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Skull Splitter - Orkney Brewery

Skull SplitterSkull Splitter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,586 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1586
Reviews: 905
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)
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Ratings: 1,586 | Reviews: 905 | Show All Ratings:
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
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
Photo of GOBLIN


4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Orkney Skull Splitter

A Viking of a beer . . . 5000 years in the making

Poured into 10oz snifter

A: A beautiful dark ruby

S: Pleasant, cherries, honey, figs, dates.

T: A solid rendition of the style . . . Cherries and honey. Finishes with warming spices

M: Slightly thin but not bad . . . Smooth for the 8.5 abv

O: A favorite of mine. Always enjoy this beer. If you see this on tap get it ! It really shines and has a barrel aged flavor to it as well.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2014 01:04:08 | More by GOBLIN
Photo of SawDog505

New Hampshire

3.24/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured into my 16 oz wide Flying Dog tulip glass. Pours light brown, with a two inch white head that settles very quickly into a film of bubbles.

Smell is fig, brown sugar, vanilla, molasses, and rum soaked raisins.

Taste fallows the nose very well, fig stands out most to me, fairly sweet.

Body is less than medium, wish it had more life, a little dry, and goes down easy enough for its abv.

I was a little underwhelmed, especially with the rave reviews.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2014 00:32:16 | More by SawDog505
Photo of scotorum


4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The name suggests this is not a brew to fool around with. So I'm taking it seriously. But then with good beer, I usually do.

Poured from the 16.9 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith English tulip pint.

a: Clear copper with an inch and a half tall offwhite head which receded slowly to even surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Caramel malt with a tinge of ripe fruit. Later a definite mustiness adds some sense of venerable age to the aroma.

t: Caramel malt forward followed by some bite and ripe apple. Bitterness lingers at the sides of the tongue. Later what seems like a slight mustiness adds more appealing flavor.

m: Moderate. Good body,

o; Can easily imgine myself sitting in a Scottish pub along the north coast and sipping this with a meat pie while the sun refuses to set at 10 P.M. Not so skull splitting so far, but 17 ounces at 8.5 ABV will kick in soon enough I'm sure. In the meantime I'm soberly enjoying this sweet treat. It would surely be one of my favorite regulars if it was not $6 a bottle.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2014 06:32:19 | More by scotorum
Photo of artoolemomo


3.41/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance- Pours up a decent amount of head that seems to have okay retention. The head is a light beige with hints of tan while the body is a murky chestnut brown that appears as a dark amber with hints of maroon when held up to the light. Some lacing here and there.

Nose- This definitely has some presence. Big brown bread with lots of raisins. So much malty sweetness that it easily turns to notions of fruitcake, even rum cake. Slight suggestions of cough syrup but in a good way. Some burnt caramel. Some banana and a nice, warming tickle from the slight booze. The nose from the glass seems to concentrate more on the fruity flavors (it's a bit fleshier- think plums) than on the malt characters. Much smoother but less complex than from the bottle. Lots of candy notes from the glass.

Taste- Lots of malt sweetness on the front which can be candy-like at times. Some woodiness from the hops on the finish along with the burnt caramel and slight booze give this beer a somewhat astringent taste on the back end. Some currants. Some cherry but also light licorice. I really wish that it expressed more of the nose and perhaps, with some time, it will. Some vinosity and generic grape flavors (more like soda than actual grapes). Slight woodiness, a touch of oak. Slight spice of cinnamon and nutmeg. Some harsh berry notes. Slight bubblegum. Slight earthy and herbal qualities to the linger. The sweetness tends toward cloying and really makes it hard for me to think of this beer as anything more than just above average. This is very unfortunate for a Scotch ale, especially a highly regarded one. Reminds me somewhat of a quadrupel. Some brown sugar and molasses but nothing that provides it a backbone.

Mouthfeel- A little less than medium bodied with a good amount of syrup to the texture. Good amount of carbonation with a good, healthy zing. Adequate.

