1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Brian Boru Old Irish Red - 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

969 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 969
Reviews: 459
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 10.89%
Wants: 180
Gots: 66 | 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

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: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 969 | Reviews: 459 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of badbeer
3.38/5  rDev -16.3%
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.

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer pours a brown, cherry and amber color with a wisp of tan head.

Smells of dry toasted nuts, sour green apples and sweet honey malts.

Tastes of brown sugar, a slight dry cocoa, not-so-sweet cherries and green apple with a little bit of nuttiness. There’s a slight grapefruit rind dryness here too and it all finishes with a slight introduction of coffee. The flavors here are good, but the nuts and green apple flavors didn’t seem to get along with each other.

The mouth feel was medium boded with a substantial carbonation. Seemed like a bit much.

The fruitiness was different for the style, but quite enjoyable.

Photo of RedwoodGeorge
3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear deep red with a thick cream head. Head is short lived, some lacing.

Aroma is predominantly hops - some pine some herb. Caramel and fruity esters are pretty well in the back.

Nice and hoppy but again the caramel and fruit is a bit too reserved.

Mouthfeel is fine - light bodied with good carbonation. Hopping is enough to leave a dry clean finish.

Tasty brew... Drinkable... Similar to Red Seal Amber on a good day though Red Seal has more PNW type hops and this was a bit more earthy.

Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bottle

Pours a clear reddish-brown with a small tan head that fades. mild lacing on the glass.

Aroma is mainly piney hops with a mild sweet maltiness.

Some caramel maltiness upfront with a slight nuttiness. This becomes masked by a piney hop flavor that lasts almost the duration with a slight encore of maltiness at the very end. Finishes clean.

Medium body, mild carbonation.

This is a tasty and drinkable beer, but just a little too heavy on the hops for the style. I realize that 3F doesn't really adhere to many style guidelines, which I generally love. But, I was really in the mood for a straight-up Irish Red, and this beer just didn't quite scratch my itch.

Photo of emerge077
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
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...

Photo of FightingEntropy
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very strong Irish red ale with a caramel and fruity base and a robust (for the style) hop presence--perfect, for my personal prefernces. I'm not a hop head per se, though I like the occasional DIPA, but a stronger than average hop presence to balance a strong malty base is my idea of a red ale, and Three Floyd's does a great job with this one. The aroma is light, and doesn't pull up into the nose well, and the head was weak and the rust color became a barely noticable blob in the center of the very, very red-ruby-red beer. If in a well lit bar or a sunny patio, the red color, from a distance, could be mistaken for a summer fruity beer. The the slightly creamy but full body mouthfeel would tell the difference for you immediately. Give this one a shot if you can get it.

Photo of Higravity
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this as an after dinner relaxer. Nice red color very much like it should be with a dominate white head that fades slowly. Smell is of caramelized malt with a strong arm of hops grapefruit with spice. The taste enthralls the palate holding it before passing on and giving you a dry finish. Very much a Irish red but strengthed and grown a mustache. Good body and a bomber will do you fine.

Photo of nickss
4.27/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass.

Deep amber hue with a smallish 1/4" off-white head. The color is spot on.

Very nice aroma for a red. Malty nuttiness, almost like a winter ale of sorts. Notes of chocolate and caramel fill the nose. I do not detect the pineapple in the aroma that the bottle mentions, but oh well... a nice smelling beer nevertheless.

Very malty taste, with hazelnuts making an appearance as well. There is a distinct hop presence if you look for it.... nicely balanced. I was surprised when only about 5 sips in, I was accosted by a huge hop belch... where did that come from?!

Extremely drinkable, and one of the best (if not THE best) red I've ever had. Unfortunately, it is still a red. Thus, for $7.99 per bomber, I will likely spend my money on other brews the vast majority of the time. Still, I certainly not displeased with my purchase.

A bit thin for my taste, although the carbonation is just about right. A beer with this much character should be thick in the mouth.

Photo of cbl2
3.49/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

$5.99 22 oz. 5.90% No best by date, though it is a spring seasonal, so it should be fresh.


A brilliant mahogany brown that is crystal clear, with a quarter inch of thin tan head.


Faint citrus hop aroma, with a mildly malty backbone, though nothing too exciting or unique.


Mild pine hop profile coupled with a slightly biscuity malt character. Mouthfeel is super smooth, but overall this is simply an adequate beer with nothing exceptional.

Photo of mmmbeer
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber with no freshness date. It pours a dark garnet that is clear with medium carbonation and a half inch tan head, and the second pour contributes some sediment. Grapefruit and pineapple hops in the aroma with additional notes of leafy hops, faint tea, and caramel. There is mango and pineapple on the palate with a light to medium bitterness and a firm, toasted malt backbone with hints of tea. It has a medium body that is somewhat dry, and near the end of the first pour it's a bit watery, but the second pour cures that. Overall a good, quite drinkable Irish red that really brings out the hop flavor without getting all the bitterness. I just wish it, like a lot of 3F offerings, were a bit cheaper.

