Krampus | Birrificio Del Ducato

very good
18 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Birrificio Del Ducato

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by John_M on 12-23-2008

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Reviews: 18 | Ratings: 42
Photo of macrosmatic
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed from (very long-standing) notes. The bottle label states "Brewed for Christmas 2008". The bottle was consumed during the Christmas season of 2014. Poured from the unusually-shaped 750 mL bottle into a Cigar City Brewing Humidor glass.

A: This was a bit of gusher when first cracked. After allowing it to settle some and pouring, it looks hazy to opaque dark bronze with a medium level of visible carbonation in the glass. It forms a big fluffy off-white head that takes awhile to recede.

S: Acetic vinegar, light tartness. Bready malts and it smells dry.

T: Acetic acid, tart and sweet cherries, and bready malts. Some vinous grapes near the swallow, and it finishes dry.

M: Medium body, low alcohol presence. Despite the gushing, the carbonation sensation is fairly low.

O: I wouldn't think this was what the brewer was looking for. But it's matured into something pretty decent and more than drinkable. I'm not sure if it was infected, and I do think the years had oxidized it mildly. But it's certainly not bad.

NOTE: After reading multiple reviews of both this beer, Blueberry Nightmare, and other beers from this brewery, I have a suggestion (not that anybody from the brewery cares about my opinion). If you're going to put out intentionally sour beers, please indicate that fact on the label. It would change both scores and the drinkers' expectations. As it is, I feel obligated to score to the listed style and/or to the label's claimed style.

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Photo of Shadman
3.09/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

One of the beers in this year's Beer Advent calendar. Love the label on this one.

Looked amazing but waaayyyyyyyyyyyyyy too sour. As in undrinkable. My guess is either a bad batch or something after reading some of the non-advent calender reviews. Tasted like very strong malty vinegar.

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Photo of Svingjo
3/5  rDev -20.4%

Krampus Speciale from Birrificio Del Ducato from Day 5 of The Craft BeerAdvent Calendar - Okay I know going into this beer that it's a sour beer. Now it pour on the reddish side of copper with about a finger width of white head and spires of small bubbles moving up the side of the glass. It has a bit of a floral nose, and spicy that reminds me a bit of mulled wine but a sourness that is reminiscent of red wine vinegar. The sourness really bites in the mouth and there is fruit but unripened fruit, maybe sour cherries. There is a bitterness that clings to the back of the tongue as well. The 7.0% ABV does come forward with some heat near the end. Not a bad beer, but one that I could see people either loving or hating. I did find that as it warmed up it seemed to go down easier. Glad I had a chance to try it.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.06/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

It's a cloudy colour of rust, 1 finger head of foam that lasts and lasts. Decent lacing.

The nose is of brett, spice and sour goodness. More Brett than sour so I can't quite pull out what the sour consists of. Maybe when I taste it..Same goes for the spice which, from the label, suggests Star Anise.

Tastewise, the sour is prominent and I'll take a guess and say it's fruity like in sou r cherries. Funk, yep. Spicy, quite bitter, guessing it's coming from the star anise. Overall, very tasty for a sour.

Medium body and carbonation. the alcohol seems to be very well hidden, so drinkability is very good.

I don't know aboot this being a top choice for a Christmas brew, but it's very good. +$27 will me think twice aboot buying it again, though.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

For when the Christmas shopping has rendered you as indecisive as you could possible get. Sweet or sour? Rich or dry? wine or ale? savory or acidic? Malty or vinous? Fruity or spicy? Even through Krampus implies everything of what's "bah humbug" about the holiday season, this ale does the opposite- it gives you everything!

With a rich mauve hue, its pinkish, purple and golden color is laced with yeasty haze that seems to dance in a snow globe as the carbonation keeps the ale afloat. A creamy but light-statured head rises above the ale and retains most of the session with light speckled lace left behind.

Acidic notes tickle the nose with tinges of both dry white and red wines, light balsamic sour apples and under-ripened berries. But that sourish tone is counter to the sweet candied malt, mild honey and confectioner's sugar scent. Its vinous sweetness is counter-intuitive as ales usually prefer one or the other. Spicy coriander, white pepper and wood spice continue to entice and prod the olfactory senses with curiosity and intrigue.

Sure enough, the ale starts with a sweeter tone as the taste of powdered sugar, honey and sweet red wine align for a sweeter introduction to the taste buds. Short into the taste, the ale takes on a decisive wine-like taste, full of dry red grapes, near-balsamic sourness, tart apple, blackberry, plumb, cherry and blackcurrant in high Cabernet fashion. Its savory earthen properties offer up dates, prunes and raisins that seem to have been cognac-soaked before a richer, sweeter finish reveals a tinge of port and robust sherry.

Its feel is rich and creamy even though its acidity slices through the sweetness and breainess with ease. Its pepper effervescence highlights the ale's acidity and scrubs the palate lightly. Finishing peppery-tart and mildly tannin-like, an extension of fruit and sourness flutter lightly in aftertaste.