Drinkability- It's a little sweet. That might be a great thing for some but honestly I'm glad this is only 330 mL. Not sure on the price but I don't think it matters (at least to me). Not a repurchase.

Overall- I can see how this could be enjoyable to some but it just doesn't work for me, especially compared to the many good Scotch ales out there. Just above average. Worth a try if you understand that it has a lot of candy notes to it. But if you are expecting a more traditional Scotch ale, I would pass.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2014 05:50:50 | More by artoolemomo
Photo of Bodega95

Alberta (Canada)

4.84/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Excellent Wee Heavy.

It pour in perfectly on the glass, with a nice copper brown colour and a good head.

it had complexity and a mouthful of Malt.

Strong but smooth.

Sweet on the after-taste.

I could drink this all day, sitting and enjoying a Scottish style view

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2014 00:08:48 | More by Bodega95
Photo of morti


4.58/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a snifter.

Poured a dark tea color, allowing some light

Smells of malt and alcohol

Heavily malty. Slightly hoppy.

Feels oily and thick. I joked to my wife that I need a knife and fork.

Overall this was a pleasant beer. The high alcohol content should be noted. Don't plan on drinking more than one!

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2014 14:06:00 | More by morti
Photo of Badger6


4.29/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a snifter. Bottle artwork is pretty cool with the roguish Viking warrior-king Thorfinn Hauskaluif - the Skull Splitter.

A: Dark brown, lets some light through. Nice two finger tan head, rapidly diminished to a pretty heft ring around the glass that extended onto the surface of the beer. Nice lacing. Lots of initial carbonation release but slows quickly.

S: This is some seriously boozy beer. The alcohol is on the nose immediately with caramel, and ripened dark fruit. Some say they can detect the hops, I couldn't.

T: This is scotch ale, sweet and boozy, with a buttery malt note. The caramel flavors are pronounced and dominate, but are nicely balanced with notes of raisin and dried dates, a detectable flavor of alcohol, and some hop leaf.

M: The mouthfeel on this beer is soft and creamy, but chewy...compare to a caramel chew. After airing for about 10 minutes, the carbonation tones down and nicely complements to the mouthfeel.

O: This is not a fast drinking beer, and definitely not one you drink more than one of in a session. It is warming; good for a cold winter night. I rated it on the basis of the characteristics, but this is probably never going to be a favorite.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2014 01:01:16 | More by Badger6
Photo of jucifer1818


2.69/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.25

Ill be fair: I'm comparing this beer a lot to my own home-brewed scottish heavy...so..yea...not sure if that makes it biased or not. But it is in fact a thing!

appearance: My own beer does do something wrong: it has way too much color. It comes off far more brown than it should, and this brew does it right in my opinion. It has the color of pale malt syrup, with virtually no head (remember, alcohol kill head!). I think that this brew requires close to a perfect score in appearance. 4.55

Smell: really, I'm sorry to say, not much here. A bit of alcohol sweetness and Scottish (what, that's the only way to describe it) fits in as well. Its OK, but id hope for more. 35

Taste: I was kinda worried about my own Scottish ale. It tasted kinda hot, and I assumed that it was because it was very young (kegged about 2 weeks ago). This stuff makes me feel that its going to be a great Scottish ale. This stuff has huge amount of "warmth" ot it, which I would really call "booz" (tomato to tommato correct?). It has the same kind of sweetness that comes with such "warmth. That is pretty much the scope of flavor that this brew has. I'm not sure, I guess that I give it a 2.255

Mouthfeel: The beer has a oddly light mouthfeel, probably dried out via the use of brewing sugars. It is balanced out by a decent level of snappy carbonation. 45

overall: I think I was expecting more from this one. seriously. With a name like that, you expect greatness. but its just a bit above average. It comes off WAY too hot and sweet, but its not offensive so..ehh. its just ok. I suppose its worth having once to make up your own mind about the stuff (or to get the bottle, which DOES look cool), but really, its not worth a 4 pack or really trying again. 2.255

Overall a disappointment. Looking forward to when my own scotch ale matures up in about 2-5 weeks. Hopefully that will scratch my scotch ale itch

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2014 00:38:11 | More by jucifer1818
Photo of BeeryMcbeerenstein

Rhode Island

4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle. Poured into stemless wine glass.

