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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

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949 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 949
Reviews: 459
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.14%
Wants: 163
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: 949 | Reviews: 459 | Display Reviews Only:
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 schenked
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am not typically an Irish red ale fan, but I have great faith in Three Floyds, so I gave it a shot. Deep, satisfying red color. The overly malty-sweet quality that drives me away from Irish reds was not there. It had a grapefruit-esque smell similar to what you find in Alpha King. The front end had a surprisingly crisp, citrus hop quality with nice subtle malty undertones. Clean mouthfeel. I will definately drink this again if I encounter it on tap.

schenked, Mar 26, 2006
Photo of ultralarry2006
5/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was poured from a 22 oz. bomber- it produced a 1/2 inch head that subsided into just surface skim, and left decent lacing on the way down. The ale was deep reddish brown, like tea. Powerfull and pleasant citrus aroma - citrus, grapefuit, some pine, pretty much all hops, no hint of malt-. Taste was similar- grapefuit, and orange hop dominating this ale. Doughy, pleasant, bready malt hanging way in the back, quietly providing backbone, not at all sweet, and without any roasted acridness, there was even a slight aftertaste of tea. And all the time grapefruit, oranges, lemon, hops, and hops, and very dry - hey!! : This is really an IPA in disguise! Mouthfeel was smooth and full, very satisfying, with moderate carbonation. Drinkability- This goes down easy ! This is an excellent ale and I will certainly enjoy it from time to time.

ultralarry2006, Mar 26, 2006
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 MattBrooks
4.83/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Track 84 in Warwick, RI. This beer pours reddish brown with an unholy darkness to an Irish Red Ale that was truly awesome! The smell is classic Floyds in that it had a fresh, flowered hoppiness to it not found in any other Irish Red Ales. The hoppiness transfers over in the taste as well, mixing with orange and herbs on the tremendously long finish. The mouthfell was just right. Not too heavy or too thin, but perfectly balanced. I ended up having 4 or 5 throughout the evening, and at 5.9% alc (which suprised me when I found out) it was easy to drive the hour and a half home. It's a shame this beer isn't around longer, but I'm glad I had the chance to try it.

MattBrooks, Mar 18, 2006
Photo of murrayswine
4.55/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just got this beer in today. This thing is like every other 3F beer---One Hoppy SOB! The nose is so hoppy it's insane. the ruby red beer gives way to a snow white head.
The first taste is very clean, sturdy, strong hops, with a good malt back. Not at all metallic like other Red's I've had, this one has a rye taste to it almost. The mouthfeel is a bit bitey in the beginning, but it finishes smoother. Of course, after that whole bomber, everything goes smooth.

murrayswine, Mar 16, 2006
Photo of carln26
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color of this beer is a rich amber, slightly hazy and topped by a thick tan head that shows nice retention. I love the aroma of 3 Floyds beers. See my comments on the Black Sun stout. This beer has even more rich hop aroma. The same floral character I get in many of their beers, but with a more intense citrus/orange character in this offering. The flavor is slightly sweet with a bright edge of citrus grapefruit that hits you immediately. Malty finish of caramel and toffee. Slick mouth feel, not particularly full. Good drinkability, no alcohol feel. This is one of the better beers I’ve had of this style, but not a favorite 3 Floyds. Still very nice.

carln26, Mar 12, 2006
Photo of EStreet20
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bomber shared poured into a shaker pint glass. Thanks to Thetachibro for sharing the bottle.

A - pours out a very nice light brown with a brilliant reddish tint. A nice one finger head sits atop and maintains pretty well throughout the drink, leaving lacing rings all the way down. The nicest looking red ale I've ever seen.

S - Nice big hoppy profile on the initial sniff. At first it smells a lot like Alpha King. Then some darker toasty malt smelll is in there as well. Very nice.

T - The hops hit you along with a dark malt sweetness. A very well balanced beer and hop profile on this one really makes it a treat.

M - Pretty good, A little lighter in the mouth but well carbonated.

D - Very nice on all accounts, a nice interesting flavor and one you could sit with for a long time.

EStreet20, Mar 11, 2006
Photo of bashiba
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear deep amber red with a thick head and strong lacing.

Smell was a mixture of rye bread odors and hops.

