Brian Boru Old Irish Red - 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

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

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460 Reviews
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Reviews: 460
Hads: 977
Avg: 4.05
pDev: 10.86%
Wants: 191
Gots: 65 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co. visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
Irish Red Ale |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Gueuzedude on 03-14-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 460 | Hads: 977
Photo of mpcrump
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle poured into a pint glass...twice....

A: Golden orange with a good sized head.

S: Like my other 3f favorites this has a good strong citrus smell. There is a hint of sweetness in the smell - caramel, cinnamon?

T: Starts a bit sweet with caramel that is followed by citrus hops. The caramel is light and the citrus is mostly grapefruit. Maybe a hint of honey. This beer is sweet but not overpowering.

M: Despite the sweetness and complexity this is a very light and drinkable beer.

O: A very good Irish Red. Some might argue whether it should be considered as such but it always seems that 3f can take a beer style and add an interesting twist. I wish it wasn't seasonal but it does make for a good spring and summer beer.

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Photo of areich6
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoying with my good friend pschul 4.

A: Very dark orange color. Lighter than other red ales I have encountered.

S: Smells like Alpha King by Three Floyds. Very hop-heavy.

T: Pretty hoppy with pleasant bitterness that gives way to a caramelly sweet characteristic. Very nice.

M: Slightly prickly carbonation, but overall very smooth carbonation.

O: Really good beer. The sweet and bitter qualities of the taste is kind of unique and also quite delicious. Also, the mouthfeel is very nice and the beer is highly drinkable.

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Photo of pschul4
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beer #2 on areich6 and my's night of the King!

A- Red? This looks like a dark IPA, a hint of amber I suppose but not much in the way or RED

S- Who sells hops to FFF? All of their beers smell pretty similar. That being said, all of their beers smell pretty great :)

T- Nice hop taste (warrior hops I'm assuming) but this has a malt backbone you won't find in other FFF beers, and I kind of like the change of pace.

M- THIS is the best part. Silky smooth, I love it!

O- Didn't know what to expect with this one but really loving it. For the price I may grab a few more bottles. Can't beat it

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Photo of Hoptometrist
3.82/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served from the bottle into a mug

A-Poured a clear dark amber color, looks more dark orange than red. Big soapy head that left lots of coating lace

S- Big aroma of pineapple, citrus, pine, toffee, and biscuit. Pretty astringent aroma

T- Light toffee and biscuit notes up front with pineapple and citrus flavors on the finish. Big pineapple aftertaste. Astringency is about the same as Zombie Dust, big for an Irish Red or Pale Ale but not IPA level.

M- Medium/lighter body
not very highly carbonated, refreshing, or dry on the finish
pretty average mouthfeel

O- Certainly not a traditional Irish Red, tastes like a hopped up amber ale. This beer actually tastes more malty at first, but further along this really tasted more hopped up, especially with the big pineapple aftertaste.

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Photo of VaTechHopHead
3.76/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Very clear dirty dark orange color with a thick everlasting white head. Tons of cascading bubbles as well.

S - Earthy hops are the first scent present with a light toasted malt aroma as well. A hint of nuttiness and just a tad bit of caramel can be detected.

T - Same with the aroma the taste leads with Earthy hops paired with a toasted malt flavor. There is a smooth caramel flavor in the middle and a drying nuttiness and bittering tea-like finish.

M/O - Medium body with great carbonation, chewy body and is soft of the palate. A little over-hopped for the style IMO but it is a "not normal" 3Floyds beer so that is to be expected but doesn't detract from how good it is. Either way it's a good beer and easy to drink.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a perfect pint.

4.5 A: Clear medium orange color. Two and a half fingers of off-white, dense creamy head. Retention is better than average and plenty of lacing is left.

4.5 S: This is hopped to hell and back. Mango and pineapple dominate the nose. Underneath there is a slight amount of toffee, oat, and caramel. Super clean. Not the most complex, but that's because the hops cover up mostly everything. Smells wonderful nonetheless.

3.5 T: Tasty, but it's lacking the typical red ale flavors for the most part. The hops again dominate, leaving little room for caramel and toffee to shine. Mild bitterness. Pineapple and mango hop flavor, but not nearly as intense as the nose. Oats are detectable, at least more so than the caramel and toffee. Surprisingly not very toasty.

3.5 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Reasonably creamy for how light the body is.

3.5 D: This is more like Alpha King than an actual Irish Red Ale. Oh well, it's tasty, but I was expecting an Irish ale so I'm a bit disappointed.

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Photo of TwelveOunces
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a three floyds pint glass

2012 batch consumed fresh.

