Are you naughty or nice?
That is the question posed on the label of the Southern Tier Krampus – a seasonal beer that I bought for The Brew Club simply because of the name and label!
Why is a Devil guy being associated with Christmas, and what kind of nutjob would buy an ornament like this, let alone hang it on their Christmas tree? (Don’t ask) Well, there’s a good story behind this guy Krampus.
See, our society is too Santa oriented. We need more Krampus I think. Hear me out. Krampus, as European tradition would have it, was the proverbial stick to Santa’s proverbial carrot. While the good kiddies were visited by Santa, the bad kids didn’t just miss out on toys – they got a visit from this dude Krampus who apparently had a thing for sticks and chains to help the little ones mend their ways! Perhaps he’d even toss the rotton kids in his basket and take them away. TO HELL!!!!!
What a concept. The carrot and the stick. Bring back Krampus I say!
So, on to the beer! As many Southern Tier beers go, Krampus is also labeled an Imperial, but this time its supposedly an Imperial Helles Lager weighing in at a respectable 9%ABV.
It pours a nice dark color – closer in color to a traditional Marzen than what a typical lager might look like. The head as you can see was quite massive and really had some good retention – it left a ton of lacing residue on my glass and there was a bit of the beige foam the whole way down.
The smell reminded me of the Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, but not quite as strong – I could tell this was going to be a hoppier beer than I’m used to! It was a little sweet and also had that pine kind of woody aroma.
Tasting the Southern Tier Krampus at first had me thinking I was naughty and this was my punishment for this year’s misdeeds. Not being a big fan of the hoppier beers, the first thing that hits you is the hops, and I’m pretty sure Krampus is the hoppiest lager I’ve ever tried. Additionally, the hops come through a lot more in the flavor than in the aroma. (Wow!) Piny hoppy flavors tended to dominate, but I found a neat citrusy flavor that came through in the finish and I liked the bitter finish and aftertaste.
I found myself warming up to Krampus a bit!
The flavor becomes a little more mellow as it warms, and considering this is a 9% brew, the alcohol is really well hidden – not ‘boozy’ at all really. The mouthfeel was also quite nice, the beer definitely has body to it which was also a pleasant surprise to me.
As Christmas beers go, I think Krampus could be considered something like the aforementioned Celebration Ale’s bigger, tougher, and horned brother. I know its a lager, but to me Krampus is a pretty good IPA. If you dig IPAs you’ll probably really like this beer.
I’m going to give the Southern Tier Krampus a 3 star rating which surprises even me! (That’s the same rating I gave to their Imperial Pumpkin Ale not too long ago.)
What’s your take on Krampus? Have you tried it?