Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) | Southern Tier Brewing Company

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445 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: 445 | Ratings: 1,222
Photo of Lemke10
4.29/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This pours a hazy, dark amber color with an average, beige head. The aroma is a mixture of sweet malts, hops, and some citrus. The taste is sweet, slightly fruity, and pleasant. There is a slight bitter finish. I agree with the people that say this is more of a Pale Ale/IPA than a Pilsner. Certainly unique, can’t say I’ve had anything quite like it.

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Photo of ryanonline
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

clean and clear and very golden, has an enormous white head that lingers quite a while. globby lacing.

quite a hoppy aroma, barely any sweetness to it. almost like a lager version of an IPA.

still much like an IPA only cleaner and crisp. much less bready feel to it. Im getting a very clean and warm peppery alcohol flavor in the finish.

it feels slightly creamy on my tongue and has a lasting bitter finish. very clean and light as well.

light bodied and full flavored with a lasting finish. i could have a few of these but i think the finish would turn me off after a while.

again, loving southern tier. this beer has piqued my interest in impy pils's. now i must try more.

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Photo of stella77artois
4.31/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber, poured twice into a pilsener glass. Had been searching for this for a while, as I'm a huge fan of Helles Lagers, and big fan of big beers! I figured the beer would be very IPA-ish, hence being a BS call of an Imperial Helles, as those don't seemingly go well together.

A - Pours a slightly dark amber, very clear. A fair amount of carbonation visible, with an average sized head, which dissiapted slowly. Only small amounts of residuals left behind.

S - Really does smell like a Helles, but stronger! Lot's of malt up front, especially sweet malts. A fair amount of noble-like hop aroma, none of the fruitiness. Slight smoky smell as well, and an ever-so-slight alcohol aroma. Very nice smelling beer.

T - I was impressed, and was wrong. If I could picture how an Imperial Helles would taste, this would be it. All the flavors of a Munich Helles; crisp and slightly sweet malts, lighter tasting hops, slight bitterness, but just stronger. I didn't think this could accurately be pulled off, but I was wrong. Hoppy bitterness is much stronger in the aftertaste, and I could notice just a slight bit of alcohol heat. Very nice smelling beer.

F - Wasn't too crazy about the feel. A little on the sticky side, and didn't feel outstanding in the gut. Not an unpleasant feeling, but this wouldn't be a beer I'd enjoy with food. I do however, can picture having a glass of this outside during a cold day!

O - I give Southern Tier credit for creating this unique brew. It really does taste like an Imperial Helles. Lot's of great malt flavor and a good amount of hoppy bitterness. It's unique, as most hoppy beers I've tried give off at least a bit of fruitiness, I didn't get any from this. I do love fruity hops, but this is a nice change. Highly recommended.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, riley's, split with a few during the nfl playoffs...cell phone notes

appearance: served in a pint glass, clear orange-amber body, creamy beige head

smell: stinging hops, pine and bitter citrus, a touch metallice, floral and fruity, toasted malt and grain

taste: ah yes, Krampus, the God of imperial Helles Lagers. this beer caught me off guard a little - i probably should have seen the hop ambush coming. pine and bitter citrus come stabbing through the toasted malt front as master Krampus attacks with his metallic fangs. while all of this madness is going on, one nearly forgets that this is an imperial helles lager, a term that probably has no meaning. i'd try this beer, but not in the dark

mouthfeel: sharp bitterness, metallic hops

drinkability: good

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Photo of cjgator3
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle

A- Pours a clear copper color with an off-white head.

S- The aroma is toasted malt and a good dose of hops. I was expecting a big malty beer but I am pleasantly surprised by the hops in the nose.

T- The taste like the aroma has some toasted malt up front with the bitterness from the hops quickly coming into play and lingering for quite a while into the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is light bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this beer. It was a very enjoyable beer that I will definitely purchase again. Recommended!

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Photo of aepb1
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Translucent brown body with a huge off-white head and lots of lacing

S- Crazy hoppy! Grassy and piney hops are huge in the nose

T- A hint of malt up front immediately followed by the big piney hops and finishes with a spicey bite, a great ride

M- Light-bodied, oily, good carbonation

D- Very cool beer and will definitely revisit this one

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Photo of Genuine
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glad I was able to find this at a local package I enjoy seasonals.

