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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.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

948 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 948
Reviews: 459
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.14%
Wants: 162
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: 948 | Reviews: 459 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A nice amber. And nice too to have something not widely tried yet. Higher than average carbonation on hops and malt and caramel. More hophead feed. Grapefruit, floral aroma in hops.Mid-sip toast. Medium mouthfeel. Not the best Three Floyd.Radekfest #2.

Sammy, Apr 03, 2005
Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

t0rin0, Mar 03, 2013
Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -25.7%

djrn2, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of Thorpe429
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Plenty of off-white head sits atop a red-copper brew. Lots of lacing as this one goes down.

S: Definitely comes off as a malt bomb with a touch of sweetness and a bit of an earthiness. Some hops make their way in behind the caramel and toffee notes.

T: Sweet, but definitely not too sweet. Typical malt profile for the style, but with a little something extra, likely from the hop presence, which is high for the style, but definitely not too high for the beer.

M: Medium bodied and quite creamy.

D: Very, very drinkable. Irish Red is not by any means my favorite style, but this was one of my favorite beers of Spring '09.

Thorpe429, Oct 01, 2009
Photo of brentk56
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy copper color with a full head that beautifully laces the pint glass

Smell: Rich caramel aroma blended with orange rind and pineapple; each whiff places one smell or another in the foreground

Taste: Starts out with a rich caramel flavor that is joined by the hops, mid-palate; after the swallow, the bitterness comes to the front but remains balanced, very much like a hoppy Amber Ale

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: I'm not a big fan of the style but this is a very nice beer; as with Gumballhead, the Floyds have taken an often insipid style and turned it on its head

brentk56, Mar 06, 2007
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Glowing titian with a roseate blush when backlit. The huge, creamyfirm head is the color of golden brown sugar and looks like it belongs on an IPA. I have a sneaking suspicion this beer is chock full of hops. Although there isn't as much lace as anticipated, several thick chunks cling resolutely to the glass. There's a great deal more lace with subsequent pours and the head never falls below a fat one finger.

The nose is Amarillo hops gone wild. Not wild in the way that some IPAs are wild, but I doubt that there's a hoppier Irish red ale on the planet. In fact, I can think of only a few red ales that even come close. Juicy pineapple is present, just as the label said it would be. Throw in a bushel basket full of white grapefruits and oranges, as well as a slab of sticky caramel and you have a fair approximation of Brian Boru's nose. Superb.

BBOIR isn't quite as big on the palate as expected, but then Three Floyds Brewing can't turn every style into a hopfest, can they? The correct answer is 'sure, why not?' This offering reminds me of Gumballhead due to the significant hoppiness (for the style) coupled with a relatively light mouthfeel. It's a little more full than Gumballhead, but not by much. The malt backbone is composed of caramel and toffee. I'd be tempted to call it gooey if the beer was more viscous.

The BA style description for Irish red ale uses words and phrases such as lightly hopped, a bit sweet, tea-like, well-rounded and balanced. Other than the first, all are right on the money. It's amazing that so much flavor can be packed into a beer that drinks as easily as this one does.

Tea-like is perhaps the most accurate of the above list. It's hard to tell if that's due to some characteristic of the malt or to the leafiness of the hops. The Amarillo aren't able to shine with as much brilliance as they might have because of the countering effect of the caramel malt. They still manage to impress mightily. A slightly more chewy mouthfeel would have been perfect.

I wanted Brian Boru Old Irish Red to be bigger, more resiny and more unrelentingly hoppy, but I've made my peace with what it is rather than what I wish it was. The bottom line is that it's another fantastic effort from those hop-obsessed Hoosiers. This is Borutiful beer.

BuckeyeNation, Aug 27, 2005
Photo of Phyl21ca
2.68/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a deep clear amber color ale with a small foamy head with minimal retention. Aroma of citrus hops is clearly dominant. Taste is a mix between some sweet malt caramel and some overpowering hops. Seems to me this another one of those 3F recipe where they take a traditional style (Pride & Joy, Robert the Bruce) and drop some major hops on top of it. A bit too one-dimensional for my own taste.

Phyl21ca, Jun 12, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Now this is an Irish Red that I can get on board with. It's absurdly out of style because of the hops, but it makes me compare Brian Boru to other toasty hoppy beers like Nugget Nectar. Off base here?

The beer pour convincingly enough. A medium ruby colored beer turns lighter toward the edges but holds true to the color of an Irish Red. A light froathy head forms on the beer and holds firm at about 1/4", leaving some lacing behind.

IPA-like hops fill the nose giving a lot of orange zest, ruby reds, and pineapple-- all layered on a malt profile that consists of sun kissed caramel, barley, light toffee, and bread crusts. Those hops have no business in an Irish Red, but secretively I love the hop presence here.

