Skull Splitter | Orkney Brewery

1,001 Reviews
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

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,001 | Ratings: 2,179
Photo of MissGreen1987
4.54/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Good for two more months just opened
Floaties and very little ring, Slight alcohol taste, little carbonation, nice little buzz, would definitely try again

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Photo of JRed
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark Amber in body with off white head that clings. Aroma of dark fruits, spice, molasses, raisins. Tastes of dark fruits, molasses, raisin, spice, some pine, booze. Heavy body with medium carbonation. Gets the buzz going.

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Photo of spacecake9
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter glass.
A - Pours a clear reddish brown with a small white head that settles to a ring.
S - Aroma is all malt.
T - The flavor is caramel, maybe a hint of alcohol on finish.
M - Medium mouth feel and carbonation.
O - Definitely one of my favorite scotch ales.

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Photo of HamdenHector
4.19/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: cloudy - a lot of sediment floating; medium brown in color; 1+ finger reddish khaki head that receded to a thick collar; very nice lacing;

S: sweet malt; a little spice; a little alcohol; a hint of smoke;

T: sweet malt up front; caramel is predominant from the middle through the finish; a little nutty; very mild bitterness at the end;

M: medium to full bodied; moderate carbonation; lightly dry finish; pretty smooth considering the ABV;

O: really nice;

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Photo of NickTheGreat
4.46/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L (4.5) - A deep brown color, not black. Slightly clear, and yet cloudy at the same time. Very little head and dissipated quickly.
S (4) - Not a lot of aroma here, but a little bit of that sweet malt and then some raisin aromas.
T (4.75) - Tastes GREAT. Rich, earthy, slight roasted notes. A little alcohol taste, but not a whole lot.
F (4.25) - Slightly viscous, smooth beer. Not a lot of alcohol burn, but my bottle was a little old.
O (4.5) - I really like this style of beer, and this is a fantastic example of it. I'd kinda forgotten about it in my fridge, and I wish I had more.

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Photo of JustLikeMyDad
3.79/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a beer mug.
Pours a nice dark brown color.
Not much foam to speak of, does have some sit around the edge of the glass.

Smells almost fruity and sweet.

Tastes dark, roasted malt, alcohol.

Feels full, bold, and flavorful. Smooth carbonation.

Overall, a very nice beer, The tastes are more complex than I can describe, it's worth checking out if you like darker beers.

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Photo of dbl_delta
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle dated best by October 16 into pint glass. Pours a cloudy amber-brown with a light tan head. Initial impression is caramel and molasses sweetness, but this is nicely balanced by fruitiness. Mouthfeel is medium and the alcohol is well hidden. Very smooth and easy to drink. Slightly bitter finish, but still with overtones of caramel. Hard to describe, really.
I've tried quite a few Scotch Ales that were brewed in the US, and this one stands out from the pack. I must admit that I like the US-brewed ones better but perhaps my palate isn't sophisticated enough to truly appreciate the subleties of the true Scottish brew.

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Photo of tone77
3.63/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 11.2 oz. bottle. Has a dark brown color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of malts, dark breads, sweet. Taste is malts, alcohol, dark breads, fruits, some sweetness. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall a bit boozy, but still a good beer.

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Photo of deaddear
4.01/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle, best by July 18 (assume that's '18?). Poured into snifter. Pretty sure I've had whatever game the guy on the label is from on my phone.

A: Dark ruby/garnet, a transparent reddish/brown when held up to light. Moderate head settles down to a whirlpool-looking covering. Lacing is low to moderate, spotty for the most part.

S: Caramel, burnt sugar, bit of cinnamon sweetness. Plum/raisin. Alcohol has a slightly rummy aroma.

T: Cinnamon, burnt bread. Raisin/prune-like sweetness. Mild but not unpleasant alcohol burn.

M: Moderate body and carbonation

O: An enjoyable classic.

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Photo of Troy_P
4.92/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Red Coat Tavern was out of the usual Bellhaven Wee Heavy. Decided to try this one. Came in a bottle, poured into a nice cold glass.

Appearance: Nice head. Good creamy lacing. Wonderful dark, dark color.

Smell: Slightly fruity. Some caramel noted. Overall, a very positive beginning.

Mouthfeel: Rich and full body. Not as "thick" as expected. Very smooth. This seemed to be a bit lighter in the alcohol taste than the Wee Heavy from Bellhaven.

Taste: Nice malty profile. Wonderful complex notes which seemed to adjust slightly. Sweet caramel combines with some fruitiness. Nice finish.

Only wish I didn't have to stop at the second. Though, in truth, these were filling as well.

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Photo of Dmiller25
4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours with a subtle cloudy appearance, rich in amber color with a milky head. It smells like a wine and is very smooth. I enjoy the toasted malt and molasses favors.

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Photo of jahbless
3.17/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Wow! the burn is very apparent from the first sip. Tastes like hard liquor, definitely not like other wee heavy that I have tried. Would not buy again. 

