1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Skull Splitter - Orkney Brewery

Not Rated.
Skull SplitterSkull Splitter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,935 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,935
Reviews: 941
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 150
Gots: 176 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-08-1998

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (13) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Skull Splitter Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,935 | Reviews: 941 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of TheCEO
4.62/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

Photo of khiasmus
3.44/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

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.

Photo of BeardedSquash
4.52/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

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.

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.

Photo of Manosbeeroffate
3.61/5  rDev -11.5%
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!!

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.

Photo of Mumps
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

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.

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.

Photo of coalcracker
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

Photo of wedge
4.14/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Photo of barefootbrewer
4.08/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

Photo of Naerhu
4.56/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

Photo of BeerRun13
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of fightingirishcmk
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.

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

A: the color is like a mix of copper and oak. Very nice 2 finger head, offwhite. 4.5
S: Belgian yeast and fruits galore. Damn this smells delicious. 4.5
T: The first sip was a shock. There’s all kinds of stuff going on that I didn’t smell. It tastes breadish and malty and yeasty and dark and delicious. The malt makes it seem like a dopplebock. But then there’s the belgian fruit and yeasty stuff going on too. 4
M: Really nice and smooth. Maybe a little thinner than your average dopplebock.
D: Very drinkable. I’d like to have another, but only have the one.

Next time I go to Kentucky, Im bringing back more than just one of these...

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

Poured this beer from the bottle to a 50 degree tumbler. This beer was caramel colored with a khaki colored head that was really fine bubbles. Sweet smelling beer with a slightly nutty finish to it. Slightly sweet taste but not overpowering. This was an interesting beer and I think I would try this one again.

Photo of Redwood21
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured an extremely dark amber brown color, with a light brown, tan head. Very vreamy looking head that had moderate longevity, and moderate lacing.

S: more subdued than i would excpect. some malty sweetness, some caramel sugar aroma, nothing strong though.

T: NICE, there is some butter and caramel, some back tongue spice or herbal ness, not sure. something else to it, soemthing good.

M: so creamy and smooth, very nice feel to it, hard to put the brew down.
D: Its a heavier tasting beer, high in alcohol too. Not something i would drink all the time, but i love scottish ale especially as a change of pace, and while i like traquir more, at less than half the price this is a better value. Very good

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

A: Pours a mahoghany color with a foamy head. Decent sustain and lacing.

S: Sweet, malty smell with some aromas of caramel, molasses, and cookie dough.

T: I am greeted by an unexpected taste reminescent of a Schlenkerla rauchbier. A light smoke taste is complimented with meaty flavors and a malty backbone. A very good balance lets a multitude of complex flavors shine through.

M: Full-bodied and heavy with light carbonation. Smooth and gentle on the tongue.

D: Totally unexpected. This is quite an amazing treat, and I would recommend this to anyone. Rauchbier fans will probably enjoy this one more than others, but the subtlety of the smoked flavors should be appreciated even by novices.

Photo of geexploitation
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear but dark -- kind of a mahogany with reddish caramel highlights -- and a big, light tan head that kicks up big initially but fades pretty quickly. Aroma is pure maltiness, with toffee, caramel, very light figgy fruits, molasses and a touch of wortiness. On the palate, brisk carbonation kicks things off, followed by some nutty malts and just a touch of caramel-tinged fruits. Things are quite sweet and malty. Doughy, thick mouthfeel with low carbonation. This is a beer that is not too complex, but makes up for that in big flavors wrapped up in a smooth package. It's excellent for the style, which IMO should be pretty straightforward and malty, without too many frills. Very good beer.

Photo of hunteraw
3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Ruby/garnet in color, good head, some retention and lacing.

Smell: Very sweet smelling, caramel and butterscotch, some alcohol.

Taste: Sweet, caramel, some alcohol. Bitter finish aids drinkability a bit - sweetness doesn't get too cloying.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, carbonation maybe a bit light.

Drinkability: Not my favorite style, scotch ales are generally too sweet for me, but this one wasn't too bad.

Skull Splitter from Orkney Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 1,935 ratings.