Dead Horse IPA
McNeill's Brewery

Dead Horse IPADead Horse IPA
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IPA - English
Ranked #77
Ranked #38,799
3.69 | pDev: 14.63%
McNeill's Brewery
Vermont, United States
Dead Horse IPADead Horse IPA
Reviews: 117 | Ratings: 197 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of maddogruss
maddogruss from New Jersey

3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Based on notes from 2011. Had this on draft.
A: pours an amber body with white head with nice retention and lacing
S: grapefruit and subtle sweet malt smell
T: subtle burnt toffee taste with some subtle grapefruit notes and warming alcohol; warming alcohol aftertaste
M: medium bodied and fairly smooth
D: nice mouthfeel and taste combo; pretty solid drinking beer overall

Nov 25, 2020
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

2.77/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

This was poured into a nonic pint glass. The appearance was a hazy glossed over orange color with a slim one finger white foamy head that dissipated decently in a nice way. Lacing was decently stringy and messy. The smell started off with a decent earthy to semi-grassy sweet hops running into a sly caramel backbone. The taste pretty much copied the smell and had a decent sweet malty backbone leading to the semi-earthy and becoming slightly citrus (and English-esque) in the aftertaste and finish. On the palate, this one sat about a light to medium on the body with a decent sessionability about it. Carbonation is sly and carries the harshness just enough but stays back to allow the bitterness to take the lead. Overall, good as an English IPA, is that what its supposed to be.

Jun 13, 2017
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours hazy amber with a slight amber tint under a 1” off-white foam collar that hugs the side of the glass.
S: Bread, caramel and fruit in the aroma with citrusy hops.
T: Biscuit with a little caramel finishes dry with a slight astringency and some earthy, spicy bitter and a slight dose of pepper.
F: Medium body and carbonation.
O: A full flavored English Indian Pale Ale.

Jun 09, 2015
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snilsen13 from Massachusetts

4.26/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An under-rated IPA, for sure. Tasted from a can.

This is complex, uniquely-flavored with great bod and maltiness (McNeill's beers are just great like this). If you are into IPA for the hops alone, you won't understand. As a home brewer, I really appreciate this beer.

With all the hype over some very hard to get VT beers, this brewery, which is more available across VT, is producing amazing beer. For example, compared to the Fiddlehead IPA, this one is on a different level. YMMV.

Apr 24, 2015
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jmdrpi from Pennsylvania

3.57/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

served from the cask at the brewery. amber colored, clear, white head. mild pleasant earthy hop aroma. taste is well balanced, overall a nice body and feel

Apr 03, 2015
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31Sam13 from New Hampshire

4.75/5  rDev +28.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

You know The Bros' Rankings are sometimes quite high on beers that don't overwhelm the denizens of BA. However, I think that they just nail a lot of them. They are not afraid to give high marks to stuff that is (in my experience) just plain good, without the hype. I'm in no way saying that all of BA is a bunch of hype helpers, but this is one case where it's like, wow, this is a really unique beer for many reasons and the Bros score is right in line with mine. Though, mine of course, is just an opinion and I will say that there are many , man, many more qualified raters than I. However, it's really all opinion in a sense. Blathering, but just loved this and like a very adept review that is below mine, was blown away by the beer after I had seen such mediocre ratings. Sometimes you wonder how much thought is being out into the ratings. It's always like there is this regression to the mediocre many beers rank from 81-86...a huge majority I would believe. And many of us call this mediocre...well in this case you're missing out if you don't try it. Besides, it's got a dead horse on the bottle...what better to do than beat it, which is what I seem to be doing.

Feb 28, 2015
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nlb802 from Vermont

4.69/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I didn't expect that much, as this is not a particularly famous beer and the "BA Score" is rather low. I was pleasently suprised by the strong malt and delicious hops of this English Style IPA. Very clean profile, very different than most IPA's now a days. Do yourself a favor and try it.

Feb 09, 2015
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hoagzzz from Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

Appreciate that they went for something different here but def not my style of IPA. All malt and no hops. Not a drain pour but the balance of the sixer may be giveaways.

Nov 16, 2014
Photo of ryan1788a5
ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

4.03/5  rDev +9.2%

12oz can poured into a pint glass.

A: Orange in color and extremely hazy. Minute particles in suspension. Sticky off white head settles after a bit. Lacing clings in thin web patterns.

S: Dank, pine, tropical fruits such as tangerine, mango, and apricot. Base malt scents of caramel and toast. It's good, and it's popping.

