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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,192 |  Reviews: 1,005
Photo of wordemupg
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle poured into tulip 26/5/12

A clear dark amber with a stream of tiny bubbles raising up the side of the glass, loose cream colored foam retains well sticking to the side in thick chunky partial rings

S wet wood and mild peaty notes with some nutty toffee and candied cherry, has a nice mellow earthy thing going for it too, smells great

T as it smells but not as strong, the fruits not as sweet and there's some earthy hops and burnt brown sugar

M a little syrupy and sticky on the lips, creamy from the bubbles and a nutty aftertaste lingers faintly

O smells great and pretty good in every other area, very well concealed booze and just a smooth beer in general

yet another welcome addition to our shelves here in Alberta. I want to age a bottle but its already smooth and has no booze detected, not sure if time would improve it, for less the 5$ I'll find out anyways

 891 characters

Photo of bigbeers84
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of outdoor7or24
5/5  rDev +23.2%

Photo of adxss
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of ThomasMetal75
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

*Poured into a snifter, straight from the fridge*

A- Dark cooper. Very hazy. Some of the sediment is present, but the beer is so cloudy you have to stare at the glass to see it. Nice 1 finger head forms, but dies down to a rim around around the glass in a matter of minutes. Some carbination is seen, but not much. Lacing is quite prevalent!

S- Some kind of dark fruits, oak, bourbon, and a hint of vanilla. The scent also has a small amount of the alcohol-like spice to it.

T- Very malty, with a spicy note. Somewhat sweet. The dark fruits are noticed on the taste as well. There is a real nice citrus-type hop presence. A slight alcohol presence is detected, but it's not overpowering at all. Finish is moderately, not heavily, bitter. The finish is dry!

M- Medium to full-bodied. Velvety on the palate! Again, the finish in the mouth is dry and doesn't leave much bitterness in the mouth. A tad too heavy for me, but real nice regardless!

*Overall this was a nice change of pace for me. This is my first Scotch Ale, and so far, so good! I think the 100 rating by the bros may be a little steep, but I really think it's a great beer from Orkney Brewery! A+

 1,164 characters

Photo of Lee_Hancock
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of nicoga3000
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of UnknownKoger
3.05/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into Bruery tulip. Mild carbonation. Head reduces to ring around the glass. Appearance is a dark brown with hints of ruby.

At first, the smell is almost like a lager. I let it settle and then the sweet malts and dark fruits started to appear. Now it smells like a scotch ale.

Taste is pretty good. Again there's just that sharpness of a lager like Heineken somewhere present in the beer. This is followed by sweetness and mild bitter hops.

The mouthfeel is pretty nice due to the carbonation of the beer.

Overall, it's not bad, but it's certainly not my favorite scotch ale. Maybe I just got an off bottle or something.

 644 characters

Photo of aztraz
2.5/5  rDev -38.4%

Photo of rickski1981
5/5  rDev +23.2%

Photo of Tumble
4.75/5  rDev +17%

Photo of julian89
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

from bottle to pint glass, bought at work at Hop City ATL

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark reddish-brown body with a smallish, off-white head, quite good retention and some minimal lacing.

Smell: Sweet-smelling, with notes of caramel, milk chocolate, berriers, and brown sugar.

Taste: Pale malts stirred up with pleasingly, sweet tastes of dark caramel, brown sugar, and milk chocolate. The alcohol provides a slight warming sensation. The hops taste is very subtle. Finishes with a drier raisin taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Quite good really, as it sits the bitterness comes out a bit more.

 634 characters

Photo of seyton
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of sandflier
4.75/5  rDev +17%

Photo of TonyTalon
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of atone315
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of BubbaMac
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of IronDjinn
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a 330 ml brown bottle. Pours out a clear ruddy nut brown hue, tight foamy light beige head that slowly settles to a thick cap.

Rich notes of toffee malt, dates and figs on the nose, and something of a sweet vinous booziness, like brandied raisins.

Sweet toffee and some molasses up front in the flavour, dark dried fruit like dates and figs follows in the middle, with some sweet and bitter cocoa appearing on the finish, joined by juicy green leafy hops. Spicy, earthy hops linger on in the aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is medium-light, slippery, almost watery texture, with low carbonation.

