1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Skull Splitter - Orkney Brewery

Not Rated.
Skull SplitterSkull Splitter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,691 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,691
Reviews: 917
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 120
Gots: 98 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-08-1998)
View: Beers (10) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Skull Splitter Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,691 | Reviews: 917 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of PlaywrightSam

New York

4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle into tulip glass. A: Pours a deep, vaguely translucent copper brow, head that goes down pretty quick with some minimal lacing. S: Spice, toffee, some lighter malts, distant citrus hops; alcohol is present. T: Sweet up front, very spicy, some lingering bitterness in the finish. M: I would expect by the aroma and flavor that it would be very thick, but it's actually got a nicely light body. D: Very nice, like a milder version of Samichlaus. Very delicious. I've heard about this beer for a while and I was definitely not disappointed.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2007 03:26:58 | More by PlaywrightSam
Photo of HardTarget


3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma: Alcohol perfumed grapes with a floral note.

Appearance: Fiery red glass with murky clarity. Holds a thin head without much lace.

Flavor: Toasted malt is full and only a little fruity as compared to the other Wee Heavies in the flight we sampled. There was also a little oxidation which made me wonder about the age of the beer (no date on label).

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation encourages long pulls. Texture seems a bit thin given all the malt flavor.

Overall Impression: Good, but not great Scottish Ale. Easy drinking where I expect a little more chew. Still, a good general beer.

Thanks to Bill and Kim for the sample!

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2007 05:10:40 | More by HardTarget
Photo of BucBasil

South Carolina

4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Served in a tulip glass, which I guess is closest to the thistle glass wee heavy is supposed to be served in. Pours a Very deep brown that allows barely any light to shine through. Head is almost nonexistant even after a relatively hard pour, but can build to a quickly dissipating one finger that is off-white.

Smell: Hard to identify, but caramel is most evident. After a few swirls a buttery note comes through, giving way to a quick hint of cocoa.

Taste: Ridiculously smooth, I was blown away by the flavor of this beer. Starts out with a nice chocolate note that continues throughout the midpalate, getting sweeter as the flavor progresses. Some caramel notes come through right before a smoky, yet pleasant finish. Wonderful.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2007 05:37:22 | More by BucBasil
Photo of zeff80


3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a burgandy/brown color with a fluffy, tan, three-finger head. Left some traces of lace.

S - It smelled of malt and spices.

T - It was spicy and had a burnt toast malt. There was also a dried fruit taste.

M - It was smooth and crisp with a warm alcohol presence. A medium to heavy-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good beer, but it would be hard to have a couple in one sitting. I've just been having one at a time.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2007 02:01:52 | More by zeff80
Photo of rallison


4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber brown with a 1/2 finger white head that mostly recedes to lacing. Smells of strong caramel malts.

First taste is of sweet caramel and alcohol warmth. Further tastes reinforce the caramel and toffee sweetness. Luckily, this doesn't get too sweet - I think primarily because of the alcohol balance. Touches of brandy are present as well.

Mouthfeel is rich and fulfilling. Drinkability is decent.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2007 06:28:46 | More by rallison
Photo of Blupoet03


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

This beer poured a honey-amber color with a thin white head. The nose brings notes of yeast, florals, honey, bread, and spices.

The flavor delivers everything that the aroma promises - this tastes like a beer version of mead: smooth, sweet, slightly syrupy, and a slight malt flavor.

The alcohol presents itself as an effervescence in your nose instead of an alcohol burn in the mouth.

This is a wonderful example of a Scottish Ale. Repsect it, though, it is strong - and highly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2007 01:52:57 | More by Blupoet03
Photo of CharlieMopps


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

A: Poured a transparent, dark ruby color with over a finger of head on top that dissipated leaving a trail of lace along the sides of the glass.

S: A rich, malty aroma with hints of dark fruit and sweet spice.

T: In the front, there is a chocolatey, sweet malt base that is well-rounded and stands out. Fades into a middle that has just a touch of hops for a bit of bitterness. Aftertaste is subtle trickle of maltiness with the light layer of hops over top.

M: Creamy mouthfeel, carbonation at an appropriate level.

