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

Krampus light caramel haze color with a nice foamy .5 inch head that quickly dissipates to a thin off white film. Smells of sweet caramel with subtle pine hops. Krampus has the perfect amount of sweetness too it. Not overbearing. A nice piney hop presence is noted. Mouthfeel is stick and creamy. Drinkability is high for me. Very impressive and balanced beer. Ummm.

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

22oz bomber received from Orcasteve's GB Packer LIF. Thanks Jeff!

Pours a nice copper color with great retention and lacing. Aroma is of nice pine and a little citrus. Not too much burn for a 9.0% lager with an above average mouthfeel which is nice. This beer goes down much easier than it should for such high abv. Paired this with some monterrey jack cheese but am thinking would be perfect with some Christmas sugar cookies. A great beer to share with some friends and family over the holidays.

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Photo of cwps48
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Orange amberish in color. Transparent. Small head, sticks around for a bit. Leaves a good amount of lacing when cold, not so much when warms. Surface looks like the basolateral PM of a COS7 cell...

S: Floral hops. A bit of citrus smell. Not much going on beyond the hops, though as it warms, the sweetness of the caramel malts comes out.

T: Hoppy. Floral. Rather bitter. Some caramel malt coming through. Tastes more like a DIPA than an imperial pilsner (makes sense, no Saaz hops apparently).

M: Decent carbonation. Nice wet finish.

D: Smooth. Each sip leaves me wanting some more; wouldn't want a second, but the one was nice.

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Photo of Dhren1979
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage: 2010

Serving type: 22 oz Bomber poured into a Tulip glass:

A: Pours a amber color with dense, 1" head. The head holds its own and doesn't look to leave anytime soon. Clody & hazy!

S: A surprising hoppy presence. Sweet malty aroma as expected. All of the aromas are somewhat muted.

T: A malty begining which gradually develops into a bitterness hoppy finish.

M: One of the 1st craft beers that I can say is on the lighter side of mouthfeel. Kind of refreshing to be lighter and not as complex.

D: A good session beer for the winter. Would I want to buy a whole case of this? No. But a good beer to have a few around to sit back and read a book.

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Photo of ScarletLady
2.78/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On tap.
A - amber in color nice head that left thin wisps of lacing
S - first a bit of hops followed by malt. had to really search for the aroma
T - hint of hop at first but mostly malt. sweet finish
M - slightly thick with almost no carbonation
D - just ok, wouldn't try it again

Overall a little disappointing and now the least favorite of my southern tier brews

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Photo of kenpo23
4.54/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

just put it aside for a year.... amazing. i may be biased because i do love a helles lager but as usual...Souther Tier does it right. no need for more explanation...just trust me. if i'm wrong...and you live in the area i have no problem meeting up with you at Bukowski Tavern in boston and trying what you would think is better.

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Photo of NuclearSoAndSo
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a beer mug. Born on date reveals it to be a little over a year old, but I figured it would be alright since it's 9% abv.

Appearance- Pours to about a 3 finger off-white head; dark caramel color.

Smell- Lightly citrus and hoppy; vaguely fruity, and you can pick up on the alcohol a bit.

Taste- Hoppy with a distinct flavor I can't quite put my finger on. It's interesting for sure; floral.

Mouthfeel- Very smooth with light carbonation. Still a sipper though, I would say.

Overall- I really liked this. It was a nice beer for Christmas Eve, and I would buy it again. Again, there's a flavor here I can't really seem to describe, but it's different and I enjoyed it.

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Photo of krazyboi
3.41/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a 30 oz. glass mug.
A:Dark amber color and pours a nice thick head which dissipates relatively quickly.
S:Piney hop aroma, somewhere inbetween an APA and an IPA. A bit of caramel also if you try to smell beyond the hops.
T:Bitter and sweet taste up front. Grapefruit towards the end.
M:Feels thicker in the mouth than it would seem.
D:Not bad. Easy to drink. Probably could drink two bombers of this and feel really good afterwards...