A- Clear golden orange with a 2 finger head composed of larger bubbles. Not as red as the "red" would imply.
S- Crazy citrus up front. This has strong notes of pineapple and mango. A sugary caramel toffee character. Strange cinnamon oats and grains. This actually kind of smells like apple jacks.
T- A sugary red caramel taste up front followed up by exotic citrus hops and a bitter but smooth feel. This tastes more red then it looks, A light toffee character and caramel. The Amarillo hops really shine in this baby, It has strong characteristics of pineapple and grapefruit and other citrus flavors. There is honey in this beer and is very subtle and not immediately noticeable but it adds to the sweetness.
M- This beer has a full body with complex flavors and depth but is still rather light and drinkable. I would not call it quite a session-able beer but its not far off. Leaves you mouth with some bitterness but with that comes a bunch of citrus flavors. A good beer for any occasion.
O- This beer was about as good as I expected it to be and more weird then I expected but I never really know what to expect from 3F. Its not physically red and has citrus notes that embarrass many big IPA's so don't expect to be drinking a typical red here. This beer is as unique as they come and really defines a new style of beer.

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Photo of b3shine
3.77/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft to imperial pint. Looks good; red and pretty translucent, especially for a FFF beer (probably to adhere to the style). Smells good too; like a hoppy amber. Conjures up an image of a lighter Nugget Nectar. Tastes good, but much more like an IPA than an Irish Red (and it loses 1/2 point because of this, even though the taste itself doesn't warrant it). Mouthfeel is good too. Overall, a good beer that is miscategotized.

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Photo of psuKinger
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.91/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New month, new Three Floyds beer: and, though February seems to have come a little late this go around, I’m happy to be getting a taste of an Irish red any time of the year. Cheers!

A: The head’s a little slow to form, churning from something quite low to a huge three-fingers of beige bubbles – fizzy, frothy, and powerful. Retention is a finger of milkiness, foamy and rich as cappuccino cream. There’s so much carbonation rising up through the body – augmenting the foam – which gives the beer a lighter, even more lively presence. The color is more of an Irish amber than an Irish red, with a good amount of orange hue. Lacing is as thick and frothy as the retention – this beer looks absolutely great.

S: Pine needles and citrus fruits lead lightly from the hops, which have a nice sting without being too overbearing. The malt presence is a little more unique: citrusy aromas of black cherry, pineapple, and tangerine, and toasty caramel grains. A bit of oat scent, toffee, and some earthy peat lay underneath, darkening the nose considerably. Even further below that is some dry yeast, like Guinness with a bit of that Three Floyds skunkiness that I’ve noticed in other beers from this brewery. Again, it’s unique.

T: What a VASTLY different character than the nose: malts come out much, much thicker and breadier than I was able to pick up on from just the scents alone. They’re not even bready – more like doughy, with flavors of oats, biscuit, and rye spice. It’s earthy, but in more of an American malt way than a dry Irish way (probably because of the caramel character). The grains are certainly the main players here, but the hops present a tart display of balance: citrus rind, oily flower notes, and distinctive FFF pine. Aftertaste is subtly yeasty, signs of bread, herbs (mint and sage, mostly), and alcohol. This beer would go perfectly with red meat – Irish fare, of course.

M: It’s definitely not as crisp as I thought it would be (with all the visible carb in the body), but the creaminess actually helps the presence of the malts. Like any Irish ale, though, it’s very drinkable.

O: A ton of flavor for such an easy-drinking, low-alcohol beer. One of my favorite FFF monthly offerings so far.

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Photo of MaxSpang
3.52/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass.


This beer is a lot less red than I was expecting. It actually looks more like a pale ale or amber ale than a red ale. When first poured, the head was HUGE - it took up more than half of the glass. There was pretty awesome lacing throughout, and the head stuck around until the bitter end. A nice looking beer - but definitely no Irish Red.


The first thing I get with this beer is the Amarillo hops. They bring a lot of grapefruit, pineapple, and other citrus fruits. It almost smells like an IPA as far as intense hop aroma goes. There is a little bit of maltiness in the nose as well, bringing some slight bread and caramel notes. Overall, the biggest thing is the hops - this is definitely a Three Floyds beer!


Again, right off the bat I notice the hops. They bring all the familiar favorites - citrus, grapefruit, orange pith, pineapple, and other tropical fruits. There is a nice malt layer to this beer. The malt has a bit of bread, caramel, and toffee. There was a pretty sharp bitterness that I was not expecting, almost like an IPA. The beer has a slight astringency that I don't really like - it kind of reminds me of sucking on a teabag. Overall, though, this beer has some really nice flavors going on.


