Class V Stout - Kern River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Class V StoutClass V Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

477 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 477
Reviews: 196
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 9.8%
Wants: 92
Gots: 84 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Kern River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mcallister on 03-01-2007

River rapids are rated by a numeral system. Class V is the most difficult level rapid that can be negotiated.

This non-traditional beer is an Oatmeal Stout, Milk Stout and an Imperial Stout all in one. With a complex flavor profile ranging from coffee to chocolate, the sweetness is complemented with Chinook and Cascade hops to produce an extraordinary finish. But at 8.5% ABV, don't let the smooth taste fool you; this beer is like the Kern at high water - "Not for the Timid".
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 477 | Reviews: 196
Reviews by DividedAvery:
More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.06/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #63 (Apr 2012):

LOOK: Towering tan head, Stout black

SMELL: Brown malt, sweet oats, floral, rose water, blackberries, spicy hops, cocoa powder

TASTE: Intensely creamy, mild coffee, brown sugar, sweetness, warming alcohol, sorghum, burnt raisins, tangy; charred finish

What we have here is a very different Imperial Stout. Highly drinkable and interesting, with a tangy dryness that keeps you coming back for more. Love the balance and the depth that opens up after each sip.

Photo of newk340
4.37/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: oily black, thin ring of cream foam.

S: heavy wafts of thick milk chocolate assault the nose.

T: a mouthfull of warm roasted chocolate followed by a humid hoppy aftertaste with a subtle nuttiness.

MF/D: a full-bodied stout with warm flavors throughout, an excellent stout to be enjoyed with friends... or alone.

Photo of aquazr1
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Imbibe. Had this many times on tap at KRBC but never posted a review. Pours black with a thick head. As you drink the beer it leaves a lot of lace down the glass. The smell and taste is that of cocoa with a hint of chocolate. The mouthfeel is medium to heavy. What I think makes this stout so good is the depth of flavors. That fact that it is a three way stout probably contributes to this. A very good stout that never disappoints.

Photo of Motleydrunk56
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

22 oz Bomber.When you open this brew up the first thing you notice is the great smell of it.Solid ABV of 8.5 and the different flavors you taste,Just outstanding.Poured this into a 20 oz Firestone glass and let the party begin.Cranked up the Cars on the bose sounddock and we were in high gear.Good stout that I will revisit.Give it a try.Motley Drunk out.

Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to solomon for this brew in a trade. Cheers! Pours jet black and with a very thin head. Smells of malt & coffee. Taste is an enjoyable mix of roasted malt and coffee. Mouthfeel is very smooth. It takes a few sips to detect the etoh but it is in there. This is a very good American Stout.


Photo of magictrokini
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured dark, dark brown, maybe see-through black with red edges. Flat tan head, moderate lacing. Chocolate and burnt malt aroma. Claims Chinook and Cascade hops, but the aroma is more veggie than resin. Smooth, slick mouthfeel which compliments the smooth taste. Caramel and chocolate are dominant but it remains sweet rather than bitter. No soy sauce, nice. Again, I'n not feeling the hops, which is probably good. Kern River has something going here. Buttery coffee finish with a little cream. Liked it.

Photo of ehammond1
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (2011)

K 'n B Wine Cellars
San Diego, CA

(Aged for 6+ months)

Nearly black in color with a thin dark brown head that leaves thin sheets of lace down the glass. Pretty and appropriate.

Nice, complete, rich aroma of dark chocolate, coffee, and dark roasted malt.

The flavor is very similar to the aroma with dark chocolate and coffee flavors dominating, along with moderate levels of dark roast, and some muted hop bitterness.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Very nice, very tasty, somewhat low-ABV, imperial stout.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black pour tan head. Inviting aroma of chocolate and alcohol.

Whoa, there's lots of chocolate in this. And it never goes away, its there throughout the entire bottle and mouthfeel. Rich. Alcohol is not as strong as I thought it would be, melds nicely. No off flavors, mild hopping, but make no mistake, the chocolate is the top dawg on this one. And its lovely. If you like Rogue's Chocolate Stout, this is similar in the immensity of the chocolate, but has a thicker and chewier mouthfeel to it. Good amount of smooth and sweetness to it, this one really does push forward all the good things from a milk and oatmeal stout with the largeness of an imperial and of course, the chocolat!