...and the hops continue with fresh bright fruits of citrus and tropical, thus religating the malt character to a supportive role. The hop flavor is smooth, rounded, and fades seamlessly into a dry and bitter finish. The malt character has depth, complexity, and elegance all on their own but it's hard to stop and take notice because of the power and seduction of the flavorful 'C' hops.

Soft, malty, and creamy at the forefront of the mouth but the beer quickly turns to a toasty caramel mid-body. Then the toast turns bitter and increases deeper into the finish.

Maybe a better descriptor of this beer is an IPA-strength Amber Ale but with the amber-ness of an Irish Red rather than an American Amber... yea, that makes no sense. Maybe just drinking this wonderful beer is enough.

BEERchitect, Mar 16, 2010
Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev -1%

Texasfan549, Jun 14, 2012
Photo of mikesgroove
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I grabbed this one in a trade a few months back and had been holding out on it for a while. Decided to open it up last night to see what I had and I was more then pleasantly surprised. Twenty two ounce bomber enjoyed via a pilsner glass at fridge temp. Consumed on 09/04/2008.

The pour was breathtaking, this was easily the best looking red ale that I had ever seen. Rich ruby notes swirled in here with a nice caramel brown base color. Lots of light haze and loaded of carbonation streaming up to the top of the glass. A beautiful three inch high head of off white the came up over the top and settled down gradually, really pushing the envelope here for sure. This was about as good of a red ale as I could ever envision.

The aroma as well was just very nice. Rich caramel malt notes were coalescing and accented nicely by a nice sharp pine hop edge. Good solid presentation of aroma here as the bready nature was dominant but not terribly so and some nice balance was developing. The flavor was more of the same, and really for the style just dead on. Rich caramel and bready malts balanced perfectly against sharp resin like hops. Long drying finish really brought the flavor to the forefront and left a long lasting impression with me. Nearly perfect feel was medium bodied, chewy, and very well carbonated. Filling enough to coat the mouth, but light enough to be session able, truly very nicely done. Easily a drinker I put this away with no issues at all during dinner.

Overall I thought this was excellent. Perhaps my favorite that I have ever had in the style. Rich, surprisingly complex and easy to drink I could do no wrong with getting this one all the time. I would definitely seek it out as it really is a great example of the style.

mikesgroove, Sep 11, 2008
Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

kjkinsey, Jun 14, 2012
Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -1%

ygtbsm94, Mar 30, 2012
Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -1%

spycow, Dec 13, 2011
Photo of kylehay2004
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

kylehay2004, May 07, 2013
Photo of Knapp85
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big thanks to Billakowski for sending this one out my way! The beer poured out as a nice looking red/amber color with a light tan head on top. The smell of the beer was hoppier than I expected with some malt aromas coming off of it also. The taste of the beer gives off this really interesting musty/aged flavor. The flavors kept me guessing on what it was that I was tasting. The other flavors were of caramel and some bitter hops in the finish. The mouthfeel of this beer was smooth and lightly carbonated. Overall it's a good brew and I'm glad I got to try it.

Knapp85, Mar 13, 2012
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 emerge077
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This Irish Red has to be my favorite session ale from 3 Floyds...

It pours a unique deep burnt scarlet, with visual fortitude. Mild aroma of earthy peat and rich malts. Taste mirrors the smell, a light and malty sweetness is predominant.
Hops are present, but not off the charts, thankfully. The sweetness is toned down, but rich like molasses. Mouthfeel is similar to an English Mild, with lower carbonation.

Unique version of the style, and recommended...

emerge077, Aug 19, 2006
Photo of largadeer
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one from Dyan in our last trade. Thanks man!

Appearance: Crimson-colored and quite hazy. The off-white head never rises very high, but it does retain nicely. Great looking stuff, I've never seen a beer quite this shade of red before.

Smell: Very malty with a subtle peat/smoke aroma beneath. Caramel, toasted grains, even a bit of roasted tea leaf. Unusual.

Taste & mouthfeel: Big malt flavors of caramel and toast, mildly fruity, subtle tobacco and smoke. Nice complexity while still retaining a medium body and a refreshing quality. Earthy hops and a hint of coffee appear briefly in the finish but don't linger on the palate too long.

Notes: This one was a big surprise. Absolutely the best Irish red ale I've had.

largadeer, May 14, 2008
Photo of zeff80
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an orange/amber color with a cream-colored, small, bubbly head. it left minimal traces of lace,

S - It smelled of biscuity sweet malt with a moss/peat aroma. Also, a slight grapefruit citrus smell.

