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Skull Splitter - Orkney Brewery

Not Rated.
Skull SplitterSkull Splitter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

1,691 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,691 | Reviews: 917 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jettjon
jettjon

Florida

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

Pours a dark ruby red color with very few tiny bubbles evident. Head is thick and foamy, receding slowly to a thin sheet and leaving good lacing. Nose of yeast, moderately sweet malt, and maybe a hint of dark fruit like plums. Tastes a lot sweeter than it smells, but the sweetness quickly gives way to rich malts, a hoppy bite, followed by a distinct alcohol presence, a coffee-like flavor, finally culminating a lightly bitter malt finish. Very good, complex flavor--highly enjoyable. Mouth is very good, slick and semi-creamy; quite satisfying. Drinkability is very good—watch the 8.5% ABV.

Overall, this is an outstanding beer. I’ve only tried one other Scotch ale or wee heavy (McEwan’s), and this one is much better. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2006 22:55:37 | More by jettjon
Photo of UberWasser
UberWasser

Arizona

4.65/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle served in a snifter.

Pours a great dark ruby red color with a quick building and quick fading head. It does leave a nice halo and haze of bubbles across the top of the beer, though, that is fed by a subtle shower of bubbles rising through the beer from below.

Taking a whif I find the smell to be a bit shallow. It had a nice ripe fruit smell with some peppery alcohol hanging out in the background. Nice, but not very deep.

The taste, on the other hand...it's just plain great. You get a hit of that sweet ripe fruit on the front of the tongue with a grapey, vinous taste rising up as it moves to the middle. As it nears the back a noticeable molasses flavor comes up that finishes with a pleasent balancing dark chocolate bitterness after the swallow. A warm and peppery alcohol again lurks in the background of the entire experience. As for the mouthfeel, it's just as great...absolutely velvety and suprisingly light and pleasing for a beer of this strength (both alcohol and flavor wise).

This is the best Scotch Ale that I've laid my hands on, so far. Really, really good and frighteningly easy to drink. I will definitely be drinking more of this, I'm only upset that I put off buying it for so long.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2006 23:34:46 | More by UberWasser
Photo of HurricaneMo
HurricaneMo

Virginia

4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was an excellent end to a long Monday.

Poured a nice brown with rich creamy head. However, the head quickly left and lacing was minimal. Smell was absolutely great. Caramel, alcohol, and a rich grape dominated the nose. Taste consisted mainly of caramel, amazing malt flavors, and some spices. Very little in the way of hops, but this seemed to work well with the complexity of the malts. Moutfeel was somewhat full-bodied, but almost syrupy. Definitely enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2006 02:31:35 | More by HurricaneMo
Photo of aquatonex
aquatonex

New York

3.38/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Was excited about this one at Effin...

Pours dark red with a slight creamy head, decent carbonation. Smells are dominated by alcohol, slight sweet malts, and almost feet. Taste follows with strong malts, but the alcohol is way too prominent, almost reminiscent of vomit actually. Was expecting a much more balanced brew. Ah well, it did its job.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2006 06:20:29 | More by aquatonex
Photo of gonzo138
gonzo138

Arizona

4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-reddish brown, white head good lacing
S- sweet caramel smell
T- Complements the smell, could of used just a dash more hops
M- not very carbonated, drank smoothely, kind of light for my taste
D- very drinkable for a beer with 8.5 ABV

Ive heard a lot of people rave about this beer but it was anything I particularly cared for
Edit: Perhaps foolish of me to review this beer considering this was really the first time I tried the style, since then I've tried the style more In depth and have come to appreciate it more and this brew is examplary

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2006 12:27:06 | More by gonzo138
Photo of ndekke39
ndekke39

Ohio

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

Ordered this from a bottle at pub in Georgia. Didn't catch the freshness date on the bottle. 8.5% ABV. Poured a beautiful, dark reddish-brown color. Initial aromas and flavors of sweet grain, rounded out nicely with a touch of hops. Fairly strong flavors (as expected) from the alcohol. Light carbonation leads to a medium thickness. I prefer my Scotch Ales a little stronger, but this one won't disappoint. Excellent cold at the end of a long work day.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2006 13:41:16 | More by ndekke39
Photo of haz77
haz77

Australia

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

A - Pours a deep reddish-brown with a couple of inches of creamy light tan head. Looks to have moderate carbonation.

