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 | website

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: 977
Photo of Gosox8787
4.29/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Split a bomber bottle with a friend while watching the Bruins game. Poured my half into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. Served only a bit chilled. Big thanks to AgentZero for this.

Appearance: More of a medium pale orange than a deep red color. nice fluffy, two finger, beige head with nice retention.

Aroma: To be honest, I was a bit taken aback at how hoppy this was. Definitely had more of an IPA feel than an Irish Red (even though it is a looselt defined style). Big pineapple, citrus and pine notes, with some toasted oats and caramel malt working there way in. Nicely balanced.

Taste: The honey in combination with the hops almost remind me of Hopslam a bit, and that's not a bad thing. Big pineapple, mango, and pine notes with the bitter hops completely smoothed over by honey. Definitely sweet, but not cloyingly so. Some caramel notes in back as well.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light bodied and really smooth. Carbonation is pretty spot on as well.

Overall, I'm not sure that I would call this an Irish Red, but I would definitely say its an enjoyable beer that I would love to have on a summer day. The hop profile was very refreshing and mighty tasty. Definitely recommended.

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Photo of Treebs
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a pint glass

A: Pours a nice hazy amber with some reddish hues in the middle some nice golden edges as well. Frothy half finger white head with a wonderful net lacing left behind.

S: Light fruits with a nice toasted malt backbone. Sweet honey as well.

T: Light citrus fruits with a nice dry malt middle. The finish is really great. Light sweet caramel with a smooth faint toffee. Little bitter hop finish at the very brings the ale back home.

M: Great mouthfeel, light/medium bodied with a crisp finish. Nice medium carbonation with a little toasty oat and bitter hop finish left on the palate.

O: I thoroughly enjoyed this red ale. Great combination of flavors that go through every range on your palate. It keeps drawing you back for more, and boy did I oblige.

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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 mdfb79
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer #3 from TMoney2591. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into my Sierra Nevada tulip. This was one of the beers whose cap got exposed, so I saw a little of that familiar FFF multicolor cap, but the label was completely covered so I still don't know which FFF beer it is.

a - Pours a deep reddish amber color with one finger of fluffy off white head and moderate carbonation evident. Head lasts for two minutes or so, with one inch staying throughout drinking. Leaves some nice lacing on the glass.

s - Lots of hops up front in the nose. Smells of wonderful citrus hops, tropical fruits, honey, fruity malts, and light pine hops. Lots of grapefruit, I'm loving the smell. Smells like it could be a pretty hoppy IPA.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, bready malts, citrus hops, grapefruit, fruity malts, and toasted malts. Very nice taste, though a lot more malts coming out than hops in the taste.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Very smooth and creamy, and very easy to drink.

o - Overall I thought this was an awesome beer. Lots of hops in the nose, followed by lots of malts in the taste. Very easy to drink as well. Judging by the taste and the appearance, I am going to guess this one is Brian Boru Old Irish Red.

The reveal is...Brian Boru Irish Red! Big Want of mine; thanks Kyle! I was hoping they would have this at the brewery when I went to DLD last month, but they didn't, so very glad to try this now. This is one of the FFF beers I hadn't had before tonight but I really enjoyed; the nose is amazing and makes this one of the better Irish Red ales I've had. Thanks again Kyle!

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Photo of cwcolby74
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber consumed out of a New Glarus weizen glass. Bottle purchased March 18 at Payless Liquors on 96th Street in Fishers.

A - A beautiful, crisp light brown/gold/amber-hued treat. It pours a full inch or head with great lacing. Not a lot of carbonation.

S - It has that trademark FFF hoppy, delicious nose to it. I don't smell a malty flavor like I'd expect with an Irish red or amber.

T - Very smoot, a tad bit overly hopped for the style, in that it hides the taste of the malt underneath it. It's easy to detect the toffee and citrus aroma. I don't get the pineapple flavor other people do.

M - Smooth, overly bitter, with a lingering aftertaste I kind of like.

O - It's uncharacteristic of an Irish red and actually tastes a bit of an overhopped, spiced pale ale.

I like it but don't love it. I do like what I detect in the background but all the hops drown it out just a bit. That said, it's Three Floyds. That distinctive hoppy flavor is part of what makes them great.

