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 THECPJ
3.47/5  rDev -11.5%
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.


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Photo of Thur123
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This brew pours a clear orange brown color with minimal white head. Slow and sparse carbonation. Smell is one note malt sweetness with a slight hop presence. 

Glug glug glug

The flavor is big bread malt with sweetness  a healthy noble hop edge comes through as well. A kind of veggie flavor comes through at the end. Overall a pretty good Brew but I'm not sure this style benefits from the Imperial treatment. Mouthfeel is a but thick and heavy and the drinkability is lacking as well. Not bad but I'm glad I didn't shell out the bucks for a bottle. 

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pretty damn good looking beer. Creamy off white head... Perfect clarity and almost a perfect amber color.. very sporadic carbonation making its way to the surface. Very good retention on the head. Some clumpy lacing remains..

Aroma is very nice, quite hoppy and floral. A touch of ginger perhaps. Maybe another spice.. More citrus/lemon comes through as I work through the glass.

Pretty interesting flavor.. Certainly bigger than the style dictates, but it is called an Imperial Helles... So I have to give them some poetic license. Starts with a citrus flourish, then some spices which appear to come from the yeast strain...? A bit of sweetness in the middle and some lemon... Then a moment of tartness and some hop bitterness. In the background there is a subtle black pepper note. You do know it has 9% abv.. The alcohol is there all through the flavor... I think this would be a better beer at 7% with less of this...

Medium/light body, big on flavor...

Not sure I want to kill the entire bomber myself. This is perhaps one to share...

Interesting, not great.

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Photo of vandemonian
3.49/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I bought Southern Tier Krampus has a translucent, deep orange colour and a decent head that dies away to good lacing within about a minute. This beer smells yeasty and a little boring like most lagers. This beer has the crisp and slightly bitter flavour you expect from a lager. I let the beer wash around in my mouth and the hops really came out. Delicious. This beer has a decent, slightly foamy feeling in my mouth. Overall, this is a very nice lager but the bitterness does build as you drink it.

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Photo of smcolw
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Modest off-white head that leaves spotty lace. Settles to a single layer of bubbles. Clear and amber colored.

Pleasant pine-hop smell with a solid malt base.

Lots of hops but without the biting bitterness. Dry and astringent. Full bodied with a low level. Outside of the bitter finish, this is a relatively mild flavored beer.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My taste buds get their feelings hurt when I read the terms "imperial" and "helles" in the same title. It's not clever, it's the flavor equivlent of using double negatives in fine literary works.

Krampus has a darker-than-expected golden color with mild haze. A froathy white head caps the beer and allows spotty lace with good retention.

Jumping out immediately is the high hopping rates that provide a sharply citric and spicy earth aroma, taste, and bitterness. Supportive malts seem deeply caramelized and give nearly as much Pale Ale character as that of Pilsner. Bread crust and light yeasty taste provide slight apple-like esters and sulfur character that adds a bit of zest to usher in a semi-dry malt finish with 9% warmth and a minty-cool taste and texture.

Where Imperialized Pilsners usually don't settle particularly well with me, the added caramel and bread crust flavor supports the assertive hop additions very well, allowing me to read the flavor and balance of IPAs moreso than a big Pilsner. Just don't make me read the self-promoted label again.

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Photo of Thingus
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Live tasting, bottle into Duvel Tulip

Appearance; pours a clear copper, with roughly two fingers of foamy straw colored head that quickly dissipates leaving a thin film of head with good lacing on the glass.

Smell; right out of the gate, Krampus hit me with a pretty wild fresh baked cherry almond bread kind of aroma... Wonderful, hoping it holds through to the flavor, as that is an incredible smell.

Taste; definitely yeasty and bready with some cherry or cranberry or other kind of red fruit esters creeping in at times... Missing is the almond and toast that I detected in the nose... A slight bit of alcohol astringency and hop bite on the finish.

Mouthfeel; slightly dry on the finish, that ties in well with the astringent alcohol notes in the beer, a little hop bite toward the end, with some residual bitterness...

Overall; I don't have a whole lot of experience with, or knowledge of this style, but I do know that I enjoyed the beer. I went into it with an open mind and a clean palate, while not an exceptional beer i do feel like it is a solid beer and I feel like this would be a good beer to drink in a liter mug!

