Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) | Southern Tier Brewing Company

BA SCORE
88
very good
1,256 Ratings
Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager)Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager)
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,256
Reviews:
454
Avg:
3.92
pDev:
11.99%
 
 
Wants:
100
Gots:
204
For Trade:
1
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,256 |  Reviews: 454
Photo of Boone757
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of oberon
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pilsner glass a slight hazed medium to full golden with a large foamy white head that took forever to settle.Love the aromas,full on citric and spicy chinook hops with a big caramel malt note.Flavors are big citric and herbal/spice up frotn with some big caramel sweetness with a touch of honey,as the beer warms the alcohol zing really comes thru more.Its a little heavy and the alcohol does creep but its tasty.

Totally not true to the style and although I liked this beer it just leaves me wondering why a beer of this style is made.

 551 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -23.5%

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Slightly hazy deep copper. Full head of frothy yellowed-white foam. Very good to excellent head retention and lacing.

Aroma: Perfumey. Floral. Yeasty. Citrusy/spicy/piney. Yeasty fruitiness. Sweetish, grainy, biscuity malt. There's a note of alcohol that threads through it, combining the hops with the yeastiness in an odd-way. Too much yeast, too much alcohol.

Taste: The faults found in the nose carry over into the flavor. The sweetish caramel malt is nice, and the citrusy/piney/spicy/floral/grassy hop flavors are enticing, but the alcohol is a hint raspy, and the yeastiness lends it an almost homebrew-like tone. Otherwise, it's nicely balanced by a firm bitterness that flows steadily from the outset but fades going into the swallow, unfortunately leaving it a little sticky and sweet in the lingering finish.

Mouthfeel: Decidedly medium-full with a dextrinous edge and median carbonation that becomes nicely creamy after tickling the tongue for a bit.

Drinkability: Although there's a lot of flavor there, and it's balanced, the yeastiness and alcohol cut down on its drinkability.

 1,109 characters

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

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a deep amber color, with a large foamy off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of hops, citrus, caramelized malts and lager yeast.

T: The taste hits with a strong hops bite up front and a slight alcohol sting. Then some bready flavors of lager yeast and a hearty malt character come in next. There are sweet flavors of citrus and caramel in the background. It doesn't seem to have quite the right harmonious balance right away, but it improves as it sits for a few minutes. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Smooth and very crisp, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, clean and dry finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, this is one of those styles where if you try to go "imperial" with it, you lose the essence of the style in my opinion so I don't think it's the representation of the style. However, it's still a decent beer, just not one of the better beers I've had. I guess I was expecting a little more from Southern Tier on this one.

 1,108 characters

Photo of nathanmiller
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear, golden-amber body with a frothed, lasting, off-white head.

Smell: Toasted pale malts, a tad grainy, along with hoppy notes of musky lemons, fresh-cut grasses, and spice.

Taste: Pale malts and toasted grains with a medium-low caramel sweetness. Redolent hop addition that's at times citrusy, grassy, spicy, and earthy also delivers a medium-high bitterness. Some alcohol warmth enters the scene, as does a final taste of pale malts, before the citric, longly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is rather smooth.

Drinkability: It's a hoppy, imperialized helles alright. If that's your bag, then you might dig this one. Otherwise, if you go in with a little understanding, a little open-mindedness, you still just might like it.

 807 characters

Photo of billab914
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split this bomber with my girlfriend as she loves the Krampus as well. Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Russian River tulip glass. Poured a dark amber color with a one finger white head. The head settled down to cling to the side of the glass but left excellent lacing.

Aroma is hoppy with a good amount of citrus but also has a strong sweet malt presence with some caramel. Like the nose, the taste is pretty hoppy with a good amount of citrus. It also has a strong sweet malt presence. The malt gives it a sweet caramel and bready flavor that offsets the hoppyness very well.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good. This is one of my favorites from Southern Tier that I have bought the last 2 years. I'm not sure how well it fits with the style it's listed it's listed under, but either way it's delicious. A must try from Southern Tier.

 879 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

"While St. Nick is busy delivering presents to good little boys and girls, Krampus hands out punishments to the bad. A fanged, goat-horned bully, the Christmas Devil uses sticks and chains to beat the naughty children."

