System Of A Stout
Beachwood BBQ & Brewing

System Of A StoutSystem Of A Stout
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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #47
Ranked #822
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: 340 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by DenverHopHead:
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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
More User Reviews:
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Jugs_McGhee from Louisiana

3.62/5  rDev -16.6%
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.


Jul 17, 2013
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BoredRocks275 from California

4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

May 29, 2016
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analogchainsaw from California

4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

May 27, 2014
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HoldenDurden from Illinois

3.85/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Dec 17, 2014
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JCam9981 from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Sep 07, 2014
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Dodgerrigo77 from California

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

Dec 24, 2014
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BigLittleHokis from California

4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Sep 10, 2012
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CheapBeerBuzz from California

4.42/5  rDev +1.8%

Nov 03, 2013
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EyePeeAyBryan from Arizona

4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Oct 22, 2013
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Omer4176 from California

4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Apr 25, 2014
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PG2G from California

4/5  rDev -7.8%

Jun 07, 2014
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MrGone from California

4.31/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jul 28, 2015
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drahodo from Missouri

4.17/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jun 09, 2017
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strongaf from Washington

4/5  rDev -7.8%

Oct 19, 2013
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shigg85 from Japan

4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jun 10, 2017
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Lare453 from Florida

3.25/5  rDev -25.1%

Jul 13, 2013
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Futbolmanby from Michigan

4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Mar 23, 2019
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fussychicken from California

4.84/5  rDev +11.5%
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

Feb 19, 2015
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extra from California

4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Jan 18, 2013
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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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RobinLee from Wisconsin

4.34/5  rDev 0%

Aug 10, 2014
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BeerMeBrah from Florida

4/5  rDev -7.8%

Sep 02, 2014
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TheBeerTruck from Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Nov 02, 2014
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kevindp9 from Arizona

4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Oct 12, 2017
System Of A Stout from Beachwood BBQ & Brewing
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 340 ratings