Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) | Southern Tier Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
447 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 447 | Ratings: 1,230
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.

 703 characters

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.

 577 characters

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.

 1,069 characters

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.

 679 characters

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.

 483 characters

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.

 490 characters

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!

 1,448 characters

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.

 498 characters

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.

 346 characters

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.

 666 characters

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.

 592 characters

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.

 1,336 characters

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.

 538 characters

Photo of jsp2
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a smooth and balanced blend of alcohol, hops, and malts. This is a terrific flavor. The alcohol is quite present but not in a harsh way at all. Dangerously drinkable as well. There was a decent head on the pour into the pint glass that subsided somewhat quickly. What a ridiculous lager.

At $6.99 for a 22oz bottle this is pricey for a lager, albeit a strong one. I probably will not buy it regularly but will definitely keep it in the repetiore when a strong lager is called for.

 486 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 Slynger
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear orangey amber with a fluffy lid of cream coloring.

Nicely fragrant hoppy nose, with fresh pine tones to flowery perfume and lots of fresh grapefruit.

Full bodied, slick and smooth. Toasted biscuity base blends well with loads of hops. Grapefruit and pine, floral and lightly grassy, spicy and bitter.

I liked this one a lot. Strong, but tasty stuff, and it comes at you with some nice hops not normally in this style, but ST pulls it of nicely.

 461 characters

Photo of padan7
2.4/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Being only 1 hour to the source we consider ourselves very lucky. We bought 2 fresh bottles.

The beer looks quite nice bright & deep golden.

Smells of yummy hops get the taste buds anticipating.

Taste is really a bummer. Munich helles lager? No it isn't. Nor is it delicious or even desirable. Bitter not as in nice but as in nasty.

Mouthfeel & drinkability are overshadowed by dissapointment.

We truly enjoy Hoppe & Oat & Unearthly & Java.

This was not even close to fun. We couldn't wait to get home to try it. That was 2 weeks ago. What are we going to do with the other bottle?

Hey if you want to trade...have at it.

 628 characters

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.

 279 characters

Photo of brewcrew76
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Clear, honey colored ruby with a white head and soapy lacing sticking everywhere.

S - Floral and grapefruit hops, herbal spiciness and sweet caramel.

T - Citrus and grapefruit hops, herbal, rye like spiciness, slight sweet caramel and toasty bready malt.

M - Medium bodied, slightly slick with low carbonation.

D - On the hoppy side but fairly smooth for 9%.

 366 characters

Photo of dsa7783
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at GingerMan in NYC...
Light-copper hue... Minimal head, minor lacing...
Smell: Nuances of slight vanilla, wheat...
Taste: Strange combination... Complex flavors... Lemons, vanilla combine to produce a very unique flavor...
Mouthfeel: Well-bodied for a beer of this stature and power...
Good drinkability... Alcohol difficult to detect despite the hefty 9% ABV...

 385 characters

Photo of nrbw23
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a gold honey color with a nice thick white head. Head has good retention and leaves some nice layered lacing.

S- Quite a bit of hops here. A mixture of floral and citrusy hops. Also could pick up some spice and herbal notes as well.

T- Piney and citrus hops along with caramel malts, cinnamon, pepper, and a bitter taste. Pretty interesting overall.

M- Medium body and light to medium in carbonation.

D- Pretty easy to drink but I don't think I could drink this everyday of the season.

 499 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle. Served in a pilsner glass, the beer pours a clear amber/orange color with about an inch frothy off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both pretty good. The aroma is nice, it smells like pine and citrusy (grapefruit) hops with a bit of bready/biscuity malt too. The taste is similar to the aroma, but the malt comes out more in the taste than it does in the aroma (but the taste still has a good bit of hops in it). Some spicy hops, pepper and caramel are also noticable in the taste. Has a good sweet/bitter finish. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's slick and has decent carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth, has decent balance and the 9% ABV isn't noticable at all. Overall I'd say this is another very good Southern Tier brew, I'll definitely buy this again in the future.

 805 characters

Photo of danadeny
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a rich copper orange clear body and average head. carbonation is average. the smell is mostly hoppy, citrussy grapefruit. the hops overpower all other smells except a little alcohol. flavor is dominated by hopps. tangy citrus hops. soo much hops that i wouldnt be able to tell you this is a helles style to start with. it tastes like a rich american pale ale or ipa. the alcohol is the only other flavor that is not drowned out by the hopps, and a fruity finish is nice. mouthfeel is oily and slick. drinkability is averiage, although for being 9% i find it's pretty smooth. overall this is an imperial style for sure. but a hells is so delicate in the first place that adding a bunch of hopps just drowns out all the other characteristics that make it a helles. this beer is more like a rich ipa.

 803 characters

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.

 1,099 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Really like the artwork on this 22oz bomber.

Pours an IPAish rusty amber. Great puffy white head after a perfect pour. This recedes to a perfect film that remains throughout all 22 ounces. Helles lager like bubbling too, just looks more like an IPA in every other way. The immediate scent of fresh cut grass hits the nose first, just like a good Munich Helles. But this hoppy arom quickly turns to grapefruit and mint mixed with toasted biscuits. Crisp palate first, then dried pine needles sprinkled atop fresh biscuits. The palate is syrupy, yet lager crisp. This beer is great, but I don't think it is entirely true to style. It has undeniable lage qualities, but still tastes too much like an IPA.
I can't give it as great a score as it could, due to the style confusion. Still a great beer.

 798 characters

Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 1,230 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!