Class V Stout - Kern River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Class V StoutClass V Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

194 Reviews
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 194
Hads: 481
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 5.72%
Wants: 91
Gots: 82 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 194 | Hads: 481
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -0.5%
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. (274 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque pitch black with a huge 3 inch chocolate milk colored head that fades to a small cap. Good latticed lacing on the drink down. Smells of espresso, cocoa powder, and some citrus zest hops. A very tasty beer with roasted coffee/espresso beans, semisweet chocolate, vanilla, and faint citrus hops. This beer is sweeter than I was expecting with the bitterness coming more from the coffee/espresso and hops tastes. Carbonation level is somewhat low which makes for a very creamy and thick feel in the mouth. Overall, this is an amazing stout that I have been sitting on in my fridge for months now. I am glad I finally cracked it open. The price of $4.99 for a bomber is sure to have me coming back time and again to this brew. (738 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to overlord for this bottle.

A: Pours a near-black with an initially-large tan head. Settles down into a nice outer ring around the glass.

S: Dominated by chocolate and coffee, in that order, alongside a lighter presence of roasted malt.

T: An explosion compared to the nose. The chocolate, coffee, and roast are definitely there, as are molasses, brown sugar, and hints of vanilla. Extremely well done.

M: Medium body with good carbonation. A bit thinner than I'd like it to be.

D: Very nice. Intriguing flavors and fairly-low abv for the style. This was a nice treat and I'm very glad I got to try it. Thanks again, Mike. (635 characters)

Photo of brentk56
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a viscous black with a thick, milkshake of a head that leaves a lot of lacing behind

Smell: The hops leaves an impression on the nose, though there is plenty of chocolate, licorice and molasses underneath

Taste: Chocolate flavors abound, up front, though the lactose and brown sugar create a very sweet character, in the middle; the hops balance the sweeter flavors out, after the swallow, but the overall impression is a tad sweet

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body; somewhat creamy; moderate carbonation

Overall: This bottle has been in my cellar for a couple of years, so the sweetness may be the result of the hops fading away; would like to try a fresher bottle on another occasion

Thanks to the unknown BA who sent this to me as an extra some time ago (776 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The better part of a bomber shared with Sandstone, I used the remaining 4 oz for ticking purposes. A hard pour leaves me with a near-lifeless midnight black body. This bottle appears to have some carbonation issues, though it's not completely flat. The aroma is excellent, rich dark chocolate and sweet espresso up front, with a light hoppiness taking backseat to the malt. It's chewy and viscous on the palate, initially sweet but more bitter and dry towards the finish. Dark chocolate is the dominant flavor, but it's balanced by a subtle earthiness, dark roasted coffee and a faint spicy hop presence. Pretty nice stuff, I'd love to try a fully carbonated bottle. (666 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.07/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black forest cake with wee glimmers of sepia along the bottom edges and a thick slice of caramel nougat colored cream occupying the upper fourth of the pint glass. Remarkable persistence, continued good looks during the descent, and a lovely array of sticky lace are highlights.

The aroma is incredibly aromatic and features the olfactory wonders of roasted-chocolate malt above all else. Bittersweet chocolate and black coffee are in the foreground, while citrus zesty hops (Chinook and Cascade) are in the background. Very good things are expected.

Kern River Class V Stout is a hoppier than usual American double stout (although right in line with many West Coast versions) that drinks lower than the 8.5% ABV would suggest. Unless the alcohol hits with monster truck force in a few more ounces, I'd have guessed no more than 7.0%.

Most malt lovers will probably complain about too much citrus juicy hop flavor intruding on the roasted coffee bean (espresso) and dark chocolate goodness that beer of this style usually delivers. And they would have a point, since malt power and depth of flavor is a little lacking. Hopheads, however, should be mighty pleased.

Mouthfeel is the biggest reason why CVS seems more like 1.5x stout rather than double stout. It isn't as meaty as it should be, and the carbonation is too subtle besides. More barley and better bubbles would have allowed an increase in each of the final three scores.