--label

Dark apricot orange that becomes hazard cone orange when backlit with morning sunshine. The peanut shell colored cap is on the expansive side after a high-altitude pour and has a meringue-like texture that becomes milkshake-like as it melts. An abstract patterned array of lace only adds to the visual enjoyment.

What the hell is an Imperial helles lager? Has Southern Tier decided to Imperialize each and every style of beer from 'A' to 'Z'? Krampus smells like an Imperial American pale ale. It also smells good. It's sweet and pale malty, with less than an IPA's worth of fragrant hops that have a citrus zesty edge. Chinook was used in the kettles and Willamette for dry-hopping.

Against all odds, I like this big brew. Actually, Imperial pilsner isn't that far off the mark. Compared to the best I've ever had (Sam Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner), this beer is sweeter and less explosively hoppy. Age is undoubtedly the reason. This is a Christmas seasonal after all.

I'm also reminded of a pale-malted barleywine. The malt backbone is as rock-ribbed as they come. Black malt is probably there for color only, since none of the darker flavors are noted. Munich and caramel malt add a slight toasted bread quality that is welcome.

This might have been the perfect time to crack the crown. Alcohol adds plenty of power without adding the least bit of heat... and the hops are still surprisingly boisterous. The grapefruit zest (and orange and pine) of Chinook comes through loud and clear.

The mouthfeel is the highlight of a beer that doesn't have any lowlights. It's medium-full, with a borderline sappy smoothness and just the right amount of bubbles. All those malt sugars positively pamper the mouth and tongue.

With the exception of Imperial Cherry Saison, and the possible exception of Creme Brulee, I've been either impressed or supremely impressed with every Southen Tier brew that has come down the pike. If Rudolph's nose ever goes on the blink, a bomber of this bad boy will allow Santa's nose to light the rest of the journey with no trouble at all. Bottom line: Krampus is an enjoyable sipper, whether early autumn morning or late winter night.

 2,400 characters

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.

 328 characters

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

Thrilled to see this one on tap at Barleys as I really had wanted to give it a try. Served in a pint glass, which I knew I was now in trouble! This one was consumed on 12/12/2009.
 
The pour was nice, darker then I would have expected with a nice cap of white hanging over the top of the glass. Nice rich looking head of foam on the top of the glass here now as well, nicely done I have to say. Aroma immediately is a bit boozy with hints of grass, touches of hops, and a light fruit note that seems to pick up the warmer it gets. Interesting flavor profile as well here. Not at all what I was expecting. Hints of grapefruit, a touch of herbal, floral notes and a really nice and well laid out malty background. Quite nicely done I have to admit. Warming seems to bring out touches of pear and apricot and a definite grape flavor finishes it off rather nicely.
 
Overall a very solid and very strong ale here. Light in body but it packed a wallop. Definitely a one and done for me.

 987 characters

Photo of Slatetank
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Shawan Liquors in Hunt Valley Md. Poured chilled into my lager mug.
A - A medium amber w/ golden highlights and 3 fingers of rocky cream from a semi-vigorous pour. The clarity is good, the lacing is thick and the bead is ultra fine.

S - A very hoppy nose on this "helles" Imperial or not, noble hop green and piney, but fragrant and sweet w/ woody undertones

M - Crisp, slightly acidic hoppiness and hints of toasted texture w/ mild sweetness in the finish

T- Just an incredibly tasty and 'balanced' tasting beer for a 9% lager. The hops are a standout and the alcohol is really restrained in the taste. The flavor is slightly floral/herbal w/ a nice subtle earthiness. The malt is not as upfront as I would expect, but the yeast and hops have a nice complimentary relationship and the malt has a dry cracker like taste which is supporting the taste well.

D - A tasty lager which was not at all what I'd expect, but very flavorful and drinkable just the same - especially for 9%. The went great with my no-filler crab cake.

 1,046 characters

Photo of Jason
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown bomber with no freshness date. Love the theme of having Santa's opposite, getting a lump of coal sounds good compared to what Krampus was capable of doing.

