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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 454 | Ratings: 1,252
Photo of Grandwazoo
3.74/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Really nice amber brown color with a thick creamy head and great lacing.

Beautiful in hops with pepper, sea foam, and fresh cut wood. Smelling this beer was as enjoyable as drinking it!

Very flavorful...up front toffee with pleasant bitterness throughout. Tastes of lemon, pepper, tea with some smokiness.

This is a thick beer that gets thicker as it is drunk...with the malts taking over the tongue more and more. This beer ultimately wore out my taste buds....I'll take it for a special glass, but not for more.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a fairly clear dark, salmon-orange with with frothy 1 finger dirty ivory colored head that displayed very good retention. A spongy and clumpy lacing encircled the glass in a near full band fashion. After a turbulent pour a feverishly eruptive carbonation quickly rained upward to the surface leaving behind only a faint and subtle reminder.

S: a big fresh flowery citrusy nature erupting upon the pour and evident from quite a distance (at least an arms length). Some sticky pine, caramel, and a pungent grapefruit aroma was also dominantly displayed here. While the aroma was really nice and outstanding, I think I would of preferred a heavy dosing of herbal and flowery hops more associated with lagers or pilsners (hallertau) which would have been more fitting per style then a typical west coast ipa hopping here. None the less a strong and enticing aroma that was good.

T: The Chinook hops provide a pungent citrusy (grapefruit) notes with a dry flowery finish. The bitterness starts off wet and finishes dry. The malting was hard to pick up with the generous helping of hops but the dry munich was evident and complimented the pungently dry hoppy nature of the beer. Once again the beer drinks more like an IPA then what I envisioned a Imperial Helles would taste like. Again regards should have been noted from Sam Adams Imperial Pilsner which used a generous helping of floral, noble hops that were more associated with pilsners and lagers rather then ipas. A good flavor but one that could of easily passed as an IPA, but a good opportunity was missed to utilize hops more generally used in lagers rather then making another version of an ipa with lager yeast.

M: a medium viscosity with a nice caramel maltinesss. A huge dry citrus lacing smoothers and coats the tongue leaving it perched. A soft carbonation was felt with a slight slick texture.

D: Drinkability was nice, more of a hop bomb then anything else. A beer that just as easily could have been a IPA. An imperial Helles Lager??? My only knock would be in regards to a nonsense style but still regarded this as a good drink.

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Photo of tempest
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bomber at the Cellars in Woodbury for about $7. Poured a hazy yellow with a very short head. I'm really not sure this beer fits into any style. While it is light in color and presumably a lager, it bears little resemblance to a Munich helles lager. I'm not complaining, this is a big, and relatively drinkable hop-bomb. The Willamette dry hops give a light and juicy citrus start that rolls into woodsy herbs. Worth a try and tasty.

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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 Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to jwc215 for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a very nice clean/clear dark golden orange color, very nice carbonation, very nice one-finger thick creamy off-white head, which leaves some very nice thick sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, with some hops, citrus, and some pines. The taste is very nice, malty, slight hops, very nice chewy, citrus/pine notes. Medium body, slight bitter finish. Very drinkable, this is one tasty brew, I like, and highly recommended it. Thanks Joe.

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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 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.

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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 dickieb
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy dark amber in color with a 1 1/2 finger head and some above average lacing. The smell is dominated by fresh hops and some sweet spiced malts. The taste is bulit around a german hop profile with rather light malt flavorings and a lingering yeast flavor. Their are also some hints of lemon and almost Belgian spices. The mouthfell is of a larger beer, but not to thick and its a pretty drinkable brew. I have no Idea what other Helles Lager's taste like but this is very good, especially for a christmas beer.

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Photo of JasonA
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Seems to pour a bit thick. Solid 2 head, maybe a bit dark for style though.

Smells an ABV lager. Perfect I think. Quite hoppy for a lager. Doesnt smell exactly like German hops I think. Though tough to keep track with ABV.

Hoppy ABV lager. There is something very nice in there, unlike a standard imperial pilsner. Very nice.

Might be a just bit thick. Almost syrupy. Carbonation is swell. Nice after taste.

I definately want more.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from River's Bend.

