Skull Splitter - Orkney Brewery

Not Rated.
Skull SplitterSkull Splitter

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

2,001 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,001
Reviews: 963
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 165
Gots: 220 | FT: 2
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-08-1998

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,001 | Reviews: 963
Photo of Marraybay
2.23/5  rDev -45.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Rats: Little disappointed in this one, given the build-up. Bourbon or sherry esque in both the nose and the taste, with a very prominent and overpowering boozy presence. The booze aside, not a fan of the undercurrent flavor either, which was medicinally sweet-harsh. Believe the end of the glass was the best part of the pour, so warming did perhaps help. Still, found Belhaven's offering in this style to be far more drinkable.

Photo of Cavanaghty
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Reddish brown with a very thin off white head. No lacing on the glass.

Smell: Fruity with hops and malts.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Smooth medium bodied. Taste of hops, malts with a bitter fruity after taste.

Overall: Good brew, similar in taste to red ales.

Photo of Cure_Tap
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sweetness balanced out with roasted malt and a small amount of smokiness. I kind of taste dates in this. The alcohol punches through on the back, which is something of a downside here, because you're left with this aftertaste of spicy rubbing alcohol. If that lingering rubbing alcohol aftertaste weren't there, this would be really great, but it detracts from it as it is. Hey though, it's high abv scotch ale, so a little boozeyness is gonna come with the territory. Everything else is rock solid. Worth drinking at least once.

Photo of Jerseyislandbeer
3.03/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was expecting something special, but it was proved quite hard to drink and would pass at a second.

Photo of Karma_is_flawed
4.14/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Look - Amber, clean color. Decent head for a wee heavy, dark, but inviting.
Smell - Very mild smell that accompanies this style, not a whole lot going on here.
Taste - Lovely, getting a slight nutty flavor, not very boozy, smooth and easy to drink.
Feel - Smooth feel, not overly carbonated, and not very thick, but definitely substantial.

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

11.2oz bottle poured into a tulip
A: Brown with a hint of red and a generous two-finger head that lingers
S: Smooth, malty, brown sugar, cola and fig
T: Not quite as complex as the nose but a nice mix of sweet malt, fig and spice
M: Warming from the alcohol but not boozy. Fairly full-bodied and smooth
O: A very good example of the style and recommended

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

There are two parts to the story as regards the flavor of this high-tension (8.5% ABV) Scotch Ale: sweetly and enjoyably complex malt notes and alcohol. These are two of the defining flavor characteristics of the breed, and Orkney gets it right. This is a deep-amber ale that pours to a large, creamy head on a medium-bodied beer. On the palate it presents a creamy texture and soft carbonation that combine with an admirably balanced finish to produce a surprising level of drinkability considering the ABV. As is typical of Scotch Ales, the malt flavors run between toffee and caramel, with some dark fruit notes from caramelization during the long boil, and hops are largely absent. The sweetness of the malt is nicely balanced by the clean, warming flavor of the alcohol. Dangerously drinkable.

Photo of MrIncognito
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I think maybe I had somewhat of a skunked bottle but this was still really good. Malt sweetness without being cloying. Alcohol adds a nice warmth and spiciness.

Photo of Ohiovania
3.35/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.25

Something has to be wrong with this bottle. Awful.

Photo of obriendes46
3.96/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

First found this at beer festival. Thought it was a really nice beer especially for the season (winter nj). Enough body, plenty of flavor. Whenever I find it ( hard to find) I buy

Photo of Jacobob10
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Tasting notes from 4/16/2015.

11.2 oz bottle. Clear ruby color with a creamy head and a fair amount of lacing. Heavy caramel malt and cola aroma with light notes of cherry and whiskey upon tasting. No hops. Soft texture and carbonation. A touch of sweetness. Medium bodied with a long, buttery finish.

I was expecting more of an "in your face," full-bodied type of beer, but all of the characteristics are subtle and mild. Very easy to drink. By far the best wee heavy I have had.

