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Humboldt Brown (Hemp Ale) - Humboldt Brewing Co.

Humboldt Brown (Hemp Ale)Humboldt Brown (Hemp Ale)

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401 Ratings
no score

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Ratings: 401
Reviews: 209
rAvg: 3.46
pDev: 14.16%

Brewed by:
Humboldt Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  5.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Formerly called "Hemp Ale".

(Beer added by: boatshoes on 04-04-2010)
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Ratings: 401 | Reviews: 209 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of chinchill

South Carolina

2.98/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle dated 26 July 2012 served in a snifter. "Brewed and bottled by Nectar Ales" on the label.

Pours clear, deep mahogany in color, with a fragile and small head.

Aroma; a mix of with caramel and toffee malts, with a hint of alcohol infused dark fruits and an off aroma that may indicate I left this in my refrigerator for too long.

Flavor: hmm, a buttery (diacetyl?) component that is not entirely bad. Medium and dark roasted malt base. I believe I can taste the hemp seeds too; at least there's an unusual nutty-herbal note. Slightly sweet until the balanced finish. Mild malty-toffee aftertaste.

Feel: Smooth, with medium-low carbonation.

O: perhaps not at its best but likely not to exceed very good.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2014 01:08:53 | More by chinchill
Photo of JuicesFlowing


3.28/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a shaker pint glass.

Look: Muddy brown, a ruby hue comes through in the light. A cream colored head recedes to a film, little or no lacing.

Aroma: Caramel, toffee, and a really good chocolately fudge nose.
Some earthy, wet grassy notes in the back end.

Taste: This beer really is chocolatey, like Tootsie Rolls. Some toffee can be detected too, with a spicy and dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied.

Overall: I really enjoyed all of the malts and chocolate notes on this.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2014 14:46:36 | More by JuicesFlowing
Photo of FLima


3.69/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Brown reddish color with a thin beige head with short retention, but leaving laces.
Aroma of caramel, pine, licorice and spices.
Flavor of caramels, bold spices including hemp seeds (don’t ask), some cola and dark fruits, American yeast, nuts, toasted malts, mild coffee and dark chocolate, earthy hops and pine. Dry aftertaste with a mild bitterness.
Light body with appropriate carbonation.
Tasty, but not really a bold Brown Ale, partially due to expectations given the unexpected ingredient. I did like the rounded spicy profile.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2014 22:28:01 | More by FLima
Photo of jimmah120


3.56/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle with a date on it. I will admit that I bought this because of the pot leaf.

Dark brown-amber, clear, small sudsy head that fades pretty quickly. Smell is very light: faraway nuts and fruit. Taste is crisp and nutty, with oily pine, but is mostly a cloying rose flavor that im not digging. And I don't see the hemp or pot influence at all.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2014 06:41:46 | More by jimmah120
Photo of GrumpyGas


4.06/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Humboldt Brown carries an airy dissipating head over a rich brown body. The smell is fresh and outdoorsy. It has a sweet dark malt flavor that leans more toffee, which I prefer, than coffee. The clean and crisp aftertaste is a nice surprise given the milky, but not clinging, mouth feel.
This is an easy drinking beer with little alcohol burn.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2014 14:15:40 | More by GrumpyGas
Photo of RonaldTheriot


4/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Humboldt Hemp Ale (Humboldt Brown) has a very thick, soapy, beige head, a straightforward brown appearance, with a bit of haze and some lacing left behind. The aroma is of overriding sweetness, medium-roasted barley malt, and it’s pungent. Taste is of those elements, with a nice, noticeable, but not harsh, hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium and a tad slick, and Humboldt Hemp Ale finishes mostly dry, refreshing, and easy going. No alcohol detected. Also, I did not detect anything that I would associate with the hemp seeds.


Serving type: bottle

03-13-2014 19:31:25 | More by RonaldTheriot
Photo of BeerWithMike


3.76/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Sampling right now on 1/26/14. Bottle was chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured into a pilsner '14' pool ball glass.