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Photo of Jdmpolk
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Orange to golden brown in appearance that leaves a powdery lacing on the glass. Head is a light brownish white.

S- Incredibly hoppy. Spicy and piny mix with a grapefruit aroma. The alcohol makes itself known in the nose, and a hint of cherry is present.

T- Initially sweet, but the hops quickly break their way through it. Much of what was in the aroma is present in the taste, grapefruit and spice, with a pine sap flavor.

M A slight syrupy feel that covers the mouth, a little alcohol bur in the back of the throat.

D- This is a very drinkable and balanced beer. The hops are powerful, but the sweetness from the alcohol balances the bitterness very well. Overall a delicious beer.

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Photo of Grandwazoo
3.74/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Really nice amber brown color with a thick creamy head and great lacing.

Beautiful nose...rich in hops with pepper, sea foam, and fresh cut wood. Smelling this beer was as enjoyable as drinking it!

Very flavorful...up front toffee with pleasant bitterness throughout. Tastes of lemon, pepper, tea with some smokiness.

This is a thick beer that gets thicker as it is drunk...with the malts taking over the tongue more and more. This beer ultimately wore out my taste buds....I'll take it for a special glass, but not for more.

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Photo of anotherpg
4.62/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Here's an exceptional challenge to Stone's AB: a chewy, hoppy, high ABV double which finishes smooth without feeling like you need to brush your teeth after.

This pours a clean amber with a large, 1-2 finger head, drinks easy but with a full taste of hops. The ABV didn't show as I was drinking it-- it didn't taste hot or out of balance. The smell was of hops, but the taste was very well-balanced and it was juicy, almost buttery, as I drank it. The ABV and hops meant it slowed me down a bit from drinking more than one, but for a 22oz bomber, this was a great find and I'd gladly drink it again.

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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 k7sw
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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Photo of EMH73
3.22/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

First sip and I am overwhelmed by citrusy hops, predominately grapefruit, followed by an unpleasant bitterness. There is also a grassy, piney quality that I did not enjoy. First Southern Tier that I did not enjoy.

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Photo of DuffmanCanNeverDie
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

First off, let me just start off by saying that IPAs are really not my thing. Now, this tasted A LOT like an IPA to me.. So much so that if you put like 5 different IPAs in front of me & threw this in the mix, I probably wouldn't be able to pick it out from the others. If you like IPAs, you'd probably enjoy this, but it's a bit too piney for my liking.

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Photo of dick783
4.52/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours a copper color with a fine white head.

S - Smells of sweet toasted malt with some grassy hop notes come through. Has a great aroma with nothing overpowering the nose.

T - Fantastic. The flavors almost work their way down the tongue, starting sweet at the front and finishing with a light bitterness from the hops at the back. Clean taste, its almost like an ESB but with a cleaner finish.

M - Its got body, but its a body with a clean crisp edge. Good carbonation that cleans the pallet well after each sip.

D - Fantastic drinkability. You could tell me this was a 4% session beer and I'd believe it. And with the crip clean finish it doesn't grow old, you could drink these as long as you can see straight and never get tired of it. An excellent winter beer, Ill be having more for sure.

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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 joshk
4.75/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Krampus: so good it's scary (so good I'll write something ridiculous to get the point across).

Looks: deep caramel color with a slightly off white poofy head that stuck around. Awesome.

Smells floral, hoppy, not harsh. Not a "citrus/pine" hop scent, but more like roses and flowers.

Taste: holy bajeez, sweet, sticky, and resinous. Hops are present but do not kill your tongue with bitterness. This beer has the perfect amount of hop character, I loved it. Pineapple, mild bitterness, roses, the characteristic "caramel" flavor of a good lager, and sugar. You taste everything you smell.

Mouth: Medium to heavy body, which works quite well for this beer.

Drink: No, you can't throw throw back like 4 of them, but I can't with any 9% beer. That's just me...

NOTES: It's like Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA and Boston Lager had a brilliant and beautiful child. I AM A BEER SNOB!

