Kern River Brewing Company

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IPA - Imperial
Ranked #5
Ranked #62
4.6 | pDev: 8.91%
Kern River Brewing Company
California, United States
Notes: A double IPA that is hazy pale in color with a strong pungent aroma that comes from large amounts of Citra hops.
Reviews: 420 | Ratings: 1,866 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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IKR from California

4.44/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2021 Vintage

Appearance: Slightly cloudy amber-yellow color with a fairly generous generous-sized thick, foamy white head that slowly faded. A nice looking IIPA for my tastes.

Smell: Citrus, tropical fruit aromas and moderate pine aromas. Nothing to fault with the nose.

Taste: Moderately tart grapefruit/citrus notes, moderate tropical fruit notes and mild pine notes. Some mild bready notes from the malts to counter all the hop notes. The beer has a strong hop backbone that provides a fairly dry finish that lets the fruity notes die off gradually.

Mouth-feel: On the light side of medium-bodied with a generous level of carbonation. The mouthfeel is spot on for an IIPA.

Overall: A great IIPA. A very good hop flavor profile with enough of a malt backbone to produce a good flavor profile. i wish I had a time machine so that I could decide if OG Nelson or Citra was/is my favorite IPA/IIPA.

Apr 01, 2021
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HugoBossk from California

4.86/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Canned on 3/22, freshest I've had by some margin!
L: Eschews classic West Coast IPA visual with a slightly more opaque and deeper color than other classics of the style. Beautiful lacing on glass after some sips, yet head dissipates rather quickly. This has little bearing on the beer overall personally, a minor complaint.
S: Lovely nose of tropical notes. Smells of fruit and citrus, not an overpoweringly strong scent yet clearly expresses the flavor profile to expect.
T: Citrus and fruit flavor explodes here. Measured bitterness reminds that this is a West Coast IPA, yet has a juiciness that has come to be associated with NEIPAs nowadays. Hoppy and fruity, taste follows suit on the nose and then some.
F: Perfectly measured medium body, finishes on the dry side yet the tropical fruit and citrus notes linger for some time.
O: My third experience with Citra, I think I can conclude that this is my favorite West Coast IPA of them all. The juicier and sweeter characteristics of it as opposed to other notable examples of the style put it over the edge as a truly original and exciting beer. Drank fresh, it is an absolute revelation in a time where the IPA market is oversaturated and often difficult to get excited about. Seek it out!

Mar 26, 2021
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BillAfromSoCal from California

4.74/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Points off on looks only because the head is fairly scrawny; much less than a finger in my pint glas;. nice lacing though. I have a lousy nose but as soon as I opened the can I could smell fruity goodness with citrus dominating. The taste is so well balanced, with a good amount of juicy +hoppy. Citrus flavors dominate but certainly only part of a really well balanced flavor profile. I really like this one a lot. More, please.

Jan 16, 2021
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elNopalero from California

4.46/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful glowing copper, clear and clean. The aroma isn’t as big and vibrant as I might expect, but more subdued and muted. It’s bursting with flavor, all that citra goodness, with just enough heft and body on the back. I thought it was fantastic.

Dec 15, 2020
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SierraNevallagash from Maine

4.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Ryan for this can!

Pint can - canned in mid-November - poured into an Spiegelau IPA glass at 42°F.

Pours a very attractive golden amber-honey hue - just a touch foggy, with a creamy, dense, two-finger eggshell white head with remarkable retention, leaving a thick sticky collar as it recedes.

Nose: Right there. It smells exactly like a heavily Citra-hopped West Coast double IPA. The malt base is surprisingly pale, with a lovely lightly toasty grain profile, with some sweet, bready crystal malt notes. Citra notes just explode with ripe tangerine, grapefruit, drippy pear, meyer lemon, candied pineapple, mango juice, fresh grass, pine sap, and actual fruit. Like that fruit skin smell you get in the produce aisle. It smells like produce aisle. So fresh and bright.

