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Humboldt Brown (Hemp Ale) - Humboldt Brewing Co.

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

517 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 517
Reviews: 215
rAvg: 3.46
pDev: 14.16%
Wants: 9
Gots: 48 | 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".
View: Beers (5) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 517 | Reviews: 215 | Display Reviews Only:
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
3.27/5  rDev -5.5%
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
3.58/5  rDev +3.5%
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
3.88/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

Photo of bradleyp
3.37/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a 6oz glass from the Sasquatch brewfest. I did split this beer with the GF.

A: Medium dark brown body.

S: Smells like spiced malt and light hemp.

T: Similar to smoking pot, but not quite.

M: It went down smooth, but I didn't really enjoy the flavor so much.

D: I probably wouldn't drink this again, just like I wouldn't drink the Hemp Ale again. It just isn't the same as the real thing.

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

Pours a crystal clear brown color with a small tight khaki colored head. The aroma is of brown sugar and a touch of an herbal spice. Has a bit of a multi-grain bread aroma. The taste starts off with a brown sugar sweetness, which is quickly cut off by a ropey herbal note and lemony twang. Has a bunch of tea like flavors. The feel is light to moderate with pleny of fizzy carbonation; sweet to start but finishes slightly tart. Too much of a lemony tea characteristic to this brew for a brown ale. The malt profile is so-so and the brew is a touch over carbonated. It does drink quite easy.

Photo of CountJustinian
3.41/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rich ruby red color with a one-inch white frothy head that dissipates fairly quickly. Tastes like root beer, almost Dr. Pepper. Creamy and fizzy mouthfeel, more like a sweet soft drink than an ale. Overall, pleasant and distinct, not bad for a gimmick beer, worth trying once, no reason to try again.

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.

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

12oz bottle into a regular kitchen type glass. Been meaning to get some of dat Nectar.

A- A brown type color coming from a brown ale, who wudda thunk it. A nice brown with some brighter spots towards the edges. A nice fluff of caramel colored cap up top, lines of lace.

S- Smells very malty with a mix of toast and roast in that order, more toasty though. Caramel and some underlining hop nose as well, not earthy, not citrusy, but just there.

T- Getting a big rush of toasted malt with some caramel and other sweet malt attributes. Hops are there, but I cant describe them right now. Maybe a bit of sweet chocolate, but not really.

M- Smooth, semi sweet, not bitter, easy going, less than medium build, light carb, relaxed, subdued. Easy to get around.

D- Im not a big brown ale fan and I'm thinking that this is just another brown in my book, which it is, but I still like it, so I hope this company makes it to Philly soon. What are you guys/gals waiting for?

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

A: Poured a dark reddish color with brown hues and a nice tannish head

S: Nuts, perhaps coffee, roasted malt

T: Roasted malts, Earthy, some nuts, sweet, some hints at cocoa, hint at floral hops on the end

M: Medium, light booze, good carbonation

D: The look threw me off on this but the drink is good

Photo of industrialswill
2.82/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark brown with a fairly thick head.
The smell isn't real prominent, but when I press the issue it reminds me a little of wet dog.
The flavor isn't bad, just somewhat weak for my taste. If I was told that this was Budweiser Ale, I wouldn't have any reason to doubt it.
I would never buy this again. I'm glad I was able to pick up a single bottle of it for $1.30.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.34/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Color is a reddish root beer brown, with a wispy dirty white head that doesn't last too long. Decent clarity. Just kinda okay and unexciting looking.

Aroma has an assertive nuttiness to it, and something a little brighter that reminds of a mixture of cola and mint. Interesting.

Up front, it tastes quite nice: hazelnut, cola, earthy toffee, semi-sweet spices, leafy herbal tea. Or nutty meets really, really watery maple syrup? But there's not much depth, and it doesn't last very long. In fact, the flavors die quite quickly, yet I wouldn't exactly call this "dry." Just not much staying power to those nice flavors. You sip, you enjoy, and you immediately forget.

Too much carbonation for my liking, even considering the style. Something a little smoother and less shocking on the tongue would have been nice. But there's a nice slickness that helps fight the tingle with some glide.

So, okay, I did pick this up because the "ale brewed with hemp" seemed like a cool novelty, something to check out at least once. And I like it, but all I'll do is once, because other than the earthy herbal qualities on the tongue, which are pretty enjoyable despite their lack of staying power, the plant doesn't really differentiate this very much from other everyday browns. Mixed feelings, for sure.

Photo of DoubleJ
3.4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

With the recent news outbreak of some beverage distributors and brewers opposing the now infamous Proposition 19 in California, perhaps it's appropriate I drink a beer infused with Mary Jane. Unfortunately, no such thing exists, so I'll settle for a hemp brown ale. On to the beer:

This is really dark in my chalice. Almost black, but closer to dark leather brown with ruby red hues. Fine head retention which does drop to a thin, long lasting sheet on top, and gives a little lacing. There's enough butterschotch and fudge in the nose to warrant a fair score, and the hemp makes me think it's a hoppy brown.

