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


on tap

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 1547   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.56   EST. CALORIES: 255   ABV: 8.5%
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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 ’Satiny smooth in the mouth, deceptively light and dangerously drinkable’."

   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. It’s 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 haven’t 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 (3799) - 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. 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.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Schultsc (572) - San Diego, California, USA - APR 26, 2005
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.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
ThomasE (5174) - Copenhagen, DENMARK - APR 24, 2005
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.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
OhioDad (2492) - Hilliard, Ohio, USA - APR 20, 2005
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!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
ChillCoat (1029) - Concord, California, USA - APR 19, 2005
Bottled. Mahogany with a tan head. Dark fruit aroma. Plums, pears, toffee and smoke flavors. A somewhat sweet, dry finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
larsniclas (5993) - Billdal, SWEDEN - APR 9, 2005
Bottled Amber with a small head. Very malty with toffee and smokiness. Complex flavour with licorice, smokiness, toffee...

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
rlgk (13157) - Göteborg, SWEDEN - APR 9, 2005
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.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
ElJefe (553) - Rochester, New York, USA - MAR 28, 2005
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.

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