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Class V Stout - Kern River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Class V StoutClass V Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

386 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 386
Reviews: 187
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 9.8%
Wants: 85
Gots: 62 | FT: 4
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:
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 added by: mcallister on 03-01-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 386 | Reviews: 187 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Ineedabeerhere

Rhode Island

4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for this one via the 666 BIF. From notes on 4.9.10.

Pours black, took a little work to coerce much of a head formation in my tulip. Spotty lace sticks around.

Smells of deep, quality coffee beans without being acrid. High quality, dark chocolate. The taste is much of the same, some burnt caramel sweetness. Very well balanced between malt sweetness and bitter roast. Medium bodied, but really silky smooth and coating despite not being too "big" of a beer (8.5% abv). Really excellent with a great finish, some roast lingers.

Nothing too distinct about this beer, it is just very well balanced and well made. I haven't had too many Kern River beers yet, but between this and the JO IPA, they seem to be doing some great things out there. I'd like to drink this again sometime.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2010 18:06:55 | More by Ineedabeerhere
Photo of drabmuh


4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2010 02:54:10 | More by drabmuh
Photo of largadeer


4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2010 03:59:36 | More by largadeer
Photo of WestValleyIPA


4.58/5  rDev +12.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2010 03:28:00 | More by WestValleyIPA
Photo of biglite351


3.03/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - mild red-brown around the edges. Very little foam which was disappointing.

S - some coffee smell, but like the foam, just not enough.

T - smooth to start with very mild chocolate and coffee, but a bit of hop or bitterness in the middle. There is am odd, familiar flavor in there that I can not place. Not bad, but not belonging in a stout.

M - nice coating of the mouth, but other than that you get no e,yes feelings.

D - drinkable, but too many better tasting and better feeling brews out there.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2010 01:05:52 | More by biglite351
Photo of mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2010 05:34:21 | More by mothman
Photo of pmccallum86


4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark midnight black with a small/medium size head. Great retention on the side of the glass.

Smell is of HUGE roasted malts, did I say huge roasted malts? Some dark chocolate as well.

Taste is of cocoa and roasted malts. Bitter dark chocolates come through, very nice stout. This is a great all around beer, great stout in all aspects. I was expecting the flavor to be a little bigger for a double stout, but very good.

Mouthfeel is awesome, very smooth and creamy. Almost silky on the tongue.

Very drinkable, I don't think you can get more drinkable for the style.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2010 03:58:06 | More by pmccallum86
Photo of Kegatron


4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Serving type: nitro-tap

03-30-2010 19:35:22 | More by Kegatron
Photo of callmescraps


4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very excited to see this in LA. Apparently it came to the Goat in the back of their truck, which is kind of cool itself.

Appearance- Very deep brown, almost black. The head is a thick, creamy off-white. Just a beautiful pour. Nitro does it again.

Smell- A nice roastiness. Not too burnt, which is good. There is a hint of the coffee. Honestly, it's just a tad subdued. May be the nitro, may be that it's just a tad too subtle. It's nice.

Taste- A nice coffee roast. But it's just so creamy and light. It's like a cup of coffee with plenty of cream and sugar. It's nicely balanced. I'm not a huge coffee fan, so this is right up my alley.

Mouthfeel- Gorgeous, creamy and thick. Very smooth. Nitro strikes again.

Drinkability- Went down easier than expected. So nice and rich.

This is a very nice beer. Goes down smooth, quite enjoyable. I'd have several more.

Serving type: nitro-tap

03-13-2010 22:28:13 | More by callmescraps
Photo of srandycarter


3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours near black, off white head, leave eventually to ring. Some cling lace left.

S - At first, found much smoke in the smell. Subsequent smells after a few minutes found less, but still there. Smoky, coffee, sweet dense malt base.

T - Mostly coffee, with sweet malt base behind it. Very coffee.

M - Medium, creamy, good balance and carb.

D - For the style, nice. I wouldn't want too much at a time, though.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2010 04:21:45 | More by srandycarter
Photo of alcstradamus


3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Another generous extra from a huge trade with Solomon420. Reviewed from notes.

