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Skull Splitter - Orkney Brewery

Not Rated.
Skull SplitterSkull Splitter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,874 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,874
Reviews: 927
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 12.75%
Wants: 143
Gots: 153 | FT: 0
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,874 | Reviews: 927 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerLover99
4.74/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Deep leather brown, finger head, good lacing

S: caramel, slight smoky wood, hint of booze

T: caramel, raisin/ripe fruit, good bready malt,
slight bitter finish.

M: med/heavy, creamy/smooth

O: POW! Now that is a delicious wee heavy. Glad
I finally picked up a 4 pack after seeing it at my
local store for many years.


Photo of Thads324
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A : A ruby mahogany color with very little tan head. dissipates to a small whispy top of nothing very quickly.

s : smells very boozy, with a sweet dried fruit flavor and a hint of caramel and butterscotch. An underlying tone of musty hop goes almost the whole way through the brew.

T : starts with a sweet malt taste with a very subtle fruit character. The fruit is difficult to decipher and subtle. The middle has an odd elongated hop flavor that is slightly bitter and earthy flavored. A tiny bit of smoke as well. finishes very light and dry, almost like a white wine finish. Booze is much less prevalent than in the nose.

M : easy going, yet tingles very well from the carbonation.

overall an all right brew, but nothing mind blowing. a little less fruit and a little more real malt complexity would be nice. I know this is a good beer, but slightly underwhelming in overall character for a wee-heavy.

Photo of Kshock
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Bright brown caramel color with good head retention. Good lacing on the glass.

S- smells or caramel malts and brown sugar sweetness.

T- Same as the nose, very round and balanced. simple flavors but very well done beer. Can tell this beer has been refined over the years.

M- Very light and delicate. mild carbonation.

Photo of Daktyls
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear cherrywood brown color with a small one finger head with big bubbles that dissipates fairly quickly leaving a nice looking lacing on the top and a ring around the glass.

S: There's a dark malted character present on the nose along with some dark fruits, figs and dates are most apparent. There's also a light amount of hopiness that is present.

T: Dark fruits again, some dates and figs, followed by a huge malt character which dominates the rest of the taste.

M: A huge malt character definitely gives this beer a full bodied feel to it, with not a whole lot else going on. The alcohol is well hidden by the malts.

O: Overall, quite good. I would definitely buy this again, a solid beer, a little easier to drink than other Scotch Ales/Wee Heavys that I've had previously.

Photo of liveandletdie
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle has changed a bit, still looks decent but I think I liked the old bottle better. Had this beer with some jalapeno chilli so it might have taken some taste away from the beer. Regardless I liked the beer, many flavors that my imprecise tongue could not put its finger on. A lot of fig/date type flavors. You don't really taste the alcohol. Color was a medium maple brown. Lacing clung to the side of the cup it was in. Little more into the beer and the alcohol makes a little bit of a presence as you might expect.
Overall good beer, and unique taste to it.

Photo of dedgarmcvey
4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle from Winchester Wine and Spirits.

Appearance: Pours a tawny dark amber with some off-white head that doesn't linger too long.

Smell: Despite lack of persistent head, gives off strong aromas. A strong toasty malt odor is complemented by a little bit of "strong ale" acridity.

Smells like viking vomit. I approve -- I didn't buy a beer called "Skull Splitter" hoping for a wimpy brew.

Taste: Starts minimally then bursts on the tongue with powerful malt profile that is not cloying. Finishes with sweet alcohol kiss that reminds me of vermouth.

Mouthfeel: Thick and almost milky with medium to high carbonation that adds to its bite.

Overall: A very enjoyable fuck-you-up beer that may just have made it onto my short list. After all, I would be a fool to want to tangle with Thorfinn Hauskaluif. That's a really big axe. And any culture that erects standing stones is okay with me.

Photo of fdkayti
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a reddish orange hue with a nice fluffy pearl head. Not a lot of lacing.

S- Malty and sweet. Black cherry.

