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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.

404 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 404
Reviews: 189
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 9.8%
Wants: 86
Gots: 65 | FT: 3
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: 404 | Reviews: 189 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Kegatron
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

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.

Kegatron, Mar 30, 2010
Photo of callmescraps
4.08/5  rDev 0%

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.

callmescraps, Mar 13, 2010
Photo of srandycarter
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%

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.

srandycarter, Jan 21, 2010
Photo of alcstradamus
3.63/5  rDev -11%

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.

alcstradamus, Dec 10, 2009
Photo of womencantsail
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%

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.

womencantsail, Nov 18, 2009
Photo of rudylaw
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%

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.

rudylaw, Oct 28, 2009
Photo of jdizzel
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%

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

jdizzel, Oct 06, 2009
Photo of HalfFull
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%

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.

HalfFull, Oct 02, 2009
Photo of vacax
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%

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.

vacax, Sep 28, 2009
Photo of corby112
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%

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.

corby112, Sep 05, 2009
Photo of barleywinefiend
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%

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.

barleywinefiend, Aug 15, 2009
Photo of joe1510
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%

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!

joe1510, Aug 06, 2009
Photo of ghostwalker
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%

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.

ghostwalker, Aug 06, 2009
Photo of spointon
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%

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!

spointon, Aug 04, 2009
Photo of jjayjaye
4.7/5  rDev +15.2%

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!!!

jjayjaye, Jul 12, 2009
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%

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.

ThreeWiseMen, Jun 17, 2009
Photo of BeerTruth
3.13/5  rDev -23.3%

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.

BeerTruth, Jun 16, 2009
Photo of Halcyondays
4.72/5  rDev +15.7%

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.

Halcyondays, Jun 10, 2009
Photo of magictrokini
4/5  rDev -2%

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.

magictrokini, Jun 10, 2009
Photo of Zorro
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%

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.

Zorro, May 29, 2009
Photo of Bitterbill
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%

Purchased from Hi-Times Wines.

This pours from 22oz bottle a near pitch black with a 1 finger head of tan foam.

The smell is of roasted malt, some notes of chocolate and sweet malt, maybe a touch of coffee. It doesn't really have a big and bold nose so it takes quite a few whiffs to draw out what's there.

The taste is more assertive. I get notes of coffee, chocolate, light caramel malt for some sweetness, and some coffee and hop bitterness that comes out near and through the finish. The alcohol is noticeable as I get some warming during and after the swallow but it isn't overpowering by any stretch of the imagination.

Medium bodied, I'd say for the most part, bordering on full at times and at others..almost light(weird?), with a lightish amount of carbonation.

Drinkability? Doing slow sips is the ticket for this one but that can be said for most of the Impy Stouts out there so no big deal. This is a very good all around example of the style.

Oh and lacing is not a strong point but the head retention is above average.

Bitterbill, Apr 23, 2009
Photo of rallison
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%

Pleasantly surprised by this one.

Nice tan head that leaves some lacing against a rich but not super thick black body.

Chocolate and light roast in the nose. This leads into a smooth, deceptively easy to drink imperial stout. Lots of soft chocolate, light roast, smooth coffee notes in the taste. Oats help to give this a luscious body. Not very complex, but very nice. I want to see more imperial stouts use some oats to soften the body like you see here. Light hop presence.

All in all, nicely done. Not amazing, but very pleasant and definitely something I would drink again.

rallison, Apr 21, 2009
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%

Pours with the darkness of chocolate syrup only slightly less thick setting pitch black in the glass. Head reaches nearly two fingers of milk chocolate brown with very solid staying power. Nose really gets the mouth watering with a nice mix of robust coco and soft smokey feel. That balance follows nicely into the taste with first sip. Toasty chocolaty tones are full and all over the tongue. ice dryness teams with hints of vanilla, nuttiness and creamy caramelized malts. Mouthfeel is thick and shows some malty thickness with ending dryness. Super drinkable, big, bold yet approachable. Realy hard to classify, somewhat dry stout, a bit of sweet stout, maybe even American double stout. Either way, very good stuff.

SPLITGRIN, Apr 13, 2009
Photo of PhiloPsych
4.6/5  rDev +12.7%

Clear (not hazy) cola brown/black in the bottle with a light, fluffy chocolate mousse head. Smell is classic stout--roasted malt, chocolate, sweet, good. Creamy mouthfeel and creamy taste, very nice. This is a good beer. This is the first beer from Kern River that I've tried, and it's a hit. There is a chocolate and blueberry finish that I really, really like. The aftertaste is real good, too. I've had some big stouts lately that are overdone in various ways--nothing is overdone here. A very well put together beer.

PhiloPsych, Apr 06, 2009
Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%

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.


SkinnyElvis, Nov 02, 2008
Class V Stout from Kern River Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 404 ratings.