Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) | Southern Tier Brewing Company

very good
454 Reviews
Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager)Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager)

Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Pilsner

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by brewdlyhooked13 on 07-15-2008

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Reviews: 454 | Ratings: 1,254
Photo of Tbn2
4.86/5  rDev +24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this one on tap at Blue Tusk in Syracuse.

Pours a clear amber/cooper body with no head present.

The smell is full of hop aromas. A big evergreen presence from the hops; almost smells like throwing a bunch of pine needles on a fire. The grains have add a good toasted smell, but are hardly noticeable with the big hop flavor.

Taste is just what you would expect from the smell. Hops have a very clean, bright, and fresh taste to them. The malts comes in a the end of the to give it a little bit of sweetness and add that roasted flavor. Only complaint: Carbonation was a little light for my taste.

This is a great one from one of my favorite NY breweries.

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Photo of buzzedup
4.85/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is the real deal . after one taste you will wish it is year round but then again. its nice to have something at that special time of the year to look forwatd too.

A. cannot look any better a perfect clear color with nice bubbles and perfect head

S. like Christmas smells like a pine tree dipped in uberness. nothing but east coast hops for the win.
T. perfect just perfect... taste like a Christmas tree with some malts and great aftertaste. again this is my all time new favorite beer for Christmas. it is that good!!!

M. very thick nice syrup , full body taste , perfect for tis the season.


happy HOLIDAYS....

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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 cdizinno
4.72/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Poured into a tulip glass from a 22oz brown bomber, as shown, with no freshness date.

A: Bright amber orange color. Completely clear with a minimal off-white head after a vigorous pour. Nice lacing.

S: Nice hop aroma with wild flowers to citrus undertones and a nice balance of malt sweetness.

T&M: Heavy bodied thick beer. Nice hoppy lager. Smooth with minimal bitterness. Maltiness comes in first with a toasty, caramel sweetness until the hops finish flattens most of that down.

This is definitely a great holiday brew, especially if you don't want all the spices!!!

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Photo of madtappers
4.7/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a imperial glass.

Nice dark brown color, with a white head. Aroma was hoppy, not sure if it was really a piney or citrus smell, just a nice clean hop smell.

First drink was pure bliss, has a taste of a smooth barley wine with a perfect mix of both hops and malt back. Very drinkable for a 8% beer.

I will drink this one again next Christmas season!!!!

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Photo of rhinos00
4.7/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a pint glass.

A- Clear amber. Nice off white 2 finger thick head. Reduced to a nice thin layer and provided beautiful lacework as the beer was consumed.

S- Smelled like a bouquet of flowers. Detected a hint of sweetness in the background.

T- Amazing. Fresh hops are the first thing to hit the palate. This was followed by a distinct, yet subtle sweetness as the beer was consumed. Perfect.

M- Medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation. Coated the tongue and palate very nicely.

D- The alcohol content was virtually undectable. I could proabably drink a 6-pack and not think anything of it.

Overall, very impressed. ST should make this a traditional christmas brew as I would make sure to stock up on this every year. After I finished off this bomber, I felt like Krampus gave me a few good whacks on the head with his wooden stick. Mass respect for ST on coming out with this quality brew.

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Photo of N8rock
4.68/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer was tasted at our beer tasting group. We poured a bomber out into four glasses. It produced a barely off-white head that held well and left lots of lacing in the glass. The color was amber with stunning clarity. The nose was very pronounced with hops of citrus, pine, and floral characteristics. The sappy nose carried over to the palate where is was met with a lightly sweet bready malt and yeast flavor. The beer had some lasting complexity on the finish with a great backbone of bitterness. I couldn't believe I was drinking a lager!

This beer went down very easy for me (being a hop head), and I could have been very satisfied with having the full 22oz to myself. Next time I buy one, I won't be sharing it.

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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 allergictomacros
4.57/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Clear amber/red with a dense head of foam.

S - Nose is hoppy, fruity and boozy. Citrus, pine, apple, and mango.

T - Sweet and intensely hoppy. There's a bare hint of caramel, but is quickly overwhelmed by a resinous pine hop. Sweet fruitiness and apple comes through as well. Finish is a moderately bitter and very clean and smooth.

M - Moderate body and carbonation. Again, smooth but not oily or heavy in any way.

D - Very drinkable. Tasty, and a bit different from a DIPA.

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Photo of cnally
4.55/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Another day, another beer influenced by devils. Is this all my life has become? Worshipping the evil snifter filled with hell's drink? Not a bad way to live, if you ask me.