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Photo of thebeerisgood
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Piny/Resiny, citrus, toasted malts, toffee and floral hops.

Appearance: Very deep amber color, slightly off-white, foamy head.

Taste: Subtle sweet caramel malt with a big flowery hop profile. Low bitterness and finishes dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and mild carbonation.

Overall: Brian Boru is a good session beer with big flavor, although a bit unbalanced.

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Photo of Wadsey
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brian Boru

Poured in a New Belgium tulip. 

A: Clear amber with respectable white head. Lacing sticks to glass and keeps record of drinks. 

S: Pineapple, citrus (orange, predominantly), sun tea, and caramel/toffee. 

T: Hops bite at first: more citrus than nose had led tongue to believe. More sun tea and a hint of pineapple. Malt flavors dominate finish: caramel/toffee and biscuit. Light, pleasant bitterness adds to finish. 

M: Light body and medium carbonation. Very soft on the palate, probably as a result of oats.

D: Brian Boru is a flavorful and pleasing beer that has a lower abv. I consider it to be one of my favorite monthly Three Floyds bombers. 

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Photo of trappistlover
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(22oz bottle courtesy of jcnd9803!). Pours clear amerber color with white head and nice carbonation. Aroma has lots of pine/citrus-grapefruit and guava-and a hint of cardboard. Taste is sweet malt backbone with a light/bright bitterness. Medium bodied with an oily texture. Finish is bitter, but very pleasant. This is a really easy-to-drink beer because of its bright hops. There is so much flavor in this beer. Awesome beer!

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this beer in a trade with AlexFields. Thanks Alex!

22oz bottle served in a glass beer mug.

L - light amber color with a beige head that thinned out leaving a few trails of lacing.

S - the aroma is mostly citrus hops with a hint of malt in the background.

T - the hops are there but blended quite well with a solid malty backbone with a pleasant touch of bitterness on the finish.

F - medium bodied with a refreshing feel.

O - a fine beer to be drinking for St. Patty's and beyond.

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Photo of zrab11
3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a nice clear coppy with a 1 1/2 finger off white head. Nice lacing all the way though

S- Smeels of strong citrus hops with some toffee and caramel notes

T- Has a nice sweet beggining thin hits ya with that nice hop honey flavor and then ends with some hints of lemon and pineapple

M- Light bodied with medium carbonation

D- Overall i think this is a great representation of this style, I could drink 2 or 3 bombers of this during a nice cookout. Love this beer. will get again

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Big thanks to ChadQuest for the brew; 'twas quite a good box, my way you threw.

A - Amber brew, translucent with a nice head; lesser retention but with nice lacing for a red.

S - Amarillo hoppiness is immediately thrust; offering notes of herbal lemon and citrus brush. Underlying are notes of caramelized sugar and toffee, too; Three Floyds has done right with Brian Boru's brew.

T - The essence of the nose, it is unto the taste, transposed. The malt is sturdy, and generally pale, but shows caramelized notes from coffee to toffee, in this Irish Red Ale.

M - The feel is quite sturdy, you'll find it to be true; the soft carbonation lasts, through and through.

O - I enjoyed this brew from beginning to end; I will drink the hell out of it, should I see it again.

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Photo of machostacos
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into tulip. No freshness date (come on, Three Floyds), but this is a February release so it's at most about 2 months old.

A: Bronze/amber that lost its shine (a rather dull burnt orange color) with some ruby red highlights, clear as day with a creamy beige head that fizzled down to a thin film on the beer and a ring around the edge of the glass.

S: Delicious toasted caramel (that sticky, slightly burned caramel smell) and toffee poke through a hazy fog of 3 Floyd's signature hop aroma thanks to a heavy dose of Amarillos. Probably the most vivid caramel/toffee aroma I've ever experienced in a beer, but then it's met with this Dreadnaught-esque hop aroma. Certainly a unique Irish Red, but in all the right ways it seems!

T: Hops dominate the flavor here. Big, juicy, pineapple and grapefruit hops with a flourish of resin on the finish. The roasty caramel quality is pretty much entirely masked by the bucketload of hops that had to have gone into this beer. However, there is a malty quality that's evident throughout the sip, though it's merely an afterthought compared to the burst of hops. The hops linger on the palate for a little while, but it finishes quite clean and a bit dry. There's a light malty sweetness with a hint of smoke in the aftertaste, but from the smell of this beer I was really hoping that vibrant malt character would be much more evident. (As the beer warms, the malts are starting to open up a bit, but it's still not enough.)

