Name: Krampus Imperial Helles Lager
Brewery: Southern Tier Brewing
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Lakewood, New York
Style: American Double / Imperial Pilsner
Alcohol Content (ABV): 9.0%
First Brewed: 2008
Reddish amber with a grapefruitlike nose and a touch of honey and clover. Rich caramel notes emerge swiftly and threaten to overtake the palate, only to be balanced by exceptionally resiny hops. Never overbearing, its medium body finishes sweet and satisfying.
I really like Southern Tier beers. We can’t get them here in Arizona, but they have a great line of beers including their IPA, 2XIPA, and their Creme Brulee Stout. Oh, and their Choklat Stout. They are some pretty aggressive beers, and I am pumped to try this one. I have never had this, and was surprised to hear that it was a Christmas beer. It is almost July, so I guess we are going to have Christmas in July… or June. Today was the hottest day of the year, so it seems fitting! Pumped to try this. Let’s drink!
In the Glass: I didn’t expect this to be this dark. It is a nice rich copper color and a nice sticky lace. Not much head, but I am excited to dig in. Plus, this is imperial and has a big ABV. We are reviewing 3 beers tonight, so I hope I am not hammered by the time we finish! Let’s see what this smells like.
Nose: It smells like a lager… fitting, right? It has a nice subtle sweetness to it, but nothing too exciting. The bottle does say to drink this at 48 degrees, which is quite cold. This is right from the fridge, so it should be near that temperature. The bottle also says a lot more… but we will get to that soon enough. I am ready to see what this beer tastes like. Cheers! (I am going to start saying that more often, for the record.)
Flavor: Whoa, that is great. It tastes like it smells, but WAY better. It has an immediate sweetness to it, and a somewhat spicy flavor. Not too much spice, but a nice subtle spice that I can groove with. I wonder if this pairs well with food around the holidays. Maybe I should trade for this again in a few months.
Mouthfeel: There are a few more bubbles than I wanted, but that’s OK. They aren’t overwhelming. I will say, as this sits on my mouth, the flavor really sticks around. I keep licking my lips and those spices are sticking around. They don’t make a basic beer like this, but I would like to try it if they did. The imperial part throws me off, but helps me decide whether to buy a beer.
Aftertaste: There isn’t much aftertaste here, but I keep going back to those spices sticking around on the inside of my mouth. This beer is dangerously drinkable. I bet I could drink a bomber of this and not even realize that I did. I call those beers dangerous!
This is good. I like the spicy flavors in the finish. The finish is also a big dry… and continues to dry as I sit here and swallow. Oh, and I like the label. The little guy is crazy scary! Not sure what bottle is up next, but we have two more coming. Cheers! (See, I told you I was going say this more often.)
Krampus Imperial Helles Lager – The bottle says: “St. Nicholas, aka Santa Clause, is a magical figure, the bringer of gifts and an icon of holiday spirit. Forgotten by most is his evil side kick and enforcer of “the list”.
ARE YOU NAUGHTY OR NICE?
“European tradition says while St. Nick is busy delivering presents to good little boys and girls, Krampus hands out punishments to the bad. A fanged, goat-horned bully, the Christmas Devil uses sticks and chains to beat the naughty children.”
“Dark malts and aromatic hops create the diabolical spirit of this brew. It is finished with lager yeast and aged cold for no less than 30 days. This Imperial Helles Lager will warn even the coldest hearts.”
“This season, replace the cookies with a bottle of Krampus. If he happens to pay a visit, toast to him with this devilish brew. Merry Kramp-mas to all, and to all a good pint!”
See… I told you this guy was scary!
This beer is an American Double/Imperial Pilsner, according to Beer Advocate. Sounds like an interesting style. It looks pretty good in the glass. It looks very thick and doesn’t have a lot of head. It’s not very transparent, but is a dark orange color. It smells good – kind of spicy and citrusy. It swirled in the glass a little as I smelled it, and I can already tell just from that little swirl that it has good lacing. So far, so good. Let’s see how it tastes.
It’s definitely spicy, and slightly hoppy. It leaves a very bitter, long-lasting aftertaste. I like the taste and mouthfeel of the beer, but the aftertaste is a bit too much for me. It kind of takes away from the taste of the beer, and I can’t quite get past it. I can’t taste much of the citrus that I smelled in it, either. It’s a decent beer, but the aftertaste really kills it. Probably not one I’d spend money on again.