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Skull Splitter | Orkney Brewery

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995 Reviews
Skull SplitterSkull Splitter

Brewed by:
Orkney Brewery
United Kingdom (Scotland)

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 995 | Ratings: 2,156
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 Cthulhusquid
3.84/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Poured into a Propolis tulip. Small cream head that disappeared quickly. Dark amber body, multiple carbonation streams.

Smell: Vinous light fruits and an underlying creamy booziness. Notes of caramel and earthy tea.

Taste: Vinous light fruits again, and earthy tea. Note of wheat.

Feel: Highly carbonated, has a low bitterness at the end. Slight alcohol burn as well.

Overall: Not at all what I was expecting. Granted, the only other wee heavy I've had was a smokey caramel mix so that probably skewed my impressions.

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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.

 605 characters

Photo of Gorilla_Biscuits
3.94/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Really interesting aroma it's hard to decribe, but it's nutty and fruity. It tastes like licorice, grapes, spices, and scotch. Pretty smooth, glad I had the opportunity to try this.

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Photo of Futbol15
4.89/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer was everything I expected and then some. I found it at a variety store as a single and thought it would be a great sample bottle to add to my build your own 6 pack....I should've bought 6 of these!

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Photo of Mlkluther
2.77/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

It seems most like this beer - I did it. I found it was overly boozy. It had a cloying sickly sweet finish. I found the overall flavour reminiscent of cough syrup. It's just not for me, I guess :-). More for the rest of you to enjoy!

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Photo of bbtkd
4.49/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had this once on vacation in Missouri, they go down real easy - too easy, great flavor. This was one of the first craft beers I had, consuming three (or so) with supper. Luckily I was on foot as I could not have driven. This beer provided two revelations that led me to craft; some beers are way over the standard 4.2%, and beers are regionally available. I am disappointed that I can't get this anywhere near my current home state. Would love to get my hands on this again, a great beer.

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Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.41/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bit murky looking, dark amber with no head, the smell is incredible, sweet bread pudding aroma. Taste is as great, sweet toffee up front with a nice dark fruit and malty flavour, followed up with the spices to give it great balance. This is better than i expected and good value too. Very good overall.

 302 characters

Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this out of a bottle last night up at the Cloverleaf. I'm not a huge fan of this style and with the late-season heat wave taking hold of this area this week, I wasn't quite in the mood for anything too heavy. This was high in alcohol but the flavors meshed well enough together to keep it well hidden while still staying smooth enough to go down relatively easily.

Nice dark almond hue to this with not a lot of lead and only trace amounts of lacing that mostly slid down the side of my tulip glass after each sip. Lots of roasted malt and dark fruit in the nose with both of those being present in the taste from start to finish. Fig and dates were prevalent too and there was hint of spice that seemed a bit woody in nature. Slightly sticky and with a trace of peat moss, this was a Scotch Ale from start to finish that seemed classic in nature and as a benchmark for other to emulate.

I would have toned the alcohol down a notch if possible but that's just my bias getting in the way of this beer. It wasn't too strong and it just took a bit of getting used to given the low hop presence here. Had there been snow on the ground or a Christmas tree present, this would have fit in a lot better. By itself, I enjoyed the nuances of this beer while appreciating the subtly of the roasted notes. Quite sweet and easily enjoyable!

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Skull Splitter from Orkney Brewery
4.06 out of 5 based on 2,156 ratings.
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