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: 502
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 kawilliams81
3.78/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a Alesmith Horny Devil snifter.

A- pours black with a 2" mocha head with a brown ring around the outside. Big leopard spots of lacing remain on the glass.

S- dark chocolate, sweet dark fruits, roast, some coffee.

T- roasted malts, dark chocolate, slight sweetness, nice pine hoppiness.

M- medium body and carbonation. Some creaminess and crisp finish.

O- nice lower abv RIS. Good amount of chocolate, roast and pine.

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Photo of Brabander
3/5  rDev -25.9%
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.

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Photo of ehammond1
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (2011)

K 'n B Wine Cellars
San Diego, CA

(Aged for 6+ months)

Nearly black in color with a thin dark brown head that leaves thin sheets of lace down the glass. Pretty and appropriate.

Nice, complete, rich aroma of dark chocolate, coffee, and dark roasted malt.

The flavor is very similar to the aroma with dark chocolate and coffee flavors dominating, along with moderate levels of dark roast, and some muted hop bitterness.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Very nice, very tasty, somewhat low-ABV, imperial stout.

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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 cavedave
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Darkest brown almost black with a light brown and crazy thick three fingers of foam. Opaque and beautiful.

Cocoa and milk coffee, dark caramel, lighter aromas of citrus and herb. It's a medium strength bouquet but delicious.

Wow, what a taste, really sweet milk chocolate and cocoa but some roastier bitter notes are in there also, with hop goodness showing late as citrus pith hints and light pine to end sweet and juicy, with a nice drying linger.

Thin for style, truth be told, the oatmeal really gets this one easy drinking for a Double Stout, less viscous than many for sure, with a less memorable finish.

At 8% ABV this is out of the range of American Stouts and is listed as an Imperial, but this stout drinks so easy you will not care what the column says. Get some, you'll love this.

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Photo of coldriver
3.91/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber pours a near opaque black with huge fluffy head and great lacing. Aroma is very subdued with chocolate, licorice, and roasted malt. Taste is dark coffee, licorice, cocoa, and molasses. Mouthfeel is creamy smooth with a dry but somewhat harsh finish. Nothing offensive about this beer, but the flavors and aroma don't really pop like I would expect an Imperial Stout.

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Photo of xenjoiii
3.96/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black with a nice Khaki head.

S: There is a strong alcohol presence in the nose. Faint notes of bitter chocolate and roasted malt.

T: Outstanding. Sweetness from the malts, bitter bakers chocolate and a mild bitterness from the hops. Very balanced.

M: Really smooth. Mild carbonation and full mouth feel.

O: Very nice stout. To me, the nose was deceiving but the taste certainly made up for it.

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

a - thick, frothy, chocolate powedery looking head... deep, dark pour... still..silent..

s - oats, coco nibs, slight hint of coffee...some sugary sweet hints of pleasantness..

t - Very delightful. Hints of chocolate, slight appearance of coffee, sweet sugar, bit of malt..hops are hidden, but just evident.. Very nice!

m - smooth and creamy - almost silk like. Very pleasant.

o - I really enjoyed this beer and would take more if it came way!

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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 portia99
3.31/5  rDev -18.3%
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 azdback
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Firestone Walker Proprietor's Series Glass. A very black and almost all light sucking color. Not much to say for highlights either. Head was a small two fingers light tan colored. The head has a frothy look but recedes quickly. Lace is very adequate.

Smell is of dark roasts. Dark chocolate covered coffee beans and some smoke or char. Not a hint of alcohol or hops. Quite nice though.

Taste is much better than the smell. The flavors are quite similar to the nose but much more subtle and blended. The chocolate and coffee aren't as prevalent but in a good way and the smoke or char is completely gone all together. There is some spice here too. I get just a hint of alcohol burn late but all in all it is quite nice.

Mouth and carbonation are both creamy. The consistency is more on the velvety side. Body is balanced and the finish is long and wet.

Overall I have wanted to try this for awhile and I wasn't let down. The deep roasted flavors of the smell end up being somewhat subdued in the taste and it wasn't a bad thing. Thanks to oya1time for the chance to try this one.

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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 jmarsh123
3.45/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep chocolate brown with a finger of tan head. Decent head retention.

Smells of bitter chocolate, roasted malts and coffee.

Taste falls a bit short. Some more stone fruit comes through and much sweeter than the smell would indicate. The coffee and chocolate come through, but an almost rum cake flavor invades.

Pretty silky and oily with lowish carbonation.

Not horrible, but not to the standard of other Kern River offerings I've had. The sweetness can get overwhelming at times.

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Photo of Murrhey
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Hollingshead's Deli. I got the first pint from the tapped keg. Reviewed from notes.

A- Finger and a half khaki head. Decent retention. Black in color.

S- Roast malts and chocolate scents.

T- Bitter and chocolately. Sweetness very present as well. Milky finish.

M- Surprisingly light bodied. Bitter finish and linger. Decent carbonation.

O- Good stout. Bitter and sweet but I have had better from Cali breweries.

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Photo of Drinkerofales
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with no light penetration. There are hints of brown on the edges. A huge fluffy mocha head leaves some nice lacing.

Smell is roasted malt, chocolate, hint of coffee, booze, and dark fruit. I would say this smells like a brilliant chocolate black cherry rum mocha cake.

Taste falls short of the smell, bummer. There are hints of coffe and roasted malt, along with some dark fruit, but not near the aspect of the smell.

