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: 1,252
Photo of JRed
3.13/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear, orange with a red tint topped by a light, white bubbles that do a speedy disappearing act. Light honey, corn, floral, rubber, and some grass in the nose. Corn, plastic, rubber, bitterness, dry metallic notes occupy the taste along with some booze. High carbonation and a slow sipper.

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Photo of Minkybut
3.14/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I poured this beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees the beer was a amber color that had a big caramel smell. The beer was a little bitter but really what stood out was the hot alcohol after burn. It just blew any taste away. The beer had decent lacing but whoop di doo. I will not buy again. Cool label.

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Photo of morimech
3.15/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Krampus is an Imperial Helles Lager that does not look like a Helles, does not smell like a Helles, and it definately does not drink like a Helles.

Pours a slightly hazy copper color with a small white head that has good retention. Large amounts of spotty lacing is left behind.

Well hopped up aroma. Pine and floral hop aroma with a little medicinal qualities sums things up.

The hops dominate the flavor as well. Resinous and medicinal qualities with very little malt profile makes this extremely unbalanced. Extreme bitterness like that is found in a DIPA. The alcohol is well masked.

Has a medium body which is needed to carry all the hops and alcohol. Low carbonation lends a nice texture without letting the flavors being cloying.

Another beer I don't get. Does not have any characteristic of a Helles Lager where everything is in balance. The American hop bill does not make me think of Munich. Tone the hops down a bit and allow the malt to come out and you might be onto something. Maybe use Mt. Hood hops instead of Willamette as well. I found it difficult to drink this 650ml bottle.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.2/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle received from MeanGene in a recent trade. Thanks, Eugene!

Poured into a pilsner glass. Pours a dark ruby/amber with a big sticky off-white head on top. Excellent retention; left tons of sticky lace. Scents of sharp hops, pine, citrus, etc. Absent of some of the more commone pilsner scents. This smells more like an Amber ale.

The mouth is moderately crisp, but the alcohol slicks this one up a bit. Very boozy in the flavor. Lots of ethanol. Bitter with lots of hop presence. Finish is slightly boozy as well. I normally like this style, but as I've said with others, I'm not sure this style needs to be "imperial-ized."

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Photo of EMH73
3.22/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

First sip and I am overwhelmed by citrusy hops, predominately grapefruit, followed by an unpleasant bitterness. There is also a grassy, piney quality that I did not enjoy. First Southern Tier that I did not enjoy.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.23/5  rDev -17.6%
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.

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Photo of bluehende
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.

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Photo of barczar
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This is obviously from last year.

Aroma is floral, with a significant amount of caramel malt and that classic lager yeast character. There's a touch of specialty malt fruitiness.

Flavor reveals a more dominant fruitiness, likely attributable to specialty malt and citrusy hop character, with a crisp lager finish and fairly high bitterness. The toasted malt character is tea-like, and a boot overly done.

I'm not a huge bitter fan, so this is not to my liking. The citrus hop character is the only redeeming quality.

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Photo of utopiajane
3.28/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This pours with brilliant clarity and s small stream of bubbles rising up to meet a thick head of off white foam from a vigorous pour that fell slow enough and left reasonable lace. Nose is at first bright with citrus peel and caramel malt. Then as it warms a mineral or metallic smell starts to evolve and a yeasty twang like in a traditional lager. The hops are floral and the malt is caramel instead of bread and I find that it smells a lot like a DIPA one minute and then a little bit like a lager the next. Orange peel. The taste is somewhat flat and muddled. I would even call it stagnant mid palate. The beer has a tremendous citrus but it isn't crisp it's just tart. The yeast trying to be a lager yeast adds a bit of sour twang and the metallic taste doesn't go well with that. The malt is sweet and caramel but bread would be enough. There's a bit of spice and a bit of alcohol on the palate.

