The Orkney brewery “Skull splitter” Scotch ale


The Orkney brewery orcadian ale Skull splitter“Skull Splitter is our strongest ale: which is named after 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”.

It’s quite funny actually, when you see a beer inspired by a big, hefty and rough Viking you wouldn’t expect the beer description to be sophisticated, satiny smooth and deceptively light. Credit, though, to the brewers as we have tried this beer a few times before and for it to weigh in at 8.5% ABV and still drink like a 5% beer is commendable.

We digress, so we served this in to an English pint. The chestnut brown pour knocks up a beige coloured head which swells to about a finger in height before recoiling to a fine layer over the top, leaving some wet and streaky lacing behind it. Moving on to the nose, where we initially pick up rich wafts of earthy malts, toast, fig, prunes and alcohol. A few vigorous twirls of the glass reveal undertones of licorice, islay whiskey and a well layered scent of spice. Nice depth with a subtle complexity. In the mouth it’s super smooth with a light weight on the tongue. Barely any grip as it slides down with ease. The body is moderate and the carbonation is low. Maybe just a slight tingle from the alcohol, but essentially it’s very well disguised. We honestly can’t get over how smooth this is for its strength. The first few sips yields rich malts and dark stone fruits with a pleasant warmth from the booze. This trio carries forward but as the warmth from the alcohol subsides chewy notes of caramel and toffee are developed which lead on to a toasty finish with decent legs. Just as we remember it, a highly enjoyable quaffer that drinks like a smooth English ale. There’s a lot to like about this brew, may be even better with a bow full of haggis! Aiy laddy.