System Of A Stout
Beachwood BBQ & Brewing

System Of A StoutSystem Of A Stout
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Beachwood BBQ & Brewing
California, United States
Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #81
Ranked #1,168
4.32 | pDev: 7.87%
Sep 20, 2021
Jul 08, 2012
System Of A StoutSystem Of A Stout
Notes: 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.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of ArrogantB
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by ArrogantB from Colorado

I liked this quite a bit better than the vanilla fudge I had the night before. Great coffee flavors, stout, and boozy alcohol. Delicious beer but kind of pricey for not being barrel-aged.

Sep 20, 2021
4.22 by BirdsandHops from Oregon on Apr 15, 2021
4.31 by Wisconsin_IPA_Lover from Wisconsin on Feb 27, 2021
Photo of cravenmoorehead
4.97/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by cravenmoorehead from California

Blacker than the night after a full moon. Rich, toasty, & roasty. Cozy up next to the fire, cuz this is a warmer...

One of my favorite stouts, easily. Big coffee notes, dark chocolate, toffee, & winter spices. Think cinnamon, but in the background. Well-balanced, thick yet smooth mouthfeel. All around A+. Beachwood don’t miss.

Jan 16, 2021
4.27 by cd34 from Illinois on Feb 20, 2020
4.58 by jmbeerdude91 from Arizona on Jan 16, 2020
4.28 by NolaHopHead from Louisiana on Dec 28, 2019
4.25 by ruzzal from Texas on Oct 10, 2019
3.91 by 7irondave from Massachusetts on Aug 23, 2019
4.17 by Duncian from Pennsylvania on Aug 05, 2019
Photo of pants678
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
by pants678 from California

Dark, dark brown with a half finger head foam.

More coffee than malt.

Doesn't read immediately as coffee, then I saw the adjuncts. Cardamom definitely gives me something new, an earthy bent that's a tinge floral without being vegetable. I don't really read the molasses or brandy in an obvious way, the mix is unique.

The end isn't all that rough but it's enough to remind you it's not mixed with cold brew.

Jun 10, 2019
4.37 by TheBrewsky from California on Apr 22, 2019
4.15 by Futbolmanby from Michigan on Mar 23, 2019
4.2 by Vivs85 from New York on Feb 10, 2019
3.73 by RPM3334 from South Carolina on Dec 16, 2018
Photo of BEERchitect
4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by BEERchitect from Kentucky

Embracing the exotic in each and every way possible the brewers at Beachwood embrace the weird, the unheard of, the hard to find combinations of Armenian coffee, cardamom and brandy soaked oak for a taste that takes the imperial stout where it has never gone before.

This System of a Stout comes with an extremely dark brown, easily mistaken as black for an appearance of an ominously dark milkshake. Crowned with a stubborn mocha froth, the beer leads with a host of dark and earthy coffee with bold chocolate, walnut and a toasted, slightly smoky spice not far off of cinnamon and menthol. Sweet and chocolaty on the tongue, the taste of tiramisu meets the texture of cake batter.

Deeply caramelized, the sweetness is joined with molasses and buckwheat honey as the ale crosses middle palate, while also giving rise to black walnut, espresso, burnt toast, campfire and bittersweet chocolate. Trending savory, sweet, lavish and velvety on the tongue, a late spice of brandy, kahlua and peppermint intertwine for a broad and friendly balance to the extended sweetness.

Full and decadent, the beer is off chewy and creamy like a fine latte. The earthiness of cardamom hits the throat like cinnamon and allspice once the brandy, oak tannins and coffee grounds disguise its curry like character. A long and savory aftertaste once again evokes a sense of tiramisu but with the spicy bite of exotic additions to the brewing process. If this beer could be a person, it would definitely grow up to be a stripper.

Dec 07, 2018
4.4 by Dark_Scarecrow from Virginia on Dec 02, 2018
4.37 by Spaceman_Jer from Colorado on Nov 02, 2018
4.6 by crobinso from Colorado on Sep 12, 2018
4.38 by Ice_Cream_And_IPAs from New York on Sep 05, 2018
3.96 by MakeBeerGreatAgain from North Carolina on Aug 05, 2018
4.34 by shelby415 from Oregon on Jul 28, 2018
Photo of DenverHopHead
4.26/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by DenverHopHead from Colorado

Poured from a 16oz can with a canned on date of 5/1/18; into a snifter.
Appearance- black, no light with just a ring of caramel colored bubbles along the glass; no lacing.
Smell - dark roast coffee, oak barrels and cardamom!
Taste - like drinking a cup of coffee from an oak barrel; mild cardamom compared to the nose and for over 11%, the booze is fairly disguised!
Feel - smooth and a very easy sipper; flavorful and no lingering booze as it sits!
Overall- solid all around; nothing that gets too cute, just a well crafted big coffee stout!

Jul 15, 2018
Photo of rudzud
4.63/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
by rudzud from Massachusetts

Received as an extra in a trade and shared with JLindros.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice dark black with a nice thin mocha head that fades to leave nice lacing, light wisps and a thin halo. Great legs.

S - Big aromas of fresh ground coffee, nice and nutty. Lightly chalky coffee and chocolate, little molasses, light cardamom. Nice faint brandy notes with just a little more oak note.