A - Poured with very little head, dark mahogony color, but very clear.

S- Fruity esters from yeast, mixed with a bit of boozyness/smoky nose.

T- Sweet, fruity. Crystal malts play with the yeast very well and linger on the palette, but isn't syrupy or cloyingly sweet. Definite boozyness, touch of smoke, maybe some licorice notes.

M- I feel as if the beer is fairly dry for being what it is. Cleans up nice at the finish, but leaves the flavor lingering on the tongue for quite some time.

O- Haven't had many commercial examples of Scotch Ale (maybe 4?) but this is definitely my favorite. A nice change of pace to visit this in the american landscape of hoppy beers all over.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2014 22:04:19 | More by BeeryMcbeerenstein
Photo of utopiajane

New York

4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a beautiful copper brown that's deep enough to show off gold hues as it seems to capture the light. A fat tan head of foam that fell pretty fast and left only a ring behind. Soapy wet lace slide down the glass with each tip.

Nose is smooth, deep, rich malt. Buttery caramel. A ripe fruit that at first seems like raisin but then dates. It has a light grapey sweetness that is completely enticing. No alcohol on the nose.

taste is surprisingly light. There is rich ribbons of buttery caramel. Leafy hops and a dark fruit sweetness that is hard to pin down. Not terribly complex but so smooth and delicious. With a name like skull splitter you are expecting spikes. This is smooth as silk and drinks very easily. Leaves a touch of hop spice at the back of the throat with some warming alcohol to linger a long time.

You could sit and sip this beer all day. Smooth, engaging with a fullish mouthfeel that finishes dry and with a lingering malty sweetness.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2014 15:14:56 | More by utopiajane
Photo of falloutsnow


3.84/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From: Binny's, Schaumburg, IL
Date: "BBE Apr 16 L3114 15:57" on bottle
Glass: Tulip

Orkney's Skull Splitter is an interesting blend of malt (caramel and cocoa flavors) and yeast (anise, grape esters) that is similar to a Belgian Strong Dark ale, but decidedly not so based upon the yeast usage and overall aromatic and flavor palette. Enjoyable, but at $4 per bottle, for my heavy malt-forward beers, I'd probably stick to Scottish ales and German bocks.

Pours a 0.5cm tall head of beige-colored foam, made up of small-sized bubbles for a frothy appearance, with retention of average length at about one minute. The foam fades to a thin ring around the glass with a very small island of residual lace atop the body of the beer; lacing on the glass is minimal, a few dots cling to the walls of it. Beer's body is a dark amber-orange color, with light bringing out medium-dark amber orange colors. Carbonation visible through the transparent body, moderate in number and low in activity.

Aroma is complex and of no clear reference. My best metaphors are that the beer has the scent of anise, tea leaf tannins, cream, super-smooth cocoa, moderate-intensity caramel, grapes, and subtle ethanol.

Taste is somewhat like a blend between a Scottish ale and a Belgian Strong Dark ale, notable anise and ethanol combined with dark caramel-like sweetness, grape esters, and a touch of cocoa and cream. Front of palate tastes dark caramel-like sweetness, super-smooth cocoa, anise, ethanol, grape esters. Mid-palate of intensified dark caramel-like sweetness, anise, ethanol, and grape esters, with a bit more emphasis on the caramel-like sweetness relative to anything else, differentiating it from the BDSA. Back of palate is ot toasted bread crusts, rich and syrupy caramel, smooth cocoa, anise, and ethanol. Aftertaste of moderately dark caramel, anise, slight char, and mild ethanol.