D: Overall, a pretty solid ale for the style. Being a fan of Scotch/Wee Heavy, I liked this one, but would prefer others given the choice. Still, the availability of SkullSplitter in the region is fairly plentiful, considering the niche market, so you can't really go wrong with it.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2007 22:18:22 | More by CharlieMopps
Photo of TheCEO


4.63/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I wake up this morning smiling with a hangover. I really went all out last night. I go to the bathroom for my morning ritual. I look in the mirror...my skull is split in half...but I’m not dead. No wonder I had a headache. How can this be? No NORMAL man could survive such a mortal wound...suddenly, my head begins to mend itself...slowly and gracefully...every fiber melding perfectly. Once I’m whole again, the room goes dark...BOOOM!!!! WHITE LIGHT!!--ANGELS!!--SOULS!!--SYMPHONY!!..."I KNOW EVERYTHING!!. I AMMMM EVERYTHING!!". The World stops turning. It’s silent. I am...The American Grandmaster of Beer Tasting.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2007 01:47:20 | More by TheCEO
Photo of khiasmus

South Carolina

3.43/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A- Brilliantly clear, copper colored. All torso: no head or legs. Actually, there is a very faint hint of a ring of soapy white head, and another faint hint of lace down the glass, but that's all.

S- Very strong maltiness, some biscuit, tons of cane sugar, raisins, dates, Powdered-sugar covered dates with nuts in the middle... molasses, alcohol. Overwhelmingly sweet, almost the nose of an eisbock.

T- Sweet, dense, heavy, caramelly, raisiny, sugary, maple-syrupy, MALT. No smokiness, peat, or anything of the kind.

M- Smooth, thick, buttery. Carbonation is low. Slightly warming finish, and the coating of malt lasts a while in your mouth.

D- Simply too sweet. Even for someone that loves Eisbocks. Not very drinkable, especially for a wee heavy.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2007 00:19:16 | More by khiasmus
Photo of biggmike


3.5/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brownish-amber color with fluffy head. Hides the alcohol content very well. Aroma of malts and fruit. Head lasted fairly long. I thought the taste was a bit metallic. Based on others review of this beer, I am definitely going to have to try this one again.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2007 11:01:53 | More by biggmike
Photo of BeardedSquash


4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a woody brown with a thick tan head. Bushy laces slather half the glass.

S: An unusual mix of heavy malts and roses. Alcohol on the tip of the nose actual mixes quite well.

T: Oh, this is tasty. Caramel malty notes, but this is not a sweet beer. A creamy nut flavor, almost like cashews. An earthy smokiness at the swallow. This is damn fine.

M: Not as full and chewy as I have come to expect from high gravity Scots. This beer is more on the dry side. In this case, different is better.

D: Very, very drinkable. If I could drink like a true Scotsman, I would make this my bread and butter. As it stands at 8.5 ABV, this is a dangerous drink.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2007 01:25:00 | More by BeardedSquash
Photo of OWSLEY069


2.88/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clean deep amber with a white head that does not hang around. In the nose, a sweet malt and somewhat earthy. In the taste, a sweet malty beer, with hints of caramel/ butterscotch, and a alcohol presence. It has a dry sticky mouthfeel. It is a bigger beer, with big alcohol and big flavors, the sweetness to this is nice though.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2007 19:38:35 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of jbsteiny


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

Can't believe I had never tried this to date. I got it to pair with a lamb sandwich at a nice restaurant in Portland, ME (Viogna?) with a sweet beer menu (lots of Belgians). They served it in a big old chalice, a dark red with medium carbonation, and a thin golden head. The head faded, but it left some lacing and a swirl of light foam on the beer's top.