M: Medium-full body. Good carbonation (maybe a tiny bit -too- good.) Not really rich, but there's a definite chewiness to Brian Boru. Fills the mouth and coats it well.

Overall this is one of the most creative interpretations of the Irish Red as it's more or less a showcase for 3 Floyds' fondness for hops - especially their ace in the hole, Amarillo. I categorize this somewhere between Alpha King and Dreadnaught - it's like a beefed-up, slightly maltier Alpha King or a Dreadnaught that's been balanced with some caramel malts and had the hop regimen dialed down a few notches. Not so Irish Red, but hey. It's delicious - can't knock it too much for that :)

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Photo of JLeege
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an imperial pint

Appearance- Pours a clear copper color with a two finger just off white head. Good retention and nice lace left throughout the drink.

Smell- Loads of citrus hops over a strong caramel and toffee malt base. Smells like FFF.

Taste- Sweet caramel and toffee up front. Has a light toasted bready likeness in the middle, with a slow lingering honey flavor. A nice hop addition towards the back end, pineapple, grapefruit, and lemon stand out (FFF and those Amarillos, they get me every time!) Lingering blend of caramel and citrus on the palate, it works well overall.

Mouthfeel- Lighter sided body with medium carbonation. Very smooth, highly drinkable.

Overall- A very nice take on the normally mundane Irish Red Ale. A bit out of the norm, but a bit better than the vast majority of the beers of the style. You could drink a boat load of this if you chose to! Slainte & Pouge Mahone!

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Photo of BrewIrish98
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle in a Murphys Pint Glass

A: Amber and Orangy. Missing some deep red. Bit of head which quickly fades to a millimeter layer.

S: Malty, and some sort of citrus burst.

T: Malty goodness, creamy with some lingering bite. Not to astringent.

MF: A little chewy, body seems about right, low level carbonation. Dry finish.

O: Good seasonal beer. Wouldn't be my bread and butter, but come St. Paddys day reach for this one if you get sick of the Guinness and Harp. Spend some time to learn about the History of the Ard Ri's, you'll appreciate this beers name sake.

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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 codsmith
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours out reddish/golden with a huge pure white cream head that laces the glass perfectly throughout the entire beer.

S: A very nice blend of hops right off the nose. Very similar to other Three Floyds beers with the use of Amarillo as the aroma hop

T: A very nice blend of malts that mix with the hops perfectly. The malts present a nice sweetness but also provides a good solid malt bill that it full of flavor

M: Full bodied that provides a perfect amount of carbonation.

O: Finally a good Red Ale that has flavor. Typical hop characteristic of Three Floyds.

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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 IchabodcraneIpa
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass and enjoyed with a nice sirloin steak.

The color of the Brian is a nice reddish brown color with a inch and a half of off white foam protruding from the top.

The smell of this one was some piney hoppiness mixed with a malty sweetness, but the hops dominate the smell here.

The taste of this one is fairly hoppy in the beginning, but shortly after the maltiness and bready flavors take over. This definitely paired extremely well with my steak and I was glad to have saved this for a special grilling occasion.

The mouthfeel of this one was slightly dry and it was on the medium side of the light/heavy spectrum.

Overall this is a solid red ale but doesn't beat out my favorite the panama red limited. This guy though does come in a close second, and it is a ridiculously good beer to drink when paired with a nice steak.

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Photo of LacquerHead
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This poured a hazy red grapefruit color with a touch of amber.

It had a very hoppy aroma.

For the most part this was hopped dominated. At times it was piney, and other times a nice dry citrus came through. There was a mild caramel sweetness that helped out with the balance, but the scales were always tipped in the direction of the hops.

It had a smooth M/F, very professional. Great drinkability, but I was expecting something bolder.

This was a good beer, but I'm not sure if I would purchase it again. I prefer Robert the Bruce over this. It was definitely worth the try, and I would encourage others seek it out. However, it didn't make me want to revisit it over and over again.

