1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

1,057 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,057
Reviews: 418
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 12.34%
Wants: 81
Gots: 102 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: brewdlyhooked13 on 07-15-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,057 | Reviews: 418 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Slightly hazy deep copper. Full head of frothy yellowed-white foam. Very good to excellent head retention and lacing.

Aroma: Perfumey. Floral. Yeasty. Citrusy/spicy/piney. Yeasty fruitiness. Sweetish, grainy, biscuity malt. There's a note of alcohol that threads through it, combining the hops with the yeastiness in an odd-way. Too much yeast, too much alcohol.

Taste: The faults found in the nose carry over into the flavor. The sweetish caramel malt is nice, and the citrusy/piney/spicy/floral/grassy hop flavors are enticing, but the alcohol is a hint raspy, and the yeastiness lends it an almost homebrew-like tone. Otherwise, it's nicely balanced by a firm bitterness that flows steadily from the outset but fades going into the swallow, unfortunately leaving it a little sticky and sweet in the lingering finish.

Mouthfeel: Decidedly medium-full with a dextrinous edge and median carbonation that becomes nicely creamy after tickling the tongue for a bit.

Drinkability: Although there's a lot of flavor there, and it's balanced, the yeastiness and alcohol cut down on its drinkability.

Photo of Jason
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown bomber with no freshness date. Love the theme of having Santa's opposite, getting a lump of coal sounds good compared to what Krampus was capable of doing.

Dense two fingers of head leaves a nice rim of lace on the glass. Bright amber color. Big juicy aroma of pungent hops that run form wild flowers to grapefruit rind, some caramel maltiness make it to the nose as well. A think beer with a mild smoothness. Huge wad of hoppiness on the palate, not a bitter as I anticipated but certainly more than enough to overcome the brawny malt character. Hop flavor lends suggestions of hemp seed oil, grapefruit rind and spearmint. The alcohol is warming but does not flash 9.0% anywhere. Maltiness comes in first with a toasted, almost biscuit flavor then broadens to more of a caramel sweetness until the hops in the finish flatten most of that down. Finishes hoppy and a little sweet.

Its not the alcohol that makes this a sipper, its the sheer amount of hop flavor and a good amount of malt crammed into this beer. Your taste buds can only handle so much but I love that beers like this are pushing the limits.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've had this on tap in the past and it was always straight up onion/garlic hops to me. This year in the bottle it seems alot more palatable to me than straight onion/garlic. Imperial helles lager my ass, this is as pale/ipa/double pils as it comes flavorwise. Lager yeast maybe, lagering time yeah, but flavor wise blind folded it tastes like a hopped up ale. First of helles means light this is a copper amber colored beer. Crystal clear filtering, fine light off white head forms thick with speckled even lacing. Aroma really nails an imperial IPA nose with big layers of hops pine, citrus, hints of onion/vegetable greeness even spicy herbal qualities. Big malt layers are eclipsed in the nose, a touch of alcohol tickles your nares to let know to be ware. Flavor hits with an aggressive spicy oregano/greeness herbal/citrus/pine explosion almost feels like heat from a pepper in the back of your throat. Malts are caramelized enough to provided sugar coating amongst the hops but don't necessarily make the experience any sweeter. I could pair this with some Thai or Indian food because of the vegetal greeness/spiciness that the hops provide here. Mouthfeel can get a bit rough with residual sugars and hot alcohol, best advice is split it with a friend or someone who has been naughty this year. Drinkability is decent not a regular that I would pursue but seasonally once a year I could tolerate this. Truely unique and somewhat of a clusterfuck but at the end of the day I would say I actually enjoyed drinking it.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a deep amber color, with a large foamy off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of hops, citrus, caramelized malts and lager yeast.

T: The taste hits with a strong hops bite up front and a slight alcohol sting. Then some bready flavors of lager yeast and a hearty malt character come in next. There are sweet flavors of citrus and caramel in the background. It doesn't seem to have quite the right harmonious balance right away, but it improves as it sits for a few minutes. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Smooth and very crisp, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, clean and dry finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, this is one of those styles where if you try to go "imperial" with it, you lose the essence of the style in my opinion so I don't think it's the representation of the style. However, it's still a decent beer, just not one of the better beers I've had. I guess I was expecting a little more from Southern Tier on this one.

