Skull Splitter
Orkney Brewery

Skull SplitterSkull Splitter
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Orkney Brewery
Scotland, United Kingdom
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
Ranked #20
Ranked #7,042
4.08 | pDev: 12.01%
Friday at 04:28 AM
Oct 08, 1998
Skull Splitter is one of our strongest beers, named after Thorfinn Einarsson the 7th Viking Earl of Orkney.

It is a sophisticated, satiny smooth and full flavoured beer. It has a rich fruity wine-like complexity with flavours of fresh and dried fruits, warm exotic spice and mellow summer fruity notes.

HOPS East Kent Goldings
MALT Pale, Crystal, Chocolate, Malted Wheat
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Photo of Cathartes
Reviewed by Cathartes from Massachusetts

3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Scotch ale for the national day of Scotland.

11.2 oz bottle acclimated to 48°F and poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a murky, medium, oxidized penny brown, with orange brown highlights, and ruby brown in the opposite side of the glass. Produces a 0.5 finger foamy, cream head, dissipating fairly quickly and leaving a fragmented ring of lacing with a few splotches.

This smells so strongly of beer! Initial aroma is very heavy on yeast, and it has a red fruity red wine kick to it, and some alcohol. Further investigation yields malty sweetness and an olive oil note.

After agitating, I notice a note of heart bread, with the same wall of yeast behind it.

Initial taste before swallowing is slightly tart, very much red fruity but like a terroir and not the actual fruit, note of bittersweet caramel, and sweet toffee and bread.

After swallowing a hefty dose of malt with some red fruit and some alcohol, followed by more red fruit, mostly raspberry I think, alcohol lingers a while. This is followed by a bitterness, growing rather quickly in intensity, and lasting into the finish where it mellows and is joined by a somewhat sharp, metallic dryness, which becomes heavily dominant when it's allowed to sit for a length of time. Drinking further, the alcohol is definitely noticeable, only very slightly unpleasant though not sharp, and not exactly bitter.

Feel is very nice, it has a definite thickness, and it's fairly smooth. The carbonation is nice, it adds a smoothness because of its fine bubbles after agitating.

Overall this is a good one! I've had it before but before I was reviewing. I would describe it as having (mostly) mellow flavors at a high intensity, which is something I enjoy. I want to highlight that all the flavors present worked very harmoniously together.

I'll buy it again at some point but it's not one I'm going to prioritize over trying something new.
Friday at 04:28 AM
Photo of brureview
Reviewed by brureview from Massachusetts

4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Unlike most wee heavies I’ve tasted- most are America on brewed.
Great pour- light amber color with a 4F head in a Gordon scotch ale glass.
Aroma is aromatic-malty, deep, earthy.
Very malty MF.
The taste improves with warming. The same earthiness, with some fruit.
This is more of a classic scotch ale approach. I am used to the fruitier, hoppier, sharp edged finish scotch ales. I like that style better.
Worth checking out for a different approach.
Oct 04, 2023
Rated: 4.18 by sentrytec from Pennsylvania

Sep 28, 2023
Rated: 3.97 by Rainintheface from Florida

Sep 09, 2023
Rated: 4 by cryptichead from Illinois

Aug 26, 2023
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Reviewed by DarkLordScott from Wisconsin

3.79/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
I have a history with this beer.

Pours a dark, reddish amber color, with very good carbonation and a less than one finger head. Aroma is like a combination of peaty earth and floral. Taste is not as carbonated as thought, with a buttery, caramel profile. Body is moderate, with a very slight sweetness.
Aug 04, 2023
Photo of MikeWard
Reviewed by MikeWard from Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
330ml bottle into a pint glass. Best before September 2024.

Hazy reddish amber body with a small off white head. Scattered lacing. Rich malty aroma with a hint of apple core. Strong sweet sticky taste with that apple core note. Finish is full and sweet. Strong tasty brew.
Jul 24, 2023
Rated: 3.88 by QuintusHorace from California

Jun 27, 2023
Photo of puboflyons
Reviewed by puboflyons from New Hampshire

3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
From a 330 ml bottle with a BB date of Jul 2024. Sampled March 25, 2023.

The appearance is a reddish amber color under a lacing-leaving tan head. Good clarity.

In the aroma, I really pick up a whole lot of red grapes and dried fruit. It is almost wine-like except for the grainy malt character underneath. Fruity hops I suppose.

Smooth light-medium mouthfeel.

