Southern Tier Brewing Company

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Pilsner - Imperial
Ranked #11
Ranked #13,522
3.92 | pDev: 11.99%
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States
Very Good
Reviews: 458 | Ratings: 1,270 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of mothmanscott
mothmanscott from Georgia

3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From notes 2/18/14: Pours a clear deep amber (strange for a pilsner, at least in my experience) producing 2+ fingers of off-white, frothy, somewhat lasting head that leaves thick, heavy webs of chunky lace behind. Aroma is sweet bready lager malt, thin grain, fruity with grassy hops and some honey. Taste is sweet, toasty lager malt forward, fruity raisin, dried apple and spice notes with a big hop (Noble?) lemony, grass bitterness kicking in at the finish. Bittersweet aftertaste. Alcohol presence while low in the nose is moderately prominent in the mouth. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low-moderate carbonation, oddly prickly with pepper spice, somewhat sticky and lightly drawing on the middle and back of the tongue.

Oct 23, 2019
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q33jeff from New Jersey

2.3/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2


Bottle to glass. Pale yellow orange, medium head. Pine aroma, some barley and hops. A bit . Taste is not great. Just a raw strong, in your face beer.

Nothing special. Certainly not a holiday beer.


Aug 05, 2017
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

3.59/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This was poured into a pilsener glass. The appearance was a soft burnt caramel to amber color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipated at a nice pace. Clingy white foamy lacing sticks around the glass. The smell started off with sweet bready to biscuity notes sliding over some grassy hops. Light lemon and a little bit of pine rounds out the aroma. The taste was moderately sweet with the bready to biscuity notes gracing all around the flavor. A sweet bready aftertaste runs into the finish. On the palate, this one sat about a light to medium on the body with a sweet smooth rolling texture over my tongue. Overall, as a Munich Helles Lager, it fits, not sure why it's an Imperial Pilsner on here.

Jun 27, 2017
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Raime from Greenland

3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Another from the neighbors mixed box. A craft beer? Holy shit. Figured they would all be generic and randomized lager brews from here there and everywhere.

Pours an amber to my surprise for being a pilsner. Head is a decently frothy two fingers of off white that linger around for awhile and eventually die down to nothingness. Carbonation appears rather low.

Smell is pretty booze forward which I did not expect. I've never actually had an imperial pilsner so I don't quite know what to compare it to. Not getting the grapefruit rinds mentioned by the previous reviewer. Malty, some pine, but mostly alcohol.

Taste becomes more pine forward and melds pretty nicely with the alcohol giving it that illusion of spiciness.

Feel is thick like a syrup, swallows with moderate alcohol and a lingering finish.

Overall this wasn't too shabby. I definitely don't think it's as bad as the ultra awesome manly man a few reviews below with one review to his handle describing it as a beer for us apparent hipster whom feel vastly superior for drinking ultra hipster beer which is by no means manly man considering it isn't a generic yellow 'Merican swill. Maybe some rocky mountain water as a mass brewing complex will do it some good, right guy?. Haha. Anyway, it's good but I'm not sure id specifically go out and buy it.

Feb 24, 2017
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arizcards from North Carolina

4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single from TW Arrowhead yesterday for $5.49. Bottled on 10/11/16.

Beer poured orange with a smaller white head that is leaving some lacing.

Nose is floral and citrus hops, very nice.

Taste is light grapefruit over a huge malt base finishing with a touch of pine.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied but has some definite light and refreshing aspect like a lager would.

Overall this is one fine IPL albeit a bit pricey. Definitely seek it out if you enjoy hoppy lagers!

Jan 29, 2017
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Honest_Beer_Drinker from New York

1.73/5  rDev -55.9%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.25

I was really excited to try this. The label says Imperial Helles lager. Which made me interested since it is supposedly lager.
It's not. It's an extra bitter IPA. The label says Pine notes. That's understatement. It smells like pine cleaner and taste like terpentine with bittering agent added to it. the 22oz. bottle was a chore to drink down and was like a visit from Krampus himself in his full anger and wrath.

This is one of those "cool guy" hipster bitter as hell beers that people drink because it's so awful they feel "cultured and defined" drinking it while pretending it taste good. In reality it taste like piss. Kinda smells like piss but if you bottled it with pine cones. It literally had me reaching for my sisters Keystone Ice ( blech) to wash the awful taste of Pine-sol and aspirin out of my mouth. It also gave me and the other person drinking it an awful hops headache.

Have a British guy eat Christmas tree needles for a week and have him urinate in a bucket and you have Southern Tiers Krampus. Again, it literally taste like urine with a pine note and aftertaste.

This beer is a shame on the name Krampus. For starters it taste terrible. Second, it's a British style bitter beer, not a lager by any real definition. Three, Krampus being a Bavarian, Austrian, Alpine character you would think it would be some sort of German style, it's not at all. It's an overly hopped IPA. It's disgusting and I can't stress that enough.