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured nearly pitch black into my new hand blown Dogfish Head glass, brownd ruby edges when held toward the light. Dark tan head forms nice and thick with chunky sporadic lacing forming nicely between sips and as it settles. Aromatics offer up dark chocolate and coffee roasts with hints of anise and herbal hops in the background. Flavor wise the chinooks were evident with a green spicy herbal leaf flavor amongst te dark creamy chocolate and coffee bursts. A very nice big American stout from the west coast, these Kern River beers are so drinkable this one has a big body but nothing about it hurts the drinkability. Carbonation is smooth and mellow slightly chewy with body being so big, but it never becomes cloying. A beer I will be on the look for if it every comes East or shows up in the Burgh.

Photo of rudylaw
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shipped from Hi-Times back in July... brought a couple of bottles to share at DDay.

Pours black with a 2-finger off white head.

A copious amount of dark malt in the nose. Hints of coffee and some hops as well. I can tell this is a west coast stout right off the bat. Nothing too nuts, but this is a solid pour and first smell.

Those roasted malts and coffee are prominent in the taste as this glides down easy. Not picking up much more as it warms. Perhaps some added sweetness. As expected, a tad thin in the mouthfeel, but that makes it all the more drinkable.

My first taste from Kern River and I hope I can try the BA version of this in the future.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to glitchedmind for this one.

A: Pours black with a small khaki colored head on top, decent retention, leaving a thin ring on top. Nice lacing all around the glass.

S: Very clean, mostly dark roasted malt with some dark chocolate and a little bit of coffee.

T: Nice chocolate flavor mixed with roasted, grainy malt. There is a touch of brown sugar. the hints of coffee in the aroma do not translate to the flavor profile.

M: Medium bodied with low to medium carbonation. No sign of abv at all.

O: Not a huge Imperial, more of an easy drinker. Nice flavor profile, very clean.

Photo of MrVonzipper
4.88/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pitch black color with no penetrable light. Large, dense foamy tan head with excellent retention and lacing.

Nice mocha, coffee, rich roasted malt and faint bourbon notes on the nose.

Flavors are great and robust with excellent balance. Nice mocha and dark chocolate, coffee and deep dark malt notes.

Full bodied but not heavy at all. Very nice. Just a touch dry. Med-high carbonation but a nice creamy carbonation.

Overall, Just a perfect imperial stout especially for the value. IMO this and Stone IRS are absolutely the best overall stouts around especially for the price. Excellent from nose to flavor and mouth. Bright and robust. Better that many big special released imperials I've had.

Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A tasty, mostly chocolate 1.5x stout.Roastiness, though understated. Greeted by bittersweet chocolate and a very hoppy beer at 75 IBU of Cascade and Chinook. It all works. ABove average mouthfeel. Pitch black body, with a good amount of brown foam head.
Thanks Augustgarage.

Photo of aval89
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours pretty much black. About a fingers worth of tan head, with nice tight bubbles.. non transparent body..

S: cocoa, nutty, coffee beans, vanilla, milk chocolate

T: upfront is milk chocolate.. espresso, mollases & oatmeal take up the mid-palate.. finish has some hop earthiness, but finishes with a dominant coffee bitterness with a dark chocolate lingering aftertaste.

Mf: thick & syrupy.. low carbonation

O: solid imperial stout! Alcohol is pretty much hidden.. drinks so smooth & easy

Photo of augustgarage
3.96/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On nitro-tap @ Blue Palms Brewhouse in Hollywood. Served in a wide-mouth tulip.

Bistre, nearly opaque body with very slight auburn highlights that emerge when you are down to the dregs. Two steady fingers of dense beige steamed cream which doesn't recede at all. No visible "cascading" effect. Smooth cakey lacing drapes the sides and clings doggedly.

Light roast coffee, malt balls - a restrained aroma that remains so even as the beer warms. No off notes.

