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Skull Splitter - Orkney Brewery

Not Rated.
Skull SplitterSkull Splitter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,822 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,822
Reviews: 926
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 12.75%
Wants: 135
Gots: 140 | FT: 1
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Skull Splitter Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,822 | Reviews: 926 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Agent1
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Dark, dark amber in color with hints of ruby red. This beer is not very active. Not much head at all on this ale. No retention almost whatsoever. Little lacing. Rather dull in the glass.

Smell - Plum, figs, heavy malts, chocolate, but not much scotch on the nose. Overall, the bouquet is average. Not too complex, but it sure smells delicious!

Taste - Mild scotch notes (if any), figs, a little bit of bread, a sour yeast finish, Belgian candi sugar (although this may have not been added), roasted malts and barley malts, molasses, plum and dates. This is where this strong ale strikes with confidence.

Mouthfeel - All the bitter and sweet elements surprise the mouth. This stimulates all parts of the mouth, including the tongue and the back of the throat. Very nice and rich, leaving a warm coating all over. Quite syrupy with a nice dry finish.

Overall - I would definitely buy this again. It borrows mild characteristics from that of Trappist Rochefort, yet still remains less heavy (certainly less bready) and a little more scotch flavored. Very well balanced with lots of interesting dark fruits to enjoy. This straddles the line between Belgian strong ale and scotch ale, while still representing elements of a Barley Wine. I would not classify this as a "Scotch Ale" as it has been above. I feel like that's a tad bit inaccurate, but that's just me. Enjoy!

Agent1, Apr 29, 2012
Photo of ggourde
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

ggourde, Apr 25, 2012
Photo of theRooster90
4/5  rDev -2%

theRooster90, Apr 23, 2012
Photo of StoutHunter
3.43/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I got a bottle of Orkney's SkullSplitter that my brother brought back from his trip down south. I have heard about this beer but never saw it till now, I'm interested to see how this beer turns out so lets see how it goes. No visible bottling date. Poured from a brown 11.2oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks clean and well done, I like the viking looking dude on the label. It poured a nice and murky amber brown color that took on a brighter muddy caramel color when held to the light and it had two fingers worth of off white head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and left some nice rings of lacing. This is a very good looking Wee Heavy, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with loads of malts that have a high amount of sweetness and impart a dark malt, caramel, toffee, and brown bread aromas. After that comes a pretty large amount of dark fruits with figs and raisins sticking out the most to make for a really nice dark fruit aspect. Next comes a slight amount of alcohol and some more light bready aromas. I really like the aroma of this beer, it's sweet and full of lots of nice dark fruits.

T- There are some similarities between the aroma and taste but they aren't as close as I would like them to be. It starts off with loads of malts that have a higher amount of sweetness and impart some brown and candied sugar flavors along with some medium roasted malts, toasted bread, caramel, and toffee flavors that were a little light. After that came a lighter amount of dark fruits with raisins and figs sticking out the most. After that I get a medium amount of alcohol that is a little warming and makes this beer a little too boozy. On the finish it had a lighter amount of medium bitterness, and a sweet and bready aftertaste. This was just an ok tasting Wee Heavy, I wish it tastes more like it smelled.

M- Not that smooth, a little warming, slightly creamy, medium bodied, with a lower amount of carbonation. Not too bad, just wish it was a little smoother.

Overall I thought that was an ok beer and I thought that it was a pretty average example of a Wee Heavy, it had a great look and aroma, but the taste seemed lackluster, it was like a very watered down version of aroma and that really held this beer back. This beer isn't that drinkable, with some warming alcohol and a high amount of sweetness, one bottle is just a little more then I would want. What I liked most about this beer was the appearance and aroma, they were both great. What I liked least about this beer was the taste, it was a let down and compared to the aroma it seemed watered down and rough around the edges. I wouldn't buy this beer again, they are plenty Wee Heavy's that I like more and are much cheaper, if you are really into the style it might be worth a try, but other then that I can't say I would recommend it. This was my first time trying a beer from Orkney, and I have to say I wasn't that impressed with and I wish the taste lived up to the aroma, so it didn't make for the best first impression, I would still try more of their beers, but I'm not too eager, better luck next time guys.