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Photo of BuffaloTapHugger
3.51/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear burgundy color with a two finger white fluffy head, and lacing up and down the tumbler glass. This is the beers biggest highlight in my eyes.

S: Malty, earth tones, booze.

T: A nice blend of hop and malt with a splash a booziness mixed in. Kind of makes it a turnoff, but its tolerable to a degree. Best consumed in sipping form.

M: Medium body, little chunky, slick in texture, nice carbonation, ABV noticeable.

D: Probably will never have again, but I was very excited to give it a try. My mission of ST beers is technically complete now, with just three more stragglers to jot down. If your into Helles Lagers than I would recommend, all others are at their risk.

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Photo of gkunkle
3.51/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Judging this as an Imperial Helles Lager. Served around the suggested temp of 48 degrees in an old style coke glass, a great tasting glass I might add.

Body of the beer is a golden amber color (actual amber, not the color of amber ale) with a 3/4 inch tall head. No visible carbonation rising through the beer, head has very respectable retention considering the ABV of this beer, which would generally be a quick head killer. As I drink there is some fuzzy lacing left in my glass. Smell has a nice sweetness to it, sort of a malt sweetness but I also get a bit of apple sweetness and a floral hop scent as well. If you search for it, you'll find the alcohol smell, but it isn't prevalent. The taste is strong, but not overly aggressive, the way I suppose an imperial Helles ought to be. The malts seem to carry the beer, they are sweet on the front of the tongue. The middle of the sip gives a slightly odd floral bitterness, definitely characteristic of the hops, but something just seems off to me. Maybe I have a bad bottle. The taste of the alcohol doesn't come up at all. Mouthfeel is thick-ish. The bottle says 20 Plato. I didn't detect any carbonation in this. Overall, I like it as an imperial Helles, but I think there is room for improvement.

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Photo of beertunes
3.52/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a reddish-gold color with a half-inch of khaki colored head that average retention and good lacing.

The aroma was surprisingly malty, it reminded me of a bock, and had a slight spice note in the background. The flavor had a similar profile, with everything being amplified.

This beer is very full-bodied and quite drinkable. This my first shot at an "Imperial Helles", and I'm not sure what this style is supposed to be like, but I enjoyed this beer quite a lot.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've enjoyed all the Southern Tier products I've tried, but this one just didn't do it for me. In my pilsener glass the beer was an amber color with a thick white head that quickly dissipated. The aroma confused me a little: malt, fruit, and spice that didn't go well together. Same thing with the taste. I thought the beer was overly spiced, and not terribly enjoyable.

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Photo of claspada
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clean orange-ish to amber color, with an off white head. In the aroma, sweet malt and some fruit notes. In the taste, semi dry malt, some lager like notes and hints of alcohol. A small bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry lager like aftertaste. A malty, big lager. Hints of alcohol, but not too over the top.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pale orange with a firm one finger very light tan head holds strong with a fair bit of lacing.
S- Aroma is fairly like a lightly hopped IPA. There is a pretty firm pale malt sweet, almost sugar cookie aroma with a citrus hop balance.
T- Bready, lightly sweet all the way through with a fair amount of malty sweetness. It is clear they used a fair amount of hops as the citrus nature of the hops comes through pretty well. A bit of pine resin.
M- Quite full bodied with a bit of sugaryness sticking to the tongue. Could use a bit more carbonation. The alcohol has a noticable presence.
O- It's an all around good beer but I don't know if it is so good as to merit it's price tag.

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Photo of ffejherb
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bomber into small weizen glass on 6/20/09.

A - Poured a clear amber/orange body with a slender white head that receded to a thin retention but yielded thick ornate lacing.

S - Aroma combines sweet caramel malt with a fruity character and perfumy hops. Hints of orange and citrus hops also emerge as the liquid warmed up a bit.

T - Flavor is primarily floral and perfumy with a hefty caramel malt presence. Some subtle alcohol and spicy notes also emerge in the backend. However, this is quite sweet and syrupy overall.

