Brewed by Orkney (Sinclair Breweries)
Style: Scotch Ale
Stromness, Scotland
Serve in Thistle


on tap

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 1554   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.55   EST. CALORIES: 255   ABV: 8.5%
Available filtered in 330ml bottles.
"Named after Thorfin Hausakliuuf, the seventh earl of Orkney, this reddish coloured ale has an intense vinous nose, is rich and satiny in the mouth with a long dry finish and deep rich fruity notes. Described as íSatiny smooth in the mouth, deceptively light and dangerously drinkableí."

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 5/20
SETANTA (582) - Bangor, Pennsylvania, USA - MAY 22, 2005
Sour Bottle: was chunky, probably because it spent a year in a friends fridge... had started to go acetic, hops were undetectable... will try a fresher bottle to re-evaluate

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
stephen louis (164) - Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA - MAY 20, 2005
One of my bigger disappointments of late,that being said it still was a decent beer. This beer poured nice and I thought,based off the nose, it would be a real winner.Unfortunately in my mind/mouth it is just above average. This beer starts malty and has a backbone of hops,but no complexity to it. It has no glaring faults but no amazing features either. As a wee heavy it is too simple and lacks a real depth or mouthfeel.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Ughsmash (7387) - Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA - MAY 17, 2005
Poured a clear reddish-brown with a rather small head. Vinous nose with a slightly smoky note. Very smooth in the mouth with smoke, toffee, caramel, and some grapes. Beer was rather dry, and was a little warm going down. Good stuff!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Hansen (7684) - Assentoft, DENMARK - MAY 16, 2005
A real fine beer. Dark-brown. Large head. Aroma very malty, something belgian over it.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
winkle (477) - Brisbane, AUSTRALIA - MAY 16, 2005
Bottled. Dunno how this suddenly appeared in the bottle shop but Iím glad it did. Reasonably fresh too! Poured an impressive reddy/brown with a big vinous/fruity nose. Flavours feature a big dollop of smokey malt and caramel, with barely noticable alcohol lurking in the background. Very sooth and somewhat sticky mouthfeel - almost cloying but not quite. Good stuff.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
jimstrassburg (57) - Germantown, Wisconsin, USA - MAY 14, 2005
Thick tan head. Deep red-brown color (more brown than red). Nose is malty and fruity as is the taste. Very sweet and good. This is my first scotch ale so I donít have much to compare it too but I do like it. Finish is dry.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
stubby (334) - Santee, California, USA - MAY 11, 2005
Excellent. Not a style I know much about right now, but Iím willing to dive a little deeper after this one and Traquair. Interesting hint of smokiness behind a large malt body. Estery like only Europeans seem to be able to do.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
lagermonkey (725) - Marietta, Georgia, USA - MAY 11, 2005
Pours a deep mahogany with hints of cherry red around the edges. 1/4 in light tan head that thins but is lacy as hell. Smells of rich sweet malt and sour cherry fruitiness. Tastes of sweet fruity malt. Sour cherry flavors underneath and a light but persistent hoppy bitterness in the finish. When cold, it is a bit thinner than you would expect and seem sa bit too fizzy. As it warms however the sweet malt asserts itself and the beer actually seems to thicken in your mouth. Seems not so fizzy too. Nicely balanced and REALLY smooth for a bigger beer. Itís strength is subtle and really sneaks up on you. Warming sensations and a sticky sweet aftertaste. Dangerously drinkable. Literally, one of the first craft brews I ever had and havenít had it in years. While initially disappointed, the Skullsplitter did not forsake me and still can deliver the goods.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Emil (6065) - Copenhagen, DENMARK - APR 30, 2005
Bottle here by the computer. Dark red colour with a medium baige head. Sweet malty dark fruit aroma and a sweet malty light hoppy fruity taste. Medium to full body and a sweet light dry finish. Damn good.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Nuffield (3892) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - APR 27, 2005
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. Itís 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 Bishopís 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 groomís 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 wonít 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.

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