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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

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 Tbn2
4.86/5  rDev +24.3%
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 Ezekiel81923
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this last year, before I cared to review beers. Got another one remembering that I enjoyed it before. 22oz bomber poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Amber colored body with a thick 2+ finger head. Maybe got a little too excited with this pour, because it foamed over. Impressive nonetheless. Ample retention, minimal lacing.

Smell: Big hops, some citrus, some sweet apple aroma. A bit grassy. Come caramel malt comes out, but just faintly at the beginning. Nothing bitter or yeasty so I contend to those that don't think this was lagered that I indeed feel it was. Very smooth.

Taste: Some cracker malt flavors, a bit of caramel sweetness, but all this is disguised for the most part by the hop presence. A bit of bitterness, citrus, grapefruit, grass all come through. More hops than I expected even for an imperial lager.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth with an easy finish. Not bitter, not bubbly, this is where it proves its really a lager. Alcohol come through a touch, but the overall flavor profile was still delightful.

Drinkability: Medium bodied but still quite drinkable. Alcohol will catch up with you but a whole bomber is certainly not out of the question.

A very odd but interesting brew. Fit's Southern Tier's MO quite nicely. I enjoyed this one, but the price deters me from enjoying too many of these.

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Photo of headbucket
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had skipped over this beer the past few years but finally decided to pick one up this season, and was very glad that I did.

A: A nice reddish/orange color with a respectable head and some patchy lacing left on the glass.

S: Earthy/flowery hops and a sweet maltiness combine together to form a very attractive smell.

T: Medium/dark malts start off followed by a very pleasant earthy and pine hop flavor. Nice strong hop presence without really being too bitter.

M: medium bodied with a nice carbonation.

D: Great taste and smell makes me want to keep drinking. I really enjoy the hop flavor in that you have a strong hop presence without being overly bitter. Alcohol is present but doesn't detract too much and doesn't keep me from downing this beer very easily.

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Photo of atremains
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber, decent head that leaves good lacing. Solid looking beer. Smell is big on the hops, with some bready notes going on and some sweetness. Taste is big on the hops with a very faint alcohol bite. Fresh doughlike flavor strikes me. Citrus and piney hops with some good malt backbone. Pretty mellow for the amount going on here. Mouthfeel is relatively thin but has a good relaxing feel to it. A good solid beer though not what I expected.

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Photo of BurpingtonDC
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this Imperial Hellas Lager from a 22 bottle into a Weizen glass.

A - Poured to a beautiful, crystal-clear, carmel/copper color, with a creamy tanish 2 fingered head.

S - Strong alcohol scent, citrusy and pine notes. Maybe some note of tropical fruit

T - Hoppy, burnt toast or rubbery bitter aftertaste, but not in an off-putting way. Malty taste, but it is tempered by a booziness that masks it a bit. Drinks like an IPA.

M - Medium bodied, low carbonation, carmely. The hoppiness creates a bitter pervasiveness in the mouth that leads to the perception of a fuller body.

D - If you like a hoppy brew, and I do...this is a really fine tasting lager. It's not too light, and its clear, refreshing taste makes it a pleasant drink. It's 9% ABV makes it dangerous.

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Photo of Thingus
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Live tasting, bottle into Duvel Tulip

Appearance; pours a clear copper, with roughly two fingers of foamy straw colored head that quickly dissipates leaving a thin film of head with good lacing on the glass.

Smell; right out of the gate, Krampus hit me with a pretty wild fresh baked cherry almond bread kind of aroma... Wonderful, hoping it holds through to the flavor, as that is an incredible smell.

Taste; definitely yeasty and bready with some cherry or cranberry or other kind of red fruit esters creeping in at times... Missing is the almond and toast that I detected in the nose... A slight bit of alcohol astringency and hop bite on the finish.

Mouthfeel; slightly dry on the finish, that ties in well with the astringent alcohol notes in the beer, a little hop bite toward the end, with some residual bitterness...

Overall; I don't have a whole lot of experience with, or knowledge of this style, but I do know that I enjoyed the beer. I went into it with an open mind and a clean palate, while not an exceptional beer i do feel like it is a solid beer and I feel like this would be a good beer to drink in a liter mug!

