Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Brian Boru Old Irish Red | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Brian Boru Old Irish RedBrian Boru Old Irish Red
BA SCORE
4.04/5
Exceptional
976 Ratings
Brian Boru Old Irish RedBrian Boru Old Irish Red
BEER INFO

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

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.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
460
Ratings:
976
pDev:
10.89%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
187
Gots:
66
Trade:
3
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 976 |  Reviews: 460
Photo of Infamous7100
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured this bomber into my pint glass.
A: Clear copper/amber color with a light tan, thin head. Nice.
S: Hit with the hops right off the bat. Pineapples and grapefruit. There is underlying toffee/caramel notes as the label indicates. Intriguing for an Irish Red.
T: The hops are present at the front and you can really taste the pineapple/grapefruit/citrus flavors. Strong but not overpowering. This yields to the malty flavors. The caramel and toffee seem to blend perfectly with the hops. This malts end up giving way to a finish that is pleasently bitter and dry.
M: Medium bodied and slightly creamy. Nicely done here.
D: I am not a hop head. In fact I steer clear of bitter beers. I was worried when I opened this. However, this blends hops and malts perfectly. It's very refreshing and very tasty. You can tell this is a Three Floyds production. Having a few of these is definitely in order.

Very good beer.

 914 characters

Photo of jtheheist
4.75/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours an amber/copper color that is barely see through. Medium head that quickly disappears leaving a thin layer throughout the tasting.

S: Wonderful smell. Smells of fresh american hops and pineapple. Completely different then any irish red I have smelled before.

T: Hits you initially with a powerful amount of hops. Not your typical cascade taste but still distinctly american. It is a large amount of hop taste for an irish red but it doesn't taste unbalanced or out of place. Hints of caramel and pineapple are present. Finishes with some caramel notes.

M: Medium mouthfeel and good carbonation

D: Really enjoyed this hoppy irish red. I personally haven't had anything like it in the style so I would venture to call it my favorite irish red. Extremely drinkable. I could drink a 6-pack of this (if they made one) relatively easily. Another solid Three-Floyds beer. I enjoyed the original take on an old style. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

 962 characters

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

Poured a nice clear copper/amber into a pint glass, thin cream colored head that faded quickly but left a nice amount of lacing down the length of the glass.

Smell is hops! I'm still a newbie, but wasn't expecting this from an "Irish Red". Did however get the pineapple as described on the label.

Taste is solid. The hops continue to assault upfront, but the pineapple/citrus kick is there as well. Nicely balanced by some caramel and toffee.

Medium bodied with comparable carbonation. Lingers slightly bitter on the tongue.

Very drinkable brew. Given my limited knowledge of beer styles, not sure if this is truly an Irish Red, but I like it anyway.

 656 characters

Photo of movingtrain
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

When I think Irish Red Ale, my mind immediately goes toward this fizzy, malty stuff with the horse on the label. At one point in my life, that was the greatest beer ever. But, things have changed, and so have my tastes.

So, Three Floyds doing and Irish Red...interesting...and, from this brewery, it has to be good.

Sampled in a standard pint glass.

Pours an amber-red color with a minimal but withstanding head.

The smell is remarkable. Hops hit the nose right off the bat. This doesn't smell like any "red" beer I've had before. Hops dominate, with some malty and cinnamon notes in there, as well. There are some flowery elements here, earth in the Springtime.

Up front on the palate are the hops, but blended well with flavors of chocolate, malts, honey, and ginger. It isn't hop overload, but it's way more hoppy than the traditional style...way to go, Three Floyds! This one drinks like a red-IPA.

At 5.9%, this one is incredibly drinkable. It's light on the palate, and relatively well-balanced. The hops stick around, like with most hoppy beers, and dominate the palate...but I like it...and I love this take on a style that doesn't get much revisiting. Make this one into a six-pack, please!

 1,206 characters

Photo of PittBeerGirl
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Brandon for the opportunity to try this brew!

A- Body is a medium orangish red hue and is relatively transparent. Pours with a 1-2 finger foamy off-white head which slowly fades to a thick collar. Little lacing is left behind in the glass.

S-The nose is absolutely filled with juicy citrus hops. Behind this is an equal balance of caramel malt and a sugary sweetness.

T- Big juicy citrus flavors upfront with some exotic fruit in there as well. The backbone contains a good dose of sweet caramel malt and a sugary sweetness that seems to be a little bit off. The malt comes through a little bit more for the finish but the flavor profile seems to be more about the hops.

M- Medium carbonation and smooth oily medium weight body.

D- Quite interesting to have this very hoppy Irish Red Ale. As much as this brew is pretty much blasphemy to a traditional representation of the style- drinkable, irish red filled with smooth and creamy caramel malt; I still really enjoyed this beer although I am pretty hesitant to call it an Irish Red. Another well done, but strange brew from FFF.

 1,091 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
4.16/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This bottle courtesy of TATTORSO. Thanks Jeff!

