Class V Stout | Kern River Brewing Company

196 Reviews
Class V StoutClass V Stout

Brewed by:
Kern River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

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".

Added by mcallister on 03-01-2007

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Reviews: 196 | Ratings: 504
Photo of soughtbygod
5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours dark black like most stouts but it has good head retention, nice 2 to 3 finger head. the smell is of vanilla and oak maybe some smoke. the thing i love most about this beer is that it drinks very well 40 to 55 degrees all the way through releasing different flavors and depths of complexity. probably one of my favorite stouts. the mouthfeel is smooth a little thin for a stout but i suppose that is why this is so drinkable. awesome beer.

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Photo of Reema
5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Serving type: 22 oz bottle into a snifter glass. It's a rainy Southern California day, seems like the perfect weather for this beer.

Pours a deep dark black color, slight crimson at the edges. Smell is of chocolate, coffee, slight roast, milk chocolate sweetness, along with a slight permeating hoppiness. Taste reflects the smell. Initial intense coffee and slight hoppiness lead into pleasant dark and milk chocolate flavors, finishes with a lingering sweetness and dark chocolate flavor. Feel is thick, viscous, slight carbonation to not make the beer flat. Fits perfectly with the heavier coffee, chocolate, and sweet flavors. Overall, this is an awesome beer with great flavors. Definite rebuy.

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Photo of MrVonzipper
4.88/5  rDev +20.5%
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.

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Photo of Tdizzle
4.74/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A - Poured into a TeKu glass, Class V pours an opaque black with a frothy head of tan foam that sticks around for the duration of the beer. Webs of thick lacing cling to the glass with each sip.

S - Rich notes of sweet cocoa, medium roast, mild coffee, and star anise. A faint leafy hop presence lingers in the background. Some phenols from the high alcohol content surface as the beer warms. A classic imperial stout aroma.

T - The taste is very sweet at first, but a pronounced roasty character quickly balances it. Bitter-sweet cocoa and coffee are the prevalent flavors. A mild hop presence provides some nice leafy bitterness. The 8.5% ABV imparts noticeable heat on the lasting, roasty finish.

M - The texture is thick, rich, lush, and velvety smooth. Chewy and viscous as well, with just enough carbonation to prevent it from being overly heavy.

O - A quintessential imperial stout. Intensely rich flavors and aromas coupled with incredible drinkability. Seek this one out.

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Photo of newsage
4.7/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

one great stout! class v stout is one of the top ten maybe five stouts i have ever had, that's saying a lot because i am a stout/porter drinker. My favorites are Velvet merlin, BIG Bear Black Stout, Parabola, but Class V and The abyss are what i drink when i want a change of pace. Well done Kernville.. EDIT, Under rated!! had it again and Very UNDERRATED!!!!

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.7/5  rDev +16%
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.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.7/5  rDev +16%
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.

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Photo of SammyJaxxxx
4.68/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a Bomber into my Yeti Stout glass (I Believe)
A: Pours a deep dark black with a finger or so of fluffy tan head. Great lacing
S - Coffee and chocoloate. There is a hint of the hops in the nose.
T - First sip is tons of chocolate. But the taste is very complex with chocolate, coffee and licorice. The burnt coffee is the taste that lingers.
M: This beer is chewy. It is thick and complex with a great mouthfeel.
O: When I think of Kern River I think of IPAs. However, this is an excellent Stout that just might change my impressions. An excellent stout that I would be glad to have again.

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.67/5  rDev +15.3%
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!!!

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Photo of PhiloPsych
4.57/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of WestValleyIPA
4.55/5  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.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Black with a mocha head.

S: Dark bittersweet chocolate, roasted malt and coffee in the nose.

T: Holy shit. Bittersweet chocolate, Italian roast coffee, sweet roasted malt, milk chocolate. Delicious.

M: Full bodied and creamy smooth.

O: I want a barrel aged version of this… I ll leave it at that.

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Photo of pkalix
4.54/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

beautiful chocolate-y head on top of ultra-dark brown.
beautiful aroma of chocolate, coffee, sweet roasts...
taste follows the aroma with some added bitterness with the hops. so smooth and rich. it does taste like an oatmeal stout and a milk stout....

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

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Photo of n2185
4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: 0ours a dark brown with reddish highlights and two fingers of creamy head that fades into a dense cap with good lacing.

S: roasted malts with lots of creamy chocolate and coffee. Simple, but nice.

T: roasted malts here as well with semi-sweet chocolate and bold coffee. Slightly charred and bitter finish.

