| Beer Review:
Orkney, OKI, Scotland, UK
July 1, 2005
covered in our review
of The Red MacGregor, Orkney Brewing is a fairly
new brewing company located in the Orkney Islands of
Scotland that draws on the region's rich brewing heritage
to produce some of the most dangerously drinkable beers
we've had. The crown jewel among these beers is the
formidably named Skullsplitter.
At 8.5% ABV, one would get
the idea that Skullsplitter is named for its collective
alcoholic effect on the drinker. Although this is a
highly effective brew in that arena, Skullsplitter is
in fact named for the 7th Viking Earl of Orkney, Thorfinn
Hausakluif, who lived and ruled around 950 A.D. The
Viking tradition of brewing ales wasn't lost on the
region, and much of that heritage has been crafted into
the strong ale that takes Thorfinn Hausakluif's name.
When opened and poured,
the richness of this beer is immediately acknowledged.
The color is a darkish cherry mocha crested with a respectable
foam that shares some of these same hues. Light can
make it through the glass, but it is not a light beer
by any means.
The taste of this beer has
presented this reviewer with his greatest challenge.
Perhaps it is the balance that leans towards the malt
side, but there is something else in there that makes
it one of the most complex beers yet consumed. Strong,
bold, yet light.
Perhaps it is this last
quality, the lightness upon palate and belly, that presents
the drinker with his or her greatest challenge: Not
to fall under Skullsplitter's powerful spell. One will
find themselves one minute discerning the wonderfully
complex taste and flavor of this brew only to drink
another. Then another. Then the 8.5% catches you and
before you know it - pow! Your skull has been split!
Skullsplitter comes in a
4-pack here in the States, and that can be problematic
if splitting skulls with a friend. A six would be more
satisfying. That small criticism aside, it must be said
that this beer surly meets the noble standards of the
Viking Earl it is named for, and greatly exceeds the
far lesser standards of this reviewer.
|Beer Tasting Scorecard
Thanks to Legends
Limited for providing some great information on Orkney
Brewing on their website which can be found at http://www.legendslimited.com/
For more information
on Skullsplitter, visit their website at www.orkneybrewery.co.uk