Pours black with a full finger of creamy head that dissipates quickly. Aroma is dark malts and a pungent hoppiness that is extremely unique. Hints of caramel and dark chocolate and flowers.

The taste is mostly coffee bean...there are wood-like notes as well as some very bitter chocolate. The mouthfeel is medium/full with lots of soft carbonation. I found this to be an enjoyable stout but not one that stands out.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2009 03:11:30 | More by alcstradamus
Photo of womencantsail


4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2009 06:45:42 | More by womencantsail
Photo of rudylaw


4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2009 21:23:50 | More by rudylaw
Photo of jdizzel

South Dakota

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

a-this beer pours a pitch black with a very small tan head to it after i pour at the bottom of the glass you can see some white chunky stuff which im never afraid of

s=great chocolate smell this is a good sign

t=there are tastes of chocolate coffee and vanilla very taste

m=great mouthfeel so easy on the palate

d= pretty easy to drink at 8.7 could easily drink a few of these beauties

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2009 02:25:50 | More by jdizzel
Photo of HalfFull


3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2009 04:51:51 | More by HalfFull
Photo of vacax


3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Looks black with an adequate tan head. Dissipates, leaving a thin carpeting on top. Some alcohol legs. Smells of Tootsie Roll, roasted barley, light bit of fruitiness, some sugar and oats. Nice, roasty, not overly complex.

First of all, expect a double stout and by no means an "huge" imperial stout. A nice blend of chocolate malts, some slightly tropical fruitiness, with a roasty, slightly smokey balance. In the end a bit sweet, but Kern River again reveals their talents in making strong but not in-your-face brews that are delicately balanced. Full bodied, but not slippery, smooth medium carbonation. A nice American Stout, a touch sweet, but full of classic American flavors. Kern River is a great brewery to introduce someone into craft beer with their traditional, good interpretation of American styles like this.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2009 04:37:04 | More by vacax
Photo of corby112


4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2009 08:08:34 | More by corby112
Photo of barleywinefiend


3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep cole color with a small tannish head. Nose was chocolate and coffee, roated malts too. Prtty straightforward. taste was smooth with a mix of coffee, chocolate and a roastiness from beginning to end. Well rounded stout for sure and really easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2009 13:32:19 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of joe1510


3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz Bomber

Another big "thank you" goes out to BitterBill with the Kern River hookup, thanks Bill! Class V is a devilishly dark concoction with a beige head that rises to one finger in height. The head eventually falls to a thick collar and skim coat leaving behind some thin lacing.

The nose is different than I expected. Coffee grounds and a splash of Hershey's chocolate syrup are the first things that come to mind. A touch of roastiness comes along with some lactic sweetness coming along stealth-like. The aromas all come together well, unfortunately they all seem to be on the weak side.

The flavor follows the same lines as the nose. Spent coffee grounds and chocolate syrup roll over the tongue from the get go. Very faint nuttiness hits mid palate with the lactic sweetness following closely. Again, the flavors feel slightly watered down, especially considering the nature of these flavors. With all that said, this is a tasty sipper.

The mouthfeel shows the same weakness as both the nose and flavor, it just seems a little watered down. The body is medium and has a touch of fizziness on the swallow. If the carbonation wasn't so lofty the body would be more appropriate.

This is a solid beer and although the mouthfeel doesn't fit like it should it does help this beer go down easily.

Kern River brews some insanely good beer. Class V is the weakest of their offerings I have had yet and it's still a damn fine brew that I would pick up on occasion if available here. Thanks for the bottle, Bill!

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2009 21:15:14 | More by joe1510
Photo of ghostwalker


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

Dark, rich body with solid finger of tan head.

Nose is rich coffee and chocolate.

Serious flavor, coats well and has good body.

Mouthfeel is creamy and coating. Very nice, but with an acidic bite at the end.

Drinkability is very high. A nice brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2009 00:21:18 | More by ghostwalker
Photo of spointon


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

I poured this one from a 22oz brown bomber bottle into a shaker pint glass. Mucho thanks to the stellar BA dgb3 for sending this as an extra in a recent trade.

