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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 196 | Ratings: 504
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.

 700 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black pour, light brown head, 3/4" range, plenty of chocolate malt and alcohol on the nose.

Taste was dropping more chocolate, very good, the mix of lactose and oats provides for a very smooth mouthfeel. Thick, chewy. Isn't difficult to navigate like a Class V rapids. Real solid beer, no wonder they barrel aged this, feels perfect for such an endeavor.

 358 characters

Photo of Josh012012
4.26/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This was around a year old. Tasted like am imperial oatmeal stout.. very roasty and smooth with a strong coffee presence. Even after a year there was a noticeable hop bite

 171 characters

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.

 608 characters

Photo of jooler
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

There is little to no head. Smell is of a black ipa. Smells of dominate hops. Initial taste is grainy with a whole lot of coffee smacking you in the face. Not really any chocolate in there. It is kind of like modern times black house but more crisp

 248 characters

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....

 251 characters

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.

 988 characters

Photo of Catracho5
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bottle poured into a Samuel Smith glass

A: Pitch black with a tan creamy head, no light coming through when held up, not a whole lot of carbonation, lots of lacing, looks really good.

A: Big coffee aromas, chocolate, picking up the hops, smells really good.

T: Coffee, chocolate, hop bitterness, roasted malts, taste really good. Very drinkable for 8.5% ABV. Warms really nice, the hop bitterness mellows out as it warms.

M: Creamy smooth mouthfeel.

O: I really like this stout, has a lot going on, coffee and chocolate aroma and flavors, creamy smooth mouthfeel, this would be world class if the hop bitterness was toned down, otherwise this is an outstanding Double Stout. If you love stouts, this is definitely worth a try.

 742 characters

Photo of Motleydrunk56
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

22 oz Bomber.When you open this brew up the first thing you notice is the great smell of it.Solid ABV of 8.5 and the different flavors you taste,Just outstanding.Poured this into a 20 oz Firestone glass and let the party begin.Cranked up the Cars on the bose sounddock and we were in high gear.Good stout that I will revisit.Give it a try.Motley Drunk out.

 356 characters

Photo of Jimmys
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%

pours very dark brown. head is frothy and coffee hued.

rich roasty aromas. a decent amount of bitter chocolate. mild vanilla notes that sometimes work their way into stouts.

tastes slick. a dry roast is the dominate flavor of this stout. a little bit of char in there too. acrid roast into the finish. cigar flavor too.

thick coating mouthfeel on a decent sized stout.

not too shabby. good stout. easy drinking for the ABV.

 431 characters

Photo of angrybabboon
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Cheers to Bilco for sharing this

Review from notes, 4/18/14

Appearance: Dark brown - pours with a large, fluffy, light tan head, leaves some nice sheets of lacing

Smell: Big chocolate, big malts, and some nice hops - chocolate malts, dark chocolate, semisweet chocolate, and some milk chocolate - lightly toasted, roasted malts - some citrus as well, and the hops interact well with the chocolate

Taste: Big chocolate, but not in excess - a variety of chocolate flavors, with milk chocolate, dark chocolate, semisweet chocolate, cocoa, and Tootsie rolls - some lactose sweetness - burnt, roasty malts, as well as caramel malts - lightly sweet - finishes with some caramel, light sweetness, and roastiness

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body - very smooth, nicely carbonated - a big beer, but it's somewhat easy to drink, clean finish

Overall: Maybe not a V overall, but nice

Kern River makes some killer IPAs. And apparently they can make a stout, too. This was even more interesting than I had imagined, with some nice chocolate, roast, and burnt flavors.

 1,058 characters

Photo of Dsimenson
3.94/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured little-by-little from a 22 oz bottle into a 6 oz stemless goblet. Very dark, basic black, with milk chocolate and fair but not really clinging lacing. Aroma is dark roast malt, a little coffee and chocolate, and mild hops. Flavor is coffee, dark roasted malt, a bit of chocolate, and nicely balanced hops. Mouthfeel is medium full with fair carbonation, but not too much. Overall this is a very good to outstanding stout. Not my favorite, but a great one!

 462 characters

Photo of GJ40
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 22oz bottle in my DFH snifter. Thanks surge1311!

A - Black with no light and a small but sturdy tan head. Clings to the glass nicely.

S - Hot chocolate and coffee notes.

T - Dark chocolate with roasted malt in the middle and a lingering bitterness from hops and roasted malt. Solid.