S - Caramel, nuttiness, alcohol spice, dark/sweet fruit.

T - Starts sweet with the dark fruits. Caramel comes through and builds into the aftertaste, which is sweet/bitter/dry.

M - Light to medium body with low carbonation.

D - A fine brew which is dangerously drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2006 13:39:20 | More by haz77
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

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

Clear, dark ruby colour with almost a purple hue. Thin, beige head of small bubbles that left a smattering of fine, streaky lacing behind at each sip. Mild malty aroma (some caramel and toffee) with a dominant peaty, smokey character and some fruit. Low bitterness with a big, malty flavour - again with the caramel and toffee combination. Raisin and prune fruitiness comes through at the midpoint. Delicate peat and smoke linger in the finish. Medium/full bodied, low carbonation, smooth. This is a satisfying beer with decent complexity. A friend spoke highly of this beer after his trip to Scotland and now I know why.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2006 01:16:51 | More by DrJay
Photo of Blakaeris
Blakaeris

Iowa

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

Pours hazy auburn with a creamy white head.

Smell is roasted malt, smoked peat, and dark fruit. Definite alcohol and mild spice aroma.

Taste is similiar to the nose, but the smokiness is much stronger. It now has a charred oak flavor. Caramel malt sweetness brings balance. Dark fruit has a brandylike quality due to the high ABV. Hints of vanilla and spice. Earthy nuttyness. Quite unusual. Finish has a mild hop presence and lingering brandylike fruitiness.

Mouthfeel is medium-full and slightly chewy.

A very tasty Wee heavy. A little bigger and more aggressive than other beers I have had in this style.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2006 00:31:44 | More by Blakaeris
Photo of bashiba
bashiba

Iowa

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

Poured a red/brown color, slighlty hazed with a decent tan head that had good retention and good lacing.

Smell is very peaty and smoky with a slight sweet fruit odor as well.

Taste is full of strong peat and smoke flavors with hints of caramel malts, alcohol, and a bit of oak. A slight bit of earthy hops is also present.

Mouthfeel is full and chewy, slightly warming.

Very tasty and drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2006 00:19:52 | More by bashiba
Photo of acrawf6
acrawf6

Louisiana

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

Pours out a clear dark ruby brown with a tan head.

Smell. a sweet tea malt smell, slightly spiced. small raison aroma comes out. a dark aroma this is.

Taste. Starts with a yeasty taste, full of raison and prune flavors. Spiced with a peppery taste, some small fruity flavors, cooked apples. Aftertaste is warming with alcohol and a dry fruit flavor.

Mouthfeel is good. fuller body with the alcohol. good balance and nice carbonation.

Overall a good beer to enjoy now and then. Not one i would stock up on, but a nice change of pace. Has a very good malt character.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2006 02:36:28 | More by acrawf6
Photo of aforbes10
aforbes10

Iowa

3/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

from old notes....

looks heavy. red with a small head. heavy lacing contributes to its heavy alcohol appearance. Smells sweet and smoky and a little unwelcoming. Wow, very smoky flavor with alcohol on the finish. hickory and other wood tastes are the most dominant flavors.. some fruity flavors but i can't place them exactly. I want to say figs, but that seems strange for a beer and isn't quite right. Taste isn't too bad, although everyone else i was drinking with thought the whole thing was terrible. must be my scots blood. syrupy mouthfeel. ok drinkability but too alcoholic.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2006 13:17:50 | More by aforbes10
Photo of kimcgolf
kimcgolf

