Nuffield (3772) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - APR 27, 2005
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
There is a somewhat funny but simultaneously cruel tradition in the Orkneys by which the friends of a soon-to-be-married couple take the groom...and from what I recall, the bride-to-be get similar hen night treatment...and they parade him around the island on a trailer or the back of a pickup truck, getting completely drunk but also treacle/molasses and feathering him. It’s quite a scene for a bachelor party. I remember standing on the steps of St. Magnus Cathedral, shining its red sandstone colors with the late sunlight of an Ornkey June evening, as two vehicles of carousing young men drove past with a small pickup truck and a car towing a trailer, horns honking, celebrating the future of this man covered in an absolute mess of caramel and feathers. Sitting here where I am now, this experience has parallels to the Orkney Skullsplitter at a number of levels. First, of course, is that there is a ton of caramel here, rich in malts but nevertheless fruity, especially as it warmed considerably. The colors are deep with red hues, like the cathedral (there is an interesting Bishop’s Palace next door to the cathedral as well, by the way). My mouth was like the groom, sticky with caramel and coated all around, but the clinging off-white head foretold the wonderful tickle, not of feathers, but of a frothy carbonation that lifted the body. And of course, the whole thing was soaked in alcohol, which makes the groom’s experience much more tolerable and my experience pleasant as well. I asked some of the locals about this Orkney wedding tradition, and they said it can be pretty heartless, on at least one occasion leaving the groom trying to remove the treacle from his thickly-coated hair the morning of his wedding. My morning after won’t be anywhere as bad, fortunately, because I had just one bottle. But what a fine celebration of brewing it is, and a tradition worth remembering.
Schultsc (572) - San Diego, California, USA - APR 26, 2005
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: SEP 8, 2008 Quite sweet and typically Scottish in its very light hoppiness. A good beer but lacks that bit of freshness that a nice, style-appropriate hops character would offer to complement the alcohol. Not bad overall.
ThomasE (5174) - Copenhagen, DENMARK - APR 24, 2005
3.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Deep reddish colour with a small off white head. Malty sweet powerfull dark fruity aroma with alcohol notes. Balanced flavor of fruity sweetness and the alcohol finish.
OhioDad (2492) - Hilliard, Ohio, USA - APR 20, 2005
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Very dark red almost brown pour. Slight tan head that doesn’t last long. Aroma is malty and smoky. The flavor is smoky through and through with some toffee taste and a little rasin flavor. On the palate it has pretty much body for an ale. It finishes very warm and you can tell there is some alcohol in this one fairly quickly. This has just become my favorite beer from Scotland. I really enjoyed this beer!
ChillCoat (1029) - Concord, California, USA - APR 19, 2005
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottled. Mahogany with a tan head. Dark fruit aroma. Plums, pears, toffee and smoke flavors. A somewhat sweet, dry finish.
larsniclas (5953) - Billdal, SWEDEN - APR 9, 2005
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Amber with a small head.
Very malty with toffee and smokiness.
Complex flavour with licorice, smokiness, toffee...
rlgk (12851) - Göteborg, SWEDEN - APR 9, 2005
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Amber with an offwhite head. Nice malty aroma with toffee and vanilla. Smoky notes.
The smoke comes back in the flavor along with malts and fruity notes from raisins. Nice body, you can feel its a strong beer without too much alchol coming through.
ElJefe (553) - Rochester, New York, USA - MAR 28, 2005
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Mahogany colored with a small tan head. Sweet malty aroma with a bit of nuttiness and caramel. As expected, sweet malts dominated the flavor. Some caramel, raisins, whiskey, and a bit of smokiness. Pretty good Scotch Ale.
iam (369) - Mississauga, Ontario, CANADA - MAR 23, 2005
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours an amber colour with a big foamy head. Big aroma of sweet malt, molasses and port. Instantly reminded me of Lorimer’s (sp) Scottish Ale that I’d had back in the 80’s. Thick mouthfeel. Sweet, syrupy taste of malt and fruit cake. Nice alcohol warmth.
Styles (2014) - Lincoln Park, Michigan, USA - MAR 13, 2005
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Poured amber with a thin film for head. Very thick sweet malt aroma with a little dark fruit. Has a sweet syrup/molasses flavor with some residuel sugar. Can taste a little alcohol in the finish. Very nice overall.