It was an imperial 4th for me here in the United States. It was pirate versus druid as two 8% Imperial Stouts went head to head.
The first, Peg Leg Imperial, one of the Heavy Seas special offerings from Clipper City Brewing in Baltimore, Maryland poured black with just a hint of red tint peaking through when held up to the light. The kachia emits a raisiny aroma with spicy alcohols reminiscent of cinnamon with just a hint of chocolate. The whimsical bottle boasts, "Beware the pirate. Our Peg Leg Imperial Stout is dangerously dark yet very drinkable." For an 8% beer it is very smooth and drinkable with a big roast flavor on the back of the tongue followed by a chocolaty taste that lingers. There is some alcohol warmth but this beer is perhaps too drinkable, it lacks the complexity that this style of beer is known for, but it is still quite tasty.
The druid in this pair is Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co. in Easton, Pa. This beer pours jet black with no trace of light getting through underneath its root beer colored head. The nose is of spicy hops, dark fruit, and alcohol. The flavor is slightly different from the aroma in that there is no spicy hop flavor, but flavors of licorice and a hint of cherry fruitiness amongst a smooth and subtle roastiness and alcohol warming. The mouth is thick and rich. This is a beer best enjoyed by the fire in the dead of winter after a hearty meal, but that doesn't stop me from drinking it year round.
[Alan's two cents: Excellent observations. I had the Old Heathen back here in October 2005 and have a bottle of Peg Leg in the stash with other imperial stouts waiting on a theme. I was thinking of leaving them to the fall for the days when a heavier beer seem more appropriate but maybe I should pop them on some stinking hot dog days. With all those hops and bitter malts maybe they will be just the thing to cut the summer heat? BTW - what the heck is "kachia"?]