Skull Splitter | Orkney Brewery

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Skull SplitterSkull Splitter
2,233 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:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-08-1998

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,233 |  Reviews: 1,011
Photo of MyTBeerDrinker
1/5  rDev -75.5%

Photo of UncleNeighborChris
1/5  rDev -75.5%

Photo of bmf0
1/5  rDev -75.5%

Photo of Famousboot
1/5  rDev -75.5%

Photo of Melissa95385
1/5  rDev -75.5%

Photo of CaptainKirk12
1.25/5  rDev -69.4%

Photo of Chugmonkey
1.32/5  rDev -67.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I love the name of this beer, one of my favorite beer names ever. Smells strong, earthy, smoky, and medicinal. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy. Taste is intolerable. Drinkability is impossible due to thick mouthfeel and nasty lingering medicinal syrupy aftertaste. I could not finish it. This beer made me want to quit drinking altogether. Should be named Throatsplitter. I shutter and cringe when I see it in a store.

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Photo of harrymel
1.91/5  rDev -53.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 1.75

Best by Jul 17 (my anniversary, hopefully a good omen)

It's a good dark brown amber with a etched surface and some loose rim foam. Smells like butter, apple skin, a little bit of malt, some skunk (this died off as the beer warmed); really sad nose. Flavor is malt, rye, tomato, sweet hawaiian bread rolls, some astringency and on the breath after the swallow: booze and butter. Medium bodied and tight moderate alcohol. Profoundly unimpressed with this brew.

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Photo of ohiobeer29
2/5  rDev -51%

Photo of spoonhawk
2/5  rDev -51%

Photo of NickMunford
2/5  rDev -51%

Photo of cannunzi
2/5  rDev -51%

Photo of HopOnTheCraftBeerTrain
2.03/5  rDev -50.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Looked and smelled fine when poured into a glass, but holy cow this was undrinkable for me. Maybe I got a bad one, but for me this flavor was completely and not reminiscent of any other Scottish ale I have had. Very malty, but in a highly unpleasant manner.

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Photo of Brent
2.06/5  rDev -49.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

"SkullSplitter" is probably a good description of the hangover more than a couple of bottles would induce. I did not think the malt and hops were well balanced, it started fairly sweet but quickly gave way to a overly bitter hops finish.

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Photo of unklesyd
2.13/5  rDev -47.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Damn. Tasted like two things: my own lame attempt at a Scotch ale that I thought was infected because it tasted like Band-Aid brand adhesive plastic barrier, and Rogue's Chipotle Ale, the only beer I've ever taken back to the bar to complain about.

Way too much peat smoke. Enough to make me wonder: did they overload on purpose, or was this, like mine, infected. Because I could taste a very faint undertone of trad. Scotch sweeties, I have to think the prior is likely. Skull splitting? Indeed, because it tastes like licking a smoke-dried sock.


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Photo of Immortale25
2.17/5  rDev -46.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a Dogfish Head signature snifter. Bottle says BBE MAR 14.

A- Pours a murky, dark brown that's nearly opaque with 3/4 of an inch of head that retains a bit and then goes down to an 1/8 inch ring around the edge of the glass with nice lacing trailing behind it.

S- Smells metallic and glassy with a bit of skunk in the background. Hopefully I don't have another oxidized import on my hands.

T- Gah! That bites! Now I see why it gets the name. For a mere 8.5% ABV, this one packs a heavy punch of booze. I guess that's why it's a "scotch" ale. It's hard to sip since all I get is burning alcohol on my tongue and in the back of my throat. Struggling to find layers or complexity in this. The label says "deceptively light character" which I must strongly disagree with.

M- Stinging, dry and intense with medium carbonation. It's hard to not make an "ew" face as I take sips.

O- Yuck! I think I may have my second drainpour ever...