Palate: I try to be objective as possible, but sometimes, you take that first sip, and a beer just rocks your world. This is that, for me. The beer greets the palate with this simultaneous punch of perfect malt sweetness, grainy pale malt, mineral water zing, and a big explosion of Citra hops. Lemon zest, grapefruit pulp, Satsuma mandarin and tangerine, and even some key lime zest. There's some wisps of pineapple, mango, and passionfruit, but,it isn't thw tropical cocktail that the nose is. This is a bowl of citrus. There's this raw, green, leafy hop character that I usually only find in Nelson, and that obliterates the malty backbone, reducing it to pale grain. Some resinous Ponderosa pine sap, pithy grapefruit, and leafy green hops set a dry, resinous, moderately bitter tone to the finish which lingers for ages, eventually coming across as pure hop cone.

Mouthfeel/Body: The beer is medium-full in body. It has a sturdy backbone, but it doesn't overtake the beer, and it remains fully drinkable, and even quite crisp. You could drink this on a hot summer day and not feel like you're choking back a big beer. Very minimal malt stickiness, and a nice oily resinous hop cling that just adheres to the palate. Effervescence is so beautifully lively and zippy. Fully dry finish.

Overall: I hate that I'm doing this, but this ia a 4.5 across the board. I almost never review a beer that gets the same score for every category, but I can't honestly rate this any other way. This is a truly unique and incredible West Coast DIPA. It's saturated with intense citrus on the nose, with a huge punch of Citra flavour balanced by a perfect malt base, beautiful minerality, the prime level of bitterness, AND it's refreshing? Come on, what more can you want from this? What a gem. It's beers like this that make me excited about IPAs. Seek this out.

Dec 10, 2020
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Oh_Dark_Star from Washington

4.21/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: A darker filtered orange with an sizable ivory head settling down to a wisp and a wide band that climbs the glass and leaves a couple narrow partial bands of lace.

S: Malt Bomb, medicinal pine, and citrus syrup.

T: Follows the nose, there’s an unexpected clove note in there too. Pretty strong. Bitter And resinous like the West coast doubles of old.

F: Heavier weight, malty and sticky and a good stomach full. Right carbonation. Off-dry with a drier and bitter finish.

O: If you like’em malty this is well done. Overall I personally would not put it at number five however. A bit of hype.

Jun 19, 2020
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mytone from California

4/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Medium opiate amber in color minimal head that hands on the glass.

S: Sweet fragrance of passion fruit and oranges.

T: Hoppy dank start, orange-grapefruit-apricots notes in the middle, then a hoppy sweet finish with a slight bitter ending. More danky than juicy.

F: Medium bodied with a dry finish

O: Hoppy west coast IPA, very different beer from what you smell vs what you taste. Like a sweeter Pliny the Elder.

Apr 11, 2020
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Sconimike from Wisconsin

4.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked it off a menu at Stout in LA. What an amazing aroma and taste. Could tell the hops were citrus and could smell the pine. A nice orange amber color. Left me wanting to have another as soon asI can find it again.

Dec 23, 2019
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rodmanfor3 from Vermont

4.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great, old-school West Coast IPA with a strong malt backbone and a solid use of Citra hops. This was a game changer back in the day and still deserves its due respect.

Dec 17, 2019
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bret27 from California

3.89/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Refrigerated can to glass. No canning date, but believe it to be about a month old.
Tan almost orange. Little cloudy. Minimal off white head. Nice lacing.
Citrus and pine on the nose.
Taste starts out sweet and citrusy, but then ends bitter with astringency.
Soapy aftertaste and burps. Slight booze presence.
I think Pliny has made me spoiled.

Dec 11, 2019
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stoumi from California

4.67/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Citra pours a beautiful amber orange with a soapy and loose, 2-finger, light yellow head that deposits some minimal lacing. The smell is resiny and dank with citrus fruits, a hint of floral and a slight malt sweetness. The taste is initially smooth and sweet over the palette with a dank, hop bitterness from the Citra, giving off flavors of grapefruit, pineapple and a hint of zest. Truly an outstanding DIPA, comparable, maybe better than Pliny the Elder for me. Took nearly 2 years to finally find a can up my way in NoCal and this is an impressive beer!

Dec 04, 2019
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Zaximus from Colorado

3.05/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

From a can with a couple weeks on it into snifter. Pours copper in color. Somewhat muddy?

