Skull Splitter | Orkney Brewery

Skull SplitterSkull Splitter
2,205 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,205 |  Reviews: 1,005
Photo of seyton
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of sandflier
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of TonyTalon
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of atone315
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of BubbaMac
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of IronDjinn
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
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 +10.3%

Photo of Chadster1975
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of Agent1
4.04/5  rDev -1%
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 -14.2%

Photo of theRooster90
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of StoutHunter
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%
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

Photo of CaptainKirk12
1.25/5  rDev -69.4%

Photo of adevans
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - orange brown with modest head. excellent lacing.

S - dark fruitiness

T - High ABV present with dark caramel flavors and a slight pepperyness.

M - creamy texture with moderate carbonation.

O - easy drinker that leaves one satisfied and smiling

 251 characters

Photo of LocalPoke
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of whatname
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of macrosmatic
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of hopnerd
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Hopstimatic
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of chinchill
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle with a best before date of July 2014. Served in a Unibroue snifter.

A - Poured a medium brown with orange-red highlights and tones; clear; tan head is modest size and duration, but leaving nice lacing.

S - Dark malt, toffee, raisins and brandy: Inviting, but rather a bit tame compared to the flavor. High ABV evident.

T - the flavor quickly builds to a crescendo after the swallow, then tapers off, leaving a moderately bitter, mildly spicy and slightly smokey aftertaste with a solid base of dark malts. 4.25

M - Smooth and crisp, if slightly harsh and warm with its 8.5% alcohol. Medium-bodied beer.

O - A striking Scotch Ale, not to be missed by fans of this style. High ABV evident in feel, aroma and taste - a bit more pronounced than ideal - but this is a beautifully crafted beer in which the higher alcohol effects are an integral part of the experience. Flavor dynamics changed with some additional warming, becoming tamer and more refined.

 969 characters

Photo of tourdot
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of TheResidentialOP
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of bh123
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

Skull Splitter from Orkney Brewery
Beer rating: 4.08 out of 5 with 2,205 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.
  • Our Events

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

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