The appearance is a fiery amber color in the body, transparent for the most part, with a confident white head that sticks nicely to the glass.

Aromas of a heavy dose of malt, pumpkin, aging white grape, and a flicker of piney hops.

An amazing convocation of initially heavy piney hop flavor and a sweetness from a caramel malt in the middle, with a distinct phenolic quality. The hop fades from the starter burst, and the beer finishes with a spicy orange peel and malt.

The mouthfeel comes off a little ragged, sticky and over thick, but still highly respectable.

An excellent beer, any way you slice it. Refreshing, filling and really tasty with layers. I couldn't imagine a beer achieving much more than this beer, especially within the confines of an imperial pilsner.

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Photo of ccrida
4.55/5  rDev +16.1%
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!

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Photo of beckje01
4.55/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Light amber color white head thin but very nice lacing.

S- Nose full of green hops just smells like I stuck my face in the vines.

T- Super hop taste but not in a bitter way. Tastes almost sweet very tasty. Easy on the pallet.

M- Great thickness feels nice and smooth.

D- Very drinkable, this beer does a great job of stepping outside of the Helles style to bring it to something else. Imperial Helles Lager fits well.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.55/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle for $7.69 @ Bevco. 9.0% abv. * 20º plato. Brewed with 2-row pale, debittered black malt, munich malt, and caramel malt. Chinook kettle hops, and Willamette dry hops. Lagered for at least 30 days.

Pours out to a clear medium amber, forming a large sticky light yellow head with excellent retention and one big solid sheet of lace with a medium-light carbonation. Nice looking. The aroma is very nice....pineapple, mango and grapefruit for the citric hop nose, balanced by a large sticky amber malt body, akin to Arrogant Bastard, with apples, honey and cherries in there as well. Mouthfeel is very soft and very smooth with a dense, rich syrupy body. The taste is a recap of the aroma with lots of malts nicely balanced by the assertive hop flavor with an overall mild bitterness. Lingering sweetness in the aftertaste with freshly milled grain husk and toast hanging on the tongue. No perceptable off flavors or aromas. Excellent drinkability despite it's strength, but you might want to share it with someone. It's a meal unto itself.

This reminds me of what I would like Arrogant Bastard to taste like...sweeter, less bitter, and exceptionally smooth. Akin to an Olde Ale, I would gladly buy this again. Highly recommended!

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Photo of Celt44
4.54/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a beautiful dark amber hue with a frothy head..with lacing that lasts througout..

Aroma - Strait up Southern Tier - strong floral hops...followed by a malty, biscuty blast...some fruitiness, as always, mixed in.

Tate - A perfect balance, IMHO, of malts and hops STBC has ever done. Bitter hops up front with sugary malts to follow. Hard to say, but, this beer is basically...hops and malts....period.

Mouthfeel - Beautiful and patient..

Overll another excellent selection from STBC. Absolutely delicious...

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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 corey0212
4.54/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a crystal clear coppery/amber color, decent sized tan head fades slowly, and leaves rings of lacing on the way down. Tons and tons and tons of piney aromas, some candy-sweet malt lingers in the background, but this is one piney smelling brew! Taste definitely delivers on the pine promise, but the malty flavors are actually pretty rich, some nice caramel flavors, and a faint alcohol hotness. Really clean mouthfeel, lots of lingering spice/hops...yeah, Southern Tier does it again. Love this.

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

Pours a nice copper color with yellow highlights around the edges, a huge, pillowy off-white head that left some very nice lacing down the pilsner glass. A thick cap sticks around throughout. This is one of the best smelling lagers I've come across - Enormous amounts of hops, plenty of pine, light citrus, sweet, and lightly floral. I'm so glad they used American hops rather than the Nobles, which would have been the norm for this style. This is much better. Taste is bitter up front, plenty of oily hop resins, backed up by some toasty malt, sweet honey, and hints of smokiness in there somewhere. Very tasty! Creamy mouthfeel, smooth and crisp. Definitely some lager characteristics here, but this tastes like an DIPA. Maybe we should call this an Imperial India Pale Lager?

Oh so good. I didn't know a Helles lager could be this dark, but I'll bite. After all, this is ST. They do things differently, and I'm glad they do. Forget Santa Claus, this Krampus guy brings the real gifts! Excellent.