Kern River Just Outstanding IPA is incredible beer that fits my preferred American IPA profile to a 'T'. Class V Stout isn't that good, but it's still damn fine ale that is a malt infusion away from being amazing. Recommended if you love the lupulins. (1,688 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4.07/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a one-finger, tan head of foam. It left thin sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - Aroma is powered by molasses, chocolate and toffee. There are some subtle floral notes, too.

T - Great chocolate flavor with some burnt molasses flavors. It had a nice bitterness from the hops to balance things out.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. Medium to full bodied with a very clean, dry finish.

D - This is a really easy drinking Imperial Stout. The alcohol content is lighter than most and makes it a nice brew to drink. (566 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A jet black pour with a small mocha colored head on top. There is very nice lacing on this one, which I wasn't necessarily expecting.

S: The smell is primarily dark roasted malts, but there are nice coffee and chocolate components to this as well.

T: The flavor is a bit more intense than the nose, which is a pleasant surprise. The flavors are fairly intense chocolate, roasted malt, and some mild coffee.

M: The body is a little thinner than I would have liked, but still nice. Carbonation is also quite low, but I like that in an imperial stout.

D: This is definitely not a "huge", chewy, thick beast of a beer. But, it's definitely a solid stout and I found it to be surprisingly drinkable. (701 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.67/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a black body with a thin, quickly dissipating off-white head.

Smell: Dark malt aroma with notes of chocolate, licorice, and roasted grains.

Taste: Dark maltiness with a high degree of roastiness and a solid semi-sweet chocolate flavor. Hint of licorice. Some earthy hop bitterness, but the roast really provides the balance to the medium sweetness. Touch of acidity. Dry finish with a lingering roastiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: While I wouldn't exactly say it's "the greatest beer I have ever tasted", it is quite a solid stout. (589 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours an opaque dark brown color with a half finger of creamy light tan head. The head fades to a thick layer on top of the pour and leaves a small amount of lacing.

Smell: Smooth and roasty, not much bite to this one. In the background I'm getting some cocoa and dark fruit.

Taste: More roast then I got from the smell, but it is still rather smooth. Dark chocolate and some dark fruit. The finish isn't particularly sweet and is full of roast.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thick side with very smooth, thick carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a very well made stout. The balance was very nice. I would definitely have more in the future. (714 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
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. (1,568 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
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. (804 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.48/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served from a nitro-tap into a 12 ounce glass in low altitude Orange, California. Reviewed from notes. I didn't know what to expect.

A: Pours a two finger head of good cream lacing, nice thickness, and good retention. Colour is a solid black.

Sm: Coffee, caramel, nuts, and cream. A moderately strong aroma - and a nice one.

T: Milk, cream, chocolate, and light coffee. Very nicely balanced and built. I quite fancy it. Very pleasant and flavorful.

Mf: Smooth, creamy, and wet. Suits the flavours of the body.

Dr: Very drinkable and of pretty good quality. A lovely nitro-tap stout. Decently priced. It hides its ABV very well. Give her a spin if you're a stout lover like me. (686 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 06/25/11 notes. Bottle shared by nmann08; thanks Nate. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into my Bruery tulip.

a - Pours a murky, very dark brown color, with one finger of off white head and moderate carbonation evident. Leaves some spotty lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, light citrus hops, and floral hops. More hops than I was expecting.

t - Tastes of chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, citrus hops, floral hops, and nuts. A lot more citrus than the nose, and pretty hoppy for a stout.

m - Medium to full body and moderate carbonation. Nice creamy body.

o - Overall a nice, hoppy stout; a lot more hops than I was expecting. Lots of roasted and chocolate notes mixing with citrus. Would have it again. (743 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer served in a tulip, beer is black and forms a thin brown head of tiny bubbles that breaks and gravitates toward the walls of the glass. Head leaves a lot of lacing.

The aroma is sweet and roasty with a hint of alcohol. Maybe some chocolate is in there as well.