This brew has got some nice body to it. The carbonation is medium, which sort of cuts down the otherwise creamy mouthfeel. Combine that with the crisp, fresh hop flavor and you've got a beer with a complex mouthfeel. It's very drinkable and satisfying.


Honestly, this beer bears no resemblance to an Irish Red in my book. But that's not a bad thing. This beer is pretty much an IPA with all the hop character, albeit a slightly maltier one. Three Floyds tends to throw a ton of hops into a beer that doesn't normally get that kind of treatment - usually with good results. This beer is no different. Don't expect a malt-bomb with this one, and you'll be rewarded with another delicious FFF beer.


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Photo of Dan3279
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this today at the Winking Lizard in Bedford. I was excited about this one because I didn't have to work hard on tracking it down.

I poured part of the bomber into a snifter glass to find a reddish orange body with an one inch white head. The aroma threw me for a loop, it comes across more as an IPA than anything else. A nice floral nose with some citrus, honey and malts.

The flavor was great caramel, citrus and a ton of malts. The hops were really present but mellowed out nicely with mellow, dry aftertaste.

The mouthfeel was good with a medium body a nice good amount of carbonation.

Overall another solid offering from 3Floyds, I am going to have to hunt for another bottle or stop by the Lizard one more time this month for one more bottle.

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Photo of aasher
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This just arrived yesterday.

It pours a light bodied pure copper in color with a nice shine and good clarity. It reveals only a slight off white lacing around the glass. The nose is nice and fresh. It gives off aromas of citrus alongwith pine and a touch of onion. Not really typical for the style. The flavors are very light and crisp. It features light pine, light onion, and fades into some light toffee and amber malts. Probably as complex as it can be but most importantly, drinks very hoppy for the style. It's light and drinks pretty light in body. It's very refreshing. Overall this is a really nice Irish Red, probably the best around.

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Photo of JayQue
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good Red Ale!!! Thanks to woodchopper who included it in a trade. Pours a slightly hazy reddish amber color. Head is not that great in size...average retention. Prominent lacing on the glass.

Good hoppy aroma...mostly pine/citrus.

Taste is great. Nice balance between caramel malts and pine and citrus hops. Hoppiness without total in your face bitterness. Definitely a hoppy Red Ale not a mild IPA.

Mouthfeel is smooth and crisp. Not too bitter...not too sweet. A great beer with food or as a session beer.

Very nice...I would definitely try this one again!!!

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Photo of hopfacebrew
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer was hooked up by my man GDBEERMAN - thanks Rob! Figured it was a good one to start St. Patty's Day with!

A - The beer was poured to an oversized mug. A nice burnt orange copper color. A nice 2.5 finger slightly off-white head. Very good retention and lacing.

S - The first thing I noticed was a pleasant citrus hop aroma that I didn't expect. Not over powering of robust like an over-the-top IPA but good. Next comes a nice blend of toasted malt character. Very good balance. Very good aroma.

T - Just where the nose left off! The beer starts with a mild bitterness accompanied by a mellow citrus flavor from the hops: orange, tangerine, lemon zest even. The sweetness of the malt comes in with a nice caramel flavor. The middle of the beer brings out a bit of pine character in the hops. Well balanced. Very nice. Finishes with a nice bitter, sweet, balanced flavor.

M - Medium bodied with just about perfect carbonation. A slightly dry finish.

O - A very pleasant surprise from Rob! A very good beer. I wish it was available in Colorado! Great start to my Three Floyd adventure ;)

Note: This review was a re-post from my former account, jmkratt, which was hacked and I lost all my reviews...sorry for the redundancy.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 03-18-2011 01:24:06

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Photo of beergod1
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy brownish Orange, with moderate tan head. Smell is hoppy with roasted malt. Flavor screams of caramel and maltyness. Medium body with underlying bitterness, tastes like tea. This is a very nice beer. There is a pleasant balance between the hop presence and the toffee/caramel flavor.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into DFH Signature glass. No bottle date, but I know this isn't that "fresh". I have had it since early summer '11. Lost in the fridge....

A: Pours a really pretty clear orangish red. No a lot of head, maybe 1/4 finger of bright white. Fades into a ring reeally quickly though. Bubbles streaming off the bottom of the glass. Not a lot of lacing, some sticky beads after the swirl.

S: I still get a good amount of pine and fruit hop astrigency. I was surprised by that considering the age. The majority of the smell though is the sweet malt bill that has taken this beer over.

T: I still get that hop bitterness on the tip of the tongue. Nice sweet pine notes in that from the Amarillo. Then in the middle of the tongue you get blasted with the sweet maltiness. Definitely get that caramel and toffee hints. The finish is crisp and clean. There are some faint hop and caramel flavors that stay on the palate.

