Professor Brewhead's Brown Ale
McNeill's Brewery

Professor Brewhead's Brown AleProfessor Brewhead's Brown Ale
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Brown Ale - English
Ranked #284
Ranked #44,235
3.43 | pDev: 20.7%
McNeill's Brewery
Vermont, United States
Professor Brewhead's Brown AleProfessor Brewhead's Brown Ale
Notes: This beer goes back to the American style. A full brown color, it is made from domestic and German malt, with some spicy citrus notes and a touch of chocolate.
Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 28 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Gambrinus1184
Gambrinus1184 from Connecticut

3.65/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22-ounce bottle into a Ro's Restaurant pint glass.

A: Medium-dark, ruby-brown colored ale with a two-finger head of rocky white foam which leaves chunks of clingy lace. Mysterious bits of yeast sediment float among the chilled haze.

S: Slightly spicy and nutty with a touch of honey, coffee and fruity ale spices in the nose.

T: Smooth, roasted malt bitterness up front with additional toffee-like malts added before earthy, mellow dry hops take hold and deliver a smooth, slightly yeasty and metallic malt finish.

M: Medium-bodied brown ale with a little extra chewiness and heft added by those suspended particles.

O: A pretty good brown ale but one sort of trapped between English and American. the 4.9% ABV is sessionable and decidedly English in nature, but a drying, almost citrus-nutty hop combo comes up a little watery and off-tasting at times. Still good, but not the best in McNeill's lineup.

Jun 06, 2011
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B967ierhunter177 from Pennsylvania

1.42/5  rDev -58.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

This beer pours a clear, amber color with a half-inch, rapidly fading head. No lasting lace. The aroma was very acidic, almost stale. The taste was full of sour, bitter, and acid flavors. Very unpleasant. It has a thin mouthfeel. McNeills Professor Brewheads Brown Ale is not drinkable and is NOT recommended!

Dec 18, 2010
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smcolw from Massachusetts

3.58/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Decent start to the head which settles to a thin foamy layer. Leaves extensive curtain lace. The color neutral brown and quite clear.

Has a definitive yeast aroma in the background. Smells like a homebrew. Some doughy malt with a touch of crystal. Light hop in the nose.

More hoppy in the taste. Light bodied with a higher carbonation. The combination makes this taste lighter malt-wise than the color would indicate. Some caramel, but quite dry

Apr 11, 2010
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hopbar from New Jersey

2.11/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Near Sugarbush, VT
1 Pint 6oz. Bottle
Pint Glass

A: You have to appreciate the bottle art. Crazy professor in the tie-dye tee. Definitely won some points on that one. However, the beer itself did not have much to it. Apple cider brown color with a small head.

S: Not much there. A little sweet. Maybe some apple smell but faint if any.

T: A bit tart. Maybe some malt flavor but overall, bland.

M: It's a light beer as brown ales go. Somewhat carbonated and refreshing, even if without any flavor.

D: You could certainly drink a lot of this in one session. However, I don't think that I would. I was not very impressed and will likely not try it again.

Overall though, I kept the bottle for my collection.

Mar 23, 2010
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donkeyrunner from Massachusetts

2.91/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

At Bert's Better Beers for $3. Large, bubbly, off-white head over a brown, almost clear beer. Retention gathers into bulbous lumps and leaves thick and chunky lace rings. Gret looking beer. Expiration date is end of February.

Dominant floral/herbal hops with some bready malt gasping for air underneath. The two aromas combine to smell like sweet and sour sauce.

Sweaty, herbal, earthen flavor with grapefruit rind hops steamrolls over light caramel bread malt. Overcarbonated IMO, especially for the style. Had trouble finishing the bottle.

I've had a few McNeill's (Ruby Red, Dead Horse, etc) and they all seem to be messy and all over the place. Sometimes, like in Dead Horse, it works. Not this time.

Feb 23, 2010
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jdhilt from New Hampshire

2.98/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a two finger cream head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Almost clear amber/brown color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Light malty nose. Flavor is caramel and biscuit but the hops quickly overwhelm with a sour hoppy finish. $3.19 for a 22oz bottle from Smiley's Beverage Dover, NH.