T- Sweet but tart, almost acidic at the back of my tongue. Reminds me of a shiraz. Lots of red fruit notes. Definitely and deliciously malty. No hops.

M- Feels like its sticking around on the inside of my cheeks. Good carbonation without being overpowering.

O/D- Just enough boozey taste to slow ya down but still want to keep drinking it. Diggin' it! Good beer for a good weekend.

Photo of KenC
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a dark cherry red with two fingers of head. Little to no retention and no lacing.

S: Solid fruit smells. Others say figs and dates; I couldn’t get quite that specific. Then came the alcohol, thought I might not be liking this.

T: More like a wine than a beer because of the fruit. If you don’t like hops, this would be for you! The alcohol kicked in at the end, but not overwhelming, and not in a bad way. I found myself liking it!

M: Very smooth, and heavy. With that kind of ETOH, there is no carbonation.

O: If I wanted a heavy, fruity brew that goes well with a comfort food meal on a cold winter night, this would be the choice. Good job overall for a style I don’t gravitate toward.

Photo of Knapp85
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours out as a beautiful redish brown color with a good head to start then it card off just to leave a little white film over top of the beer. The smell is semi sweet with some malts dominating the aroma with a bit or caramel. The taste is sweet too with some caramel flavors through out. The mouthfeel is pretty smooth and not overly carbonated. It's a stronger beer too coming in at 8.5%. Overall I enjoy this beer quite a bit, probably one of my favorite Scottish beers I've ever had. I look forward to having this every time I get the chance. Really worth checking out!

Photo of Duff27
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Murky ruby red with a half inch of thick foam into a tulip. Some floaties present. Great lacing and good head retention.

S- Caramel malts immediately. Dark fruits.

T- Extreme maltiness. Peat. No hop presence per style guidelines. Slight (okay, a lot of) booziness but that's alright!

M- Medium to medium/full mouthfeel. Good carbonation

D/O- Such a great beer...gets better as it warms, too. Highly recommended for Scotch Ale fans or those who don't need a ton of hops to be happy.

Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: bottle at Washington House, Sellersville, PA

One of the best Scotch ales I've had. And it's from Scotland, go figure. Poured into a stem glass, a deep mahogany with ruby highlights, and a small layer of bubbles for a head. Strong scents of toasted malts, dark sugars, sweet dried fruits, and peat. Big, complex flavor: toasted bread, sweet caramel, brown sugar, dried black cherries, raisins, figs, spiced rum, and smoked peat emerging in the background. Some alcohol bite pervades throughout. Heavy-medium mouthfeel, a bit syrupy, and quite drinkable.

Photo of olmatty
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear Amber with a persistent puffy head. Creamy and honey toasted biscuity sweet aroma. Flavor is creamy and lightly sour, complex layers of sweet malts and a light smoke flavor that comes across as a touch phenolic at first blush. Hops are spicy and present late and alcohol brings up the rear. Warming, but not hot. Very enjoyable and smooth. Complexity of such a simple brew is staggering, proving that less can often be more.

Photo of Treebs
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass

A: Pours a dark cherry with little to no head. Keeps a slight film on the top.

S: Smells of figs and dates fill the nose immediately with a light booze note as well.

T: Taste follows the nose to a T with the bitter figs, dates and grapes present with a slight booze finish that's very nice.

M: Very smooth with little carbonation and medium to heavy body.

O: Interesting scotch ale. Not my favorite because I'm not into the dried fruity smells and tastes that associate with this beer.

Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Skull Splitter - Scottish - 8.5% abv

A: dark caramel color with hues of deep blood red amber, very little carbonation, pencil lead thin head with no lacing

S: there's ain intense cherry and alcoholic sweetness, very sweet on the nose, lots of turbinado sugar with notes of caramel

T: in the front of the beer is a slightly smoky sweetness, caramel notes, hops are understated but well done, just enough to balance out the sugar blast of the malt, again, this may be a problem with the style, but it just feels like candy water, with not enough complexity to justify it. Definitive beet sugar and slight boozy note that gives a little warmth on the palate

M: for all the black cherry notes, youd figure that iy would have a malty chewiness to it, but that is not the case, it is surprisingly thin. A noteworthy hybrid between a belgian dubbel and an amber, with the boring effect that a cross-section of those two would produce.