T: Tropical and juicy up front. Tangerine, clementine, pineapple, star fruit. Slight earthy and spicy bite and a bit of aggro hop oils, though it soon backs off. Big toasty and caramel malt base is a blunt balancing force. Slightly buttery. Bit of raw yeast. Toasted grain and green hop oils on the finish.

M: Hefty medium body. Creamy malt texture with a slight sense of weight. Moderate astringency.

O: Why is it called 'Dead Horse IPA'? Because you can't beat a dead horse, rimshot. This is a brand that those who were around in the early days of craft beer will remember fondly. After a long hiatus the brand is looking to make a comeback, brewing and canning out of Wachusett. The liquid itself is tasting quite good. However, I worry about its potential to make an impact in the market again. The beer landscape has changed a lot, and it's so much more competitive now. McNeill's can't just rely on their old customer base to get by; they need to actively solicit new drinkers in a completely different and much younger demographic. Their name means nothing to these people, and without an active sales force and more aggressive marketing they will probably just end up as another hokey-looking can on the shelf collecting dust. It doesn't help that the market is preferring the more aggressive west coast style IPAs to the more English versions of the style these days. I really wonder what McNeills' current ambitions are.

Aug 29, 2014
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PicoPapa from Connecticut

3.71/5  rDev +0.5%

12oz can. Pours a somewhat murky burnt orange with over an inch of fluffy white head. Some lacing. Aromas of floral hops with a hint of orange. Sweet and bready malts. Slightly herbal. The taste is malty with some herbal and floral hops. Sweet bread with some hints of caramel. Bitter orange peel notes. Floral hop finish. Lots of carbonation. Not bad, not great. Overall, decent beer, but I wouldn't go out of my way to have it again.

App-3.5 A-3.75 T-3.75 M-3.5 O-3.75 = 3.71

Aug 21, 2014
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argock from Virginia

3.25/5  rDev -11.9%

Poured from a 12 oz can into an oversized wineglass. 12/13/14 stamped on the bottom of the can. Single purchased at Craft Beer Cellar (Waterbury, VT).

A: Burnished amber, bright and clear, with 1/2 finger of off-white slightly sticky head with average retention but big swaths of lacing. (3.5)

S: Minty and orange marmalade aromas from hops along with a lemon soap aroma. Maltiness is not easy to pick up, maybe some caramel but not much coming through. (3.0)

T: Flavor has a little more to offer than the aroma, with more of a light crystal caramel note with some breadiness and a nice crackery character to the finish. Hops on the other hand are still a little tired tasting with a floral, soapy, lemon-orange quality to them. There are some better herbal, minty, earthy notes there that come through with warming. The yeast esters provide a bit of background general fruitiness. No alcohol detected. Bitterness is low. (3.5)

M: Medium body with medium carbonation adds up to a medium overall mouthfeel, a little sticky and probably not as dry as it could be, not that this style is supposed to be very dry like Am IPAs. (3.25)

O: McNeill's Dead Horse IPA isn't a bad beer, it just is kind of average and seems like it hasn't been updated to keep up with modern changes in beers. Things like brightening the hops or adding a more poignant malt quality might go a long way to making this a more interesting and enjoyable brew.

Aug 19, 2014
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woosterbill from Kentucky

3.46/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Barcade into a shaker pint.

A: Clear medium amber body with a nice head of fine off-white foam. Good retention, light lace. Attractive.

S: Richly toasty malts dominate, with some floral hops and sweet fruitiness along for the ride. A bit sweet for my tastes, but to style.

T: Follows the nose: perfect balance of floral hops and sweet, fruity, toasty malts. Too sweet for me (especially on the finish), but pretty good.

M: Creamy medium body. Solid.

O: This is a clean, enjoyable EIPA. Worth a shot, but don't expect anything too exciting.


Jan 23, 2012
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SickGnar from Pennsylvania

3.41/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Mildly hazey, orangey copper. Lots of active bubbles rising to a large, vaguely light sherbet hued cap of foam. Very good retention. Quite decent lace. Second pour from bomber is a bit more hazey and has a few floaties.

S: Floral, earthy, & citrusy hops. Malts are toasty & biscuity with touches of diacetyl and caramel. Rather lacking in heft – particularly for hops. Some more esters come out as it warms, aas does some more buttery caramel and a hint more malts.