Poured from the bomber into a clean pint glass. Poured a very nice dark amber but becomes a very nice copper when light is passed through it. A bit cloudy.

Smell - the nose on this one is just smells like Christmas in a bottle. Very fresh, piney and citrus notes come across the nose first, along with a hint of spices and the malts sing through as well.

Taste - I was hoping that this beer would not disappoint, and it doesn't! Very nice malts at first with crisp hops for the finish...the spices are not noticed till the beer has time to warm up. Liquid Christmas in a bottle.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with just the right amount of carbonation, this brew could not have been any more perfect.

Drinkability - this is a perfect sipper for a cold winter night, while counting down the nights till Christmas. Very nice to have around for family party's and get togethers. At 9%, it'll be sure to warm you up on the coldest of nights.

Had it again the other night.

New Notes:

Taste: found this one to be a bit sweet on the finish. Hops are present but not as much as I originally thought. Very citrus/fruity.

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Photo of avalon07
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pilsner glass. Had a medium brown color and a clear texture. There was a big, foamy/creamy, long-lasting head. Excellent lacing.

S: A sharp aroma of malt, hops, and caramel.

T: An interesting flavor for an Imperial Pilsner. Caramel malt, hops, a little tinge of grapefruit all make for a very balanced and focused flavor.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a somewhat slick and oily finish. Medium-bodied.

D: Not classically an Imperial Pilsner, but extremely drinkable nonetheless.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear grapefruit reddish amber color. Very small head, mild carbonation, slightly viscous clear retention on the glass as it's swirled. The aroma is spicey, resiny, piney, citrus hops; possibly a little of an astringent/acidic smell, also picking up a mango pineapple pepper-like aroma as well. Biscuity malts come through in the nose but plays a back seat to the aromas just mentioned.

The taste has a sweet dark roasted biscuity malt flavor underneath for the backbone while the sides of the tongue is treated to an all out hop assault that consists mainly of earthy, piney hops that linger in the mouth long after the sip. The finish is semi-dry and the mouthfeel is slightly thick, and on the heavy medium side. The booziness is detectable for a brief second, but not overpowering as the bitter hops and malts knock it down and try to hide it.

I tried this beer for the first time last year because I'm a huge fan of Southern Tier's brews, but not a big lager fan. The strength of this beer is mostly in the taste and the smell (the most important criteria, really). I think they really dialed this one in for IPA lovers (a.k.a. - bastardized uber American take on a German style lager), I absolutely love this beer and could have more than one. It's extreme, it's way different, and the way I describe this to my curious beer drinking friends who appreciate good beer is, "It's weird for the style but it WORKS". If you're a lover of IPA's you have to try this before it's gone for another year. If you're a lager lover, the hop kick of this might leave you walking away scratching your head and asking yourself, "What the $#@% was THAT???" Or, "WHO was that masked man????". This is a good brew, check it out.

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Looks a dark copper color. The head is very minimal, yet it is slightly retained.

S- Hops with that grapefruity smell. I'm getting a good amount of clove and banana too. Caramel malt smell is there. A very unique smell with the combination of the hop smell and the clove smell.

T- The taste is complex with the hop taste and the clove intermixing back and forth. The caramel malts are a sweet taste in the backdrop. From time to time there is the slightest hint of the lager yeast that was used, you know that lager yeast taste.

M- Feels good in the mouth, not too thick or thin with the right amount of carbination.

D- Easy to drink to say the least. Goes down smooth and isn't harsh.

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Photo of dreadnatty08
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear medium to dark amber color with a bountiful, dense off-white head. Aromas are extremely hoppy, leaning towards the floral and spicy hops with little citrus. There's also a backnote of smokey, toasty malts that nicely round out the nose. On the palate, things are just really weird. There is a vague sourness mixing with bitterness of the hops and then a touch of roastiness from the malts. It is just an altogether different experience from any other beer. This is slightly similar to other imperial Pils, but different. Either way, it's the pioneering sense that ST has that really excites me to try their future beers.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving: Bottle
A - The beer pours a fairly clear golden-copper color with a finger of frothy off-white head. The head fades slowly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - The aroma is mostly dominated by piney and floral hops. Though there is also a bit of citrus and some sweet malt in there as well.

