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Brian Boru Old Irish Red - Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub

Not Rated.
Brian Boru Old Irish RedBrian Boru Old Irish Red

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

960 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 960
Reviews: 459
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.14%
Wants: 170
Gots: 65 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
Irish Red Ale |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
Ireland’s first and last Ard Ri (high king) of the whole Gaelic race, Brian Boru was born in Munster, Ireland around 940. Brian Boru’s mother was killed by Vikings when he was a child. He spent his life uniting the Irish tribes to become the first king of Ireland only to be killed at Clontarf on Good Friday 1014 putting down a rebellion by the king of the province of Leinster. This one’s for him.

40 IBU

(Beer added by: Gueuzedude on 03-14-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 960 | Reviews: 459 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by psuKinger:
Photo of psuKinger
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bomber picked up at VIntage Estate, poured into my Sam Adam's perfect pint glass.

A: The cap released without much of a *pop*, which concerned me from the start. But my fears were immediately alleviated upon the pour. Pours a golden amber hue with a huge bone-white head on top, 3 fingers worth. Plenty of carbonation.

S: Big nose of pine and lemon slices, with a touch of herbal/medicinal notes. But mostly pine.

T: Taste follows the nose. The lemon is not quite as present on the palate as it appeared above, and the herbal/medicinal flavors are perhaps a touch more pronounced, but there are few surprises here. Just lots and lots of hops.

It's a tastey and enjoyable brew, but I have to ask: Is this really a "Red Ale"? Whatever caramel malt backbone there is to be found here lies way in the background, overwhelmed by a myriad of hop flavors. If I were simply reviewing "a beer", without regard for style, this would certainly garner high marks. But I'm not sure how to proceed with such a tasty brew that seems to deviate so drastically from style.

As good as it is, I can't bring myself to score it below a 4.0 here. However, with it being so far from the Red Ale that the label so boldly claims, I can't in good conscience score it a 4.5.

M: Light and lively, with plenty of *tingle* all over the tongue. It then finishes quite dry, with lots of sticky hop flavors at the end.

D/O: A delicious, highly drinkable, enjoyable, repeatable hoppy treat. Just not much of a "Red Ale", for those that are considering purchasing for that purpose. This is closer to 3F's Arctic Panzer IPA than it is what other breweries refer to as "Red Ale", IMO.

psuKinger, Mar 03, 2012
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Cole's.poured from the tap a deep bronze with a thinner but well sustained slight off white head,mixed aromas of sweet caramel and spicey/leafy hop made it very appetizing.A big lightly sweet toffee presence really showed itself along with a hint of caramel melding into a big spicey hop finish with notes of of leafy mint lingering.A solid and somewaht complex red ale a good combination of malt and hops,another winner from FFF.

oberon, Apr 02, 2007
Photo of RoyalT
3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance – This came out a beautiful bright brown in color and very clear with a nice, pitting head.

Smell – The huge, complex hops show good promise for this effort at the difficult IRA style. I especially enjoyed the piney notes that reminded me of home.

Taste – Where did the hops go? This turned into a rather dull malty Red with some annoying tanginess. The hops were all bark and no bite.

Mouthfeel – This is short of medium-bodied and lacks any sort of bitter or dry notes.

Drinkability – This one started off looking and smelling good but in the end disappointed.

RoyalT, Apr 28, 2006
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is just outstanding on tap, way better than I remember it being in the bottle. Wow! Brian Boru blends biting pine and orange zest hop flavors with robust caramel and brown sugar malts. It’s full of body and spunk. It looks good with a red amber body and thick tan cream head. The malts and hops are balanced beautifully in the aromas of mandarin, pineapple, toffee, and caramel. Carbonation is minimal. MF is creamy initially, becomes dry and biting halfway through, and then goes back to the malts. I can’t say that it really fits the style, but it obviously isn’t meant too. It’s a great beer that just happens to cost way too much in the bottle these days. All the more reason to seek it out on tap.

DaPeculierDane, Mar 27, 2006
Photo of DanGeo
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

DanGeo, Nov 02, 2014
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.68/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was excited to see that Three Floyd's bottled this one this year. Pours from the bomber a nice bright red with caramel tones along with a creamy, bubbly khaki head. Aromas start with big, fresh grapefruity citric Amarillo hops. There's a sweet caramel underneath with hints of candy toffee. Mangos, pineapples, oranges....so wonderful and vibrant I could sniff it all day long.

First sip brings a nice, smooth creamy caramel maltiness that soon gets overtaken by the huge hop presence. A cornucopia of fruity hop notes that leave a nice bitterness on the way down. There's a bit of nutiness in there as well. So damn good...Three Floyds has taken an Irish Red, kicked it in the ass and made it their own.