The look, pour, and color are all fantastic. The smell and taste is a big FAIL.

Jan 05, 2017
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FBarber from Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a completely clear burnt golden color. Thick white head dissipates leaving sticky white lacing but no head. Smell is tons of hops - touch of citrus, pine, cracker malts. Taste follows the nose with those flavors - citrus, pine, cracker malts, finishing with some sweet grassy bitterness. Feel is crisp, heavy from the sweetness, yet drinkable. Overall an interesting beer - its well done - but skews very hoppy.

Dec 28, 2016
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ordybill from Georgia

4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The appearance is a clear bright golden orange with a small of- white head. the aroma is full of hops and malt. The taste is floral hops and a nice blend of malt.

Dec 18, 2016
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BethanyB from New York

3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

Look: A soft, foamy head of light gold holds itself together on top of a clear-as-day body the color of warm honey. A slender tornado of bubbles swirls below the surface.

Smell: Lots of hops, for even an imperial lager. Apricot, tropical fruit, and a smudge of resin mix well with bready malt and sweet orchard fruit, namely golden apples and pears.

Taste: Surprising medium bitterness lasts from sip to swallow, accompanied by a slight overload of resinous and piney hop flavors. The malt makes a fine attempt to soothe and balance the brew, presenting as sweet, sticky, homemade biscuits. In the end, however, the hops win out. Something special waves from the bottom layers, a bit of cinnamon perhaps, as a secret ingredient.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation and a smooth finish counter the bitterness. Alcohol warming is comforting rather than prickly, actually helping to emphasize the beer's gentler, sweeter side. The texture is luxurious, and cozy in its soft creaminess, a satin/cashmere mix.

Overall: Both creative and balanced, this is a pleasing imperial lager which gives a nod to tradition while also presenting some festive surprises. But the bitterness brings it out of balance, making it more difficult to appreciate the melanoidins and malt complexity.

Dec 17, 2016
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WindUpBird from California

4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful amber with a thin head. Smells of pine and tropical fruit.
The taste is sweet, spicy and boozy with a perfect balance of bitterness. Very nice

Dec 11, 2016
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dacrza1 from New Jersey

4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

DATE: December 2, 2016... OCCASION: having returned from Lenape Valley's title game (loss), time for a consolation glass... GLASSWARE: Schneider's Edel-Weise pokal... pours a transparent golden amber body that releases reasonable bubbles into a clumping, thick, sudsy white head... the two hops work overtime with a tail-whipping strength of resin and citrus... slight caramel embeds in the bread malts... again, those hops! a clean ping resonates with the helles profile... a dry chardonnay body blends with a cider-like sweetness to leave a draw that belies its potency... toasted malts mix with fruity dryness--apple, lemon, fig, and astringent alcohol (slightly reminiscent of cheaper vodka?)... this is powerful--one bottle is enough to both entice another and evoke the buzz of something with proof on its bottle... some heat is produced, and that is a good thing--the imperial nature of the beer demands the drinker asks forgiveness for his year of sinfulness and enjoy the punishment... sweet honey, brisk malts and fruitiness make for a fearful, rewarding experience... Southern Tier, thank you for a lager that celebrates the winter season with its power and glory....

Dec 03, 2016
Photo of BB1313
BB1313 from Ohio

4.11/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 10/11/16. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours golden with nice clarity; fluffy eggshell white head that falls leaving great retention and sticky lacing. The aromas have a nice hop presence. Mild hints of garlic and onion. Some subtle tropical notes with some rubber in the mix. Bready malts are there. I know it almost sounds like I'm describing an IPA, but it's definitely a lager. The flavors are very bold and bitter. It's slightly syrupy, but it ultimately remains clean. It's pretty earthy as well. Hints of pine. More bread with some hints of caramel. It finishes slightly warm and spicy. Mouthfeel is full-bodied with moderate carbonation. It's fluffy and smooth. It's pretty easy to drink, but makes for a nice sipper.

This is a very nice brew. It might be a little rough around the edges, but everything really comes together. The craftsmanship is impressive and it's fun to drink. Southern Tier is known for some bold imperial beers, and this one is no exception. This one is fitting for this time of year. Well done.

Dec 02, 2016
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stevoj from Idaho

4.11/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Best of this style (that I’ve tried ...Note: at that time). Dark golden body with adequate but thin head. Wonderful malty aroma, and robust taste. perfect all around.

Jun 22, 2016
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BigGold from Mississippi

3.59/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had poured from 22-oz. bomber, stamped "DOB 10/26/15," into nonic pint. Doesn't completely reflect the style, but does a good job of hiding the high ABV.