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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 BeardedBoffin
4.51/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Imperial Helles, isn't that an oxymoron? In any case, Krampus appears a dark amber color with a nice cap of foam which clings to glass as the liquid interface falls. The aroma is a nice balance of caramel and lemony hops. The alcohol opens the senses. Surprisingly carbonated, almost prickly, on the palate. The malt notes (bread, biscuit, and dark fruit) are briskly swept away as the hops takes over. Resinous pine, grapefruit, old fashion bitterness and a wave of booze finish this off in a big dollop of hops. A nice brew that invites the drinker to have more. I don't know if I would call this a Helles, but it is good.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brilliant clear copper to amber topped with a 1” foam collar that dissipates quickly leaving good lacing with very strong hop aromas. Aggressively hopped but has good clean malt as well to back up the hops – the hops are where the action is and it is almost like a tonic.

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a bomber into a tulip glass. A beautiful copper colored beer that has an equally beautiful thick tan head. Head goes rocky as it fades and gooey lacing is left behind in abundant quantities.

Big spicy hops in the nose, piney and bitter. Some roasty malt in the background. Tastes of pine, spice, and alcohol, entwined around a sweet caramel maltiness. Big bitter finish, with a hop bite and alcohol warmth that linger pleasantly. Is there a clean lager finish behind that? Maybe...but I might be imagining it because if you told me this was an American Strong Ale I would believe you.

Big bodied, noticably viscous, but oh so drinkable. Style aside, this is a tasty beer.

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Photo of SteveB24
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

super juicy and fruity, with a nice bitter finish, this tastes much more like a fine, creamy, IPA then any type of lager i've had but its really awesome.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber. no date found.

for goodness' sake, this need to be reclassified as an "imperial pilsner". yes, they call it an "imperial helles", but to classify this as a "helles" here on BA is an affront to the standard bearers of the style, just as the so-called "imperial pilsners" would be insulting to the classic pilsners if listed as such. i'm reviewing this as if it were listed under "american double/imperial pilsner".

golden, clear amber. lots of rocky, off-white head, slowly fades to puffy, constant layer. great lacing.

aroma: strong hops, but with citrus and pine notes too, melding into a rich caramel, plus more fruity apple and citrus.

taste: strong caramelized malts and apple fruitiness are quickly met by bold hopping, plus some citrus and pine, probably from american varieties. quite a burst of flavors!

lightly syrupy and smooth throughout. moderate carbonation gives nice lift.

an intriguingly wonderful choice for a holiday brew.

again, this needs to be compared with the so-called "double/imperial pilsners". otherwise it's totally off-kilter as a traditional "helles".

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Photo of adamette
4.49/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Live Review. Poured from the bomber that I bought at Heinen's in Willoughby Hills, Ohio for $7.99 the other day into my Cooperstown Beverage Trail pint glass. No observed "best by" date but the very "fresh" appearing label as well as the 10 or 12 it was stocked next to in the cooler at the store lead me to believe that it is this year's vintage.

A Fluffy very light brown head over a translucent honey colored body. Head leaves good lacing on the glass. 4.0

S I am loving the Chinook wet hop and Wilamette dry hops in the smell of this beer! They are very floral and aromatic but not overpowering. Really, I returned to sniff several times, enjoying how it smells. There is also some grainy malt sweetness in there after repeated smells but it is those hops that will please you first. 5.0

T/M Great, great balance of the aforementioned hops and malt with a nice light syrupy feel, not unlike a full nectar which coats the inside of my mouth and allows for a great, long aftertaste. There certainly is a bite to the tastes but they are all nicely balanced and I would say moderate in intensity. This might be my new favorite lager! I am very impressed. I think that you will be too. 4.5

D This is one of the easiest drinking 9% ABV beers that I have had and, for the style, I am very impressed. The bomber, however, will be enough for me this evening! 4.0

Notes: Another really good beer from Southern Tier which expands my appreciation of them.

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Photo of Vineyard
4.48/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Overall: Very tasty brew. I'm enjoying it with some high quality goat/cow bleu cheese and the two compliment each other very nicely. I would say that it is quite a departure from the style but as a hophead I really like it. So far I've tried it both out of a stein and a tulip.

Appearance: Beautiful color, 1 1/2 fingers of head that fades down nicely leaving some lacing.

Smell: Very piney. Some citrus notes.

Taste: Very very clean. Finishes dry, lots of beautiful hop notes especially towards the end. I agree with others that this could put many Double IPA's to shame.

Mouthfeel: Very nice feel, a lot of effervescence from the carbonation.

Drinkability: Very good. So far tonight I've had a 1-litre stein straight up and a tulip while snacking on some cheese and crackers. I wasn't sure about this beer to begin with but after trying it with the cheese I love it.

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Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 1,254 ratings.
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