M - A moderate consistency. Could be thicker. Well behaved carbonation.

O - A solid and reliable IS.

 403 characters

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.

 305 characters

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.

 444 characters

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Straight black. Head is a nice solid tan, creamy, and starts off massive and pillowy. Drops to a wispy cap with a decent super creamy collar. Some nice sheets of lacing leave splotches. Moderate carbonation on the pour. Not too viscous or light on the pour.

Smell: Sweet roasty chocolate. Lactose with a nice sweet caramel malt. Deeply roasted. Cocoa and milk chocolate. Slightly burnt edges. Coffee and a mild backing citrus. A bit of black licorice and some dark fruit. A lot going on, but not in an aggressive or intense way. Some oaty goodness.

Taste: It's cool to repeat sweet roasty chocolate right? Yup. Some bitter cocoa in the back coupled with a nice milk chocolate sweetness. Caramelized malts push some raw sugar and even some toffee. Slightly burnt. Oats and lactose. Dark fruit becomes more pronounced as it warms. Some plum. Decent hit of coffee throughout. Each sip hits a little different than the last. A bit of citrus and hop spiciness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body runs a bit thinner than I would expect given the depth of flavor. Moderate carbonation. Nice and smooth without really ending up creamy. Clean and drinkable.

Overall: Class IV. Promotion due soon.

Thank you for not doing too much here. Nice depth without being syrupy or overbearing. I'll definitely try to snag more bottles and see what fresh vs. age really does with this thing.

 1,376 characters

Photo of wordemupg
3.99/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

650ml bomber poured into tulip 29/5/13 cheers MasterSki and Sean9689 for sending the bottle

A dark cola with a two finger foam that has decent retention leaving a few partial rings of lace before falling to a thin film that still leaves random patches deep down the glass

S milk chocolate and coco powder mix well with some faint licorice, leafy hops, and a hint of coffee, I get a just a little prune as it warms

T the roasts a little darker then the nose and slightly more hops and earthy tones, coffees more like espresso and I get a little smoke and charred wood, the chocolate's darker in the mouth too, just a darker in general, straightforward but solid

M not the body I'd expect from and 8.5% impy but has enough bubbles to cream it up an bit and the booze is more or less invisible, dark roasted finish lingers and has a little fruit here and there

O well rounded brew with well concealed booze, about what I'd expect form a session stout but if you tried to session this you might encounter problems. considering the strength I'd like to have a little more intensity but I'm quite pleased with whats in my glass

My first Kern River brew and even though its pretty solid I had higher expectations then one could live up to. I'd drink this again but may make a conscious effort to take a little more time in doing so

 1,336 characters

Photo of popery
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From notes, 3/10/11. Pours black with a hint of rosy brown refracting through the base of the glass. The head is a creamy mass of uneven tan bubbles. Lots of lacing. The aroma is black coffee, milk chocolate, roast and herbal/citric hops. The chocolate and coffee notes are dominant, and it reminds me of a good mocha more than anything. It tastes surprisingly sweet, which works nicely with the coffee and chocolate malt flavor. Hop bitterness quickly reins things in, and the finish is all bitter citrus and roast. Mouthfeel is creamier and chewier than I’d normally expect from an 8% abv beer.

 598 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.97/5  rDev -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 BeerAdvocate
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #63 (Apr 2012):

LOOK: Towering tan head, Stout black

SMELL: Brown malt, sweet oats, floral, rose water, blackberries, spicy hops, cocoa powder

TASTE: Intensely creamy, mild coffee, brown sugar, sweetness, warming alcohol, sorghum, burnt raisins, tangy; charred finish

What we have here is a very different Imperial Stout. Highly drinkable and interesting, with a tangy dryness that keeps you coming back for more. Love the balance and the depth that opens up after each sip.

 511 characters

Photo of Philousa
3.21/5  rDev -20.7%
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 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.

 466 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
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 oline73
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
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 Beer_HOPper
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at 38 Degrees.

Appearance: very dark to black, as black as a stout gets, about an inch of brown head which dissipated nicely into a fine light brown lace.

Smell: roasted malt, bitter chocolate, coffee.

Taste: caramel, dark chocolate, malt, with a touch of hops in the dry finish.

Feel: smooth, light carbonation, syrupy.

Overall: I like, but, it's a little sweet.

 379 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Class V Stout from Kern River Brewing Company
4.05 out of 5 based on 504 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.