This finishes with not only a hop bitter but a metallic aftertaste and a sour off flavor. It also finishes slick and with some hop oil. As this drinks it becomes more pleasant. Lemon takes over in the finish.

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Photo of DerAtomsmasher
3.29/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a gorgeous amber with a with a substantial head, quickly vanishing.

S: A sort of astringent hop aroma; herbaceous and alcoholic on the nose. A little bit of biscuit, too.

T: I guess this style could be more malty & sweet (not typically my thing), so I guess I'm happy that this is on the drier side. That said, this one's all hops & isn't all that much fun to get through after the first few minutes spent with it. Minty hops and bitterness that never lets the malts (and a weird grain bill it is) show themselves & the alcohol burn eschews any other flavors at the end.

M: A little chewy and bitter.

I bought this because an "Imperial Helles" sounded like the exact opposite of all the winter ales I've been punishing myself with lately. This was not as refreshing as I was hoping & I'm not sure where they get helles on here. It's interesting but not my thing, really.

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Photo of jtierney89
3.3/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliantly clear and vibrant deep orange color with a super sticky 2 finger off white head. Sweet subtle caramel malt on the nose with hints of biscuit and grain. Some earthy hops hidden underneath it all.

Medium in body with good carbonation. Strange front of the tongue bitterness. Very subdued flavor with a weaker malt profile than expected. Some toasty butteryness but not much with grassy bitter hops. Drinks like a somewhat more bitter hellos lager but the strangest part about this beer is that for such modest flavor the alcohol content is nowhere to be found.

Good beer but I expected a bit more from southern tier.

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Photo of david18
3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

You can always count on Southern Tier to offer crazy styles. Krampus drinks more like a double IPA than any sort of lager and I usually have it during those moods.

Appearance was light copper/gold. Nice head that definitely stuck around for a while.

Aroma was a bit boozy but otherwise quite malty, definitely the biggest difference from a double ipa.

The taste is also boozy but usually what I'm looking for when I order it. Malty and sweet there is also a good hop balance in this beer.

I like it and would recommend. It is among my favorite southern Tier selections.

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Photo of froghop
3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours a clear orange with a medium size off-white head, and some lacing.

smell is faint, caramel, and some malt.

taste is somewhat watery, hops, caramel, nuts, and earth, ends somewhat dry and slightly bitter.

overall more of an IPA than a helles.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First off, the label of this beer is insane. Seriously insane. There is no born on date but it is recommended that I serve this beer at 48 degrees Fahrenheit, I'm pretty close to that. Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass. Beer is clear and reddish / brown, light in color. No head and therefore no lacing. Carbonation mild to moderate.

Lagerish in aroma, some sweetness, no bready or bitter notes, no yeast character at all, smooth and mild.

Medium bodied, interesting flavor. Overall good, decent. Some aftertaste, no bitterness really, some sweetness up front, an odd brew for sure. Second taste, I'm a little slow, this is my last beer for the night, some nutty character to it, and I can taste the alcohol, unfortunate. Drinkability moderate, mouthfeel is fine.

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Photo of number1bum
3.35/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark copper color, slightly reddish, thick looking but with good clarity and a creamy three fingers of light beige head. Leaves an uneven lace, with a dollop in the middle and a good amount of stick around the rim and on the sides.

Smell has a very interesting hop aroma to it; it's citrusy but also quite floral, with a slight grassy quality to it. It's like an Americanized German hop bill, which I suppose makes sense. Also some malt sweetness and some grainy notes.

Taste is grassier than the smell, with more grassy and spicy noble hop flavor. Still some citrus, as well, and some lightly toasted grain and a bit of malt sweetness. There's also a weird sort of stinky cheese flavor going on. As is common with many Southern Tier brews, this is a bit on the hot side with a warming alcohol in the taste. It finishes with a prominent grassy bitterness left hanging on the palate along with some more stinky cheese. It's odd, and seems to be all over the place. It doesn't quite come together for me.