Pours a hazy copper color with an average frothy white head that mostly diminished with fair lacing. Moderate hoppy and small malt aroma. Medium body with a slicky texture and soft carbonation. Medium to heavy bitter flavor with a medium to heavy bittersweet finish of moderate to long duration duration.

Good drinkable beer.

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Photo of callmescraps
3.62/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Caught this at the bar, and always glad to see a Southern Tier offering.

It is a very deep amber in color. Pretty thick, but with only the slightest head. The smell was pretty confusing. There was a lot going on, and not all of it good. Definitely some spicy hops, some raisin, or sort of a candied fruit. Basically, a not-too-sweet smell, something fruity but kind of heavy. It tastes pretty much like it tastes. Definitely a spicy hop taste. It definitely turns a little sour and bitter. Honestly, I couldn't quite figure out what it was. I think raisins is a good description. It feels fine in the mouth, but not a ton of carbonation. Overall, not a super-drinkable beer because it's sort of muddled. However, it is definitely unique, and I am glad I gave it a shot. That said, there are plenty of better Southern Tier options out there.

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

Pours a clear coppery amber with tall frothy off-white head. Good retention and nice clinging lacing. Smells of spicy hops, dry grass, pine, mint, citrus, grapes, caramel, and bread. Tastes big of spicy hops right off the bat, which sticks throughout. Pine resin, mint, and light citrus notes come through up front along with some grapes and maybe some apple. Backbone consists of candy, caramel, and some bread crust with a finish of more hop bitterness combined with some alcohol. Medium full in body with moderate carbonation. Bittering with some sweetness, smooth and crisp but also chewy. Not quite sure what to make of this, the hophead in me loves it, but for the style it hits far from the mark.

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

22oz bomber poured into a pint

Clear, bright orange body with an orange infused two finger white head. Head is big and frothy and left good sized rings of lace.

Grassy, earthy, perfumey, medicinal hop profile, vanilla, with a touch of spice anchored by sweet toasted malt.

Oily hop bitterness, sweet malt, and grassy, earthy tones. Noticeable alcohol warming. A pretty intense hop presence on this lager. Sweet caramel malt on the back end.

Big, thick and lush. Full-bodied with adequate carbonation.

For this hophead, it didn't take long to cut through 22oz of Krampus.

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Photo of Gmann
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy golden amber color with an average dense head that settled into a sparse cap with some lacing on the glass. The aroma is a mix of sweet citrus hop and spicy Belgian like yeast. Quite interested what this is going to taste like. The taste has an overall sweetness with a kick of hoppy bitterness in the end. Krampus has a spicy yeast and hop profile that yields a tropical fruit and citrus flavor; it has a bready malt but nothing that would remind me of munich malt what so ever. The feel is nice and chewy with soft carbonation which leads to a silky feely; good balance between sweet and bitter. Ah, the new age old question, do you really need an imperial helles lager???? After this, I would say no. A helles lager is a fairly delicate style that can't handle the "imperial tag". IMHO a helles is like a Pils, in order to let the malt shine, which it is suppose to, you need to keep the abv in check. The sweet bready munich malt is no where to be found in this brew. While this brew is quite tasty, it does not resemble a munich helles lager.

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Photo of alexgash
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle.

Clear, clean orange copper with a thick, creamy, dense, bright beige head. Great lacing up the sides of the tulip glass. Spicy, minty, herbal hop nose predominates. Fruit juice and sugar cookie malt aroma background.

Herbal, resinous, minty hop bitterness up front. Strong, raw, hop profile stays throughout, with additional flashes of pine, pine sap, and light citrus. Fruity malt backbone shows some sweetness, along with some caramel. Slightly warming finish with some fruity esters burrowed beneath lingering hop bitterness. The big noble hop presence reminds me of SA Imperial Pilsner. Very good. Medium-full body with a creamy feel. Interesting and tasty.

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

L: Pours a clear amber color with a short and medium bodied tan colored head that laces the glass very nicely on the way down.
S: Aroma of some sweet malts and then a nice citrisy/piney/floral hop aroma.
T: Caramel malts, nice roasted barley, then a big but nice citrisy/hoppy/floral aroma. Really nice taste
M: Very crisp, fresh, refreshing, right amount of carbonation.
D: Very drinkable beer, and I didn't even notice the amount of alcohol in it. Really nice blend of the flavors.

