Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

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

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BA SCORE
88
very good

428 Reviews
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 428
Hads: 1,127
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 10.18%
Wants: 90
Gots: 143 | 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
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Reviews: 428 | Hads: 1,127
Photo of vfgccp
4.46/5  rDev +13.5%
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. (370 characters)

Photo of Tone
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
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. (438 characters)

Photo of Derek
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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. (511 characters)

Photo of flagmantho
4/5  rDev +1.8%
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. (1,169 characters)

Photo of Viggo
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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. (921 characters)

Photo of Bighuge
3/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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. (897 characters)

Photo of cjgator3
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle

A- Pours a clear copper color with an off-white head.

S- The aroma is toasted malt and a good dose of hops. I was expecting a big malty beer but I am pleasantly surprised by the hops in the nose.

T- The taste like the aroma has some toasted malt up front with the bitterness from the hops quickly coming into play and lingering for quite a while into the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is light bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this beer. It was a very enjoyable beer that I will definitely purchase again. Recommended! (581 characters)

Photo of Brad007
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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. (948 characters)

Photo of scruffwhor
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Really like the artwork on this 22oz bomber.

Pours an IPAish rusty amber. Great puffy white head after a perfect pour. This recedes to a perfect film that remains throughout all 22 ounces. Helles lager like bubbling too, just looks more like an IPA in every other way. The immediate scent of fresh cut grass hits the nose first, just like a good Munich Helles. But this hoppy arom quickly turns to grapefruit and mint mixed with toasted biscuits. Crisp palate first, then dried pine needles sprinkled atop fresh biscuits. The palate is syrupy, yet lager crisp. This beer is great, but I don't think it is entirely true to style. It has undeniable lage qualities, but still tastes too much like an IPA.
I can't give it as great a score as it could, due to the style confusion. Still a great beer. (798 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle. Served in a pilsner glass, the beer pours a clear amber/orange color with about an inch frothy off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both pretty good. The aroma is nice, it smells like pine and citrusy (grapefruit) hops with a bit of bready/biscuity malt too. The taste is similar to the aroma, but the malt comes out more in the taste than it does in the aroma (but the taste still has a good bit of hops in it). Some spicy hops, pepper and caramel are also noticable in the taste. Has a good sweet/bitter finish. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's slick and has decent carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth, has decent balance and the 9% ABV isn't noticable at all. Overall I'd say this is another very good Southern Tier brew, I'll definitely buy this again in the future. (805 characters)

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased for $7.99 in Columbus, cracked open immediately upon arrival at home. I was happy to see a new Southern Tier brew, and as a plus this is the first time I've seen an imperialized version of Munich Helles lager.

The beer is very clear, copper-red colored, with a 1-finger foam (much less than most helles lagers, but also this has 9% ABV which might have some effect). The smell was really odd, like a wickedly strong ESB, or maybe hoppier than that. Citrus and bitter floral aromas. The taste is strong with these hops along with significant malt and a touch of alcohol burn. Very thick body, a massive beer, this was delicious.

I love helles lagers, and I liked this beer too, but this really is no helles lager anymore. A completely different but tasty animal. Not sure this style needed imperializing, as it changed the beer completely. (858 characters)

Photo of glid02
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (1,097 characters)

Photo of claspada
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very translucent amber colored body withh a good amount of active carbonation bubbles. The head is a thick off-white color, creamy and it has good retention. The lacing is fairly prevelant.

Aromas of mainly pale malts with notes of biscuity/bready malts as well. Slight sweetness along with a a good bit of hops in the background.

Tastes are quite heavy dominated bu the hops over the malt background. I feel lager yeasts tend to do this, which is why I prefer ales more often than not. There is still a good bit of pale malt sweetness along with some graham cracker flavors. This is very hoppy for a even a double pilsner and personally I would like the malt to express itself a little bit more.

The mouthfeel is pretty light for the abv, but it seems to fit the flavors rather well.

Overall a fairly good example of the style, I'm glad more people are stepping up the lager style to improve their boring nature, but this one is not the best I've had recently. (974 characters)

Photo of DrDemento456
4.44/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Looks good pretty good. Head is minimal with a mild lace. Carbonation is good.