M - Medium to full bodied with a thick, syrupy texture and moderate carbonation with a subtle prickly feel. Finishes with warm alcohol notes and moderate bitterness on the palate.

D - Overall, I found this to be a little too heavy and sweet. I typically like a Helles to be crisp and refreshing, but this was a bit too over the top. I generally love Southern Tier's big beers, but this one was just a little underwhelming overall.

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Photo of AtrumAnimus
3.54/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a nice amber, practically orange, beautifully rich color with a head that is thick and settles slowly. The head is just a tiny bit off white in color hinting that the amber is transferred to the foam. The head settles extremely slowly and leaves a nice lacing down the glass.

The nose is dominated by the hops with a floral undertone. Nice but not great. Adequate at best.

The taste matches the description and name sake for this beer, Krampus. He very much sounds like a bitter character and this is a very bitter beer. I would say it more reminds me of an ESB on steroids.The hopping subdues the lagering making this more of a hop heads dream come true.

I think this beer would make an excellent lager if they backed the hops off about 15%. As for an Imperial it is quite good.

The moutfeel is just right for this style, if it were thinker the hops would most likely have an unpleasant finish, this instance of extreme hopping finishes surprisingly clean.

Overall I like this but it isn't my favorite. I can see myself drinking this again, however, I see my self changing the direction my hand goes if I were to reach for as there are others that are much better for the same price.

I recommend trying it as this is a great IPA/Lager. Just not my favorite.

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Photo of Sammy
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A quality Euro strong lager,a good example of that style, with significant hops. A little soapy head on orangey body, a good amount of lace. The hop aroma is there. Creamy mouthfeel, initially, and then more or less average mouthfeel. Not too drinkable, but drinkable bitterness.

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Photo of zoolzoo
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Dive Bar, West Haven CT.

A: Pours deep amber, clear, slightly off white foamy head. Excellent retention, sticky lacing.

S: Doughy bread, grain, distant hops. Aromas are subtle but distinct.

T: Husky, grainy malt. Second malt component mid sip is more like honey drizzled biscuit. Hops kick in mid sip to finish as well...think fading DIPA, pine sappy, sugar coated. Could have done without the cranked up hoppiness this time. Too much bitterness.

M: Thick but well carbed.

O: A slightly confused lager. Didnt really like the hop profile in this otherwise great beer.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.56/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark clear gold, foamy soap bubble white head, lots of head retention and heavy lacing, appears to have a fairly thick body

S: biscuity malts on the front followed by a stong bitter hop profile, earthy and spicy hops here, everything seems a little subdued on the nose

T: the taste dos not hold back like the nose... a huge malt profile with caramel, molasses, and bready notes followed by a nice dose of bitter hops. Finishes with a bit of warming from the alcohol.

MF: thick body, syrupy

D: this drinks like a malty DIPA. Maybe that's just because I haven't had a whole lot of beers that fit this style. Never the less, a very interesting beer and worth the try. Due to the burn and the syrupy texture, this one is not suited for a session

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Photo of rickyleepotts
3.56/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I really like Southern Tier beers. We can't get them here in Arizona, but they have a great line of beers including their IPA, 2XIPA, and their Creme Brulee Stout. Oh, and their Choklat Stout. They are some pretty aggressive beers, and I am pumped to try this one. I have never had this, and was surprised to hear that it was a Christmas beer. It is almost July, so I guess we are going to have Christmas in July… or June. Today was the hottest day of the year, so it seems fitting! Pumped to try this. Let's drink!

In the Glass: I didn't expect this to be this dark. It is a nice rich copper color and a nice sticky lace. Not much head, but I am excited to dig in. Plus, this is imperial and has a big ABV. We are reviewing 3 beer tonight, so I hope I am not hammered by the time we finish! Let's see what this smells like.

Nose: It smells like a lager… fitting, right? It has a nice subtle sweetness to it, but nothing too exciting. The bottle does say to drink this at 48 degrees, which is quite cold. This is right from the fridge, so it should be near that temperature. The bottle also says a lot more… but we will get to that soon enough. I am ready to see what this beer tastes like. Cheers! (I am going to start saying that more often, for the record.)