The feel of the beer hangs around, yet somehow is thinner than I am looking for.

The beer advertises two different hops, yet I get none in my experience. I truly wish the taste was as big as the smell, which would have put this beer over the top.


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Photo of rtaps
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black into the glass, with about a 2 finger khaki head that has great retention leaving plenty of lacing around the glass

This smells great, a nice bland of rich chocolate and coffee beans, it's also a little sweet

taste is good too, sweet up front then you get the cascade hops used(just enough to notice their presents) it finishes with rich chocolate and roasted coffee.

pretty light bodied medium-high carbonation leaving the mouth watery and wanting more.

overall it a very nice always brewed stout. easy to enjoy. i like that it's sweet and you cant notice the hops.

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

Reviewing as I drink for a change.
Pours black with a nice frothy tan head that clings to the glass. The smell is fairly rich of chocolate, roasted malts and some coffee. The taste is pretty "roasty" with coffee, chocolate and a sugary sweetness, pretty complex with a lot going on here. Good full creamy body. Love this beer.

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Photo of MBrausen
3.78/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to aufaber for this one!

Poured from a bomber into a Town Hall Snifter

A. Pours a deep dark brown with a mocha 1mm head, after sitting for a little while, it rests at some nice bubbles.

S. Smells very floral, slight toffee, and an odd combination that almost smells soapy

T. Tastes of lactose, slight oatmeal, but when they mix them together, it almost end up smelling soapy. A little chocolate, with a toffee finish.

M. Medium body, coarse with a slightly dry finish

O. A pretty decent beer. It's an odd mix of styles, and for myself, I'm not a Milk Stout person. So the mix of Lactose and thinner body didn't do it for me. But it was an interesting taste, and I'm glad someone is out there trying new things.

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Photo of legalpete19340
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured medium to darkish brown with a big fluffy dirty white head. Modest lacing.

S: Comes off very sweet, like milk chocolate with some roast notes in the back.

T: Very much a milk stout to me. Theres a nice chocolate milk tone to everything. In tow are roasted malt and some herbal and earthy hop notes. Not overly dark and roasty, just enough.

M: Pretty thin but velvety and smooth.

O: This came across as a milk stout to me. It was quite sweet and straightforward in its approach. A good selection for sessioning with friends as you dont need to sip this one. Solid performer.

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Photo of chilly460
3.67/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Murky medium brown body with a fluffy off-white head. Very good retention and lacing.

S: Immediately get a powdery cocoa aroma, maybe some marshmallow as well. Some medium roast malts. Floral hops at the end

T: It picks up better then the aroma. Nice medium roast coffee with cream, then immediately into the dusty cocoa flavor. Sweet marshmallow carries through as well. Bit of floral hops on the finish.

M: Medium body with a creamy finish.

O: Tough review, because I did enjoy the beer, but I just don't think it works well as an Imperial Stout. I think of this as more of a big Milk stout.

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Photo of
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber guzzled from my duvel glass.

This beer looks inviting. Pitch black with a medium light head. Nice retention and a little lacing.

On the nose this beer is full of toasted malts and dark chocolate. There's a sweet smoky element, lactic sugars and I think a little hops.

This beer goes down like sweet dark chocolate milk - Yum. This beers sweetness is completey balanced by the toasted malt and hop bitterness.

The mouthfeel on this beer really allows this beer to shine. The creamy full body really complements the chocolate sweetness.

What a delicious beer, I could drink it all day. Would love an opportunity to try this beer barrel aged.

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Photo of RocPorterFanatic
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours dark brown, almost black into the glass with a vigorous 4 fingers of cramy tan head. Thick sticky lacing adorns the glass as it subsides.

S - Smells of wet cardboard, but not in an oxidized way, gooey caramel and instant oatmeal.

T - So many flavors ovewhelm the palate. I expected a bigger hop bite but its not there. Its sticky sweet up front with English Toffee, turbinado sugar and almost a rum like sweetness. Reminds me of a cafe aulait with a little too much cream in it. Just a touch of hop bitterness in the back. Alot of alcohol warmth as I swallow, making me yearn for the next sip.

M - Creamy and effervescent carbonation, along with a thinner, non-viscous body keep this beer interesting sip after sip.

O - Great beer!! My first from Kern River. A true delight on a cold winter evening.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a red wine glass. No bottle date, but I think I got this in the late summer from Barfdiggs (thanks!).

A: Pours a deep dark brown color. It's not completely PITCH black. I got about a finger of light tan head. There is some mild lacing present after I swirl it a little bit. Tight ting bubbles, possible bottle conditioning.

S: On the nose I get lots of milk and dark chocolate notes. Randomly there is some fruitiness there, which I thought was almost raisiny initially but it turned to pine (?). The hops I guess. I don't get any coffee notes on the nose, but this is pretty cold.

T: This is very solid, smooth drinking beer. Funny that I DO taste some espresso coffee bite in the middle of the mouth, which I didn't smell. Mostly the sip is dominated by the chocolates and some roasty malty goodness. The hops are there, but subdued by all the other ingredients. The alcohol is extremely well hidden. Very easy drinking 8.5% stout.

M: I would say that this is medium leading to full bodied. It's really silky smooth though.

O: On the old grading scale I would have to go A- to A on this one. I actually really liked it. No one note overpowers the beer. It's nicely balanced and the alcohol is completely masked. Another winner for Kern.

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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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Class V Stout from Kern River Brewing Company
4.05 out of 5 based on 502 ratings.
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