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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
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Reviews: 36 | Hads: 239
Photo of kojevergas
3.62/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up after hearing the hype. Haven't been real impressed with Beachwood's offerings - bottled or draught - and their bottles are so direly overpriced. This one ran me $19.00 USD. 11.2% ABV according to my bottle. I like the artsy minimalist label art. Batch number 1/264. 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with waxed-over pressure cap acquired at a local SoCal beer store and served into a Mitchells of Lancaster flared stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average given its reputation. "System of a Stout. Imperial Coffee Stout. Stout Aged on Oak with Coffee and Spices added." Reviewed as an imperial stout because it clearly identifies as such - but not necessarily a Russian Imperial Stout.

Served cold, straight from the fridge, and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger wide head of lovely mocha tan colour. Wonderful creaminess and frothiness. Supple. The smooth, soft complexion is damn appealing. Even consistent lacing as the head slowly recedes. And recede slowly it does; it takes a good 8-9 minutes to fully reduce. Head is magnificent for the style.

Body colour is a very dark solid brown-black; by no means a jet black. Opaque. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Looking well above average for the style overall. Special. No overt flaws are obvious. Really looking forward to trying this one.

Sm: Damned impressive coffee notes - including masterful roast, espresso, cream, and rich coffee beans.

I have no idea what the hell "cardamom" is, so I'm going to google it. Done. Nope, still no idea what the hell that would smell like.

Some other pleasant notes complement the dominant coffee, like dark malts, roasted barley, chocolate malt, and light hazelnut. Balanced and intriguing. I'm quite excited to try this.

I look for oak, brandy, molasses, and actual chocolate, but find none. If they really wanted oak/brandy notes, they should have gone for barrels not chips - especially when they're charging $19.00 for it.

Overall, it's a very well executed aroma of above average strength. Good for the style.

No yeast character, hop character, or alcohol is detectable.

T: Earthy creamy coffee notes dominate, with some pleasant roasty character surfacing more towards the climax. Some earthy coffee character as well, with sprinkles of coffee bitterness. The body has your usual dark malts and chocolate malt, which fill it out nicely without intruding. I like the cream up front. Fleeting hints of vague hazelnut. Not getting any real oak or brandy; the oak aging here is insubstantial - that's disappointing. Buried roasted barley; I'm just glad roasted barley is present at all. Some caramel. A kiss of powdered truffle. Luckily there are no anise, licorice, or vinous notes here. I'm also glad that there's just a brief whispery hint of dark fruit; any more and it'd be annoying, but the subtle touch of plum is the most artful touch in the beer - and that's saying a lot given the quality of the coffee notes. A hint of vanilla. Flavour duration is average for the style, but pronounced in general. Flavour intensity is slightly below average for the style, but it's a balanced well-executed imperial stout that sees no need to delve into the harsh overwhelming flavours heavy-handedly delivered by inferior beers in the style. Good complexity overall, if a bit wanting compared to great imperial stouts. I quite like this one; Beachwood has pleasantly surprised me.

No hop character or yeast character comes through. It's not a hot or boozy beer either.

Mf: Chewy, sticky, smooth, and wet. Lightly silky. Creamy. Good presence on the palate. Slight overcarbonation. Good thickness and nice full body. Unrefreshing. Not oily, harsh, gushed, astringent, acrid, or scratchy.

Dr: Quite drinkable for the ABV, but still best treated as a sipper. It's a good example of an imperial stout, but I don't think I'd buy it again at its ridiculous price point. I mean The Abyss is a good ~33+% cheaper than this, and it's definitely superior. In any case, I'd recommend to friends if they can find it cheaply on draught. It's definitely worth trying once, and I applaud the execution of coffee notes here. Looks like I'll be giving Beachwood more of my money for their house beers after all.

Constructively, I'd like to see aging in actual oak barrels; let's dispense with the half-assed oak chips. "Anything that's worth doing - is worth doing right." A bit more roasted barley would be a nice addition. And real chocolate would do it well. I could see rich cacao complementing the flavour profile quite nicely.


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Photo of Rollzroyce21
4.77/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

- Batch 2 / 2014 vintage
- 22 oz. bottle poured into Hanger24 Barrel Roll tasting snifter on 5-Jul-14

- Batch 1/306
- 22 oz. bottle poured into Lost Abbey teku glass on 13-Jun-13.

Woah, the aromas... roasted coffee dominate and it smells better than almost every single coffee I've ever had. Earthy, fresh-grounded coffee beans with hints of vanilla.

Taste begins with the roasted coffee and its very velvety... bold, hearty, and decadent, but it's not an overload that it obliterates your palate. Mild acidity; so balanced. Everything that I want in a perfect cup of joe is found here. It then transitions into a malty chocolate that flows around the sides of your tongue and with it brings hints of vanilla, oak, subtle spices that I cannot differentiate specifically, and the brandy (btw, I wouldn't have been able to guess the brandy unless I was told of it, but once aware of the fact, it connected the dots). Finishes with the usual roasty bitterness every good coffee stout should have. Good heat; no unwanted boozyness whatsoever.

This was tough for me to decide... but I'd have to say this is the 2nd best coffee stout (behind BCBCS '12) that I've ever had the delight of experiencing. Beachwood, please keep em coming!

Batch 2 was just as I remembered the previous batch. Permawant!

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Photo of ehammond1
4.24/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle (2013)

Thanks for sending this my way, SubpoenaDeuces!

Black on black with a small foaming ring of tight brown bubbles. Leaves the glass oily and spotted on the way down.

