Humboldt Brown (Hemp Ale) - Humboldt Brewing Co.

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

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79
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220 Reviews
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Reviews: 220
Hads: 565
rAvg: 3.46
pDev: 11.85%
Wants: 10
Gots: 60 | FT: 0
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:
Beer added by: boatshoes on 04-04-2010

Formerly called "Hemp Ale".
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 220 | Hads: 565
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.27/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Schooners Patio Grille in Santa Clarita, CA.

Pours an almost opaque super dark crimson-brown with a 1 inch foamy tan head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. A latticework of lace lines the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted malt, slight cocoa and coffee aromas, and a nutty quality. Taste is of roasted malt, roasted nuts, cocoa powder, and slight coffee beans. A nice roasty bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with some nice roasty and earthy flavors. I tried this a while ago in the bottle and didn't care for it too much, but on tap this is most excellent. (715 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.45/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear dark amber in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high tan head that slowly died down, leaving a large collar of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of brown, nutty and roasted malts in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has some hints of bitterness and herbs towards the finish.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and a bit smooth and thin on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is easy to drink but there’s nothing overly special about the taste. (595 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a fairly-dark brown color with a light tan head and a light touch of lacing. The nose is a bit of light brown malt with some brown sugar, caramel, and a touch of citrus hops. The taste is mostly malt that is slightly bready with a bit of sweetness. Pretty good feel. Not a bad brew, but nothing special. (331 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours a slightly heady clear brown color that smells like a light chocolate malt and some agricultural produce. earthy and mild, tastes like a basic brown ale with a bit of organic matter. not composty per se, but not hempy either. mouthfeel is thin and only moderately carbonated. not as good as some of their other brews, this one didnt amaze me (347 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
3.38/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out as an average looking brown color, good clarity and a white fizzy head. The retention was minimal as well as the lacing. The smell of the beer some sweet malt with a touch of coffee and an herbal note. The taste of the beer is lightly roasted, it's got a subtle chocolate flavor as well as a bitter finish. The mouthfeel of the beer was light, decent carbonation with a soft creamy finish to it. Overall it's not a bad brown ale. It's not the best but it's still worth trying. (487 characters)

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

Dark but perfectly clear brownish-amber in the glass with a finger of off-white head that dies down to a ring somewhat quickly. The aroma is caramel malt and toast, breakfast cereal, mineral water, and a touch of citrusy hops. Taste is heavy on the crystal malt, toasted grain, caramel. Sweetness is fairly well balanced by a mild bitterness and leafy hop note. There's an interesting herbal, nutty character that I'm guessing comes from the hemp, but I could be mistaken about that as I'm not a dirty hemp-eating hippie. Finishes sweet and nutty, biscuit and caramel flavors lingering on the tongue for a while. Pretty decent beer, to my surprise. (648 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.63/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark orange-bronze, with orange juicy highlights, beneath an orange-tinted ecru cap that has a quality look about, lasts for a good bit and leaves a smattering of lace in the bargain. Hemp looks like a Scottish ale or a (dark) red ale more than anything else.

There isn't much going on in the nose, either in terms of intensity or personality. It smells most like a garden variety pale ale with weakly fruity, citrusy hops. I can see how 'herbal' might be an appropriate descriptor, but doesn't smell like the herb that the name was obviously meant to reference. As far as hemp goes, I have no earthly idea what it smells like.

The flavor is enjoyable, and still puts me in mind of an APA, but is no great shakes. The beer is acceptably malted, with a minor caramel-crystal presence, and contains a judicious amount of hops that keep things in relative balance. Lightly fruity sweet commingles with lightly bitter, offending no one.

I don't appreciate any unusual flavors that I might be tempted to ascribe to hemp. Although without knowing what that particular plant smells or tastes like, that isn't all that surprising. The mouthfeel is somewhere between light and medium and is neutral in the sense that it doesn't really make an impression in either a positive or a negative direction.

Humboldt Hemp Ale is nothing more and nothing less than an easy drinking, harmless little quaffer that fits squarely into the pale ale style. 'Shock and Awe' it ain't, but it did manage to find its way into my good graces by the second half of the bottle. (1,558 characters)

Photo of emerge077
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a crystalline dark copper, more of a sun tea color, with a thin layer of off-white foam across the top. Wispy skim doesn't have much staying power, but there is some that fades to a ring at the edges.

