Skull Splitter | Orkney Brewery

999 Reviews
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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Reviews: 999 | Ratings: 2,176
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 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.

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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.

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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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Photo of Cannibalgasm
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle.

A: Pours a hazy deep amber with ruby hues. One fingers of frothy beige head retains itself for a fairly long time before settling. Leaves behind some excellent lacing.

S: Sweet bready malts initially, then notes of fig, plum, caramel, dark fruits, and dates. The scent of pear and apple are also detectable as well as some brown sugar and earthy spiciness from the hops.

T: Caramel and sweet malt flavors up front, followed by flavors of fig, raisin, plum, and dates. Then a subtle spiciness and bitterness from earthy hops melding perfectly with a brown sugar like sweetness. A complex and delicious flavor lingers on your tongue making for a pleasant aftertaste.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate levels of carbonation. Incredibly smooth with a nice creamy finish that leaves a thin layer on your tongue for a bit. Alcohol is just noticeable enough serving as the perfect balancing factor for your palate.

O: A truly special brew. This is definitely a memorable ale. A perfectly balanced scotch ale with a wide variety of aromas and flavors melding together perfectly. I would have to say this is the best scotch ale I've ever had. I plan to be re-visiting this great beer frequently.

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Photo of TH28
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle. No date on bottle. Appearance: Deep ruby red and clear, with a thick khaki head. Aroma: Crystal and bready malts, withy fruity yeast notes of pear and apple. Taste: Caramel and bread crusts up front, giving way to richer notes of raisin and plum, with a hint of spice. Mouthfeel: Medium body with a moderately high carbonation. Higher than I was expecting for the style. Alcohol warmth is strong. Finish: spice and alcohol warming on the finish, with some lingering raisin and fig. Overall: A deep and rich Scotch Ale with strong dried fruit flavors, and spicier than it’s style counterparts.

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: Pours hazy amber crowned by a 1” cream colored foam collar with a very fine bead. Dissipates to a thin film leaving light, delicate lace.
S: Plum and caramel.
T: Drier than it looks and smells with dark malt sugars, prune to plum and a lingering caramel malt loaf aftertaste.
F: Very smooth and alcoholic with medium low carbonation and a medium to medium full body.
O: A big, full flavored and well balanced wee heavy.

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Photo of Jeffsta1
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Red-brown beer, looks unfiltered. Color not convincing of "skull splitting" potential - should be darker. Pretty, rich head with exceptionally fine foam. Good persistence.

Smells almost fruity, like a Belgian ale. Caught me off guard.

Flavor is quite dry. Not much on the midpalate. Reminiscent of a Cremant de Bourgogne, just not as flavorful as Champagne. Complex, malty, but very subtle.

Rich mouthfeel, just lovely.

Not much of a finish, but what there is is high quality.

Some very good stuff and some decent stuff in this beer, but doesn't entirely come together as 'great.'

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Photo of GerryPendry
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A bit thin, I prefer my wee heavies to be a wee bit more chewy. A bit boozy, harsh, and expensive compared to some other examples of the style. Nice malty flavor though, with a little roasted barley, a hint of smoke, and just a touch of hop bitterness. A classic, or maybe even a benchmark, that's definitely worth a try.

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Photo of Marraybay
2.23/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Rats: Little disappointed in this one, given the build-up. Bourbon or sherry esque in both the nose and the taste, with a very prominent and overpowering boozy presence. The booze aside, not a fan of the undercurrent flavor either, which was medicinally sweet-harsh. Believe the end of the glass was the best part of the pour, so warming did perhaps help. Still, found Belhaven's offering in this style to be far more drinkable.

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Skull Splitter from Orkney Brewery
4.06 out of 5 based on 2,176 ratings.
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