Skull Splitter Ale | Rogue Ales

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
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:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jason on 07-30-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 53 |  Reviews: 50
Photo of rudy0908
5/5  rDev +29.2%

Photo of Shiredave
4.95/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This stuff was unbelievable. On draft at the brewery Tap Room in Newport.
12oz. glass, ( it was only 11:15 am....I had 2...) inky black with a light, tan head that draped itself on the glass. Aromas of deep woods pine and tar, some floral notes mixed w/ sweet mollassos.
Up front flavors are an even balance of chewy black malt and intense sappy hop - green, peppery bitterness and lush, sweetness flood the mouth and rock the palate. Subdued notes of alcohol and chalky dryness hover in the background.
Finish is Looong and hoppy. All the flavors linger amidst the backdrop of amazing hop bitterness.
One of the absolute Finest strong beers Ive ever had the pleasure of drinking. Full bodied without being heavy or overly alcoholic, very clean for so big a beer with impeccable balance of massive flavor and frighteningly drinkable.
Please make more!

 858 characters

Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.6/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served on draft at Barley's in Boone, NC. The menu said JL Stock #11 Skullsplitter but I assume I had #10.

Poured an opaque, milk chocolate brown color with a creamy, tan head. Beautiful looking. Reminiscent of Chocolate Milk or hot chocolate.

Aroma is strictly hops. This beer was a bit hard to rate and judge. Looked like a stout or porter, smelled like a DIPA. Very interesting indeed. Citrusy hops with grapefruit. Did not have any chocolate or coffee aromas. More on that later.

Taste was really unbelievable. A very smooth beer. Tons and tons of hops but not much bitterness at all. Very balanced indeed. I did taste some coffee and chocolate alhtough I didnt smell any. Bsically a DIPA with chocoalte malts.

Great mouthfeel. So creamy. Bitterness is kept in check and the malts make it completely balance. There was a bit of astringency and metallic off flavors, but otherwise, a masterpiece. I really enjoyed this tasty treat. I hope to try it again in the very near future. Great job Rogue!

 1,013 characters

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.

 737 characters

Photo of younger35
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Apparently they re-released this bad boy because I sucked one down last night. Drank out of a pint glass. I absolutely love Brutal Bitter so I couldn't wait to try.

Appearance- A very dark chocolatey brownish/black all around. Has a very creamy off-white head that left fantasic sticky, creamy lacing. Almost looked like a root beer float with vanilla icecream floating on top.
Smell- Had a surprisingly floral, almost piney hop smell that you don't expect from a beer that's this dark. Light chocolate and coffee malts, but very feint.
Taste- Pretty weird but very good. A nice piney citrus hop blast that was not overpowering. Unexpected roasted malt flavors sneek in behind the hops. Not something you normally expect. Very smooth.
Mouthfeel- Has a subtle alcohol warming that goes nicely with the mild carbonation. A very smooth almost thin, creamy feel.
Drinkability- This is a very very drinkable beer that I'm very excited to have tried. It's one of the more unique beers I've had because of some unexpected flavor combinations. Highly recommended.

 1,062 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clouded amber with a crème head. The flavor is interesting with a bitter sweet thing. It's pungent with citrus and a bit of booze. A fair amount of acid is also present. Feel is slick on liquid and the carbonation is smooth enough. This is nice to drink, though a bit edgy. At first I was thinking that maybe this could be a barley wine of sorts since there was no info listed about its style. But now I see that it is a strong ale and that makes sense.

 462 characters

Photo of Shaw
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought a 22-ounce bottle of this from the Rogue mothership -- aka their brewery -- in Newport, Oregon.

Pours nice and dark, but still allowing plenty of light through. It has a wonderful foamy head and a great smell of hops. Since this is in a "Test Batch" bottle Rogue doesn't say what malts or hops are used. I'll take a stab and guess it's dry-hopped with Amarillo or Crystal, since those are two of Rogue's more popular hops. I'm probably wrong though, so please beermail me to set me straight!