D: Very drinkable and boasts a ton of diversity. I could give this to plenty of friends in a lot of different situations, illegal timbering, amateur meth lab creation, ice road trucking, all kinds of stuff. Does something being diverse make it good? Well I guess in the way your tomboy girlfriend can feel at home in a summer dress or equally gangly in wrangler cutoff jean shorts: diversity.

Narrative: You could feel the idle particles of dust drape upon you bit by bit, your unused glass with a wanting pallor for the warm touch of active paper. They knew what you were when they took you home from Staples: An All In One. Sure you're not not exceptional at scanning, what with your plastic internal parts, but YOU CAN DO IT. Sure you may not print the best photos with your blotchy low quality ink, but IT CAN BE DONE. Faxing? You've got that covered, in a halfhearted, paper jam, off-contrast sorta way. But it is still faxing. The perfect package for a man who needs to a variety of things, very little of the time. Oh, here comes a formidible 5th grade sciene projec- oh I see, they just opted to take a picture with their camera phone and email it to themselves instead of your very capable scanning parts. Perhaps variety is the spice of life, but boring needless diversity, that's more like UC Davis.

Photo of Cozzatoad
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle

A- Dark brown/mahogany colour with a little light brown head that recedes quickly, leaving very minimal covering and almost no lacing

S- Caramel malts with a roasted note to them, then dark fruits notes. A hint of heartiness (hops?) and maybe some faint alcoholic notes

T- A lot of caramel from the malts. The roasted notes that were in the aroma are almost (if not comletely) absent. Then again some vague dark fruits notes and hops enough to bring balance, but not much flavours. Some alcoholic notes show up as the beer gets warmer

M- Very delicate and smooth mouthfeel despite the high alcohol content and the caramel predominance. Maybe a bit watery in such a strong beer. Adequate carbonation

O- A very delicate warming beer. Plus, you don't find many thirst-quenching strong ales around. Great drinkability in an 8.5%ABV beer

Photo of Brabander
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this beer in a kind of trade with my beerbuddy Zimbo. Every now and then we send a parcel to each other with some nice beer in it. I got this bottle in a parcel last week and tonight is the perfect night to crack open this bottle.

Poured in my Westvleteren chalice (i had a westy 12 before i opened this beer) this beer starts quit good with a firm one finger head and a deepdarkred to brown fluid with no carbonation.

Sweet smelle and dito taste . Very drinkable dark ale. Thanks Craig for letting me try this one!!

Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Oi thaur! It's easy tae git intae th' spirit when skitin' a big scotch brew loch thes. Aam nae familiar wi' th' realm ay big, boozy ales loch thes, but Aam mair than ready tae try. Haur we go:

A: Deep blood red, with a contained white head. Thick and manly; no sediment apparent.

S: The nose is quite nice - dark fruit (plum, fig) and herbal/grassy phenols at the fore. Lots of smoky booze aromas are interspersed throughout, as well.

T: Good lord that's strong! VERY upfront with the booze. No wonder it's called a "Wee Heavy." Malts and granulated sugars are a welcome relief to a very thick body. Hoppy finish with plum undertones (as it was with the nose). The more I drink it, the more it reminds me of a Trappist - dark fruits, lingering sweetness, and big alcohol.

M: Thick and smooth. It consistently plays on the tongue, keeping a good carbonation in the mouth for quite a while.

O: Easily the best Scotch Ale I've had. And although I'm not a huge fan of the style, it was a nice departure from the usual hoppy imports I tend to drink. A big classic brew tae warm ye oan a braw day.

Photo of OldIronLungs
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Delirium snifter deep ginger ale color with about a finger of light cream head like frothed milk.

Nose is deep caramel malts, some very light fig and cherry.

