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Skull Splitter | Orkney Brewery

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Skull SplitterSkull Splitter
2,263 Ratings
Skull SplitterSkull Splitter

Brewed by:
Orkney Brewery
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,263 |  Reviews: 1,025
Photo of alexsergio
4.19/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SierraNevallagash
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle - BBE Sep 21 - poured into a squat tulip pint at 65F.

Pours a very deep chesnut brown, with some mahogany highlights. Appears opaque due to how dark it is, but upon closer examination, it's actually quite clear. Two fingers of very sticky khaki foam sit atop, which eventually reduces to a film and a healthy collar. No visible effervescence.

On this nose: This smells sweet sweet sweet! Brown sugar, butterscotch, sweet malted barley, lots of cinnamon, stewed fruits, dates, baked apple, dried figs, plums, cherries, raisins, and some wonderful floral notes, maybe due to some mild hopping. There's honeysuckle, lilac, heather honey, more baking spice, a hint of light molasses, and maybe just a suggestion of dried ginger. A faint mineral, or perhaps metallic note on the back of it all. This is wonderfully sweet, deep, rounded, and complex on the nose. Lovely.

Palate: On first sip, it veers off from the nose dramatically. Malted barley, front and center, with a touch of light brown sugar. Quite quickly, a pronounced briny mineral note shows up. I could smell it in there, but it's bolder on the palate. I am getting some of those baking spice notes, but they're thinner and drier on the palate. There are some light hop notes, lending some florals and a touch of black peppercorn, but they're remarkably subdued, and the bitterness they give is quite restrained, almost in a way that says, "Wait, don't worry! I'm not American!". Not a whole lot of dried fruit character like the nose gives off, and it's not nearly as sweet either. It's still sweet, but not in the way the aroma suggests. There's even a flavor in here that reminds me so much of bourbon barrel, and if you told me it was barrel aged, I woukd say, "Yeah, I definitely get the barrel note". Some dried orange peel, and some earthy, grassy notes. It finishes drier, with faint lingering florals, some dry bitterness, and a subtle earthy flavor that I can't pin down. I do not believe this is peated, but I can't be sure.

Mouthfeel: Texturally, this is on the wee heavy side of a wee heavy. Rich, creamy, slightly viscous, sticky, and just the faintest touch of effervescence - just enough to feel on the very top of your tongue, and nowhere else. It's not so thick that it's cloying, but it's definitely rich with a nice viscosity.

Overall: This is a nice scotch ale. It embodies the heart and soul of the style. I would have liked to see a little bit of peat smoke going on, but as always, that's simply wishful thinking. It does have a little flair of that unique island scotch maritime character, which is always welcomed. Honestly, it's a perfectly good scotch ale on the palate. The problem for me was, that damn nose really gets you worked up. It's so exquisite on the nose, that the palate just lets you down a little. Had the aroma translated to the flavor - with some more sweetness, all that dried figgy fruit character, the florals, and a little less bitterness, this would be a home run. As it is, it's a perfectly good scotch ale worth buying, if you're into scotch ales.

 3,077 characters

Photo of Mugman8
4.21/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours to deep ruby hue with a modest creamy head and lacing. The strong alcohol content is evident but not overwhelming. Taste is smokey and bold but with a sweet, smooth finish. I love this brew and this style. Will be buying again!

 233 characters

Photo of BeardedWalrus
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Scottsbeer
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Gajo74
4.09/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear amber brown color with hints of ruby. A moderate head dissipates and yields a creamy layer of film and foamy lacing throughout. The carbonation is visible.
The nose first yields estery dark fruit aromas redolent of red grape, raisins and plum. Aromas of toasted and caramel malts. Furthermore, there is a light peaty and tobacco aroma, as well as mild notes of floral hops.
The taste is rich with toasted malt and caramel/toffee flavors. However, to its credit, i would not describe this beer as overly cloying or sweet due to other balancing factors. The dark fruit esters, red grape, plum and raisin, add a vinous quality. Although malt forward, there is actually a developing hops profile that adds a light bitterness, spice and floral and grassy flavors. There is also a bit of peat and smoke.
Medium to full bodied, moderately carbonated and very smooth. The alcohol is unbelievably well masked yet provides a nice bit of spice and warming in the finish. The finish is also nice and dry with a bit of hops bitterness and clean alcohol linger.
This was such an easy drinking beer that was a great example of the style. I particularly love that it wasn’t too sweet.

 1,186 characters

Photo of CoasterGuy
3.64/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of rex_4539
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Very dark amber color, quarter finger off white head, messy lacing, light carbonation.

S: Sweet, malts, alcohol. Smells wonderful!

T: Sweet, malty, alcohol. Nice!

F: Medium bodied, lots of flavor, good drinkability.

O: Pleasantly surprised by this one. Very good.

 270 characters

Photo of chitoryu12
3.94/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Mud brown that lets a little light through. Half a finger at best of white head that quickly turns into a ring around the glass.

Smell: Sweet, doughy malt. A little cherry and brown sugar.