Beer is medium to medium-light in body, with carbonation of medium intensity, resulting in a beer that is lightly foamy (2/5) and otherwise smooth (3/5) on the palate. Ethanol is extremely well-hidden, with only a hint of heat in the nostrils and burn on the tongue and throat. Closes dry, with heavy stickiness clinging to the palate and lips.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2014 08:22:56 | More by falloutsnow
Photo of BeerWithMike


4.59/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Sampled last night on 1/13/14. 330ml (11.2 oz.) bottle was chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured into a brandy snifter.

Pours a pretty brown amber in color with a small 1/2+ finger creamy off white head. Lacing formed rings around the glass when sipped actually. The aroma is of sweet caramel, dark fruits with a hint of chocolate and oak. The taste is even better! Wow! Very pleasant and goes down easy. Lots of great flavors coming through. Perfect carbonation. NO harsh or bitter aftertaste at all. Quite surprised on this one! Overall, I would drink this one over and over again. Very tasty and first time I had this type!

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2014 20:57:46 | More by BeerWithMike
Photo of ThisLadyLovesBeer

New Hampshire

3.68/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like this for my first foray into a Scotch Ale / Wee heavies. I found it to be flavorful and boozy, but the head doesn't last as long as I'd have liked and it's by no means creamy as some reviewers stated, but perhaps it's because it's from a bottle? A nice cold-weather sipping ale, would be wonderful with a bowl of chili and cornbread or a Sunday roast beef dinner. I could see this at table replacing a bottle of Merlot, as it has a depth and character that would carry quite well with a hearty and seasoned meal. By itself it's also fine, but I think it'd be better with food. The label graphics and where it's brewed drew me to try it. I would definitely buy it again as I enjoy a rich, low-hops, flavorful ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2014 20:56:38 | More by ThisLadyLovesBeer
Photo of Big-Frog


4.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Let me paint you a picture. Silence all around you. You sit down after a long day of work, you pop one of these open, and before you finish that first swallow, all you hear in your head are the opening chords to Led Zeppelin's "Rock n Roll." And I am pretty sure that's what the Viking on the bottle intended. Its not too dark, its not too bitter, and yet it doesn't totally abandon those characteristics either. Its a solid choice for any beer drinking purpose whether that be food accompaniment, thirst, social outing, or relaxation. Skull Splitter is a take you away from every day monotony kind of beer. This beer lets you know its quitting time, so if you have one on your lunch break…ummm…you should probably take a half day and not go back to work. Imagine the Vikings celebrating after a conquest with this beer. You have your own celebrations to commemorate, and this will pair nicely with them.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2014 05:34:26 | More by Big-Frog
Photo of beergoot


3.66/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Soft, barely cloudy, brown-amber body with a thin head; foam lacing and rings present. Muted, heavy sweetness to the aroma; esters; caramel; ripe, dark, fermented fruits. Taste comes across much like the smell with an additional boozy note. Relatively weak mouthfeel; semi-dry.

A decent tasting wee heavy yet comes across rather weak overall. Sure, there's the malts flavors and a fair enough presence of alcohol warmth, yet the beer seems rather watered down and lacking in character and depth for a Scotch ale. Certainly not bad overall, but I can't imagine why a beer with such a great name doesn't quite live up to its bold, brutish name.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2014 01:17:11 | More by beergoot
Photo of WanderingFool


4.34/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Skull Splitter pours a clear dark amber with a small, creamy head on top. The foam fades slowly leaving behind a few spots of lace on the glass.

The aroma is malty with pleasant notes of caramel, dark grapes, light chocolate and oak.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is creamy with light carbonation. The flavor is malty with nice caramel notes, along with fruit (dark grape), toffee, vanilla and oak. Once gone the oak and caramel notes linger on the palate.