T: Earthy & spicy hops on the front end. Resin and herbal on the back nine. Barely there hints of citrus fade in and out. Bitterness is more firm than character, but both are substantial. Hops give a bit of a coarse impression. Malts are biscuity / crackery / toasty in a dry way. Just a bit of Crystal 40 character, but minimal sweetness. Ghost hint of roast in the finish. Very light diacetyl and esters hover in the background. Pretty well attenuated. Secong pour from bomber yields a bready yeast note. It is also warmer with increased English character from esters & buttery toffee – plus malts are more rounded out.

M: Under medium body with CO2 quite a bit over-matched. Carbonation & firm hops on the sort of thin base give a dry raspy feel. Just enough texture from tannins & a few dextrins to keep it from being too harsh.

D: A bit rustic in hop character, look, and feel. Minimal caramelly, malty, richness for an English IPA. Sort of leaning a bit to an ESB or a big pale. Definitely English in character. I would like more umph from the hops and more richness to the malts. But, all said and done, This one is alright. Serve it on the warmer side though.

Jan 08, 2012
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BeerLover99 from Illinois

4.2/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: cloudy burnt orange body, trace white head,
gorgeous lacing

S: lemon zest, woodsy, pine, yeast, malt

T: yeast, lemon zest, pine, long bitter oily finish

M: med body, big oily, sticky mouth

O: McNeill's continues to impress me.
Great to see an American brewery deliver
a mighty fine English IPA. Let your
McNeill's beer conquest begin, you will
thank me.


Nov 03, 2011
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BrewMaester from New York

4.08/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy Auburn pour, fluffy head that is quite resilient. Nose contains hops bread fruit and yeast. The flavor is a mix of fruit bread and hops, hops are minimal considering that it’s an ipa. Alcohol does make itself felt especially on the finish. Low carbonation makes this a smooth easy drink. It’s a pleasant brew but doesn’t stand out considering the great selection of ipas available, certainly worth drinking though. Handsome bottle btw…

Sep 14, 2011
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Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

3.77/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a straw yellow color with a very light haze to it. The head was a little thin on this one, kind of surprising I though for the amount of hops that was probably in it. The smell was hoppy and really gave off a nice inviting aroma. The taste had a nice hop character to it also. The mouthfeel was a bit in the watery or thin side I think... Could have been a bit thicker for me. Overall I liked the flavor of the beer a lot.

Sep 02, 2011
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

4.2/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep cloudy caramel color ale with a nice thick foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of light bitter hops with light floral undertones with a rich caramel malt base. Taste is also a well balanced mix between some floral and lightly bitter hops with a rich caramel mal bill with just enough sweetness to balance the hops profile. Body is full with limited filtration and good carbonation. I understand this is not an IPA for hophead but the malt bill is quite incredible and I would love to have this more often.

Aug 18, 2011
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bosox941827 from North Carolina

4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomb bottle into imperial pint glass; served slightly cold and warmed as tasted
A - Pours a cloudy (bottle conditioned) brownish-auburn, with a full-on pour (no sediment left in bottle) with a foamy head that hangs around for quite a while; leaves a touch of sediment in glass but really not all too much (yeast stays suspended)
S - A nice gentle, not-at-all-in-your-face fruity hop scent, mixed with some bready yeast and a bit of malt and just a touch of alcohol
T - Pretty much consistent with the smell; hopheads this is NOT an American-style IPA (see designated style), but that does not detract from the fact that this is a great beer. Hops are very fruity and pleasant tasting, with just a bit of a bite at the end. Taste lingers for quite a while and invites additional sips. A hint of alcohol at the end (even though it is quite low).
M - Carbonation is low as per the style, therefore this is a smooth sipper.
An excellent summer IPA when you want a tasty, hoppy, full-bodied beer without too much alcohol.

Jul 24, 2011
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beerthulhu from New Jersey

3.41/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Burnt autumn orange coloring with a heavy show of effervesce within. The head is a good size, with a mushroom like structure, light beige in color while displaying a very good retention rate.

S: After a good visually, the aroma seems rather lackluster in comparison as well lacking by style. Some fresh wet grass mingles with a light toasted grain base that was more on par with a amber rather a ipa. Even after much agitation I failed to get any real sense of hoppiness. I later found out this was classified as a english style and not american style.

T: Sweet toasty grains with a bit more show of hops then the nose led on. Pine with a warming flowery hoppiness of light to medium strength, maybe more so of a assertive pale, but offers some redemption, especially upon warming where the hops become more pronounced.

