Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) - Southern Tier Brewing Company
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Ratings: 934 | Reviews: 405 | Display Reviews Only:
3.7/5 rDev -5.1%
22oz bottle purchased as a single from Julio's, Westboro, MA.
Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" beige head over the clear dark amber brew. Frothy head lasts well, with plenty of foamy lace. Aroma is spicy yeasts and piney hops. Taste is sweet upfront, quickly followed by assertive hops that pretty dominate the rest of the experience. Mouthfeel is smooth, but drinkability levaes a bit to be desired. The "imperial" part here has been given too much to the hops, which doesn't let of the other character through.
01-31-2009 00:17:09 | More by ppoitras
4.23/5 rDev +8.5%
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.
01-02-2013 07:36:46 | More by superspak
3.9/5 rDev 0%
"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.
12-06-2008 03:13:51 | More by biegaman
4.03/5 rDev +3.3%
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.
11-22-2008 22:42:05 | More by John_M
3.58/5 rDev -8.2%
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.
01-08-2012 22:04:48 | More by smakawhat
3.95/5 rDev +1.3%
A: Poured a fairly clear dark, salmon-orange with with frothy 1 finger dirty ivory colored head that displayed very good retention. A spongy and clumpy lacing encircled the glass in a near full band fashion. After a turbulent pour a feverishly eruptive carbonation quickly rained upward to the surface leaving behind only a faint and subtle reminder.
S: a big fresh flowery citrusy nature erupting upon the pour and evident from quite a distance (at least an arms length). Some sticky pine, caramel, and a pungent grapefruit aroma was also dominantly displayed here. While the aroma was really nice and outstanding, I think I would of preferred a heavy dosing of herbal and flowery hops more associated with lagers or pilsners (hallertau) which would have been more fitting per style then a typical west coast ipa hopping here. None the less a strong and enticing aroma that was good.
T: The Chinook hops provide a pungent citrusy (grapefruit) notes with a dry flowery finish. The bitterness starts off wet and finishes dry. The malting was hard to pick up with the generous helping of hops but the dry munich was evident and complimented the pungently dry hoppy nature of the beer. Once again the beer drinks more like an IPA then what I envisioned a Imperial Helles would taste like. Again regards should have been noted from Sam Adams Imperial Pilsner which used a generous helping of floral, noble hops that were more associated with pilsners and lagers rather then ipas. A good flavor but one that could of easily passed as an IPA, but a good opportunity was missed to utilize hops more generally used in lagers rather then making another version of an ipa with lager yeast.
M: a medium viscosity with a nice caramel maltinesss. A huge dry citrus lacing smoothers and coats the tongue leaving it perched. A soft carbonation was felt with a slight slick texture.
D: Drinkability was nice, more of a hop bomb then anything else. A beer that just as easily could have been a IPA. An imperial Helles Lager??? My only knock would be in regards to a nonsense style but still regarded this as a good drink.
12-28-2008 13:47:06 | More by beerthulhu
3.8/5 rDev -2.6%
22 oz bottle grabbed in Buffalo. Review # 1600!
Pours a clear coppery orange, very brilliant colour, thick white head forms, drops down to a solid ring around the glass, and leaves a pretty tight spiral of lace on the glass, great retention. Smell is neat, quite sweet, caramel and brown sugar, but very biscuity and very clean, some apricot and a sweet fruitiness, some floral hopping, orange peel, and some neat spiciness to it. Taste is very sweet and syrupy, lots of caramel and honey, brown sugar, clean bready malts, floral, grapefruit, wheat, some orange peel acidity, spicey, alcohol, lightly fruity, melons and sour grapes, dry hop tea finish, quite dry and alcoholic going down. Mouthfeel is full bodied, syrupy, with low to medium carbonation. A touch too sweet to be really drinkable to me, but it is a pretty neat take on the style. Very warming going down, alcohol is a little rough. Not a bad beer though.
01-31-2009 21:55:10 | More by Viggo
4.05/5 rDev +3.8%
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.