Jan 03, 2010
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lordofthewiens from New Mexico

3.97/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a pint glass this beer was a hazy red/orange color with a thin tan head that dissipated quickly. Still managed to leave a tiny bit of lacing. It had a caramel aroma, as well as a bit of hops. The taste was similar to the aroma, although the hops gecame stronger and sharper. Even so, I thought this was a nicely balanced beer.

Dec 09, 2009
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mikesgroove from South Carolina

4/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another gem from McNeil's that I was lucky enough to be able to try today,. This one I enjoyed with dinner, served chilled and poured into a pint glass on 10/07/2009.
Very nice pour here, a bit high on the initial foam, but that is very typical of this brewer I have come to find out. Still though a very solid looking pour. Nice caramel brown with a rich tan colored head that crept up on the top. Settled down after a few minutes without much in the way of fan fare and left copious amounts of lacing up and down the sides of the glass. Nice caramel aroma, hints of brown sugar and a nice touch of light hops that offered a pleasant bitter contrast to the over presentation. Smooth, light to medium bodied ale held its own quite nicely. Rich flavor, earthy with a nice hop note in the back of the palate. Nice quick hitting finish has a touch of almost vanilla tone to it before leaving you with a nice and semi sweet flavor.
Overall a very nice representation of the style and a very easy to handle brown ale. I would not mind at all with trying this one again any day. Seems to be a lot of good going on over here for sure. Looking forward to trying another of their offerings soon.

Oct 08, 2009
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mountdew1 from New Hampshire

3.88/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a light brown, with a nice thick frothy off white head. The head lasted very well, and clung to the sides nicely. Aroma was malty with a bit of citrus and lactose. Taste was a bit sweet, with a small amount of hoppy bitterness. Perhaps some cream? Slightly over carbonated in the mouth, but coated well. Seemed a bit bigger than it really was which made it a bit harder to drink than it should have been.

Sep 28, 2009
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NEhophead from Massachusetts

2.98/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 fl oz brown bottle; served in a tumbler.

Muddy, earthen oak in color with an auburn-tea hue. Densely foamy, two-inch high head that recedes outside-in. Patches of condensed lacing with pretty good strength.

Very buttery, biscuity malt aromatics with light tones of caramel. Very astringent, yeast-filled must amidst a floral/herbal hop character. Off-citrus aromas.

Earthen, floral hops right up front surrounded by a musty astringency. Odd array of spices that include licorice, clove, and saffron. Burnt, biscuity malt with a hefty dose of diacetyl. The carbonation is long-lived and very distracting. Notes of almond and date in the aftertaste.

Medium in body. A bit creamy on account of the diacetyl character; however, the carbonation is wildly out of control.

Mild flavors that are not able to hide some obvious flaws. I really never could get by the carbonation which definitely causes some heartburn.

Apr 22, 2009
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thekevlarkid from Maryland

3.38/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Out of a bomber this beer was a dark copper color with three fingers of billowing beige head. The retention of the cap was quite good (it eventually became a little foamy island) and the lacing was quite good as well. The aroma was classic and balanced, toasted malt, bready malt, some leafy and citrus hops. The flavors were more astringent than the aroma however. I tasted the toasted malt and bready malt clearly but the hops profile seemed a little sharp and very herbal. The aftertaste of toasted malt was nice but it struck me as a little misbalanced overall. The mouthfeel was rough, the body medium and the carbonation too high.

Apr 17, 2009
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Jwale73 from Rhode Island

4.07/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber served in a standard pint. Poured a deep, translucent chestnut with some light penetration. One inch bubbly, off-white cap quickly receded into a pock-marked head before dissipating into a few specks of foam. Virtually no lacing present during the session. Nose was roasty, malty, coffee, yeast and a little hops towards the back. Taste consistent with nose with a detectable hops bite at the finish. Lacking the caramel sweetness characteristic of the style, but nicely balanced flavor profile. Mouthfeel fell between light and medium with an assertive carbonation throughout, yielding a light and lingering burn at the finish. I really enjoy this style of beer, but what tends to keep it from being sessionable for me is the cloying caramel sweetness that tends to build over time. Professor Browhead's lacks that character and the slightly more identifiable hops presence really enhances its drinkability in my opinion.