StoutHunter, Apr 23, 2012
Photo of CaptainKirk12
1.25/5  rDev -69.4%

CaptainKirk12, Apr 21, 2012
Photo of adevans
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - orange brown with modest head. excellent lacing.

S - dark fruitiness

T - High ABV present with dark caramel flavors and a slight pepperyness.

M - creamy texture with moderate carbonation.

O - easy drinker that leaves one satisfied and smiling

adevans, Apr 21, 2012
Photo of LocalPoke
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

LocalPoke, Apr 19, 2012
Photo of whatname
4/5  rDev -2%

whatname, Apr 18, 2012
Photo of macrosmatic
4/5  rDev -2%

macrosmatic, Apr 15, 2012
Photo of hopnerd
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

hopnerd, Apr 15, 2012
Photo of Hopstimatic
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Hopstimatic, Apr 15, 2012
Photo of chinchill
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle with a best before date of July 2014. Served in a Unibroue snifter.

A - Poured a medium brown with orange-red highlights and tones; clear; tan head is modest size and duration, but leaving nice lacing.

S - Dark malt, toffee, raisins and brandy: Inviting, but rather a bit tame compared to the flavor. High ABV evident.

T - the flavor quickly builds to a crescendo after the swallow, then tapers off, leaving a moderately bitter, mildly spicy and slightly smokey aftertaste with a solid base of dark malts. 4.25

M - Smooth and crisp, if slightly harsh and warm with its 8.5% alcohol. Medium-bodied beer.

O - A striking Scotch Ale, not to be missed by fans of this style. High ABV evident in feel, aroma and taste - a bit more pronounced than ideal - but this is a beautifully crafted beer in which the higher alcohol effects are an integral part of the experience. Flavor dynamics changed with some additional warming, becoming tamer and more refined.

chinchill, Apr 15, 2012
Photo of tourdot
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

tourdot, Apr 12, 2012
Photo of TheResidentialOP
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

TheResidentialOP, Apr 10, 2012
Photo of bh123
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

bh123, Apr 08, 2012
Photo of Smokey_Hamlin
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Smokey_Hamlin, Apr 07, 2012
Photo of Stalgondo
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Stalgondo, Apr 06, 2012
Photo of mungus
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

mungus, Apr 05, 2012
Photo of BuckeyeSlim
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into a New Belgium snifter.

A - Pours caramel colored into the glass and sets up a one-finger head that's fluffy and ecru, which disappears quickly and leaves a very thin sheen of lace and tiny bubbles around the edge. Beer is deep amber sunset orange and slightly opaque. Thin, constant stream of carbonation rises up the middle, leaving an island in the center of the surface.

S - Wonderful, full caramel malts. Rich and dark dried fruits, like figs or moist raisins. A suggestion of booze in the background. Breadiness almost suggests a light, coarse rye.

T - Rich, medium toasted malts mixed with brown, dark sugars, dark fruits, and spices, like muted cinnamon and white pepper. Hints of moderately dark roasted grains. Alcohol and bittering hops snap the sweetness off in the finish.

M - Good carbonation makes it somewhat fizzy. Complex structure with substance and good body. Finish is drier than nose and initial taste would suggest, and doesn't linger, although an echo of the toasted malts shows up later on the palate.

O - Very well put together. Boozy, but delicious. Malts, sugars, spices, and fruits are nicely balanced together as well as against the hops, which clearly exist to create a clean finish, but are not in the nose. A great alternative to a shot of single malt at the end of the day. More of a sipping beer, although two or three across a relaxing evening wouldn't be out of the question. Definitely worth having a four-pak in the fridge for appreciative guests. A sophisticated, amped version of the style.

BuckeyeSlim, Apr 05, 2012
Photo of WildHighlander
5/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is by far my most favorite of Strong Scotch Ales. It has a creamy maltiness that is very appealing. A slight peat flavor comes through and the alcohol content of 8.5% ABV complements the malt sweetness nicely. I had this at the Hair of The Dog pub in Chattanooga, TN and really wish I could get this in Oklahoma.

WildHighlander, Apr 03, 2012
Photo of mikepcarney
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

mikepcarney, Apr 03, 2012
Photo of GoodOmens1986
4/5  rDev -2%

GoodOmens1986, Mar 31, 2012
Photo of shelby415
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

shelby415, Mar 29, 2012
Skull Splitter from Orkney Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 1,822 ratings.