Brian Boru Old Irish Red | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

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Brian Boru Old Irish RedBrian Boru Old Irish Red

Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Indiana, United States

Style: Irish Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

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

Added by Gueuzedude on 03-14-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 460 | Ratings: 976
Photo of ryrust5301
4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Dark red amber color, with a tight yellowish tan head. Angelic halo crowns the top and holds steady throughout.

Smell - Like most Three Floyds brews, there is some hops at play. The real showstopper is the deep rich caramel malt that holds everything together. I'm sure it will play a huge role in the taste as well. I guess I can smell a little citrus and pineapple as the label suggests.

Taste & Mouthfeel - Well for such a robust malt taste that was expected, this one drinks very light. Smooth on the tounge with enough carbonation to keep things alive, before it finishes in a rich creamy sweetness that I can't stop drooling over. The hops are there, but they flow beautifully into the malt and make sure to get out of the way.

Drinkability - Three Floyds has turned a normally dull style into an enormously flavorful beer. I didn't think you could pack this much taste and flavor into a red ale, but Three Floyds really shows what they're made of here. Dynamite in a bottle!

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Photo of jasonjlewis
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a 1 1/2 finger head with a good retention and a red color.

Smell is of big red malts. There is this toasted/caramel slightly toffeish aroma that is outstanding.

Taste is very nice . Caramel malts with a bit of toffee is heavenly. There is a big body with a huge malt backbone. There is a bit of hop bitterness and flavor to balance.

Mouthfeel is incredible. Big body. The lingering of the malts is heavently.

How did they get such a great caramel and toffee sweetness in this beer? WOW!

Thanks to Tattorso for this awesome sympathy beer.

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Photo of shand
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint. Thanks to Corbet!

This beer pours out a hazy amber with two fingers of head. The aroma has a fantastic citrus and floral hop nose. There's some caramel malts in there as well. The taste follows the nose, with a big burst of juicy hops at first. This is followed up by toasty grains and caramel malts. The best of both worlds. The mouthfeel is lighter and well-carbonated, and the drinkability is fantastic. This is just a great beer. I could see this being a favourite at the bar, that is if I could get it there. It's cut from the same cloth as beers like Lagunitas Imperial Red and Cigar City Tocobaga, but "lighter" feeling.

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Photo of BlindPig
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- About a 1in tan head on a cloudy deep red body.
S- Sweet caramel malts, grass hops in there, vague hints of citrus also, nice complex aroma for a Irish red, hints of toffee too.
T- Toffee malts, sweet caramel, grass hops, earthy notes, hints of smoke also. Hopes leave a nice bitterness on the tip of the tongue. Very tasty.
M- Medium/thin body with low carbonation.
D- I think it is really good. Nice balance of all the flavors and the best Irish red I have had.

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Photo of HansumFilly
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the most incredible beers that nobody ever talks about. Pours a deep red color with minimal white head. Minimal lacing.
A: Citrus hops, caramel malt, bready grains. Very aromatic and hoppy. Irish Red - FFF Style!

T: Taste matches the aroma. Lots of citrus hops and caramel malt. Very well balanced, yet plenty for a hophead like myself to really enjoy. Excellent!

M: Medium to full bodied with minimal carbonation.

O: As previously mentioned, this is how FFF does an Irish Red - and it's awesome. FFF makes a lot of great beers, and this one is near the top for me. Fantastic beer that hop heads and malt heads can all enjoy.

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Photo of Brenden
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Let me preface this by saying it's pretty much exactly what I'd expect from FFF. It's a tough call between style guidelines and what these guys do it, but I suppose I'd just call it an amplification of sorts. If Nugget Nectar can be an "imperial" red, why not?

From the tap, this High King is a ruddy, sturdy, beastly-looking beer. It's got a red-orange color with some deep hues to it. The head, just off-white, reaches a finger and doesn't drop far, holding steady at about half a finger for the duration. It leaves sturdy lacing in thick patches as well.
This is a big, malty beer as expected and of course is countered by a strong hops presence, as expected. The bitterness offers lots of citrus fruits and bitter rind with a slightly leafy edge and some floral notes as well. It counters a big, bready backbone that gives off lots of caramel and toffee sweetness for quite a balance in such a big red. Underneath it's got a hint of spicy hops and some crust/dry biscuit. All of this ends up pulling through into a nicely lingering finish. Deep and complex? As much as I'd expect from FFF by now. This one's got power but isn't afraid to show its sweeter side; an iron fist in a velvet glove, if you will.
There's enough bulk to this beer to support the strength and depth of flavors, but it doesn't drop off under the weight. It actually has a nice creaminess to it right up front along with the crispness that remains strong to the end.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Photo of Pjhuppenthal
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is Gumballheads big redheaded brother. Big on the roasted malt and well balanced with 3 Floyd's heavy hop hands. Smells of Creme Brulee with Citrus Essence. Nice average head. This is how one should celebrate St. Pattys day! Cant wait till next spring!!