Jan 04, 2009
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Walken from Massachusetts

3.45/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

McNeill's: Professor Brewhead's Brown Ale (No freshness date) (Tasted 12/21/08)
22 oz. bottle, poured into an imperial pint.

Appearance: Pale brown with a giant initial head that fades down into a two millimeter cap, spotty lacing on the sides of the glass.
Odor: Dusty cocoa and fruit aromas, suggestion of crystal malt and no real hop aroma to speak of.
Consistency: Low medium body. Carbonation is a tad too high, but it's not overly offensive, just different. Feel is slightly creamy with a dry, buttery finish.
Taste: Caramel and thoroughly toasted bread with a slight buttery/fruity undertone. Earthy hop flavor and bitterness hold the line. The two flavors in the background blossom in the finish and roasted malt comes into view, sitting on the palate like buttery burnt toast.

Not bad. A very unique brown ale from a very unique brewpub.

Dec 21, 2008
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Brad007 from Vermont

3.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brown color with a very thin head. Aroma is one of malt and has a bit of a raisin taste to it. Taste is thick and malty upfront with a nice raisin/brown sugar taste. Rich and smooth and has some very faint hints of coffee. Very drinkable for a cold winter night.

Nov 30, 2007
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bjohnson from Massachusetts

2.09/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Picked this up at the Brattleboro Co-op.

A: Pours an almost clear brown color with a one finger slightly off white colored head. Retention is good on this guy.
S: Slight caramel notes with an extreme metallic aroma. A bit of fruit also. All McNeill's brews seem to smell the same with and odd spritzyness.
T/M: A bit of floral notes up front with slight caramel malt also. Way too carbonated and a bit on the sweet side. A bit off if you ask me. Thin bodied with a hay or grassy like aftertaste.
D: A drain pour for me. I'm not sure what to say about this offering, except it was way off for the style. Way too carbonated and a bit thin.

Feb 11, 2007
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Sammy from Canada (ON)

3.6/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Slightly better than average beer, well malted,carmel, licorice, rather thin. Easy drink on hot summer night with dinner and nuts and fruit dessert. Much on the sweet side, an average brown for me. Reasonably well hopped though. Wasn't that satisfied so went for a porter chaser.

Jul 17, 2005
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ppoitras from Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22ozer from Brattleboro Co-Op, Brattleboro, VT.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a shockingly big (for McNeills bottles) 1" tan head over a slightly reddish brown brew. Dense, resilient head, with average lacing. Malty, nutty aroma, with slight hops character. taste is upfront chewy, malty, nutty, with a shot of hops bitterness at the close. Mouthfeel and drinkability were both excellent on this one. Give it a try!

Dec 19, 2004
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scottum from Vermont

3.83/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep hazy brown with a light tan lacey head. Very dry. Hoppy for a brown. Sweet nutty roasty malts are the face of the brew. Smooth, but mouthfeel suffers from excess dryness. Makes me crave more liquid. A decent brown that's worth a sample.

Jan 16, 2004
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francisweizen from Alaska

4/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brown ale was a nice brown colour with a tan head. The aromas were all nuts, sweet and roasted malts, background hops and candy. The taste was a sweet combination of malty flavors and nutty flavors with a nice dosage of background hops, keeping everything else in check and preventing this brew from getting overly sweet or cloying. The mouthfeel was medium bodied and the drinkability was very nice. Another good brew from McNeil's!

Sep 26, 2003
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edchicma from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice appearance with a smallish head and minimal lacing...very inviting color. Nice malty smell with a hoppy presence. Smoky underones also present. Taste was well balanced beyween malty and hopy with a refeshing light body. Finished with a nice hoppiness that lingers...very easy to drink. Very good offering.

Sep 04, 2003
Professor Brewhead's Brown Ale from McNeill's Brewery
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 28 ratings