Thursday, March 18, 2010

261. Southern Tier Krampus

“Are you naughty or nice?”

Another imperial beer from Southern Tier; we’ve had three other big beers from Southern Tier, including through Crème Brûlée, Mokah, and Jah*va, and we’ve also had Old Man Winter, their Winter Ale. This is their Christmas seasonal, so we are drinking it a little out of season, but there’s nothing new about that with us...

Krampus has a clear copper color with a light but persistent white head. The nose is lightly caramel and grainy, mixed with Chinook hops aroma, giving it some spicey and piney hop notes. Opening with caramel malt flavor in the front, Krampus quickly moves into hop flavor and bitterness middle; there are resin and pine hop flavors before ending crisp and dry with some lingering bitterness. The body is medium with some light tongue curling from the hops, and the carbonation is medium. Overall, not what we expected—Krampus has very few of the lager characteristics we thought we’d find. While it is an Imperial Helles, the hop presence is much larger than any lager we’ve come across. There is a crispness to the finish, but it has the hop and malt balance of an IPA without the syrupy nature of some of the bigger DIPAs and Imperial IPAs. The 9.0% ABV is pretty muted as well; it is not until it gets decently warm that any alcohol flavor or mouthfeel makes its presence known. Interesting and enjoyable, although I’m not sure if we’d pull the trigger on this one again. Bottle number two is still lurking in the back of the fridge...

From the bottle: “St. Nicholas, aka Santa Claus, 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.’ 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 warm even the darkest 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!”

ABV: 9.0%
OG: 20° P


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