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Photo of Drobinator
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 22 oz. bomber poured into a pint glass.

Appearance was a reddish amber, as one would expect out of an Irish red. It poured into a nice, thick head that would lace going down.

The smell was sweet caramel with a hint of the hops that would make this version of Irish ale unique.

The mouthfeel was medium to light bodied, as is pretty typical for the class.

The taste was unique, as the initial hit was the usual malty, sweet flavor that most Irish reds have, but it added a solid amount of hops that made for a crisp finish. It was a nice surprise and very drinkable.

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Photo of bnuttz
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a crystal clear copper color with a dark tan head. Smell is pure amarillos. Nice lemon and grassy smell. Taste is dry and of light caramel. Mostly dominated by hops of the amarillo variety. Very tasty red ale, but nothing really irish about it. Mouthfeel is nice for the style, not too thick, but not thin by any means. I would love to drink this stuff by the gallon. Very nice, but as said before, not very irish

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to mred137 for this one.

A: Poured a glorious deep red with a finger of white head. Nice lacing.

S: Hops malt spice and peat.

T: Tons of malt. A nice slight spice other examples of the style lack. Peat as well. Nothing mind blowing but really solid.

M: Medium body.

D: Super sessionable. By far the best Irish Red I have ever had. While not the most exiting style three floyds made this one interesting.

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into an Imperial pint glass. Really have to thank the Binny's beer guy for pointing this one out to me, nice and fresh.

A: Pours out a completely clear, dark syrupy glowing orange and topped with a two inch sandy white head that bubbles down into a quarter inch cap. Leaves some nice lacing behind.

S: Man this is something else, first whiff is a massive punch of floral/citrusy hops, like Gumballhead on steriods with a heavier malt presence.

T/MF: MMMalty, surprisingly so for a Three Floyds beer but with heavy doses of fruity hops. Opens very bready, a thick slice of wheat toast slathered in apricot and grapefruit preserves. Finish is soft and leaves a lingering dryness on the tongue.

D: Solid offering from Three Floyds which seems silly to say as they pretty put out something good each go around. This is a beer that needs to be drank fresh though to get the full effect. Interesting take on the style but malty enough to fit in to the guidelines well enough.

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Photo of CBlack85
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass

The beer pours a copper/ruby red color with a huge amount of off white head that slowly recedes into sheets of lacing that cover the glass.

The aroma is a balance of huge caramel malty notes with lots of citrusy hops. Orange peel and grapefruit are dominant, but there are also bits of pineapple, and just a slightly spicy hop presence as well. The caramel is sweet and definately big enough to stand up to the huge hop presence. Really a terrific nose on this beer.

The flavor follows the nose quite closely. Lots of sweet and sticky caramel and toffee work well with the orange, grapefruit, and pineapple. This beer is big but not overwhelming, well balanced but not bland. Full bodied and well carbonated, somewhat chewy, and finishes slightly dry. Overall this is a beautiful beer. This is a refreshing hoppy take on a somewhat overlooked traditional style

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Photo of Morey
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle with no freshness date. Come on FFF! I happen to know that this is a fresh bottle, but still. That being said, I couldn't think of a better beer to kick off my B-day (which also happens to be St. Patrick's Day). Cheers!

Pours an amber-red color with one finger of off-white head. The head has settled quite a bit after 7 minutes or so, but there's some pretty good lacing and retention. Pretty good clarity, although there is a slight haze to it.

Nice citrus notes in the aroma following the pour. I'm definitely getting orange and grapefruit along with a good amount of toasted malt and grains. Very impressive.

The malts actually hit the palate first, but it isn't long before that citrus from the aroma starts provide some bite and flavor. There's some bitterness, but it doesn't linger. The malts surface again near the back end making for a rather traditional Irish Red finish with the hops lingering just a bit.

Medium bodied mouthfeel with a carbonation that sits between medium and high.

Overall, this is the best Irish Red that I've ever had by far and away.

Morey's Bottom Line: Picked this up for $6.99 in Ohio because I wanted to drink an Irish beer on SPD. This is tasting better than the month old Nugget Nectar that I had last joke.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

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Photo of cnally
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another grand label for a grand brewery...let's see what the inside holds.

A very clear looking brown-tinged red in the body of the beer, and a sudsy tan head sits while resulting in some lacing.

