Brian Boru Old Irish Red
3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Brian Boru Old Irish RedBrian Boru Old Irish Red
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Irish Red Ale
ABV:
5.5%
Score:
91
Avg:
4.06 | pDev: 10.84%
Reviews:
460
Ratings:
976
From:
3 Floyds Brewing Co.
 
Indiana, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  188
Gots
  67
SCORE
91
Outstanding
Brian Boru Old Irish RedBrian Boru Old Irish Red
Notes: 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
Reviews: 460 | Ratings: 976 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by MaxSpang:
Photo of MaxSpang
3.52/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass.

APPEARANCE

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.

SMELL

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!

TASTE

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.

MOUTHFEEL

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.

OVERALL

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.

Cheers.

 1,994 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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

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

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

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

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

 590 characters

Photo of hwwty4
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to my buddy Brett for lugging this one back for me from Chi-Town.

Poured a 22oz bottle into my Tripel Karmeliet tulip. This beer pours a dark reddish amber with a big rocky white head that left little lacing as it crept down the glass. The aroma is big malt up front with a good amount of orangey citrus and just a bit of pineapple. The flavor is much of what you would assume a red ale is supposed to be. Malty up front but still very balanced. Sweet, but not overly so. There is a bit of orange hops, but they are much milder on the palate then they are in the nose. The mouthfeel is a bit full with a tickling amount of carbonation. It's really nice to see Three Floyds doing a toned down beer. I wish this would be a start for a whole line of small beers.

 767 characters

Photo of forummember
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of EGolfer4
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of ManekiNeko
3.8/5  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.

 651 characters

Photo of sbricker
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of THECPJ
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of frankman71
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.49/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

It was like a lopsided battle, like none ever seen before. On one side was a host of purported Irish paragons; Killians, Caffreys, & Finnegans. Standing alone, wind whipping through his hair, was Brian Boru. He was brashly-hoppily American, yet grounded as only a grounded malty Irishman could be. A legendary warrior with a holy hop scepter rumored to be blessed by the American Hop-Goddess herself.

Unexpectedly Boru sprung forth at his red Irish opponents. He was bitter, where they were mellow. He had a backbone strengthened by pure malt, where they were barely supported by misappropriated adjuncts. Bruno’s scepter swept forth like a clean lemon acidity separating & curdling milk. They fled before Bruno, the beast that was suckled at the teat of the hop nectar goddess.

Before friends Boru was sweet, but, quiver all ye foes for he shall unleash his bitter wrath upon all who displease him.

The women loved him, for when he passed lusty remembrances of rolling in the hay, with scents of pine needles, citrus, roses, and fruit waft through their minds.

In the end it is the unique dichotomy between the Irish & American that makes Boru so likeable, hoppily brash, yet smoothly malty, what is not to like.

So far only availible at the brewery, go out and get some if you have the chance.

 1,311 characters

Photo of jeonseh
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into my Sam Smith Nonic Pint Glass

A - a deep, red color with hues of gold,orange, and rust.There are small trails of carbonation that float up through this one. There was a small head that poured white before fading away into a small layer.

S - The smell is at first rather smoky and if I had to say so, it almost smells a bit like a peat that is rising out of this one. There is also a big hit of caramel malt sweetness that comes up in this one as well. There is also a sweet citrus fruit smell that wafts up there that I would almost say is a mango or pineapple that really seems to pop out. This is a hop dominated nose that comes through which really is not surprising at all given FFF.

T - At first, there is a slight bitter hops taste that comes through and gives the beer a bit of the light before a heavier caramel malt flavor comes through. This is the sweetness that helps to balance out the later smokiness that comes through in this one. There is also a sweet fruit aspect that comes through as the fruit really seems to be a pineapple aspect to me as there is even bit of the sharp aftertaste I sometimes get after eating said fruit. Also taste a bit like a candied orange peel that adds some sweet citrus flavors to this one. The smokiness is the aftertaste that seems to sit in the mouth after drinking this one.

MF - a nice body to this one as it has a bit of a stickiness in there as well that makes this one nice and thick. There is a light carbonation that comes through later that goes with the fruit flavors but it can not even come close to cutting through the thick body of this one. This is the kinda thing that you would expect from a heavily malt dominated beer. The after feeling is a light tingly feeling that sits on the mouth.

D - Overall, another great FFF beer that is super easy to drink. Found the fruit flavors to be a bit of a surprise that I would not have guessed to find in this one. The caramel malt and smokiness really do dominate this one and almost make it seem like a meal in itself. It would be good to session but it is a bit thick for that.

 2,117 characters

Photo of Wamba
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of mportnoy
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

One of two 22 oz. bombers shared with friends (amongst various cheeses and meats).

Bold, red-orange-amber in color with a fizzy, off-white head. Aroma is clean and delectable, mostly pine and floral hops but also faintly sweet. Taste is similar: a strong but light piney hop element is well-balanced by a smooth, rich but not overpowering malt profile. The bright, pronounced hops are interesting for the style--it's almost like IPA meets Irish Red.