Has a very nice breadiness with a toasty malt flavor and a good strong citrus hop finish.

Mouthfeel is nice and full with a great dryness to it.

Drinkability is good on another tasty winner from the floyds.

bashiba, Mar 11, 2006
Photo of scruffwhor
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz bomber.

Appearance- The beer looks almost like grenadine syrup. The head is only a finger's width. Constant lacing throughout drinking session. Color is a very deep amber, like a darker amber than my Irish next door neighbors hair color.

Smell- A mix of freshly baking bread and musty hops.

Taste- Reminds me of rye bread without the seeds. A great balance of toasted malts and earthy/musty hop flavors.

Mouthfeel- Great carbonation, and being just shy of 6% abv, a great session beer. The balance of hops and malts makes this beer so very appealing and easy to drink.

scruffwhor, Mar 07, 2006
Photo of Gavage
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours a cloudy amber color with a healthy 2" head. Some spotty lacing develops.

Smell: the nose picks up some soft pine bitterness, grapefruit, and a bit of yeast.

Taste: big caramels, fresh cracked pepper, grapefruit, and a pretty strong bitterness. A pretty hearty red ale.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start and finish. Medium bodied. Caramel candy and malts linger briefly on the tongue in the aftertaste.

Drinkability: easy to quaff this brew. Several pints can be consumed in a session. Worth a look.

Gavage, Mar 03, 2006
Photo of neonbrown82
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer was acquired in trade from jpm30. Thanks much! Between this beer and Dark Lord, 3F's has my vote for the 2 most badass labels ever.

The beer pours to a rusty amber color, fairly hazy. Decent carbonation, nice creamy head that sticks around though the whole drink. Laces very beautifully.

The smell is awesome. Very hoppy, amost smells like an Alpha King, but with a much different malt profile. In this sense, it smells more like an American Barleywine than anything else. Has a smooth diacetyl along with that familiar earthy and fruity estery taste from a barleywine, and of course lots of hops.

The taste is much lighter than I was expecting, considering the nose. Not at all like a barleywine, as I was fearing. Definitely more roasty caramel flavor along with some peat and smoke. Biscuity malts with a smooth diacetyl that actually adds to the taste rather giving a mouthfull of butter. Dries out quickly with a nice bitterness in the finish. If anything, this tastes more like a hoppy Scotch Ale, as odd as that sounds.

The body is fairly light, carbonation is very mellow. This almost seems like it was poured straight from a cask in the mouthfeel.

Drinkability could be better. Very dry and bitter, not exactly one of the most refreshing Irish Reds I've had, but leave it to 3F's to give you a kick in the ass with their spin on a seemingly ordinary style. Good stuff, but I don't know if I will revisit it. Once again, tied with Dark Lord for the most badass label ever.

neonbrown82, Mar 03, 2006
Photo of zjungleist
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rich dark amber color, yet perfectly clear, and a very nice off white head. The smell is mainly hops, not overly malty. This is odd, it says on the bottle there are pineapple aromas, and I can actualy detect a hint of it in the citrus aftertaste. Other than that, which in truth is a fairly minor note, this is pretty hoppy for a red, but well balanced with the complex malts. The mouthfeel is slighly sticky, but again, well balanced. Overall, this is easily the most enjoyable red I've had. I don't usualy go for red ales, but I am a pretty big fan of the Three Floyds brews. As far as I'm concerned, this redefines the style.

zjungleist, Feb 25, 2006
Photo of SupaCelt
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer emerged from the bomber with an appealing crimson colour. It formed a tan head of adequate stature that dispersed quite quickly. The risiduals paste some random lace clingings here and there. Lively carbonation persists.

The nose is full of brown sugar qualities and carries a surprisingly fresh and grassy amarillo hop herbal character. Toasted caramel accents lend to a bready impression. A sharp fruitiness comes through in a floral showcase. Lemon jolly ranchers. A bit of chalkiness. This is very pleasing to the nose.

The flavour profile is very interesting. It takes a very dominant malt foundation and mixes it with a pungent hop addition and lets the two fight the thing out. The end of the power struggle is a well balanced flavour of burnt candy fading into a juicy citrus caboose that lingers on in lip smacking zest. Dark malty sugar tones giving way to a stinging fruitiness. Sort of odd, yes, but tasty as usual. A great use of ingredients.