Flavor: Whoa, that is great. It tastes like it smells, but WAY better. It has an immediate sweetness to it, and a somewhat spicy flavor. Not too much spice, but a nice subtle spice that I can groove with. I wonder if this pairs well with food around the holidays. Maybe I should trade for this again in a few months.

Mouthfeel: There are a few more bubbles than I wanted, but that's OK. They aren't overwhelming. I will say, as this sits on my mouth, the flavor really sticks around. I keep licking my lips and those spices are sticking around. They don't make a basic beer like this, but I would like to try it if they did. The imperial part throws me off, but helps me decide whether to buy a beer.

Aftertaste: There isn't much aftertaste here, but I keep going back to those spices sticking around on the inside of my mouth. This beer is dangerously drinkable. I bet I could drink a bomber of this and not even realize that I did. I call those beers dangerous!

This is good. I like the spicy flavors in the finish. The finish is also a big dry… and continues to dry as I sit here and swallow. Oh, and I like the label. The little guy is crazy scary! Not sure what bottle is up next, but we have two more coming. Cheers! (See, I told you I was going say this more often.)

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Photo of Seanibus
3.56/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very strong and malty and sweet. Not very lagery either - I would almost peg this for a smooth Double IPA of some sort, or even a gentle Barleywine.

Pours a deep hazy amber with a big fluffy head and sticky lacing. The aroma is the only clearly lagerish part of this beer, with a muted brown sugar aroma that would probably be sharper in an ale. The flavor is very malty and sugary, with toffee and caramel in abundance, a surprising hop bite, and a lingering hop bitterness in the background the mouthfeel is very thick and gooey with a little sting of alcohol on the finish that betrays the heavy duty ABV.

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Photo of Pencible
3.56/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a clear copper color with a bit of white head. It smelled strongly like rose, with cultured yeast and copper and grassy hops, and a bit of cherry blossom and oak. It tasted like powerful rose hops, with some sour yeast and rusted copper hops, and a bit f roasted barley. It was watery with some carbonation, and had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this had a very clean flavor and a fitting body for the style. It wasn't quite my taste, but this was definitely a well constructed beer. It hid the alcohol well, which made it pretty easy to drink. Not really a holiday beer to me, and not one that I'd personally try again, but I would recommend it to others as an early autumn beer.

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Photo of ianjsullivan
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

ST: 22oz bomber poured into a snifter.

A: An interesting amber that when held up to the light takes on a bright orange hue. Spotty lacing all the way around the glass from a thin head that quickly settles to a mere mist on top. A few quick swirls brings back the head.

S: Strong citrus, grapefruit, and bubblegum that ( I guess) come from the Willamette hops. A slight bit of caramel is in the background. There is a slightly green or metallic aroma that is hard to place, but the aroma may just be the alcohol.

T: Bubblegum and citrus with slight burnt caramel is overpowered by a sharp, bitter, spicy, pine and grapefruit finish that does not go away. The hops are the star of this show.

M: Medium and very dry.

O: Lots of hop flavor dominates this beer and gives it a Krampus bite. The malt is lost quickly in the never ending hop finish. In fact, the beer could use a bit more balance even if it is labeled an imperial.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip snifter glass. Bottle date of December 5th 2011.

An off white quite thick and large head. Foamy in character, lots of retention. Body is a nice crystal clear brandishing ruby orange, with red hints and rising carbonation.

Nose is light malts, and faint hint of thick sweetness. Kind of closed as well. Nice bouquet but not much to really say here.

Taste seems to be interesting. More like a strong ale in character with a thick malt presence. Palate brings some nice hop body with a lingering bitterness and sense of subdued grapefruit, and a spicy finish.

Overall interesting beer, but nothing that makes me desire or want to have this again.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle, 9% abv. Pours a cloudy copper color with some peach highlights. White head holds for a minute, then fades to a thin ring. Great patches of lace.

Aroma of caramel malt, comes across a bit smokey. Some floral hops with some underlying citrus. Very interesting.

Lots of caramel malt up front without too much sweetness. A good amount of smoky, meaty flavor. Some orange and citrusy flavor at the end. Good amount of bitterness.

Medium body, good amount of carbonation. Some warmth from alcohol, but not overwhelming. A complex, interesting lager.

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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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