The great hoppy smell leads to an even more hoppy flavor. Wow, what a taste. I love Rogue beers, and this batch shows why. While it is quite hoppy, it isn't overpowering. It's above-average in alcohol content, especially for this style, but not so strong that it knocks your socks off.

Highly recommended, if you can find it.

 835 characters

Photo of francisweizen
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Test batch #2. This new beer from Rogue pours out an opaque black colour with a nice tan head. The aromas are all coffee, hops, roasted malts, and booze. The taste is a nice boozy blend of roasted malts, citric hops, and chocolate. The mouthfeel is definitely medium-bodied and the drinkablity is great!

 303 characters

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.

 938 characters

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....

 565 characters

Photo of beerguy101
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted at the 2003 Oregon Brewers Fest. Dark black color. Medium head. Aroma is roasted malts, toffee and a touch of citrus. An “imperial” schwarzbier. Malts are very roasted and really fruity. Hops are a very spicy and very bitter. Nicely balanced. Touch of an alcohol bite. Roasted malts with hints of chocolate. Nice beer. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is dry. Aftertaste is slightly bitter, with a touch of alcohol.

 427 characters

Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rouge Test Batch #2 Skullsplitter in a 22 oz. bottle. It appears that I have volunteered to be a tasting guinea pig for a sinister sounding beer with the promise of pain. The beer was poured into a Duvel tulip, with a huge brown rocky head rising up, then falling leaving behind an awesome web of sticky lacing. Smelling the pitch black beer revealed an explosive floral hop bouquet nose, with assertive notes of citrus. This beauty of this was comparable to the best of imperial IPA’s. Smelling it again reveals a mildly roasty malty chocolate stout-like smell. Intriguing and quite bizarre. My brain was flipping back and forth, first comprehending it as an excellent Imperial IPA nose (Ruination or Dreadnaught-esque), then switching to visualize rich chocolate stout...but I never grasped both at the same time, it was either or. And that must be why its called Skullplitter! I think conditioned beer drinker brains will automatically interpret this as one style or another, but not as both at the same time. The taste was more of a unified product, consisting of a nicely roasted rich chocolate and coffee malt start, followed by cherry notes and a powerfully bitter semidry finish, with lingering mocha flavors. Most dominantly a stout although the floral hop bouquet comes through all of this here and there. The beer had a well done smooth and full body, with a carbonation level that worked well with the flavors. Despite my confusion about what this beer was, I found it to be highly drinkable. Alcohol was never detected. The nature of this beer makes it hard to rate if one was to think about styles, but I really enjoyed this wacky brew and my scores reflect that. I’m not sure if this is a style that would gain much of a following, but it is an interesting and well done experiment that I would recommend trying out.

 1,833 characters

Photo of NEhophead
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Eli's.

A creamy off white head that rests above a deep brown color with flashes of mahogany. Ringed lacing throughout the glass with good strength.

Big floral hop aromas with whaffs of pine and lemon. Semi-sweet caramel aroma to add a little balance. Gentle hints of alcohol providing a warming quality. This one smells like an IPA with some stones.

Semi-sweet caramel toasted malt character that is met by an intense pine hop quality. The perfume hop quality usually found in an intensely hopped IPA is absent. Deep grains; slight sweetness, with pine and lemon flavors with a hefty alcohol presence. A bright bitterness with a dry finish leaves a pine-filled aftertaste.

Medium bodied. This one is almost thin considering how hop laden the aromatics lead you to believe. A nice balance between caramel malt thickness and the hop intensity.

This one is actually quite drinkable for an 8.5% abv brew. The Strong Ale quality is understood, but the hop profile is so intensely present that it comes across more as a strong ESB or an IPA. Good brew.

 1,071 characters

Photo of blitheringidiot
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Drafting Room Springhouse, PA.

Pours a dark onyx brown with a frothy 1/2" beige cap in a pint glass.

Scents are impressive and quizzically hopped. Brisk grapefruity hop citrous scents.

