Class V Stout | Kern River Brewing Company

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Class V StoutClass V Stout
519 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 519 |  Reviews: 201
Photo of TxMdScotty298
2.25/5  rDev -45%

Photo of jophish17
2.5/5  rDev -38.9%

Photo of yeahnatenelson
2.83/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Nice extra by Patchmaster. Thanks, Pal.

Appearance -- Pours a dark brown hue with a voluminous khaki head. Looks a bit thin on the pour.

Smell -- Quite hoppy with notes of citrus and pine boughs, roast malts, and residual sweetness. Very hop-forward, more akin to a American Black Ale or whatever those things are called these days.

Taste -- Again, surprisingly hoppy with a muddled fresh pine and citrus flavor. Roast flavors take a back seat, or at least get covered by the hoppiness. Residual sweetness (lactose?) adds an odd extra element that doesn't quite mesh with the hoppiness. Lingering flavor of bitter roast malt and hops.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-bodied with milder carbonation. The carbonation would've been more manageable if it were fuller in body.

Overall -- Not blown away. Certainly nice, no obvious flaws, but there's nothing exciting me about this beer. Your mileage may well vary.

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Photo of artdob
2.99/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Tan head. Dark but not coal black as some Imperial Stouts Full of suds on the sides of the glass.

S: Aroma is yeasty. Eucalyptus notes. Chocolate esters emerge after sitting in the glass for a few finites

T: Very roasty malt flavor with burnt molasses and woodiness. Less chocolate , fruitiness, and sweetness that I've found common in Imperials. Bitter hoppiness.

M: Good carbonation - full bodied, somewhat creamy texture with a dry finish.

D: Decent stout considering the mix of styles advertised by Kern (Imperial, Oatmeal, Milk stouts all in one). With so many rich contenders in the field however, don't know that I'd revisit this one.

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Photo of KevMo84
3/5  rDev -26.7%

Photo of Scamboogery
3/5  rDev -26.7%

Photo of chippo33
3/5  rDev -26.7%

Photo of RichBeer
3/5  rDev -26.7%

Photo of Rempo
3/5  rDev -26.7%

Photo of Brabander
3/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was a very disapointing beer. The bottle was traded with schuey1010. I had high hopes for this beer but it was not what i hoped for.

This is no stout by far, no smell, no taste which brings you on a higher stout level. The alcohol is not very high and with some more alcohol the deepness of this beer would have been better.

 330 characters

Photo of chadwicktorres
3/5  rDev -26.7%

Photo of biglite351
3.03/5  rDev -25.9%
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.

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Photo of Trilogy31
3.05/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a duvel tulip at 55 degrees. Black with tinge of chesnut at the rim. Two fingers of khaki colored head that dissipated slowly and left nice lacing. Nose smells of darked roasted malt, with maybe a touch of peaty smoke and some piney hop notes as well. Taste is very similarm to the nose without offering much else besides a glimpse of bakers chocolate on the finish as well as ending with an unpleasant astringency. It had a nice silky mouthfeel as being its major plus for me, i am thinking maybe i will try my other bottles a bit colder and 3-4 months of age.

Decent imperial stout, but nothing special and not something i would revisit.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.12/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle. Opens with a slight hiss and then pours a WAY over carbonated brown color with a tan head. Infected? Doesn’t taste infected but the carb level is out of control. Medium roast coffee note and dark chocolate. Light/medium mouthfeel. Slight sweet start with dark roast and dark fruit. Nice flavor but the carbonation level is way too much.

 346 characters

Photo of BeerTruth
3.15/5  rDev -23%
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.

 815 characters

Photo of Philousa
3.21/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 3.25

Imbibed at Gourmet Haus for Kern River tap takeover, 2/11/13.

