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Skull Splitter - Orkney Brewery

Skull SplitterSkull Splitter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,588 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1588
Reviews: 906
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 12.5%

Brewed by:
Orkney Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-08-1998)
View: Beers (10) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,588 | Reviews: 906 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by CurtFromHershey:
Photo of CurtFromHershey


3/5  rDev -26.5%

11-13-2012 17:17:27 | More by CurtFromHershey
More User Reviews:
Photo of 57md


3.84/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a brownish-copper color with a finger of off-white head that lingers for quite some time. The nose had malty notes and also the scent of sour candy. The flavor profile is also centered on maltiness. Near the finish, the flavor of candied sugar pokes through and the offering becomes more reminiscent of a Belgian Dark Ale than a Wee Heavy. The finish also had a floral note that was a bit difficult to place.

This beer is definitely a sipper – a few of these and one would likely understand where this beer gets its name.

Serving type: on-tap

04-19-2014 05:01:35 | More by 57md
Photo of RichardMNixon


3.25/5  rDev -20.3%

04-18-2014 20:56:08 | More by RichardMNixon
Photo of PhilMiller


4/5  rDev -2%

04-17-2014 00:57:16 | More by PhilMiller
Photo of 22Blue


3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

04-16-2014 00:50:12 | More by 22Blue
Photo of Extrajoker00


4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

reviewed: 4/15/14

Skull Splitter by Orkney
poured from a bottle into a pint glass

P-new style label smaller Viking. nice label 4.0

A- rich mahogany with a less than impressive head leaving almost no lacing 3.75

S- roasted malt caramel and alcohol 4.25

T-yeasty bread, caramel, currants and alcohol 4.25

M- smooth full bodied and dry on the pallet, excellent 4.25

D- heavy with flavor, alcohol and e.z. drinking, dangerous 3.5

O-overall: very, very good, loving this style and this brew 4.25

Another much anticipated beer and this did not disappoint. Nod to Fat Heads Pitt. for having this one several years back. have missed it, and is on my re-buy list.

Highly recommend ---- J

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2014 23:55:22 | More by Extrajoker00
Photo of NoHorsePiss


4.95/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Compared to my Top 2 favorite ales, the price of this fine product makes it my clear go-to option for a case. You're sure to make friends at a party if you share this.

A - Poured into a pint glass with a little less than my small fingers of light tan head. The glass was nearly clean when finished.

S - It smells of fruit and syrup. Caramel comes into the picture, also. Very pleasing on approach to drink. Would make a nice cologne.

T - Instant fruity taste that finishes into a sweet molasses aftertaste. I'm a chip eater with certain beers that leave a bitter aftertaste, but this whole glass went down with lip-smacking and no food chasers. I could easily have opened a second or third to keep enjoying it, but at 8.5%, that'd be a bit overkill for my 120lb body.

M - Almost no carbonation. I'd have to say it feels like a pleasant coating that lingers and prompts another sip. I might be offended if I saw someone chug it. No, I would be. It would be amazing with a good steak and will try that soon.

O - Overall, when being budget conscious, I'd choose this over my favorites: Palo Santo Marron and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. PSM clearly kicks in with 12% ABV but is the most expensive of the three by more than a dollar per bottle in Tampa, FL. KBB is over $14/4pk here, too, but is a special treat, so I've found a new "it's not a stout" tasty option to grab when we have a get-together.

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2014 13:37:56 | More by NoHorsePiss
Photo of BuckyBeerBeaver

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The Orkney Brewery is housed in the former schoolhouse in Quoyloo, located in the Orkney Islands, Scotland. In June 2004, the Orkney Brewery was acquired from its retiring founder by Atlas Brewery to form Highlands and Islands Breweries. Neill Cotton, founder of Atlas Brewery, was Managing Director of Highlands and Islands and drove a series of changes at The Orkney Brewery, including a rebranding. In the summer of 2006, the company was bought by Sinclair Breweries Ltd.

Intrigued by the thought of a brewery located in the Orkney Isles, Bucky bought a 330 ml bottle (despite his aversion to such tiny bottles) of Orkney's "Skull Splitter" Rich Ale, marked with a best before date of September 2013. Skull Splitter is a type of beer known as a wee heavy, and is 8.5% alcohol by volume. The beer takes its name from Torfinn Hausakjuv, the 7th Viking Earl of Orkney sometime around 950 AD, who was nicknamed "Skullsplitter". Apparently this beer won the Supreme Champion Winter Beer of Britain Award 2001 at CAMRA's national winter celebration of beer.