T - It had a nice sweet caramel maltiness with a hint of toffee and chocolate. An earthy hops presence is mild and understated.

M - It was sharp and dry. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good irish red ale. Very different from most, but still quite good.

zeff80, Sep 26, 2008
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.75/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a nice reddish brown with a light tan head and leaves a thick lace.

S: Strong hops aroma with a little bit of caramel & citrus malt sweetness.

T: The hops that hit you in the smell are certainly there in the taste along with the expected bitterness which gives way to a tea-like flavor and some malt sweetness. Then the hops come back in the finish and stick around in the after-taste.

M: Very crisp and smooth with medium body and medium carbonation. Excellently balanced with a clean finish.

D: The beer isn’t to filling and is extremely flavorful. I could certainly go with this one for a long time.

I had been waiting to try this beer for some time and it was certainly worth the wait (I know I said the same thing about the Dreadnaught, but it’s so true.) especially since I know I won’t be disappointed by Three Floyds.

TheManiacalOne, Mar 18, 2006
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
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I made one mistake with this beautiful beer. I started drinking it too cold, but luckily it started warming up enough where I got to see some interesting character come out of it.

Pours a deep clouded ruby with a light tan head. Nose is caramel and sweet. Flavor is slightly sweet with a leafy caramel character. At first I felt the flavor was dropping off too fast, but then I realized it was just too cold. As it warmed, the flavors became smoother and stayed longer. There's also a nice hearty aftertaste you get as well. Good carbonation and thick and nice on the liquid. Definitely drinkable and a good one to try.

RblWthACoz, Dec 31, 2007
Photo of Kegatron
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear dark amber with 1 1/2 fingers of creamy off-white (almost tan) head. Thin creamy layer of retention skims the surface and leaves some very nice looking lace behind. Wow! The aroma is lush with the telltale spice and piney goodness of Amarillo hops (or at least something similar) as well as some balancing notes of citrus and thick caramel malts. I'm also picking up maybe just the teeniest, tiniest, bit-o-heat. It's hardly overly noticable or anything but it's definitely there.

The taste is much the same as the aroma with tingling, dry, hoppiness up front that is well balanced by tangy citric character and a beefy backbone of bread, caramel, and toffee. Finishes sweet, tangy, and just slightly bitter. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a moderate amount of a beefy feel and an overall pretty lively carbonation. I was impressed by how easily this went down considering the thick flavors.

Well call me surprised by this one! The hop profile of this was quite the welcome surprise and held up extrememly well considering that this bottle was at least 6 months old. Probably the best Irish Red I've had to date!

Kegatron, Sep 19, 2008
Photo of russpowell
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cheers to Finnman for this one, I finally get to review a FFF beer!

Pours a somewhat hazed orange tinged brown (more orange when held to the light) with 1 finger of cream colored head. Above average & lacing

S: Breadyness & leafy hops

T: Leafy hops, toffee, dryness & caramel up front. Some oakyness & more toffee as this warms, along with leafy hops & fruittyness (apricots & figs). Finishes with a bit of orangey & leafy hops, more figs & just a smidge of vanilla, plus just little booze at very end

MF: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation & great balance, plus a little stickyness

Drinks very easy, a solid Irish Red, that is pretty true to it's roots. I could session on this, but would rather move on to the Dark Lord...

russpowell, Apr 11, 2008
Photo of MasterSki
3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up a while ago, but finally got around to drinking it.

A - One finger of dirty white foam with surprisingly excellent retention and a bit of lacing. Brown-red hazed look to the brew, with a bit of a glow to it.

S - Very malt forward, lots of caramel, toffee, a touch of chocolate, but also a hint of tomato and earth. The hops have faded a fair bit since I had this on-tap in early April, but there's still a bit of tropical & floral hoppiness still kicking. It's a little too sweet in general.

T - The taste is a lot of toffee and honeyed bread, with a touch of floral hoppiness and ripe fruit (apple, strawberry). There's a mildly grainy aftertaste that is a little bit unpleasant. I actually like the taste a little bit more than the smell, but not enough to bump it up to a four.

M - Medium bodied, and the carbonation is mild, but it's still a little gritty (much like its namesake I suppose). Finish is pretty dry, with some residual stickiness on the top of the mouth (that sustains the unpleasant aftertaste unfortunately).

D - The low ABV and mild carbonation make it easily drinkable, but I'm just not into the taste all that much. I have no idea how this compares to other Irish Reds, but I'm assuming it isn't all that representative of the style (being a Three Floyds brew). Still, if this was among the better options on-tap somewhere I'd have no problems having a pint.

MasterSki, Jun 11, 2009
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Brian Boru Old Irish Red from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
90 out of 100 based on 948 ratings.