Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) | Southern Tier Brewing Company

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

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

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: 445 | Ratings: 1,222
Photo of jsprain1
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
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 k7sw
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a pilsener glass.
Pour dark clear amber with thick tall head and a layer of bubbles clinging to the bottom of the glass.
Smells sweet.
There's a hint of a floral taste which quickly gives way to the malty backbone. Afterwards a bitter taste sticks around leaving me wanting more.

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Photo of warnerry
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours clear copper with three fingers of thick head with good retention.

S - More hops than I was expecting, mostly citrus, with quite a bit of caramel malt as well.

T - Again, a surprising amount of citrus hops, but definitely a pleasant surprise. Caramel malt comes in midway and lastes trough the finish.

M - Medium, slightly sticky mouthfeel with nice carbonation. Leaves a nice lingering bitterness.

O - Good beer. Not really to style, but enjoyable.

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Photo of Goliath
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a relatively clear rich amber color with a large two inch off white head. Head retention is excellent, and it subsides leaving some lacing behind.

The aroma is nice. It's a very rich scent with some faded hop quality and a big malt bill. The grain comes off as sweet with a big dose of caramel and cereal grain.

The taste is pretty good. It's much more mild mannered than I would have assumed. There is the faded presence of hops up front that turns into a light bitterness on the finish. The grain is a bit more subdued than I had hoped and I'm not getting most of the qualities I smelled. Nevertheless a slightly sweet grain is available. I'm a little wanting in this department.

The mouthfeel is decent. It's full bodied, thick, and oily. I really enjoy the substance that can be found in a mouthfeel like this.

Overall it's a solid beer. Very fun story to be paired with a Frankenstein style. It has some really great qualities I was just left wanting it to be a little bit more than it is. I'm wondering if I had picked up this bottle at the beginning of the holiday season as opposed to the end if it would have had those qualities I'm looking for? I think I'll grab one next year as soon as possible and see what I think then.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
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 JayS2629
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy orange color with a three finger white head that fades fast and leaves ok lacing.

The aroma has a malty, clean, bready backbone with caramel and toffee notes underneath a bouquet of grassy, earthy, floral and pine. Light fruity hints.

Follows the nose with light fruit touches of mango, floral hops, clove and pine. Caramel and bread hold things up with some nutty notes.

Smooth, medium body

Very interesting, enjoyable sipper

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Photo of doughanson78
3.01/5  rDev -23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass. First Helles Lager.

A: A medium dark orange/copper. Super clear. One finger bright white head with amazing retention and sticky lacing.

S: Not a huge aroma. Piney and earthy hops. Grains, breads and grassy notes. Slight spice notes.

T: Slight caramel along with grains and bread. Pine and floral hops along with a biscuity malt flavor. Finishes very earthy and grassy with a grapefruit bitterness. Weird hop profile and the off putting grapefruit in the end just messes this taste up.

M: Medium light body. Higher carbonation. Slight creaminess. Pretty dry finish.

O: Kind of like a very hoppy lager. Don't know if it's the hop profile of this beer or if it just doesn't go with lagers, but this one isn't for me. Not totally bad.

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Photo of divineaudio
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bomber split with my gf. snifter.

a - pours an orangey, copper color with a 2 finger, off white head. retention is good, calming to a thin film. lots of leggy lacing in this glass.

s - caramel, clove, chocolate, hint of mint.

t - caramel malt with massive hop character. notes of citrus and light pine and maybe a little vanilla. tastes like a west coast ipa, bitternes isn't as intense though.

m - heavier side of medium with adequate carbonation.

o - a pretty damn good beer overall and very enjoyable. if i didn't know better i'd put this squarely in the american ipa category. i suspect this bottle has been sitting on the shelf since last year, so i may have to certify a fresh bottle and try again.

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Photo of GallowsThief
4.14/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of a growler into my tulip.

A – Poured out a copper amber with about a finger of stark white head that receded quickly.

S – Big hops smell. Piney and grassy.

T - Packs a pretty big hop punch right up front that balances well with the malt. Piney and earthy. Citrus. Caramel like sweetness comes through a bit. Nice floral quality as well.

M – Medium bodied with good carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel.

O – I was surprised by this as I did not know what to expect but its damn fine. Really balanced flavors and creamy smooth. Great drinker.

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Photo of NODAK
3.03/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a beautiful, clear amber color in my glass. I don't hesitate to say this is the best part of the beer.

Has a pretty clean, grassy hop aroma to it. There are some bready grains there as well but it isn't a powerful smelling one.

The taste begins out with a malted grain, bready note that one would expect from a European style lager. After that though, there is quite the astringent, grassy hop, aspirin-like bitterness that ends the beer on a puckering note and lingers a fair while into the aftertaste. Wow, didn't see that coming!!

In the end, it's pretty average to me. Honestly, the bitterness ruled the day a bit much here and was sometimes too astringent for me.

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Photo of DCon
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought a 1 pt. 6 fl.oz. 650ml bottle of this from Lukas Liquor in Ellisville, MO for $6.49. Poured from the bright green labeled bottle w/ a Krampus (Austrian creature who accompanies St. Nick during Christmas) into a 16oz Tulip Glass. Does not have a freshness date on the bottle (normal w/ Southern Tier).

Aroma- Has a high amount of mango and citrus hop in the aroma with a clean backend. Malt is well blended in but far from a Pilsner.

Appearance- Pours a .5 finger head that is bubbly. Has a dark/reddish copper body that stays clear. Leaves good lacing behind.