T - Taste is similar to the nose with excellent rich coffee notes, nutty roast. Slightly bitter grinds, sweet molasses, nice cardamom notes. Big dark chocolate notes, fudgy brownies. Excellent spice notes and dark fruits. Flashes of light oak and slightly sweet brandy.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, creamy, full bodied. No alcohol at all.

O - Overall this was a rather excellent Russian imperial stout. The coffee is excellent here along with the spice notes. Very surprising!

Serving Type: can

Jul 13, 2018
Photo of jlindros
4.59/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by jlindros from Massachusetts

Thanks to rudzud
Light fizzy head, swirls up a decent mocha fizzy head with a bit of lacing, long legs, pitch black beer

Nose is awesome, loads of fresh roasted coffee, fresh brewed exotic coffee, big nutty coffee, nice spices, clear cardamom, a bit of a fig fruit, other potpourri like spices, a little molasses candy and candied dates, a touch of brandy and apple cognac like and touch of oak chips, maybe a bit of cinnamon and walnut like spice

Taste brings loads of dark chocolate and coffee, roasted fresh coffee, a little nutty fresh brewed coffee, a bit fudgey, nice spices, baking spices from the roast and possibly oak, a bit from the spices added with some cardamom and fig, candied dates again, sweet almost syrupy molasses but not super molasses, a touch of a brandy sweet flavor, a bit of oak as well, a touch of bitterness, nice fresh spice bitterness too, an almost cinnamon bark and fresh baking spices blended with dark chocolate cocoa, great combination of flavors, lingering dark chocolate, spices, fig, brandy notes, tons of fresh coffee

Mouth is rich thicker bod, a hint of alcohol, decent carb, bit creamy

Overall incredible blend of everything

Jul 13, 2018
4.17 by PrestigeWorldwide from Michigan on Jul 04, 2018
Photo of Stevedore
4.24/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Stevedore from Oregon

Dark brown body, dark enough to be nearly black. Half finger offwhite head. Smell is spice, black coffee, honey and molasses, a bit of whiskey heat, but not much. The coffee is different than the typical drip black coffee. I'm not sure how to describe it. It's less roasty and more earthy. In any event, it's very nice and cuts the whiskey a little bit along with the honey. Milk chocolate and molasses add an appropriate sweetness to balance the coffee. Mouthfeel is medium fuller bodied, good carbonation, smooth and not too hot at all. Interesting take on a coffee stout with the added adjunct spices.

Jun 20, 2018
4.12 by edthehead from New York on Jun 14, 2018
3.83 by Boilerup from Maryland on Jun 09, 2018
3.52 by vfgccp from New York on May 05, 2018
4.16 by user785335 from Florida on Apr 06, 2018
4.6 by AlvinLin from New York on Apr 03, 2018
4.49 by 562Brew from California on Mar 25, 2018
3.74 by AuntBea from Illinois on Mar 03, 2018
4.94 by PhillipMicupp from California on Feb 25, 2018
4.37 by addicted2thebarrel from California on Feb 19, 2018
3.94 by BarrelAgedG from California on Feb 15, 2018
3.14 by jason_nwx from Oregon on Jan 28, 2018
Photo of amano_h
4.07/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
by amano_h from Oregon

I don't really know much about Armenia, no less its coffee; I knew a Turkish foreign exchange student once, who told me that her country and Armenia took turns committing mass genocide on each other. Other than that, this is a case of first impression on my nose and palate...
Cold-brew coffee, caramel, burnt bark, sticky thick molasses, light smoke, and floral/herbal like aromatic notes plead the pre-motion trial. Whereas the cold-brew coffee raises a 12(f) motion to strike on all other aromatic parties involved, the light smoke and the floral and herbal notes claim enough substance and connections to the beer to survive the 12(f) motion. Further along the procedure, the coffee eventually raises a 12(b)(6) motion toward the remaining parties and prevails on grounds that there aren't any longer any claims on which relief can be granted.

A similar situation unfolds upon the appellate court of the palate. Whereas coffee, caramel, smoked wood, molasses, and what I'm assuming is herbal/floral cardamom initially bring claims as parties to the suit, the coffee makes a motion for JMOL seeing as how it's the only relevant party with an actual claim to the flavor.

The case is almost dismissed in favor of the coffee, until the palate decides that brandy should be joindered as a relevant party after some time and temperature has passed, and the cardamom still has a relevant claim to the issue at hand. In the end the coffee finds itself as the plaintiff suing for custody of the palate over defendants cardamom and brandy; although the palatal arbiter initially enters judgment in favor of coffee, a JNOV is entered by the Supreme Court of the brain in favor of the cardamom and brandy as they remain relevant and lasting factors.

Medium-bodied. Gorgeously silky and creamy mouthfeel. Light unintrusive carbonation. Absolutely no heat detectable.
Other than the body, this beer has changed quite a bit since I last tried it four years ago; I remember the body being a little more substantial, and the coffee flavors being a little more expressive. The floral cardamom notes are an unexpected surprise in the right direction.
I'd put my money in saying that this beer wasn't quite meant for aging. Drink it now, and savor.

Dec 16, 2017
4.52 by Pearlstreetbrewingco from Florida on Nov 21, 2017
System Of A Stout from Beachwood BBQ & Brewing
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 342 ratings