Photo of nickfl
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with one finger of off-white foam on top of a clear, copper-brown body. Good retention and decent lace.

S - PIne hops with some musty notes. There is also a bit of sweet, grainy malt in the background with a hint of honey.

T - LIght, bready malt up front with some strong hop bitterness and pithy, herbal flavor. There is some caramel and honey malt character in the middle with more of the same, sharp hop flavor. The beer finishes with a slightly buttery malt note and strong, musty bitterness that lingers on the palate.

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

D - Pretty drinkable. Imperial lagers rarely do anything for me but this one is not bad. The hop character is focused primarily on bitterness with some classic, noble hop flavor to back it up. The malt is strong, but not too sweet though it doesn't quite maintain the level of balance I would associate with a real helles. Worth a try, but I don't think I would seek this one out again.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a perfectly clear amber with a thin creme head. Nose is an unusual mix of floral and piney hops. Nice perfume tones. The flavor on this is so dry that I feel like I should have a glass of water after taking a sip. Hoppy tones do reside, yes. Very sharp tones of citrus mixed with floral tones strike at the nose. It's distinct, and odd. Feel is sticky and slick on liquid with a low and biting carbonation. An interesting and good beer. An Imperial Helles? Sure. Okay.

Photo of Slatetank
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Shawan Liquors in Hunt Valley Md. Poured chilled into my lager mug.
A - A medium amber w/ golden highlights and 3 fingers of rocky cream from a semi-vigorous pour. The clarity is good, the lacing is thick and the bead is ultra fine.

S - A very hoppy nose on this "helles" Imperial or not, noble hop green and piney, but fragrant and sweet w/ woody undertones

M - Crisp, slightly acidic hoppiness and hints of toasted texture w/ mild sweetness in the finish

T- Just an incredibly tasty and 'balanced' tasting beer for a 9% lager. The hops are a standout and the alcohol is really restrained in the taste. The flavor is slightly floral/herbal w/ a nice subtle earthiness. The malt is not as upfront as I would expect, but the yeast and hops have a nice complimentary relationship and the malt has a dry cracker like taste which is supporting the taste well.

D - A tasty lager which was not at all what I'd expect, but very flavorful and drinkable just the same - especially for 9%. The went great with my no-filler crab cake.

Photo of MasterSki
3.85/5  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.

Photo of drabmuh
3.35/5  rDev -13.9%
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.

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Southern Tier Krampus Imperial helles lager.

Npt a bad brew for Christmas Eve. Beware the switcher of bad children. I'd love to quote the label, but it is soooo long. In brief, it'll warm coldest hearts...Christmas Devil, sticks and chains....fanged, goat-horned bully...naughty or nice?....replace the cookies, lager yeast, aged cold, Merry Kramp-mas to all, and to all a good pint!
So there you have it!

9% above, 2-row pale malt, munich, caramel malt, chinook & willamette hops, cool place, snifter, best at 48, blahbetty blah...

Let's drink it, look at it, smell it, you know...

Clear, pale reddish hue, eh, more like amber, slim head, lace leaving, ...looking pretty nice. ( On further pours, it's bigger, taller, prouder.)

Aroma: malty, sharp, smooth, mild hops, somewhat sweet, ...but a little shy, not giving much else up.

Taste: grainy, malty, fierce, and hot. And yet smooth-...ish, despite the high alcohol.
Clean, and smooth, and pretty tasty. Sweet malt, delicious booze. Yum, me like.
I'm still not crazy about imperial lagers, still like ales better, when they're bigger. Just not enough flavor coming through...mmm, imperial lager, wait, what's happening to me?

Photo of DrunkinYogi
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of WesWes
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

Photo of jwc215
3.1/5  rDev -20.3%
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.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

Photo of smcolw
3.45/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Modest off-white head that leaves spotty lace. Settles to a single layer of bubbles. Clear and amber colored.

Pleasant pine-hop smell with a solid malt base.

Lots of hops but without the biting bitterness. Dry and astringent. Full bodied with a low level. Outside of the bitter finish, this is a relatively mild flavored beer.

Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of kojevergas
2.51/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

BOTTLE: 650 ml. Brown glass. Black & grey branded pry-off pressure cap. Purchased at an Austin, TX bottle shop.

Reviewed live as an imperial helles lager per the label. 8.20% ABV. Expectations are above average given the brewery. Served cold into a snifter. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: A weak floater ring of off-white colour is all that manifests. The ring lasts about forty seconds. No lacing is left on the sides of the glass. Pretty pathetic...

BODY: Translucent semitransparent copper with orange hues. Average vibrance. Clean; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears adequately carbonated. Overall, it looks more like a pale ale than a helles lager. I can't say the appearance has me dying to try it.

AROMA: Overhopped for a helles lager. Mild piney hop character, floral notes, a kiss of evergreen, and some resins. Pale malts. Clean barley.

It's quite clean and ester-free in classic lager fashion, but aside from that it's really more of a pale lager.

Timid and light in intensity, but pleasant. Not a great aroma for any beer, and not to style by any means. Evokes a weak pale ale, if anything.

TASTE: Caramalt. Some bready malts. Clean lager yeast. Munich malts. It's overhopped, with way too much piney and floral character for a helles lager. A kiss of sour apple. Some light zest. Pale malts. Light spruce.

This is a chaotic mess of a build regardless of style, and a poor stab at a helles lager - imperialized or not. The beer has no focus or direction, and lacks basic cohesion. It's a hodgepodge of eclectic notes. Pleasant enough, but imbalanced as hell and poorly built overall.

It's complicated for a helles lager; I'm all for complexity but this is unnecessary and unsatisfying. Befuddlingly eclectic and diverse, with no clear aim and no unifying notes.

Alcohol is poorly disguised. There are no egregious off-notes.

True to the label, pine dominates.

Do I like it? It's not bad...definitely too sweet, overhopped though it may be.

Shallow depth of flavour. Average flavour duration. High flavour intensity (for a purported helles lager). Lacks any notable subtlety or nuance.

No yeast character comes through.

TEXTURE: Overcarbonated almost to the point of it being biting. Smooth, wet, overly full-bodied...it's just too hefty, heavy, and thick on the palate for a helles lager, and isn't in any way a refreshing brew. Not sure what they're going for with this one.

This texture is as unfocused as the taste. There's some rather unfortunate alcohol warmth - and this is a helles lager?

It's not gushed, astringent, harsh, or scratchy.

OVERALL: It's not an awful beer, but it doesn't really feel like a deliberate one either. It's as though a homebrewer just bought a bunch of ingredients at random and threw them in the brew kettle without any regard for a style...that could work, but it doesn't work here. A mess of a brew which is ultimately quite pedestrian and certainly below average. I'm all for experimentation, but this is quite a failure. Wouldn't recommend it to friends, wouldn't buy it again. Not the quality I hope for when I buy a beer with Southern Tier's name on the label.

Low C-

Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of GClarkage
2.95/5  rDev -24.2%
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.

Photo of Gavage
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

Photo of corby112
4/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

Photo of superspak
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into pilsener glass, bottled on 9/19/2012. Pours lightly hazy copper amber color with a nice 2 finger dense off white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass; with a good amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big caramel, toast, pine, citrus rind, toffee, biscuit, floral, grass, and piney spiciness. Damn nice aromas with good balance, strength, and complexity. Taste of caramel, toast, pine, toffee, biscuit, citrus rind, floral, grass, nuttiness, and piney spiciness. Good amount of pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, biscuit, toffee, pine, nuttiness, floral, citrus rind, and piney spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Great malt/hop flavor balance and complexity; with a solid sweetness/bitterness balance as well; minimal cloying flavors present on the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a creamy, sticky, and crisp mouthfeel that is very nice. Alcohol is extremely well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish; this is dangerously drinkable. Overall this is a highly excellent Imperial Helles style! Great malt and hop flavor balance and robustness; very smooth to sip on. A highly enjoyable offering.

Photo of Billolick
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
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...

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.28/5  rDev +10%
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!

Photo of tempest
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,057 ratings.