day with this beer and has made me a fan. It helps to buoy the high alcohol and the sweet malt. Not sure anyone would call this a helles lager, but I will say this. This is an excellent beer. Hopefully availability will be such that I can order this beauty again. Well done ST.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.46/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Stellar appearance. Deep, dark golden bronze body. Crazy lace and retention on a bone white head.

S - Dusty floral hop. Earthy barn notes.

T - Smooth, creamy toffee ramps into a wet hay and horse blanket hop. Residual bitters balance a earthy caramel finish. Exceptional malt character.

M - Incredibly smooth with a well balanced full body.

O - A brilliant beer.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured light copper body, rather ood for the style, had a small white cap

S: Grains, honey, light booze

T: A bready malt base with some grains, herbal notes, some honey, a bit slick and syrupy

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

O: A cut above average

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip glass)
A- This beer has a slightly hazy aged copper body with lots of strands of tiny bubbles and a thick sticky head of antique white foam that last a good bit.
S- There is some caramel malt sweetness that soon gives way to a green pungent hop finish.
T- There is a mellow but rich caramel flavor that leads to a pungent hop bite that lingers just a moment after the finish.
M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a soft fizz finish and no alcohol heat.
D- The rich caramel malt is well balanced by the full pungent hops. Full flavor but very easy to drink.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 9/2010 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a medium orange amber. One finger head and nice lacing. An attractive pour. Aroma of strong hops and citrus. Nice rich malts and hops combination, citrus and pine. Start and middle are phenomenal, but somewhat dry and astringent in the hop finish. Points off for the astringency. This a refrigerated one year old bottle, but still tastes good. Will update after drinking a fresher one.

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Photo of Tone
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, copper color. One inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of sweet malt, alcohol, slight hop, yeast, slight wheat, and slight dark citrus. Fits the style of an American Double / Imperial Pilsner. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of alcohol, sweet malt, slight dark citrus, hint of hop, and slight earthy malt. Overall, a good body, blend, and aroma.

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Photo of flagmantho
4/5  rDev +2%
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.

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Photo of corby112
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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