This is a very good beer.

 481 characters

Photo of PhineasMcClintock
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of Bakker
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of bdn72
4.75/5  rDev +17%

Photo of akorsak
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

 1,078 characters

Photo of Brew33
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of THANAT0PSIS
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Three Floyds Brian Boru

Appearance: Three Floyds take on the red ale pours a cloudy, medium-dark ruby color reminiscent of concord grapes. It is capped with a cream-colored, off-white head that disappears relatively quickly to a thin crust of tight, tiny bubbles and minimal lacing. It appears to have very active carbonation that does well to keep the crust intact. The color is pretty, if a bit plain, but it is also unique, even amongst red ales.

Aroma: The aroma is simply astounding. This smells like homemade strawberry jam, notes of coffee, toffee, and chocolate malt, and heaps of malty sweetness. There is not much indication of hoppiness outside of a few hints of citrus, which is surprising given the brothers Floyd’s penchant for outrageously hoppy beers. Still, the smell is incredibly delicious, though it gives the impression of being a malt bomb; perhaps the hops will balance it out enough in the mouth.

Taste: The hops did exactly what they should and balanced out what otherwise would have been an overly malty red ale. They impart a slightly bitter note, but are immediately swept away by toffee notes mingling with coffee notes, which are, in turn, mingling with chocolate maltiness. There is a hint of the homemade strawberry jam that was in the nose. Perhaps that is just an association with those flavors and the color, but it is definitely there. This is an incredible beer that must be tasted to be believed.

Mouthfeel: Like the taste of this beer, the mouthfeel is all about balance and complements. The carbonation washes the flavors around wonderfully, and gives a lively feeling. Creaminess abounds as well and makes this beer a real treat to drink. There are no real faults, but it does not really stand out too much either.

Overall: Perhaps it is a personal affinity for red ales, but this beer is simply wonderful. It goes down so smoothly, begs you to continue drinking it, and makes you lament the empty bottle sitting in front of you as the last drops slide down your throat. The toffee notes really make this beer a special red ale. It does not quite top the brilliance of Tocobaga, but if that beer is not available in your neck of the woods, this will certainly fill the void as the differences are almost negligible. 17.5/20

 2,271 characters

Photo of VerticalLiturgical
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of GreenWBush
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Striking burgundish ruby. Little marbles of carbonation rising to an elegant and large honeycombed head. Superb lacing throughout - a FFF calling card.

Another dank, darkly hopped beer with much breadier/heavily carmelized malts than is usually par for FFF's course. Nose almost stings with amarillos - citric, fruity, not a surprise.

Mouthfeel is somehow thin and fat at the same time - meaty at first with a lean, bitter finish.

A little of the strange semi-sweetness found at times with Dreadnaught. This beer seems unable to decide if its big or small.

A damned tasty red ale, not conventional or stereotypical and decidedly loose with interpretive style.

That said, this is kind of the maltier version of the FFF mold...not surprising or even that noteworthy. Moreover, for $6 a bomber I would much rather go with Founder's Red Rye, which is an absolutely comparable beer for much cheaper.

 910 characters

Photo of lightindarkness
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted very fresh.

Pours a deep copper brownish red, full head that settles to bigger hanging bubbles. Aroma is remarkably hop driven, with a piny resiny funk that smells fantastic. A little nutty and sweet, with hints of caramelly malt. Tastes malty and roasty, with some dry nuttiness in the middle. Mild metallic, plus a little funky and dank on the back, drowned in full raw bitter resiny hops. Great taste if you're into hop character, but kinda weird if you're a big traditional irish red fan. Feels nicely balanced with medium body, pleasant notable tingly carbonation, and a little thickening toward the finish.

Overall rather drinkable, but this is way more hoppy than I remember it. Aroma and smell have an intense raw hop-cone presentation, which is great, but quite intense for the style. Overall, I really enjoy this beer, and would probably keep it regularly on-hand if it was brewed year-round.

 911 characters

Photo of shirtless_mike
3/5  rDev -26.1%

Photo of KFBR392
3.01/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a light to medium bodied texture. Deep burnt blood red color. About a finger of head on the pour and has above average lacing on the glass. Above average carbonation throughout drinking.

Smell: A front of leafy greens and chewy malts. Tones of alcohol,earthy tones, caramel, and molasses stand out. The hops create a sharply pungent aroma which takes away from many of the other aspects in this brew. Comes off slightly funky and does not seem to fit the rest of this brew.

Taste: This seems to get lost. A very chalky malt flavor hits right away. After that, you get some of the accents felt in the aroma but they seem to be oddly mixed together. There is a shallow feeling felt on the palette, some smokey malt lingers. The usually hoppy spice that seems to run across FFF beers is conflicting here. Just not use about this one.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied, I could really use more malty stickiness here.

Overall: I love me some FFF, but this one is a miss. I do not really get what the goal for this brew was. Flavor seem to get lost and are overall forgettable.

 1,093 characters

Brian Boru Old Irish Red from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 976 ratings