M: Light moving to medium bodied.

O: I'll go B+ on this one, but have a feeling it might have been superb if it was fresh. I love that FFFs uses those Amarillo hops so well. A very distinct note that you are drinking one of their beers. Bravo.

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Photo of Dope
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A deep red pour with a foamy offwhite head atop it. Retention is quite good and the lacing is too.

S: Decently hoppy, mostly tea-like aroma. Some pineapple. Sweet caramel rounds it out. Very nice caramelized brown sugar smell as it warms.

T: A little bit of tea and pineapple up front which blends into a nice caramel malt afterwards. Some nice biscuity malt as well. Quite malty in general.

M: Smooth medium body. A bit drying in the aftertaste.

O: Overall not a bad irish red. Not my favorite style and this might be my favorite. I recommend letting it warm up, it is a totally different beer. I had to come back and edit my scores after letting it sit out for quite a while.

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Photo of Pete0714
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had seen this one before at the bottle shop before I knew much about FFF, didn't try it until now.
Poured from a bomber into a pint glass, a hazy reddish orange, with some sediment noticible.
Smell a slight roasted note, but nothing is too overpowering here. Pretty mild.
I taste some sweet caramel as the main flavor, though to be honest nothing seems too strongly coming forward.
The mouthfeel is very nice, silky smooth overall.

Overall, a nice Irish red, but for some reason seems milder in flavor to me than I may have anticipated.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Funhog for this one.

A: Pours a nice peach/ruby color with a one finger foamy head, very tight on top. It held pretty firm for most of the time drinking, leaving behind little bits of lacing.

S: Quite hoppy, more so than others in the style that I have had before. Some nice orange zest and a bit of grapefruit with a solid malt backbone comprising of caramel and a little bit of toffee.

T: Unfortunately, the hop characteristics from the nose do not translate to the flavor profile. There is a little bit of hop presence coming through as some orange zest. There is a little bit of spice and a good dose of malt with some caramel and toffee as well some toasted bread. I can certainly taste the "tea-like" quality in this beer.

M: Medium bodied, rather crisp and smooth drinking with moderate carbonation. Slightly bitter and dry finish.

O: Very easy drinking, had no problem with drinking it and would gladly do so again. Liked that this was a hopped up Irish Red, as it falls more in line with my natural taste. Another solid beer from FFF.

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Photo of KrautAficionado
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Swee toffee, hoppy malt scent, almost like a hoppy stout. Deep dark thick amber color. Very nice mouth feel, clean and refreshing. Watery caramel, hops, with a touch of citrus. Also grapefruit and not very bitter in the taste or finish which is nice. Easy to drink and not as complex or harsh as some of their other beers which is a nice change of pace for them. A very nice ale.

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Photo of warnerry
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

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Photo of Sideswipe
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a DFH tulip. A generous extra from AleWatcher. Thanks Jeff!

Brian Boru pours a very attractive reddish copper color. A two finger head recedes gradually leaving nice lacing and a thin white coaster. The nose is very hoppy. Smells like an IPA! Was not expecting that. Taste is hop forward at the start with some nice citrus characteristics. Hops give way to a nice malt backbone mid palate. Big caramel and toffee notes are present. Hoppy bitterness returns towards the end, and the finish is dry with a slight lingering bitterness. The beer is medium bodied with a bit of viscosity to it. Carbonation is medium. Overall, Brian Boru is a tasty, very drinkable brew from Three Floyds. I certainly appreciate their hoppy take on the style and would gladly have this again if given the chance.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Pint glass.

A - Pours a reddish orange with a very thin tan head that quickly forms a ring around the edges. Mild lacing left on the glass.

S - Sweet malts, barley, and a touch of sweetness, maybe molasses.

T - Again sweet malts, slight citrus and carmel.

D - Nice carbonation and fells good in the mouth.

O - A good example of an Irish Red. Enjoyed!

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Photo of Chaney
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Currently the top Irish Red according to BA. Let's see...

I got this bottle from a Liquor Barn in Louisville, KY. It was the last one left. Lucky me!

A: Reddish hue, attached to a golden brew. The head was about a 1-2 finger one that retained itself throughout the session.

S. Hoppy! Literally, this sucker smelled like an IPA! But that's FFF for you. Citrus, along with red velvet cake batter.

T: Figures that FFF would find a way to hop an Irish Red. I got a bit of booze/chalk/pepper on the end, but this one was pretty amazing!

M: Thick enough for this style and ridiculous lacing. Carbonation aplenty. Great!

O: Red velvet cake with hops. Truly an awesome brew. However, I'm not sure what the Irish would think of it...

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Brian Boru Old Irish Red from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 460 ratings.