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into a snifter
Appearance – The beer pours a deep mahogany-brownish color with a one finger head of cream colored foam. The head has a fantastic level of retention, with it slowly fading over time to leave a fantastic level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is quite potent of a darker fruit smell of raisin, cherry and fig. Along with these aromas comes some notes of an almost woody smell as well as lots of caramel and molasses. A little hint of a grainy and grassy smell round it all out, creating a rather nice aroma overall.

Taste – The taste begins with a good deal of sweeter flavors, being a blend of caramel, molasses, cherry and raisin. Right from the start there is a decent showing of a bready malt flavor, which gains more and more roastiness as the taste advances. All the while the sweeter flavors dwindle a little bit drying out the flavor ever so slightly (although by no means creating a dry taste). Toward the end some graininess, wood, and earthy hop come to the tongue and with a decent hit of a boozy alcohol flavor, one is left with a rather warming but smooth flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is a little on the thinner side for a 8.5 % brew with a carbonation that is a little on the higher side. While I would traditionally like a bit more thickness and less carbonation, the combo actually sorta works for the flavors, and makes this one an easier sipper in light of its boozy flavors.

Overall – This was a quite tasty scotch ale. One I will certainly go to again in the future.

Photo of maedhros09
4.26/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Look: Clear ruby - amber with a couple fingers of sticky tan head
Smell: sweet, acidic maltiness, metallic
Taste: Has that same almost barleywine type maltiness as Founders Dirty Bastard (caramelly with some fruity acidity and a balancing bitterness) but with a cleaner less full taste. Less bitter in the finish. Alcohol is scarcely perceived.
Feel: Medium full body with a good amount of carbonation. viscous.

Overall: A bit lighter in body and character than the Founders Dirty Bastard; less hoppy as well. There is a metallic flavor to the malt that I associate with lighter European Ales and Lagers. Dangerously drinkable. I like the mouthfeel - well carbonated yet viscous and smooth. It's no accident this is called Skull Splitter - it goes down fast and hits you hard. I really like this beer for its complexity and balance - there's a lot going on, yet it manages to be kind of refreshing too.

Photo of TheCuriograph
3.99/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

it pours a glassy ruby-amber with a creamy off-white head. There’s a nectary malt nose full of pumpernickel, plum, caramel, orange bitters and cinnamon. The beer tastes of caramel, chai, and raisin. Skull Splitter is actually reminiscent of a Belgian Dubbel. It’s heavy but quite drinkable,.

Photo of MrCocaine88
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very descriptive label says it all. Surprisingly smoother than expected and a wonderful taste.

Photo of LeeryLeprechaun
4.11/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Aroma: Earth and caramel, some smoke in the finish. Deep and complex malt aromas. Hints of toffee and kettle carmalization. No Dicetyl.

Appearance: Strong and sticky head, red-brown in color. Brite and east to see through. Head retention is excellent.

Flavor: Malty, carmel flavor with some earthiness and a smoky finish. Alcohol appears as the beer warms. Finish is dry and almost astringent/tannic with a peat like smoke.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, good carbonation, some what creamy body with dry tannic finish from smoke. Some alcohol warmth.

Overall: Beer is malty, smoky, and complex. Warmth goes well with the caramel flavors. Excellent body and good balance to prevent he beer from being overly sweet.

Photo of ChrisCage
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours a richly deep color of coppery bronze...even cola like. The head is impressive, that being dense, thick and it only slowly settles, tan colored, and creamy. Hard to tell how the carbonation is going to be, but the lacing suggests that this is a very protein heavy brew, with many thick strands of soapy foam grasping at the side of my glass and staying there too! A fine looking ale!

S- Rich and dark aromas of slightly dried fruit....prune, raisin, dates, and banana. There is also a chocolatey note that brings the malty sweetness upfront. Along with caramel and/or toffee, there is an Earthy finish that is sugary like a fine aged rum.

