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Skull Splitter - Orkney Brewery

Not Rated.
Skull SplitterSkull Splitter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,907 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,907
Reviews: 932
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 148
Gots: 169 | 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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,907 | Reviews: 932 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bashiba
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

Photo of acrawf6
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

Photo of aforbes10
2.99/5  rDev -26.7%
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.

Photo of kimcgolf
4.26/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

Photo of hanco005
3.94/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

Photo of tallar
4.73/5  rDev +15.9%
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!

Photo of IntriqKen
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.

Photo of tastybeer
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

Photo of rodrot
3.77/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

Photo of trep
2.69/5  rDev -34.1%
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.

Photo of plaid75
3.28/5  rDev -19.6%
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.

Photo of Kicksmile67
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%
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.

Photo of badbeer
3.86/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

Photo of Fugazme
3.96/5  rDev -2.9%
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!

Photo of waldowin
3.74/5  rDev -8.3%
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!

Photo of mdagnew
4.24/5  rDev +3.9%
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...

Photo of kmo1030
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

deep red brown with a thin tan head.
fruity rum raisin, with heavy caramel and molasses. there is a little bit of a sour-ish smoked peat character too.
lots of rich caramel followed up with slightly sweeter molasses, and then again rum raisin. a bit more smoked peat scotch flavors following things up than in the smell, which is most welcomed. finishes with a dry slightly grainy quality.
smooth with an almost full body with soft but adequate carbonation.
good drinkability with lots of rich, but completely not harsh flavors. this is a straight shooting, no frills wee heavy that i'm really liking. fans of the wee heavy style put this at the top of your "to drink" list.

Photo of SigEp
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out of an austenacious bottle emblazoned with some kind of ready-for-battle viking looking on. Nice amber orangey color in the glass. about 1 1/2 fingers of head that lace-out rather quickly.
now up and into the mouth. scent is mildly smoky, roasty,hints of alcohol and malt underneath. goes in smooth. tastes of a hop bitterness, although not overpoweringly so, certain dark maltyness, with a very dry finish that leaves a little smokiness in there to wisp about. It is a very nice version of this style. earthy and malty with a little tannin-like dryness in the end. A very nice ale, and certainly one of my favorite offerings of the Orkney.

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

Pours a clear dark coppery brown, with a quarter inch head that fades pretty quickly to a thin soapy cap and ring, and leaves behind some spotty lacing.

Smell; lots of rich dark malts, and a little chocolate. There's a definite peat presence along with some dark fruits, and a touch of alcohol.

Taste; the peat comes out more strongly in the flavor than it does in the nose, very earthy. A little chocolate and caramel, as well as raisins and plums make a nice appearance, and there's almost no hop bitterness. Even though I could smell the alcohol, I was unable to detect any in the flavor at all. Mouthfell is medium bodied and very smooth, wih fairly low carbonation. If this had just a little less alcohol content, I could probably drink a four pack of these in one sitting.

Photo of jongillin
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass to capture the aroma.
A: nice deep red color with small head that dissipates quickly.
S: rich aroma some earth tones and some malt. Caramel and sugar are also present.
T: full of flavor and the aroma does not disappoint when you take a drink. Leaves a caramel finish.
Mouthfeel: Really my only "complaint" (if you can call it that), light carbonation and a little watery. But, it is not bad and given the rich flavor and the complexity of the beer it does help it go down easier.
Drinkability: Great beer, but certainly not a session beer. As mentioned goes well with steak but can serve as sort of dessert beer as well. The sweetness would go well with chocolate (especially dark chocolate).

All in all highly recommended, but be warned it is a serious beer.

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

Poured into an Westmalle chalice.

A- Dark amber, 1/8" head disappeared with the quickness.
S-Smells fruity/nutty/earthy/carmel/burnt sugery.
T-Tastes like it smells + has a slight smokey flavor; this brew is tasty, but a definate sipper. Reminds me of a cross between a belgian dubble, a barleywine, and a dopplebock somehow. Starts sweet, ends dry. This beers has a unique flavor, underneath the booze, and I'm glad I tried it.
M-Mellow carbonation, medium mouthfeel, but it is obviously boozey, usually 8% alc. doesn't faze me, but this concoction is, for me, of the take it really slow one beer a nite variety....did i mention that it was boozey?
D-....hence the low score for drinkability IMHO.


Photo of libertygrails
3.33/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Rosie amber color, quite fetching really. Foamy white head halves quickly to a pleasant cloudy white 1/4". Lots of visible carbonation in the glass.

Smell: Walnut, caramel, candied sugar, musky/Earthy malts...akin to the finer doppelbocks.

Taste: The candied sugar from the nose holds onto the palate most for me. Nutty, caramel, malt and a somewhat singular metallic under-taste too. Possibly due to the carbonation.

Mouthfeel: Thin. Goes down easy which improves drinkability with the 8.5% ABV.

Drinkability: Very singular Ale. Not a "session" brew, but enjoyable. The carbonation sends the 8.5% to the noggin' quickly, thus an aptly named brew.

Overall, glad i grabbed a bottle to try. But prolly won't reach for it again anytime soon unless i see it marked down.

Photo of KyleVick4
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, my first scottish ale

A: Super clear dark brown color. Looks like a newcastle but a touch lighter. Pours with good head that clings well, the bubbles are a sorta off white color, to white to be tan, but to tan to be white...

S: Smells very malty and a little smoky. But the smokyness is closer to a burnt smell than smoke.

T: Very complex. Tastes carmel but then chocolate. Also has burnt, or heavily roasted, malts. A touch of hop flavor near the end, but only in the background. Kinda goes from tart/smokey to a sweet finish.

M: Medium bodied, a little to carbonated I think. Kinda bites you with the carbonation. not very syrupy, cant tell this is a 8.5 abv

D: Im a fan of it, but not a session beer. I could happily finish the first glass, but think there would be quite a bit of slowing down on the second.

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

A nice deep brown, almost coca-cola looking color, with a nicely lingering froth up top. Smell is quite sweet, with a malty backing. Taste is again sweet, with a hint of alcohol and malt, but finishing with a nice bit of hop bitterness. Seems to maintain an almost flawless balance of its characteristics, not to malty, not too bitter.

Quite a drinkable brew, definately recommended.

Photo of KarlHungus
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a dark brown color. The head is billowing and light tan in color. The aroma is of sweet caramel, butter and milk chocolate. The taste is of caramel, then chocolate, then caramel again. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with quite a bit of carbonation, perhaps too much. Overall, this is one of the best Scotch Ales I have ever tasted.

Skull Splitter from Orkney Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 1,907 ratings.