Pours a hazy deep reddish-brown in color with just a thin off-white head. Some decent lacing was seen with each sip. Average carbonation. Lots going on with the aroma with some roasted malt, caramel, floral and toffee. The taste has even more going on and is hard to describe. A sweet dry aftertaste is noted but isn't harsh. Not bad at all and is a different brew

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2014 00:37:03 | More by BeerWithMike
Photo of superspak


3.68/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled on 4/16/2013. Pours slightly cloudy deep reddish brown color with a 1 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, biscuit, light chocolate, light nuttiness, herbal, floral, and toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark malt and light hop/hemp notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, toast, toffee, biscuit, brown sugar, light chocolate, light nuttiness, herbal, floral, and toasted earthiness. Minimal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, biscuit, brown sugar, light chocolate, light nuttiness, herbal, and toasted earthiness on the finish for a bit. Nice balance and robustness of dark malt flavors with light hop/hemp presence; with no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a moderately creamy and smooth mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a nice brown ale. Good balance and robustness of dark malt flavors and very smooth to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2014 00:59:29 | More by superspak
Photo of AwYeh


3.2/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Clear, reddish-brown cola color with a finger of thin tan head that dissipates quickly.

S: Sweet and malty, a little toasty and nutty. Nice pine hop aromas. I'm not sure if I'm smelling anything unique from the hemp, but it's pretty nice.

T: Follows from aroma; pretty balanced without any of the flavors being too strong. Vaguely sweet with piny complements.

M: Thin/medium body, with moderate carbonation. Smooth and a little dry.

O: "Okay" works well to describe this one- nothing is offensive or particularly good, so I didn't mind drinking it but also wasn't particularly enthused.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2013 18:22:59 | More by AwYeh
Photo of NiceTaps

New Jersey

3.35/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap in a pint glass.

A- Reddish brown color, 2f tan colored head. Lots of rings of lacing. Bubbly.

S- Mild hop aroma, floral. Very malty, sweet caramel..

T- Mild brown ale flavors of caramel and sweet malts.

M- Modest body, good carbonation. Easy on the alcohol. Malt finish is mild.

O- It's drinkable in its mildness, but could use a flavor boost.

Serving type: on-tap

12-27-2013 01:28:03 | More by NiceTaps
Photo of mactrail


3.21/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark reddish mahogany color in the Ommegang chalice. Really quite attractive while the head lingers. The mouthfeel is less carbonated and a little oily. Rather musty smell. No trace of hops. Something herbal about this but not really any bitterness.

There is something like a dry chocolate or rather carob flavor. Some odd sweetness lingers in the aftertaste. This seems well made but the taste gets a little tiresome. It doesn't seem to have either the crispness of a more refreshing beer or the roasted malt of the better Browns. From the 12 oz bottle purchased at Bine & Vine in San Diego.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2013 04:41:13 | More by mactrail
Photo of StoneTSR


3.5/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

APPEARANCE: Typical Brown Ale with the exception of the enormous amount of bubbling. Thousands of large bubbles sparkle and dash towards the top. The head quickly rises and falls, leaving behind just enough foam to very thinly cover about 80% of the surface of the beer. The color is a darkish brown with a decent amount of lighter brown light getting through around the edges and up top. There is no lacing to speak of.

SMELL: The aroma is fairly light, but again, spots on for a Brown Ale. A mostly sweet, but slightly roasted malt dominates the nose while a hint of grassy and citrusy hops are buried somewhere in the background.

TASTE: The flavor is where this beer sets itself apart from the other American Brown Ales. Although it is a little lighter in color than others in the category, the Humboldt Brown is closer to a stout than the rest. Chocolate is one of the first flavors I notice; it is not the dominating flavor, but it is certainly present. The roasted malt flavor is also more pronounced than usual in a Brown Ale, but the strong nuttiness does pull it back into the category. The finish is marked by a somewhat strong bitter citrus taste.

MOUTHFEEL: Despite the big bubbles early in the glass this beer mellows fairly quickly and by mid-glass the carbonation has settled. There is still a decent tickle on the palate however and the body is closer to medium than full. The only unpleasant piece of the feel is the finish. That bitter citrus close brings a pucker that I could do without.