I split the bottle with my uncle over some pasta with mozzarella, garlic, olive oil, sun dried tomatoes, broccoli and chicken sausage. I think that this is the best hoppy beer I've ever had, I'm surprised it's not rated higher.

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Photo of Geegmasta
3.39/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance- The body is a deep amber color with a white head that remains for quite awhile. The head is bubbly and about 0.5'' thick.

Smell- Hoppy with coriander and grassy. Has a slight fruity undertone.

Taste- A mild hop taste but semi-sweet then you get bombarded with a nice citrus/orange aftertaste with a slight bit of oregano. No hint of the 9% ABV.

Mouthfeel- Light bodied with little carbonation. No real effects other than a standard liquid in your mouth.

Overall- Not a bad beer, I really thought I wasn't going to enjoy it from the smell but it turned out to taste much better than it smelled. It's just not a good beer though. I feel like nothing really blends well with this and is a bit bland in the beginning of the taste. I am likely not to buy this again.

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Photo of B-J-B
4/5  rDev +2%

Not much in the way of smell - fresh, clean, and malty. Bright sweetness on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Big grapefruit, orange, apple hop flavors that linger and mix with a pleasing and drying bitterness. A very good beer.

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Photo of rrheisler
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"Bright" (what the term "helles" means in German) was not the first word that came to mind as I poured Krampus into a flute glass. It was actually much darker than I was expecting, but because of my lack of familiarity with the style, I don't know what I should have expected. A mixture of caramel and orange in the color. Perhaps more akin to a medium-bodied Belgian? But once I got past the color, the scent took over. A huge blast of citrus smacks your senses around, and then the roasted malt backs it up. Definitely a huge kick in the teeth for my non-hophead parents, but was a shot of adrenaline in my beer geek side.

The taste was almost a hybrid of a healthy West Coast IPA and a traditional, malty English ale. The first things on your tongue are the hops. Oh, the hops! But it wasn't overwhelmingly bitter; instead, they opened your mouth up ready for the malts that brought you through the finish. I got a hint of dry biscuits with a hint of smokiness in the malt. Unfortunately, though, I was a bit distracted by the slightly thin and watery mouth, which didn't seem to correspond with the flavor profile of the beer (bier?). However, it is a tad more accurate of the style than a thicker mouth that I feel would have been more satisfying.

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Photo of padan7
2.4/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Being only 1 hour to the source we consider ourselves very lucky. We bought 2 fresh bottles.

The beer looks quite nice bright & deep golden.

Smells of yummy hops get the taste buds anticipating.

Taste is really a bummer. Munich helles lager? No it isn't. Nor is it delicious or even desirable. Bitter not as in nice but as in nasty.

Mouthfeel & drinkability are overshadowed by dissapointment.

We truly enjoy Hoppe & Oat & Unearthly & Java.

This was not even close to fun. We couldn't wait to get home to try it. That was 2 weeks ago. What are we going to do with the other bottle?

Hey if you want to trade...have at it.

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Photo of kylephillips
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a transparent copper color. Doesn't start with much head but leaves some decent lacing.

The aroma has some piney hop smell as well as some spicey notes.

The beer has a medium body and medium level of carbonation.

The taste on this one is pretty complex. There is an initial sweet and sour taste that is replaced with a bitter aftertaste. There is some sort of spice going on in there too. It is balanced fairly well.

Drinkability is awesome! The complex taste leaves you wanting more after each taste.

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Photo of claireoakhammer
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - light amber with a bit of orange, no head

s- some citrus

t- bitter and caramely up front, but some high alcohol notes as well as some spiciness

m- crisp and light but also smooth

o- excellent, though I was hoping for something a little more lager-like.

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Photo of millah
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an oversized pilsner glass -- very impressive appearance, a deep amber color with two finger white head. Nice lacing all the way down the glass. Piney, citrusy aroma that really presented itself with the first drink. Nice, creamy mouthfeel but for a lager, this was very hoppy! As it warmed, the malts presented themselves a bit more but it definitely finishes dry. The high ABV is there but, to its credit, this is a grower not a shower. Enjoyable but I'd definitely only have one per sitting!

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