Smelled of golden raisins, candy sugar, molasses; all sorts of yummies. A slight herbal hop present, no detectable yeast; this is a real malty ale. Tasted delectable -- mostly malts, a bit of an earthy spice going on as well. Full bodied, but the alcohol was well masked. Went down as easy as you could ever ask an 8.5% ale to go down. I was considering giving it extra points for drinakbility, but I did get a headache shortly after finishing it. Not that I wasn't warned from the name of the beer... Killer Viking on the label. Super solid all around.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2007 03:02:26 | More by jbsteiny
Photo of Manosbeeroffate


3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I love the label and wondered if I would ever try this beer, thanks to Todd (Buckspin) yes I can!! Pours a pretty deep brown color, smells a bit sickly sweet, tastes about the same, like some dried fruit, thick malt, slightly burned, and a hint of alcohol in the background despite it being over 8 percent. Overall I do like the beer, but it is a little way too sweet for me, but just a little. I still think it's worth seeking out for anyone who is curious about this beer. And ya gotta love the label!!

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2007 01:43:59 | More by Manosbeeroffate
Photo of pmcadamis


4.8/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Really cool label with a viking guy looking all heroic and stuff. I've heard a lot about this one, but even if I hadn't, I would buy this based on shelf appeal alone...beer + vikings + 8.5% abv = I have to buy it.

A - Purple reddish dark brown like clotted blood. Semi transparent and reddish when held to the light. A four finger head rises up above the half of the bottle that I poured into my snifter, but recedes to a quarter inch cap and a thick collar in the span of a few minutes. Lots of reddish tan lace is left on the glass. Is that Eric the Red on the label? That would be fitting for this reddish tinted brew.

S - Toffee, caramel, and grapey vinous notes right off the bat. Chocolate covered strawberries and cherries are the predominant aromas. I also smell peanut butter and jelly (peanut butter and raspberry preserves?) witch is something that I've never detected in a beer before. A toasty crusty malt backbone resides behind all of this chocolate covered fruit.

T - Peanut butter and strawberry preserves. Whipped chocolate mousse with maraschino cherries on top. I also taste vanilla beans, sea salt, peaty phenols, along with sweet shortcake and pumpernickel malt flavors, and some subdued but balancing leafy hops...just enough leafiness to add a balanced autumnal aspect to this wintery and warming malt bomb.

M - Creamy whipped chocolate mousse. Extremely full bodied and creamy with a neutral finish and a slick melted chocolate feeling in the mouth after the swallow. Some alcohol warmth adds to the rich delectable complexity, but never gets overwhelming or harsh. One of the most outstanding mouthfeels ever...scratch that. This is THE most outstanding mouthfeel ever.

D - This just screams "dessert beer." I love scotch, and I detect a lot of those same peaty Islay malt characteristics in this fantasic beer. I love this stuff, but I can't say that I would drink more than one. I would, however, drink one every night. So it's not undrinkable...it's just unsessionable.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2007 05:47:25 | More by pmcadamis
Photo of Mumps


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

Although with the interesting name, this is one fantastic beer. I have not poured it yet into a glass (unfortunately), so I cannot fairly grade color. Taste is extraordinary, very refreshing and not too heavy. Good mouthfeel, just enough to let you know its there, but not too heavy to make you chew. Very drinkable, and I'm looking forward to getting it into a glass to give it a better try.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2007 09:29:35 | More by Mumps
Photo of Monkeyknife


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

Poured from the bottle a rich dark reddish-brown with a creamy beige head.

Malty with toffee, raisin aromas.

This has a great malty flavor with toffee, biscuit and raisins present. You can sense the alcohol as well.

Smooth and rich with a slight zing from the alcohol.

What a nice beer to enjoy at your nearby Scottish restaurant.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2007 17:56:32 | More by Monkeyknife
Photo of Mitchster


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

$2.79 for 11.2oz bottle. 8.5% ABV. Pours out to a clear dark amber with reddish accents, forming a large whipped and rocky light tan head with excellent retention and nice sheets of sticky lace. Carbonation is mild to moderate. The aroma is quite interesting...there is something distinct in this nose that I haven't placed in other beers and it's chocolate chip cookies. It's there, tucked away under the mild herbal hops. Quite odd, but I also get cloves...peculiar for a Scottish Ale, but nice nonetheless. The mouthfeel is silky smooth with a medium-dense body. The taste is excellent...there is a great balance between the sweet, biscuity and nutty malts and the restrained bitterness. Fermented cleanly with no off-flavors noticed. There is an aftertaste of dates and figs with a little pepper from the alcohol. The finish is just a touch dry. Faint flavor of smoked malt, but not pungent.