Wet barley and maple syrup aroma.

Dry and husky grain, toasty and mellow. Pretty easy going with moderate carbonation and a lighter body. Residual dry roast malt, pretty smooth and not bitter. Lingering toasted malts in the aftertaste, dry but fairly pleasant. Whatever hemp seed is in here, it doesn't lend much, some woody/earthy flavors perhaps, but it would be hard to pick out and isolate from the dominant malt flavors. Overall not too bad, a fairly simple but decent brown ale. Simplicity is underrated. (720 characters)

Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, reddish brown color with a one-finger, tan head of foam. It left minimal lacing.

S - It smelled of hemp, malt and grasses.

T - It tasted toasty with sweet caramel and malt. Nice bitter bite and a touch of hemp-like flavors.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A light to medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a nice brown ale. Easy drinking and tasty. (390 characters)

Photo of oberon
3.18/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I think this the hemp infused beer I have had,poured into a standard pint glass a mix of deep brown and amber a thinner wispy white head atop.Very light aromas I pick up a little spice and brown sugar but really not much going on,flavors are malt tilted no doubt and quite mild a hint of chocolate and roasted nuts with a lingering earthy finish with a cola quality as well.Not much complexity to the beer and very faint hops glad I tried it but to me its just a standard brown ale with a touch of "herb". (505 characters)

Photo of nickfl
3.6/5  rDev +4%
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. (534 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.3/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

And the Leaving Falls Church uber-bender continues to proclaim its greatness. This conspirator pours a clear ruby brown topped by a finger of short-lived ecru foam. The nose comprises brown sugar, very light sugar-free maple syrup, graham crackers, and a touch of flowers. The taste is similar, though the brown sugar doesn't stick and water pervades everything else. The proceedings are too fluid to allow the 'buds to really savor anything. The body is a very light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a watery feel. Overall, an okay brown at best, too light and watery to really maintain anything. (653 characters)

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

On-tap 4/3/2011 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, large off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains maple, caramelized malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of maple and caramel. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and the hops presence is mild creating a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, not a bad beer but there are others in the style that I would pick first. (732 characters)

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

I wonder how many people like me waited until 4/20 to drink this.

A decent fizzy bubbly 1 finger head that leaves a bit of lacing, over semi clear mahogany brown with slight rosy hue colored beer.

Nose has some light ale aromas, light crystal malts, a light toasty malt, and very slight dark roasty malt, hints of bittering hops.

Taste starts with a bit of brown sugar, some medium malts, plenty of crystal malts, a bit of a reddish malt, some raisin like flavors, toasty malts, a weird additional bitter flavor that I can only attribute to the hemp, a slight darker roasty like malt, touch of a mineral earthy flavor also maybe due to hemp or malts, as well as a light earthy hop, chewy malts. Finishes a bit drier with some mineral flavors, sticky-ish, a bit of a spice and nutty flavor, weird bitter flavors again, and lingering brown sugar.

Mouth is medium to slightly lighter bodied, decent carbonation.

Overall not bad, nothing special, some weird bitter and mineral flavors I think from the hemp, could have been a bit maltier, decent, bit of briny minerality. (1,072 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.19/5  rDev -7.8%
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. (593 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
3.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I purchased this at Brass Rail Deli in Campbelltown, enjoyed chilled in a goblet from the 12oz brown bottle.

The color is deep brown with translucent clarity with crimson hue at base of the glass...the head comes and goes and leaves a ring of tiny pale tan beads. The smell is very fruity -as in dried fruit with woody raisin type aroma. The smell has a light hint of dark cherry. The feel is thin with moderate carbonation with light sweetness and mild phenolic almost medicinal tinge bt the sweetness hides that and finish is lightly spiced.

