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Beer #121 – May 3, 2010: Skull Splitter

July 5, 2010

Beer: Skull Splitter

Brewery: Orkney Brewery, Orkney, Scotland

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Serving Type: 11.2 oz bottle

Price: $13.99 / four-pack

Availability: Year-round

Glassware: Brandy Snifter

Strength: 8.5% ABV (alcohol by volume)

Drinkability: Complex and warming, yet very drinkable.

Tasting Notes

Appearance: Deep ruby-walnut hue with creamy off-white head that dissipates quickly, lacing on the sides of my glass.

Aroma: Sweet syrup, musty, a bit of sherry

Mouthfeel: Slightly syrupy with a creamy carbonation

Taste: Initial muscat grape sweetness followed by an earthy leather, sarsaparilla and dutch chocolate with dark fruit notes of fig and bing cherries, and mild red wine tannins like a Chianti.  The finish is slightly drying, with a mild bitterness mixed with fizzy carbonation, and slight warming alcohol burn.  Yes, there’s a lot going on here, but these flavors all work together quite nicely.

Pairing: While most Scotch Ales pair nicely with smoked salmon, this dark and complex ale would probably work better with a hearty stew, or even a dense and creamy cheesecake.

Trivia: Skull Splitter pays tribute to the Viking invaders who once conquered the British Isle.  In particular, this brew is named after Thorfinn Einarsson who was the 7th Viking Earl of Orkney, an archipelago of islands off the coast of Northern Scotland.

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