Wee Heavy isn’t a beer style I love, perhaps because I haven’t had many examples of it. But when the opportunity came up to try Orkney Brewery’s signature Scotch Ale, courtesy of the Craft Beer Cellar in Newton, Massachusettes, I got a welcome chance to educate myself.
From the brewery: Skull Splitter is our strongest ale: which is named after Thorfinn Einarsson who was the 7th Viking Earl of Orkney. Sophisticated, satiny smooth with a deceptively light character, it is a tribute to our colourful forbear.
Appearance: Rich mahogany in the glass, this is a beautiful pour, with a slight off-white head that quickly dissipates and minimal lacing.
Aroma: A big nose of spiced rum and figs. Bold, powerful aromas. Tasting note: “Whoa.”
Taste: There’s a lot going on here charred oak, thick molasses, black licorice. Flavours come in waves and linger on palate. Pairs well with red meat and big cheeses. Would probably pair well with steak and blue cheese.
Mouthfeel: Lighter bodied than I was expecting. Smooth and easy-drinking.
Overall: If you’re lukewarm on scotch ales, as I was, this is a great way to discover the style. Unless, you’re a viking, you probably shouldn’t drink it all night, but Skull Splitter is a must-try tasting experience.
Regular contributor and guest reviewer Trevor J. Adams is senior editor with Metro Guide Publishing and the editor of Halifax Magazine. In 2012, he published his first solo book, Long Shots: The Curious Story of the Four Maritime Teams That Played for the Stanley Cup (Nimbus Publishing). You can see what Trevor is drinking on Untappd and follow him on Twitter.