The flavor is a mix of woody hops with raisin-like taste from the malt and yeast mixing with a strange herbal element that comes of as nutty and slightly earthy with subtle fig-like aspect which is more like dark toffee but not that sweet. The flavor has a mild yeast taste I can't place or perhaps it is the hemp. Overall I like this but would probably not get this again, there are many brown ales I prefer to this in the same abv range. (988 characters)

Photo of LXIXME
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. (718 characters)

Photo of russpowell
3.42/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours an effervescent brown/crimson with 3 fingers of tan head. Pretty good lacing, near zero head retention

S: Toasty & grainy notes

T: Follows the nose, dirty brown sugar notes & dryness up front. Toasty & nutty notes as this warms, hints of nutmeg. Finihes toasty & malty, with some brown sugar/caramel sweetness

MF: Somewhat watery with creamy carbonation

Not a bad American Brown, starts slow but comes around (419 characters)

Photo of smcolw
3.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Modest light-beige head that settles to nearly a single layer of bubbles. Some streaky lace. Clear, light brown color.

My first reaction is this smells like an icebox. Otherwise, there isn't much smell here.

Pleasant enough--there's light cocoa malt flavor, some balancing bitterness. Relatively mild flavored. The body is a bit thin; the carbonation average. The aftertaste is more bitter than the taste. (408 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.32/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at the Library Alehouse, Santa Monica, 12-02-04...with all their great taps, I had to concentrate on new beers, and ended up choosing this...
Dark amber color, nearly brown, very slim head, quickly departing
Aroma is herbal, grassy (heh, heh)...not much else.
Body is thinnish, hollow, malt dominates in the tastes, but nothing really sticks out...not sure where the hemp comes or goes, as a gimmick, it never really shows itself, and is an empty gesture.
Leaves dryly, and ends up feeling dull and disappointing...there were other new beers among their tap line-up, but I went with the one with the marijuana leaf on it...that'll show me.
I didn't have much enthusiasm for it, but...it's a serviceable ale, though not to hoop and holler about. (756 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
3.46/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap tonight at ChurchKey in Washington, DC.

a - Pours a very dark red amber color with one inch of off white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of nuts, caramel malts, and toasted malts. Kind of muted; nothing offensive, but pretty average.

t - Tastes of nutes, caramel malts, roasted malts, toasted malts, and caramel malts. A definite step up from the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

o - Overall a good brown ale, slightly above average, Would have again if I were in the mood for a brown ale, yet wouldn't seek out. (561 characters)

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. (1,276 characters)

Photo of chinchill
3.4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

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 large and durable tan head and excellent lacing (1st sample had 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: Very smooth, with excellent, soft medium carbonation.

O: 2012 bottle probably past prime; revisited with fresh bottle in Nov. 2014 -- rating upgraded (842 characters)

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

Consumed in October 2004 at the Toronado in San Francisco, CA. Came back from the restroom and said to my best friend. "Hey, I thought I told you to get me a Hemp Ale". He said. "I did"?!?! Confused as I looked at the brew and saw a deep dark red brown beer in front of me. Hell, it almost looked like a dark brown ale in front of me. I didn't expect such a dark coloring. I didn't see the pour, but it still had a considerable head on it and some lacing creeping down the side after a few sips. Tasted a bit bitter. Some heavy malt tastes as well as some fruityness and some hops in there too. Nice carbonation. Didn't really stike me as a great beer. Maybe a decent ot good beer. Wouldn't waste my time with a pint of it on tap again, but at the same time, I would think about it if it went on sale for a good price at the local Safeway. Moderate beer that I am glad I tried. (877 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
3.88/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Well, all right! Hemp from Humboldt?!? It's been years. I digress, since this is beer, after all.

It produced a nice, foamy, deep-tan head over an unexpectedly dark beer. The color was a cola-brown with ruby highlights and NE-quality clarity. The nose was sweet and malty with a slight nuttiness, almost caramelized. Mouthfeel was medium with a lot of sweetness becoming readily apparent on the palate. The finish had more that nutty, roasty, even smoky quality that I had noted on the nose. I wonder how it would go with Hempzels from Lancaster Co. ... Not a bad beer, but a bit sweet for my hophead taste. (611 characters)

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Humboldt Brown (Hemp Ale) from Humboldt Brewing Co.
79 out of 100 based on 220 ratings.