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 vester
1.38/5  rDev -65.9%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Tastes and smells like a cab driver after an 18 hour shift. Absolutely disgusting. Neither me or my companion could take more than a few sips.

I am not kidding about this. It smelled and tasted like body odor. I would rather drink Bud Light than this.

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Photo of KyleVester
1.61/5  rDev -60.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Got a 22 from 3Floyds Brew Pub last night and it was just awful. May have been a bad bottle based upon the descriptions of other reviews.

Smell was very harsh and kinda like BO. Taste was similar. Very harsh bitterness, some astringency, skunky (like Heineken), and a pleasant aftertaste was not left. No sweetness was detected.

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Photo of deejaydan
2.29/5  rDev -43.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Paid $4.99 for a bomber.

Pours a pretty red amber color with a healthy head on it, about one finger tall. Not much aroma here. Flavor is all english hops, no carmel backbone. Piney, citric, acidy. I need some carmel notes here to make it an Irish Red ale, instead of an english IPA.

Mouthfeel is thin for an Irish red as well. I would expect a bit more body from the makers of Dark Lord, but I was let down. Not one to seek out again, at least, not in my book.

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Photo of StAnthony
2.36/5  rDev -41.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I'm pretty amazed at how high this Floydian has been rated by other BAs. I really didn't care for it.

Looked real perty-- a nice, deep mahogany red with great clarity.

Nothing to complain about on the nose, though it wasn't impressive.

But the taste and one word: harsh. Dominant soap characteristic (and this bar's glasses are usually spotless) with the rough bite of super-high carbonation that fades into a grapefruit-like citrus twang with a 3-second finish that wasn't quite clean...Mr. Clean, maybe. It's a red that hopheads might enjoy, but for fans of say...Leinie Red, you're going to miss the smooth malt profile.

The best thing I can say about this beer is that it got smoother with every sip...but I definitely wouldn't get it again. Sorry Floyds.

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Photo of Rastacouere
2.65/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Orange-amber body, lasting beige ring. Rather dull aroma, this seems so simple and feels like déjà vu as much as anything else. Ample grapefruity/tangerine like hops dominate (while being fairly fragile) the leafy and rocky aroma. Mineral palate, thin-medium bodied, highly carbonated. Very dry palate boasting more astringent hops than is recommendable. Very earthy, herbal (lichen, algae).. Those hops feels raw and attaches to the palate, this is not aggressive, it’s just dull in the same sense than a fly you want to push away. I do like dreadnaught and alpha king, but I don’t recognize 3 floyds here…

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.7/5  rDev -33.3%
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.

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Photo of MPLS
2.91/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Shared this 22 oz bomber during a small cabin getaway earlier last week. Here's my take -

A: The beer has a nice rufous hue (reddish-brown/oxidized iron). Nice beige head that remains for almost the entirety of the beer, good cascading lacing. Beautiful looking beer.

S: After reading the description of this beers build the Amarillo hops become even more evident, another hop forward beer from the 3F boys, especially considering the style. The nose is tropical hops, caramel toffee, and brown-sugared honey.

T: There is a striking similarity to 3F Alpha Klaus' hop profile, which isn't to my liking. Hopheads unite! Sure? Perhaps it's the Amarillo hops and combination of honey that sets me off, gives it a sweetness entirely disagreeable to my palate. I am fond of Dreadnaught, but the hops used in combination with the particular malt yield difference results apparently. I could taste underneath the unpleasant sweetness toffee and caramel.

M: The mouthfeel cannot suffer just from the taste...medium bodied beer, above average carbonation, but at times a bit thin.

D: Great looking brew with a nose that I find likable, just when it hits the tongue it's a different story. I'll be weary of the Amarillo/Honey forward beers from 3F from now on.

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Photo of KFBR392
3.01/5  rDev -25.7%
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.

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Photo of charlesw
3.05/5  rDev -24.7%
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...

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Photo of cameraman
3.1/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A nice copper/brown color, with an off white head, that laces nicely. The aroma is very surprising, I was expecting the malt to be the dominant aroma, it is there, but the distinct aroma of hop spiciness and earthy scents are very apparent. The taste the malt is very strong, then I am left with a question. What happen to the hops? The hops seem to diminish in the taste, they do bring some flavor at the end, but not what I was expecting. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, the only characteristic that the hops leave behind is a dry finish. This is a pretty drinkable beer, though the aroma could scare some off, the taste would be enjoyable to some.

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Photo of balconybrew
3.14/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bomber from the brew pub.

Poured into a nonic. Poured a nice head that sat for a while, then fell leaving a thick lace white lace. Aroma is of malt, some yeast and some (less than expected) hop. The hop aroma is of typical FFF hops. "C" The taste was thick and of malt, lacking the carbonation I was looking for. Typical red with more hops. The mouthfeel was a bit thick, but drinkable. Very sessionable. Too bad it wasn't on tap.

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Photo of Auracom
3.15/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle purchased from Marion Street and poured into a Bruery tulip on March 22nd, 2011.