Pour an inky black with two fingers khaki colored head clinging to the pilsner glass it was served in. This settles quickly, but carbonation is considerable for a double stout, as a quick swirl will show. The aroma is mostly bakery's chocolate and dark malts, making me think of a dark bread such as pumpernickel. The taste is dominated by the dark malts, bringing to mind bakers chocolate and dark roasted coffee. There is some bitterness, but its mild and fleeting. The finish is very dry, to the point o being chalky when coupled with the aforementioned chocolate. Feel is slightly watery for the style. I really like lots of aspects about this beer, but the chalkiness really gets to me by the end of the glass.

 779 characters

Photo of BGsWo22
3.25/5  rDev -20.5%

Photo of craftbeerasian
3.25/5  rDev -20.5%

Photo of dkw0063
3.25/5  rDev -20.5%

Photo of hoppymcgee
3.26/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Gorefiendus for this bottle. Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a Trois Pistoles goblet.

A: Dark brown/black with a small "tight bubble" head that diminishes to a film over the top. Good lacing.

S: A wheaty and yeasty chocolate aroma. I do not get any hop presence whatsoever.

T: Some chocolate, acrid coffee at best, and no hop presence whatsoever. I get a sort of artificial taste that's lacking direction.

M: Brings a little more life to this beer. Good carbonation level and smooth from start to finish.

D: ABV-wise this is good but the acrid coffee and artificial flavor bring the drinkability down.

Overall, this beer lack oomph and is kind of lifeless. A mediocre, everyday stout.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.28/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. Generously shared by chswimmer during ramnuts' visit. Thanks Craig.

A: Pours a dark brown body with a half-finger of light tan head. Retention is decent for the style, and the remaining collar on the beer leaves some lace during my initial sips.

S: Quite a nice nose, but nothing screams "imperial" at me. If you had told me this was a straight-up stout (possibly an oatmeal stout), I would have believed it. Roasted grain, with a mild lactic / milk twang (or possibly anise). Chocolate. Some hops are noticed, adding kind of a pine aroma.

T: Cocoa powder, milk sweetness, and roasted grain. Definitely a touch of anise, possibly some nuts. Caramel. It's a solid stout flavor, not particularly complex or outstanding, but quite tasty. There is some lingering bitterness that I'm guessing is the hops I smelled, but I can't really taste the pine flavor here.

M: Light-medium bodied. It's not too dry. Quite tasty. I don't think it has the heft or flavor to justify the ABV; I'd expect something with substantially higher complexity for something over 8%. This is actually less flavorful than the St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout (again, I was making this comparison in my head before I realized it wasn't a regular oatmeal stout).

D: A solid, tasty beer. Nothing to go gaga over. A good value.

 1,324 characters

Photo of portia99
3.31/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle picked up on a recent trip to San Diego poured into a Bruery tulip.

A - Pours a deep, dark near black color. Four huge fingers of fluffy, milkshake-like foam rises above the beer...excellent staying power - really hangs on for several minutes, slowly bubbling away leaving behind a completely covered glass with frothy lace.

S - Lots of dark roasted malts up front. Chocolately, grainy, some dark fruit. Lots of fermentation esters. Very mild coffee hints. Grassy hops on the fringes, not much for hop bitterness. Smells good, but not really impressive.

T - Chocolatey, combination of milk and dark chocolates. Lots of hops, bitterness, grassiness. Roasty and earthy grains, dark fruity, estery. Can't place it exactly, but something is missing here...not really something wrong, but just not very satisfying flavor. Just ok for me.

M - Thick, creamy, frothy...quite full bodied, but soft on the tongue. Carbonation is a bit low probably giving more creamy feeling to this. This is really thick, almost like sipping on half & half in consistency...c'mon, we've all done that at some time.

O - Overall, just an ok imperial stout for me. Appearance is great and mouth feel is just behind that. However the aroma is lacking in intensity and complexity and the flavor is just, well, ho-hum. Had high expectations for this one, but was let down a bit.

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Photo of BcOneSeven
3.31/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of JohnnieNepal
3.37/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.38/5  rDev -17.4%
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.

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Class V Stout from Kern River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.09 out of 5 with 519 ratings