Mouthfeel is nice with a smooth, creamy body that is rather full. This goes down so easily I could drink it all night. I must say..this is the Irish Red I want to be drinking on St. Patty's Day. Three Floyd's has done it yet again. Highly recommended.

orbitalr0x, Mar 18, 2005
Photo of warnerry
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours clear amber with one finger of creamy off-white head. Head has good retention and leaves lacing behind.

S - smell is citrus, floral and sweet caramel malt. Smells like an amber-ipa hybrid. Nice.

T - nice floral hop bite up front, followed by considerable caramel malt sweetness. I think the hop presence is a nice compliment. This bottle is several months old. Would love to try a fresh bottle to see how assertive the hops are.

M - medium mouthfeel. Slightly sticky with a dry finish and some lingering bitterness.

O - For me, the hop presence is a big improvement on a traditional amber. I would like to see more Irish red ales around. Would definitely like to try a fresh bottle.

warnerry, Jul 17, 2011
Photo of dgfool
3/5  rDev -25.7%

dgfool, Sep 13, 2013
Photo of 77apm
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

77apm, Mar 16, 2014
Photo of Doomcifer
3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The only FFF brew you can find in RI still, because of it straggling on the shelves. I havent tried this one yet, so I decided to pick it up despite it probably being ever so slightly out of code.

Pours an extremely murky reddish amber with a half-inch head that dwindles down to a small froth afloat the beer. Decent lacing. Very attractive beer.

Smells of sweet malts, some hoppiness, biscuity, caramel/toffee, cherries, yeast.

Tastes very sweet as well. It is very malty sweet and I sense that this beer must have been a little hoppier when fresh. I can still taste the hops but they lack any punch. Very bready and caramel malty, not much of a finish though. Which is where the hops seem to have fizzled out a bit.

Mouthfeel is semi-watery, not very carbonated.

This beer is good, but obviously better when fresh.

Doomcifer, Oct 26, 2006
Photo of merlin48
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Odd, that I live in a state bordering Indiana, but have to drive to Blacksburg, Virginia, to find Three Floyds.
Appearance: 22 ox bottle pours a clear, copper mahogany body with ruby highlights. Very radiant as it beckons in the imperial pint glass. The head is two fingers tall, beige and sticky. Nice head retention and gobs of patchy lace adhere to the sides of the glass.
Aroma: Pungent ruby red grapefruit and orangezest immediately greet the nose. The citrus hoppiness is soft and easy, but assertive. Restrained malty notes of caramel and toffee are in the background.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, with moderate carbonation and some hop oiliness.
Taste: Very much like the bouquet, taste is ruled by a soft, but assertive, citrusy hops profile. Pink grapefruit, with orange and pineapple accents. Toffee and caramel are underneath, but become slightly more apparent as it warms. The hops soften even more near the finish, taking on more of a pineapple flavor. A very interesting take on an Irish Red. Think of a "Smithwicks on Steroids" with a cask of fruity citrus hops.
Drinkability: Nothing like any Irish Red Ale that I've sampled before, but not a big surprise coming from Three Floyds. This one seems to be some kind of Irish Red hybrid, but succeeds on its overall quality and fine construction. Excellent drinkability. The Amarillo hops really work well here. Very tasty!

merlin48, Jun 21, 2005
Photo of Billolick
3.6/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on tap @ Track 84 in warwick, R.I., poured clear almond Amber, with a standard tan head, and leaving minimal to minor lacing, bland malty nose. This a pretty tame, malty Red Ale, notes of vanilla and honey picked up amoungst the decent malty crest of this brew.Very minor hop character. Looks like this beer in bottles is quite hoppy....interesting cuz the tap version pint that had, was malt and more malt. Nothing special, but a decent sessioner, if your thing is middle of the road malty brew.

Billolick, Apr 24, 2006
Photo of badbeer
3.33/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a nice ruby red color with a tan head that disappeared almost as fast as it developed, quite disappointing. Smell was awesome, pineapple and resiny hops greet you, probably not very true to style, but it's smells so good. Taste reminds me of red Kool-Aid for some reason, piney hops kick in to help out and a slightly roasted finish. I just didn't care for the Kool-Aid taste, maybe I'm missing something. Lower carbonation and light to medium bodied. It was a decent beer and loved the smell, but I can't say I'd search this out. This is the first FFF's that I didn't find to be awesome, but then again, maybe I'm missing something. I'll probably try it again to double check.

badbeer, Sep 15, 2006
Photo of Skye1024
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Skye1024, Dec 27, 2011
Photo of BrandonDZ
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

BrandonDZ, Mar 24, 2012
Photo of Osiris9588
3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Out of a brown glass bomber, pours ruddy amber color, with a frothy 2 finger head, with fair retention and ample lacing.

The aroma consists of spicy hops, sweet malt, yeast, and some citrus. The flavor is comprised of caramel malt, a subtle nip of hops, and some candy and cherry, and generally fruity overtones.

