Last time, I only bought one 11.2 oz bottle of the SkullSplitter Orkney Ale (at $2.29). Not because I figured one would be enough, but because Beverages & More was sold out. I had the last one. When I set up my notepad document for notes on this, the first thing I wrote was "So good, I don't want to take the time to write about it." Part of me still feels the same way. I've tried to buy it once or twice since then, and I've just ended up drinking it and feeling happy. I was in Bevmo last week, and the shelf was full of SkullSplitter. Fed up with myself, I bought two bottles this time around, committed to reviewing this delicious nectar of the viking-gods. When I was ready to sit and review this beer on December 6th, I said there'd be no excuses. Well, I was still sick then, and though I was drinking at the same time, I didn't have a sense of smell. And what good is a review if a primary sense is unavailable. 11 days later, I'm feeling 85% better, and I have no excuses.
I'm forcing myself to write about this beer tonight. It's the season of giving, and it's time to give something nice to all my adoring fans. Besides, I can't let Ryan out-review me. It seems somewhat inappropriate to break the Xmas-red foil seal of SkullSplitter Ale on this, the third night of Hanukkah (this spelling, I've noticed, is starting to become the norm), but yet I press onward with my review.
The distributor's website says the brewing of ale was a great Viking tradition, which the Scots adopted when the Vikings settled there, centuries ago. If this was the type of ale the Vikings were famous for, I was born in the wrong era.
This is a rich, yet easy to drink ale. A deep, clear red in the glass, and not much white foam on top. For a high test beer, it is smooth. I was expecting the usual bitterness, hops, malts, but this one comes from left field. There's nothing "usual" about it. There's a bit of caramel in there, but not nearly as much as the Reaper Ale I recently reviewed. It's more of a tannic feel on the palate. Not unlike a cabernet sauvignon. It's more akin to the mouthfeel of such a wine, as opposed to the actual taste. The aftertaste as a warm quality to it, like toasted oats. Odd to say, but it's a comfort feeling that goes beyond a mere "breakfast food." As far as smell goes, it's not sweet, but it's sweet smelling for an ale. It's a difference in smell that a Newcastle or Sierra wouldn't/couldn't offer. The fact that this definitely isn't your normal ale is what makes it nice. You can't go to your corner store to pick up something nearly as good as this, you have to make a special trip to a specialty store. It's not just about the beer, it's about the journey it takes you on, and SkullSplitter has taken me on quite a journey.
1.0 is perfect in each category,
0.1 is the complete opposite of perfect.
Use your imagination for everything between.
The perfect beer would be scored "4.0/4"
SkullSplitter Orkney Ale
By the way, I need to give credit where it's due. BrainofJ from the BKV forum is the one who turned me onto this ale, in a comment from my Bombardier Ale review. Thanks, J.