Piney. Resinous. Extremely hoppy but not well balanced with a malty backbone. Little alcohol burn but not overly flavorful. Astringent. Reminds me of the classic, overly hoppy west coast hop bombs but not as good.

I don’t know. Still really like a classic west coast IPA but this one just doesn’t do much for me. Glad I was finally able to try it even if it was ultimately disappointing.

Nov 21, 2019
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JamFuel from Sweden

4.06/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a semi clear amber with fine head.

Smell is piney with notes of resin, grapefruit an grapefruit rind.

Taste is piney and citrus with a strong, resiny bitterness. There is a medicinal hint that hampers it somewhat and makes it a little bit astringent.

Mouthfeel is medium, well carbonated.

Overall, a very nice west coast DIPA, shame about the medicinal thing.

Jun 16, 2019
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 11/2/16; drank 12/5/16 @ the Palace.

Semi-opaque dull orange appearance.

A rough pour yielded a huge off-white head; frothy lace.

Sweet orange citrus, grapefruit & cane sugar notes in the nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Orange citrus & cane sugar flavors up front; mild grapefruit bite on the finish. No booze heat.

A little too sweet, but overall an excellent DIPA!

Feb 24, 2019
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Zach_Attack from Massachusetts

4.44/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

02/2015 - Pineapple and mango fosho with mild pine, dank aromas; fruity, juicy, nice hoppy tang, tropical fruits on the palate; sweet, wee bitter, clean finish though.

Jan 02, 2019
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patre_tim from Thailand

4.45/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Golden, slightly hazy with no visible cardio and a finger of white head.

Smells of pineapple, citrus and a hint of pine. A Caramel malty backbone follows.

Tastes of perfection in balance. Fruity and floral almost like a rose, lily of the valley. Caramel sweetness with a hint of bitterness like grapefruit pith.

Medium body with a little spritzy carbonation. Covers the abv.

Having on tap at Liquid Gold, San Francisco, Dec 30th, 2018. Amazing brew. The feel is powdery and amazing, the taste so soft yet defined so that it finishes quickly on the palate, leaving you craving the next sip.

Dec 31, 2018
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RaulMondesi from California

4.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Well, here is it: other than Emily Didonato lying at the foot of my bed - this is my number 1 want: Kern River Citra.

As I sip I am jolted from a dream - is this real? Am I? First textures are lush and grassy like Warren Beatty trying to woo Natalie Wood. Unfortunately, what comes after it is not Disneyland every night at 9:30 PM - no fireworks. I’m missing that extra hoorah! I’m missing that extra zoom zoom in the boom boom! It’s nice and clean, but then like my 4th ex, it’s kind of one dimensional. It’s ok, but because of the hype going into it, I kind of haz a sad.

*Ok, it’s known that Citra lost its luster over the years because of things, but now that Kern has it dialed in again, this one bangs like Woody Wood Pecker on Viagra.


Apr 07, 2018
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gcasher from Pennsylvania

4.61/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Golden with white head. It glows.
Awesome citra smell and super choppy taste. Rivals the alchemists. Gets a bit bitter as I make my way through the glass. 16 oz draft.

Mar 29, 2018
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Sabtos from Ohio

3.77/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Surprised by the haze, it's a nearly fully opaque orange-amber with a lighter gold around the bottom edge, topped with a large khaki foam that slowly settles to a thin film with a bubbly clinging collar.

Smell actually starts garlicky and biscuity, with some sharp yeast, orange zest and rind, lemon and pine.

Taste is tangy and almost spicy with a mix of allium and citrus, backed by a sting of pine and a biscuity rug with a Triple Sec finish.

This is definitely more old school, malty, bitter and pungent than the new haze class, but is also very citrusy and enjoyable. Body is moderately light with a bubbly light carbonation and a dry, prickly swallow.

Dec 07, 2017
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Jugs_McGhee from Texas

3.84/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On-draught at Verdugo Bar, Los Angeles. I've waited a long time to try this one.

30cl for $8 USD. 8% ABV. Imperial IPA.