Beer is slightly thinner than expect and has a nice sweetness and chocolate notes to it. Really nice. Second taste, the roast on this beer is overall mild and mostly shows up in the aftertaste, very smooth on the palate. I really like this stout. Top notch. (524 characters)

Photo of orangesol
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of nickd717 shared with Deuane and Hojaminbag. Poured into a taster glass. Thanks again Nick!

A - Pours pitch black with a small one finger tall tan head, dissipating down a thin film, leaving light lacing down the glass.

S - Smells of dark roasted coffee, chocolate malt, licorice, and some earthy hops. A bit more roast than I was expecting in this one.

T - Flavors are very similar to the nose with the rich dark roasted coffee once again taking a slight lead over the rest of the flavors. The finish is what you would expect, more roast. This was OK but far from mind blowing.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Roasty feel with plenty of dark roast and light smoke in the finish, lingering for some time. Just a bit too thin for my liking.

O - I had high hopes for this one but it left me wanting a bit more. The flavors are all there for it to be great but it seemed like none of them wanted to take the lead. (954 characters)

Photo of mothman
4.27/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to pmccallum86 for sharing another Kern River beer.

Poured into Surly Imperial Pint Glass.

Pours a half finger of tan/khaki head. Fades to a thinner layer but fine retention after that. Leaves some splattered lace. Color is a dark dark copper brown. Near black. Not as dark as most other double stouts.

Aroma: Rich, silky chocolate. very creamy. Roasted malts, vanilla, and caramel. This beer is money. Very inviting aroma. Well done.

Taste: Rich and chocolaty with espresso. Roasted malts and creamy flavors. Vanilla and sweet caramel. This beer is pretty tasty. Silky smooth.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, silky, and creamy. Medium to full bodied with a medium (but ideal) amount of carbonation. Ends dry and roasted.

Overall, this is a solid beer. I am very impressed. I had no idea this beer was going to be this good. All the flavors that I could want in a stout and they blend so well together. This beer is great. I highly recommend it. (945 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
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. (592 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An extremely vigorous but controlled pour produces a three-finger thick, lace inducing, nicely browned, quite dark tan colored head. The beer is quite dark, mostly black, definitely opaque and perhaps shows a touch of deep brown color to it, but only just. The aroma smells richly of toasted whole grain, cocoa, smoothly burnt malt and in the finish a huge, dry, whole grain cracker almost dried hay / grassy note. Underneath this is perhaps a suggestion of anise, a suggestion of round / burnt dark fruit, and a concentrated, though somewhat subtle dark caramelized malt character. The aroma on this stout is exactly what I want right now, hugely malty, but smooth and appetizing.

Dry tasting as it hits the front of my tongue, but it quickly picks up a dark malt sweetness and roast character as it rolls across the tongue. The roast character amplifies towards the finish and there is a nice, pine / herbaceous hop character here as well. The finish sees a nix mix of burnt grain bitterness and hop bitterness that lingers on the palate after each sip. The sweeter dark malt notes contribute notes of molasses, burnt brown sugar, a suggestion of dark chocolate. The hop character here adds a fresh hop character that I wasn't expecting from the nose; there is an ample herbal hop character that has suggestions of citrus (this last, I expect, would be much more noticeable in a paler beer). The hop character is certainly dominated by the malt, and in the middle the dark, sweet, slightly burnt malt character is the most noticeable; the finish though sees an equal mix of malt and hop character provide a nice balance. I like the rich texture of this beer, it is not heavy, and in fact fairly quaffable, but I really like the support that it plays for the hop and malt flavors, it really serves as a cornerstone for the great balance that this beer is able to achieve. A touch of alcohol is noticeable in the oral nasal interface. There actually seems to be a solid vanilla flavor (and perhaps even aroma here) that seems to accentuate the sweetness of this beer.