Been a very long time since I had one of these, it hasn't been available locally since I started actually reviewing beer, so I can't really reference if or how it may have changed over a decade. Still rather enjoyable, especially for this style that can easily become cloying. Great malt character with just enough hops to keep it somewhat reigned in. Glad to see it available locally again, it's a classic.

 1,006 characters

Photo of edzo22
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of Chadster1975
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of Agent1
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Dark, dark amber in color with hints of ruby red. This beer is not very active. Not much head at all on this ale. No retention almost whatsoever. Little lacing. Rather dull in the glass.

Smell - Plum, figs, heavy malts, chocolate, but not much scotch on the nose. Overall, the bouquet is average. Not too complex, but it sure smells delicious!

Taste - Mild scotch notes (if any), figs, a little bit of bread, a sour yeast finish, Belgian candi sugar (although this may have not been added), roasted malts and barley malts, molasses, plum and dates. This is where this strong ale strikes with confidence.

Mouthfeel - All the bitter and sweet elements surprise the mouth. This stimulates all parts of the mouth, including the tongue and the back of the throat. Very nice and rich, leaving a warm coating all over. Quite syrupy with a nice dry finish.

Overall - I would definitely buy this again. It borrows mild characteristics from that of Trappist Rochefort, yet still remains less heavy (certainly less bready) and a little more scotch flavored. Very well balanced with lots of interesting dark fruits to enjoy. This straddles the line between Belgian strong ale and scotch ale, while still representing elements of a Barley Wine. I would not classify this as a "Scotch Ale" as it has been above. I feel like that's a tad bit inaccurate, but that's just me. Enjoy!

 1,383 characters

Photo of ggourde
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of 4Socialanxiety
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of theRooster90
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of StoutHunter
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I got a bottle of Orkney's SkullSplitter that my brother brought back from his trip down south. I have heard about this beer but never saw it till now, I'm interested to see how this beer turns out so lets see how it goes. No visible bottling date. Poured from a brown 11.2oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks clean and well done, I like the viking looking dude on the label. It poured a nice and murky amber brown color that took on a brighter muddy caramel color when held to the light and it had two fingers worth of off white head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and left some nice rings of lacing. This is a very good looking Wee Heavy, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with loads of malts that have a high amount of sweetness and impart a dark malt, caramel, toffee, and brown bread aromas. After that comes a pretty large amount of dark fruits with figs and raisins sticking out the most to make for a really nice dark fruit aspect. Next comes a slight amount of alcohol and some more light bready aromas. I really like the aroma of this beer, it's sweet and full of lots of nice dark fruits.

T- There are some similarities between the aroma and taste but they aren't as close as I would like them to be. It starts off with loads of malts that have a higher amount of sweetness and impart some brown and candied sugar flavors along with some medium roasted malts, toasted bread, caramel, and toffee flavors that were a little light. After that came a lighter amount of dark fruits with raisins and figs sticking out the most. After that I get a medium amount of alcohol that is a little warming and makes this beer a little too boozy. On the finish it had a lighter amount of medium bitterness, and a sweet and bready aftertaste. This was just an ok tasting Wee Heavy, I wish it tastes more like it smelled.

M- Not that smooth, a little warming, slightly creamy, medium bodied, with a lower amount of carbonation. Not too bad, just wish it was a little smoother.

Overall I thought that was an ok beer and I thought that it was a pretty average example of a Wee Heavy, it had a great look and aroma, but the taste seemed lackluster, it was like a very watered down version of aroma and that really held this beer back. This beer isn't that drinkable, with some warming alcohol and a high amount of sweetness, one bottle is just a little more then I would want. What I liked most about this beer was the appearance and aroma, they were both great. What I liked least about this beer was the taste, it was a let down and compared to the aroma it seemed watered down and rough around the edges. I wouldn't buy this beer again, they are plenty Wee Heavy's that I like more and are much cheaper, if you are really into the style it might be worth a try, but other then that I can't say I would recommend it. This was my first time trying a beer from Orkney, and I have to say I wasn't that impressed with and I wish the taste lived up to the aroma, so it didn't make for the best first impression, I would still try more of their beers, but I'm not too eager, better luck next time guys.

 3,137 characters

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