A - Bright, clear amber-orange color. One-finger of a soapy, white head. Fair retention, good lacing.

S - Strong tropical hops and resin, some floral underneath. Fresh grass. Malt backbone of light caramel, roasted and buttered popcorn kernels. Slight green tea.

T - Lots of freshly-baked white bread. Not much sweetness and rounded hops in the background. Citrus. Backend roasted grain. As it warms, much more of that bizarre popcorn note.

M - Smoother than expected, medium body, average carbonation. Very light, dry finish with soft malt aftertaste.

D - Consensus seems to be that this is brewed very much out-of-style, but those FFF house hop notes work well here. I doubt I'll revisit again but worth the purchase.

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Photo of Reaper16
3.16/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

22oz. bomber served into a mason jar

Pours a tawny reddish orange color. Like rust, basically. One finger of large-bubbled creme head leaves notchy lacing. Looks pretty much textbook for the style. Not much to say about it other than it does its job correctly.

I didn't expect to smell tropical fruits in this Irish Red Ale, but hey, this is a Three Floyds beer. Pineapple, most noticeably. Sure, there are malty scents as well. Lots of toasted breadchips (like in bags of Chex Mix), a bit of spent grain. The fruits from the hops are out of place for the style. They're jarring to me and I don't find that they make a cohesive aroma. It's interesting, though.

The hops seem more coherent on the palate. You get them first, grassy and bitter with a more subdued orange/pineapple juice flavor. They taste in a way that better matched with the lightly toasted malts. I'm reminded of a toasted English muffin by the malt profile here. Why am I not giving this a 4.0? Because the hops still distract from the malt flavors more than they accentuate them.

I pretty much hate the mouthfeel of this beer. It is entirely too thin. The malt flavors make me want to chew on it a bit, but Brian Boru proves to be distractingly shallow in terms of motuhfeel. Watery yet dry. The drinkability is just fine. I appreciate the low ABV% and it is unique enough to warrant drinking a bomber.

You might love this hoppy Irish Red. For me, it misses the point. I'm all about experimenting with established styles but this beer seems more counterintuitive than anything. There's a decent, interesting beer here with unrealized potential to be something more.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.16/5  rDev -22%
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.

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Photo of shbobdb
3.19/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

There is a fine art to the body of Irish reds. Too thick and you end up with a viscous cough syrup, but too thin and it just goes down the gullet and is completely forgotten. Sadly, this beer falls into the latter catagory.
The malts are a painting of rich caramel and very light fig notes layed over a pleasant english pale malt background. I dig.

But, come on, this is Three Floyds we are talking about! Let's talk about the hops. They are . . . strangely muted. Sure, they is the unmistakable aspirin twang of amarillo at the end of the beer (man, this guy can make that hop do so much. I'm always so amazed by his expert use of it). But, while they are masterfully added, they are quite subtle. Where is my *it's not normal*. This is from the guys whose mild tastes like a very hoppy pale and and whose APA is hoppier than many IPAs I've had. I guess I was excpecting more.

That actually sums up my experience with this beer overall -- I guess I was expecting more.

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Photo of yeastsipper
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Beer pours a nice copper red. Decent lacing, strong head. Pretty looking, but at the same time nothing extraordinary.

Smell is nice though nothing complex. A lot of floral from the hops, some grapefruit as well. Smells a lot like a pretty good IPA, though the malt balances out the hop profile.

Taste is well, fine, but not much more. Again, the bitter hops and the sweet malt are battling it out. Good balance, but not great flavor IMO. Some really dry woodiness on the back end that lingers for awhile. The first few sips were more interesting; the latter a bit annoying.

To be fair, I am not sure I am a huge fan of the style, which is not the fault of the beer. That being said, overall I am underwhelmed in general, and especially given the price.

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Photo of SuperWhite92
3.26/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a wonderfully dark red color with a bright white foam- great carbonation, not over the top. Smells of caramel malts, that grassy three floyds hop aroma, and a bit of fuit maybe? Tastes a lot of caramel malts and once again, the characteristic three floyd's hop flavor. However, it's not very complex (although I don't expect it to be). That earthy, wet grass hops flavor doesn't much suit the malt backbone of the beer either. Mouthfeel is good, what I want from an Irish Red. In the end, while I could drink this beer for a while, I'm not impressed enough to want to. However, I'm still glad I got to try it, being that I can't get it where I live.

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Photo of Atron67
3.3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 from DLD

A- poured a dark red amber with a light off white almost tan head that stayed pretty small but stayed a decent while and stayed as a ring for the glasses.

S- hoppy as you would expect from FFF, pretty delicious hop smell, but it seems pretty wierd for a Irish red, but im gonna go and say this hoppiness is prolly why its at the top of the charts for the style, there is a light sweetness underneath, amber character and delicious

T- smooth light crystal malt character maltiness, then the dry hopped juicy characteristics kick in

M- light clean and pretty tastey, medium carbonation

D- pretty solid, but a little dissapointed, just another slightly different malt with a hop aromatics which dominate.

low malt complexity, not bad but let down for a beer thats spossed to be a little more complex, really let down because the major flavor is a dry hopped wetness

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Photo of Budlum
3.32/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pouds with a modest, light tan head that leaves a thin layer laying on top of the beer. The body is a glowing red color with a very light haze.