Georgia

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

This beer is golden brown in color with a good head and sweet aroma. The taste is at first toffee/caramel with a sublte hint of charcoal. Relaxes into a tasty beer throughout, with the alcohol copming on stronger at the end. A very good, long finish that I was able to savor for quite a while.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2006 12:04:28 | More by kimcgolf
Photo of hanco005
hanco005

Minnesota

3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A—pours a dark raison brown, mostly solid with a sand colored ¾ inch head, fades away to a thin sheet in a matter of minutes, laces in spots

S—sweet caramel and ripe fruits, alcohol is faint, really malty, some butter that gets a little stronger as it warms, a little sourness, too, lots going on here

T—buttery caramel and fruits are balanced pretty well, the alcohol comes outs when I exhale, good, but not as good as the smell

M—a bit on the slippery side, medium/full bodied, good carbonation

D—good, but not great. Another sipper for sure.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2006 14:26:09 | More by hanco005
Photo of tallar
tallar

Michigan

4.78/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful amber-brown with a good looking tannish head. The head quickly dissipates, but leaves plenty of sticky lace. The smell is wonderful: Lots of sweet malt, some ripe fruit, a little yeast, and a hint of smokiness. Tastes very much as it smells: Lots of sweet malt, buttery-sweet caramel, some ripe fruit, and a smoky-peaty finish with a hint of hops that does a wonderful job of hiding all but a hint of alcohol in this. It is extremely smooth, creamy, and surprisingly very drinkable for the amount of alcohol. Along with Founder's Dirty Bastard this is one of the best Scotch Ales I've had!

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2006 23:54:26 | More by tallar
Photo of IntriqKen
IntriqKen

California

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

Pours a golden amber with a decent head that turns into a sticky lacing that lasts and lasts.'
Aroma is belgium yeast with typical sweet dark fruits.... a touch of smoked malt...and milk, believe it or not.
Taste is also typical beligium with sweet dark fruit, toasted malt, smokey malts, and bready yeast.
Aftertaste is both sweet and drying.
Very very pleasant and drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2006 04:44:29 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of tastybeer
tastybeer

North Carolina

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

Very dark chestnut-garnet color but where light makes it through there's a bright ruby red glow. The good inch of head is a purple-ish cream color and fades to a ring for the duration. Smells thick with crushed cherries, raisons, plums, sweet toffee caramel malts, and a mildly detectable intoxication, Taste is full and luscious with dark fruits and delicious complimentary malts. The color foreshadows the yummy warming of this Wee-heavy brew. A very nice mix. Mouthfeel is sticky yet smooth, with subdued carbonation. Flavors coat the mouth thoroughly giving way to a sticky syrupy finish.

Good Scottish. I could go for another.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2006 03:34:25 | More by tastybeer
Photo of rodrot
rodrot

North Carolina

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

Skullsplitter poured a brownish amber color with a small head that faded rather quickly. Aroma was malty with some hints of smoke in the nose. Taste was mainly sweet malt with some flavors of caramel, smoke, dark fruit and an earthy-peaty note in the finish. I could also detect some whiskeyish flavors and a little bit of alcoholic warmth. Mouthfeel was medium to light, which surprised me for a wee heavy of this strength. Overall a pretty good example of the style, but there are better examples available and at better prices.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2006 12:07:54 | More by rodrot
Photo of trep
trep

West Virginia

2.73/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Garnet colored body below a creamy ivory colored head. Lots of lace being left on the glass as it slowly settles. Almost perfect clarity despite the darkness.

Very musty smell to it, like the corner of a gym shower. Definite caramel malt presence and a twinge of alcohol.

Dry maltiness that doesn't really excite nor strive to be, I don't believe. Some spiciness initially that gives way to the malt. A toffee-ish aftertaste. Alcohol is somewhat present but not overwhelming. Tastes like armpit sweat, I imagine, does.

