Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Class V Stout | Kern River Brewing Company

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Class V StoutClass V Stout
512 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 512 |  Reviews: 199
Photo of chilly460
3.67/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

 603 characters

Photo of
4.05/5  rDev -1%
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.

 652 characters

Photo of rbrefbeerman
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of RocPorterFanatic
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

 813 characters

Photo of inlimbo77
4/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

 1,268 characters

Photo of newsage
4.7/5  rDev +14.9%
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!!!!

 360 characters

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a beautiful two-finger tan head that lasts well throughout the session. This was a major upgrade over the New England Imperial Stout Trooper that I had previously. Aromas of oak, vanilla, and perhaps some dark fruits which was what the flavor suggested. Some sweet chocolate as well. Medium viscous mouthfeel that supports an overall smooth velvety and creamy taste and finish! What a very nice offering from Kern River.

 437 characters

Photo of MASPuros
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of MrHirschybar
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of claytong
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of BMart
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of Phelps
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle given to me by Retsinis, poured into a tulip.

Milk chocolate coalesces into pure, impenetrable black, capped with three fingers of pillowy, ginger-colored froth. Giant webs of lace coat the glass as the bubbles recede.

Major cocoa emerges as the beer warms up. Burnt graham cracker and vanilla bean mingle with touches of smoke and oats.

In the flavor, bittersweet dark chocolate and chocolate malt are the first noticeable note, followed swiftly by heavily roasted coffee beans and charred toast. The Chinook and Cascade hops are fairly prominent, imparting a nice pininess. Finish is smooth and just a little sweet.

Smooth and creamy as hot chocolate — a nearly perfect heft. Medium-full with very light, pinching carbonation. Bitterness is fairly high and booze comes softly through the nose.

What a solid stout. Great aroma, flavors and feel.

 864 characters

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip glass.

A - Pours a dark brown with a huge dark tan head. Great retention and lacing left on the glass.

S - Dark bitter coffee and roasted malts.

T - Coffee mostly, some chocolate and a touch of vanilla come through as well.

D - Average body with tons of carbonation, especially for a stout.

O - Mild, but it wasn't bitter and very drinkable.

 385 characters

Photo of dubinsky
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber into a snifter.

A - Pours very dark brown almost black with a nice cream/beige milk chocolate colored. The head eventually recedes and fades to a nice ring of foam leaving behind some good, thick lacing on the sides of the glass.

S – Chocolate, vanilla and slight coffee aromas dominate the smell of this beer. Fairly mild smelling with no alcoholic /phenol burn to speak of. This is a great smelling stout.

T – Man this is a tasty stout. Bittersweet chocolate and mildly bitter coffee great you with the first sip eventually lending way to sweet vanilla and milk chocolate. Very balanced. ZERO alcohol burn present.

M – Medium bodied for a stout yet silky and slightly creamy. Oxymoronic I know.

O – This is by far one of the more drinkable, well balanced and tastiest stouts I have enjoyed. I’m not sure I would call it an imperial stout but given that it’s considered one, I would argue that is entirely way too easy to drink. All the elements come together beautifully.

 1,003 characters

Photo of therobot
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of nlmartin
3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Mulder1010 for sending this beer my way. The beer was chilled and served in a pint glass. A bit too cold to begin with after a few minutes it was time to rock out.

A- The body of the beer is black. The head is the color of lightly creamed coffee. No head retention noted. Whisp of lacing on the glass.

S- The citrus in the cascade hops jump out from a nice sweetened dark roasted and chared malt base. Nice cocoa notes bitter sweet chocolate, no soy notes which is a good thing. Seems a bit earthy at the back.

T- Sweetend citrus hops combined well with darkly roasted cocoa malted milk balls. Nicely roasted notes break up the sweetness. Very well done.

M- The body is made somewhat heavier by low carbonation levels and it works out nicely. Well balanced between sweet and bitter elements.

O- This would be a frequent beer in my fridge if it came to Cincinnati. Nicely done.

 888 characters

Photo of RomaniIteDomum
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of BHOBS
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of kojevergas
3.48/5  rDev -14.9%
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.

 686 characters

Photo of mthomas84
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

great extra beer from a recent trade with ICCULIS. Thanks for the beer Jim!

poured into an oversized snifter.

Appearance: medium black bodied beer with a medium tan colored head. The head is about 2 fingers high from an aggressive pour and its really creamy looking head with a few larger bubles that crow the top of the head. Sticky lacing all over the side of the snifter.

Smell: Mild roasty coffee and sweet milk chocolate. Maybe a hint of smoke mixed with vanilla.

Taste: Moderate bitterness starts this beer off; its a roasty coffee note. As the bitterness recedes about mid palate, the beer takes on a fruity taste that reminds me mostly of red apples. Its almost out of place, but its kind of interesting even though red apple is not a normal flavor you get from most stouts. The finish has got a decent amount of sweetness and a little bit of astringency. You get a decent amount of vanilla notes almost exactly like vanilla bean ice cream and a hinting of smokiness. Nice balance between the roasty bitter start of the beer and sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: low end of medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. I wish this beer was thicker and creamier. Its a little silky and smooth and definately easy drinking, but I think that this beer would be much better off with a bigger body.

Overall: Solid beer that is very enjoyable. It a little rough around the edges, but nothing thats glaring. This is my first beer from Kern River Brewing Co. I will definately want to try more beer from this brewery.

 1,516 characters

Photo of projectflam86
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this in a trade with Plenum. Thanks dude!

22oz bomber poured into a tulip.

A- Nearly pitch black pour with a very sudsy slightly off white head that leaves rings and rings of lace.

S- Traditional big stout nose with roasted malts and some hops in the background. Oatmeal and sweetness present.

T- Much hoppier than I was expecting considering the style but well balanced with a big dose of sweet roasted malt in the finish. Some faint coffee notes as well as bittersweet chocolate come through as it warms. Very well hidden ABV.

M- Creamy medium/full body with gentle carbonation.

O- A very tasty and solid stout. Glad I got the chance to try it.

 662 characters

Photo of woosterbill
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber into a Weyerbacher tulip. Thanks to the sharer at CdC.

A: Dark brown body with bright reddish-brown highlights. Plenty of frothy tan head. Solid.

S: Coffee, almond, dark chocolate, dark fruit. Nice.

T: Quite roasty, with chocolate and coffee dominating throughout. Simple, straightforward, and tasty.

M: Fairly light, frothy body. Not bad, but a bit more heft would have been welcome.

O: Good, drinkable stout. Not distinctive or extreme in the least, but eminently solid.


 493 characters

Photo of whartontallboy
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of GregSVT
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber into a tulip

A: Pours a very dark brown with a nice milk chocolate colored head that fades to a ring and leaves some lacing on the glass.

S: The nose reveals big notes of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and roasted malt. Great smelling stout that I can't quit taking whiffs of.

T: The taste is a huge explosion of different tastes in your mouth. It starts with a ton of chocolate and coffee and moves to a rich vanilla and cream flavor. The finish is so rich it makes my mouth water a bit and leaves me wanting another taste.

M: The feel is rich and medium bodied with a light creaminess.

O: The aromas were about average for an imperial stout but the flavor is awesome. I would love to have this local to me, I'd drink it weekly. Would also love to try the barrel aged version.

 792 characters

Class V Stout from Kern River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.09 out of 5 with 512 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

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