Mouthfeel is medium. It takes on a bit of syrupy or sappy feel. It makes this brew come off quite juicy.

Drinkability is good. This seems to be a more interesting version of the style, but I can totally dig it. Hops are nicely over expressed.

SupaCelt, Feb 20, 2006
Photo of nvsblman
3.45/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear reddish brown with almost no head. Piney and grassy hops in the aroma. Some nice sweetness too, caramel and vanilla mostly. Caramel and brown sugar make this sweet with a lingering bitterness balancing the flavor. Some slightly citrusy notes that came out a little more as it warmed. Thin to medium bodied. This would make a pretty nice session beer.

nvsblman, Feb 19, 2006
Photo of aforbes10
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1st of 5 beers tried at our first meeting of the South Bend Coalition of the Drinking. Good looking bottle and i anticipated the beer greatly since i'd just been up to 3 floyds this past weekend. pours out nicely. some carbonation, reddish brown color. some lacing. odor is biscuity with some hoppiness. Not much hop taste. more like caramel and biscuits, grapefruit, weak bitter chocolate undertones. Bitter aftertaste. Not best tasting red i've had, but fairly good. Damn good drinkability though, gimme another.

aforbes10, Jan 25, 2006
Photo of EPseja
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another awesome FFF treat imported from Indiana by my brother who lives there. Served at just below cellar temperature from a 22oz bomber, poured into a nice 0.5l nonic.

A - Pours a murky red-brown color with orange highlights, looking heavy and viscous. The thick, one finger head forms with a swish of activity, and remains atop the beer for the duration. The lacing is sticky and strong.

S - There's the old FFF Amarillo hops, playing nicely with some candied caramel maltiness and pinecones. If I didn't know better, at first sniff I'd think I was having an APA -- although the malt profile is big enough to give it away as something other.

T - Very clean and sweet right up front where the maltiness is apparent, but definitely understated. The middle brings out some honey sweetness and a touch of citrus hops and dry yeast. The finish is sweet without being cloying, and the final hop bitterness is light, tasty and crisp. The aftertaste also produces a sightly nutty roasted tone that was otherwise disguised in the taste. Very nice follow up. Definite excellence of balance in this beer.

M - Bright and active off the bat, with a following creamy frothiness that rises just a smidge too high. The finish is smooth and fulfilling.

D - The balance presented in the taste of this beer is so nice that the overactive carbonation can easily be overlooked. This beer is drinkable as the day is long, and a great entrant for the style.

In conclusion, while the popular Smithwick's is certainly no slouch of an Irish Red Ale, it just doesn't have the complexity or the spirit to compete with the FFF gang.

EPseja, Jan 14, 2006
Photo of Ego
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

nice ole 3Fs bomber...

copper/amber hue with bubbles sticking to the side and off white head dissipating gradually, carbonation looks lively but not hectic, good looking, inviting, nice lacing

amarillo hops dipped in malt, that piney twinge with just a hair of citrus rind, delicious hop florals
ok, I just dipped my nose in the damn beer, I hate when that happens.. jeez...
it is amazing that all the beers I have sampled from 3Fs have similar noses but they tweak different things in each one... and it works! nothing uber complex but damn it smells tasty and hoppy.

taste etc...
initially on the first sip I was thinking "hum, not enough bite", but on the second sip the prickly sensation of the carbonation really grabs hold, and then the nice bitter hop finish that lingers, not as "harsh" as the alpha king (harsh in a good way) but more balanced with some of the sweetness (without being too sweet at all), very smooth drinking, can really glide down the palette with ease but also great for a good swirl to really get a gander at the flavors here, the mouth feel after a full glass feels just a shade light to me however... minor complaint as I am enjoying this beer.

tasty, and not as "challenging" as some of the other 3Fs offerings, I like this and when reasonably priced it is worth picking up, it has a nice little mix of everything.

Ego, Jan 01, 2006
Photo of nlmartin
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a pub glass.

Appearance: This is a very good looking beer in the glass. The beer pours a very pleasing copper color in the glass. The head is thick creamy fluffy off white. The beer produces a road map of lacing down the glass.