First swigs: Tastes remind me of an ESB first. Into the spiral of blackness that is a black bitter, an American hopped pale creeps out overall. Crisp bitter hop citrous bite is curved away by a soft malt backing.

Feel is a firm medium body. Darkness stirs curiosity. An easy sweet drinker with a crisp clean aftertaste.

Last swigs: A hottie girl beer in a nun's habit. Who-da-thunk hops in a dark brew? ROGUE...that's who. Try this brew!

Beer is gewd...happy beering.

 686 characters

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.

 1,239 characters

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.

 298 characters

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.

 518 characters

Photo of Tyrawlings
4/5  rDev +3.4%

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

Clear, very dark brown beer with chestnut highlights. Dense, tan head with good retention and lacing. Caramel malt aroma with some toffee notes, along with some citrus. Moderate bitterness with sweet caramel malt and grapefruit. Hops become sharper in the finish and the bitterness lingers. Mild alcohol warmth. Modium bodied with moderately low carbonation. Creamy, malty texture. A nice combination of rich malt character and American hops.

 442 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Bryant-Lake Bowl.
Bartender Dan told me they called it a schwarzbier, but he pegged it as closer to their Winter Ale, by which I assumed he meant the Santa's Private Reserve. HAd to find out myself to be sure.

Pours beautifully, a muddy brown/ amber (not "black" despite the name above), with an interesting cascading effect, that made me question whether it was on nitro (not)...very thin, disappearing head.

Nose is soft and muted, but with a distinct hoppiness, and pleasing fruit. Not loud, but awfully nice.

Taste: finely felt yeast, lots of fruit, apricot, and gingerbread...very unique...hops are there, but daintily played...medium bodied, long and tasty finish. This is one I enjoyed all the way down, and wished I could have another or two...must plan more visits to BLB!

Still, why is this called "Black Brutal Bitter" and who said it was a Porter? Sure as heck ain't!...or did they accidentally hook it up to a different keg? I don't think so...

after reading other reviews, I'm further puzzled: did this just age and change in the keg? Quite a conundrum. Great ale, nonetheless...

 1,124 characters

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.

 355 characters

Photo of kraut6363
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of erica
3.91/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This Skull Splitter Ale (test batch #2) was pretty good, I have to admit. I'm ususally leery of blackish beers... not sure why. But I'm getting better! It smelled like ruby red grapefruity hops, and I almost wanted to stop there, it was so nice. When I finally took a sip, it was an explosion of flavor! I tasted citrus fruit salad, bitter grassy greens, and a slight coffee flavor in the background. I've really never tasted anything like it before, and I was greatly impressed by this beer. It tasted nothing like what it looked like to me, it wasn't too thick or too thin, and overall it was a good experience trying this. :)

 628 characters

Photo of nomad
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 22 oz. bomber, with white lettering of "Skull Splitter Ale - Test Batch #2." No other info on it...

Poured a truly black color with a tan head of thick foam that was truly slow to fall. Left wisps, spots, and chunks of stain. Carbonation was vigorous on every pour, so much that a 3 inch head was unavoidable every time.

Smelled of grapefruit and pine so large and vibrant it was hard to distinguish them. A dark chocolate scent was slow to emerge underneath, while some edges smelled faintly like roasted barley. Dominated by the hops, and thus smelling quite nice.

Tasted of black malts and dark chocolate notes quickly at first, though this beer tasted overwhelmingly of a strong hop bitterness of many shades. First off were big green bitters, natural tasting with mustard and grainy tones like escarole, mustard greens, and endive on steroids. Next off were quite salty bitters that extended into a long salty-cheese finish - it didn’t dry my mouth out but left a pungency close to underripe endive. Last off, some occasional grapefruit bitterness, too.

Had a juiciness and succulent mouthfeel. Must let it warm up or you will taste and smell little besides hops, dark hop juice. This is one exciting but caustic brew. Black, Brutal, and Bitter, no doubt.

 1,281 characters

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.

 652 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Skull Splitter Ale from Rogue Ales
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 53 ratings