It pours a perfectly clear copper with close to a 1 finger head of foam and looks to have some nice lacing. Looking at it in my glass, there are very few bubbles, heck, every once in a while, I see one rising from the bottom and that's it. Kind of cool.

The smell is completely dominated by the Amarillo hops. I can sense nothing else; that in itself isn't a bad thing just a curious thing for an Irish Red but I'll say, I hope there's more to this brew in the taste.

First sip in and the hops start things off, as expected, with loads of bitterness but the road to flavourfville diversifies with a very nice toffee presence(it says so on the label and it's no lie;^). Some roasted notes here as well and, another mention on the label, a quite distinct flavour of Rye.

Yeah, the flavours are all coming together now even though I started this sitting off with Brian Boru at room temp. Call it a palate adjustment if you will.

On the light side of medium bodied with the carbonation near medium levels as well. Weird how I didn't see a lot of bubble action but the carbo turns out to be just right.

Drinkability? The taste and relatively low abv makes this a very good quaffer indeed so I'm super pleased to have had 22oz at my "command". A delicious Irish Red Ale.

 1,319 characters

Photo of weeare138
4.39/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appears a murky caramel toned amber with some yeasties swimming in the bottom of the glass. Heavy streams of carbonation quickly rise to the top. The small, light tan head fades into a mild cap. Scattered bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of caramel, citrus, herbs, toffee, vanilla, and and a touch of orange cream.
Taste is of the aromas with caramel and citrus dueling it out to a wonderful blend and balance. A bit of poached pear and pinepple juice make their way into the mix.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, mildly sweet, chewy, with spritzy carbonation leading to a smooth finish.

 600 characters

Photo of BrewIndy
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very nice carmel red color. I over poured this one a bit unfortunately so it had a massive head on it but died to to around a fingers worth of some nice thick and creamy foam.

Smell: You can pick up some nice citrus flavor among the carmels and the malts. Smells a little hoppy for what I would expect but I'm hoping that it is a little on the hoppy side. I dig it but I also dig the way red ales smell.

Taste: They weren't kidding when they said pineapple. I can pick that out almost immediately although it's not the bulk of what you're going to taste in this but you will get the sweet and citrusy tones from that. There is also some great carmel flavour in here. The more I sip the more I realize the sweet flavor of tropical fruits staying with me long after I've drank it. Before tht you can expect the dark burnt carmel taste with some nice bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Great feel. Very balanced. Slightly bitter working that tongue into a lather ut also ery smooth and creamy. Love it!

Drinkability: If I could get Brian Boru in a six pack I would. This is very sessionable and would be nice to sip on as the night passes me by.

 1,146 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

 1,507 characters

Photo of hawks10
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle poured into my FFF's imperial pint glass, enjoyed with a nice helping of pre-st. patty's corn beaf...

Pours a dark red/copper color with great clarity. A vigorous pour yields a nice soft white two finger head. A thin haze of head caps the brew for the whole drink, some moderate lacing as well...

Caramel malt sweetness at first with some citrus hops in the background. Bready and sweet with some floral notes from the hops...

Some sweet malt up front with a nice dose of grassy/piny hops with a twist of citrus. Bready and very flavorful with a great crisp finish from the bitter hops...

Medium bodied, good carbonation, well balanced between the sweet/caramel breadiness you expect from a "red" with that ever present FFF's hop character to even things out...

Too expensive to be a "session" beer but this would definitely qualify if sold in 6packs. Very easy to drink and quite enjoyable...

 911 characters

Photo of volatilesther
4.01/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired as an extra from mrkanable. Thanks Matt!

Poured a clear dark amber with a tight foamy head.

The aroma is malty, bready, and even cereal-like.

This beer is way more bitter than I expected. It tastes like an IPA with a mild mouthfeel and super dry finish. I taste a little caramel but it is not very pronounced. I feel like this beer has more tartness than maltiness and I can also taste some rye.

I don't drink Irish Reds too often but this is very enjoyable and very drinkable.

 492 characters

Photo of Tilley4
4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Brian Boru pours a light reddish with a quickly forming and tight but just as quickly disappearing head of white thick foam.... A bit lighter than other Reds I've had...

Wonderful aromas of caramel maltiness with a huge kick of citrusy piney hops coming through as well... Man, this smells like a Red Ale/IPA mix here...
The malts take center stage here with a caramelly smoothness that's really good which is quickly followed by a hit of those piney hops which finish nice and bitter and tangy... Its hoppy but not overly so which leaves the good characteristics of an Irish Red... This feels very thin and watery but it is quite tasty...

Overall, the best Irish Red I've ever had to date.. Its a real pleasure to drink and could easily session this one...

 760 characters

Photo of beerad666
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Before opening this up to taste, you have to take a look at the bad ass label. Mr Brian Boru himself in his celtic gear, drinking beer out of a giant horn.