The mouth is light on the front, smooth and bittersweet on the finish, as the hops and sugar both assert themselves, leaving a sticky residue upon the lips. A little sugary on the back to be highly drinkable. Has a solid overall balanced, but seems slighly off balance. Not one of the best from FFF.

Osiris9588, Sep 26, 2006
Photo of bpfrush
4/5  rDev -1%

bpfrush, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of ehammond1
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2012)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, dannyfrost!

Cloudy copper in color with a large khaki colored head that sticks around nicely, eventually leaving messy webs and walls of stick down the glass. Gorgeous.

Some bright hop character initially, eventually overpowered by sweet, caramel malts and simple grains and breads. Appropriate for the style, while being hoppier than anticipated--always a good thing!

Some sweet malts and bread flavors are complemented nicely by bright, citrus and light pine flavors. Very low bitterness, and incredibly drinkable. A very nice, tasty version of a style I usually pass up.

Medium bodied with moderate-high carbonation.

A hopped-up, super tasty version of an otherwise pretty lame style. Well done, FFF!

ehammond1, Jul 11, 2012
Photo of boatshoes
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received this as an extra from TonyBrew in a recent trade. Thanks again!

Appearance- Pours a translucent, dark copper red out of the bottle with a smallish half finger or so of slightly copper-tinged white head that dies back pretty quickly to a very small ring around the edges. No real lacing or beading to speak of.

Smell- Wow, surprisingly hoppy. Starts off with a combo punch of resiny hops and a big, bready whiff of caramel malt. An interesting combo that almost reminded me of a maltier Nugget Nectar in some ways. Very solid smelling however and made me curious about the palate.

Taste- The interesting combo follows through into the palate as well. Up front, I get a surprising punch of resiny hops. The hops die back fairly quickly in the face of a strong bready maltiness, highlighted with flavors of caramel and toffee. Finishes off on a slightly sweet note. Really enjoyed the flavors mixing together here as I thought was an interesting and delicious take on the style.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is just a hair on the thin side but adequately carbonated. Great flavor profile though and my glass went down very easily.

Overall, a very interesting take on the style and I enjoyed the blend of flavors quite a bit. Give it a try if you get the chance and look for a fresh bottle so you get the unique hops.

boatshoes, May 26, 2010
Photo of tyleeis
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

tyleeis, May 19, 2012
Photo of HeyYoMar
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

HeyYoMar, Mar 17, 2013
Photo of danpam1024
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

danpam1024, Mar 29, 2013
Photo of rwilde
4/5  rDev -1%

rwilde, Apr 08, 2012
Photo of BillMueller
4/5  rDev -1%

BillMueller, Mar 06, 2012
Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Update: 3/3/12

I love the label, the story of Brian Boru, and drinking a hoppy Irish red ale. Old Irish Red Ale at that.

Pours beautifully into my 3 Floyds pint, head forms thick and rises well above the rim of the glass. The body is a deep copper color with some chill haze casting over it.

Aroma has killer hops with a citrus/pine/tropical fruit medley pretty amazing nose to this beer. Underlying malt profile is well hidden by hops but it's there with a nice softness and hints of caramelized notes.

First time I had this is was a bit aged, which this beer shouldn't make it out of the Spring to be honest it should be gone by St Paddy's. Ohio supposedly didn't get much so I'm fortunate that my local got a case. This beer fucks George Killian's horse in the arse with hops, it has what every Irish Red is lacking...hop character.

I'm surprised that this beer has a honey addition, finishes extremely dry and well balanced no overt sweetness left behind, it had to have been fermented out. A nice upfront bitterness that gives of some pine/earthiness and citrus pith on the palate, with a soft oat addition giving the body a bit more girth.

Mouthfeel has bone dry finish which appeals to us hop heads who simply can't get enough, the body is pretty light for how much is going on in this beer no thickness no cloying aspects simply pleasurable experience thus far.

Drinkability amazing I could literally drain bottles of this stuff, I'm happy to say I have a pilgramage planned for late April. I may see some of you folks there. Salute, to 3F's for being amazing and for fuckin' George Killian's horse in the arse with hops of course.

Appears a deep caramel copper body, with a light tan beige head dwindles slowly I'm salivating just thinking about this one. Hop aroma flowing strong with no one else in mind. Herbal alcoholic flow again on I can't believe it let's do some more damage to our brain cells. What a great flow of aged hop aromas that come our way flowing oh so nicely. Flavors flow well so easily the malts blend nicely with the hops I'm burping up the combo of the two. Flavors contain caramelized biscuit malts with strong herbal slightly piney hop flavors really goes well together. Mouthfeel is medium bodied carbonation is sturdy but no overplayed flows really easily. Drinkability twenty two ounces is effortless enjoy this one and raise your glass to Brian Boru I'm about to Google his ass sounds pretty badass.

WVbeergeek, Oct 28, 2007
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Brian Boru Old Irish Red from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
91 out of 100 based on 960 ratings.