This beer really strikes a great balance between sweet, concentrated dark malt flavors, the dry, but smooth burnt / roast malt character and the vivacious, but supporting hop character. Can perhaps be a touch sweet at times, but this helps contribute to the over all balance of the beer. (2,357 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours black with a firm off-tan head, good lacing and head retention.

S: Dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans/espresso, rich.

T: Hops hit immediately, then a decadent dark chocolate comes in with a bitter espresso attack. Great hoppy finish and balanced sweetness overall. Chocolate cake in a glass to an extent, I loved it.

M: Smooth, full-bodied, rich, soft carbonation.

D: Kern River knocked it out of the park on this one, this beer is phenomenal, I'm am thoroughly impressed with the first two ales I've had from them, I must now go to Hi-Times as they are my only supplier of these guys. (616 characters)

Photo of billab914
3.86/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into my Stone IRS glass. It poured black in color with a foamy, tan head filling the top two inches of the glass. Very nice head retention and lacing on the glass as I drank it.

The aroma has a smooth, milk chocolaty flavor to it. I get a little bit of a citrusy hoppiness out of it as well. It's pretty reserved on the bitter, roastiness in the aroma considering how much of that comes through in the taste.

I get a lot of bitter-sweet and dark chocolate coming through in the taste. I get some roasty, slightly burnt, bitter coffee like flavors coming out more towards the finish. Some hoppiness is noticeable as well. Pretty taste and flavorful stout overall.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being a little above average. Overall it was a pretty tasty and flavorful beer. I really liked the roasty, bitter chocolate flavors it brought. Very drinkable imperial stout overall. (916 characters)

Photo of DoubleJ
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

What has the crew for Kern River have in this stout? On to the beer:

Poured into a full 20 ounce imperial pint glass (because that glass kicks ass!), the beer is black as expected, with a little ruby red hues at the very bottom of the glass. Don't pour the entire bottle in or you'll have orange sediment floating, but my first pour was without the sediment. The head is tanned in color, has very good retention lasting till the end, and the lacing it leaves is good. An impressive nose, a pot of coffee and a feast of chocolate cake. There ya go.

This tastes like chocolate, and chocolate isn't even used! Class V beats most chocolate labeled beers at their own game with a big flavor reminiscent of Dutch chocolate. Cocoa comes around, a hint of coffee rooastings (especially in the aftertaste), and a tiny squirt of the hops. The alcohol is disguised, and it drinks more like a beer with 6.5% ABV, not 8.5%. One chink in the armor though it that it feels more like a 6.5er, with a medium body and good smoothness. One imperial pint down, no problem.

Kern River amazes again, and this is the most amazing one I've tired so far. It's also one of the best stouts I've tasted. Fun to drink without all that palate fatigue from larger stouts. Highly, highly recommended. (1,272 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
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. (609 characters)

Photo of corby112
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black color that's almost completely opaque with the slightest dark mahogany edges when held to a light source. Frothy two finger light beige head with good retention that slowly fades into a lasting cap. Sporadic splotches of lacing coats the glass.

Deep roasty malt aroma with hints of coffee, toffee, oatmeal, caramel, alcohol, burnt toast chocolate and a nice amount of hop bitterness.

Hop forward for an impy stout with a smooth creamy full body with a lot of roasty malt, silky chocolate notes, caramel notes, burnt toast, oatmeal, licorice, coffee, toffee and a pretty prominent hop presence that creates a slightly dry finish. The ABV is very well masked making this a pretty quaffable impy stout. (722 characters)

Photo of Zorro
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear very dark brown colored ale with a tall brown head. This is the nearest thing to light proof you can see through.

Strong chocolate and patent malt, smells a bit like burned chocolate cake. Sweet smelling this is quite cake like in smell.

Starts out sweet and bitter with a strong charred malt taste. Sweet than it seems at first this is mostly char with hints of chocolate and caramel. Hops stay basically hidden here.

Full mouthfeel.

Do you like sweet and bitter beer with a lace of chocolate? The you will like this. I give this an OK+ rating. (555 characters)

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Class V Stout from Kern River Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 194 ratings.