Flavor- Initially sweet with tons of hop flavor. Is a bit biscuit like with the malt character and toffee comes around as well. Light fruitiness a then spice at the finish. Light-Medium Bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Light-Medium Bodied, Medium-High Carbonation, Smooth, and leaves hops on the finish.

Overall Impression- A very different brew from Southern Tier! Can't put my finger on the style but definitely not a 2X Pilsner. Has too much hop and spice for this. I bought this brew b/c of the Krampus on the front and just like the Christmas character, this one was very strong and wild. Would recommend trying!

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Photo of Chico1985
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It just can't be the holidays without hanging with Krampus...

Pours a light auburn-ish color with a 2-finger off-white head, retains pretty well leaving some lacing too.

Intense earthiness and pine in the nose, almost peat-like.

Taste also has an intense, almost dirty, earthy and pine sap quality to it. Big floral, grapefruit peel and maybe some light citrus there too. Solid caramel malt backbone; and a big toasty/grainy presence reminds you that this is still a lager at heart. Lots of bitter hops and some big malts to counter it.

A bit foamy, maybe high on the carbonation but a fine mouthfeel overall. Not much booze, crazy big hops+malts ravage the palate.

Somewhat forgotten about compared to Southern Tier's other big beers. This feels much more complex and drinkable than most of it's brethren. It maintains its lager backbone while delivering a a strange but intriguing earthy-centric hop profile. A cool, unique beer, I try to get this every winter.

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Photo of zoolzoo
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
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 JackieTH
3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Rob for the Christmas present. Pour is deep gold with a finger of tight foam that recedes slowly and leaves lots of lacing. Striking appearance with definite bonus points for the bottle label and story about "Krampus", Santa's evil side kick. Smell is thoroughly malty with hints of dry tea leaves, earth, and citric hop. Big malt on first sip although some crispness shows through. On further swallows the big caramelly malt flavor remains prominent but more noticeable is an orange-citric element, slightly astringent bitterness, and mellow yeast. Not noticed is the 9.0% the moment. The body is medium and well crafted. Overall, this is a pretty darn good double pilsner-style beer.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Coppery and clear with a fairly good head and lace.

Smell and taste is a good malt base with some hops and some earthy grasses.

Body is slightly slick, fairly dry on the finish, with notable alcohol.

I find in interesting but not something I'd drink all the time.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.82/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured light copper body, rather ood for the style, had a small white cap

S: Grains, honey, light booze

T: A bready malt base with some grains, herbal notes, some honey, a bit slick and syrupy

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

O: A cut above average

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Photo of Kinsman
3.72/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Embracing Old-world Christmas culture... I like it. Pours a clear coppery orange body and topped with a nice sticky off-white head.

Aroma throws off surprisingly hoppy notes with a bit of grassy pine character and some fruitiness as well. Sweet malty backbone throws of a bit of a caramel note.

Nice zesty fruit hop character with a good bit of bitterness to go along with it. Biscuity malt character with a bit of toffee/caramel sweetness. Slight taste of alcohol in the finish.

Mouhtfeel is pretty heavy with a smooth finish. Overall, Krampus is a nice boozy beer with a surprisingly good hop kick for an enjoyable holiday beer.

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Photo of hoptualBrew
3.76/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pint of this at Hurricane Wings, happy hour - yes. Burnt orange color with cream head up top and a good amount of lacing going around the glass. Highly hopped in the nose, spicy floral hops with a nice caramel malt backbone. Crisp, clean, spicy, hoppy, perfect with wings.

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Photo of MTNboy
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has an orange- copper like color. The head and lace are white and great.

Smell: There are a lot of fruit and spice tones from the hops that dominate the aroma.

Taste: Great citrus tone with some melon and spice with a grassy finish. At the end some bread tones come through.

Mouthfeel: It is full bodied just as imperial should be.

Overall: I know that it is a helles but it really reminds me of an IPA. I have to say I am a fan.

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Photo of tdm168
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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Photo of ChugginOil
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Founders pint glass.

Pours a translucent dark amber color. There is 2 fingers of cream colored head with nice retention. Lots of sticky lacing.

The nose has a good amount of citrus hops along with a stong smelling lager yeast. Sweet bready malt is also present.

The taste hoppy as hell with a nice bitterness to it. The citrus zest is nicely balanced with a sweet malt akin to biscuit. Alcohol is nearly non existent as there is no heat.

The mouthfeel is a lot thicker than expected. Medium-heavy body with a semi-dry finish.

Overall, this is a nice reresentation of this style with good balance.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
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 TTAmod
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber poured into chalice.

Imperial Helles Lager...interesting choice for a winter brew. I love the label, especially the text.

Appearance is clear, dark orange/amber with a substantial white head with some nice residual lacing.

Smells quite hoppy, with a heavy grapefruit profile much akin to an DIPA. Also smell some honey and spices, too.

Taste is juicy fruit (pineapple/grapefruit) up front, carried by a wave of malt to a bitter-ish finish. Really isn't a powerful taste. I'm actually quite surprised. I was expecting a bit of a punch from this brew. Not necessairly a bad thing, though.

Feel is heavier side of medium. A bit syrupy and slick.

Overall, I don't really know why this would be classified as a double pilsener. Tastes like a DIPA to me. Still, pretty good. A bit different, but still manageable.

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Photo of gkunkle
3.51/5  rDev -10.2%
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 TheBigBoy
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Don't Hesitate to try this one in Fall/Winter. Spilt 22oz bomber. Great Flavor including, pine, fruity, others flavors but smooth and good class craftiness. Don't let the Krampus logo or high alcohol content scare you a way, this is a fine drinking not overbearing beer. Easily can have one or two of these.

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Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 445 ratings.
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