S - Wow I surprised to actually get pine and citrus hops on the nose from a Helles Lager! Mild bit of honey on the nose as well.

T - Quite smooth. The hops are pretty subdued but so is the grain by a mild honey sweetness. I detect no ABV burn at all which is a surprise for 9 percent. Sweet finish with very little hop bitterness.

M - Medium bodied and very drinkable.

D - I am going to need to go to ST brewery to get me some cheap possible fresher bottle of this since I feel it is underrated maybe due to quality issues of freshness. Man they really need to add bottle or best by dates on this stuff. It was worth 8 dollars a bottle though. (730 characters)

Photo of THECPJ
3.47/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Cheers!
The CPJ (504 characters)

Photo of avalon07
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pilsner glass. Had a medium brown color and a clear texture. There was a big, foamy/creamy, long-lasting head. Excellent lacing.

S: A sharp aroma of malt, hops, and caramel.

T: An interesting flavor for an Imperial Pilsner. Caramel malt, hops, a little tinge of grapefruit all make for a very balanced and focused flavor.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a somewhat slick and oily finish. Medium-bodied.

D: Not classically an Imperial Pilsner, but extremely drinkable nonetheless. (517 characters)

Photo of dirtylou
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, riley's, split with a few during the nfl playoffs...cell phone notes

appearance: served in a pint glass, clear orange-amber body, creamy beige head

smell: stinging hops, pine and bitter citrus, a touch metallice, floral and fruity, toasted malt and grain

taste: ah yes, Krampus, the God of imperial Helles Lagers. this beer caught me off guard a little - i probably should have seen the hop ambush coming. pine and bitter citrus come stabbing through the toasted malt front as master Krampus attacks with his metallic fangs. while all of this madness is going on, one nearly forgets that this is an imperial helles lager, a term that probably has no meaning. i'd try this beer, but not in the dark

mouthfeel: sharp bitterness, metallic hops

drinkability: good (777 characters)

Photo of ccrida
4.55/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bomber poured into my Delirium snifter, served at cellar temp. Really love the label and whole story behind Krampus. Krampus is a clear bronzed orange with a large off-white head that leaves heavy lace.

Smell is very hoppy, IPA like grapefruit, some gingerbread and caramel malt. Wasn't expecting this being so hoppy, thought it would just a strong, syrupy yellow lager. Working through this I really came to enjoy the aroma, picking up more honey and tropical fruit then I did initially. Served at cellar temp, with the second half of the bottle chilled in the fridge while I'll sipped on the first.

Taste is also very DIPA like, which anyone would assume it was in a blind tasting. Fine by me! Very spicy and huge hop flavor, firm semi-sweet malt backbone, it's kind of like a amped up version of Sierra Nevada Celebration. Complex and enjoyable for sure, I really like red DIPAs, and this is just an extra smooth version of that thanks to the larger yeast and cold conditioning. I think it was released a few months ago, I can only imagine what the hops were like when fresh!

Mouthfeel is dry, chewy but not to heavy, some creamy carbonation

Drinkability is exception, this really hit the spot, especially because it's way better then I expected. Smooth and tasty, with the alcohol very well hidden, it went down with ease. Calling it a Helles larger though is pretty much ridiculous, but I didn't score it to style, because I don't know of one for strong, hoppy amber lagers! Another fantastic value and wildly successful experiment from the boys at Southern Tier! (1,575 characters)

Photo of DefenCorps
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into my Sam Smith nonic glass. I will start off by saying that I absolutely detest the concept of this beer but am intrigued. Imperial pilseners are pushing the limit but an imperial helles is an oxymoron. Oh well - I'll go ahead and try reviewing this as an imperial India Pale Lager rather than a helles...