An assertive blend of sharp hops mix with a balanced, sweet, malty smell to produce a very nice smelling beer.

A rich, malty sweetness starts this beer and holds that flavor throughout. Strong hops with a slightly peppery and dry flavor add some balancing sharpess. The malty sweetness regains control before a long, earthy finish.

The mouth presence is slightly dry with no carbonation at first but finishes with a strange, chalky and oily feeling. The body feels a little too watery throughout.

Drinkability is pretty good but this beer could've been much better. This is a disappointing effort considering Three Floyds lofty standards.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.34/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark murky orangish red with a yellow tinted white head, tons of it with tight bubbles leaving a thick lace. The nose is sweet and grainy with a slightly off twang to it. The grain smells stale and the hops oily with a fleshy orange peel. The taste has a huge toasted malt and chocolate malt flavor that was unexpected. The hop presence is much lighter than in the nose and actually more balanced. Lightly citric and bitter with a moderate sweetness, crisp finish with an assertive carbonation.

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Photo of steveh
3.34/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing this one with an eye to style, but also turning my reviews toward a more liberal view of drinkability -- to style or otherwise. After all, that's the bottom line for enjoyment.

A - Nice, deep reddish brown with a tan cap that thins quickly

S - Piny and citrus hops with some mild caramel and biscuit malt back. Pretty heavy handed in the hops to style.

T - Big hop character -- can taste the hops with only an inhale and no actual drink, though not bitter. Biscuit malts trying hard to balance, but fighting a losing battle.

M - Smooth mouth-feel with a dry finish. Light-medium bodied.

D - Very good. Hops could become overpowering with too many in a sitting, but they aren't so harsh as to cause you to make a face. Very tasty drinking.

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.35/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a clean amber/red pour with a finger of off white head and decent lacing. smells malty sweet, caramel, grapes.. nothing outstanding really. taste is bitter up front - a hoppy/dirt/roasted grain taste.. followed by a weird bubble gum flavor, finishes with a very bready/cereal like taste.

medium body with a slight creamy feel. lightly carbonated.. overall i'm kind of disappointed in this one. 3f makes some awesome beer, and i was hoping they'd step it up a bit when it comes to such a bland style, but they went the traditional route. it's not bad for a red, but not really what i was expecting from the brewery.

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Photo of badbeer
3.38/5  rDev -16.5%
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.

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Photo of marcpal
3.38/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber ordered at hopleaf and poured into pint glass. A bit of a disappointment overall from a brewery that has recently blown my mind with Rabbid Rabbit and Alpha King.

A: Mahogany red with a bit much carbonation. Seemed fizzy and am curious after reading other reviews if this wasnt a good bottle.

S: Caramel was the strongest flavor over the others and overall sweet. There was some hops but expected more.

T: Mild overall, both in terms of sweetness and bitterness. Some dried and fresh fruit come through but I still found it lacking. The style of red ale was kind of noticeable in some smoky aromatics.

M: Sticky to the palette some bland aspects. Not bad, not great.

D: Definitely drinkable and could have a solid position as a session beer but Im heading back to the Alpha King.

Worth a try but not great.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.39/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brian Boru Irish Style Red Ale. 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with branded Three Floyds pressure cap served into a generic highball glass in a hotel in Chicago. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery. Reviewed live.

Served straight from a ice bath. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger beige colour head of slight cream, fair thickness and average (~2 minute) retention. Body colour is a semitranslucent nontransparent rich amber. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Looks standard for the style; no overt flaws here.

Sm: Irish style toasted amber malts, light biscuity hops (amarillo), caramel, and biscuit malt. A mild strength aroma. Appealing for the style. They're right on the money with this one. No yeast character or alcohol is detectable. Let's hope the taste is as good as the aroma...

T: Toasted amber malts, clean oats, clean malts, light biscuity floral hops (amarillo, my favourite hop), and light American biscuit malt. A balanced flavour profile, if a disappointingly simple one. No yeast character or alcohol comes through. I like it, but the flavours aren't horribly deep. Some caramel. Solid for an Irish Red, but there's room for improvement here. I quite like it.

Mf: The smoothness lent by the oats is balanced nicely by a coarseness that coaxes out the flavours. Good carbonation and thickness. Complements the flavour profile nicely. Good presence on the palate.

Dr: Quite drinkable for an Irish Red. A solid effort from Three Floyds that's up thereon my list of Irish Reds, but it fails to beat the Irish at their own game; Irish brewed beers in the style are definitely superior. I'd get this again, and it's very sessionable, but it's not mind-blowing. A good offering from Three Floyds and one worth trying once or twice. I'll happily murder this bomber by meself.


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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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