 945 characters

Photo of stirgy
2.18/5  rDev -46.6%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The appearance of this beer is superb. It poured out a clear and bright ruby, almost cherry color. It gave a big lacy head in the glass and had a nice carbonation. That's where most of the enjoyment stopped for me. The smell seriously reminded me of old wet bread dough and sour apples. There was a strange alcohol smell also.

In tasting, a heavy malt flavor was evident, along with some fruitiness. Any hop aroma was muted by the other flavors. There is an overbearing sweetness here.

This beer was actually hard for me to finish, which is rare.
Someday I'll give this one another shot, hopefully on tap.

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Photo of Marraybay
2.23/5  rDev -45.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Rats: Little disappointed in this one, given the build-up. Bourbon or sherry esque in both the nose and the taste, with a very prominent and overpowering boozy presence. The booze aside, not a fan of the undercurrent flavor either, which was medicinally sweet-harsh. Believe the end of the glass was the best part of the pour, so warming did perhaps help. Still, found Belhaven's offering in this style to be far more drinkable.

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Photo of SimplySinister
2.26/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A - Great looking beer. A beautiful red with quite of bit of carbonation. Plenty of lacing.

S - Smokey and woody. The malts came through far too strong for me.

T - I can relate somewhat to other reviewers when they say that this brew has some of the qualities of an English Brown ale. Initialy the taste does have some of the characteristics of an English brown, but soon after other notes begin to emerge. For me, it started out a little nutty and soon developed into a sickly sweet, overly smokey, malt-coated nightmare.

M - Thick and syrupy. Terrifying.

D - Its price severely limits its drinkability, not to mention its taste. Far too thick and far too sweet for my taste buds. Atrocious.

After reading all the reviews for this one I had really high hopes for it. That was a mistake; this beer was a monumental disappointment. I like to give every beer out there a fair chance. Sometimes I will even give a beer a few dozen chances before I make my decision. As far as this beer is concerned I just don't like it. I could go on and on about certain things I dislike, but I'd rather just leave it there.

 1,112 characters

Photo of edificio5
2.3/5  rDev -43.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Photo of BaronRVH
2.34/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Great looking beer. A beautiful red with quite of bit of carbonation.

S - Smokey but sweet. The malts are upfront.

T - I was very disappointed! I was really hopeful in trying this beer because Orkney has my favorite, everyday Whisky in the 12 years old. This was cloyingly sweet, over malted and almost flat.

M - Thick, not well balanced. Coated the tongue with no brightness on the finish.

It makes me have to think that the bottle got heated pretty badly on the trip across the pond and completely killed the balance of the beer. That's the only explanation I have because I have read some great reviews of this beer. Of course, I finished the 4-pack.

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Photo of Homebrew35
2.38/5  rDev -41.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a nice off white creamy one finger head. Deep reddish body fairly clear. Some retention with no lacing.

Smells like pencil erasers, some sweetness, fruityness and some light alcohol.

Sweet and carmely, slight dark and white fruity notes, medium to light peat. Slight alcohol warmth. The eraser/rubbery smell comes through in the taste as well. I'm not sure if this is an old or infected bottle but this is what I get.

Medium bodied, medium carbonation. Fairly coating and sticky sweet on the finish.

Overall this beer was a big letdown. I'll try it again someday to see if this was a limited occurrence. The rubber/eraser smell and taste did me in, down the drain this goes.
$3 a single

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Photo of Craftycrusherswench
2.5/5  rDev -38.7%

Photo of mintjellie
2.5/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Deep copper. Small and short-lived beige head, decent lace. Sharp, boozy aroma with light raisin and toffee notes. Tastes mildly sweet with notes of caramel, raisin, and dried cherry. Mild bitterness in the finish. It's boozy, and I find that unpleasant without some strong flavours to balance things out. Light-bodied with low carbonation. It feels thin, and I think it contributes to the alcohol coming across harshly. I didn't enjoy this beer.

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Skull Splitter from Orkney Brewery
Beer rating: 4.08 out of 5 with 2,233 ratings