Coffee and cream, roast malt, with slight hints of licorice, white pepper, and pancake batter flavors. Mild hops add a slight earthiness and a low-level bitterness. Finishes bitter-sweet with a touch of cocoa butter.

Creamy, chewy, and rich, but not heavy. Very mild astringency.

Easy drinking middle-of-the-road stout here.

I could go for a boost in ABV, and while the flavors are good, they are a bit too mild for the style in my opinion...while not exactly a session ale, I'm not sure this warrants the "double" or "imperial" title.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.38/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to Scalene for this one via Light Whale BIF 2. Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a Darkness snifter.

A: Standard pour yields a massive, quickly rising, frothy, powdery, 2.5 finger light mocha colored head with incredible retention. Beer is a bit thin but presents as an appropriate opaque black. Lacing is thick and layered with very good cling. Nice looking beer but points off for a head that is a bit over the top for the style.

S: Nose is heavy with liquorice and roasted malt. Some sprinkling of cocoa powder, milk chocolate, lactose and a slight espresso bean sourness. Pleasant but not overly aromatic or enticing.

T: Opens lactose, milk chocolate, and liquorice. Some dark fruit gummies towards the middle with a cocoa powder graininess. More liquorice and some espresso and roasted malt bitterness towards the end. Finish is roasted malt and a touch of booziness with a smoky coffee aftertaste. Pleasant but not extraordinary.

M: Medium bodied and moderately carbonated. Smooth and light in the mouth and goes down with a prickle and a slight bit of heat. Finish is rather muted with a faint, slightly lingering aftertaste. Nice and oily in the mouth but a bit thin.

O: A good effort by Kern River overall, Class V stout is attractive and flavorful but a bit thin for its style. At the same time though, the body lends well to the feel and drinkability. Worth a try.

Photo of RocPorterFanatic
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours dark brown, almost black into the glass with a vigorous 4 fingers of cramy tan head. Thick sticky lacing adorns the glass as it subsides.

S - Smells of wet cardboard, but not in an oxidized way, gooey caramel and instant oatmeal.

T - So many flavors ovewhelm the palate. I expected a bigger hop bite but its not there. Its sticky sweet up front with English Toffee, turbinado sugar and almost a rum like sweetness. Reminds me of a cafe aulait with a little too much cream in it. Just a touch of hop bitterness in the back. Alot of alcohol warmth as I swallow, making me yearn for the next sip.

M - Creamy and effervescent carbonation, along with a thinner, non-viscous body keep this beer interesting sip after sip.

O - Great beer!! My first from Kern River. A true delight on a cold winter evening.

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep black with a thin tab head. Decent lacing.

Aroma is just kind of roasty. Nothin super special but not bad. Little bit of toasted sugars.

Taste is awesome. Solid stout. Smooth and a little sweet. Reminds me of a sweet stout a local brewery makes.

Mouthfeel is a little thinner than I like my stouts to be. Dot of a dry stout feel. But not bad. Good carb.

Overall a solid brew. Very easy drinking and I could drink alot of it. This will have to be a staple of mine.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

650 mL poured into a snifter. No bottle date.

Appearance - Pours with a nice mocha head. Nice surface foam and a great collar of chunky bubbles.

Smell - It's quite hoppy. Inordinately so. Almost green smelling. Oatmeal and chocolate behind it.

Taste - Really chocolatey. Still hoppy but much more balanced. Oatmeal is strong and gives it a nice body. Slightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Excellent body. Medium carbonation. Bitterness and chocolate balance perfectly.

Overall - I was surprised by how good this was. Oatmeal is perfect and while the hops put off the nose, they make for an excellent stout.

Photo of Kegatron
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On nitro-tap @ Beachwood BBQ (Seal Beach, CA) on 3/20/10. Served in a pint glass.

Pours black in the glass, being topped with a finger of EXTREMELY smooth and creamy mocha colored head. Naturally, this stays rich from the nitro, just completely slathering the sides of the glass with rich lacing. The aroma is burnt roast and coffee, with thicker notes of chocolate and toffee giving this some sticky heft in the nose. Hops are present as well, with some earthy, herbal, and a touch fruity, character hanging around in the background. Maybe a touch muted here on nitro but not bad at all overall.

