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: 503
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A tasty, mostly chocolate 1.5x stout.Roastiness, though understated. Greeted by bittersweet chocolate and a very hoppy beer at 75 IBU of Cascade and Chinook. It all works. ABove average mouthfeel. Pitch black body, with a good amount of brown foam head.
Thanks Augustgarage.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque pitch black with a huge 3 inch chocolate milk colored head that fades to a small cap. Good latticed lacing on the drink down. Smells of espresso, cocoa powder, and some citrus zest hops. A very tasty beer with roasted coffee/espresso beans, semisweet chocolate, vanilla, and faint citrus hops. This beer is sweeter than I was expecting with the bitterness coming more from the coffee/espresso and hops tastes. Carbonation level is somewhat low which makes for a very creamy and thick feel in the mouth. Overall, this is an amazing stout that I have been sitting on in my fridge for months now. I am glad I finally cracked it open. The price of $4.99 for a bomber is sure to have me coming back time and again to this brew.

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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

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Photo of largadeer
4.12/5  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.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.48/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served from a nitro-tap into a 12 ounce glass in low altitude Orange, California. Reviewed from notes. I didn't know what to expect.

A: Pours a two finger head of good cream lacing, nice thickness, and good retention. Colour is a solid black.

Sm: Coffee, caramel, nuts, and cream. A moderately strong aroma - and a nice one.

T: Milk, cream, chocolate, and light coffee. Very nicely balanced and built. I quite fancy it. Very pleasant and flavorful.

Mf: Smooth, creamy, and wet. Suits the flavours of the body.

Dr: Very drinkable and of pretty good quality. A lovely nitro-tap stout. Decently priced. It hides its ABV very well. Give her a spin if you're a stout lover like me.

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Photo of zeff80
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a one-finger, tan head of foam. It left thin sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - Aroma is powered by molasses, chocolate and toffee. There are some subtle floral notes, too.

T - Great chocolate flavor with some burnt molasses flavors. It had a nice bitterness from the hops to balance things out.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. Medium to full bodied with a very clean, dry finish.

D - This is a really easy drinking Imperial Stout. The alcohol content is lighter than most and makes it a nice brew to drink.

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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.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to overlord for this bottle.

A: Pours a near-black with an initially-large tan head. Settles down into a nice outer ring around the glass.

S: Dominated by chocolate and coffee, in that order, alongside a lighter presence of roasted malt.

T: An explosion compared to the nose. The chocolate, coffee, and roast are definitely there, as are molasses, brown sugar, and hints of vanilla. Extremely well done.

M: Medium body with good carbonation. A bit thinner than I'd like it to be.

D: Very nice. Intriguing flavors and fairly-low abv for the style. This was a nice treat and I'm very glad I got to try it. Thanks again, Mike.

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Photo of mothman
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.13/5  rDev +2%
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.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.67/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a black body with a thin, quickly dissipating off-white head.

Smell: Dark malt aroma with notes of chocolate, licorice, and roasted grains.

Taste: Dark maltiness with a high degree of roastiness and a solid semi-sweet chocolate flavor. Hint of licorice. Some earthy hop bitterness, but the roast really provides the balance to the medium sweetness. Touch of acidity. Dry finish with a lingering roastiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: While I wouldn't exactly say it's "the greatest beer I have ever tasted", it is quite a solid stout.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black forest cake with wee glimmers of sepia along the bottom edges and a thick slice of caramel nougat colored cream occupying the upper fourth of the pint glass. Remarkable persistence, continued good looks during the descent, and a lovely array of sticky lace are highlights.

The aroma is incredibly aromatic and features the olfactory wonders of roasted-chocolate malt above all else. Bittersweet chocolate and black coffee are in the foreground, while citrus zesty hops (Chinook and Cascade) are in the background. Very good things are expected.

Kern River Class V Stout is a hoppier than usual American double stout (although right in line with many West Coast versions) that drinks lower than the 8.5% ABV would suggest. Unless the alcohol hits with monster truck force in a few more ounces, I'd have guessed no more than 7.0%.

Most malt lovers will probably complain about too much citrus juicy hop flavor intruding on the roasted coffee bean (espresso) and dark chocolate goodness that beer of this style usually delivers. And they would have a point, since malt power and depth of flavor is a little lacking. Hopheads, however, should be mighty pleased.

Mouthfeel is the biggest reason why CVS seems more like 1.5x stout rather than double stout. It isn't as meaty as it should be, and the carbonation is too subtle besides. More barley and better bubbles would have allowed an increase in each of the final three scores.

Kern River Just Outstanding IPA is incredible beer that fits my preferred American IPA profile to a 'T'. Class V Stout isn't that good, but it's still damn fine ale that is a malt infusion away from being amazing. Recommended if you love the lupulins.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to glitchedmind for this one.

A: Pours black with a small khaki colored head on top, decent retention, leaving a thin ring on top. Nice lacing all around the glass.