12-17-2011 15:25:45 | More by tdm168
2.93/5 rDev -24.9%
Appearance: Crystal clear dark copper body. Thin off white head. Bubbly collar leaves nice rings of lace as I drink.
Aroma: Warm, biscuity malt aromas. Slight alcohol. Perfumey and scenty hop nuances.
Flavor: Not overly impressed with this one. This does not resemble a helles lager. The biscuit notes I got on the nose are nowhere to be seen on the palate. It resembles a high octane blend of spiked punch and spearmint hop accents. Very bitter. And lots of pine as well.
Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Very viscous feel to this. But it does have noticeable carbonation as well. Syrupy in a way. The alcoholic heat is obvious and actually just a little overboard. This is just kind of a boozy mishmash with a side of hops.
I was hoping this experiment would parallel Great Lakes 'Imperial Dortmunder' undertaking, but it pales in comparison. This one has very minimal traits of the original style.
11-27-2008 02:44:08 | More by Bighuge
4.22/5 rDev +8.2%
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.
01-10-2010 01:14:50 | More by billab914
4.1/5 rDev +5.1%
On-tap at the Porter Beer Bar in Atlanta.
Pours a clear light copper color with a half-finger white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.
Smells of light malts with large amounts of citrus and herbal hops. Also present are very slight amounts of crisp lager yeast and slighter still amounts of green apple aromas.
Tastes similar to how it smells although the hops aren't quite as robust. Crisp light malt flavors with a slight syrupy sweetness kick things off and are joined quickly by moderate amounts of citrus hops. Midway through the sip the citrus flavors turn more toward herbal with hints of tropical fruit. The hops carry through to a moderately bitter ending.
Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.
Drinkability is also good. I had no problems finishing my glass and could have another.
Overall I was surprised by the high amount of hops in this beer but looking back I shouldn't be surprised by that in a beer put out by ST. Far from a traditional take on the beer but one that hopheads will appreciate. Worth a shot.
01-06-2011 21:32:42 | More by glid02
4.08/5 rDev +4.6%
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.
03-24-2010 22:54:38 | More by Tone
3.53/5 rDev -9.5%
Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a reddish-gold color with a half-inch of khaki colored head that average retention and good lacing.
The aroma was surprisingly malty, it reminded me of a bock, and had a slight spice note in the background. The flavor had a similar profile, with everything being amplified.
This beer is very full-bodied and quite drinkable. This my first shot at an "Imperial Helles", and I'm not sure what this style is supposed to be like, but I enjoyed this beer quite a lot.
04-01-2010 22:29:22 | More by beertunes
British Columbia (Canada)
3.75/5 rDev -3.8%
An eclectic oddball indeed. Basically an American Strong Ale with lager yeast?
A: Copper-bronze with an off-white head, good retention & lacing.
S: Toffee, pine, grass, tangerine & rind.
T: The piny resin from the chinook is unmistakable, toffee, bread, apricot, woodsy spicing, grapefruit rind, plenty of bitterness, alcohol is suprisingly well-hidden.
M: Moderate body is very smooth with an off-dry finish. Well-crafted for a brew this size.
D: If you like chinook, it's fairly drinkable for its weight.
01-29-2010 23:10:29 | More by Derek
4.43/5 rDev +13.6%
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.
12-07-2009 03:06:23 | More by Brad007
4.03/5 rDev +3.3%
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.
01-11-2009 03:43:02 | More by johnnnniee
3.48/5 rDev -10.8%
Reviewed from notes
Appearance: dark golden yellow with an amber hint, 1 finger head that lasts for some time
Smell: more hoppy than expected, mostly hoppy at first whiff, then settles into sweet malts
Taste: much like the smell, big hit of hops, but mellows out into sweet malts
Mouthfeel: mild carbonation, well balanced
Drinkability: a pretty decent beer, easily drinkable. This one got left out for Santa with some Christmas cookies, needless to say, he didn't leave any behind.
03-04-2011 02:09:40 | More by THECPJ
Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 934 ratings.