Mar 02, 2016
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EMV from Pennsylvania

4.19/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.

L: Pours an amber/orange color... 2 fingers of off-white head. Generous lacing.. great legs... definitely a sexy sassy beer.

S: Biscuits and malts... noble hops, slightly floral.

T/F: Fresh baked biscuits, bready malts, with a nice soft hop pinch at the finish. Great carbonation, well hidden ABV but warming. It makes my tongue tingle a bit.

O: An Imperial lager... not bad at all, although nothing really close to a lager. An overall well rounded and presented brew.. more of an Imperial Amber to my taste. Call it what you will... it's an easier drinker than it should be, and a fine offering from Southern Tier.

Feb 22, 2016
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allengarvin from Texas

3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Lovely reddish-copper color with a moderate head.
S: Excellent aroma, with plenty of malt, and some nice floral hops.
T: Highly bitter, certainly more bitter than any Helles I've ever had, with a dry grassy, floral hop flavor, that almost overwhelms the malt. There's a little sticky sweetness at the finish, but it doesn't feel like a Helles in any way to me.
M: Big bodied, as expected by the strength.
O: Eh, drinkable enough, if you don't care that you're not getting a Helles in any way.

Jan 23, 2016
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MacMalt from New Jersey

4.04/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass. It pours a pretty copper color with a two-finger, milk-white head and extensive lacing. It smells of floral malt with a faint whiff of caramel. The taste opens with sweet citrus and bready malt and finishes with sharp pine. It's a terrific blend of sweet malt and bitter hops. This lager is medium bodied and pleasantly carbonated. It's easy to drink in spite of its 9% ABV. Overall, it is very good. It is very flavorful and it packs a punch. It would stand up well with a hearty meal or on its own. Southern Tier is a quality brewer with great offerings

Jan 16, 2016
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Tilly from Kentucky

3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep caramel, soft dark fruit, hoppy, full body, nice balance. Mildly bitter. Interesting mouth feel, tangy. I'm not lager fan but this could change my mind!

Jan 06, 2016
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Vierenner from Ohio

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

A quality beer from a quality brewery! I've had this several times before but never submitted a review. Pours a nice, clear, copper color with a decent foam head which recedes to a persistent layer of thin foam. Smell is mildly aromatic. Taste is quite satisfying, although more hoppy than one might expect from a lager. Overall a very delicious beer.

Jan 02, 2016
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puck1225 from Texas

4.44/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really enjoyed this beer! Smooth pour of golden orange with a nice thick creamy head and great lacing. The smell is sweet and malty. The taste is rich and flavorful with fruit and pine flavors. I will buy some more to drink after the Christmas season.

Dec 25, 2015
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WesMantooth from Ohio

3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

A nice clear, dark gold. The egg shell white head leaves a good amount of lacing.

Smells pretty sweet. Light bready malts. Decent amount of floral.

It tastes like club crackers and sweet doughy bread and some citrus followed by biting pine and floral hops.

It feels a little to full and syrupy.

Overall, this is a pretty good beer. A bit boozy, and overly hoppy for the style, but the base beer is to point. Not crisp enough to be a pilsner like the listing, but it is billed as a Helles, so I am scoring more along those lines.

Dec 22, 2015
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tekstr1der from New Hampshire

3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Not what I expected for the style, but after I adjusted to the hops, this is pretty tasty. Pours copper with thin, clingy white skim. Aroma is all citrus and pine despite my attempts to sniff some malt. Flavor is similar - hoppy with the slightest sweet in the hoppy aftertaste. This is okay, but one-time.

Dec 05, 2015
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bluehende from Delaware

3.25/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I had this at a tasting from tap. Somewhat sweet, but expected. Very nice mouthfeel for a lager and would do well on a cold night when a stout is not wanted.

Dec 04, 2015
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WoodBrew from Ohio

4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer was a surprise....I was thinking helles lager....not pseudo ipa. This beer poured a nice copper with thin white head that did not lace. The scent was pine and citrus. The taste was a crisp hoppy goodness. Pine and citrus definitely present and came off the pallet clean. The mouthfeel was medium in body with good carbonation. Overall this was a good beer.

Dec 04, 2015
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IronLover from Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bright copper orange in color with a light, viscous haze. Poured with a short white foam that reduced to a soapy cap with medium retention. Medium pilsner malt aroma. Medium light herbal hop aroma followed by sweet bready and boozy notes. Medium bodied with a creamy smooth feel and medium light carbonation. Medium malty flavor up front followed by light herbal hops and medium light hop bitterness. Definitive booziness from the middle to the end. Finished cleanly with a light bitterness and booziness. Certainly a boozy pilsner. The alcohol is smooth and warming, although a bit dominant.

Nov 26, 2015
Krampus from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 1270 ratings