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 CuriousMonk
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

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Photo of Phelps
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.93/5  rDev -3%
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.

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Photo of dubinsky
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

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Photo of nlmartin
3.97/5  rDev -2%
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.

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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 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

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Photo of projectflam86
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
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.


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Photo of GregSVT
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.12/5  rDev -23%
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.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
2.83/5  rDev -30.1%
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 ADZA
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big thanks to MrKennedy for this in a recent trade.

A-Dark black non see through hue which leaves a two finger caramel head that stays and leaves nice lacing.

S-Dark bitter belgian chocolate,dark fruity hops,xmas pudding and dark expresso.

T-Starts off sweet with hints of dark belgian chocolate pudding,caramel/toffee,a touch of vanilla and finished with a dark expresso fruity coffee bitterness.

M-Full bodied and creamy.

O-This is a Stout i could drink alot of but just not as rich as most other doubles i have sampled cheers.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black pour tan head. Inviting aroma of chocolate and alcohol.

Whoa, there's lots of chocolate in this. And it never goes away, its there throughout the entire bottle and mouthfeel. Rich. Alcohol is not as strong as I thought it would be, melds nicely. No off flavors, mild hopping, but make no mistake, the chocolate is the top dawg on this one. And its lovely. If you like Rogue's Chocolate Stout, this is similar in the immensity of the chocolate, but has a thicker and chewier mouthfeel to it. Good amount of smooth and sweetness to it, this one really does push forward all the good things from a milk and oatmeal stout with the largeness of an imperial and of course, the chocolat!

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

Reviewed from notes:

A: Pours dark brown/black with nearly 3 fingers of tight mocha-brown head. Great head retention, leaves a good amount of lacing.

S: Big coffee, robust roasted malts, bitter chocolate, toffee/light molasses.

T: As with the nose, there's a huge amount of medium roast coffee with a sugary/caramel sweetness, bakers chocolate, and maybe even a little licorice towards the finish. There's a little bit of wood/roast flavor and bitterness on the front end, though a portion of it may be coming from the hops. Earthy and slightly floral hops shine through the middle to finish complimenting the malt base very nicely. Lots of lingering roast/bitterness through the finish. Alcohol isn't really noticeable at all except for the tiniest of burn in the back of the threat.

M: Medium body, very smooth and creamy mouthfeel. About as sessionable as an Imperial Stout can be. That said, the body is a little on the thin side.

O: A good coffee forward stout that's easy drinking and fairly tasty.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.66/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

In a recent trade with NewGeneric. Thanks for the brews man!

From a bomber into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: A thin, transparent, brown pour yields a three finger, medium looking, fluffy, off-white head with great retention. Sienna pr bistre brown in color with higher levels of carbonation. Head slowly fades to a good, full cap and leaves sheets of lacing down the sides of the glass. Great lacing, but too light and thin a body, and the head needs to be darker for the style.

SMELL: Some roasted malt, cocoa powder notes, and very hoppy with plenty of floral notes. Roasted marshmallows come to mind as well.

TASTE: Bolder flavors than the nose, and quite interesting. Roasted malts, cocoa, and roasted marshmallows again, with a biscuit and hoppy, floral finish. Bolder and persistent aftertaste of cocoa powder, bitter, flowery hops and some sweet biscuit malt flavors. Good stuff.

PALATE: Medium-full body and very creamy on the palate. Goes down smooth and finishes slightly dry on the palate. Solid effort here.

OVERALL: Though the look was a little thin and unimpressive, the rest of the experience was pretty solid. This is a well made hop forward stout, and if you like this style, then this is a good choice. I generally like maltier, chocolate and molasses bombs a little more than hoppy stouts, but this was enjoyable non-the-less. Comparable to Black Bear Stout in quality and style, this is one worth picking up if you see it. Recommended. Thanks again for the trade NewGeneric.

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Photo of pmarlowe
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tulip glass.

A: Pours dark coffee brown with two and a half fingers of dense, fluffy, light khaki/cream-colored head, which dissolves very slowly leaving a pretty lacing on the glass.

S: Roasted malt and dry wood (not oak), big fresh smell, opening up into soft cream and vanilla

T: Dark roast coffee and roasted malt, some burnt notes, woody, and some vanilla, finishing with smooth dark chocolate. Nice.

M: Very light carbonation and rich with full body. Quite hefty. Would be well served with more carbonation.

O: Solid, but could be better. I like that it's not one dimensional. Good everyday stout.