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Photo of nasty15108
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass.

A - The Krampus on the bottle is awesome. Poured a copper color with a head of slightly off-white foam that subsides into a sudsy film. Poured thick and oily with a good amount of carbonation and spotty lacing.

S - Piney, with hints of grapefruit, apple and pear. Slightly medicinal/herbal aroma.

T - More of the same. finishes bitter and dry with a hoppy/citrus flavor.

MF&D - Oily and clingy. Goes down pretty smooth with a nice warming effect.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into my Sam Smith nonic glass. I will start off by saying that I absolutely detest the concept of this beer but am intrigued. Imperial pilseners are pushing the limit but an imperial helles is an oxymoron. Oh well - I'll go ahead and try reviewing this as an imperial India Pale Lager rather than a helles...

A: Pours a brilliantly clear amber with a gorgeous two-finger thick beige head that's frothy, textured and bubbles like a tar pit. As the head recedes, it leaves a good bit of lacework. Not much carbonation is visible, though, and not very helles like either but hey, this is a good looking beer. While I'm in half a mind to dock a point for the carbonation, the lace and head retention are spectacular

S: On the nose, there's a good bit of hops, leafy, earthy, spicy and pine-like. It _smells_ resiny. Some malt is apparent. Solid

T: Opens up with a pretty solid array of hop flavors. Pine, citrus, earthy spices, absolutely wonderful flavor. Bitterness is on the lower end of the moderate spectrum with a nice resiny juiciness. Malt flavors are rather muted and go well with the tame (and delightfully so) hops with biscuit and caramel present. Mildly hoppy on the finish with some resiny character.

M: Medium bodied and the low carbonation is bitched about goes well with the beer. A nice, soft, bitter finish

D: This 22oz is going down mighty easy, something I haven't experienced with a Southern Tier beer in a while!

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

22oz bomber received from Orcasteve's GB Packer LIF. Thanks Jeff!

Pours a nice copper color with great retention and lacing. Aroma is of nice pine and a little citrus. Not too much burn for a 9.0% lager with an above average mouthfeel which is nice. This beer goes down much easier than it should for such high abv. Paired this with some monterrey jack cheese but am thinking would be perfect with some Christmas sugar cookies. A great beer to share with some friends and family over the holidays.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - slightly hazed brassy color with a off-white head that left some lacing.

S - sweet malt, earthy yeast and a whole lot of hops.

T - starts off sweet and then the bitterness of the hops hit home, finishing dry.

F - medium bodied with mild carbonation.

D - goes down very easy for a 9% abv brew.

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

Appearance: clear brilliant orange color with a 1/2" head with some large bubbles. Some bit of lace develop.

Smell: malt sweetness, grass, and some floral hops are easily detectable.

Taste: nice malt profile with some green grapes, large amount of grassiness, and loads of bitterness. Alcohol provides some warming and is noticeable.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp to start, smooth and a bit dry at the finish. Medium bodied. Surprisingly short aftertaste despite the big flavors.

Drinkability: a slow sipping beer, but I found myself wanting to open up a second bottle after this emptied. Interesting beer that goes well in front of a fire on a cold winter evening.

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Photo of WesWes
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a crisp and refreshing hop nose along with a well balanced malt aroma. The taste is good, although I'm not sure what an imperial helles is supposed to taste like. It's quite a bit heavier than a regular helles and the hop character is quite a bit more. That said, I like this beer. It's flavorful and easy drinking, even at 9%. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking beer. I can't wait to see what's brewing next.

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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 zeff80
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an orange/auburn color with a tan, foamy, bubbly, two finger head. It left thick sheets of foamy, sticky lace.

S - It smelled very fruity. Also strong notes of spice and clove. Some caramel aromas were detected, too. A slightly boozy smell, as well.

T - It was very spicy with a dried fruit flavor and a burnt toast maltiness. Good caramel flavor, too. Alcohol taste was noticeable.

M - It was very crisp and sharp. A medium to full bodied beer.

D - This is a fascinating beer. Like a Belgian mixed with a strong 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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