Skull Splitter | Orkney Brewery

2,195 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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,195 |  Reviews: 1,005
Photo of bobert84
4.39/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Wonderful spicy (sort of) taste. Loved it!

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Photo of akk14
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of RMW66
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jduprey007
3.89/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of soundaurora
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of MNAle
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Dark ruby with a tan to off-white thick head, leaving nice lacing. Georgeous aroma of cherry, caramel, nutty, and more, with some alcohol in there, too. Moderate feel. Complex flavor, fruits - cherry, raisens - caramel, earthy and sweet, alcohol is obvious but not overpowering in the taste. The finish has fruits, malts, alcohol, and some bittering. The taste is very nice and complex - there is a lot going on here that is difficult for me to describe it all, but the combination is a really good Scotch ale.

 510 characters

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

Photo of kitschiguy
4.61/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

330ml bottle poured into standard liquid retention vessel.

Cloudy orangey dark brown with an off-white head. Fades to a film that lasts with some nice lacing.

Nose has lots going on - fruit cake, dark fruit, spice, raisin, brown sugar.

Palate follows but with some bitterness right at the end - balance is good and a touch of alcohol coming through.

Mouth is very nice and full.

Overall a really great beer - lots of bang for your buck with this one.

Highly recommended.

 477 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.39/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The Orkney Brewery "Skull Splitter"
11.2 fl. oz. brown glass bottle, "BBE MAY 19" and sampled 24 March 2017
$3.49 @ Total Wine & More, Cherry Hill, NJ

Notes via stream of consciousness: Skull Splitter, the beer that started Philadelphia's "Split Thy Skull" strong ale festival. I haven't had this in a long time, like twenty-plus years. Let's see if it's as good as I remember. Mostly clear deep mahogany brown with a ruby cast. Creamy yellowed off-white head. Very nice. Aroma of caramelish malt, dark skinned fruits, spice, grass, and brown sugar. The flavor follows with even more dark fruit... fig... some black raisin... plum... date... berries, maybe low-level cassis. I'm not sure where the spiciness is coming from, hops I guess because the alcohol is very well cloaked. Or is it? It doesn't come off as "alcohol" to me and I'm not feeling any heat. It's a bit earthy and herbal as well. Dry finish with lingering fruit and spice, some residual almost-burnt-sugar maltiness, and earthy, herbal, and grassy hop notes. I remember it as being more malty - it's not, and in fact it's only medium bodied. It's dangerously deceptive in that it's really easy to drink. What's the ABV? Just 8.5%, that's not too bad. The weird thing is I used to think of this as a sipping beer, but tasting it now, I'd have one of these out at the pub with the lads. Just one, mind you, but it wouldn't slow me enough to not be ready for the next round. Back to the head, there's still a thin but solid surface covering and the lacing is quite nice. A definite thumbs up for appearance. In fact all around. The aroma is great, and the flavor takes that even further; and the balance is magnificent. Really good. A classic.

 1,708 characters

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

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Somewhat cloudy copper brown body with fine carbonation rising to support a light tan head that fades to a veneer and a ring with dots and webs of lace on the glass talk about a run-on sentence. The nose offers fruitcake, fresh and toasted bread, raisin, cherry, caramel and caramel malt, a touch of alcohol, in that order. It's diverse among a certain theme, if that makes sense. The flavor omits some of these components, focusing on the fruitcake, raisin, toasted bread, and alcohol, but still provides a rich palate with potent but understated intensity. Its earthy bitterness is considerable but the mild sweetness also makes its presence known. Body is medium weight, slick, with muted carbonation verging on flat, but it works with the array of flavors.
My scores are based on the prestige and style, otherwise I might overlook this beer and rate it .25 lower in each category. Regardless, this is a great beer that focuses on a set of flavors and explores them thoroughly. Between the label and the beer itself, when I'm drinking this I feel like I have one foot in Scotland.

 1,083 characters

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

Photo of Curt3
4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Jsalz21
4.34/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of VoxRationis
4.34/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Decanted into conical pint glass. Clear orange-brown color color with minimal head during the pour. Malty nose with hints of citrus fruit and pancakes; moderately sweet with notes of biscuit and peach, but gently bitter close. Medium bodied. Really an enjoyable return to my familial roots.

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

Photo of LisaAnnLynch
3.48/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Not bad, but a little thick and syrupy for my taste.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This pours brown, small head of foam.

Smells of maple, caramel malt, fruity, nutty.

Tastes of maple and caramel, nutty, toffee, slight cardboard.

Low end of medium bodied.

A classic and still holds up.

 209 characters

Photo of dadplusbeer
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L- deep dark, cola like redness in the glass

S- malty sweetness, currant, bready richness

T- cherry, overripe plum, earthy hops, malty sweetness with a bit of alcohol over the top palate cutting the sweetness with precision.

F- bright, carbonation is great, playful smoothness

O- A great malty change of pace for me.. this beer is great by a fire, and with meat.

 366 characters

Photo of HopsForBrains
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of PortLargo
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of mcouillard
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Tsar_Riga
3.96/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown body, slight transparency, short off white head, fades like cola. No lacing.

S - Strong hit of malt, sweetness and dough, a bit of funk, and warm alcohol. Deep cherry hints.

T - Following the nose, with fruit and sugar front, middle of bread and raisins, and a bite of acidity and cherry cola in the close.

M - Opens prickly, middle a touch thin, with smart carbonation.

O - A very tasty ale, with warmth and dark fruit. Perhaps a bit too much like a cherry cola for me, but it delivers on the name, so not a beer to be trifled with.

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Photo of sjccmd
4.26/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark fruit, rye bread, raisins in the aroma. Cola, sarsaparilla. Cooked figs. Light notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and blueberry. Subtle butterscotch.

Pours slightly hazy, dark ruby/amber, with a light tan/off white head. Ok retention and good lacing.

Figs and rye bread mingle on the palate. A touch more roast than was apparent in the aroma. Blueberries, brown sugar, and bitter molasses. Herbal, earthy hops with a firm bitterness for the style.

Medium full body with medium carbonation. Roast and hop bitterness linger on the palate, otherwise mostly dry.

Rich, robust Scottish ale. Lots of depth with complexities coming out more and more as it warms.

 657 characters

Skull Splitter from Orkney Brewery
4.06 out of 5 based on 2,195 ratings.
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