Smell: Smells strongly of sweet pineapple and pine needles. Very nice coordination between the sweet and spicy.

Taste: The taste is a mellow hop assault coupled with a nice fruity combination of pineapple and citrus goodness.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: This is just a fantastic effort. Maybe the most friendly bomber presentation for cross over drinking. Just a fantastic meduim bodied beer with a proper amount of carbonation. This beer slides right down the throat.

nlmartin, Dec 31, 2005
Photo of ManekiNeko
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber served chilled in a pint glass.

Appearance: Clear reddish brown/chestnut topped by a weakish offwhite head which receded to a film pretty fast. No lacing.

Smell: Pineapply citric hop juices, little bit of sap. Toasty caramelized malts. Good to great, but not exquisite.

Taste: Sappy bitter hops giving way to fruit- and hop-juice twinged maltsy sweetness. Kinda two-dimensional. I was merely whelmed here.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium in body. Carbonation levels are adequate.

Drinkability: About as Irish as a St. Patrick's Day parade, but I'm not complaining too much. Midwest represent!. A nice hoppy red ale with some chutzpah.

ManekiNeko, Dec 16, 2005
Photo of blitheringidiot
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Double-deucer poured out with a golden amber hue topped with a settled ivory collar over carbonationless offering.

Light scents of clean copper pipe and malt hints mostly subdued by a frothy cap.

First swigs: Soft sugary caramel meets a light hopped toffee middle. THe label pretty much hit the nail on the head.

Feel is taunt and highly restained carbonation. Almost low in the caronation department.

Last swigs: Expected more from FFF. Maybe this is a foray that will develop. Not sure. Worth a try. Not worth an effort. P.S. Wanna trade for some?

Beer is good. Happy beering.

blitheringidiot, Sep 24, 2005
Photo of evoljetta
4.72/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber
Appearance- Nice thick amber red with good 1inch head.
Smell-3F for sure..nice hoppy smell(in an Irish red?) and malt
Taste- Wow..by far the best irish red I have had. After giving up on reds for many years(thanks Killians), I started back with Smithwicks. But this is so much better..Piney Hops with some good malt flavor
Mouthfeel-Good and thick
Drinkability-I had given up on Irish reds, but now find myself enjoying this beer alot.

Great overall beer!!!

evoljetta, Sep 20, 2005
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 Sephiroth
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into the usual tulip, this beer is red, duh. It leaves some nice sticky lacing. I could tell you that this beer is from Three Floyd's with one whiff. Pineappley, citrusy hops abound. Some toasty, bready, sweet malt sticks out too.

The taste is somewhat mild for Three Floyd's. The hops aren't as plentiful as the smell would lead me to believe. They are the driving force behind this beer, however. The sweet malt doesn't get totally left behind. This is a very refreshing beer.

The mouthfeel is light, yet somewhat syrupy, from the hops most likely. The carbonation is mid-level. The drinkability is fantastic, due to the low ABV and clean finish. Other than the hoppiness, which seems to increase as the beer warms, this might be a good introduction to craft beer for the nonbeliever.

Sephiroth, Aug 26, 2005
Photo of charlesw
3.03/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Thanks to Travis for the bottle and the chance to taste it!

Pours a thick and deep amber with 1" of very tight, off-white head. Head lastes a little time and then there is a hearty covering lace that lasts through the beer.

Smells faintly of pine hops, strongly of caramel malts, faintly of citrus. Very earthy in a pine forest kind of way but downwind of a caramel malt factory :)

I I I I... I can't describe the taste! Hmm. The aftertaste is a little easier - a sort of mouth-watering hop that lingers at the sides of the tongue. So, not bitter. You get a little of the pine hopiness and a teeny bit o' citrus. Plenty of malt flavor thrown in, there, in the middle. Must be chocolate malts in there, too... You can taste 'em, but thankfully not so much as in some other reds.

Medium body and light enough on the carbonation - plenty fine, there.

But not really drinkable -for-me-. The blend of flavors is just a bit overpowering. It seems like an interesting experiment and a well-made beer but the particular hops used (and quantities thereof) don't allow me to fully appreciate it - not even enough for me to order a second one...

charlesw, Aug 13, 2005
Brian Boru Old Irish Red from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
90 out of 100 based on 949 ratings.