Received from mcallister
The '04 poured midnight black not allowing any light to escape. There is still a healthy amount of carbonation as the pour yields a two finger khaki head that stuck around for a few minutes before falling to a swirling with a couple thick islands and a thick ring around the glass.
The aroma on this older vintage is vinous and showing much more dark fruit than a more recent bottling. Roasted barley and mild coffee grounds are there but take backstage to the dark fruits. Fig, blackberry, and possibly even some prune. There are small wafts of alcohol drifting up to my nose as well. The '04 is much subdued compared to the '07.
The flavor is pretty much spot on with the aroma. The only noticeable difference is a splash of dark cocoa from mid-palate through to the finish. This dark cocoa goes really well with the dark fruitiness that's developed overtime. The flavor is much different from the newer release. I'm surprised at the huge difference three years made.
The mouthfeel on this beer is as luxurious as you could ask for; thick, coating and incredibly velvety. There's just enough alcohol noticeable to warm me up.
A stout this big and rich is a sipper and a satisfying one at that. This is a perfect for a cold winter day like this.
750ml Ceramic Bottle
The 2007 bottling poured very similar to the '04. The body is black as night with a two finger brown head that had a purplish hue. The head on this bottling seemed to be creamier and leave slightly better lacing, not enough to warrant a perfect score but damn close.
The aroma is much more robust than on the older version, which is to be expected. Roasted barley, molasses, and licorice are the most common occurrences. The alcohol present on the backend creates some fruity esters. As a matter of fact smells like a pretty well rounded RIS.
The roastiness is big, bold and upfront. There are mild coffee grounds and even milder dark fruits. There's some cocoa on the backend but not nearly as pronounced as the '04. There is much more bold roastiness throughout especially when compared to the older version. Some spicy alcohol finishes things off nicely.
The mouthfeel on the '07 doesn't live up to the mouthfeel '04. Although this bottle is rich and chewy the mouthfeel just isn't as thick and velvety as the older bottle.
The bigger flavor (including alcohol) on this bottle hampers the drinkability slightly. This is one you couldn't drink too many.
After sampling a '04 and '07 side by side each one had qualities I enjoyed more than the other. The mouthfeel on the '04 was perfect and the drinkability was higher. The appearance, flavor and aroma were slightly better on the '07. The better flavor was a tough call because it's dependent on which flavors you're looking for on a particular night. Tonight, for me, it was the bigger roastiness compared to the dark fruitiness. The roastiness won out this evening.