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Photo of FatSean
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Found this in bombers at my favorite beer store. Bought a few to give as gifts and one for myself.

I'm a big fan of the Helles lager so of course an imperial version had to be tasted. Imperial lagers rarely keep the character of the regular style as well as Imperial ales do. This beer was no exception. The hops walked all over the wonderful bready malt flavors I love in a Helles. The sweetness was there, but over all the beer just seemed disjointed.

Worth a shot, I might try it again next year myself.

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Photo of madtappers
4.7/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a imperial glass.

Nice dark brown color, with a white head. Aroma was hoppy, not sure if it was really a piney or citrus smell, just a nice clean hop smell.

First drink was pure bliss, has a taste of a smooth barley wine with a perfect mix of both hops and malt back. Very drinkable for a 8% beer.

I will drink this one again next Christmas season!!!!

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

bomber poured into a pilsener glass

A - dark golden; quite a bit of carbonation gives it a considerable head; good lacing

S - flowery and hoppy, little bit of malt in the nose

T - hoppy and sweet malt -- lot of both, alcohol is there

M - coats the tongue with sweetness, but is dry nonetheless

D - smooth, but a huge amount of flavor so is not one to drink quickly

Yet another solid beer from Southern Tier -- these guys are pretty good.

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Photo of Tifore
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

A - Pours a orange gold that is crystal clear and looks refreshing after hauling the christmas tree up the stairs into our apartment. Pours a nice white fluffy head that is about 1 finger tall and deflates quickly but leaves lots of sticky lacing.

S - HOPS!!!! A great citrus smell hits your nose quickly as well as lots of sweetness. Slight yeast and malts in the background.

T - Taste is of hops and malts. Lots of grapefruits and of carmel. Bittersweet exactly pegs the taste. Finishes bitter and clean. No lingering after taste.

M - Mouthfeel is medium and holds up to the flavor profiles. Pretty good carbonation and bubbles attack the tounge.

D - Drinkability is good but I wouldn't want to drink the whole bomber to myself or drink this all night.

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Photo of HopNelius
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served out of a bomber into an Irish Pint glass.
Appearance-amber with medium carbonation, some lacing.
Smell-crisp, like a lager but with some citrus hop notes coming through.
Taste-bread taste with some notes of citrus hops coming through, dark fruit notes but very light.
Mouthfeel-pleasant and refreshing, very drinkable.
Overall-not a bad beer, I have not had a lager in a long time when I tasted this however. I would try this again, it is good for what it is, which would be one of the better lagers I have had.

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Photo of jsp2
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
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.

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

22oz bottle into ST 2XIPA glass.

A- Brilliant copper color. Foamy head that reduces way down with good lacing on the glass.

S- huge citrus hop aroma and a little sweetness.

T- Huge on hops and huge on malt sweetness....tons of flavor here. Each sip finished sweet and clean, dry finish.

M- Medium bodied and medium carbonation, but enough to support the flavor.

D- This beer definitely assaults the palate it in a good way, but I do not think I could drink this all night long.

A damn good beer. I like the hop forward character of this beer better than alot of ST's other beers that come off very sweet (Unearthly, Mokah, etc.)

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

Krampus light caramel haze color with a nice foamy .5 inch head that quickly dissipates to a thin off white film. Smells of sweet caramel with subtle pine hops. Krampus has the perfect amount of sweetness too it. Not overbearing. A nice piney hop presence is noted. Mouthfeel is stick and creamy. Drinkability is high for me. Very impressive and balanced beer. Ummm.

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Photo of Norica
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
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 cwps48
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Orange amberish in color. Transparent. Small head, sticks around for a bit. Leaves a good amount of lacing when cold, not so much when warms. Surface looks like the basolateral PM of a COS7 cell...

S: Floral hops. A bit of citrus smell. Not much going on beyond the hops, though as it warms, the sweetness of the caramel malts comes out.

