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Humboldt Brown (Hemp Ale) - Humboldt Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Humboldt Brown (Hemp Ale)Humboldt Brown (Hemp Ale)

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513 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 513
Reviews: 215
rAvg: 3.46
pDev: 14.45%
Wants: 9
Gots: 42 | 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:
Formerly called "Hemp Ale".

(Beer added by: boatshoes on 04-04-2010)
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Ratings: 513 | Reviews: 215 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cbutova
3.9/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark brown body with a two finger tan head. Retention is pretty nice and a frothy cloud leaves some nice webs of lace.

S- Roasted, milk chocolate and nutty malt hints. Certainly some floral and earthy hops. Hemp seems to lend an earthy element. Not a ton jumping out at me.

T- A nice balance of roasted malt, nutty malt, cocoa, dark fruit, raisins and earthy hints. A bit of floral from the hops. There is a unique herbal/tea, mineral and earthy aspect to this, maybe the hemp.

MF- Highly carbonated moderately thick body that has a pretty silky creamy feel.

A nice Brown Ale with a good balance of rich flavors. Unique flavors from what must be the hemp, worth trying for anyone.

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

Total mahagony and cola color with OK lacing from a two finger head that recedes to a thick, light tan foam.

Light grass aroma mixed with well toasted malts. I smell biscuits, flowers, pumpernickel bread, and unknown herbs.

The taste starts with a medium to light bodied palate coupled with some toasty malts and earthy hops. There is also a delicate herbal note that I can't quite place. Probably the hemp.

Overall a good session beer that would not sound any taste alarms to the presence of hemp it would seem. Almost watery body makes it pretty easy to session. Although some flavor makes up for the lack of body.

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.

Photo of thebrood1987
4/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great looking brown ale that is almost mahogany in color with some red coming through the brown. This is a tricky beer to review in my opinion because of the use of hemp seeds in out of all styles a brown ale. On the smell I get a chocolate/caramel sweet malt smell with some herbal earthy notes. The first thing I notice about this beer are the sweet chocolate and caramel tasting malts with a slick oily mouthfeel.

The slick sweet malts dominate the first part of the taste and then it ends with that herbal, grassy (from the hemp seeds), earthy, roasted nut (from the hemp seeds) and maybe a touch of citrus hop all coming together with the malts. That's the best way I can explain this taste because it has a lot of subtle complexities.

This is an underrated beer and I hope to see more hemp ales maybe combined with different styles such as a pale ale or india pale ale so the hemp flavors stand out more. I understand why they chose a brown ale to showcase the hemp seeds because the nutty grassy flavor they seem to give off blend in perfectly with the roasted chocolate caramel malts. Highly recommended.

Photo of hiku7
3.75/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured in a nonic.

A - Deep rust to brown with a quickly dissipating tan head.

S - Sweet caramel and toffee with a very slight hop aroma lingering.

T - Caramel malts with some nuttiness and a grassy (hemp?) finish. Very little real hops, but some mild bitterness to counter the maltiness up front. Slight berry fruitiness also came through in the finish.

M - Medium bodied with low to moderate slightly prickly carbonation, though the body was less substantial than I expected from the appearance.

Fairly easy drinking brown ale. Overall, enjoyable, with flavorful caramel malt being the highlight, but not outstanding.

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

Pours clear, dark amber color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and great lacing. Smells of hops, sweet malt, slight citrus hops, hint of oatmeal, slight pale malt, and hint of roasted malt. Fits the style of an American Brown Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, slight roasted malt, hops, slight grain, slight citrus hops, and a hint of spice. Overall, good appearance, aroma, and body. The body is subtle, but the blend and complexity make it a good beer. This beer is not overpowering, but has rather, a good drinkability.

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.73/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From 12oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 4/3/11
*From notes

A: A pleasant leather bomber jacket brown. A reasonable pour yields a 1.5 finger head with moderate lacing.

S: Grassy, really earthy and complex on the nose. I don't recall a beer that smells quite like this one.

T: The standard brown ale flavor profile: malty and slightly bready up front. At this point, it changes course and a unique herbaceousness appears. As it finishes, I pick up a strong amount of freshly harvested alfalfa sprouts.

M: Better then I had expected. It's fairly rich, though the weight is a bit lighter then I'd typically like. But for a 5.7% ABV, I can't complain.