Mouthfeel is close to full bodied, with a nice creaminess. It's a little harsh though with the bitterness and sort of messy flavors.

This is interesting, but it's a bit over the top. Then again I guess that's to be expected with an imperial Helles. Worth a try, but probably not something I'd be inclined to come back to.

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Photo of DuffmanCanNeverDie
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

First off, let me just start off by saying that IPAs are really not my thing. Now, this tasted A LOT like an IPA to me.. So much so that if you put like 5 different IPAs in front of me & threw this in the mix, I probably wouldn't be able to pick it out from the others. If you like IPAs, you'd probably enjoy this, but it's a bit too piney for my liking.

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Photo of Geegmasta
3.39/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance- The body is a deep amber color with a white head that remains for quite awhile. The head is bubbly and about 0.5'' thick.

Smell- Hoppy with coriander and grassy. Has a slight fruity undertone.

Taste- A mild hop taste but semi-sweet then you get bombarded with a nice citrus/orange aftertaste with a slight bit of oregano. No hint of the 9% ABV.

Mouthfeel- Light bodied with little carbonation. No real effects other than a standard liquid in your mouth.

Overall- Not a bad beer, I really thought I wasn't going to enjoy it from the smell but it turned out to taste much better than it smelled. It's just not a good beer though. I feel like nothing really blends well with this and is a bit bland in the beginning of the taste. I am likely not to buy this again.

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Photo of Jayli
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had at Bukowski's on 1/7

A: This beer pours a deep copper color with a one finger of creamy head. Head retains nicely coating the glass with lacing.

S: Nose is citrus and piney hops, with a healthy dosing of biscuit.

T: Taste starts out with a citrus bite to it, filled out by caramel malts and heavy biscuit flavoring. Finish is slightly piney.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, creamy mouthfeel with a slightly sticky finish.

D: Somewhat tasty, goes down easily. Not a bad beer, but one that I would pass on in the future.

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Photo of woodsyy
3.41/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bomber poured into pint glass

a: pours a dark copper, very golden, good visibility throughout

s: the smell was very average to me, I was kind of disappointed. very small hoppy smell, slighty floral

t: very crisp tasting beer, most of the flavor I'm getting is hops.

m: bitterness, smooth, medium-to-light body

o: I want to preface this saying that I'm not a big lager drinker, overall the beer was just slightly above average to me - this just being that is probably one of the better lagers I've tried.

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Photo of krazyboi
3.41/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a 30 oz. glass mug.
A:Dark amber color and pours a nice thick head which dissipates relatively quickly.
S:Piney hop aroma, somewhere inbetween an APA and an IPA. A bit of caramel also if you try to smell beyond the hops.
T:Bitter and sweet taste up front. Grapefruit towards the end.
M:Feels thicker in the mouth than it would seem.
D:Not bad. Easy to drink. Probably could drink two bombers of this and feel really good afterwards...

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Photo of seedsofchaos
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A bottle is popped and the scent of fresh hops fills the vicinity. Strange.. Pacific Northwest hops in a Helles Lager. Pours a golden apricot. Excellent clarity. Beautiful head. A good one inch white and billowing head makes this very nice to look at. I haven't really been disappointed with Southern Tier's larger format bottle of any variety quite yet. Once in my pint glass the aroma is significantly different. Bready and sweet definitely but there is a hint of spice in there as well. The spice plays in the back of my nostrils much like a cold chai latte. Perhaps there's a touch of cinnamon or nutmeg in there. Can't grasp it long enough to make a solid correlation.

The flavor hits one first more like a pale ale. It's a touch medicinal with a full mouthfeel. Wow, this thing spiderwebs like crazy and that lacing doesn't seem to be going anywhere. A little bit of that signature lager yeast funk comes in but doesn't take away from the rest of the beer. A bit astringent and a bit of cardboard comes through. This bottle is a bit old... Found it on clearance at my local. Figured I'd still give it a whirl. The wonderful florals that come through in the aroma don't really carry over into the taste so whether or not this is due to design or age I can't really be sure.

