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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Ratings: 976 |  Reviews: 460
Photo of 0110x011
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a clear, dark, brownish red into a tumbler. One-finger tan head dissipates quickly. No lace. Sweet caramel malt dominates the nose, with a bit of pine and earth mixed in. More complexity in the flavor, with caramel, smoke, earth, pine, and some breadyness. Medium body, & very drinkable.

A new style for me, and I like it. Complex, yet sessionable, and very enjoyable.

Thanks to younger35 for the hookup!

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

Got this one from Dyan in our last trade. Thanks man!

Appearance: Crimson-colored and quite hazy. The off-white head never rises very high, but it does retain nicely. Great looking stuff, I've never seen a beer quite this shade of red before.

Smell: Very malty with a subtle peat/smoke aroma beneath. Caramel, toasted grains, even a bit of roasted tea leaf. Unusual.

Taste & mouthfeel: Big malt flavors of caramel and toast, mildly fruity, subtle tobacco and smoke. Nice complexity while still retaining a medium body and a refreshing quality. Earthy hops and a hint of coffee appear briefly in the finish but don't linger on the palate too long.

Notes: This one was a big surprise. Absolutely the best Irish red ale I've had.

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Photo of gmcfarre
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into traditional pint glass
Most likely brewed Spring 07

A - Upon opening this bottle gushed a large amount of foam, taking a minute or two to settle down. When finally poured it shows a nice dark red color with a good looking 1 inch tan head. A bit cloudy. Minimal lacing.

S - Scent seems well balanced, but with a focus on slightly sweet, toasted caramel flavored malt. Biscuity with some dark fruit flavors. Complex malt flavors with little hop activity.

T - Starts with a good toasty sweetness with caramel and fruity accents. Toasty flavors continue throughout, as a hint of piney bitterness accompanies. Sweet and a bit drying at the finish. Seems just a touch metallic, but its not incredibly off-putting and is probably a byproduct of the aging process (the bottle is over a year old).

M - Moderate carbonation with a medium body that is neither oily nor watery. Only slightly bitter in the finish with some residual sweetness on the tongue.

D - Well balanced and not too sweet like some red ales. Alcohol is not much of a factor. Would be nice to see this beer in 6 packs perhaps instead of bombers. Worth picking one up, especially if you like the style.

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Photo of ncvbc
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep copper with ruby highlights, a medium off-white head with tighly packed bubbles and some lacing. Smell is very nice. Caramel, toffee, bread, light citrus. It's not too bold but very lovely and inviting. Taste is pretty good but lacking balance. The malt and hops can't quite seem to agree on where they should enter scene. Mostly sweet and malty, though. Lots of caramel, toffee, and a great doughy, bready flavor comes in usually in the finish. Sometimes the hops come through before the malt, just depends on the sip. Great mouthfeel, slightly dry finish and again the bready flavor sticks with me. Solid body. I like this, just not a complete winner all around. Good for sure but not the greatest.

ahatcher78 is a hell of a BA and I thank him for this Powerball gift!

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Photo of MMAJYK
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Quick review from the bar at FFF

A- Transparent nut brown color and a head of roughly 1.5".

S- Kinda smokey and whiskey like. Roasted malts and sweet aromas of brown sugar too.

T- Same smokey tastes carrying over from the nose and a somewhat tangy taste too. Malty and sweet and leaves the mouth semi-dry.

M- Medium in the mouth and high on carbonation.

D- Decent. It is a little too malty for me to session.

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Photo of BeerTruth
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another beer courtesy of prototypic, an extra and a want of mine! Thanks man.

22 oz. bottle poured into a nonic.

Pours a murky wet red with a one finger khaki colored head that dies down to a creamy layer. Very nice webbing sticks to the sides. Smell up front consists of spice, leather, and pine. A good amount of toffee and caramel malts in the nose as well. Some citrus is hidden underneath all that malt too, nicely done. Metallic on the tongue to begin with, followed by gritty earth hops and a load of sweet caramel malt. A peppery spice is noticable all the way through, but not doesn't overpower. Toffee and roasted malts in the aftertaste, pretty solid in the flavor department. Medium body with a somewhat abrasive feel to it and a full carbonation. A style that seems to be overlooked, I'd like to see more American breweries attempt this style. Good one from FFF, give it a shot.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on-tap at the brewpub.
Served as a deep mahogony colored beer with and inch high off-white head.

Smell shows some nice caramel and toffee notes.

Taste is very refreshing. A nice nice caramel maltiness at the beginning slowly develops into enough of a hop finish to keep it interesting.

