Review: Skull Splitter (Orkney Brewery)

Review: Skull Splitter (Orkney Brewery) by Cody La Bière
I can't believe I've never tried this beer before. I believe it may be new in Manitoba. This is Skull Splitter Scotch ale by Orkney Brewery in Quoyloo, Orkney, UK.

I love the label, pictures a giant viking ready to kick some ass, and by the name of the beer, "Skull Splitter", we can easily assume he could split one's skull. To me, that sounds like a name of a metal band more than a beer.

Appearance: Pours a very nice (very) rich reddish-brown colour with a bit of a ruby red hue to it. The head is a nice thick head that's not going anywhere, a beige-creaminess to it. This LOOKS like it will be a very tasty brew.

Aroma: A dark fruit medley, which is slightly similar to what you would expect from Unibroue's darker beers. I'm salivating just by sniffing this. Some caramel and a bit of a sweet maltiness finishing it off.

Taste: First sip I took.. ZING, very powerful in flavour. This is not the kind of beer you would get a lager fan to try. Quite strong, I quite love it. I notice a bit of an alcoholic taste to it as it has a higher ABV (8.5%), but it's not bothering me. Bit sweet caramel malty, definitely notice some oak in there, a bit spicy, and I notice a slight hint of the malts giving off a bit of a toastiness. Not as sweet as I'd expect, but it's still a nice beer that will warm up your taste buds.

Overall Thoughts: For the price, quite a good buy. It is $3.28 for a 330mL bottle, it has an ABV of 8.5% and certainly is something I will buy again. What can I compare it to? Honestly, it reminds me of a mixture of Scotch ales meets heavy Belgian ale, spicy, a bit of oak, some caramel. Great beer to accompagny a book, eReader or newspaper by the fireplace in the winter. Try this if you can!

From the label: Skull Splinter is our strongest ale: which is named after the Thorfinn Einarsson who was the 7th Viking Earl of Orkney. Sophisticated, satiny smooth with a deceptively light character, it is a tribute to our colourful forbear.

On the nose: this strong beer has a fruity malt character, with hints of dark fruits spicy hop, dates and figs.

On the palate: rich and complex with sweet toasted malt, molasses, fresh and dried fruits and hints of warming spices.

Norman Sinclair recommends drinking his Skull Splitter ale with paté, red meat dishes and strong cheeses.


What's funny is that there's a "Government guideline" for what amounts of beer men and women should drink per day/week. For women: 2-3 units per day or 14 per week (I assume 1 unit = 330mL), for men: 3-4 units per day or 21 units per week.

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