Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Skull Splitter

Tonight I'm drinking Skull Splitter, "The Authentic Orcadian Ale" brewed by The Orkney Brewery, Quoyloo, Stromness in Orkney, Scotland, UK. Looking around Mr. Internet, this is a Scotch Ale. I heard about this from someone online and quickly asked Beer Guru Ed Roberts if Total Wine sells it. A quick "Yep" and it went on my list. Pro Tip: Don't look for this with the other British beers, at least in Pembroke Pines, LOL. I also asked Ed if he had tried it before, and he said that while it will be a memory soon, he had just purchased it.

I had two choices. The ratty old bottle with the ripped red foil over the cap and mangled paper labels, and less information and stories on the back. OR... The shiny new bottle with no foil, better labels, and a little more intrigue. I chose B. I am guessing that a few of you will ask me why I didn't buy both for a vertical. First, I spend enough cash in that place as it is. Second, there are no dates on this anyway--if you can translate L0165 15:00 I may go back. Third, I don't really care that much unless this is so awesome I can't resist!

The name of the beer comes from the 7th Viking Earl of Orkney, Thorfinn Hauskaluif. I'm guessing he's the bad ass depicted on the front of the bottle. Finally, this is a 330 mL diminutive bottle, so it got put in a smaller snifter as punishment!

Delicious caramel aroma with sweet brown sugar. A bit earthy. The flavors also start out with rich caramel but there is also quite a bit of sweet sugary candy. Very smooth. You can feel the 8.5% alcohol warmth and presence right from the beginning but only as it intensifies some fruity raisin and grape flavors. Brown sugar and molasses add to the sweetness while the alcohol battles it from being overly so. Lightly spicy, low carbonation, silky texture. You finish with more sugar. Pretty good overall. Not my favorite but I certainly did like it.

Update 02/07/2011: Here is a copy of an email sent to me from Christine Sinclair at the brewery. She explains the "L" and the new design. Thanks, Christine.

Hi Rob
Thanks for the message.
To answer your question the L simply stands for Lot as in Lot No and you were spot on with the rest.
The new label with illustration of the Viking will be what we are staying with as the old photograph of the person is no longer in a format compatible with modern printing and the foil always seemed to be less than perfect by the time it got to the shelves.  No changes to the content though, just to make that clear!!
Always enjoy reading your write ups
Best Regards


Christine Sinclair

SKULLSPLITTER with MASK R3 Repaint Variant Figure Spawn series 22 the Viking Age McFarlane Toys

Orkneyinga Saga: The History of the Earls of Orkney (Penguin Classics)

NFL Minnesota Vikings Mr. Potato Head


Blue Point Zach said...

I'm guessing here as I don't know their dating system... Maybe 0 means 2010 and 165 means the day in 2010 and 15:00 the time. Translating to a bottled date of June 14 2010 at 3PM? Just guessing here...

Beer Drinker Rob said...

Hey Zach. That makes sense. Wish I'd have looked at the other bottle, too, to see if the theory holds water.

Anyway, I was intrigued enough that I just sent an email to the brewery asking exactly what it all means, including the "L".

Thanks for stopping by.

Blue Point Zach said...

Read your reviews every day! Let me know if they respond!

Gyro said...

Hey, finally a beeer I've actually had! Nice writeup here and everywhere else, newly added but I've been enjoying it, kudos.

Strangely coincidental word verification too: "brewstor"

You just can't make this up!

Beer Drinker Rob said...

Zach. For sure. And thanks a lot.

Gyro. Glad I hit one you've tried and that you're enjoying yourself. I do my best to be informative and entertaining.

Challenge words like that are funny. I've had a few like that myself which were so coincidental, you know Google was laughing all about it.

Talk to you soon.

Michael Jurewicz said...

Oh that's a completely different bottle than what I'm use to. The ones I always had had a real person dressed as a viking with red foil on it.

Beer Drinker Rob said...

Yeah, Mike. Most of the bottles were this new one. But there was one 4-pack that had that label and red foil, but the labels and foils were trashed on all 4 bottles.

Beer Drinker Rob said...

Zach. I just updated the post with some info from the brewery. You had it all right with their code.