OVERALL: Nicely done Brown Ale from Nectar. I cannot say that the hemp changes it too much, maybe I just don’t know what I’m looking for, but it certainly does not take anything away from it.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2013 05:05:56 | More by StoneTSR
Photo of ckollias


3.36/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Enjoyed this 12 oz bottle out of a porter glass.

A: Pours a brown-amber hue with a thin white head that dissipates quickly and leaves no lace or trail.

S: Dark roasted malt aroma.

T: Roasted malt flavor with some mild hints of chocolate and coffee.

M: Medium body and minimal carbonation.

O: I have no idea what hemp actually tastes like but it didn't add much flavor or aroma to this brew. Not a bad brown ale but nothing remember-able.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2013 18:52:22 | More by ckollias
Photo of barczar


3.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brilliant brown with deep caramel highlights and a foamy quarter inch beige head that dissipates somewhat quickly into a thin layer of film.

Dark malt fruitiness and toasted malt notes are accompanied by hints of chocolate and floral hops. There's a touch of roast and a bit of nuttiness. Malt dominates the balance.

Flavor is also very malt dominant. Fruity malt notes begin the profile and linger throughout, becoming nutty, deeply toasted, and finishing with a bit of lightly roasted coffee. Floral goods surface at the dry finish, but bittering hops are kept in balance. Cola notes emerge.

Body is moderate, with carbonation a touch low, and a hint of alcohol warmth. The fruity malt undertones could be astringent.

Decent malt complexity, but lacking a bit in hops for the style. The fruity notes were a bit offputting. Not a big cola fan, either.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2013 21:45:31 | More by barczar
Photo of Brenden


3.88/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This medium brown-colored beer's body lies in the median between clear and opaque. A soft, bubbly tan head reaches half a finger, shows reasonable retention while it slowly fades off, and deposits spotty lacing.
The nose is sturdy, neither too weak nor too strong, but in a good range for a brown. It doesn't have unnecessary roast, char or the like. It's got a steady, firm foundation of malts, as it should. The smell most prominently displays nut and earth.
The flavor offers the same, with an additional slight sweetness and finishes with a pleasant sesame/nut combination.
There's a bit too much spritz, but otherwise the medium body holds together well.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2013 15:18:22 | More by Brenden
Photo of dacrza1

New Jersey

3.48/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.75

Date tasted: May 24, 2013... Glassware: Victory Hop Devil nonick... Occasion: recognizing baseball coaching season is almost over... Appearance: dark brown body with a monstrous brown two-finger head that foams significantly--welcoming!... Aroma: lightly toasted, brightly hopped--a bit of mild sweetness too... Palate: smooth--too smooth?--with mild effervescence late, and little more... Taste: quite mild and unassuming--mellow to the point of nondescription; I recall having a Hempen Ale and wondering the similar thought--hemp doesn't seem to alter much... Overall: a pleasant, easy-drinking brew that has little in its complexity (it is a brown, after all), and yet its promise to be anomalous doesn't quite pan out....but for its price point, about right.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2013 01:51:47 | More by dacrza1
Photo of schoolboy


3.69/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is an OK brew, but it feels like it is going to give me heart burn. Why is that?

It comes out very brown and has a thin head and very little lacing. The aroma is slightly roasty, but not like burnt bud (wouldn't that be nice). The taste is of brown ale with a little extra. Malty, slightly hoppy (almost none).

The aftertaste is not particularly outstanding. So I would not seek this out again.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2013 00:05:52 | More by schoolboy
Photo of macrosmatic


3.76/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into an Upland pint glass.

A: Clear burnished brown with a half-finger's worth of off-white head and moderate visible carbonation.

S: Brown, mildly roasted bready malts (these, as usual, smell a bit like cardboard to me), some nuttiness, a bit of spices, kinda earthy. Not blowing me away here.

T: A simple flavor profile - earthy brown malt sweetness, nutty, hints of spice, and a slight hoppy bitterness near the end. A very clean, almost absent finish.

M: Medium body, carbonation on the low side, no alcohol presence to speak of.

