Tree:  Populus fremontii (Fremont/Alamo Cottonwood)

Picking up where I left of yesterday, I found myself pouring vintage 2002.  The contents of the bottle was much darker this time around and the head much more dense than before.  Looking through the glass into some light and a clear garnet color was evident.  Familiar dark brown hues on the edge of the glass, but for the most part this did have a darker tint to it.  There also seemed to be a lot more sediment in the bottle.

The smell seemed much more full bodied as well.  Huge notes of bittersweet chocolate and minor notes of coffee stood out.  There was another spice that I was experiencing, but not until the halfway into the beer did I realize it was vanilla.  Smooth and pure.  The vanilla aroma combined with the chocolate to create a very nice astringent licorice quality.

Big stout notes carried this beer from start to finish.  Chocolate, licorice, some astringent burnt grain, vanilla and some coffee to round out the finish.  It is smooth and velvety.  I got a slight soy sauce flavor somewhere in the middle like the 1999 vintage.  Reflecting on that I realized that bottle also had a large amount of sediment at the bottom.  My guess is that the beer ends up sitting on top of all that sediment for too long and develops some off flavor.  While that sounds like a “no duh” statement, it is an observation nonetheless.  Bold, roasty, and rich this beer could also be paired with dessert.  I thoroughly enjoyed the 2002 vintage.