The malt and hops blend nicely at the finish.

The perfect beer to have with lunch. Tasty, yet not overdone. Great job.

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Photo of lpayette
4.39/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased this at Dark Lord Day 2008.

Pours a nice redish brown with a leaning towards the red. About two fingers worth of head.

The smell is great with lots of fruity and toasty malts intermingling flawlessly.

The taste is equally impressive with again a very good combination of fruityness and toasted malts. Perfect balance of hops and just the right amount of toasted flavor for me.

Overall a great beer that is definitely worth seeking out especially if this is a style that you're really into.

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Photo of Jerzdevil1116
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber purchased at Capone's in Norristown, PA.

A- Clear, deep red/amber body. 1 finger of off-white head. A little carbonation rising in the glass. Small amounts of lacing left on the glass.

S- Smells sweet and malty. Notes of caramel, toffee, vanilla. Maybe a faint hint of hops in the background.

T- Taste is also sweet but well balanced by some floral hops.

M- Medium bodied. Smoothe and velvety.

D- A very tastey, well balanced beer. Great for a session.

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Photo of sholland119
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After buying an old case at Shangy's, I got this new bottle in trade from lightindarkness. All in all, a nice brew.

Pours a very dark amber with a thin tan head that leaves little to no lacing. Aroma of syrupy malt sweetness with a nice pine hop note in the background.

Taste is about the same. The malts are a little too sweet and caramelly for me up front, almost to the exclusion of other flavors, though there is a little hop bite in the finish. Carbonation is nicely moderate but the beer is almost puckeringly dry on the tongue. But still, a nice session beer.

This is essentially the most expensive bottle of beer I have ever purchased as the old Boru was not so great and I doubt I'll drink it. Well, I guess the money also bought me a lesson in checking bottling dates. Which would not have mattered here in that FFF does not date stamp their products anywhere that I can see.

Now when is that Dreadnaught coming back to PA?


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Photo of JToad
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber for $5.99, so I figured what the hell.

A: Pours a cloudy deep mahogony, decent head. Very little lacing.

S: Extremely malty, slight citrus aroma.

T: An Irish Red by name alone, more malty than anything, caramel coffee undertones, slight hop profile.

M: Not what I expected being an Irish Red, seemed to be overly creamy, borderline sweet stout.

Overall: If I drank this blindly, I would think of it as a red stout. Don't get me wrong, it's a great beer, complex and very easily drinkable.

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Photo of unholy2
4.64/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Wow does three floyds make a bad beer.Deep carmel color With a nice off white head that leaves quickly.It taste of carmel and toffee with a very light hop touch.It leaves the mouth dry but i guess that is to be expected with this type of beer.I would say that this is a session beer

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Photo of russpowell
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cheers to Finnman for this one, I finally get to review a FFF beer!

Pours a somewhat hazed orange tinged brown (more orange when held to the light) with 1 finger of cream colored head. Above average & lacing

S: Breadyness & leafy hops

T: Leafy hops, toffee, dryness & caramel up front. Some oakyness & more toffee as this warms, along with leafy hops & fruittyness (apricots & figs). Finishes with a bit of orangey & leafy hops, more figs & just a smidge of vanilla, plus just little booze at very end

MF: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation & great balance, plus a little stickyness

Drinks very easy, a solid Irish Red, that is pretty true to it's roots. I could session on this, but would rather move on to the Dark Lord...

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

Served out of a bottle into an oversized wine glass, this beer showed a deep red color with little head. There's some lacing, but it's subdued.

This is a typical irish ale with a hint of hops but the caramel and spices really come across here. There's a malt-sweetness that reminds me of caramel and some kind of fruit. This is very balanced. Nice session beer.

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

Poured at the 1st Manhattan Cask Fest. This was a 6oz sampler in tumbler glass.

A- Pours an orange red with strong red hues. Nice looking Irish Red.

S- Light hop and malt notes on the nose of this beer. A bit more hoppy than your normal Irish Red.

T- This was a nice somewhat hoppy Irish Red. The hops do not stick around in your mouth a long time. I like that a lot. Some nice sweetness in this brew too.

M- Medium thickness in this brew. Classic cask carbonation too.

D- Nice easy drink brew. The cask makes it even easier to drink.

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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 pwoods
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. brown bomber, purchased at The Root Cellar, poured into an imperial pint. No dating.

A: Pours a nice mahogany, ruby red grapefruit tint that's nearly opaque. 1ish fingers of lightly tinted head forms and falls to a fat skim withing a minute or two. Not much lacing.

