Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Skull Splitter | Orkney Brewery

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Skull SplitterSkull Splitter
BA SCORE
4.08/5
Exceptional
2,213 Ratings
Skull SplitterSkull Splitter
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Orkney Brewery
Scotland, United Kingdom
orkneybrewery.co.uk

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#2,314
Reviews:
1,009
Ratings:
2,213
pDev:
12.25%
Bros Score:
4.54
 
 
Wants:
207
Gots:
315
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,213 |  Reviews: 1,009
Photo of Tawny
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of ADTaber
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big, malty beer, with lots of caramel and sweetness. Very different from the other Scotch Ales I've had--a bit more in your faces. And why not considering the name? But still, while others are a bit more subtle, this provides a bold taste keeps you enticed and wanting more. Very tasty and glad I tried this.

 310 characters

Photo of mick303
3.89/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at the brewery.
A - dark chestnut brown, a good sticky tan soapy head, good lacing, dark thick body.

S - dark toffee maltiness, sticky toffee pudding, red fruits with cherries, nice rich caramel, molasses, rich and vanilla toffee, some coffee, a bit of a sourness and cloying aspect.

T - cherry syrupiness, sweet caramel start, tons of malty sweetness then drying alcohol spice, some herbs and nice dry mildly hoppy finish. Brown sugar, and sticky coffee, but a lot of sweetness allround. Long lingering finish.Complexity is good but the sweetness dominates too much.

M - big, malty body, yet a light fruity element, coating caramel feel. A coating toffee sweet feel, the carbonation is really slight a bit of soft refreshing crispness and the alcohol is not present at all.

Found this overly sweet with tons of caramel brown sugar dextrose but still some nice hop character coming through. It holds the alcohol strength really well but I was expecting a bit more from this, tasty and full bodied though, I have a bottle so will have to do a reappraisal soon. On the second time I still find the caramel and slight boozey sweetness to be a bit overbearing, it does have a lot of complexity and is a very good beer but Im left wanting more bitterness and crispness on the end feel.

 1,296 characters

Photo of swinyeju
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of 12packpoet
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.94/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

in many ways the quintessential scotch ale, although not my favorite one out there. it pours a syrupy dark bock color, dense, with a small off white head showing very little carbonation. the nose is peaty but not smoky like some tend to be. its alcohol is obvious, and its sweet grain is saturated with a toasted aroma and a very earthy vibe. no hops to speak of. the taste is like birch syrup or something lighter and a little less sweet than maple. the texture is like that too. earthy, right from the soil sort of autumn compost heaviness really challenges me in warmer weather, but I am imagining a cold snowy night in front of a fire, a much more enjoyable setting for this brew. I love the grain features, complex and rich. the feels is odd, but I like it. its thick, almost sticky in my mouth, lacking carbonation. American scotch ales have bastardized this intentional weight with high carbonation gimmicks and lighter grain bills, but this feels more authentic, although very heavy and hard to drink a whole bottle. it improves as it warms, and just takes me to the dead of winter. its a nice beer, but not the first scotch ale I would reach for, even though its authenticity is appreciated.

 1,200 characters

Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Clear copper pour with a tall tan head, very compact. Slow dissipation leaves rich lacings.

S: Sour and tart. Cherry kernel bitterness. Very rich and sweet maltyness - molasess. Dark dried fruits.

T: Rich sweet malt, caramell. Molasses. A bit sour. Dark dried fruits. Very complex. Some alcohol.

M: Full thick body and low carbonation makes this a very smooth beer. Aftertaste is rather short and very sweet.

O: A nice and complex Wee Heavy. The high ABV adds to the complexity.

 486 characters

Photo of Lanstrum
3/5  rDev -26.5%

Photo of Lpfanatic87
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of kyle86
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of WaterCzar
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of lonewolfcry
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of ZEB89
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of ajzy
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of zdeck37
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of cannunzi
2/5  rDev -51%

Photo of BeerForMuscle
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of RyanTheLion13
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of NightINgale
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of bigbelcher
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Great full bodied Scotch Ale, travels well from Scotland because of the high alcohol. Deep rich color with some red hues. Malty, sweet and strong. Very satisfying. Pairs well with a good steak. No hop aroma or flavor but there really shouldnt be ny in this beer. If you are looking for a smokey scotch ale well then this isn't it. It is clean and refreshing.

 358 characters

Photo of mikeincharleston
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of SpruceMoose
4.85/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

It's going to be extremely hard for me to not be ridiculously biased in this review. I love, love, love my scotch ales and I especially love Skull Splitter. It's my bloody avatar, for god's sake. However, after trying several other scotch ales, I decided to return to the good old Orkney brew and compare it to others I've enjoyed in the past couple of months. Almost nothing has changed (what a surprise, he lied).

Serving Type: 330ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: An aggressive pour leaves a dark-brown opaque body with a thick white head. Bewdeful.

Smell: Chicory, caramel, toffee, plum, apricot and wood(?) dominate the nostrils, with some subtle booziness unraveling itself as smelling persists. It literally begs for me to take that first, prolonged sip. Oh, temptress!

Taste: Wham! There's so much going on here that it's hard to isolate the flavours. Fruitiness, nuttiness, bitterness, sourness...it's all here. Wrapped up in a neat little bow (or glass?) for you to enjoy.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly light for a scotch ale, but not to the point where it comes off as watery and plain. The body is definitely there, but it takes a few sips to truly embrace the intensity of this ale. The taste throws the first punch, and the developing body is the knockout hit.

Overall: There's a reason I hold Skull Splitter above the many other scotch ales I've had, and that's because I'm biased. But why, you scream and point accusingly? Because it's simply everything you'd want in a beer of its kind (strong caramelised taste, decent strength, consistent body) plus more. Open a bottle, take a sip and split your skull. Split it beyond the point of repair. You won't regret it.

 1,701 characters

Photo of vicsju1991
3.25/5  rDev -20.3%

Photo of ramblinwreck101
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Skull Splitter from Orkney Brewery
Beer rating: 4.08 out of 5 with 2,213 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.