Taste: Starts mild with some slightly sweet malt, moving into more doughy and bready notes. Very mild hop fruitiness without any noticeable bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Thick and full-bodied, with relatively minimal carbonation.

Overall: Easy to drink, but lacking in complexity.

 472 characters

Photo of c014572
3.89/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Brutaltruth
4.09/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

An old favorite and one delivered from across the pond via our UK friend Keith! Cheers!
This classic ale pours a muddled amber tinged brown with a nice head of off white foam
that settles to a thick ring, thin light pool, and displays some nice light lacing. Nose of
dark breaded malts, hints of cherries, light phenol notes, and brown sugars. Flavors
surpass the nose with light cherry tinged brown sugar and dark breaded malts with
light herbal notes and earthy woodsy undertones with a subtle English yeast note.
Nice mouth feel; medium body, low carbonation, smooth, and a lightly warming
and subtly sweet finish.

Overall excellence from Scotland.


 669 characters

Photo of travelguy
4.24/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of sokol_1993
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Taste like a Belgium beer, actually. However, less depth than a Belgian one.

76 characters

Photo of Amendm
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2-oz. bottle needed a moderate pour for a finger sized short lived light tan head with minimal lacing.
A little cloudy from chill haze at first, quickly clears up to a deep ruby/amber color, yellow/amber in front of light. Abundant sweet malt controls the smell with wood, apple and alcohol in the background.
Taste features roasted malt, a bit bitter at first as caramel malt, raisin and apple sweetens the middle.
The long finish is semi-dry with a slight smoky bite, rich malts are blended (semi-bitter/sweet), faint hops. Medium-light body with lower that average carbonation, smooth and a little chewy. Alcohol is well hidden. Smooth and well balanced, almost session-able. Big malt flavors on top of a lighter feel.

 724 characters

Photo of mothmanscott
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes 1/8/12: Pour a deep bronze with particulates producing a 1 inch tan head and leaving only a little lace. Aroma is rich caramel, dark fruit, toasted dark bread, alcohol and delicate hops. Sweet and boozy taste is similar with an earthy hop character coming in at mid-sip and knocking the edges off the sweetness until it fades to a dry finish. Mouthfeel is medium-full and mellow with moderate carbonation, relatively smooth. Much more complex than this short review reveals.

 485 characters

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

Photo of jkblr
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330mL bottle BBE June 2020 poured into a teku glass at fridge temp 8.5% ABV. The beer pours slightly hazy medium brown in color with khaki head. The head recedes to a fat ring around the glass. There is slight lacing left behind. The aroma is toasted malt, caramel and fruit. The taste is semisweet caramel with a yeast driven fruitiness and mild bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium to thin bodied with less than medium carbonation and a semi dry finish. Overall, very good. I was expecting smoke and peat and instead found high level of fruity esters and a really enjoyable beer. Drinks more like a Belgian beer.

 622 characters

Photo of Milktoast75
4.24/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

11.2 oz bottle. Light caramel color foamy head disappears quickly. Chunks of lacing holding tight.
Malt, alcohol scent.
Nice warm alcohol rush on my first rather large taste. Dry almost slight tart bitterness with a delightful warm alcohol finish. Warmth remains as does a very slight fruity aftertaste. A very light feel with a sparkling carbonation.
I enjoy wee heavies and scotch ales very much. This is a strange one for me. I’ have had richer more full bodied, more earthy tase beer. This is nothing like that. But very good. A unique delicious beer more than worthy of a try.

 583 characters

Photo of todd9w
4.34/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of mark5692
3.13/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3.25

The smell of this beer is just of straight liquor and its great. The negatives for me are that I feel like the taste has so much going on that it loses its potential. I also wish it had a bit more carbonation because the after taste is similar to watered down wine. Don't get me wrong, it tastes good, I just wish it was a little more simple. I would try it again for sure.

 373 characters

Photo of LiquidEgo
3.87/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of papposilenus
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From an 11.2oz bottle, best before Jun 20 of some unspecified year. Or maybe 20 is the year. Served in a cervoise.

Pours a mostly clear leather or maybe burnt caramel colour with three fingers of tight, pouffy, beige head. Retention is excellent, leaving fat wads of gobby lacing.

Smell is malty sweet with notes of warm wood and apple peels.

Taste largely follows the nose, sweet, warm and woody with caramel apple, tobacco, dates, brown sugar and gingerbread. Or maybe sticky date pudding. Ends quick and clean.

Feel is smooth, sweet-but-not-sticky and surprisingly light bodied with better-than-adequate carbonation. There's an enormous, comfortable, vanilla booziness that smoulders in the gullet long after the last sip.

Nice. Sweeter than what I might ordinarily drink, comparable to Coca Cola, and I'm suddenly worried about tooth decay. Actually, now that I think about it, here at the end of the glass, the overall impression and aftertaste is, in fact, roughly similar to having just had a rum and coke.

 1,018 characters

Photo of Can_if_you_can
4.09/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of dsippel
3.67/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Whiskeydeez
3.54/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

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Skull Splitter from Orkney Brewery
Beer rating: 4.08 out of 5 with 2,263 ratings