M: medium-thicky body with super creamy carbonation, this beer is deceptively light and creamy.

O: a delicious stout overall. Simple, but very enjoyable.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a very dark black with just a hint of brown and a half-finger of frothy chocolate colored head. The head fades fairly quickly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is full of roasted chocolate and some coffee with some earthy hops and a touch of citrus with a touch of sweetness.

T - Starts off with some roasted lightly bitter chocolate malts with some coffee and a touch of earthy hop. Through the middle, some sweeter milk chocolate comes through with a touch of citrus hop flavor. The finish is a mix of chocolate malts, some coffee, a bit of sweetness, and a touch of earthy hops that linger together.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Very smooth with a dry roasted finish.

D - Very drinkable. Really excellent balance of stout flavors. The chocolate is nice and rich but not overpowering and the body is spot on.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

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Photo of aquazr1
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

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Photo of jdizzel
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
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

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Photo of injuredreserve
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours black with an off-tan head, good lacing.

S: Dark chocolate, roasted coffee espresso, rich malts.

T: Very nice. Dark chocolate, bitter coffee, dark fruits with a nice malty backbone finish.

M: Smooth, medium bodied, maybe little on thin side.

D: Easy to finish the bomber, and I wanted more.

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Photo of jeff1973
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Bruery tulip. Got from Farmer's Harvest (Huntington Beach, CA) for $4.89.

A - Black, opaque. Tan head leaves really good lacing.

S - Roasted malt, bitter chocolate, earthy, slight bit of cherries.

T - Smooooth!!! I know that is not a taste, but it is the first thing I noticed. Cherry Kool-aid (not sweet though and in a good way), bitter chocolate, then a nice bitter roasted malt and dries out nicely (I am assuming from the good amout of hops). Well balanced.

M - Medium carbonation. Medium low body. Creates a very smooth beer.

D - Medium high and dangerously so! Goes down way too easy for a 8.5%ABV beer.

Great beer. Great taste. Great drinkability. Great price!! My new "go to" stout.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

100th Review!

A: Black with a thin, sand colored head and some really nice lacing.

S: Smelled a little like a frappuccino. For me, that was a good thing. A lot of coffee in the nose along with some milk chocolate and a little bit of leather.

T: Pretty delicious. A lot of coffee with some earthy, roasted malts. Brown sugar and some cocoa powder thrown in as well. Finish is earthy with a bitter coffee note and a slight warming sensation. I would definitely have this again.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber into an oversized wine glass.

Pours jet black in color. Pretty hard pour yields a bubbly khaki one finger head. Takes a minute to reside to a layer of foam with most of the foam concentrated at the edge of the glass, some big bubbles. Nice lacing left behind.

Smells of chocolate and espresso. Some nutty scent in there is well (cashews/peanuts). A floral hops fragrance as well.

Taste follows smell with lots of chocolate and espresso and again this nutty flavor that reminds me of cashews, peanuts and almonds. A tiny bit of caramel in there. There is also nice floral hop bitterness to balance out the malts. Ends with a chocolate and smokey note.

Pretty full bodied. Medium carbonation. Smooth and creamy.

The 8.5% abv is utterly hidden. This double stout has everything you expect, and a hop presence that nicely balances the malt presence.

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Photo of farrago
4.39/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Two fingers of deep brown foam easily achieved, appears denser than it must be because it does evaporate swiftly, albeit with a considerable amount of lacing left behind. While the liquid is pure black you sense that it's very clear with no haze to it, meager suggestion of orange at the very glass bottom. The nose is close to downright slutty, piling on the coffee roast, semi-sweet dark chocolate, caramel, butterscotch, pecan, Cool Whip as well as raisin, fig, cherry, apricot fruit, in turn brings yeast, mineral water, pine tar, white pepper and a good shock of herbaceousness. Full-bodied, very creamy and smooth in texture but not necessarily soft, displays good posture and some bite. Layers of chocolate, caramel, fudge, cappuccino while remaining towards the dry side, oatmeal, grains and that minerally touch all present. Lighter presence to the cherry, fig, raisin, plum fruit but consistent. The carbonation adds some fluff and certainly is responsible for a lot of the creaminess. More nut oil than primary nuttiness. The oatmeal, granola aspects dry but not hard. The pepperiness lower here. The coffee turns more bitter through the finish, nice pucker factor. Unassuming complexity, each individual flavor is deep and resonant and plays well with others.

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Class V Stout from Kern River Brewing Company
4.05 out of 5 based on 504 ratings.
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