Pours a glowing orange body of average vibrance. No yeast or lees are visible. Head is white, coating, and thick. Head retention is good for the high ABV - ~8 minutes. Leaves scattered lacing on the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

AROMA: Orange creamsicle, fresh orange peel, fragrant citrus, a blip of rind, tangerine. Has concomitant bitterness but it's nevertheless well balanced. Suggests an imperial IPA with a well-disguised ABV, plenty of hop pungency, and good depth of flavour.

Aromatic intensity is average. I'm eager to try it. Very fresh and vivid.

TASTE: Undertones of orange creamsicle and candied citrus peel (orange, tangerine, maybe even mango) underscore this fresh citrusy brew. Juicy but adequately bitter, with pale malts keeping the hops in check, resulting in an impressively well balanced beer.

Good depth of flavour. Above average flavour duration and intensity.

I wouldn't say it's complex, but there is some intricate layering of citrusy flavours that amounts to a beer with a nice diversity of citrusy flavours. Exceeds the sum of its parts, but it's far from the most busy imperial IPA out there.

Nitpicking, it could be more vivid, fresh, and/or juicy, but it's very well-balanced as is.

MOUTHFEEL: Creamy, soft, medium to full-bodied, smooth, wet. Not oily, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy. Well-carbonated.

OVERALL: Ludicrously drinkable for an 8% imperial IPA. Its balance really sets it apart. I can see why it's regarded as one of the very best in the style, and it showcases its hop selection extremely well. Up there with Alpine-brewed Alpine beers in my estimation, and very well executed, but I'd balk at the idea of waiting in line for it.

One of the best expressions of the style I've tried to date, but I can imagine it better. If orange creamsicle IIPAs are your bag but you want more bitterness and hop pungency than the hazy IPA fad offers without the yogurty tang of a Hill Farmstead expression of the style, this is the beer for you.

Really damn tasty.

B+ (3.84) / VERY GOOD

Oct 22, 2017
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BillRoth from Maryland

4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at KRBC. Unremarkable head at beginning...but stunning rich amber honey color... and outstanding lacing. Full hop aroma and a citrus bomb for flavor. So clean and drinkable. Reamarkabke easy for an 8% DIPA. Definitely built in the malts perfectly. Yep... lived up to the hype.

Sep 17, 2017
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remingtonsteele1987 from California

4.25/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Having on draft in a pint glass. Dark amber color with a slight haze and one finger head. Smells of burnt caramel and toasted orange rind. Totally full bodied with creamy carbonation texture. Flavors of roasted pineapple, peach with toasted orange rind bitterness. Long lasting fruit sweetness and bitterness.

Sep 11, 2017
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WhaleSlayer85 from Illinois

4.59/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours a beautiful golden color. 2 fingers of foamy head with good retention.

S: Wonderful aroma of tropical fragrances, floral aromas, and just enough pine to let you know this is a West Coast style IPA.

T: A nice combination of fruity flavors with a delicious piney Hop residue on the back end.

F: Very smooth, easy drinking. High drinkability. Feel like you could crush this no problem.

O: This might be the best West Coast style IPA I've had. this has a lot more balance than many of the east coast style IPAs I've had. Bottom line, fantastic beer.

Mar 25, 2017
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fb4lfe from California

4.81/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Best IPA I've ever had. I waited years to finally get a case of Citra and the wait was worth it. Scary drive to the brewery to pick up the case, but it was a fantastic trip. Numerous great beers but Citra stood out. Actually, they had "Hazy Citra" on tap and it was wonderful. If you get a chance to try it, don't pass it up.

Mar 08, 2017
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Kdouble from Tennessee

4.81/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a Teku goblet.

Look- A deep murky orange with a little over a finger of thick white head. A small amount of lacing down the glass.

Smell- Lots of strong citrus with an awesome touch of pineapple. Made me want to hurry for my first drink.

Taste- There was not as much fruit taste as the smell led me to believe. The hoppy taste really balanced everything and I tasted more malt around the middle of the pour. Absolutely delicious and extremely drinkable.

Feel- A full feel with little carbonation. Slightly dry but still very juicy.

Overall a phenomenal double IPA. Drinkable with just enough abv to keep it interesting.

Feb 24, 2017
Citra from Kern River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 1866 ratings