T - Starts off with some good piney and earthy hops and some nice bitterness. Some sweet malts come in from the background and begin to build as well. Through the middle, the bitterness continues to grow, and some citrus hops and stronger sweet caramel malts come through as well. The finish is a mix of strong earthy hops and some sweet malt that lingers.

M - Medium-plus bodied with moderate lively carbonation. The beer feels very smooth and quite crisp, even given the strong flavors.

D - Very drinkable. The 9% abv here is dangerously well hidden beneath some great flavors. The hops and the malt are very well balanced and seem to play off each other very nicely.

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Photo of ckeegan04
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Very clear orangish-brown color. Big, creamy light tan head with very good retention. Leave sonly moderate lacing though.

S - Big aroma of piney hops and a hint of mint. A light sweetness underneath, but big pine forest is the dominant aroma.

T - Light, honey sweetness initially. Then the big, sappy pine taste comes in. Excellent bitterness along with it. Ther sopmewhat perfumy, mint/spice taste lingers underneath but the big pine hops are the star. Light, toasted breainess underneath. Excelent all around taste profile.

M/D - Medium bodied and very sticky. The hops resins just coat the mouth. Alcohol is well masked as well but still provides a nice warmth.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
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 cbak999
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This lager pours a very clear, bright, orange with a small head that dissipates very quickly. The smell on this one is a bit off; almost like dish water, with I attribute to the lager yeast. But the hop taste is right on. The 9% is well hidden by the hop balance. Sweet at first with a strong hop after taste. A very nice treat. I look forward to more of these in the future!

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Photo of are_doubleyou
4.34/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours a rich orange that looks golden in light and ruby in shadows with a nice thick white head that dissipates into a thin lace. The beer is very clear with moderate carbonation bubbles. Overall very nice, but a little dark for a Helles Lager.

S: Strong noble hop notes jump out. Very spicy, floral, earthy and piney. There is a strong malt backbone behind it with good bread notes and hint of caramel sweetness. A decently balanced aroma and very inviting.

T: Floral and spicy hops hit the palate immediately. Very good and make it clear that this is an imperial Helles Lager. The body is very spicy and earthy with a pine resin kick and solid backbone of bready malts. The finish is very strong pine resin that lingers on the palate. The hops overpower the malt a bit too much and the pine resin aftertaste is a bit more like an IPA than a lager. Very tasty, but a bit of a style deviation here in my opinion.

F: Rather thick and chewy. Here is where we really get the malt presence of the beer. Very clean and dry too. Very well characteristic of a lager and very pleasant on the tongue.

O: I enjoy this beer a great deal. It lives up to its namesake and punishes the tongue a bit with a heaping of hop flavor. I honestly think the biggest problem is marketing it as an "Imperial Helles Lager" when it is close to what I would consider an ideal "India Pale Lager" for its very strong hop presence. It's a bit unbalanced, but I imagine Krampus is as well. I'll look for it in future holiday seasons and if you are an fan of the hop flavors that I mentioned, I highly recommend it to drink as you warn the little ones in your family about Santa's helper who punishes the naughty.

This beer was poured from a 22oz bottle into a Blind Pig mug and enjoyed at apx 55F.

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Photo of washburnkid
4.34/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

A: About a finger of head over light copper hue. Floating islands of retention. Plenty of lace.
S: Aromas are complex, with many competing notes just upon the first sniff. Willamette hops are strong and perfectly encompass the northeast hop profile. Pine and wood after a rainstorm. There's also an exceptional fruity character, complex in its own right. Citrus but also sweet. More ripe fruit than rind.
T: Big bitter tastes, both floral hops and caramel malt. Balanced, which is hiding any hint of alcohol that might have been present with such a big beer. The flavor is biscuity but nice. The flavors don't quite deliver what the aroma promises in terms of complexity.
M: Medium body with the thinnest coating of residue.
D: The aroma kicks ass, but the flavor falls just a bit short. Either way, the lack of alcohol presence makes this beer deceptively easy to drink. It definitely snuck up on me.

