Beer Review 0449: Three Floyds Robert The Bruce Scottish Ale

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Three Floyds Brewing Company hails from Munster, Indiana, and their reputation is pretty stellar amongst beer drinkers. Three Floyds are not distributed here in North Carolina…and just about everywhere else in the United States. The brewery has very small distribution at the moment, and I happened upon today’s bottle by chance: a friend of a friend visited the brewery, and brought some back home.

Founded in 1996 by Mike Floyd and his sons Nick and Simon, their goal was to breathe life into the then mundane craft beer scene by producing beers that were simply not normal. As popularity increased, the Munster location was created, and upgrade after upgrade took place. Bottling cranked up in 2002, a brewpub was created in 2005…with that being said, Three Floyds are still very small, even when compared to breweries like Dogfish Head, Bell’s, and Great Lakes.

Robert the Bruce, or Robert I, was the King of Scots from 1306-1329, when he died. He was a famous warrior and successfully led the Wars of Scottish Independence against England, and is remembered as a national hero. The beer named after him is a Scottish Ale brewed with a big malt backing that is supposed to feature caramel and roasted notes. The beer comes in at 7% ABV (alcohol by volume) and 30 IBUs (International Bitterness Units).

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Pouring roused up a small, creamy, off-white head that had some staying power. The color was dark amber, nearly mahogany, with red highlights when held to a bright light. The body was clear, free of particles and sediment, and lacing was sparse, only leaving a couple of creamy bits behind on the glass.

On the nose, we’ve unfortunately got a timid beer with a definite metallic aroma. There’s some hints of bready sweetness, caramel, and burnt sugar, but there’s also an equal amount of metal. Luckily, as it warmed, the metallic aroma faded a bit; however, all those malts still didn’t come through well, and you’re left sniffing what could be akin to weak herbal tea. This was not what I was expecting.

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The taste did let me know this wasn’t infected, as you might have anticipated on the nose; still, what was here was very safe and bland. Smooth caramel malts, buttery and creamy, along with some slightly charred bread crust and a note of molasses. The finish lingers on buttery caramel/after dinner butter mint for a second and then washes away. There’s no bitterness here — Robert The Bruce is a sweet brew, but there’s not really enough flavor here to make it too sweet. Medium-bodied, this beer has a medium, creamy texture that is very smooth, nearly velvety.

This is absolutely not what I expected from Three Floyds, and I’m wondering if it is just my bottle. Easily drinkable, this beer is just too safe to carry the slogan “It’s not normal,” or to be named after a celebrated warrior. I went in expecting big flavor, but all I got was a sparkler instead of a Roman candle. Will be worth a revisit someday, perhaps.

Three Floyds Robert The Bruce Scottish Ale, 76 points. Price: I was gifted this beer from a friend of a friend that visited the brewery.

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