The taste is packed up front with fudgey chocolate character and sticky caramel notes. Dark roast and coffee rears its head a good bit, but the overall profile is leaning more towards those sweeter malts. There is a good bit of earthy hops and citrus towards the back of the flavor profile but the bitterness itself stays at a moderate level, allowing the more roasted aspects of this to do the work for it. Satisfying dry-roasted finish on this that keeps you coming back for the next sip. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with an amazingly smooth and creamy texture to the carbonation here on nitro. I wouldn't have guessed in a million years that this beer was 8.5% ABV based on how easy this drank. Just effortless!

Another awesomely well made brew here from Kern Valley. A Stout this rich, robust, and big shouldn't be able to be drank this easily. The nitro really gives this a killer drinkibility that could easily get you in trouble if you had a few too many.

Photo of HalfFull
3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep brown/black with just a hint of reddish highlights into a large wine glass. A half inch of mocha head is a bit difficult to wrangle but does keep once gathered, thus yielding a fair share of lace.

Light grated chocolate and a bit of coffee on the nose. Touch of alcohol is present but subtle. Big roasted malt nose with very light hops once the foam has settled. Overall a bit subdued but good.

Flavor follows with chocolate malts and a full sweetness that keeps the ABV at bay. Fairly rich and creamy with a moderate body that gets a bit heavy at times, some rich chocolate cherry coming forth. Overall a bit rich and straightforward, not pushing any boundaries yet not showing any flaws either. Decent but simple.

Photo of bashiba
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep dark mahagony brrown with a lingering off white head.

The smell is ver full, rich chocolate and roasted barley goodness a little bit of sweet alcohol coming through.

Nice depth of flavor, a big hit of smoked dark malts with layers of sweet dark friuts comingg through, with some alcohol sweetness, has a some nice anise and light minty notes in the finish.

The mouthfeel is thick and oily with very low carbonation.

Very nice imperial stout, good compexity.

Photo of WestValleyIPA
4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Ommegang fluted glass. Got one finger of very light tan head. Smells amazing. Strong bittersweet Cacao scent. Great bitter chocolate flavor on the finish. Mouthfeel is medium carbonated. Very smooth going down. Amazingly drinkable for 8.5 percent. One of the 3 best stouts I've ever had.

Photo of SpdKilz
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours into my SA Perfect Pint glass with a rather opaque dark chocolate color that allows literally no light to pass through, even near the edges. About a finger of mocha colored head is achieved that quickly dissipates leaving moderate lacing.

Smell - Roasted malts, cocoa, dark chocolate, vanilla, and slight coffee.

Taste - Rather creamy with taste similar to the nose. Chocolate, not quite as bitter as expecting, dark roasted malts, cocoa, and coffee. Again, not as bitter as I was expecting. Well balanced.

Mouthfeel - Lighter than I would have expected. Still a "creamy" nature to it, however, not as thick as would have thought. Ends a bit dry (bitterness).

Drinkability - Pretty quaffable for an imperial stout at 8.5%. I don't taste the alcohol at all nor any warming. This is a pretty good stout and as stated, easy to drink, no thanks to the lighter body of the beer. Not bad at all and I would have pegged this at a 5-6% stout had I not read the alcoholic content. This is going GREAT with some slightly sour raspberries. A damn good after dinner treat.

Photo of Bung
4.01/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. Not quite pure black pour, 2 solid fingers of frothy solid tan head. Does stick and retain quite well.

Malty earthy aroma. Fairly straight forward.

Taste is a good mix of roast and caramel and chocolate maltiness. More here than in the aroma. Just light coffee and fainter yet citrusy hops in the finish.

A thinner body than ideal for an imperial, but in coats pretty well. Goes down super smooth, would want to say watery easy, but it is not watery by any means. No alcohol presence what so ever.

A very good balanced drinkable double stout. Probably a good value out west, having ordered on line, not so much of a value for me.

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Class V Stout from Kern River Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 477 ratings.