Photo of tavernjef
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bright brownish red with a clean, clear body. Small dense cap of dark ivory foam. Splatchy cob webby lacing is spread about the glass.

Rounded, clean, and quite hoppy on the nose. No real surprise from 3F. Softly orange with a wafty pine scent intermingling well with just a touch of floral resins and pollen.

Taste is quick, clean, and rounded with a centered toasted bread dough tone and a slightly sticky toffee surrounded by a nice firm display of dully citric oily hoppyness. Kinda orangey, semi oily to nearly full, slippery in bitterness with a rounded off leafy pineyness. Soft, supple, and a good amount of flavor profile. A nice balance f both malt and hops makes this a nice treat.

Feel is clean, quite clean in fact, with a smooth oily slide to its nature thats very inviting and a very soft finish of lightly toasted malt sweetness and an orangey oilyness. Long lofty pine oil notes the finish late.

A solid drinkin' brew. Its cleanness is respectful to its balance as it has a wonderfully crafted oily tone to it that makes for solid enjoyment.

Photo of kirok1999
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Dark reddish bronze, minimal head and good white lacing.

Smell- Mild malt sweetness with predominant hop notes.

Taste- Mild all around (to me anyway). Nice malt backbone with citrus and warming alcohol balance. There is a definite FFF grapefruit hop note here. A dry characteristic in the finish.

Mouthfeel- Bitter and dry, crisp and mild.

Drinkability- A nice pleasant brew, good for all occasions.

Photo of
3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 22oz. bomber. Appearance was a clear copper color with a medium size head. Aroma was malty/sweet with molasses coming to mind. A faint whiff of grass also came through. Taste was primarily sweet (molasses again, blackstrap in particular), with some bitterness from the hops at the end. The flavor was very well balanced. Body was medium and carbonation was quite low, leading to an almost flat mouthfeel. Very smooth, however. This was a drinkable beer, but, to me, quite filling.

Photo of BigDaddyWil
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a pint glass.
Undated bomber purchased at the brewpub.

Awesome looking brew. Pours a very brilliant amber, redish color, very clear. A nice one inch thick, cream colored head forms. Fades a little slowly, leaving a ton of delicate lacing. Citrusy hops dominate the smell as with most Three Floyds brews. There is a musty, dusty, malt smell in the background. Very well balanced flavor of citrusy hops and caramel malts. A tad sweet, very enjoyable. Mouthfeel is quite smooth, and medium bodied. Drinkability is great, this beer goes down smooth, not filling at all, and leaves you wanting more. Another great beer from Three Floyds.

Photo of dirtylou
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, $6.99, I have a hunch it might have some age on it

appearance: poured into a chalice....murky rich amber, very light beige head with not much in the way of retention or lacing

smell: The hops have really died down on this one. I realize this might be last years batch so this goes as a lesson that this one deteriorates on a fairly short timetable...smell is mostly caramel, light hop feel, a little musty, slightly nutty

taste: hops are a little more present on the tongue than the nose and citrus in nature, smooth caramel malt has emerged along with a nutty characteristic that suits it well. rather earthy, delicate toasted malt characteristics...A good but, underwhelming 3F attempt at the irish red style

mouthfeel: very light bitterness, fairly creamy, medium-light body

drinkability: pretty good, seems to improve a bit as approaches room temperature

Photo of akorsak
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a 650 mL bottle of Brian Boru served in a Three Philosophers goblet. The ale is cool (has been out of the fridge for almost an hour).

Appearance: The ale is a deep ruby red with orange hints that emerge from time to time. There is a small ring of head but no lace.

Smell: This ale has a big strong aroma. The citrusy hops jump out and grab a hold of you. There is no hint of any malt aromas.

Taste: Big strong grapefruit flavors highlight the taste. Those hops are big and bold and dominate the taste. There is a slight caramel malt flavor that provides just a hint of balance. But enough of the malts, the hops are the big story here (as I've seen in Dreadnaught too). FFF is not afraid to use a big bold hop to add a ton of flavor. And surprising, the hops don't strip your tastebuds.

Mouthfeel: The strong citrus flavors from the hops are quite nice and leave a lively feeling in the mouth.

Drinkability: The ale's strong hop character does not impair the drinkability. I would like to see a bit more malts, but overall I have little to complain about.

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a large 3F bottle into a tumbler. My overall impression is that Three Floyds can't approach a style without adding their house brand of hops to the flavor. In this case it works pretty well...

The color was burnt pumpkin with a creamy head. The aroma was mostly hops over a slightly caramel background. The flavor was a little roasty, a littel caramel, and definite hops. I put the mouthfeel at a 3.5 because the body seemed a little thin. But I'd still get it again.

Photo of asabreed
4.67/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a pint glass. This bottle was around $8, and I was hesitant, so I really hope this is worth it.

Appearance: A beautiful and slightly hazy dark amber color. One of the best body colors I think I've ever seen. Almost looks more like a Belgian Strong Dark to me, only maybe a tad lighter. Unfortunately there's not much head, even with some recharging, and there's not much lacing either. Maybe it was my pour? Either way, the body's saving this because the color's friggin gorgeous.