A taste is lots of that lightly burnt caramel malt opening up to a drier toasted malt end with some bite from the hops and alcohol. Very smooth with lighter carbonation and a buttery finish.

Overall this is a very drinkable wee heavy. I don't think this is a favorite style yet, but this was quite pleasant. I only wish it was colder outside and I'd just eaten mutton or pillaged a town. I mean I don't wish that, but it'd be appropriate for this brew.

Photo of Bfarr
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy dark amber and moderate foamy head with okay retention and no real lacing. Chocolate lager aroma. Roasted and chocolate balance with moderate sweetness a touch of peat and lingering roasted flavor. Light bodied and smooth with a hint of a bite.

Light and easy drinking yet full of flavor. This has a great combination of feel and flavor. It’s always interesting and super easy to drink with no alcohol trace. It didn’t quite split my skull but the movie I was watching it with, “Catfish”, blew my mind.

Photo of trevorjn06
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep copper color with one finger of head that recedes after a minute, leaving a layer of foam on the surface. No lacing.

Aroma is caramel malts, some dark fruits like plum, black cherries and light fig/date. There is a bit of earthy/nuttiness as well. A relatively straight forward nose, but inviting.

Taste is rich malts, dark caramels, dates, molasses, a very light spice character (perhaps from alcohol) and lingering dark fruits and toastiness on the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium/full bodied with low carbonation and a nice creamy feel to it.

Overall this is a very drinkable and rich ale, quite smooth for it's strength. I enjoyed this quite a bit. and judging by my ratings the whole is better than the sum of it's parts.

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

Mmm. Liked this beer.
Been on a stout run over the winter, seguing into black lagers this spring - enjoying the roastiness. Been a while since I tried anything like this, and this one caught my attention.

A: deep amber/gold - quick head that dissipates just as quickly

S: nice - sweet, malty, some brighter notes pop through

T: vague orange, caramel malt, gentle spices

M: warming, soft, medium-bodied

O: great ale; had to update all this after having had one on the heels of the Sam Adams Wee Heavy - this has a class and character that befits the tradition of the Wee Heavy

Photo of medic25
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a thistle glass (finally got to use it for a Scotch ale!). Dark brown with a thick white head. Malty, raisin-like aroma. Taste is a great malt flavor, sweet with a fig/raisin like character, almost no bitterness or hop sensation. Drinks nice and warm, with a pleasant aftertaste that would be a great drink on a cold winter night.

Photo of JLeege
3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into a tulip, has the newer label

Appearance- Pours a deep amber color with a creamy white head. Decent retention, but little to no lacing.

Smell- Caramel and toffee dominate the nose. With some dark fruits mixed in.

Taste- Very sweet throughout. Fig and grape, to the point of dried raison start things off. Leading into strong caramel malts and notes of toffee and subtle vanilla. Slight citrus and earthy hops on the finish. But the lingering taste is still sweet dark fruits, mostly grapey.

Mouthfeel- Full body with medium carbonation. A little syrupy.

Overall- The ABV's are hid well throughout the drink, but it does sneak up on you quickly. Not bad, though a bit too sweet for me. Definitely worth trying though. For what it's worth I liked the old label better.

Photo of GoldenChild
4.93/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a world class beer buy it if you want to try one of the best beers for this style. $9.99us for a 4 pack.

A-Dark orange 2 fingers of creamy thick head.

S-Oak, Bourbon, Dark fruit, Caramel, And vanilla .

T-Smooth warming, Oak, Bourbon, Dark fruit, Caramel, And vanilla .
Love it going to drink two then put the others in the cellar. Will be buying more. Drink this beer

Photo of dinomite
4.83/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A red tinted color in the glass with a fairly small head.

The flavor of this beer is the true standout--a wonderful mix of dark fruit & molasses with an undertone of maltiness. Overall, it is certainly a sweet beer, but there is enough subtle earthiness and spice that it's far from a fruit beer or cider.

The mouthfeel is a bit lighter than other wee heavies, but what one would expect from a fairly sweet, high alcohol beer.

Skull Splitter from Orkney Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 1,874 ratings.