Skull Splitter Ale | Rogue Ales

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Skull Splitter AleSkull Splitter Ale
Very Good
53 Ratings
Skull Splitter AleSkull Splitter Ale

Brewed by:
Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 53 |  Reviews: 50
Reviews by freed:
Photo of freed
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The kegs had been drained by the time we got to OBF on Saturday, but many more kegs appeared on Sunday, and this beer poured all the way until closing!

Speaking of pouring, this demon was a dark, opaque mahogany. The flash of foam on top was a deeper amber than most of the beers of that style around. The aroma was amazingly hoppy, and my brain nearly shorted when I smelled an IPA, but saw something completely different. The aroma was of very fresh hops, a mixture of citrus and alfalfa. The taste also was pre-empted by a big fresh hop taste and clean bitterness. I'm uncertain what the IBU level was, but it didn't overwhelm the other flavors that started to appear after the rush of hops. Bitter chocolate and peat, wonderfully roasted dark malt flavors were left, and finished the taste of beer. A dry, cocoa sensation was left in the mouth. This was not an easily drinkable beer, and after a full 12 oz, it was nearly nap time.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of chOAKbarrell
3.28/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I got to try this one on tap at Max's in Baltimore last night. A somewhat interesting offering. It was either listed wrongly on the beer list, or hadnt been listed at all yet. I saw the tap handle, and in the midst of my indecision I decided to just go with the Rogue.

I really had no idea what kind of beer this was supposed to be. I found it hoppy, but not on an IPA level. But then again, it seems most Rogue beers have the overly hoppy quality to them. If it is supposed to be a porter, then I dont think it was a very good interpretation of the style.

John's Locker Stock was pretty smooth and drinkable, but I dont have a lot of interest anymore in beers where the most noticeable characteristic is the hoppiness, so consequently I found this pretty forgettable.

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Photo of TheBCrew
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had a 20oz pint at The Blue Tusk in downtown Syracuse. Pours a deep black with 2 fingers of tan head that dissipates leaving moderate lacing. Roasted aroma with a hint of hop pine. Taste is basically like the Brutal Bitter with a good amount of chocolate malt added. Bitter, very dry and roasty flavor. Medium to heavy bodied with the dry finish lends to good drinkability.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.38/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mahogany red for color, off white head. Some caramel on nose. Deep roasted caramel for flavor and alcohol is noticeable. Cask woody notes and some burnt cherries stand out along with some breadnotes. Decent beer but is dominated mostly by a huge caramel backbone and alcohol. Good alcohol spiciness and drinkability.

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Photo of oracle
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gravity Head 2006 at Rich O's

Beer arrived looking a lot like a porter, deep dark and mysterious. Very small head that left no lacing at all.

Smell was more like an IPA, with big hop and small citrus characteritics.

Flavor is quite strong, mildly hoppy, with a sweet middle and some carmelized malts as well.

very unusual beer, but quite good.

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Photo of lou91
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer looks like a stout but smell is of a double IPA. Dark but with a light head. Taste is of intense hop flavors and a nice malt backbone but hops dominate. The taste is lingering with a mild alcohol warmth. Herbal, rich and a funky porter base. Bought this at the Rogue Bar in San Francisco.

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Photo of wcudwight
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at the Olde Hickory Tap Room.
Dark brown with amber hues at the bottom of the glass. Dense head and lace covers the entire glass. Smell is of roasted malts, sweet, and somewhat fruity. Not really what I expected but good. Taste is of chocolate malts and fruity with some mild bitterness at the end. Again not what I was expecting but good. It's really not that bitter. Feels very crisp in the mouth and is drinkable. Overall this beer was nothing as advertised but a very good beer that I will order again.

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Photo of Tyrawlings
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of frank4sail
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

As with other reviews my bottle says "Skull Splitter Ale - Test Batch #2." No other info on it...

Juicey fruit nose with a big beige head and a very carbonated look. Piney green hop grapefruit initial taste followed by a biting big abv slight nut and smoke finish. A little peat is thrown in there as well. Big bold and bitter. Good but not completely balenced on the malt side. The mouth is dry and maybe slightly lite.. Its errors are to the hop strong side so... for me that is ok.. it is a flavor explosion in the mouth.. but just a little too much..

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Photo of SurlyDuff
3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this one at the Rogue PublicHouse in the Portland airport. THick soapy frothy beige head with tough lacinhg. Dark roasty chocolate and malty goodness.
Bitter dry hop presense hits the tough and cuts through the super dark malt. Short bitter finish and a really good drinker.

Tastes almost like a blend of two beers, then a unique brew. It's like they mixed their brutal bitter with a porter. Good, not great

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Photo of TheEclecticGent
2.31/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Every 15th of each month my favorite watering hole has a “Rogue 15th” day, where they offer a special Rogue beer every month. This time it was “Skullsplitter”.

A: This is a thick little high gravity beer. It pours into a small pint “sampler” glass a very dark brown with a minimal tan head that has little lacing.

S: Yikes, I can smell the hops from a good distance away.