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Photo of Doomcifer
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a gluggily clear, bright amber color with a big creamy head that goes nowhere. Great lacing. Smells like a delicious IPA. HUGE on citrus and piny hop aromas and sweet malt and a touch of white pepper, even lemons and bits of ginger. Taste is more hops. Extremely hoppy, in fact. Big citrus and tons of pine flavor, some earthy notes, crazy astringent bitter finish. Fantastic malt bill gving a sweet backbone to balance off the insane hoppiness. Its almost like an even hoppier/bitter DFH 90-minute IPA. Leaning towards a heavy body and dry finish. Extremely crisp. Burping up pine cones. Demolished palate. Blindfolded, Id say this is one of the best DIPAs I have ever had. SICK beer.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a crystal copper color with a firm tan head.

Nose is wonderful fresh pineapple with a hint of carmel and spice/black pepper. Big, rich, creamy mouthfeel.

Aggressive ripe sweet peach front gives way to a grapefruit hop and nice pine resin finish. Complex, layered, rich and full with great balance and character.

A very good drinking beer.

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Photo of brauseboof
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was quite pleased with this choice.
I have to say that I didn't know what to expect with an Imperial Helles Lager, but this one didn't disappoint, considering my usual beer picks.
Poured a thick lacy head with good retention. The color was clear copper.
A heady aroma of yeast, citrus, and pine was evident.
As is often found, the grapefruit bitterness hit first, but was followed by a complex sweet, floral note, with a strong caramel malt.
Nicely carbonated, and eminently drinkable.
I loved the Krampus bottle, having just listened to a Krampus Christmas on WFMU.
Merry Krampus

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Photo of orcasteve
4.36/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a clear orangish red color with a heavy thick wite head that stays around for ever, the smell of hops in all ther floral glory take my nose on a rush of excitement. the taste is a strong pale malt at first, then floral hops and a hint of sourness, the middle is ware the hops change into extreamley strong piney flavors but thay only last for a few moments befor the sour comes back at the end, this is a great lager that acts more like an ipa till the verry end, southern tier has knocked anouther one out of the park.

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Photo of daveytheformer
4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce poured into a snifter.

Pours a clear golden amber with a nice thin white head that remains as the beer recedes in the glass.

Smells like pine and citrus with a floral sweetness.

Tastes smooth and clean with a little spicy kick. Seems kind of like a Belgian style IPA.

Mouthfeel is medium with great carbonation.

Overall is a great beer. I had no idea what to expect from this beer but was beyond pleasantly surprised.

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Photo of orcrist_cleaver
4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured into a pilsner flute. Color ranges from dark gold to bright and clear amber. SRM in the 9-13 range. Plenty of doughy and soft head, 2 fingers in depth.

S: Spicy cedar wood. Light malt sweetness, natural sap and resin. Smells like a christmas tree lot. Floral sweetness on top, apple blossom. Delicate light and fruity orange and grapefruit repose. Alcohol ethers can become dominant when warmed.

M: Very smooth, almost like silk. Medium-heavier body and thick, but countered by moderate carbonation. Not as crisp as I was expecting.

T/O: Higher bitterness level than normal Helles, but not overpowering and pairs well with slight alcohol warmth. Bright pine hops. Grass malt and bready malt quality. Lots of citrus fruit: grapefruit, lime zest, tangerine. I like the label, name, and overall uniqueness of having a winter lager seasonal, and it nails all those plus tastes like a real beer. Drink cold as it is very uneven as it warms.

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes on 9/18/09

A - lovely clear-as-crystal toasted tangerine orange. A magnificent, towering beige head of 3.5" formed in my Ommegang goblet. Wonderful retention (the whole time) and lacing. Spiderwebby/patchy/strands of lace everywhere. 5.0

S - lots of pineapple, passionfruit, and a sweet malt-liquor like base. Slight citrusy hops round out the aromas with a hint of pears as well. 4.5

T - somewhat a malt bomb. Lots of caramel, followed by a hearty dose of bitter herbal Chinook hops. The grapefruity flavors meld with the spicy alcohol and creates a wonderful blend of happy and hoppy deliciousness. Absolutely amazing. 4.5

M - Medium bodied, well carbonated to smoothness, mildly sticky on the palate. 4.0

D - Very drinkable for 9%. Dangerous because it drinks like a 6%. 4.0

Overall - Got this for a steal at $5.33, post seasonal. Still drinks very well a number of months after bottling. Highly recommended for any hophead.

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Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 1,222 ratings.
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