O: A gimmick? Maybe - but it's reasonably good session drinking none the less. I like how incredibly different Nectar's Humboldt Brown is, and that it all kind of comes together. Is this something I'll reach for often? No, but I'll certainly recommend others give it a shot.

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

12 oz bottle split 3 ways into a tulip

A: Nutty brown with a small white head

S: Nuts, malt and caramel. Clean and simple.

T: More variants in the malt, caramel, toasted and nutty flavors, somewhat simple but very nice.

M: Good carbonation

O: Very easy to drink, enjoyable brown ale. Will for sure get some more to keep around.

Photo of mdfb79
3.48/5  rDev +0.6%
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.

Photo of smakawhat
4.22/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on tap at Church Key as part of the Official Firestone Walker DC Launch Party, into a nonic tumbler.

A real nice tan light light brown head which falls at a normal pace. Very dark brown to red hued amber body that is clear. Looks good all around.

Bouquet is a nice faint and subtle chocolate malt, with just a hint of little grain and grassy-ness behind it. Seem like a wet beer is coming.

Really nice chocolate malt sensation, with a full delicious good body at first. THis great balance between chocolate taste and bread, almost bakery feeling on the swallow. Some prickly carbonation but not too bad but just enough to notice. Mellow hops on the finish that are subtle and not dominant just right.

Overall this is a great tasting Brown Ale to be drinking. Would have again no problem, good stuff!

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.

Photo of RonfromJersey
3.35/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reddish brown body, topped by three fingers of light tan foam.

Very mild aroma of bread and chocolate.

Malty start but not sweet, hops working from the start. Chocolatey. Mid earthy hop bite.

Smooth light/medium mouthfeel.

Overall, pleasant, tasty, unexceptional.

Photo of centbeerfest
2.75/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Another sample provided for the restaurant. Poured into a pint glass. Not much head. Color is a deep brown with a reddish ting. Little to no bubbles and looks like a warm coca cola without ice.

Taste was just okay. Sat for a while on the tounge without ever developing much Pretty flat finish.

Take home scale, I'd leave this one on the shelf.

Photo of zeff80
3.98/5  rDev +15%
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.

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

12oz bottle into snifter: from notes
A: Pours a nice color body and head for style. Head formation and retention is low. Body shows medium level of carbonation.
S: Bold aromas of a brown, with a subtle pine note. Medium intensity aroma and a smooth finishing aroma.
T/M: The brew is medium bodied and medium flavor intensity. Slightly roasted malts make up this flavor profile, with a nice use of hops to give it a good west coast influence, while still holding true to the style. The mouthfeel is a nice silk, but lacks in prolonged lingering taste.
D: Overall a nice brown, but I really find a pine hop flavor, not too much hemp, but I expect this just adds to overall texture.

Photo of jwinship83
2.9/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle picked up ( as a single for $1.99) shortly after it arrived in chicago. drank out of my samuel adams perfect pint glass.

A- this one pours out a translucent dark brown colored body with some red highlights to it. on top sits a very small light tan colored head that is really no more than a crown. little to no lacing is left behind.

S- the nose is pretty weak. the first thing i pick out is some faint sweet caramel malts and a little bit of toasted bread. after that i get a small amount of citrus and herbal hops.

T- the taste follows the nose closely. it starts out with some sweetness from caramel malts and a little bit of toasted bread. after that it moves to the faint hops i could smell. a little bit of fruit (citrus) and some herbal notes.

M- the body is on the thin side, and the carbonation is a little above average.

D- meh, this was mediocre at best. nothing in here really separates this from the other examples of this style. i wont be seeking this out again, and im glad i opted for the single and not a full sixer.

Photo of BeerLover99
2.95/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: dark tan body, slightly bubbly, trace head floating.

S: very mild aroma of nuts, hemp, malt.

T: subtle/weak malt, nuts, and dash of hemp.

M: light/med body, big carbonation, too watery

D: I have been intrigued with the notion of this beer since I heard about it many months ago. I love beer, brown ales, and eat hemp/also own a few hemp shirts. This beer was an utter disappointment. If they boosted the body of the beer and flavor profile up on this beer, it could be delicious, but just too watery an unimaginative right now.

don't bother.

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

Picked up a sixer from Total Wine in late October for $7.99.

Beer poured a clear reddish brown with a nice tan head that is leaving a bit of lacing behind.

Nose is light perfumed floral hops initially, and slightly nutty.