A great tasting, easy drinking wee heavy. I've got to get this beer more often.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2014 01:54:23 | More by WanderingFool
Photo of dcmchew


4.63/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours dark brown/copper, almost no fizz, small head, nice retention.
Smells of caramel, light chocolate, dark fruit, berries, red grapes, vanilla and light nuts.
Taste is really complex. Expected a big chocolate malty front, but instead it was really really fruity. Initial figs and plums, followed by tart red cherries, red apples, musty red grapes and quite a lot of citrus. Malts follows in the back, with not as much caramel, but with some mild roastiness and low dark chocolate notes. Not as spicy as expected either, the vanilla from the smell hiding way in the back. Nuts are clearer though, along with some earthy notes. Hop presence is nice and bitter in the finish, with a green-leafy feel.
The beer is almost creamy, with a very low carbonation that helps the booze mingle with the fruitiness, giving off a taste of brandy/cognac.
A perfect scotch ale that doesn't exaggerate with the malts and instead really focuses on the balance between alcohol and rich fruitiness. Really great.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2013 17:26:15 | More by dcmchew
Photo of appleby9


3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I really looked forward to trying Skull Splitter as I really enjoy Scotch Ales. It had a wonderful appearance in my crystal beer mug with a beautiful tan head over a beautiful brownish nutty appearance. It tasted very good with fruity undertones, it could have used a little more bitter for my tastes as something seemed missing. It was a very good beer that I would buy again though.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2013 01:05:29 | More by appleby9
Photo of JamieDuncan


4.79/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Doing a full review of one of my favorite beers and a regular in my rotation. Excellent looking beer that smells great. I tend to like a murkier beer but still tasty looking. Wonderful taste, one of the best scottish ales out there. Wonderful, easy to drink for the alcohol content. This is a must try.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2013 03:23:18 | More by JamieDuncan
Photo of MaximalC


3.66/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a murky brown color with burnt orange highlights--rather akin to dirty pond water--with a modest head of beige foam that soon settles into a veil of frogspawn. Active carbonation can be observed streaming to the surface. Aroma smells of caramel, molasses, grape skin, and a mild, vague spiciness.

The flavor tastes of muscato and caramel on the front end, followed by a dash of peppery hops and booze. There's also a layer of golden delicious apple akin to what one might find in a Munich-style lager. I'm not quite sure what to make of it, as the melange is highly unusual, but not as messy as it sounds on paper. It's safe to say that "complex" would be an apt descriptor. It delivers a fruity tartness to the back of the tongue that I rather enjoy, though I would never have expected to find it in a Scotch ale. The alcohol, while present in the taste, is more subdued than its ABV would suggest and serves to bolster the spicier aspects while tempering the sweetness. The mouthfeel is smooth and semi-creamy, though I could do with a bit more body from a beer this flavorful and complex.

On the whole, Skull Splitter is a chimaera, a complex and fascinating brew that makes me reconsider what I thought I knew about Scotch ales. It's sweet, fruity, warm, light, and spicy to varying degrees at varying moments, but always engaging. In spite of it's initially confounding originality, renewed acquaintance reveals it to be an enjoyable adventure for your taste buds that ceases much sooner than one might expect for a beer of its gravity.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2013 02:33:51 | More by MaximalC
Photo of don1481


4.56/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving: Pour an 11.2 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Deep reddish-brown. Small amount of foam lingers.

Smell: Fruity, toffee, boozy. Caramel notes, too. Smells inviting.

Taste: ... different than what I was expecting from the smell. I really don't taste the booze. It's quite a bit sweeter than I would have anticipated, even after reading the bottle's flavor description. The "complex" descriptor on the bottle is very appropriate here - I definitely get some molasses here. Fruit notes. Definitely warming. Mmm.

Mouthfeel: Soft. Not an abrasive boozy or syrupy feel at all. Satiny.

Overall: Yes, I think I will be picking this up quite regularly for now on when I want to go with something that I know is going to be REALLY good yet unique. AND - as a bonus - reasonably priced for a 4 pack!

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2013 00:07:09 | More by don1481
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Skull Splitter from Orkney Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 1,586 ratings.