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Photo of alarmclock314
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

11.2oz bottle, stamped BBE Apr 18. Pours transparent light amber with a large off-white head. Smells of white wine, sweet malt, apple, and floral hops. The taste follows closely with sweet malt, apple, fig, floral hops, and white wine. Some mild sweetness, dryness, smokiness, and booziness. Thin body and above average carbonation. Overall, it doesn't fit with other Scotch Ales, but it's still a tasty and complex beer. This is like a beer version of a good semi-dry white wine.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
3.57/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a black cherry with a thin bite head. Not a big smell other than malt and alcohol. Decimate alcohol taste with some Luther dark fruit taste backed by sweet malt. Black cherry coming through. Going to let warm up. Not my cup of tea
I guess.

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Photo of Wxb1111
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep rust color=. Tastes malty, with a nice raisin with complex flavors. Peat and a bit of dried fruit as well. Warming alcohol present. It really tastes almost like a thin barleywine. Not a bad beer, I get it when I see it. It's kind of costly for for such a small 11.2oz bottle. BTW I HATE the 11.2 os bottles...

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Photo of Social_Lubrication
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Look: interesting orange-brown. Cloudy
Smell: smells similar to a white wine. Hints of spices and sweet malt
Taste: tastes like apple cider but very complex and changing. This has a wine taste to it, spices and malts. A sweet beer.
Feel: highly carbonated, champagne like.

Overall a very tasty beer. I like it!

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Photo of k8kruk
4.16/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L - A bright, cheerful amber orange that's thick and cloudy. Not an abundance of foam and only a bit lingers, but what's there is dense and a perfect marshmallow white.

S - Madiera, alcohol, fruity notes and caramel.

T - Complex. Madiera and dried apricots hit you first with sweet biscuity malts and burnt sugars coming next. This is a very heady beer and while I enjoy it, you can really taste the alcohol.

F - Thick and smooth punctuated by carbonation.

O - Excellent and sophisticated, if a little too boozy. If you can get past the alcohol, its a really interesting and complex beer. Seems that the booziness is diminshed if you pour it out into a glass, I suggest that to anyone who takes a sip and double check to make sure they didn't grab hard alcohol or a fortified wine.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass. It pours a dark amber with rose red hues and a two-finger, frothy, milk-white head and some very impressive lacing. It smells of malt and peat but not much else. The taste is complex and pleasant: in addition to the malt there are hints of wheat, fruit, caramel, and spice. It has a tanginess and finishes slightly bitter. You can also notice the alcohol This ale is fairly light in viscosity and carbonation and it is easy to drink despite a relatively high ABV of 8.5% Overall, this is a really good Scotch Ale that has a true Scottish feel to it. I'd like to try this in a pub in Kirkwall.

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Photo of stevoj
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A kick awaits after you swallow, like a quick flash of scotch. Mouthfeel is overall watery, but aroma and flavor are quite sharp. Alcohol is apparent in burn, but taste reminds me of the whiskey barrel aged beers I’ve tried. Different

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Photo of ajilllau
4.56/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had an apple cider smell. It looked brown and earthy. It had a semi sweet taste with a distinguished scotch barrel flavor. I taste molasses and tea with figs. This is a fantastic beer.

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Photo of GuitarIPA
3.89/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Described perfectly on the bottle. Caramel, molasses, malt and warmth from the spice on the nose. Caramel, malt flavor with dark fruit. Reddish/caramel color with some particulates. Nice finish - sweet, medium body, and a bit of booze.

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Photo of tlema1
3.51/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: deep Amber color with a nice tan head
S: has that classic British smell, I can't define it, but I can't mistake it
T: malty, boozy,
F: should have more body and mouthfeel
O: I know everyone loves this, but it's not as good as I expected

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Photo of NotAlcoholicJustAHobby
4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L-Pours a deep clear dark brown with a creamy 1 inch head which recedes to a thick film with incredible lacing.
S-a deep malty aroma with peat and alcohol presence
T-Malt and alcohol right off the jump with the warming alcohol lasting until the finish twining with some peat in the finish.
F-light carbonation leads to a medium mouthfeel.
O- Really good wee heavy. The alcohol presence is a little stronger than I'd like it as it overwhelms the malt a bit too much for my liking. Glad I have a few more to let age and see how they develop.

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Photo of JetFeather22
5/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very nice looking light brown color, I have to say this i one of the best beers i'v ever had.. Not the best WeeHeavy, But this is for sure a world class beer...

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Photo of gr0g
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle. Mahogany color with a couple fingers of khaki foam. Impressive lace formation. Smells British and malty. Rich toffee and caramelized sugar notes. Super-ripe dark fruit character. Herbal hop notes. Malty-sweet flavor profile that's nonetheless well-balanced by hop bitterness. Light alcohol note on the finish. A bit of diacetyl that's characteristic of UK beers. Some rum raisin flavor. Mouthfeel is a bit prickly at first, but this subsides eventually.

This is an extremely well-crafted Scottish ale. Tons of rich, malty flavor. A must-try for anyone who's a fan of the style.

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Skull Splitter from Orkney Brewery
4.06 out of 5 based on 2,179 ratings.
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