Taste is a slightly nutty with a decent malt base. Finishes with a light hop.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied and mildly carbonated.

Drinkability is pretty good. This is not a bad beer, worthy of a try.

Photo of yeahnatenelson
2.73/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

420th Review - how apropos.

Appearance -- Pours a transparent chestnut hue with a slim sudsy cream head. Lacing is surprisingly good.

Smell -- Not much to report on: slight roast malt, earthy hops, rope bundle? Aromas is bordering on vacuous it is so weak.

Taste -- Not much flavor to this beer, honestly. Malt roastiness, earthy and floral hops, modicum of plum-like sweetness. Bitterness is forceful for the style. There is definitely a, uh, hemp character to this beer, but more akin to sucking on a rope than coughing up a lung at a Cypress Hill concert. Lingering flavor of gas station coffee and plum skin.

Mouthfeel -- Body is about equal to water with ample carb. Meh.

Drinkability -- Finally tried it, but could honestly take it or leave it, really. Nothing too special with the base, plus the hemp addition was a weakness rather than an asset.

Photo of wcintula
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not a bad beer here, it has some things going on. Poured into a tumbler pint a clear reddish brown with head that reaches the top or the glass and dissipates fairly quickly, leaving some lacing. Dark malts and hops present in the nose, the taste has a bit of a hemp-y flavor, not too strong, and a tinge of metal with a nice roasty aftertaste. I'd say the beer has moderate body and is a good example of a brown ale.

Photo of notsoprobeer
3.65/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark reddish brown with an off-white head that dissipated quickly. No lacing. Aroma is mainly roasted malts. Flavor is again roasted malts, with some nuttiness, but without a lot of hops. I don't know what hemp taste likes, but I expect the nutty flavor is coming from it. Medium bodied, smooth, and and very drinkable.

I like this beer. I don't know what the hemp really adds to it. But if nothing else, it makes for some nice conversation.

Photo of grittybrews
3.95/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a reddish-tinged cola brown into a pint glass with a finger of off-white head. Malty, toasty aroma with herbal, grassy notes.

Moderate carbonation and a light, creamy mouthfeel that borders on thin. Flavors of toast, toffee, hazelnut, and hints of vanilla with a slightly spicy, herbal hop finish.

Very light and drinkable with some nice twists on the usual brown ale formula. Doesn't come across as excessively "hempy" but its presence is definitely notable and makes for a nice brew.

Photo of Tucquan
3.25/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on 2010-04-22 at Rivermont Pizza in Lynchburg, Va (from tasting notes)

A - Clear, dark brown with zero head

S - Light coffee, roasted grain, mild fruit and spice

T - Coffee, nutty, toasted grain, oil, spice, slightly sour and bitter. There's a metallic aftertaste that got tiring.

M - Light-medium body and medium carbonation.

D - It's a light feeling beer but the taste wouldn't bring me back for another.

Photo of farrago
3.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Two fingers of nicely frothy deep tan foam, mostly larger bubbles yet has decent retention, more sheets of lacing than streaks, you can see it slowly slide uniformly downwards. Light gauziness deepens the otherwise clear reddish brown colored liquid, takes on a zinc orange cast at the rims and glass bottom, pleasing to look at. The nose has a casual softness to it, mocha, cocoa, molasses and cinnamon, ginger spice, spiced orange peel, then a moss, herbal element which one assumes is hemp derived, abbreviated burst of apricot and peach scents, there's a mineral water to tonic water component which lends additional stiffness to its posture. Medium-bodied, chocolate, caramel and butterscotch first into the pool, albeit not in a very sweet manner, more cinnamon and nutmeg, more like a cake than pie, perhaps due to the quiet peach, apple, apricot fruit. Raw Brazil nuts. The lemon, orange citrus dryish and more pulp than peel. Same minerally, earthy "organic" character to it, brings freshness but not flavor. The carbonation is not that big but arguably higher than needed given the lightness of the flavors. Smooth texture and easy to quaff, but where's the beef?

Photo of Estocker
3.9/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish brown color.

i cant smell any hemp, but i do get a decent amount of crystal malt. Gives a nice brown sugar and roasted aroma.

tastes slightly herby. lots of earthy, roasty flavors. this is definitely a solid brown ale. i am impressed.

drinkability is good especially because of the low abv.

Humboldt Brown (Hemp Ale) from Humboldt Brewing Co.
79 out of 100 based on 513 ratings.