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Mission : Leap Beer, 366 Beers in 366 Days

Leapbeer Reviews #329 & #330 Skull Splitter & Dark Island by Orkney Brewery

The next two beers I’m putting on the blog are from a place I’d never heard of. The Orkney Islands are located off the north coast of Scotland.

Orkney Islands North of Scotland

Cascadia Liquors in Victoria set these two beers aside for me. I’ve always been welcoming to try new beers from different areas of the world. I got one of the Skull Splitter Scottish Wee Heavy and one of the Dark Island Scottish Ale. Despite it being the higher alcohol test beer, I chose to try the skull splitter first.

Skull Splitter is their 8.5% Wee Heavy (no kidding at 8.5%). It was named after Torfinn Hausakljuv, the 7th Viking Earl of Orkney (aprx 950 AD according to Wikipedia) who was nicknamed “Skullsplitter”. This is a deep brown beer with a frothy tan coloured head on top. Only a little light gets out of this beer, its that thick. The aroma it gives off is of dates and rich malts. The taste is something quite strange considering the ABV. It starts off very smooth, very tame. But then mid way through the tasting it grabs a hold of the back of your throat with a gentle alcohol burn. Here’s the tasting notes from their website.

On the nose, this strong beer has a fruity malt character, with hints of dark fruit, spicy hop, dates and figs.
On the palate, rich and complex with sweet toasted malt, molasses, fresh and dried fruit and hints of warming spices.  (per http://www.sinclairbreweries.co.uk/skull_splitter.html )

Leapbeer #329 is Skull Splitter by Orkney Brewery

Skull Splitter Scotch Ale by Orkney Brewery, Orkney Islands Scotland

Skull Splitter Scotch Ale by Orkney Brewery, Orkney Islands Scotland

Brewery: Orkney Brewing Company (Sinclair Breweries) Sandwick, Orkney, Scottland
Size/ABV: 330ml Bottle/8.5% ABV
Availability: Very Limited
Website: http://www.sinclairbreweries.co.uk/skull_splitter.html
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

Next up is Dark Island, a scotch ale. This is a jet black beer  with a thin tan head on top. Between myself, my wife and my sister we couldn’t decide what it smelled like. I picked up notes of roasted malt, chocolate and licorice. My wife (now pregnant with heightened olfactory sense) smelled bananas, and my sister thought it smelled of mince meat. Talk about a conversation beer. Despite all the heavy undertones and colour this beer was light and very smooth. I got lots of licorice malts and fruit in the taste, along with an almost smokey flavour as well. Very very yummy.

On the nose, this dark beer offers bitter chocolate, figs, toffee and hints of fruit.
On the palate, this resolves into beautiful, silky-smooth, coffee-and-chocolate flavours, followed by figs, dates and dried fruits, with a very appealing, lingering aftertaste of fruits and hop bitterness. (per http://www.sinclairbreweries.co.uk/bottle_darkisland.html )

Leapbeer #330 is Dark Island by Orkney Brewery

Dark Island Scottish Ale by Orkney Brewery

Dark Island Scottish Ale by Orkney Brewery

Brewery: Orkney Brewing Company (Sinclair Breweries) Sandwick, Orkney, Scottland
Size/ABV: 500ml Bottle/4.6% ABV
Availability: Very Limited
Website: http://www.sinclairbreweries.co.uk/bottle_darkisland.html
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer , Mikes Craft Beer

While I initially thought these beers were the furthest from my current location, I was wrong. A little bit of googling proved that despite Orkney being roughly 3700 miles from Campbell River, Marlborough, New Zealand, (home of 8 Wired Brewing) is over 7000 miles from here.

Thanks for Reading

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One thought on “Leapbeer Reviews #329 & #330 Skull Splitter & Dark Island by Orkney Brewery

  1. I got the Dark Island from my beer club and picked up the skull splitter in North Vancouver. Both very good beer although I would pick up skull splitter before dark island in the future.

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