O: A solid brown ale, but nothing exciting. Still, for the style it's fairly well-done, and I wouldn't hesitate to grab a couple more if I'm ever in the mood.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2013 21:19:36 | More by macrosmatic
Photo of spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

3.56/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz Bottle from Whole Foods Las Vegas NV for $2.50

Appearance - Clear light brown with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for around 3-4 minutes.

Smell - Hops, malts, grassy/peat, chocolate

Taste & Mouth - There is a slightly below average amount of carbonation and I can taste caramel, malts, grassy/peat. There is also a hint of chocolate and some dark fruits. It ends with a earthy malty aftertaste.

Overall – Not my type of flavours found in a beer, but it still tastes well crafted and interesting. It has a touch too many earthy notes for me but still worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2013 04:45:14 | More by spinrsx
Photo of Oakenator


3.91/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown to black yet still can see a bit of light coming through this beer. Some head at pour disappates to almost nothing with no lacing present on the glass. Aroma reveals some earthy tones - grass (no pun intended) and dirt (on the good side). Flavor is mild and not as interesting with a mostly consistent flavor from front to back. Relatively light.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2013 23:27:52 | More by Oakenator
Photo of Fatehunter


2.81/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a finger and half of head on a dark amber colored body.
The aroma is earthy with some grain. A nice smell I had encountered in a beer before.
The taste has a metallic tone with vegetables and malt. It's interesting.
The texture is crisp with moderate carbonation.
The metallic and vegetable taste did not work for me.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2013 23:49:05 | More by Fatehunter
Photo of LXIXME

New Mexico

3.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Medium to big light brown head settles into a decent lacing above a clear reddish amber colored beer.

Light roasted malts, nuts of some kind, and not much else in the aroma.

This brown isn't bad, it has a slight nutty taste that comes through with the light roasted malts and the taste of the hemp. I don't recall ever drinking a hemp beer before, so not really sure what I can compare the taste to.

An almost dryish aftertaste with some of the nutty and hemp taste sticking around with this medium bodied drink.

This ale brewed with hemp isn't to bad, sort of tastes like a slightly washed out Newcastle or something along those lines. I don't know what the purpose of adding hemp but what the heck give it a try.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2013 06:22:14 | More by LXIXME
Photo of VelvetExtract


2.71/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

A-Pours brown and slightly clear. Nearly zero head. Looks a bit watery despite its color.

S-Very soft and I also don't really like what I can decipher. Some wet cardboard, toast and another slightly off-putting aroma.

T-About the same. There seems to be two different flavors that I am having trouble describing; both are not tasty. Behind that lies some of the usual Brown flavors.

M-Semi-light. Not very crisp.

O/D-Not a fan of this one at all.

Serving type: on-tap

01-15-2013 19:01:01 | More by VelvetExtract
Photo of nickfl


3.59/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with one finger of off hits foam on top of a clear, dark brown body with ruby highlights. The head fades quickly and leaves light lace.

S - Nutty brown malt with a touch of molasses.

T - Dry, bready malt up front with some light roast in Netherlands middle. Finishes with more nutty roasted notes and light hop presence.

M - A moderately thick body, average carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - Not bad, it is pretty standard brown ale with a decent malt presence and a pronounced nutty character presumably from the hemp.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2013 07:12:37 | More by nickfl
Photo of abcdefghijkyle

New Jersey

3.38/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up as part of a mixed sixer. I needed try it for the novelty

A: Nice mahogany color. The khaki colored head dissipated pretty quickly after the pour although the suds are clinging to the sides of the glass.

S: Smells like wet wood, resin, and a faint frutiness which I can't place. This smells really earthy altogether

T: It tastes a lot fruiter than the smell. I'm picking up juniper berries, nuts, pine, and resin.... no hemp though unfortunately. There is a vague roasted character to this, but I'm picking up much malt

M: Kind of watery, this is the lowlight for me

Overall, I wish that there were more hemp in this. If this had been billed as a garden variety brown ale I think I might've like it a little more. I'm glad I tried it but I probably won't have it again. It's worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2012 04:02:28 | More by abcdefghijkyle
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Humboldt Brown (Hemp Ale) from Humboldt Brewing Co.
79 out of 100 based on 401 ratings.