S: Clean hops, fruity and lightly floral. A bit of dried peppery spices that way in the back. Malts are sugary sticky sweet and remind me of heavily sweetened Scottish malts.

T/M: Mild to light bitterness with an earthy, grassy hop profile. Touches of citrus here and there but nothing profound. A light spiciness similar to cinnamon. Malts come in with a bread and herb combo. Just after the malt intro, it switches up to pretty potent Earl Grey(Gray? lol) tea that has very little sweetness. Body is moderate and it finishes a touch on the dry side.

D: Decent tasting brew with plenty of session potential(unless you look at the FFF pricetag....). Freshness does make me wonder... hops seemed a touch muted and the strong tea flavor toward the end doesn't feel like it was normally there. Nevertheless tasty and I'll be getting some in about a month that I know is no more than 2 old.

2nd review:

I know this bottle is fresh(maybe not extremely) since it was bought at the brewery. Hops are much more present in the nose. Light citrus and some pepper. Also, much stronger in the taste as well. The tea is still strong but seems liikes it's mroe in place this time. Overall, a more enjoyable brew.

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Photo of JDV
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Beervirgin72 and Kryptic for bottles! Pours a rich, hazy maroon color with a nice head. Smell was very tea like. Hibiscus and floral in particular with no real hops noticeable. Flavor was pretty balanced, not sweet or hoppy but flavorful with tea flavors again. As far as FFF goes, not remarkable, but for the style, about as good as it gets, I'd say. Enjoyable, easy drinker.

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Photo of PEBKAC
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Still in a haze from St. Patty's weekend, & before I weigh the pros & cons of shaving off my red beard, I take one last moment to reflect with Brian Boru.

Poured into a standard pint glass, the ivory-colored head rises & falls, but settles as a soft film that sits over a layer of carbonation that is trapped between it & the actual beer. Movement underneath constantly reinforces the sublayer, but doesn't disturb the surface. Well until my beard goes for a dip anyways. I knew there was a reason I wanted to shave it off. :|

Doughy & sprinkle sweet, with a hop character somewhere between the forcefulness of zest & savoriness of the holy trinity. My beard is fully submersed.

Expecting a hop bomb, after only a slight jab of coffee/rind bitterness, I get submersed into a toasty & smoked background, filled with pretzels, caramel, & straight up grain. A little ash & steel stand out in the finish.

Carbonation feels surprisingly low. Barely a tingle on my tongue & as a result, the alcohol becomes more apparent.

Drinkability is strong, but isn't what it could be because of mouthfeel. Also, because this is the first thing in my stomach today, I'm already feeling it. I'm such a pussy. :P

Thanks go out to kmpitz2 for the opportunity.

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

Brion Boru pours a mystically deep scarlet amber color with even darker highlights peeking through. The lid is creamy and beige and leaves some sexy lacing.

The nose is very nice. Sweet fruity berries, oranges, and grapefruits, with some nice earthy tea and piney bitterness.

Possesses a nice oily smoothness that accompanies the perfect amount of carbonation. The taste is great as well. The sweetness of aforementioned fruits is light along with sweet toasted caramel. Lightly dry and bitter of tea, rind, and piney hops in the finish.

Another great one from FFF. This one ranks up with Lagunitas Imperial Red, and Great Lakes Nosferatu, for top honors in the red category.

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Photo of bbothen
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Nice caramel color with a foamy 2 finger head. Clinging sticky lace on the glass.

S- Wow. Big hop nose. Sweet malt as well.

T - Toffee & caramel sweetness balanced nicely by a generous hoppiness. Great balance. Caramel apple?

M - Dry. Tart. Spicy. Very smooth.

D - Easily sessionable.

I'd drink this frequently if only it was available in my area. Another solid offering from Three Floyd's.

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

Poured from a bomber into my Sam Smith Nonic Pint Glass

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

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

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

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

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

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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 Gehrig
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first beverage from the well-regarded Three Floyds, Brian Boru lays out a very good presentation. Two fat fingers of slightly tan froth top an amber that's more brown than red. Curtains of lacing adorn the sturdy Yankees pint glass--niiice. I'm very impressed with the hop aroma in this. Arcadia's IPA could use the nose on this. Better yet, Brian Boru is loaded with caramel and brown sugar--impressive. The taste does not relent for a moment, adding a hint of coffee and butterscotch to the other flavors.

This is very well balanced, packed with flavors, and smooth. As much as anything, I'm thrilled that I had the rare foresight to grab a second. Outstanding, and highly recommended.

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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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