T: This is not an easy beer to drink. It’s HOPPY. The stout flavor comes through but the hops slam against my taste buds. This is a sipping beer. After a while the hops seem to smooth out and balance with the stout toasty flavor (or did my taste buds die from the hops?)!

M: Mildly carbonated and fairly heavy on the tongue.

D: Like I said above, not an easy beer to drink, more of what I'd call a sipping beer. Cannot say I drink this beer everyday. I’d say rarely. However, I’m very honored to try this beer.

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Photo of GreenWBush
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice find! Served on-tap at Rich O's public house in New Albany, Indiana.

This comes to me in a very-appropriate for driving 10oz. goblet. The beer itself is russet with ruby glints, dark and imposing. 1/2" head that goes down to nil but leaves a good amount of remaining lace.

Nose is uber-clean, Pac-man yeast gobbled beefy maltiness. The waiter described as a scotch definitely seems much more a Strong ale, but some of those characteristics are here.

Taste reminds me of a hugely-hopped scotch ale, a hoppy English barleywine, and an American IIPA all at once.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are dangerous...silky smooth, hoppy, balanced, goblet wasn't enough. But it had to be. Maybe i'll see this again.

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Photo of twelvsies
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is another beer I thought I'd never find out here on the east coast, but sure enough, it's on tap right now at the Sunset Grill and Tap in Allston. The regular Brutal Bitter is one of my all-time favorites, so I've always wanted to try the black version. This is definately a very "manly" beer to drink. It reminds me of something pirates would drink. First of all, I wouldn' t call this a porter at all. It's one of those beers that sort of crosses over boundary lines, much like the regular Brutal. Appears to be pretty damn black to me, maybe a hint of dark brown coming through the light. Smell is dusty and malty. Taste is the most bitter beer I've ever come accross, hands down. You really have to have a high tolerance for bitterness if you're going to like this beer. Luckily, I love bitter beers. Ha, if those Keystone commercials could see us now... Under the relentless bitterness is a nice malty flavor, subtle hops, and oddly a nice milky creamy taste that doesn't seem to fit the bill, but really adds a nice and unusual quality to this beer. The mouthfeel is dryer than dry, and pretty light for this kind of beer. I really liked this beer, but like I said, get ready for something truly Brutally Bitter. It's a killer.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this on tap in Wankers Corner Saloon in Wilsonville Oregon.
Nice dark, dark brown beer with an attractive large creamy/rocky tan head.
The aroma is dominated by the hopping ,but you can also discern the roasty malts in the background.
Very intresting flavour profile to this beer it is at first taste very hoppy almost as hoppy as the original Brutal Bitter, but on the 2nd sip the roasted , dark coffee taste of the malts shows through more, long lingering bitter liquorice after taste.
Quite complex palate to this, smooth at first then rather rough and ready in the end.
Very unusual beer a ESB/porter hybrid, but I found it most drinkable.

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Photo of rarbring
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A hazy amber brew, an off-white head, little lacing, good curtains.

Hay, grass, nettles, and sour milk.

Tasting of toffee, brown bread, porridge and then grape-fruit peel.

Little carbonation, coarse texture, medium body, a very dry finish.

Balanced, almost APA.

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Photo of granger10
3.82/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Comes in a snifter with a murky brown color, blackish in the middle and auburn on the sides but mostly brown. Head was faint and soon nothing at all.

On the aroma all I could get was this fruity pine resins. As it warmed a bit of roast but that's it. It was a good aroma but quite sharp on the hops.

Taste was more complex but also quite intriguing. Very roasted up front with stout characteristics. Some grain and toffee compliment it but soon the roasted character gets dominated by the hops. Tons of hops. Quite brutal as well. A bit of toffee sticks around but the piney hops are in full force. At first the hops lend a citrus and juicy character. But in the finish its pure biting bitterness. Nothing offsets it. I'm left with a pine needle taste in my mouth.

Mouthfeel is moderate. The flavors don't really meld and there seems to be no true class to this beer. Yet the intensity is enjoyable and what I'd expect from a Rogue specialty beer.

As for drinkability, this snifter too awhile and I was good after that. Enjoyable but this beer kicked my ass. I could see how people could love it or hate it. I'm inbetween.

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Photo of charlzm
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Consumed 06/19/08 during Lucky Baldwin's IPA fest. Called "Rogue Black Brutal Bitter Anniversary" at that time.

This beer is, as advertised by the name, black. I couldn't see any highlights at all. A thin, light tan head was present when the beer was presented to me in a pint glass. This quickly became a skin of foam that remained throughout.

No aroma at first, but when the beer warms, a dark roasted chocolate malt aroma appears.

This brew is a little thin in the mouth.

The first flavor is a smoky malt character, more in line with a stout or porter than a DIPA. Smooth. However, there is a significant bitter aftertaste. A metallic note is present at first, but as the beer warmed, it disappeared.

Sort of splits the difference between a stout and an IPA. Interesting, but Stone XI is still tops in this emerging style.