The taste is somewhat sweet but there is a definite fruity bitterness that kicks in. When I drink Scotch Ales, I hope for peat characters but I am not getting that here. Still it is a decent enough beer.
Mar 25, 2023
Rated: 3.98 by npolachek from New York

Feb 26, 2023
Rated: 4.73 by Norman11361 from Scotland

Feb 21, 2023
Rated: 4.25 by arini10 from Oregon

Sep 01, 2022
Rated: 3 by prisdefer from New York

Aug 15, 2022
Rated: 4.15 by cbcrunch from Wyoming

Aug 01, 2022
Photo of Iamaskier
Reviewed by Iamaskier from Idaho

4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
L: Brownish ruby body, not really a head.
S: Sweet and wine like. Dark fruit, cherry, and a hint of bread and spice.
T: Rich, toasty, sweet. Upfront dark fruit, cherry, leather, and oak. Hops in the body bring a nice bitterness, along with hints of smoke and scotch whisky, followed by a slightly sweeter dose of cherry and a hint of cracker.
F: Smooth, full bodied, wet finish, alcoholic warmth after a few sips.
O: I was caught off guard by how much of a punch this packs. A great slow sipper, definitely able to hold its own against beers with double digit abv.
Jun 11, 2022
Photo of Kiiz
Reviewed by Kiiz

4.8/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
Bbe mar 24. Drank room temp feb 21.

L: Dark amber/brown with a light amber hue in the light. White ring for head.

S: apple, plum, fig, Sauvignon, spices, and other aromas. Mild hints of ethanol but not obnoxious at all. Very complex with many subtleties. Reminds me of fall/winter.

T: opens with a crisp tartness, like biting into an apple. Dark fruits flank the green apple taste. The taste morphs into a smoky roasted malt backbone with hints of citrus and barley. Finishes with a mild hop bitterness, barley, and again dark fruit. Very little if any ethanol.

F: velvet creaminess, moderate carbonation that doesn’t get in the way of its medium-heavy body. You feel the abv in your stomach a bit but it goes down very well.

O: I wish I tried this much sooner. It’s complex like a fine wine, has better taste than many cognacs, refreshing like apple cider, spice profile of a winter warmer, smooth like a stout. This may be the most well rounded beer I’ve ever had. A must try.

Edit: pairs exceptionally well with a lighter profile cigar
Feb 22, 2022
Rated: 3.16 by sbradley41 from Pennsylvania

Feb 04, 2022
Photo of JZH1000
Reviewed by JZH1000 from Colorado

4.24/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Poured from a 33cL bottle into my spiegelau tulip.

The looks are a bit less than expected in terms of head. About one finger of fine off white head shows up on an average pour (brand new glass). Color is quite beautiful a dark dark brownish red that is almost into porter territory but enough light gets through to give it that red tinted. Color is quite intriguing. In the crystal you can see above the foam around the glass there is also a small but distinct ring of alcohol like in a whiskey glass.

Smell is almost like a sam smith brown ale with a punch of powerful earthy yeast and a booziness too it. Nice and british nose, something I like a lot. The malts shine, but are also quite unique just smelling it.

Taste is similar to the nose but with some extra nuances and smokiness. It is also a more mild taste than the smell and quite easy to put down. The malt however is the main event here quite big and warm in the malt department. Also quite a bit of earthiness here too. It's a big beer, but the alcohol is not in the flavor quite surprisingly.

The feel is also very good here. Despite the head it is very creamy but the bubbles dont just explode in your mouth with each sip for a nice balance rich and full mouthfeel with a decent carbonation bite. Also after the alcohol disappearing in the flavor it comes back by bringing that warming feeling into your chest. Good, hearty, and smooth.

Overall a very good beer with only one minor flaw that doesnt actually affect the drinking experience. The head was a bit small but it did stick around and even so, head is only really an indicator of what's to come. Very good scotch ale and if it were american wed probably call it a winter warmer and itd be a damn good one at that.
Jan 31, 2022
Rated: 3.75 by Shenk87 from Pennsylvania

Jan 19, 2022
Photo of LanceBiggums
Reviewed by LanceBiggums from Canada (AB)

3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
Murky brown amber with a one finger head of fine off-white head. Large pieces of suspended wheat sediment floating around in the beer. Somewhat off-putting, even though I realise they list wheat in the ingredients. The aroma is the best part of this beer, with a bouquet of big malts, caramel and dark fruits, and a hint of ethanol. The flavour is good at first, complex, with all the notes teased in the aroma making their presence felt, but unfortunately the ethanol becomes overbearing towards the finish. I'm not opposed to high ABV beers or noticeable alcohol, as long as it's well balanced, and I would consider this one balanced a bit too much towards the ethanol. This also makes the feel a bit pricklier. Overall a powerful and complex beer, but not super drinkable.
Jan 04, 2022
Skull Splitter from Orkney Brewery
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 2355 ratings