T: Hoppy. Floral. Rather bitter. Some caramel malt coming through. Tastes more like a DIPA than an imperial pilsner (makes sense, no Saaz hops apparently).

M: Decent carbonation. Nice wet finish.

D: Smooth. Each sip leaves me wanting some more; wouldn't want a second, but the one was nice.

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Photo of Dhren1979
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage: 2010

Serving type: 22 oz Bomber poured into a Tulip glass:

A: Pours a amber color with dense, 1" head. The head holds its own and doesn't look to leave anytime soon. Clody & hazy!

S: A surprising hoppy presence. Sweet malty aroma as expected. All of the aromas are somewhat muted.

T: A malty begining which gradually develops into a bitterness hoppy finish.

M: One of the 1st craft beers that I can say is on the lighter side of mouthfeel. Kind of refreshing to be lighter and not as complex.

D: A good session beer for the winter. Would I want to buy a whole case of this? No. But a good beer to have a few around to sit back and read a book.

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Photo of ScarletLady
2.78/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On tap.
A - amber in color nice head that left thin wisps of lacing
S - first a bit of hops followed by malt. had to really search for the aroma
T - hint of hop at first but mostly malt. sweet finish
M - slightly thick with almost no carbonation
D - just ok, wouldn't try it again

Overall a little disappointing and now the least favorite of my southern tier brews

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Photo of kenpo23
4.54/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

just put it aside for a year.... amazing. i may be biased because i do love a helles lager but as usual...Souther Tier does it right. no need for more explanation...just trust me. if i'm wrong...and you live in the area i have no problem meeting up with you at Bukowski Tavern in boston and trying what you would think is better.

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Photo of NuclearSoAndSo
3.91/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a beer mug. Born on date reveals it to be a little over a year old, but I figured it would be alright since it's 9% abv.

Appearance- Pours to about a 3 finger off-white head; dark caramel color.

Smell- Lightly citrus and hoppy; vaguely fruity, and you can pick up on the alcohol a bit.

Taste- Hoppy with a distinct flavor I can't quite put my finger on. It's interesting for sure; floral.

Mouthfeel- Very smooth with light carbonation. Still a sipper though, I would say.

Overall- I really liked this. It was a nice beer for Christmas Eve, and I would buy it again. Again, there's a flavor here I can't really seem to describe, but it's different and I enjoyed it.

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Photo of krazyboi
3.41/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a 30 oz. glass mug.
A:Dark amber color and pours a nice thick head which dissipates relatively quickly.
S:Piney hop aroma, somewhere inbetween an APA and an IPA. A bit of caramel also if you try to smell beyond the hops.
T:Bitter and sweet taste up front. Grapefruit towards the end.
M:Feels thicker in the mouth than it would seem.
D:Not bad. Easy to drink. Probably could drink two bombers of this and feel really good afterwards...

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Photo of Jdmpolk
4.27/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Orange to golden brown in appearance that leaves a powdery lacing on the glass. Head is a light brownish white.

S- Incredibly hoppy. Spicy and piny mix with a grapefruit aroma. The alcohol makes itself known in the nose, and a hint of cherry is present.

T- Initially sweet, but the hops quickly break their way through it. Much of what was in the aroma is present in the taste, grapefruit and spice, with a pine sap flavor.

M A slight syrupy feel that covers the mouth, a little alcohol bur in the back of the throat.

D- This is a very drinkable and balanced beer. The hops are powerful, but the sweetness from the alcohol balances the bitterness very well. Overall a delicious beer.

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Photo of Grandwazoo
3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
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 nose...rich 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 anotherpg
4.62/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Here's an exceptional challenge to Stone's AB: a chewy, hoppy, high ABV double which finishes smooth without feeling like you need to brush your teeth after.

This pours a clean amber with a large, 1-2 finger head, drinks easy but with a full taste of hops. The ABV didn't show as I was drinking it-- it didn't taste hot or out of balance. The smell was of hops, but the taste was very well-balanced and it was juicy, almost buttery, as I drank it. The ABV and hops meant it slowed me down a bit from drinking more than one, but for a 22oz bomber, this was a great find and I'd gladly drink it again.

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