The Class X (bba version) was a little better, and the Class V on cask with cocoa nibs and vanilla was quite an improvement on this.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look: Black as night with a beautiful 1 inch head and great retention with some nice lacing

Smell: Great roasted coffee and chocolate on the nose

Taste: Large amounts of roasted malt in the foreground that masks a lot of the other flavors of the beer. There are you typical coffee and chocolate notes but they are a bit muted by the roasted malt and ash notes

Mouthfeel: Full body and mild carbonation and maybe a touch dry

Overall: Real good beer and for $4.99 a bomber it's a great

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Photo of soughtbygod
5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours dark black like most stouts but it has good head retention, nice 2 to 3 finger head. the smell is of vanilla and oak maybe some smoke. the thing i love most about this beer is that it drinks very well 40 to 55 degrees all the way through releasing different flavors and depths of complexity. probably one of my favorite stouts. the mouthfeel is smooth a little thin for a stout but i suppose that is why this is so drinkable. awesome beer.

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Photo of Gosox8787
3.56/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 22 oz. bomber bottle poured into a Bruery tulip glass. Served this one at cellar temperature. Review copied from tasting notes I took last night.

Appearance: Dark brown to black in color. A surprisingly expansive two to three finger head, that is light brown in color. I'm a bit surprised how light the head is to be honest. Good retention and plenty of carbonation.

Aroma: Big roasted coffee and coffee beans with some milk chocolate upfront. Spots of light caramel as well. Subdued but balanced.

Taste: More, big coffee and espresso notes in the taste. Almost drinks like it was brewed with coffee. Light cocoa and caramel notes interpaly as well. Touches of smoke and roast. The alcohol is hidden very well. This even feels a bit one dimensional to me.

Mouthfeel: Really thin for the style. Carbonation is spot on, but the lack of body is surprising.

Overall, a nice stout with some really nice coffee flavor. However, I am finding that I really want a bit more depth and complexity. I get a ton of coffee, a touch of secondary cocoa/caramel and not a whole lot else. I probably won't go out of my way to get again.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, shared at WLV Pig Roast.

A - Pours a darker brown color, tan frothy head, spotty lacing, thin cap.

S - Nice level of roast, chocolate, slight sugary sweetness, slight expresso bean note in there as well. Really enjoy the roast and light sweetness here, very solid.

T - Roast, dark chocolate, coffee, slight burnt sugars. Not quite as big as I'm used to my Imperial Stouts, but the roast and dark chocolate notes are really enjoyable. The alcohol is barley noticeable, if at all.

M - Medium to full (perhaps a bit too thin), good carbonation, smooth, creamy finish.

O - An excellent Imperial Stout that was so easy to drink. Had a couple of pours from the bottle and I think it was a hit with everyone. I have one bottle left that I will open soon, as good as it is drinking now. Recommend.

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

A - Black colored beer with a tan head that faded to a solid ring.

S - Chocolate, roast, a bit of coffee. It's a decently roasted smelling stout that I find appealing.

T - A lot of good flavors. Chocolate, some coffee, roast, bit of molasses are all in there. A good amount of flavor for the 8.5%. I'd like to see them pump it up a little more and throw it into a Rye barrel.

M - Medium bodied, carbonated, slightly thin.

O - Good stout, another quality beer by Kern. Only real complaint was the mouthfeel, if they could thicken it up a bit it'd be great.

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Photo of UnknownKoger
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought from Whole Foods and poured into a tulip. I'm familiar with a few Kern River beers, so I now it's going to be good.

Pour is good. Well carbonated. Appearance is dark with a slight hint of brown. Looks like coffee. Thin head quickly dissolves.

Smell gives away hints of coffee, semi-sweet chocolate. It tastes fantastic. This is definitely not your average imperial stout (reading that it's a blend of oatmeal and milk stouts makes more sense). The taste is mildly sweet. The chinook and cascade hops linger in the background to balance out the maltiness. The chocolate is there. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel is great due to the carbonation. This is an easy drinking beer, even though the bottle warns it's not for the timid.

Overall, this is a fantastic brew from KRBC. I would absolutely buy this again.

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Photo of jeff1973
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Bruery tulip. Got from Farmer's Harvest (Huntington Beach, CA) for $4.89.

A - Black, opaque. Tan head leaves really good lacing.

S - Roasted malt, bitter chocolate, earthy, slight bit of cherries.

T - Smooooth!!! I know that is not a taste, but it is the first thing I noticed. Cherry Kool-aid (not sweet though and in a good way), bitter chocolate, then a nice bitter roasted malt and dries out nicely (I am assuming from the good amout of hops). Well balanced.

M - Medium carbonation. Medium low body. Creates a very smooth beer.

D - Medium high and dangerously so! Goes down way too easy for a 8.5%ABV beer.

Great beer. Great taste. Great drinkability. Great price!! My new "go to" stout.

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Photo of AleWatcher
4.36/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of Sideswipe I think...
Served in pint glasses at a byob Thai place I like.

This is a tasty stout. It really works well. The coffee and cocoa notes come through with a good roasty malt base holding things together. There is an interesting apricoty citrus hop quality on the back end. The beer is pretty light, which makes it slightly easier to drink.
This drinks quite nicely; the flavor is well-balanced and delicious.
The beer is dark, brown with red hues. Three fingers of awesome thick head. Nice retention.
Very nice beer.

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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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