T- Full flavors that actually are much more balanced than the smells suggest! Rummy, toasted grains and even a hint of charred oak compliment this rich ale. Sweeter flavors include hints of licorice extract, rum, dried fruit, reduced brown sugar, and a tinge of molasses. The finish is surprisingly clean and hop bitterness assists in this, leaving my palate begging for another sip...very nice!

M/O- Full bodied and super creamy carbonation best describe this brew! It is definitely an easy drinking beer that keeps the alcohol well hidden.....very desert like. Will go well with a stew or as an ingredient in a stew....also I think would go well with a nutty cheese. A very nice beer and I would buy again!

Photo of baconfromwalmart
3.74/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

My first Scotch Ale. Like a tripel with less alcohol heat. Well balanced and surprisingly light mouth feel.

Photo of Bonsall_Phil
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep copper pour, minimal off white head subsiding quickly. Somewhat clear, except for some white floaties swimming around in the light carbonation.

Sweet roasty malts on the nose, it's very clean and true to the malt there's a slight caramelized accent to it. I do not pick up much earthiness. Very pleasant and subtle accents to the malt.

Taste follows the nose with a welcome punch of grains and some minimal hops that give the beer a nice surge over the palette. The scent-taste is a well made one-two punch of sweetness and bitterness that is impeccably balanced but gives the malt a slight nod. Finish is warm, pleasant and dry. Mouthfeel is on the heavier side of medium and creamy.

Very enjoyable wee heavy, maybe my favorite now.

Photo of DrMullet
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deep copper color. Thin creamy lace that persists. Mild fruit smell. Up front taste is a moderate fruit/date flavor followed by a tinge of caramel. Complex indeed. I like scotch ales and this is perhaps my favorite.

Photo of 50wolves
3.67/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - pours amber/ copper with small head, slight carbonation was foggy when poured however became increasingly clear once it warmed up. Aroma - Earthy aroma. Taste - all I can taste is the fig. Feel - has a warmth to it that I do appreciate, quite smooth, has astringent elements to it. Overall - appearance and taste do put me off, not a beer that I would drink again, however I think it is more a case of me not appreciating the beer style than the actual beer. Brewer appears interesting and I would try other products.

Photo of BowWowWowYippyYoIPA
4.52/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

No bottle date

Look - Pours a deep garnet with a beige head. Head dissipates rather quickly to form a thin cap. Average distribution. Limited lacing. 4 paws.

Smell - Lots of dried dark fruit aromas. Hints of wine and port with a touch of alcohol. Hints of tobacco and the faintest bit of cinnamon. 4.5 paws.

Taste - Smoky tobacco flavors up front finishing with taste of dates and bitter almonds. The sweetness is balanced excellently by the alcohol. Baker's chocolate, and a surprising twist of lemon. Finishes like a fine brandy. Very complex and exquisite. 4.75 paws.

Feel - Rather thin for the style and amount of flavor, surprisingly effervescent. Tingle on tip of the tongue. 4 paws.

Overall - Excellent beer and one of the most pleasant surprises I've had in a while. Definitely recommended. 4.5 paws.

Photo of tekstr1der
4.78/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Reddish-brown pour with minimal head. Looks almost syrapy. Appearance is it’s only low-point. The smell is from heaven - malty and fruity. Flavors are strong malt sweetness with some slight wine notes. Incredibly smooth, and way too drinkable. This one could get me in trouble.

Photo of Oldmankeebler
3/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It is sweet with a flavor that is a mix of molasses and raisins and figs.

Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a murky amber with a thin off-white head. Light amount of sticky lacing.

S - Aroma of caramel malts, toffee, and dark fruit.

T - Flavor is sweet caramel malts, dark fruits, toffee, and vanilla. There is a light smokiness throughout. A small amount of booziness in the finish.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Very smooth and creamy mouthfeel. The finish is dry and sticky.

O - Very tasty beer. Lots of sweet malty flavors make this a rich and pleasant drinker.

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Skull Splitter from Orkney Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 2,001 ratings.