Its a sour without being too sour. Its malty without being too sweet. Its spicy without being hot. The ale is simply at the bull's eye for all the possible flavors that decorate the beer flavor wheel. Highly complex and rewarding- the ale is nearly as confusing to the palate as it is rewarding.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From a squat 750 ml brown bottle, 2009 edition. Massive foam on the pour. When it recedes what is presented is a cloudy amber body, tall creamy beige head ends up as a thin cap.

The aroma releases sweet toffee malt, sugary sweet candied fruit, some sharp citrusy acidic yeast, some spicy yeast as well.

Sweet yeasty candied character up front in the flavour, a little bit of yeasty spice and leafy hop attempts to balance it out in the middle and on the finish. Quite a clean profile for such a sweet beer. Toasty and toffee malt can eventually be discerned in the background, however it is faint.

Mouthfeel is light, even a bit thin at times although the sticky and somewhat under-attenuated mouthfeel lends it a bit of heft to balance that out and add some needed body. Mid-range amount of carbonation that brings things to life a bit more. Overall the mouthfeel seems disjointed and a bit all over the place, doesn't work together and doesn't boost the flavour.

While a bit cloying at times this Belgian Strong Pale Ale comes across as very approachable, yet the unbalanced sweetness eventually gets to me in the end. I didn't have to push my way through this bottle, however by the third sip I knew what was coming next, over and over, without much more to discover or anticipate. A bit pricey for what it delivers, yet perhaps it hit its peak a year ago, or will morph into something else in a couple of years. This is a beer with a best before date in the middle of 2015 after all.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml squat sparkling Champagne-esque bottle, 9% ABV. Strange heaven and hell imagery on the front label. The back label, in Italian, tells the story of the European alpine legend of a demonic anti-Santa character, who roams the street on Dec 5, and frightens the local children, in advance of ol' Saint Nick's arrival. I get a very Dr. Seuss meets Grimm's fairly tales aura from this particular cultural meme.

This beer pours a hazy, dark orangish amber hue, with two vibrant fingers of foamy, crackling pale beige head, which leaves little in the way of lace around the glass as it steadily abates.

It smells of mildly tart cherry and lemon zest, wet earth, sweet, somewhat sugary caramel malt, and muddled winter spice. The taste is subtle caramel malt, some dried black fruit, a bit of candy sugar, funky yeast, a weird, but not unpleasant root-like sourness, and waning warm spices, which, when combined with the wine-like masked alcohol, produces strong mulled-wine leanings.

The carbonation is average, if very slightly prickly, the body an airy medium weight, and smooth with a mild clingy, filmy caveat. It finishes fairly off-dry, divided equally between grain and refined sugar, kept agreeably in check by an ethereally drying combination of essentially hidden booze and wraith-like spice.

One strange beast, this - the individual flavours, when extracted and analyzed, sure don't seem all that enticing. However, working together, they all make for an approachable, even easy-drinking Belgian-style pale ale - and strong, like mule, of course.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.89/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Riserva Sterpponi 2009 750ml champagne bottle poured into tulip 29/11/11

A murky brownish orange with a two finger tan head that looks dense like its going to have some staying power but falls as I turn my head, just a few random patches of lace

S tart funky cherry with a little wet moldy wood, I think I smell a little brett but I'm not sure if it's intended or a happy accident. the smell took a little while to grow on me but once it did I accepted it and liked it

T a little caramel and over ripe plum on top of what I smell, just a little faint booze and a confusing sour flavor and a little cherry cola but its mixed with some liquor I also can't place, I almost pick up on some cinnamon but I can't be right, quite vinous on top of all that I don't mind it but I'm wondering if this was intended because its pretty far out

M pin prick bubbles turn to foam then goes flat quickly, medium bodied with zero booze detected

O weird to say the least, I think of that this may not be what they intended but it worked out somehow

I never really figured this one out and I don't understand Italian either so that didn't help, tastes like a mild sour and I will remain confused by this one

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Photo of Knapp85
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I felt like trying this one because I really liked the label on the bottle. The price tag was painful but I figured it'll just be a once in a life time buy so I got it. This beer poured out as a muddy looking orange brown color. The head was minimal, not sure how old this bottle was. The smell of the beer had a big amount of spices on the nose. The taste of the beer had some of the same spices to kick up this brew. The malt and hops of the beer were hidden, it kind of felt incomplete I think. The mouthfeel in my opinion could have had a little more body to it and just a touch more carbonation. I felt like this was a little too much on the flat side. Overall it's not the best or worst winter beer I've had but I know that I won't be paying for it again.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Gabe for breaking this one out during our post Bruery Reserve Party gathering.

A: The pour is a cloudy orange/amber color with a massive off-white head.

S: A really funky nose to this beer, which I wasn't expecting. I get a lot of the spice notes, particularly the anise that was used to flavor this beer. A lot of random fruit notes and some bready malt character.