A: Pours a brilliantly clear amber with a gorgeous two-finger thick beige head that's frothy, textured and bubbles like a tar pit. As the head recedes, it leaves a good bit of lacework. Not much carbonation is visible, though, and not very helles like either but hey, this is a good looking beer. While I'm in half a mind to dock a point for the carbonation, the lace and head retention are spectacular

S: On the nose, there's a good bit of hops, leafy, earthy, spicy and pine-like. It _smells_ resiny. Some malt is apparent. Solid

T: Opens up with a pretty solid array of hop flavors. Pine, citrus, earthy spices, absolutely wonderful flavor. Bitterness is on the lower end of the moderate spectrum with a nice resiny juiciness. Malt flavors are rather muted and go well with the tame (and delightfully so) hops with biscuit and caramel present. Mildly hoppy on the finish with some resiny character.

M: Medium bodied and the low carbonation is bitched about goes well with the beer. A nice, soft, bitter finish

D: This 22oz is going down mighty easy, something I haven't experienced with a Southern Tier beer in a while! (1,448 characters)

Photo of Cyberkedi
3.23/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Has a fairly strong hoppy aroma with a hint of honey and just a touch of apple brandy. It pours a clear coppery orange with a thick, fairly persistent off-white head. Flavor is fairly hoppy, a bit woody, and rather bitter - not terrific, but still palatable. Texture is smooth and just a little fizzy, leaving a hoppy and woody finish. (335 characters)

Photo of clayrock81
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A medium-dark brown that when served in a tulip glass had a one-finger head minor lacings. A herbal, tea-like (almost grainy, veggie like) hop burst. Not a strong smell but you can pick up lots of hops in the nose. The hops are plentiful in the mouth and lead to a fruitiness to the beer, most notably grapefruit along with hints of citricness. Medium-bodied and smooth but still contains a good, drying backbite as the hop bitterness really comes through in the end. Not sweet or anything but there are caramel and other sugary malts, more than any other malt, that push there way through while it passes the tongue. A great beer to relax with and I still don't believe it is almost 10% ABV. (692 characters)

Photo of Durge
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bomber into a pint glass this brew is a clear copper color with a midland white head and nice lacing. The aroma is somewhat shocking. Like a tart savignon blanc, white grapes and a hint of light clovey bubblegum. Confusing. The taste is a unique blend of sweet clove and some double IPA type of maltiness with grapefruit hops. At first I recoil in confused infamiliarity. But this grows on you. After the initial white wine impressions I find that generous mouthfuls really help bring out the balance that smooths this odd brew into something pretty special. This seems like a combination of white wine and a mild DIPA. It brings some Belgian hints, so-so drinkability but not overly heavy, maybe what could be called a desert beer? This is something to surprise your fellow BA with, challenge those taste buds and celebrate the holidays with this unusual offering. A pleasurable experience, happy holidays from the venerable Southern Tier. (956 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ThirstyBird for his generosity. 22oz. bottle served in a pilsener glass. Poured a translucent copper with a half inch dense, off-white head embedded with copious ringlets. Multiple tiny specks of lace coated the glass throughout the course of the tasting. Nose is piney hops and peach. Taste reveals more piney hops, grapefruit, caramel and a light spicy quality (perhaps some mint in the mix). Mouthfeel fell between light- and medium-bodied with a consistent background carbonation and a slightly oily consistency at the finish. My first Helles. Reminded me of a DIPA in many ways. Another great offering from ST. (625 characters)

Photo of ZAP
3.08/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Interesting brew...thought this would be a bit maltier and helles like but it is pretty hot and hopped up.

Perfumy aroma....vodka soaked spearmint leaves, some mild bready maltiness also evident...

Taste is big on the booze and the minty hop notes...really lacks a helles lager feel to it.

Syruppy mouthfeel....but not sweet or sticky...

Not a bad beer but nothing I would want again.... (391 characters)

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a pint

Clear, bright orange body with an orange infused two finger white head. Head is big and frothy and left good sized rings of lace.

Grassy, earthy, perfumey, medicinal hop profile, vanilla, with a touch of spice anchored by sweet toasted malt.

Oily hop bitterness, sweet malt, and grassy, earthy tones. Noticeable alcohol warming. A pretty intense hop presence on this lager. Sweet caramel malt on the back end.

Big, thick and lush. Full-bodied with adequate carbonation.

For this hophead, it didn't take long to cut through 22oz of Krampus. (577 characters)

Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 428 ratings.