This isn't a bad beer. This isn't a great beer. This sample probably was a bit too old of a beer though. Definitely filling and full-bodied but, still, this brew doesn't really do it for me personally. I think, as far as style goes, it's a fairly decent offering that's just had too many months on it. A seasonal for Christmas... drank in February...

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Photo of BMoney575
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled on 3-28-10

Pours a clear amber color with a thick head that leaves big, craggy lacing.

Smell is earthy hops, quite tame, with a slightly sweet malt backing. A little spicy, and maybe a hint of adjunct.

Taste is very bitter, very earthy, and that's about it. The bitterness is in-your-face, drowning out and subtle flavors that might be there.

Mouthfeel is decent, but a little thin with strong carbonation that adds to the bitterness.

Drinkability is also decent, at least the alcohol is well masked.

Overall, not my thing, but try it.

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Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served cold in a Boston Lager glass.

Pours bright medium amber with a yellowish tan head of fine bubbles and slight lacing.

Aroma is a punch in the face of grassy and citrusy hops. Some toasty malty sweetness behind that.

Flavor is grassy, notably bitter, with ale-like esters. Reminds me of my homebrew Imperial Pils.

Overall the grassy citrus nose really dominates. If you love that, dry hop with Willamette, otherwise don't. It's a pleasant beer, but not one I'd grab a second bottle of instead of trying something different.

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Photo of marcpal
3.44/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

22oz bomber poured into Tremens tulip glass.

Bottle Graphics: 9/10. One of the best.

A: Amber cherry red with a filmy head and nice lacing throughout. Did I just pour myself a Pliny?

S: Intense hops like riding your bike in the dark and getting smacked in the lips of a pine tree or evergreen. I dont get the spices or the sweetness in the aroma, just a smattering of bitterness.

T: Sweet and piney. I see nothing that ties it to the helles family but Im surely not a helles epert. For all intents and purposes, this taste like a DIPA, a sweet one at that. Ridiculously bitter and I had to hunt down the spices and even with that didnt think there was nearly enough to create a balancing act.

M: Just a little bit of carbonation. Thick and enormously coating, somewhat off puttingly sweet when I poured it. My fault there in that I should have let it warm up where it did improve. This beer stings a bit.

D: Others have mentioned that the alcohol is barely noticeable, I highly disagree. Drinkability is not easy from a bomber. The bizarre hops and powerful fuel like alcohol dont make it easy. Still a solid cold weather sipper but not one Im pushing to get back to.

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Photo of Daniellobo
3.46/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Assertive and hefty larger. A bit harsh and predominantly bitter with a boozy and tiny sweet finish.

Presentation: 22 oz bottle. Contemporary design around a representation of Krampus, the deliverer of punishment to bad kids during Christmas. Side explains inspiration behind naming the brew after this devil, followed by a small note explaining the intent of the brew, and season greetings. No printed bottling date on side, does not note IBUs, but shows °Plato (20), and Alc. (9.0%) alongside detailed list of ingredients, and recommended drinking temperature and glassware. Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Medium to deep amber pour. Generous head, medium to low retention and little lacing.

S - Sweet and with a bitter hop range.

T - Hoppy profile with a distinctive larger flow but leans on a bitter range, not a very remarkable bitterness though. Sweet finish sometimes as it warms a bit. Comes an goes. Malt coated in crash bitterness.

M - Medium body, leaning on a heavy finish, and medium carbonation. Bitter finish with a thick textured note.

D - Not a sipper, but tries to be a complex boozy brew, and it is left somehow as an assertive larger. Not bad but not that drinkable.

Notes: It's decent but not particularly of my liking. I'm not specially fond of the larger strain and here it is pumped up and expanded, so if that is something that sounds enticing this might be for you. Biting and a bit harsh for me in this incarnation...

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Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 1,252 ratings.
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