T: Seems to have a sort of sweet and sour thing going on here. In fact, I get a bit of a Sweet Tart flavor (maybe Smarties, too). More miscellaneous fruits, but I do get peaches in particular. Quite a bit of spice flavor here, too. The malt seems sort of drowned out by all the different things going on.

M: The body is medium with a fairly high level of carbonation.

D: This was a strange beer. I didn't dislike it, but I don't think I would really want to drink a whole lot of this, either.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a big ass bottle courtesy of gabe from beachwood bbq.

Poured a amber brown in color with yellow highlights whenheld up to the light with a finger worth of head and left plenty of frothy lacing sticking to the glass. The aroma was quite yeasty but lots of spice character like clove alongside mild dark fruit citrus notes and a bit of tart character. So the taste did have some tart character with the yeast, spice notes but had citrusy dark fruit accents with a touch of strawberries in the backend. The brew was medium in with lots of carbonation which had a yeasty, mild fruity, spice, and tart finish. It was a very intresting brew that had a decent taste and drank very well. .

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Photo of thagr81us
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to the owner of Beachwood BBQ for sharing this magnus with the massive BA crowd during our Bruery RS Post-Party. 2008 Vintage! Served from bottle into a goblet. Poured red-orange with a minimal slightly off-white head. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, slight sour, and slight tart. The flavor was of sweet malt, wheat, slight sour, slight tart, and funk. It had a light feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty nice brew. Had a pretty good aroma going on here, but the flavor was just okay. For some reason the flavor seemed a little light to me. With that said however, this is a must try especially from this particular vintage.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 1.5L magnum courtesy of Brian,

A: Pours a medium amber with a strong long lasting frothy off-white head, solid lace.

S: Very spicy, nutmeg and allspice, Christmasy and pleasing.

T: Has a solid BSPA base with the yeast showing a lot. Spice is great and melds seamlessly with the base beer. Cardomom, allspice with a lot of ale fruit esters including a great orange note finish.

M: Medium to full-bodied, nice aftertaste, frothy carbonation, but not overdone.

D: Another winner from Italy. Well made and has a lot of spice nuance that I enjoy around the December holidays.

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Photo of nickd717
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Craig for this one.

Pours hazy amber with a large lasting yellowish head.

The aroma is rather tart with some fruity notes and spice.

The flavor is slightly tart and funky with soured caramel and slight berries and pumpkin spices.

Medium bodied and mildly acidic with higher carbonation.

Interesting but I can't say I'm the biggest fan.

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Photo of largadeer
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks, Craig.

The bottle is pretty damn cool. It gushed heavily upon opening, however. It's murky with a copper hue and a huge white head that settles to a crust.

It smells spicy, yeasty, somewhat vinous and fruity. Anise, pepper, dark fruit.

Dark fruit and earth are prominent on the palate. Very light oxidation, anise, white pepper. Fizzy light body, easy to drink but fairly complex. Nice fruitiness from the yeast. Ends on a spicy, earthy, semi-dry note. Enjoyable stuff.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

part of the epicness that was the halloween weekend of beer. the last few nights have kicked my ass in every way, but i got to try a bunch of goodies that have long haunted me. served chilled and poured into a 8 ounce taster, this one was consumed on 10/30/2010.

i had picked this one up at bruisin ales sometime last year and had it in my fridge since. opened it up and it was a bit of a gusher at first, but settled down quickly. very nice light yellow color with a smooth and even head of white that was about three fingers in height.

aroma is pears, grains, touches of light bready notes and a good bit of yeast. warming brought out a very grainy aroma that took me a bit by surprise. very crisp and clean feel, but very light as well. overly carbonated at times. very earthy with hints of lavender, gritty grains, bready notes and touches of pears. finish was semi dry and involved a hint of kick in the end.

overall a bit forgettable but not terrible by any means.

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Photo of Nickls
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(From notes)

A - Poured with a frothy finger of nearly white head; vibrant burnt orange color and a little hazy

S - Lightly tart; spicy; bit of honey

T - Medicinal; flowery then honey; back to vibrant floral and spice notes

M - Light, though a touch syrupy; very bubbly vibrant carbonation; interesting

D - Nicely drinkable given the number of flavors going on, and a little spicy and warming which was pleasant

Overall, even though I had this in August, it was still a nice brew at the time. I could see where it would be preferable during the cooler months.

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Photo of John_M
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Available by the glass at the Holiday Beer event at Max's.

The beer pours a hazy orange color with good head retention and lacing. On the nose, this is where this beer really shines. There is a boatload of spice in this beer, and I get marachino cherry, orange, clove and cinnamon. I've smelled some herbal teas like this, but never a beer. However, IMO the spice is not overdone and is quite attractive. The beer has an impressive full mouthfeel, and is very long on the palate. The flavors generally replicate the nose, though they're not quite as intense. All things considered, this beer is surprsingly drinkable, with the abv. well disgueised.

A very nice winter Belgian style ale from this brewery. Quite delicious.

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Krampus from Birrificio Del Ducato
3.77 out of 5 based on 42 ratings.
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