A= This stout poured a dark black-brown color with slight ruby highlights around the edges. At fridge temp the head poured 1/2" of dense dark tan that slowly settled to a thin cap (the second pour put up a slightly larger head). It left some streaks and spots of lace down my glass.

A= Smelled of rich dark sweetness, dark roasted malts, dark chocolate, and earthy hops. Alcohol was never really noticable.

T= Started off with sweet chewy malt and rich molasses up front followed by roasted coffee and dark chocolate bitterness. The hops stayed soft and earthy and never really took a lead role. Finished fairly sweet with a hint of alcohol emerging.

MF= Heavy body wth a slightly viscous and creamy feel. Carbonation was moderate but seemed lighter due to the density of this beer.

D= I was really impressed with this beer. As an extra in a trade, I was not expecting much but this was really top notch. I would gladly have a few of these in an evening!

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2009 00:33:32 | More by spointon
Photo of jjayjaye

New York

4.7/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque darkness with better than a full finger foamy light brown head that resists fading. Notable bottle art. There is plenty of Belgian lacing in the wake of each mouthful. The smell is good too. Mildly roasted malt and that undeniable hint of that classic vanilla-black licorice molasses thing I sense in my favorite examples of this style. The mouth feel has that lightly carbonated texture with a tangy warmth and classic creaminess. Very very smooth, CREAMY, heavy yet not chewy, a touch of an oily coating character that sends the entire mouth into that involuntary lapping reaction...searching for MORE. Full flavored, dark chocolate, vanilla, heavy cream textures, molasses and licorice that finishes with a light roasted lingering complexity. At 8.5% ABV...this must be the 'diet' version of my favorite. An incredible drinker. Lighter than many in style without taking away from texture and flavor. This is one of the best Double Stouts i've ever had. My understand is that Team Kern River isn't charging an arm and a leg for it either. Many thanks to Solomon420 for this very generous extra!!!

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2009 16:26:58 | More by jjayjaye
Photo of ThreeWiseMen


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

Got this as an extra in an exchange with Swimsum. Thanks Brent! Entirely unnecessary, but totally appreciated.

Split this one with Trevor (lynx1245). Poured into a couple of snifters.

Appearance: Pours out very dark and thick. A small, tight, brown, creamy head forms at the top of each snifter, amounting to about a half inch inch in height. Brown yeast flakes sit at the bottom each glass. No light passes through the body; absolutely opaque. Head soon decays to a creamy halo; leaves stringy, ring-like, lacing as it descends down the snifter.

Smell: Dark roast coffee - more like mocha, dark chocolate, roasted malt, molasses, and bitter earthy hops.

Taste: Roasted malt, espresso, cream, molasses, alcohol, and oily, piney hops (especially in the finish). Yum.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, warm, dry, full, and roasty. Medium carbonation. That's about as succinctly as I can put it. Very enjoyable.

Drinkability: A little harsh at times and definitely on the heavy side, but otherwise delicious. If you spot this, buy it.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2009 02:46:03 | More by ThreeWiseMen
Photo of BeerTruth


3.13/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz. bomber poured into a nonic. No freshness dating anywhere to be found.

Pours a cola black with a quick one finger light khaki colored head that dies down to almost nothing. Bits of lacing on the sides here and there, but not much overall. Aroma consists of roasted barley, burnt coffee grinds, and dark chocolate. Some dirty earthy hops and smokey malts in the nose as well. Taste begins with bitter hops and burnt malts which seems to linger forever. Pine, charred wood, and alcohol on the tongue as well. The aggressive hops really get in the way of the true malt flavors a double stout should have. A medium body with a far from smooth feel and a strong sting left on the tongue. Seriously lacking the creaminess I crave from this style. This beer could use more balance for sure. Average beer all around.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2009 00:25:08 | More by BeerTruth
Photo of Halcyondays


4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2009 22:32:44 | More by Halcyondays
Class V Stout from Kern River Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 386 ratings.