Dense two fingers of head leaves a nice rim of lace on the glass. Bright amber color. Big juicy aroma of pungent hops that run form wild flowers to grapefruit rind, some caramel maltiness make it to the nose as well. A think beer with a mild smoothness. Huge wad of hoppiness on the palate, not a bitter as I anticipated but certainly more than enough to overcome the brawny malt character. Hop flavor lends suggestions of hemp seed oil, grapefruit rind and spearmint. The alcohol is warming but does not flash 9.0% anywhere. Maltiness comes in first with a toasted, almost biscuit flavor then broadens to more of a caramel sweetness until the hops in the finish flatten most of that down. Finishes hoppy and a little sweet.

Its not the alcohol that makes this a sipper, its the sheer amount of hop flavor and a good amount of malt crammed into this beer. Your taste buds can only handle so much but I love that beers like this are pushing the limits.

 1,120 characters

Photo of Gagnonsux
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of smithj4
3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of vfgccp
4.46/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Stellar appearance. Deep, dark golden bronze body. Crazy lace and retention on a bone white head.

S - Dusty floral hop. Earthy barn notes.

T - Smooth, creamy toffee ramps into a wet hay and horse blanket hop. Residual bitters balance a earthy caramel finish. Exceptional malt character.

M - Incredibly smooth with a well balanced full body.

O - A brilliant beer.

 370 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
2.99/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Served from tap in a snifter at Beelow's.

About to return to the theatre, I decided to revisit the Krampus, see how it comes across these days. It pours a clear sunset amber-brass topped by a finger of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises melon, apricot, caramel, light sweet cereal grains, and a twinge of booze for good measure. The taste holds notes of boozy grass, sweet cereal, light vinyl, and mild corn syrup. The body is a stolid medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, not terrible, but the booziness and slightly-fruity sweetness clash and create something akin to higher-end malt liquors. Still not my cup o' tea, really.

 674 characters

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

Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of johnnnniee
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper with a good sized off white head that sticks around for a while. Smells of citrus and floral hops, a bit of caramel malt, some alcohol and an almost Belgian yeast character in there too. Tastes more malt than the aroma would suggest. Caramel and spicy floral and citrus hops fight it out. A bit of mineral in there as well. Full bodied, crisp carbonation, creamy/syrupy mouthfeel. This is definitely another outside the box brew from southern tier, God I love them for that. This one reminds me of a barley wine at times. I need to procure another one for further evaluation.

 595 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've had this on tap in the past and it was always straight up onion/garlic hops to me. This year in the bottle it seems alot more palatable to me than straight onion/garlic. Imperial helles lager my ass, this is as pale/ipa/double pils as it comes flavorwise. Lager yeast maybe, lagering time yeah, but flavor wise blind folded it tastes like a hopped up ale. First of helles means light this is a copper amber colored beer. Crystal clear filtering, fine light off white head forms thick with speckled even lacing. Aroma really nails an imperial IPA nose with big layers of hops pine, citrus, hints of onion/vegetable greeness even spicy herbal qualities. Big malt layers are eclipsed in the nose, a touch of alcohol tickles your nares to let know to be ware. Flavor hits with an aggressive spicy oregano/greeness herbal/citrus/pine explosion almost feels like heat from a pepper in the back of your throat. Malts are caramelized enough to provided sugar coating amongst the hops but don't necessarily make the experience any sweeter. I could pair this with some Thai or Indian food because of the vegetal greeness/spiciness that the hops provide here. Mouthfeel can get a bit rough with residual sugars and hot alcohol, best advice is split it with a friend or someone who has been naughty this year. Drinkability is decent not a regular that I would pursue but seasonally once a year I could tolerate this. Truely unique and somewhat of a clusterfuck but at the end of the day I would say I actually enjoyed drinking it.

 1,523 characters

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of WoodBrew
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.

 372 characters

Photo of tdm168
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper with a quarter inch of thin, foamy head that has decent retention. The nose is grassy and earthy with a strong lager yeast aroma. The taste is grassy up front with a very nice earthy hop character. The lager yeast also comes through here. The alcohol makes itself known in the taste. It's very warm and slightly boozy. This is a medium to full bodied beer with great carbonation.

This one's a little boozy, but it's good. The alcohol does not take away from the fact this is a solid German-style lager. It's very warm and full bodied for the style so it makes for a nice winter beer. If you're looking for a change of pace this winter try this one.

 669 characters

Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 1,256 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe