Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

System Of A Stout - Beachwood BBQ & Brewing

Not Rated.
System Of A StoutSystem Of A Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

36 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 36
Hads: 239
Avg: 4.3
pDev: 8.37%
Wants: 184
Gots: 58 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Beachwood BBQ & Brewing visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.30% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Halcyondays on 07-07-2012

System of a Stout [Imperial Armenian Coffee Stout ] - An imperial stout infused with all the traditional ingredients of a savory cup of Armenian coffee: cardamom, molasses, coffee (of course), and brandy. In the kettle, the beer is lightly dosed with green cardamom for exotic spice notes. Molasses adds a richness that seamlessly blends in. The finished beer was then aged for several days on masterfully roasted coffee from Portola Coffee Lab in Costa Mesa. The beer was then aged for several weeks on Armenian brandy-soaked oak chips for yet another dimension of flavors and aromas. Take your time & enjoy this endlessly complex & nuanced beer.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 36 | Hads: 239
Photo of Treyliff
4.26/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

22oz blue wax top bottle poured into a teku, bottled 2015

A- pours pitch black in color with a small creamy khaki colored head that reduces to bring around the edge, leaving some nice learn behind

S- lots of fresh roasted coffee on the nose with some spicy and herbal notes. Also picking up aromas of brown sugar, milk chocolate, anise, woodsy oak, cinnamon & sassafras. All of the aromas blend well together

T- Fresh roasted coffee up front adds some herbal & earthy notes, the mid-palate brings lots of spices, with notes of anise, cinnamon, cardamon, even some peppery flavor. Molasses addition adds some brown sugary sweetness. The finish is somewhat dry with bitter roast and dark artisan chocolate on the linger

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to a slightly thin mouthfeel, but turns creamy near the finish, alcohol warmth on the linger

O- the cardamon addition adds a unique complexity to the coffee and molasses, but somehow they all blend together well. Mouthfeel was a little thin, but overall a very enjoyable beer

 1,045 characters

Photo of AMCimpi
4.54/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: black with a thin tan head that faded quickly for me, not so much for the others. S: nice rich coffee and dark chocolate on the nose...great smell. T: similar to the smell...as it warmed the herbs just really transformed this beer into something unique. M: in the medium-full area. More full than medium. O: this beer was a delight to try. When it was cold, it tasted like a weak Perennial Sump. As it warmed, it transformed into a delicious spiced stout, with a nice coffee and rich dark chocolate. I'll have to trade for this one

 534 characters

Photo of Getalegup
4.27/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark, dark brown with brown fringes. Not much foam then fades to thin lacing on the edges. It smells of sweet choco late and coffee. Taste is the same but I guess the cardamon and brandy soaked wood chips add just a little something extra. Medium viscosity and very smooth. Really solid coffee stout. Recommended.

 321 characters

Photo of Hootie159
4.49/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a centimeter light to medium brown head. Dissipates, but sticks around the edges. Coffee and the cardamom smell great. Natural pairing. Imparts some intense flavor into the taste before the roasted coffee rolls in. Molasses helps balance the spicing with some sweetness. Oak chips impart a hint of smokiness. Very smooth with light carbonation aided by the brandy. The spicing gives it some bite if left on the tongue.

 435 characters

Photo of costanzo_mike
4.49/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice black color with a tan head that dissipates fairly quickly. Smells of coffee, oak and cardamom come through heavily. Nicely spiced. The taste leaves a bitter coffee flavor on the aftertaste and a nice buzz of spice on the tongue. Love the balance that exhibits. Smooth mouthfeel once it warms up a bit. Very enjoyable.

 331 characters

Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beachwood continues to please and this is no exception. Batch 1 and Batch 2 tasted side by side. There were differences of opinion. Score here is for Batch #1 - more creamy, chocolaty and rich all around. Batch #2 is very similiar but lacks some of the complexities and nuances.

 282 characters

Photo of Beervana
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours nearly black with a very thin tan head. Nose is quite unique; cocoa, lactose, cardamom, vanilla, and a slight boozy sweetness, reminds me a little of horchata. Taste is a little more traditional with milk chocolate and delicate roast coffee leading the way, a bit of a cardamom/cinnamon spice character in the background, there's definitely a roasty bitterness present but it seems to fade as the beer warms. Not much sign of that 11% ABV here. Feel is smooth but drying, little carbonation.

Overall, this is a tough beer to pin down and rate, there's a definite complexity but the final product almost seems a bit muddled. Obviously the beer is still very tasty, just not quite mind-blowing.

 699 characters

Photo of Domvan
4.46/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle I think, this was a nice rich stout with a perfect balance of coffee richness/bitterness. Not overpowering coffee, that I usually prefer. Was a well done and balanced coffee stout, I will seek this out again for sure.

 229 characters

Photo of raynmoon
4.27/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Very nice beer. The nose and mouthfeel is where this one excels. Black with a brown head, nice lacing, and smells, of faint coffee and cinnamon. Nothing overbearing. The flavor follows suit, but not quite as luscious as one would imagine. Still overall a very nice beer.

 271 characters

Photo of Beer_Line
5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

If you are a beer geek and a coffee addict this is as good as it gets. The only reason I do not see 5's all around on this one is only because the people rating this beer do not know anything about what they are rating.

 219 characters

Photo of BarrytheBear
3.86/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Big thank you to Vince I believe...batch 1

Loads of spice...cinnamon, cardamom, and booze. My wife says the smell gives her heartburn.

Big beer....coffee is huge and roasty, spices plunder the palate, alcohol burn lingers a good long while. Finish is a touch acrid and burnt which may also be due in part to the molasses. Strong bold flavors, some vegetal pepper notes, tarry fade....large.

Interesting beer for sure...brandy is faint and I wish it were a large role. Chips provide a woody feel along the palate. Fun try, unique beer, and good...but not quite where I had set my expectations when I had this as a top want. Regradless, thrilled to have had the opportunity.

 675 characters

Photo of fussychicken
4.84/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

1st Bottle Batch:

Just a wonderful mix of coffee and cardamom. Beachwood stouts to me are on the dryer side which I love. Just the right amount of oak from the chips.

Such a Benchmark stout to me

 201 characters

Photo of dar482
4.72/5  rDev +9.8%

The aroma smacks of tons of rich roasted coffee. Heavy on the roast qualities with Christmas cardamom. A bit of milk chocolate sweetness.

The flavor follows with that dark roasted coffee throughout. There's a hint of the spice that compliments the coffee quite well with a spicy cardamon. Lots of milk chocolate throughout the palate with a luscious mouthfeel.

A heavy roast and heavy coffee brew and really is an exceptional coffee stout.

 441 characters

Photo of rlee1390
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%

A-Black in the glass, one finger off white/tan head that leaves some lacing

S-Starts with chocolate, coffee, oak, this sweet cinnamon flavor.

T-Strong coffee flavor, then lots of chocolate and cinnamon, nice oak rounding out the beer.

M-Medium to heavy, with nice carbonation.

O-A good beer, the coffee wasn't as present as I was expecting, the sweet cinnamon flavor came through more for me.

 398 characters

Photo of Davepoolesque
3.75/5  rDev -12.8%

Really loving the coffee aspect of this beer. I'm leaning towards not liking the spices in this. WHAT ARE THEY AND WHY ARE THEY THERE! Medium thickness, big bitterness. Personally, I feel this brew is overrated. Glad I got to try it, but I'm good trying it once. It should really be categorized as a Christmas spiced beer.

 322 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
4/5  rDev -7%

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body. Medium khaki head. Thin collar.

Smell - Coffee. Spicy. Kinda roasty.

Taste - Very spicy. Like cinnamon? Incredibly strong coffee. Roasty coffee. Very intense. Some bitter chocolate.

Mouthfeel - Well carbonated. Medium body.

Overall - It's one-dimensional, but very tasty.

