Skull Splitter | Orkney Brewery

2,192 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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,192 |  Reviews: 1,005
Photo of AtrumAnimus
3.06/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This one pours an amber the richness of a dark tea with a thin short lived head that is light tan in color and leaves barely any lacing down the glass. Most likely due to the high alcohol content.

The nose is very sweet with hints of plum, bread and dark roasted malt.

The taste is very strong as one would expect from a Viking styled beer. I have no idea how these people could have been such great warriors with such strong beer. The beer is very bitter and is not well balanced with the malt. There is a lingering bitter aftertaste that is less than pleasant. I am a little disappointed because the appearance and the nose are far superior to the actual flavor of this beer.

The mouthfeel is actually acceptable and the alcohol is not overwhelming, which surprised me. I think the bitterness is increased in order to hide the alcohol. Which trades one negative for another.

Overall I can drink this beer, but I will be passing on it in the future.

 954 characters

Photo of marcsigs28
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of sneth019
4.75/5  rDev +17%

Photo of cortez
4.75/5  rDev +17%

Photo of andycyford
5/5  rDev +23.2%

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a large snifter.

A: In color it sits somewhere between ruby and brown. Khaki-colored head settles a bit, but never disappears. Lots of wispy and patchy lacing.

S: Very rich and inviting on the nose. Aromas of cinnamon and spices, Christmas pudding, caramel, vanilla, fig and baked apples. Brown bread and bread crust. Hint of black pepper. Hops are spicy and herbal. This is absolutely one of the best smelling beers I've come across to date.

T: Caramel and slightly burnt bread crust. Very toasty with hints of caraway and sesame seed. Herbal hops wield an impressive bitterness for the style. Dried fig and apple. Spike of peppery alcohol. Brown sugar. Slight molasses. Long finish of herbs and spices, caramel and bread pudding.

M: Thick and chewy in body with a slight viscosity that is cut by the moderate but prickly carbonation. Full and very well-rounded. Very warming and soothing. Very smooth.

O: This is one hell of a hearty beer. Highly complex and challenging on the palate. It gets a little rough and jarring at times, but in a good way. The 8.5% abv is felt. It drinks rather like a whiskey. A great beer for the dead of winter.

 1,174 characters

Photo of allhaildracula
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of rangerred
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle int a snifter.

Pours a hazy medium brown with a thin off-white head. Actually pretty decent head retention for a beer of this strength.

The nose is a wonderful bouquet of dark fruit and caramelized wort. Not really any hint of alcohol in the aroma.

The flavor begins with a rush of dark fruit that is very English in character. A caramel/burnt sugar character is also present in the background. Bitterness rushes in quickly and accelerates towards the finish almost to the point of becoming overbearing but it stops just short of this. Alcohol is present throughout but becomes more pronounced at the end although it is not unpleasant. Mouthfeel is pretty sticky but is balanced by the high bitterness.

Overall, I was really surprised by this beer and the depth of flavor. There is a really great balance between sweetness and bitterness with alcohol fairly well hidden. I would love to have this beer again.

 925 characters

Photo of generallee
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of SierraDeuce
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of jcarleton82
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of leansean88
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of freewill35
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of illini4x4
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of beerpadawan
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

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

Poured from a bottle into a signature Newcastle Brown Ale glass. I just love the label on this beer. That dude on the bottle means business. The pour is a beautiful dark brown and slightly murky. It almost looks like cola. There is a beautiful fluffy off-white head that dissipates quickly. The nose is very malty and a little fruity. You detect some dry hop aromas, herbal character and some chocolate.

Taste is pretty complex. It's rich and malty and has an earthy, grassy quality. I get nice flavors of bread, oak, nuts, leather, raisins, and dates. There's a little bit of alcohol warmth on the finish. Nice lingering smoky note on the finish. Lots of body and a very firm, slightly creamy mouthfeel.

Wow. This beer is a spectacular example of this style. It's really malty and complex and engages the drinker by constantly presenting you with new flavors. This beer presses lots of buttons on my palate. I'll definitely be drinking it again.

 948 characters

Photo of ajs4bd
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of LJWalker
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of SirIPAalot
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of muchloveforhops3
4.75/5  rDev +17%

Photo of SamGJr
5/5  rDev +23.2%

Photo of Scotthuller
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of danthehopslamman
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of Fuzzycuffs
4.75/5  rDev +17%

Photo of heygeebee
3.21/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From iPod notes

Pours a massive three finger off white head, over brown body.

Aromas of treacle, roast malts caramel.

Taste is dry and treacle driven, little hops present but a dry taste prevails. Caramel notes initially on back palate surprisingly but treacle burnt toffee takes over as bottle goes down.

Mouthfeel quite heavy, almost cloying

A well made beer but not the best Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy I have had

 416 characters

Skull Splitter from Orkney Brewery
4.06 out of 5 based on 2,192 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.

    Learn More
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.

    Learn More
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Learn More