Man, what a nice Scottish Ale. This is really enjoyable and much too easy to drink. I can see where Robert the Bruce from 3F's got it's inspiration. I would buy this again.

Serving type: bottle

06-07-2007 05:32:54 | More by Mitchster
Photo of coalcracker


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

Via bottle at Abbey Road Pub in Virginia Beach, VA.

Poured dark golden color with substantial creamy, head.
Smell: Smells of raisin, toffee perhaps, alcohol aroma sneaks in.
Taste: Nice! Zing of alcohol noted, but not without a drapery of malty raisin, sweet- yet balanced. Very tasty...
Mouthfeel: Quite smooth with the alcohol kick
Drinkability: Could have had severalf these, but not without consequences.
Overall, a fantastic brew with character. Strong and deceiving.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2007 18:20:27 | More by coalcracker
Photo of wedge

North Carolina

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

Dark reddened brown. Short-lasting head sticks around as a bubbly ring around the edge for the most part. Aromas of malty butterscotch, earthy peat, and underlying fruity alcohol. Rich malty flavor, molasses, dry dark fruitiness with some bready notes. An almost woody alcohol note and faint smoky edge as well. Medium-full bodied and notably smooth and clean.

Probably not quite as powerful as a large axe to the face at the hands of a large Viking earl...but it sure does warm my head up a bit. Very dark overall, I like it.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2007 21:18:10 | More by wedge
Photo of barefootbrewer


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

This beer poured a clear amber color with a thick cream colored head. The aroma is malty with some caramel. The taste is big of malt and caramel with some hints of smokiness. The mouthfeel is heavy and somewhat chewy. The bold flavors and mouthfeel in this beer are very balanced and make this a delight to drink.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2007 00:27:42 | More by barefootbrewer
Photo of lordofthewiens


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

Thank you to Todd the beer guy at McKean and Charles in Waldoboro for getting me to try this. Other than the cool name, I'm not sure I would have bought this without his suggestion. A 330ml bottle poured into a pint glass, it was brown with red highlights, and had a small head. It had a peaty aroma, as well as a little bit of malt. Loved the taste. Bread, peat, alternatingly sweet and smoky. A really nice mouthful. Try this beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2007 18:37:11 | More by lordofthewiens
Photo of Naerhu


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

A - Beautiful dark, dark red body on a very tight and fine head. Very stubborn lacing.
S - Great caramel and peat aroma.
T - Surprisingly dry and rich, but also little bitterness. Fantastic balance. Smokey toffee flavor dominates.
M - Creamy, luscious body. Alcohol is incredibly integrated.
D - This is a great brew, prolly the most underrated on the site.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2007 00:17:20 | More by Naerhu
Photo of BeerRun13


4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful, deep, reddish amber. Super clear like a magnifying glass. A dark off white head fades but leaves good lacing.
Aroma jumps out at you the second you pop the cap. Malty, caramel, and fruity esters. Maybe a little peat/smoky notes.
Malty and caramel with a smoky roasty touch. Dark fruit and some slight alcohol. More peat or something peatlike as it warms.
Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Alcohol definately warms, but is still quite smooth. Almost a touch chewy. Slightly dry finish.
Now this is the real deal when it comes to the style. Quite yummy.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2007 22:49:23 | More by BeerRun13
Photo of fightingirishcmk

New York

4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a beautiful transparent amber color, with a fair sized head. The head lasted for a good amount of time, and was slightly off white in color. Good lacing was left on the glass.

S: Strong sweetly smelling aroma, consisting of cherry, malt, hops, warming caramel, alcohol. Somewhat fruity in nature.

T: Smoky malts are present, as well as the caramel and alcohol. A slight fruit taste of cherry is present. The alcohol is somehwat perceptible, and a drying finish is noted.

M: Slight carbonation, medium to heavy body.

D: Fairly thick, but very tasty. I would definitely try this beer again given the chance.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2007 04:01:25 | More by fightingirishcmk
Skull Splitter from Orkney Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 1,691 ratings.