Skull Splitter poured a clear, dark red-hued copper colour, with distinct ruby highlights and some orange around the edges when backlit. Pouring produced a thin, off-white head that quickly faded to an even thinner ring of foam around the glass, leaving almost no spotting or lacing behind it. Its aroma was primarily of dark fruits and alcohol, with the taste dominated by sweet malts, dark cherries and alcohol. The alcohol gives off some slight heat in the taste, but not enough to overpower the other flavours. Skull Splitter had a moderate bitterness in the finish that countered the initial sweetness of the malts and dark cherries well. I would describe the beer as surprisingly light bodied given its alcohol content, with a distinctly low level of carbonation. Overall, Skull Splitter is flavourful, quite well balanced, and well suited to consumption on a -10C night. At $3.30 per 330 ml bottle, Skull Splitter is perhaps a bit on the pricey side, but not outrageously so. I would certainly drink this beer again.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2014 23:24:43 | More by BuckyBeerBeaver
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4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

04-13-2014 19:22:24 | More by SoupKitchenBeerSnob
Photo of SLeffler27

New York

4.39/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Brilliantly clear, shinny, dark copper, with occasional carbonation in a pint-like glass. The slight head is rocky and white, leaving surprisingly much lacing.

Toasted malts with butterscotch and light fruit. Light peat, yet sweet in the nose.

Very sweet, but far from cloying. Think amaretto. More of the peat, and lots of earthy grain. This one progresses dramatically with warmth, leaving the sweetness behind and focusing on the grain and earth, then becoming herbal. No real finish.

While it has a medium body, the texture is syrupy and pallet coating. Alcohol is present, and lightly warming with light carbonation.

Definitely a sipping beer that would hold up to some deep conversation. What a pleasant surprise! I have seen this in bottles many times, and dismissed it due to it's name. An excellent example of why we should always keep an open mind.

This was worthy of this spectacular Spring day, enjoyed canal side and followed by a long walk in the crisp air while the sun warmed our faces.

Serving type: on-tap

04-12-2014 22:22:21 | More by SLeffler27
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4/5  rDev -2%

04-11-2014 19:55:49 | More by Iamjeff6
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3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

04-10-2014 04:57:23 | More by VeganUndead
Photo of TempeBeerMan


3.84/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a chalice.

A - Pours a semi-opaque dark copper color, with a one-finger, off-white, sea foam like head. Minimal lacing.

S - Moderate strength aroma of smoke, peat, molasses, caramel, dark fruits and fusel alcohols.

T - Matches the nose, with smoky dark fruits (purple grape and fig) leading the way. Peaty flavor hits in the mid palate. Finishes with molasses and buttery diacetyl, along with a slight coppery mineral ester. ABV clearly noticeable throughout. Complex enough, but mostly with solely sweet flavors.

M - Medium bodied, with low carbonation. Slick, wet, finish.

O - A few flaws, (slightly too sweet and boozy) but overall an excellent example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2014 04:40:48 | More by TempeBeerMan
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3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

04-09-2014 02:29:16 | More by marlinsfan4
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North Carolina

3.25/5  rDev -20.3%

04-08-2014 16:37:08 | More by lupercmda
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3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

04-07-2014 19:34:34 | More by AScrambledEgg
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4/5  rDev -2%

04-05-2014 02:48:42 | More by p-wagz
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4/5  rDev -2%

03-31-2014 00:25:15 | More by mcrawford
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3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

03-30-2014 16:55:04 | More by Skabiski
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New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

03-30-2014 16:20:52 | More by Hypersomnia
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3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

03-27-2014 03:15:50 | More by zrab11
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4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

03-27-2014 03:02:15 | More by smlmeyer
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3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

03-26-2014 23:12:30 | More by DaveMiller
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4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

03-26-2014 00:40:23 | More by slim2043
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4/5  rDev -2%

03-25-2014 22:25:28 | More by d5001986
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Skull Splitter from Orkney Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 1,588 ratings.