 350 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.24/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

delicious beer here, trying to capture unique eastern europe coffee flavors, with cardamom and molasses, both of which are really noticeable in the flavor of the beer without being overdone, a tough feat to accomplish with some pretty tricky ingredients. matte finished black colored brew with high brown tones in the light and a milky off white head with brown rings as it slowly sips. the nose on it is awesome, heavy heavy day old coffee, with bitter barley roast and a dry earthy yeast character. cardamom is slight at first, but develops a lot with temperature. molasses sweetness is more evident in the taste, right up front, but this beer has very little sweetness to round it out, and ends up dry and bitter from the coffee, but with out the usually accompanying acidity from the coffee. nice subtle herbal cardamom peppered in, in exactly the right proportion. alcohol is a bit much when it warms up, but it fits with the coffee in this context. a very nice take on the style here, finally something different from a big coffee stout! thanks to crazybeerlady for sharing this unique beer!

 1,097 characters

Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.38/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Dark as midnight with basically no light making its way through. 1/2 finger tan head lays still atop the dark waters.

S- Coffee forward. Caramel and faint cocoa. Some cake-like notes

T- Coffee again with lots of roasted character opens things up. Then a healthy dose of mint comes through....mint? It is very odd. Maybe the cardamom. No brandy to speak of. Not sure what the idea of the brandy soaked wood chips was about.

M- Full body and rich. Tingling feel. Dry and bitter.

O- Hmm. Not what I expected. Odd mix of coffee and mint/citrus that really seams to clash. No oak, no brand...no thanks. Quite disappointed I traded a Sump for this.

 649 characters

Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Batch 2, blue wax
The beer pours an opaque black (dark brown in the light) topped by a foamy tan head that provides some mild lacing before fading...the blue wax is a pain to remove, as always. The nose had big cardamom spiciness and coffee upfront followed by a warming caramel sweetness and hint of alcohol. The taste is also relatively spiced, but it's in perfect harmony with the chocolatey malt sweetness and slight bitterness provided by the Armenian coffee and hops. The mouthfeel is medium-heavy bodied, sweet (not cloying), with masked booze, a biting, spicy bitterness that lingers, sufficient carbonation, and great drinkability. This beer is thoroughly enjoyable and has the perfect coffee/spice profile to compliment for the rich stout base.

 754 characters

Photo of Jeffo
4.37/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber of this from ScottO. Very happy to finally give this one a shot. Cheers!

From a bomber into a snifter
Batch 2
Blue Wax
Released May 2014

APPEARANCE: A transparent black pour yields a three finger, medium looking, creamy, tan head with very good retention. Black body with higher levels of carbonation for the style. Head slowly fades to a full foam cap leaving some creamy lacing down the sides of the glass. A splotchy wisp remains with some nice lacing clinging the whole way down.

SMELL: Lots of coffee, sweet cream, vanilla, dark chocolate, molasses, and roasted malt aromas. Mostly roasted coffee beans and sweet cream, with obvious qualities from the cardamom as well. Very little oak, but the coffee and cardamom might be stealing the show here.

TASTE: Very coffee forward. Definite roasted coffee and espresso beans up front, with sweet cream and vanilla flavors at the swallow. Big, bold and persistent aftertaste of bitter and burnt coffee, sweet cream, vanilla, dark bitter chocolate, roasted malts and a touch of molasses as well. Sweet creamy flavors from the cardamom for sure, and some vanilla from the oak barrels. Heavy on the sweet cream, cardamom and bitter coffee beans. Really delicious. Actually tastes like morning coffee.

PALATE: Medium body and a touch higher carbonation. Creamy enough on the palate, goes down fine and finishes a touch mouth-coating. A bit of a scratch as the swallow, but no heat. Bitterness lingers.

OVERALL: Really good. Really, really good. The oak barrels are restrained in favor of the coffee and cardamom, though the vanilla sweetness is probably accented by the oak barrels as well. This beer works great and is very easy drinking. Would love to drink more of this stuff. Thanks again ScottO. Excellent stuff.

 1,779 characters

Photo of rjjhoffman
4.62/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow. One big COFFEE BOMB. Everything about this beer is incredible. Light brandy and oak aroma with strong coffee taste. Overall one excellent beer. Drinks incredibly smooth for 11%. Right up there with the better coffee stouts. Would really like to see them BA this beer in brandy oak barrels. Wish it had more presence of brandy. Would seek out and would drink again.

 369 characters

Photo of jamesar
4.65/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at Beachwood BBQ for the release event!