M: Active carbonation, malty medium base with some creaminess. More in show of bittery flowery hops come on the swallow aiding in a last minute redemption.

O: With exception of the nose, an adequate ipa with moderate drinking results. Wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend, or buy again, but wouldn’t discourage for the english drinking ipa fan.

Jun 24, 2011
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RonfromJersey from New Jersey

3.43/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazy orange body, running from light to dark, bottom to top. Level foamy dense off-white micro bubbles about two inches thick. Lacing is covering about 75% of the glass.

Earthy, herbal aroma.

Sturdy semi-sweet malt foundation. Some fruitiness follows, then a more English hop nip at the swallow. Highly balanced.

Smooth light-medium mouthfeel. Creamy with a fizzy finish.

Overall, a nicely drinkable mostly English IPA.

Apr 18, 2011
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Flounder57 from Massachusetts

3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured the 22 oz bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: The beer poured about a two finger head that reduces down and laces the glass as it is consumed. The color of the beer is a hazey orange. The beer looks decently carbonated by the bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass

Smell: Slight hints of citrus.

Taste: All I could really notice was the orange/citrus flavor finished off with a slight hint of bitterness and malts.

Mouthfeel: The beer goes down smoothly and is carbonated nicely too.

Overall: I figured I try this one out since I have never had it before. The EIPA is pretty mild mannered compared to the AIPA I am accustomed to drinking. Maybe I was looking for more, but I was slightly amused by this beer. I would like to try this beer on draft someday to get a better feel for it. Maybe EIPA's are more mild and this is how they normally taste. I will have to try a few times to really understand this type of beer.

Mar 25, 2011
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akorsak from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

More McNeill's, courtesy of Coop in Lebanon, NH.

A: The EIPA is golden, a coppery brew with a few bright spots near the base of the glass. A huge, and I mean huge, head accompanies the pour, filling 2/3 of the glass with dense cragy foam. Plenty of lace follows.

S: Floral citric hops alongside biscuity malts. A nice combination that has a hop profile closer to the American IPA side of the fence.

T: Toffee and biscuit flavors drive the malty side of the IPA. The bready chewiness supports a rich hop profile that doesn't ignore its English heritage. Citrusy and floral, the hops have a very pleasant edge. The bitterness has orange flavors, softening the bite. The mix of orange hops and toffee grains is very nice. The mild bitterness mixing with sweetness. The tangy sweetness keeps me coming back.

M: The biscuity malts and sweet floral hops are a nice pairing, drinkable without getting too strong. A well-balanced beer is always welcome here.

D: A nice ale, chewy and hoppy without going overboard on either side. And another beer to check off in my Michael Jackson book.

Jan 16, 2011
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WesWes from New York

3.31/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours a beautiful amber color with a thick frothy off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is average. It has a light pale and crystal malt scent. The hop aroma is faint at best. English noble hops peak through, but not as much as most traditional English IPAs. The taste is decent. It has a dry, bitter flavor that melds with a traditional pale and crystal malt character. It's not overly bitter and it finishes a tad thin. The mouthfeel is decent as well. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an average IPA. It's lacking depth and hop character. I won't search this one out again.

Jan 07, 2011
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lovindahops from New York

3.56/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Saw another mcneills at brilbecks so I snagged it

A- has a normal malty ipa look but a massive head that does NOT go away! It is a machine! This head is monumental

S- a big malt hit with spices. Very strong exuberance of scent. Not characteristic of an ipa, but more so a spin on the style

T- it's a big malt slap. Again, peaks with spice and syrup.

M- creamy

D- not as good as the last mcneills brew I had. I could have another, but not craving it

Dec 04, 2010
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BeerPhan86 from New York

2.18/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

22 oz bomber. Distributor said that McNeill's just started distributing this November (purchased in Central New York).

A - Very cloudy dark copper in color with a big foamy white head. There is noticeable sediment in the glass and way too much in the bottom of my bottle.

S - Hints of citrus and earthy hops, but otherwise not too much going on.

T - Buttery like an amateur homebrew with very little hops. This honestly tasted like a poorly made homebrew and was a total letdown.

M - Medium creamy mouthfeel and nearly flat.

D - Glad I only bought one style from them. I did not even finish this (drain pour, on to better beers).

This was a huge letdown after really enjoying the McNeill's oatmeal stout last spring. I will probably remain very wary of purchasing from them again...

Nov 28, 2010
Dead Horse IPA from McNeill's Brewery
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 197 ratings