Smell: This is quality stuff here. Some toasted husk, toasted malt, fragrant but not overpowering hops. Also a but of chocolate and a bit of ripe cherry when I take deep sips and inhale. You can tell this is great stuff as soon as you put your nose in it. More perfume and flower-like aromas--from the hops?--come through as it gets warm. Great stuff.

Taste: From the aroma, much comes through with flying colors. A fantastic combination of both ripe fruit malt and toasted malt, and I have no idea how they're doing it. The hops are strong to the point of making their presence known, but they're working harmoniously, balancing the hell out of this brew. There's also some woodiness, smokiness, and earthiness that only adds to the brew. Also the hops and citrus backbone come out more and more as it warms too. There's also some of the ripe cherry and chocolate lingering at the tongue at the end. Another homerun from Three Floyds.

Mouthfeel: Full and creamy without the hint of a cloying or sugary body or anything even near that. The carbonation's perfect too, silky as hell when you're close to the swallow.

Drinkability: Yeah, this is extremely delicious, insanely complex, and, well, very expensive, at least as far as I'm concerned. Do you get what you pay for in this instance, though? Yes. Would I buy another one? Yes. A fantastic brew all around.

Photo of sulldaddy
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle of this brew on a visit to RI. I am pouring a room temp bottle into a tulip snifter. The beer pours a clear mahogany with minimal beige head that foams up and then remains as only a thin edge layer.
Aroma is caramel and grassy and herbal hops. Overall the nose is fairly mild. First sip reveals an average body with gentle rolling carbonation. Flavor starts with some chocolate and caramel thenn rolls to some lite grassy hops that linger and come back with each burp. The beer is smooth an very drinkable, not overly complex or robust, but a solid example of the style IMO. Worth a shot.

Photo of Erdinger2003
3.62/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The appearance is reddish cinammon and the head dissapears right away. The lacing is pretty weak and doesn't stick very well.

The smell is lightly burnt sugar brown sugar with a hoppy and nutty flavor.

Strawberry is the first thing that hits my taste buds, slightly nutty and is followed by sweet hops that are lighter than I had expected.

Mouthfeel is smooth and nice, very good.

I would like a fresh bottle, this showed signs of aging or mistreatment.

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.16/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Dark copper color. Clear, no haze or sediment to speak of. Light cream colored head has some good volume to it. Medium sized bubbles means it won't be lasting though

S: Sweet grains with a slight hop backdrop. Bit of orang juice, caramel and honey.

T: Blander than I expected. Immediate watermelon like sweetness gives way to a decent hop bitterness without a lot of flavor. Reminds me a bit of waterered down orange juice with some bittering hops.

M: Medium bodied with a full texture. Probably the best thing about this beer

D: Three Floyds is interesting. They make some of the best beers in the world, but wow are some of their beers mediocre. Not that ambers are usually a stand out style, but I suppose I was hoping for a bit more.

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.7/5  rDev -33.2%
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.

Photo of PartyHatjo
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Deep red color with some brown overtones. Little head to speak and what's there doesn't stick around.

Aroma: Nice caramel malt with some citrus and earthy hop overtones. I detect a slight roast character as well.

Taste: Very malty, sweet caramel and toffee notes. Some biscuit and roast give highlights to the beer and there are definitely some earthy English hop flavor in there as well.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, low carbonation, very little bitterness, which is good for the style.

Drinkability: Average abv and low bitterness/mid body beer make it almost slammable.

Photo of Phatz
4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

As a fan of the classic Irish red ale style I must admit this beer is unlike any other Red Ale I have ever had. It was the right color, sort of a bright amber brown, but that is where the normal ended. The taste and smell of a typical Irish red is more sweet and dry this was a real hop-bomb for the style. I did enjoy it, but by no means does Brian Boru Old Irish Red fit into the style of Irish Red Ale, IMO. There a plethora of tastes and smells including the fruity citric attributes and sweet caramel malts but they all hide under layer of very bold hops. I would have thought this a red malty IPA as opposed to a hoppy Red but who am I to say. The malty backbone gives it (almost) a medium body. If you are looking for Smithwick’s Ale, this is not it. If you are looking for something new then give Brian Boru Old Irish Red a shot.

Second time around I did not find it as hoppy as I did before... I will need to try a third bottle on a fresh palate and come to something conclusive =)

Hope this is helpful.

Photo of Zorro
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear red colored ale with a tall light brown colored head.

Smell is a little sweet with a tea and hops aroma. There is an herbal note to the hops used that also ads a hint of metal to the scent.

Taste is slightly sweet and very full flavored with a certain herb tea quality. Good full flavors here, good malt level and multiple layers of hop flavors. Herb tea in the best sense of the word tasty and not at all harsh.

Mouthfeel is good, full but not uncharacteristically thick.

This is one very easy to drink beer. The beer that proves that Irish ale isn't just a marketing gimmick to sell Killian's red. Tasty ale that will appeal to a regular beer drinker with lots of extra flavor that a real beer fan can love.

Brian Boru Old Irish Red from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 969 ratings.