Appearance: Pours a deep and dark black with decent brown head that fades away slowly. Almost no lacing.

Smell: Probably the most interesting aspect of this beer. Overwhelming, complex nose on this. I pick up tons of coffee, chocolate, caramel, some char, and eventually the smell of the cardamom spices and dark fruits. Fantastic aroma!

Taste: Loads of bitter coffee dominate the palate followed by some chocolatey fudginess, vanilla, and finishes with slight woodiness. Was really hoping for more brandy, molasses, and cardamom with this one but it definitely doesn't disappoint.

Mouthfeel: Almost perfect, thick, creamy, and full. Little carbonation.

Overall: For what this beer is, it is very, very good. Was hoping for a little less coffee but we will see what some time does for this one.

 855 characters

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to beachstrength49 for the bottle. Split with angrybabboon.

Appearance: Straight black with a small dark tan head. OK retention drops the head to a small collar with no lacing. Minimal carbonation with a nice thick and creamy poor. Solid.

Smell: A lot going on with this thing. Nice roasted malts with a very slight burnt edge. Brandy is upfront and then some. Oak adds a nice element. Vague dark fruit in there. Oh, and did I mention the crazy amounts of coffee? Roasted beans, fresh brewed espresso, and spent grinds. It's loaded. Cardamom is evident as well. It's complex, but it's all upfront and fades rather quickly. Sweet cooked sugars. Almost like bleach with the combo of coffee, cardamom, and the like. Licorice. A touch of musty sock and some solid cocoa and chocolate notes.

Taste: Slight bite of alcohol over a solid roasted thing. Coffee and more coffee. Coffee beans and slightly old espresso. Some licorice and then the brandy kicks in. Layers of alcohol intrinsic and external. Some nice backing oak with a touch of char. Caramel, toffee, tons of molasses, I was beginning to wonder where it was. Cardamom lingers on the tongue dropping a unique spiciness. Sweet brandy. Cocoa and chocolate, it's all there. Assertive with a nice depth and complexity. Plum and a touch of oatmeal cookie.

Mouthfeel: Full and smooth. A bit slick up front with a minimal, but not negligible carbonation. Lingers and sits around for a good bit.

Overall: Wakeupputonalittlemakeupdrinkabeerandwin.

This is a bit nuts. A lot of things and they're all good. This is a net win in the long run.

 1,599 characters

Photo of angrybabboon
4.21/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for sharing this

Consumed 10/3/13

Appearance: Dark, dark brown - pours with a medium size, light tan head - eventually fades to a borderline nonexistent cap, doesn't leave much lacing

Smell: Simply put, there is a lot going on here - loads of chocolate, molasses, spice, coffee, and dark fruit - burnt chocolate malts and some sweet chocolate syrup - coffee grounds - some decidedly exotic spices - definitely interesting

Taste: Coffee, chocolate, molasses, and some exotic intrigue - dark malts, roasty with some burnt - chocolate malts, dark chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, baker's chocolate - rich, dark coffee flavor - molasses and some burnt caramel, dark sugars - some pretty obvious alcohol flavor, not exactly hot, more of a brandy flavor - some wood, too - very, very complex

Mouthfeel: More or less a full body, creamy, low carbonation, nice finish

Overall: A great beer to... Wake up! Grab a brush and put on a little makeup!

This is rather complex. That is a phrase that I don't get to write as much as I used to. But this is truly unique. Definitely worth a try, definitely worth seeking out. I suppose I also need to try Armenian Coffee.

 1,184 characters

Photo of EgadBananas
4.42/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Being a System of a Down fan and coffee beer fan, this was a no brainer.

Appearance: inky black, dark brown half finger head, no lace.

Aroma: coffee, coffee, coffee, oak, char, vanilla, roast, chocolate.

Taste: strong bitter coffee, rich coffee, chocolate, roast, woody char.

Mouthfeel: pleasantly creamy, thick and full bodied.

Overall: the most coffee intense aroma I've experienced. As it warms, the flavors get a bit harsher than they start, but all in all, its fantastic and a coffee lovers creamy dream.

 515 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
System Of A Stout from Beachwood BBQ & Brewing
93 out of 100 based on 36 ratings.