System Of A Stout
Beachwood BBQ & Brewing

System Of A StoutSystem Of A Stout
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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #48
Ranked #836
4.34 | pDev: 7.83%
Beachwood BBQ & Brewing
California, United States
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.
Reviews: 55 | Ratings: 341 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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cravenmoorehead from California

4.97/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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
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pants678 from California

4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

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
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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
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DenverHopHead from Colorado

4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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
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rudzud from Massachusetts

4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

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
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jlindros from Massachusetts

4.59/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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
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Stevedore from Oregon

4.24/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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
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amano_h from Oregon

4.07/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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
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Chcshammonde from California

4.56/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Top shelf stout! Rich flavors of toffee, spice, coffee, roasty malt. Mouthfeel is medium thick. Very smooth. Has the sweetness but is very balanced with the usual bitter flavors that kill other stouts. Excellent overall, will purchase again!

Nov 06, 2017
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Phineasco from Massachusetts

4.44/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Motor oil black with 2 inch khaki head.
Smell: Coffee, spearmint, leather, and tobacco.
Taste: Coffee, oak, pumpkin, and spearmint.
Mouthfeel: Very smooth and toasty.
Overall: A great unique tasting stout.

Sep 23, 2017
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darktronica from Indiana

4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The cardamom and molasses really make this a refreshing standout from an increasingly crowded field of double-digit BA coffee stouts. Full-bodied with a big nose, and the coffee is a robust, earthy blend. The brandy is also a nice touch that imparts a bit of brightness and fruit flavor on the palate.

Jul 06, 2017
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mothman from Minnesota

4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tan ahead. Black in color. 2017 vintage consumed fresh.

Loving the coffee here. Not burnt or over roasted. Some nice spices with vanilla, molasses, and caramel. Cocoa and chocolate.

Full bodied. A little syrupy sweet. Nice mouthfeel.

Really surprised with how much I enjoyed this one. Well crafted.

Jun 21, 2017
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marlowe57 from Oregon

4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At Loyal Legion Portland on tap. Happy beer week! Oh my this is good. Black, not much head a little lacing. Cardamom in the aroma, cardamom first in the taste too. Black coffee. Unprocessed sweetness, I guess that's the molasses, and alcohol at the finish. Moderate mouthful not overly thick. Sipping as I type and it's strong :-)

Jun 17, 2017
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dro7 from California

4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice fluffy head, aroma is coffee and spices. Flavor is very clean and smooth, no bitterness, sweet coffee, spices, and syrup flavors. I do not get much oak flavor, so that is why I downgrade this slightly. Nonetheless, this is overall an excellent stout. I mistakenly thought this was barrel aged but it seems to be aged with oak chips, thus it does not have a boozy aroma and flavor. Because of that, it makes it smoother and easier to drink. This is basically a creamy coffee with spices and syrup.

Jun 12, 2017
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Eyenigma from California

4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Will avoid restating the obvious on this one, as it's been covered. But I will say the interesting thing of note on this beer is the Cardamom spice. I've been on a stout kick lately, and I was pleasantly surprised with a distinct and unique taste in my mouth. After a while, they start to taste very similar. I appreciate Beechwood put a different spin on things, and the spice is very pronounced on both the nose and the taste. This is relatively easy to come by and will be one I stock up on if I see it on shelves.

Jun 04, 2017
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billshmeinke from California

3.85/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pitch lack body with some faint hints of brown when gel to light. Two finger latte foam covered head, leaves ample lacing left behind. Dies down to Hal a finger head that hangs about for ages.

Smells of cardamom, chocolate, toffee, molasses, and a hint of coffee.

Tastes brings outs big cardamom it's with acidic coffee, later gives way to toffee and molasses, perhaps a hint of vanilla, bitter/acidic coffee and cardamom flavors linger throughout.

Mouthfeel is big and moderately carbonated with some tangy acidity. Well balanced and creamy. Not as thick or cloying as many similar and stouts.

Jun 01, 2017
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Slack from Virginia

4.44/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown in color and clear in the edges. About a half an inch of head that settles to near nothing on the edges. Lacing is minor as it drinks down.

Nose is coffee, more coffee, oak, spice - a bit of cinnamon, a bit of cardamom.

Taste is sweet brandy, cardamom, cinnamon, oak/smoke (molasses), black coffee, and a bit of booze.

Mouthful is heavy to medium and smooth. Carbonation is low. Finish is dry.

Wow this is good. The Coffee is upfront and throughout but is supported by a nice spice base. The barreling also adds a bit of depth. Very very drinkable. Seek it out.

Oct 16, 2016
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Tightner from California

4.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Pours a pitch black with a small khaki head. Dissipates quickly. This beer is phenomenal. Hits you in the face with heavy amounts of coffee and chocolate. I didn't get any spice. A little thin. The best beer beachwood makes by far.

May 29, 2016
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Keananmichael5 from California

5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow what an amazing beer. So much coffee smell and taste and so balanced. Because it is not barrel aged it is very smooth and no too sweet. Beachwood continues to dominate

May 28, 2016
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
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

Nov 10, 2015
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AMCimpi from New York

4.54/5  rDev +4.6%
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 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

Oct 23, 2015
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Getalegup from Texas

4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

Sep 13, 2015
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Hootie159 from Massachusetts

4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

Sep 05, 2015
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costanzo_mike from Massachusetts

4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

Sep 05, 2015
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GRG1313 from California

4/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

Aug 24, 2015
System Of A Stout from Beachwood BBQ & Brewing
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 341 ratings