S: Very clean, mostly dark roasted malt with some dark chocolate and a little bit of coffee.

T: Nice chocolate flavor mixed with roasted, grainy malt. There is a touch of brown sugar. the hints of coffee in the aroma do not translate to the flavor profile.

M: Medium bodied with low to medium carbonation. No sign of abv at all.

O: Not a huge Imperial, more of an easy drinker. Nice flavor profile, very clean.

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Photo of billab914
3.86/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into my Stone IRS glass. It poured black in color with a foamy, tan head filling the top two inches of the glass. Very nice head retention and lacing on the glass as I drank it.

The aroma has a smooth, milk chocolaty flavor to it. I get a little bit of a citrusy hoppiness out of it as well. It's pretty reserved on the bitter, roastiness in the aroma considering how much of that comes through in the taste.

I get a lot of bitter-sweet and dark chocolate coming through in the taste. I get some roasty, slightly burnt, bitter coffee like flavors coming out more towards the finish. Some hoppiness is noticeable as well. Pretty taste and flavorful stout overall.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being a little above average. Overall it was a pretty tasty and flavorful beer. I really liked the roasty, bitter chocolate flavors it brought. Very drinkable imperial stout overall.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.13/5  rDev +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.

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Photo of orangesol
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of nickd717 shared with Deuane and Hojaminbag. Poured into a taster glass. Thanks again Nick!

A - Pours pitch black with a small one finger tall tan head, dissipating down a thin film, leaving light lacing down the glass.

S - Smells of dark roasted coffee, chocolate malt, licorice, and some earthy hops. A bit more roast than I was expecting in this one.

T - Flavors are very similar to the nose with the rich dark roasted coffee once again taking a slight lead over the rest of the flavors. The finish is what you would expect, more roast. This was OK but far from mind blowing.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Roasty feel with plenty of dark roast and light smoke in the finish, lingering for some time. Just a bit too thin for my liking.

O - I had high hopes for this one but it left me wanting a bit more. The flavors are all there for it to be great but it seemed like none of them wanted to take the lead.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 06/25/11 notes. Bottle shared by nmann08; thanks Nate. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into my Bruery tulip.

a - Pours a murky, very dark brown color, with one finger of off white head and moderate carbonation evident. Leaves some spotty lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, light citrus hops, and floral hops. More hops than I was expecting.

t - Tastes of chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, citrus hops, floral hops, and nuts. A lot more citrus than the nose, and pretty hoppy for a stout.

m - Medium to full body and moderate carbonation. Nice creamy body.

o - Overall a nice, hoppy stout; a lot more hops than I was expecting. Lots of roasted and chocolate notes mixing with citrus. Would have it again.

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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.

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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 GarthDanielson
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap at the brewery in Kernville into a pint glass. The beer is a dark, opaque black color with a thick, creamy head. The beer smells of a light roasted coffee, with hints of nut. The flavors are a blend of coffee, bittersweet (baker's) chocolate, and nut. I had a hard time distinguishing what particular type of nut flavor it was. The stout is very light in mouth, with a bitter aftertaste. My wife and I both found the bitterness not typical of beer, but more typical of the coffee and chocolate we were tasting. The flavors balance the alcohol level very well. The beer is dry and crisp for a stout, especially with the bolder flavors. Very smooth finish, and a nice, light coffee/chocolate aftertaste. Very drinkable!

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Photo of drabmuh
4.35/5  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.

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Photo of Duff27
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Inch tall tan head on a dark brown body. Thick lacing across the glass, above average head retention.

Smells metallicy roasty, much like a Baltic porter. Little cocoay.

Sweet and roasty, black licorice. Syrupy chocolate it seems. Coffee. Would peg at the suggested abv.

A little thin on the mouthfeel, alright carbonation.

Class V was alright. Nothin mind blowing but drinkable.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: poured a pitch black with a finger of tan head and good sticky lacing on the glass.

S: chocolate roasted malt aromas with hints of coffee and booze.I also got lactose type notes.

T: nice chocolate coffee flavors with roasted malts, booze and slight nutty notes

M: medium body with a good amount of carbonation and a little bitter finish.

D: definitely not the best double stout but a decent beer from kern river.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.57/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review from 4/2011 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a dark red brown, nearly black. Thin head and light lacing. Aroma of dark and roasted malts, hint of coffee. Medium dark roasted malts, coffee, chocolate. Light to medium bodied. Lightly bitter finish with pleasant dark malt aftertaste. A pleasant, light bodied, but not outstanding stout.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to injuredreserve for this beer.

Pours a black color, nice carbonation, little fizzy light tan head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some chocolate/toffee notes, some roastyness. The taste is malty, sweet, nice touch of chocolate/toffee, nice little roast note. Medium body. Drinkable, a tasty Imp. Stout, but not worth seeking out again.

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Class V Stout from Kern River Brewing Company
4.05 out of 5 based on 503 ratings.
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