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Photo of matthewfuchs
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in a pint glass. Mahogany in color. Heavy mat flavor with a bitter hop bite at the end. I couldn't get a smell due to someone smoking a cigar right next to me, thanks a lot. Medium heavy body. Overall an ok choice to try something a little different.

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Photo of John_M
3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Have to say I was not overly impressed with this beer. The beer is very dry, with not much malt sweetness present. Frankly, it could have used some to balance on the dark roasty flavor and hoppiness. The beer is not overtly hopped, but comes across that way because of it's dry flavor profile and roastiness. Color is pretty dark, and it comes across as somewhat hoppier version of a german dunkel. Not a bad beer, but nothing special. Considering the abv., I recommend getting something else given a choice.

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Photo of dfillius
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Listed as Rogue Black Brutal Bitter at Blind Tiger Ale House in NYC. Served in a pint glass.
A: 3/4 finger of off-white head. Almost opaque dark brown with red around the edges. Chill haze, and glass frosted up, (too cold).
Described by bartender as one-time only Brutal Bitter with dark roasted malt.
S: Hard to read due to cold. Hoppy whiff with a tinge of alcohol. Almost all hops, and not much else.
T: Bracingly bitter - grapefruit?, pine?, juniper? Lots of Cascade hops I think. Much better as it warms and malt balance flows in. Cocoa notes now and then.
M: Not puckering, the hops lays on the back center of my tongue. Nice sweet note now that it has warmed. Mmmm!
D: Only one dimension of hoppiness: not inviting, more like devastating. I typically like very hoppy beers and I did not want a second pint.

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Photo of mikeys01
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 22 oz brown bomber at the new Rogue Alehouse in San Francisco. Pours into the pint glass a very dark brown almost black color with a foamy tan head. Aroma is get out of your chair hoppy with undertones of coffee and roastiness. Taste is quite different for a dark ale and quite tasty indeed. First come the roasted and chocolatey/espresso flavors, then you get a BIG hoppiness in the middle , we're talking pine tree rather than citrus. Alcohol becomes a bit warming in the finish and down the throat. I'd love to get my hands on some more of this....

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Photo of goodbyeohio
3.01/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

@ the moan and dove double ipa jam session thingey

southern cross hops from NZ, pacman yeast, 5 malts, etc.

black, as described in the title, with an attractive off-white merengue head (v. thin). uniform lacing. some bubbles stuck in the thick, heavy surface skimmed head. nose is dark chocolate bitterness. more stouty. evolves into a sweeter caramel with more warmth. flavor is a malty richness, equal parts vanilla and chocolate. watery, yet intense. im left with a huge bitterness and an absent memory of what this beer tastes like. seriously, aftershock outweighs substance and that is NOT my style. a mediocre beer at best.. neeext! confusion is the devils playground in terms of craft beer.

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Photo of cichief
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on draft at the Frisco Grille, Columbia, MD. Apparently the brewery re-released this beer.

A- Rather dark, but somewhat hazy brown, with a decent tan head.

S- Some chocolate notes, subtle hops spice in the background.

T- Not too sweet, but malty, somewhat chocolaty, the hops are present, but muted.

M- Medium body, well carbonated, no noted alcohol burn.

D- At 9.2% ABV I wouldn't have too many, but they go down pretty easily.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.04/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

07/22/05- On tap at the Rogue Ale House in San Francisco, CA

Presentation- From the tap into two sets of 4oz sampler glasses.

Appearance- Flat looking no head pour, dark brown, almost black in color. No lacing whatsoever.

Smell- Dark roasted malt, fairly heavy bitter hop presence.

Taste- Heavy dark chocolate taste, maybe a dash of coffee flavoring. Heavy hops and a dash of smoke as well.

Mouthfeel- Very light carbonation and smooth.

Drinkability- Again, not really my favorite kind of taste, but it was fairly unusal and different. Possibly may try again in the future. Worth a stab.

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Photo of kkipple
3.79/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Had this on-tap at CW's Tap Room in Columbia, SC. Thanks to whoever got a hold of this, in defiance of our state's antiquated beer ABV limit of 6%!

Skull Splitter was a very hard beer for me to categorize, in fact I looked it up on BA upon arriving home as I didn't know what I'd just drunk. It's a bit like a hoppy stout, or a hopped-up ESB... I don't really know.

Pour was a deep dark brown that came with a 2cm head that lasted the duration of the beer, about 45 minutes. Nothing unusual, really.

I smelled chocolate, lots of malt, those crazy Rogue hops, and a somewhat smoky nuttiness. Couldn't really put it in the same category as anything previously tried.

This is an intriguing beer... it's a nutty, very hoppy, dark ale. Has somewhat of a walnut flavor. Lots of dark malts and hops. It's creamy and leaves a dry bitter aftertaste. Somewhat similar to Rogue's own "Mogul Madness" in fact...

Bottom line, this was tasty, if a bit weird. I plan on enjoying it at CW's while we have it, however. Try if you get the chance as it likely won't be around long.

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Skull Splitter Ale from Rogue Ales
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 53 ratings