Super crisp bitter hop aroma. A nice whiff of a caramel malt, held back from being overpowering. A little piney also.

Nice balanced piney hop flavor. A touch bitter on the finish. The malt really comes through on the aftertaste. A full flavor here that is for sure.

A little watery on the feel, lower carbonation. A touch too much bite on the tongue. The beer's least enduring quality.

Mostly fantastic all arond, and quite possibly the finest Irish Red I have ever tasted. Crisp, bitter, peaty, and mostly refreshing. High marks.

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Photo of JamesS
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a great dark red/burnished copper color with a nice thin head, although there was very little lacing. Great scent, a nice tart aroma with hints of cinnamon and citrus, and a great malty kick. Excellent taste, as well, a nice tart and sour Irish red, a great malty flavor, with a slight bit of citrus, and a nice slightly hoppy finish. Goes down great, one of my favorite Irish red style beers.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the glass crystal clear medium amber with an off-white head which rose tall and fell slowly to coat the glass.

The aroma was grassy and citrusy with a strong hop presence. The floral hops lead the charge with caramel hiding in the background.

The flavor was lightly citrus hop flavor with nicely accomplished hop bittering that was much more restrained than expected after the hop presence in the aroma. The flavor evolved into a caramel/toffee presence and well balanced malt and hop bittering.

The finish was dry with a lasting caramel and nicely crafted citrusy hop bitterness that lasts long into the aftertase. The body was medium and well done. The finish was also crisp and leaves you definitely wanting more.

22 ounce bottle purchased at OUAV in Richmond for $5.99. This has very little Irish about it except the label and is an American Amber.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Three Floyds imperial pint glass because I am able to.

Beer is red and mostly clear with a thin tan head of small bubbles, head breaks leaving some lacing on the glass. Looks like beer.

Aroma is sweet and hoppy. More hoppy than expected but still awesome. Earthy and piny. I like the aroma.

Drinkability is high, I'll say that first. Medium body, heavy on the finish, chewy bitterness, some nice mild sweetness at lead off, almost a fruity beginning with a 65 IBU finish. Overall a great great beer from Three Floyds.

This beer is part of my #1 beer per style project, best Irish Red Ale currently on, and I agree.

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Photo of ChugginOil
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark golden brown with white head leaving some bubbly lacing around the edges of th glass.

The nose brings some fruity hop scents mixed with sweet malt.

This one tastes almost like a really good IPA but without the bitterness. This is due to a creamy malt backbone that carries the flavor out very nicely. The hot scents offered include those of mango and apricot.

The mouthfeel is nice, a smooth almost creamy texture without bitterness is nice for a change. Carbonation is there and doin' it's thing.

Overall, this brew is a great one and should be bottled in six packs and sold year-round.

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Photo of BeerFink
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Freed from its bomber, this brew fills my glass a red orange hue, with some haze. Slight whitish head. Aroma is hoppier than I would have expected - not at all a bad thing. Toasty malt and sweet caramel coexist with clean citrous and floral hops. Smooth malts lead the flavor with some toasty breadiness apparent, as well as hints of caramel. Hops are crisp and present in a big way. Bitter citrous and some resinous pine threaten the malt backbone. Quite hoppy for an Irish ale, but you'll never hear me complaining about that. Finish is slightly drying citrous mixed with a little sweetness. Cheers to Three Floyds for their take on the style.

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Photo of FanofHefe
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber poured into a Chimay chalice. No dating on the bottle or label. Mostly clear orange body with a bit of pink hue. Unusual color as it may be the closet beer I've ever had to a pastel colored body. About a one-finger white head that dissipates quickly and leaves a little lacing along the glass.

Nice hoppy aroma up front. The floral notes seem prominent but are accompanied by the sweeter citrus aromas and just a hint of pine. Plenty of malt aroma in the background.

Very flavorful mix of the hops and malt. At first it comes across much more bitter than the aroma would suggest. In fact, it really tastes like an IPA with a twist more than anything. I could see this being a good midwestern IPA with a splash of fruit juice mixed in. But, the bready, malt backbone is solid and it really is a fine tasting beer.

Medium mouthfeel with some typical hop oil texture. Overall, I really like this brew and would gladly have it again.

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Photo of CMW
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Deep red color with tall bright white head. Retention is minimal and little lacing.

S - Piney hops and some caramel malt.

T - Hops take center stage and provide a more pine-like flavor rather than grapefruit. Caramel malt provides a good backbone and it finishes with little bitterness.

M - Fairly thin but carbonation was good.

D - Extremely drinkable. Low abv. and great taste.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.41/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

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Brian Boru Old Irish Red from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 976 ratings.
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