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


on tap

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 1539   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 íSatiny smooth in the mouth, deceptively light and dangerously drinkableí."

gregwilsonstl's rating

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
gregwilsonstl (1253) - Missouri, USA - JUL 6, 2012
Dark brown...slightly red. Thin head. Malty and sweet. Figs. Molasses. Nice and warming on this 105 temp.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Fukito (886) - Sao Paulo, BRAZIL - APR 24, 2015
Shinny copper with ruby hues and a medium, creamy beigie head. Aroma is of molasses and ripe plums. Flavor is cake with ripe fruits and some dried fruits. Medium to heavy palate. Alcohol well hidden but a bit uni dimensional.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
chinchill (2668) - South Carolina, USA - APR 22, 2015
330ml bottle with a best before date of July 2014. Served in a Unibroue snifter. (from notes). A - Poured a medium brown with orange-red highlights and tones; clear; tan head is modest size and duration, but leaving nice lacing. S - Dark malt, toffee, raisins and brandy: Inviting, but rather a bit tame compared to the flavor. High ABV evident. T - the flavor quickly builds to a crescendo after the swallow, then tapers off, leaving a moderately bitter, mildly spicy and slightly smokey aftertaste with a solid base of dark malts. M - Smooth and crisp, if slightly harsh and warm with its 8.5% alcohol. Medium-bodied beer. O - A striking Scotch Ale, not to be missed by fans of this style. High ABV evident in feel, aroma and taste - a bit more pronounced than ideal - but this is a beautifully crafted beer in which the higher alcohol effects are an integral part of the experience. Flavor dynamics changed with some additional warming, becoming tamer and more refined.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Alengrin (2928) - BELGIUM - APR 19, 2015
Classic íwee heavyí (so Scotch ale) from the Orkneys, glad I can finally have a taste of this. Pours a clear orangey copper colour with low fizz, supporting a milky, regularly shaped, slightly beige to white head breaking open quickly but to a limited extent - i.e. remaining dense on the edges and leaving a beige veil over the rest of the liquid. Very malty aroma as expected: home made caramel, aromatic and vaguely vanilla-like odour of spring flowers, cashew nuts, hint of bitter chocolate, dried orange peel, brown rhum, peach, biscuit abounding, toasted bread in the morning, cranberry sauce, some oxidized madera and white port notes, hints of banana, honey, marmelade, wet paper. Smoothly fruity onset, peaches, some banana, sweet berries, with a rounded, full but supple, soft mouthfeel, softly carbonated; very light sourish touch balances the sweetness. Rich maltiness ensues, still light on the palate though, very elegant, with a mostly caramel-like character, some nutty and chocolatey accents; finish is mostly malty, sweet but not cloying, with a herbal hops bitterishness, some rhum-like warming alcohol, lingering banana fruitiness and a very mild and gentle roasted touch, but nowhere near the coffee or bitter chocolate flavour you would find in a really roasted bitter beer. In all: no off-flavours, balanced and smooth, with an inviting bouquet. This is indeed a classic in its style.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
TH28 (200) - - APR 18, 2015
330ml bottle. No date on bottle. Appearance: Deep ruby red and clear, with a thick khaki head. Aroma: Crystal and bready malts, withy fruity yeast notes of pear and apple. Taste: Caramel and bread crusts up front, giving way to richer notes of raisin and plum, with a hint of spice. Mouthfeel: Medium body with a moderately high carbonation. Higher than I was expecting for the style. Alcohol warmth is strong. Finish: spice and alcohol warming on the finish, with some lingering raisin and fig. Overall: A deep and rich Scotch Ale with strong dried fruit flavors, and spicier than itís style counterparts.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
daniele (6159) - ITALY - APR 12, 2015
bottle ramato carico leggermente velata discreta schiuma media persistenza naso matato caramello toffee frutta matura datteri cosi anche in bocca con leggere tostature caramellate luppolatura contenuta non stucchevole discreto corpo lieve warming

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
bodega95 (83) - - MAR 31, 2015
I really enjoy this Scottish heavy for the price that is available. Very complex with lots of toffee, fruit and malt flavors

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 16/20
BierMeHoos (269) - Maryland, USA - MAR 8, 2015
Poured from a 330 ml bottle. Appearance is murky amber with a thin off-white head. Aroma of caramel malts, toffee, and dark fruit. Flavor is sweet caramel malts, dark fruits, toffee, and vanilla. There is a light smokiness throughout and some booziness. Palate is thin. Interesting beer lots of sweet malty flavors make this a rich and pleasant beer.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
tekstr1der (105) - New Hampshire, USA - FEB 21, 2015
Reddish-brown pour with minimal head. Looks almost syrapy. Appearance is itís only low-point. The smell is from heaven - malty and fruity. Flavors are strong malt sweetness with some slight wine notes. Incredibly smooth, and way too drinkable. This one could get me in trouble.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
androman (719) - Maarssen, NETHERLANDS - FEB 21, 2015
33cl bottle @ home from Edinburgh. Body is clear deep ruby red, Head is medium, slightly creamy, beige, average lasting, good lacing. Nose is malty, Aroma is fruity, caramel, dried fruits, light licorice, herbs, chocolate. Taste is medium sweet, medium roasty bitter. Finish is medium lasting caramelized roasty bitter-sweet, later more dried fruits. Medium to full body, oily and sticky texture, average carbonation. Easy dessert beer, reminds me to some bockbeers, a bit too sweet for me.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1334) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 19, 2015
Scotch Ale is not one of my favorite styles, but whenever I have a really good example of one Iím always impressed. I donít think Iíve ever actually had a Scotch Ale from Scotland, though. Iíd heard good things about Orkney Skull Splitter, but I was a little disappointed to find that it wasnít quite the world class standout I was expecting. That being said, itís definitely a classic, to-spec example of the style. Itís just a little more mild than Iíd prefer.

I poured an 11.2oz bottle into a goblet. It had a best before date of June, 2017 and cost $5.05 ($0.45 per ounce).

Appearance: Dark maroon or garnet color, but translucent. Pours to a small, tan, frothy head which laces and retains pretty well.

Smell: Mild overall with dark fruit dominating and the faintest trace of smoke or peat; some alcohol is noticeable.

Taste: Scotch Ale has a lot of the same flavor profiles as Belgian Abbey ales: dark fruit (especially dried fruit: plum, fig, raisin, red grape) at the front with sweeter, more confectionery-like taste on the finish (toffee and caramel, especially). Those flavors are all present in Orkney Skull Splitter, but theyíre surprisingly tame. Not much in the way of hops, though the alcohol does account for a good portion of the palette. I do enjoy the finish, though, as thereís a rum-dipped cherry flavor that gives it a bit of a tang.

Drinkability: One thing I do enjoy about beers like this is just how smooth and comfortable they are in the mouth. This is a thick beer, but itís incredible soft and yet in way cloying. At 8.5% ABV itís pretty hefty, and the alcohol does generate significant head Ė which is a little distracting at first, but it quickly becomes part of the experience.

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