Pours a dark copper with ruby highlights. A slight small head that leaves a good amount of lacing in the glass. The sweet delicious aroma of hops begins to pour out of the glass. This is a Three Floyds beer so you'd expect a heavy dose of hops. As it starts to warm up more malts begin to come out. The taste not surprisingly is heavily hopped but it's very well balanced too. Caramel with a citrus sweetness up front and a touch of bitterness in the finish. The malt comes through in the aftertaste to bring it all together.

Hop heads should have no trouble putting away maybe ten of these because Brian Boru is one drinkable beast.

 793 characters

Photo of Drobinator
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

 573 characters

Photo of peabody
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a nice Ice Tea color with two fingers of white suds and lacing all around the glass.
Smell is very floral hops with a yeast that burns the nose a bit. Some caramel and grain present here too.
Taste is red and bitter. This is very good. It's hoppy but the bitterness goes beyond just a floral hop.
Clean aftertaste and a dry mouth make you want the next drink pretty quickly.
Very refreshing and easy to drink in large gulps.
Great session beer here.

 459 characters

Photo of backfat
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a dark copper with highlights of ruby red. 4 finger off white head with ok lace. the smell is sweet and piney with aromas of fresh, resiny citrus hops and a hint of malt. strong and sexy, just like you'd expect from a FFF. the taste is lighter. biscuity bread, caramel, and grapefruit. mouthfeel is sticky. the finish is pleasing, long, and bitter. another winner out of Munster, IN. i could drink about 45 of these. by far the best irish red ale i've ever drank.

 469 characters

Photo of Brent
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Irish Red Ale is a style that did not predispose me to expect much, and I was pleasantly surprised at what big beer 3 Floyd's pulled off here. Lots of malt, as one would expect, but a very flavorful hops character, as well. Bittering might push this beer out of the style parameters, but someone has to push the envelope every once in a while. Seemed much bigger than the abv would suggest.

 394 characters

Photo of AgentZero
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Rusty red with a minimal head that hardly stuck around long enough to notice.

S - Some floral hops, slightly grapefruity. Nice malts on the back end.

T - THis is not at all what I am expecint from a red, tastes a lot more like an IPA. Floral hops on the front blend in wih some nice sweet malts. Doesn't get too piney or citrusy, just a touch bitter to a dry finish.

M - Too light bodied and not carbonated enough, but not unpleasant.

D - Easy to pound these back all day with the low abv and great taste.

 513 characters

Photo of RTrain12
3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Was dark red with a tint of yellow. Small off white head.

Smell: Slight smell of hops.

Taste: Taste of hops with some malt. Left a hoppy after tatse.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with little carbonation.

Drinkability: Was a good beer. I pick it up again next year when it comes out again. It kinda reminded me of Alpha King.

 374 characters

Photo of JoePat
4.82/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Beer pours a dark copper coler with a very light tan head that leaves a lot of lacing behind as it disipates.
It smells like Amarillo hops very floral on the nose.
The flavor is sweet malt very smooth with amazing hop flavor.
This beer is very drinkable and the mouthfeel is smooth and clean.
This has to be the best red ale made if not the only good red ale.

 363 characters

Photo of jrallen34
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I drank this from a 22oz bottle into my Rochefort chalice.

The beer pours a dark red that is pretty clear. The head is light tan rising about 2 fingers but is quickly gone with watery lacing.

The aroma is sweet with some citrus notes of pineapple and surprising amount of hops.

The taste starts off a little hoppy has some nice caramel and citrus sweetness in the middle and a hoppy finish.

The feel is a little watery for me and has a nice dry finish.

Overall, I don't really think of this as a typical Irish red, which maybe made me like it a lot. It just seemed like a red ipa. Whatever, I liked it no matter what you call it. Good little beer here.

 660 characters

Photo of cnally
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

 731 characters

Photo of tedsox31
3.71/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this beer from a 22 oz. bottle into a snifter. I've been waiting for this beer since I had it last year.

The color is a darker orange-red and a slightly off-white head of foam about a half-inch high or so. Definitely lacing left behind.

Aroma is extreme citrusy hops and some malt in the background. As it warms, I can smell more of the malt but the hops are still very present.

The taste is somewhat malty/bready with a lot of hops mixed in. As it warms this changes a bit, just like the aroma...more malty with hops. I'm not sure how I feel straight off as I was expecting something a bit more malt-oriented with toasted notes.

Mouthfeel is carbonated, creamy, and finishes dry.

Overall, this beer is tasty but not what I remembered/expected. I still like it but am slightly disappointed with the forwardness of the hops. While it is not a straight up Irish Red, I'd still recommend it as a good beer if you find it near you.

 940 characters

Photo of sidetracked
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear deep red-amber with a cream head.

The smell is a pleasant mix of citrusy hops and sweet caramel.

Tastes of citrus bitterness upfront, which is strong at times but never overpowering. The middle is nice roasted malts with a sweet brown sugar flavor with hints of vanilla. The finish is slightly dry with some lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied.

The great hop/malt balance combined with the smooth body makes this very easy to drink.

 474 characters

Photo of lightindarkness
4.12/5  rDev +2%
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

Brian Boru Old Irish Red from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.04 out of 5 with 976 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.