Kind of thin I guess. I haven't had alot of Wee-Heavy's so i'm not sure as to how to rate the mouthfeel of this one but it's definitely not too pleasing.

Not sure if I could drink another one of these...ever.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2006 03:59:02 | More by trep
Photo of plaid75
plaid75

New York

3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a dark caramel hue with a one finger creamy head. There was decent retention and lacing.

The smell was a molasses sweetness. Minor toasted grain aroma as well.

The taste was all malt. Suprisingly not as sweet as I expected it to be. Mild fruiyiness - prunes, raisins maybe. Little trace of the substantial ABV, which was good. A bit bland in my opinion however.

The mouthfeel was thick and full. This beer coated the tongue.

Overall a drinkable Scoth Ale. ABV does not gey in the way.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2006 01:01:51 | More by plaid75
Photo of Kicksmile67
Kicksmile67

Kentucky

3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

How can you not love this beer. Without even opening it you get a name like skullsplitter and a lovely picture of a viking.
This was more of a joke as I tried it at a local pub. After recieving it I poured it out into a glass to reveal a dark blonde color with an aggressive thick head. The beer is strong. High % alcohol and you can taste it. The overall flavor of the beer is hoppy with a very mild and odd sweet tone. Its drinkable but in moderation.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2006 18:38:37 | More by Kicksmile67
Photo of badbeer
badbeer

Iowa

3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Ruby red to dark orange in color with a creamy head leaving some lacing. Strong toffee and caramel smell and even a bit of ripe fruit. Taste pretty much mimics the smell but I like the taste better than the smell. Medium to full body, with an average carbonation, creamy and smooth. Pretty drinkable, I'd probably have another.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2006 22:42:42 | More by badbeer
Photo of Fugazme
Fugazme

Nebraska

3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ruby pour... deep color. 1/2" head that is quite thick. Great foam stick. Lacing is even and nice.

Aroma is malty and sweet. There is an underlying spicy cinnamon-like quality that is tempting. A touch of smoke. It is, however, subtle and the overall tone of this one is a bit muted.

A good, creamy mouthfeel makes this beer pleasant to drink. A small alcohol burn on the swallow... finishes sweet.

Malty and bright. Fruity with caramel-like notes. Slightly roasty.

I like it!

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2006 20:13:01 | More by Fugazme
Photo of waldowin
waldowin

Washington

3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear red, fading to amber at the edges. Even a careful pour resulted in an 8" foam head, which 5 minutes later is still 1/3 of its size, and not budging.

Smells of grapes and toffee. Tastes of caramel, with a hint of raisins and a suggestion of single-malt scotch. Supremely smooth. It's just silky smooth across the tongue, the carbonation working to prevent it from becoming syrupy. The finish is sweet, almost like cream.

Unfortunately, this stuff lives up to its name. There is *so* much sugar in this brew, one or two is all it takes to get a headache. Don't forget that water!

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2006 02:40:10 | More by waldowin
Photo of mdagnew
mdagnew

United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)

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

330ml bottle bought from The Vineyard, Belfast...

Poured a deep coppery brown / amber colour... Slightly off white head poured quite foamy and faded to light ring... no real lacing...

Aroma - Toffee / caramel maltiness with very light toasted notes, brown sugar sweetness, nice rich creamy fruitiness (figs and dates), biscuity notes, fruit cake, slight leathery notes, some spiciness, some rum perhaps, light hops...

Taste – Rich toffee maltiness, spicy fruits (dates and figs), nice warming alcohol notes, bready, treacle, light hops cutting through the sweetness, some light nuttiness...

Feel - Quite smooth, oily notes... Medium body. Pretty drinkable considering its strength...

Overall - A excellent example of a wee heavy....Recommended...

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2006 13:14:09 | More by mdagnew
Skull Splitter from Orkney Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 1,691 ratings.