Impressive and expressive freshly ground coffee aroma. This would perhaps be overwhelming for someone not a big fan of earthy, roasty, strong, acidic coffee, but I'm a big fan. Bring it on. Complemented by definite oak and an interesting spice (most likely, the added cardamom, but I wouldn't have said that blind). An earthy, roasty, expressive, coffee powerhouse.

Fairly bitter initially, but layers of bold ground coffee, oak, and earthy, interesting spice notes come together extremely well. I didn't pick up much spirit (brandy, in this case)--more of just a barrel presence. Full of flavor with the coffee leading the way. The blend/nuance could be a touch better, but this is very tasty.

Nearly full in body with low carbonation. Doesn't suffer from the prickly/acidic mouthfeel found in Perennial's Barrel-aged Sump, for example.

Fantastic. Excited for Beachwood's releases moving forward.

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Photo of OneBeertoRTA
4.77/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

had this both in bottle and on tap at Beachwood Seal Beach.

Color is a rich dark roasted black with 2 inches of head.

Incredible coffee aroma and nice medium thickness.

Taste is a massive almost espresso like coffee and just insanely drinkable. I had two glasses on tap and cracked open a bottle when I got home. Julian is hitting home runs here. This is something special and was a great alternate between the Falcon IPA.

Tovarish was great but this is one of the those special coffee stouts that just has a whallop to it and goes down like no other. Damn near perfection.

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

2013 Vintage

Appearance: Very dark brown bordering on black with a fairly small dark beige head that slowly faded. A dark beige ring sticks around for a while.

Smell: Mild brandy, fairly strong coffee notes, roasted malt aromas, and some brown sugar aromas. Nice nose.

Taste: Mild brandy, fairly strong coffee notes (good quality coffee), roasted malt note, some mild tannic oak notes, some mild brown sugar notes, and mild hop notes. The coffee notes are upfront but well integrated. Alcohol is well restrained for the listed ABV

Mouth-feel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Nice mouth-feel on this one.

Overall: A good RIS, and at this time, my favorite coffee stout. I am a coffee snob and addict and this one works for me. The taste profile isn't all coffee and has several other tasty elements. Got to love it when a brewery in your hometown keeps kicking out good beers.

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Photo of lsummers
4.21/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Tony's Darts Away, pitch black with a great frothy tan lacing, sticks to your ribs! ... And the glass.

Smells straight up like coffee and chocolate with roasted oats. Hints of a sweet molasas.

Taste initially hits you with coffee but it's not overpowering and is blended quite nicely with the bitter dark chocolate and sweet molasses with some finishing roasty characters. The bitterness isn't overwhelming but hits more towards the backend.

It feels like it has some nice carbonation and it really helps hide the high abv, it's a warming beer but not boozy.

Overall I'm pretty impressed, I'm not a daily coffee drinker but I loved the stong coffee notes. This is definitely a special beer.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Beachwood Brewing

Black in color with a great tan head. Wonderful retention and lacing. Enormous, almost overwhelming coffee aroma. There’s a very nice vanilla note to it, a touch of oak, and tons of cocoa and dark chocolate. Of course, some roast, but great sweetness. The coffee steals the show on the palate, as well. Mild wood and brandy notes, a touch of vanilla and roast, and quite a bit of chocolate, toffee, and molasses. Just wonderful stuff.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap for Beachwood's 1st Anniversary (7/7/12).

A: Pours black with a 1/2-inch tan head which lasts long and leaves stalactite lace.

N: Fresh roasted coffee, spices and brandy intermingle and play very well together.

T: Complex layers of roasty espresso, green cardamom, woody oak, sweet molasses and brandy. Unreal. The interplay between the coffee and spice and sweet brandy is amazing.

M: Rich, full bodied and moderate carbonation. Slightly oily and roasted bitterness on the finish.

O: Well Mr. Shrago, you nailed this. Considering how elaborate this was to brew, thanks for making such a fantastic offering. Congratulations on the 1st year and look forward to what comes next.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.17/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


On tap at Toronado for Beachwood Brewing's one year anniversary.

A: Black and impenetrable with an inch of brown froth. Good retention and lots of scattered lacing.

S: Rich dark chocolate blends with earth, cardamom, molasses, and a little brown sugar. Coffee is big and bold. There's a firm nutty profile with pronounced roasted malt characteristics. Restrained dark fruit presence with faint oak and a whisper of brandy. 

T: Bittersweet dark chocolate with a potent earthy coffee character that pervades all aspects of the flavor. Lightly nutty with molasses and a touch of brown sugar. Firm roasted malt profile and moderate bitterness. Bold, full flavored, and bearing a striking resemblance to a good cup of coffee. There's a lot going on here.

M: Full body with medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is chewy, sticky, and smooth.

Overall: A complex, intense, and delicious beer. Seek this out if you're a coffee lover.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.54/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap for the first anniversary party at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is exceptional and is of dark roasted malt, dark roasted coffee/espresso beans, brandy, and wood. Taste is much the same with a very woody aftertaste. There is a medium amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with a fantastic nose and a great flavor.

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

On-tap at Beachwood II,

A: Pours black with a medium brown head, soft lace.

S: Aroma isn't great at first, but as it warms it really comes around. Coffee and dark chocolate for sure, cardamom, lots of spice, and a hint of hops. Fragrant and distinct.

T: Great coffee flavour. Dark chocolate and spice predominately. Lots of complexity. I've never had Armenian coffee, but this is a combination of flavours I like a lot.

M: Full-bodied, rich and creamy. Nice soothing long aftertaste.

O: A very good big stout, unique flavours. A fun beer to try for sure.

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System Of A Stout from Beachwood BBQ & Brewing
93 out of 100 based on 36 ratings.