Note: This got an A-, but it could have easily been a B+. It was on the boarderline between B+ and A- for me.

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Photo of betsona
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at Fiddler's. Served in an imperial pint glass.

A- Clear dark amber. Came to me with a finger worth of white head, which dissipated into a decent full covering. Plenty of lacing on the glass. No visible carbonation. A nice looking treat that screams to be considered for St. Patty's Day and any other time.

S- Hops, which take the guise of dark fruit. Not quite a fruit punch but plenty of tropical fruit. Possibly a good way to avoid scurvy. There is a hint of a caramel backbone, but the tropics have beat it behind all conceivable cover.

T- The malt comes off as a bit of caramel covering biscuit, though the biscuit is predominant. Grassy hops converge with tropical fruit to produce a good combination of forward hops to malt. Not smooth, but a pleasant approach to a traditional style.

M- Medium body. The only fault I have with it is the carbonation. There is simply too much. It becomes too biting. Bitterness linger on the back of the palate.

D- Yes. I can and do drink this when given the opportunity. The taste profile lends itself to easy drinking and the abv concludes the ease of drink. Simply put, Three Floyds has made a nice American Irish Red.

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Photo of dmfrench
4.52/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Citrus, spice, and caramel DIPA-lite... Floyds ignores the style!

A: Very slightly hazy orange/copped body with a creamy, somewhat persistent, two finger bone white head that leaves minimal lacing.

S: Big semisweet lightly toasted caramel with the typical FFF hop nose of grapefruit and spices.

T: Hops dominate... more earthy and spicy that the nose, but pineapple and grapefruit are still very mush alive and well. A beautiful soft toasty sweet caramel pillow sits beneath.

M: Big and creamy... very impressive for 5.9% ABV.

D: My only complaint is that it can get a bit cloying, but really it's basically perfect.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to funkyaudio and hurfer for the bombers - just in time for St. Patty's week! Poured from bomber into a dimpled mug. Pours a clear, deep ruby color with a thick off-white beige head. Retains very nice lacing throughout the drinking session. Beautiful! Nose picks up pine-y hops, citrus, caramel malts, biscuit, buttered toast, toffee, some pineapple, and resin. Flavor of pine-y hops, honey, resin, grapefruit and orange citrus, toast, herbal notes, and definitely a nice share of caramel malts. Light-medium bodied, with average carbonation throughout and a dry, bitter finish in a very good way. Crisp, refreshing, and extremely well-balanced for the style. Perfect amount of hops and bitterness. This brew has become my favorite for the Irish Red Ale style. I'm actually surprised to see this at under 6% ABV, so it's definitely sessionable!

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Photo of DAllspaw
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep amber color, more like a long aged scotch. White head which dissipated pretty quickly.

Smell is what you expect from FFF very hop forward and inviting, this likey won't suck.

Imagine that - doesn't suck at all, nice malt profile and creamy mouthfeel of pale ale, without same level of bitternesss. A bit sweet, but not too much with a slighly astringent finish where you notice the alcohol, but not too much. ALso leaves a tannin taste similar to tea, which might keep me from drinking more than a couple, but nonetheless a very solid beer.

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Photo of cetherid
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into a tulip


Beer is a nice copper color. Kind of a burnt orange color. About 2 fingers worth of thick off-white head. A nice looking beer. Good lacing going on with it as well.


A beautiful smelling beer. Similar to a FFF AK. A nice balance of sweet malts and citrusy hops.


Same as aroma. A nice bitter bite up front but balanced out by the sweet honey/caramelly malts..the hops are a little piney, not getting much citrus which I could pick up in the nose...perhaps a little toastyness to the malts. Not too sweet but enough to balance out the hops.


medium bodied, with great carbonation. A slight dry finish that works well with this beer.


Extremely sessionable. Not too high ABV but full of flavor. Readily available by me, however I probably only have 6 weeks to get as much as I can.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

from notes, 3-7-2011

A - cloudy light red, thinning off white head to a film

S - malt forward and grassy hops, peppery, honey, floral.

T - honey, zesty peppery and lemony, smoke, caramel. good complexity.

M - lively, fairly viscous, medium body.

D - good drinking, not too heavy, but a funny aftertaste slows me down a bit.

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Brian Boru Old Irish Red from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 977 ratings.
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