The hemp part is there, the beer part is there to a smaller extent. One thing is for sure, it's already a better tasting hemp beer than the original Hemp Ale I tasted 30 months ago. Light notes of butterscotch, taffy, and hard brittle candy sweeten the pot (no pun intended), and the hemp imparts a strong chimmarão flavor. The body is medium-light, smooth, and approachable. I wouldn't drink more than a couple at a time though, because of the added herb.

This is what I would hope for from a beer like this. A solid base beer flavor, and a smack of hemp. Worth trying if you're into trying new things.

Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.6/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up last summer when I was out in California and never got a chance to review it...and here in New Jersey after both the name change and the availability of this in my neck of the woods. Sure enough, this is lighter than other Brown Ales that I have but I didn't think this was a bad beer at all!

Decent pour to this - a right dark brown with hints of burgundy in the hue and just a bit of head that quickly fizzled out. There wasn't any lacing to be found and unlike other Brown Ales, the mouthfeel to this wasn't "sticky" at all. This was relatively thin for its style with a lot of malt and roasted caramel in the taste, and some "stink" from the hemp. Will this cure the munchies or give you bloodshot eyes afterward? Not quite, but this will satisfy those late-night beer cravings and go down relatively easily, with just a faint hemp aftertaste.

It wouldn't be hard to have more than one in a sitting, but I still wouldn't categorize this as a session beer. I remembered in California backcountry last year and trying this for the first time, the vibe of the region seemed to be perfectly reflected in this beer. It won't win any awards but it has nothing to hide and is pretty easygoing. Like the other Nectar Ales that I've tried, this shows what a nicely crafted brew is capable of and is worth a go once because there isn't anything out there quite like this.

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.

Photo of tigg924
2.9/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: light brown in color, 1/2 inch head, clear, moderate carbonation

Smell: nuts, earth, leaves, and toasted malt

Taste: nuts, earth, leaves, and toasted malt

Mouthfeel: light bodied, medium carbonation, slightly bitter, dry

Drinkability: An average brown ale at best. The hemp helps make the beer super dry. While present towards the end this really does not distinguish itself. I will pass in the future.

Photo of froghop
3.15/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

pours a semi-clear dark brown with a very thin light beige head, not much lacing.

smell is of molasses, brown sugar, malt, a roastiness, and some spice.

taste is a little flat, malt, some sour, caramel, brown sugar, nuts, spice, and pepper, ends somewhat dry.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.47/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A chestnut brown pour appears a deep burgundy against lighting. The head was slight, fizzy, and a bit soapy and washy, quick to dissipate, and failed to lace or impress within the first minute of pour. Visible carbonation was light. So far, ho-hum.

S: Sweet hazelnut and chocolate mixed with some applesauce and a bit of caramel nuttiness gets things off to a rather sweet and odd aromatic start. A moderate strength of rich nutty tones is followed by hints of toffee coming through on the finish.

T: Dry caramel nut toast, with some sweet hazelnut and dry chocolate notes open things up flavor wise. Almonds, some toffee come late to play before rounding out with some powdery cocoa, sweet toasted grains and some dry apple slices. Residual and malt based and overall sweet. Did the hemp contribute? hardly that I could tell, which pretty much makes this a marketing gimmick in my eyes.

M: Light mouthful, slightly oily and slick in texture without much mention of carbonation. Easily slides down leaving a malty residual coating on the tongue.

D: A decent malt based beer, residual which was a sweet desert style by example. The hemp was no doubt a marketing gimmick which truly lends little if any to the overall factor of the drink. Like mentioned earlier, a marketing gimmick that will ensure that if you brought a six-pack over to a party will no doubt gather the interest of all the pot heads willing to help you drink this who evidently dont know the difference between the two.

Photo of BretSikkink
3.55/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bronzed color, but mostly brown. Tanned cap, decent stick, spotty lacing. Darker than expected.

Wallflowery nose, not a lot going on. Herbal and earthy, with a slight sweetness leaning towards toffee. The flavor is somewhere around pale ale - amber ale, definitely a cookie-cutter American top-fermenting beer. Citric hops are weak, but the caramel-toffee barley is no great shakes either. Balanced.

Light in body, okay carbonation, very low in bitterness, and clean in the finish. I'm glad I used half the bottle for cooking, cause there's not a lot here to go around.

Photo of ocelot2500
3.68/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark mahogany color with garnet highlights and a tight tan head that leaves plenty of lacing.

Smells of cocoa, coffee, and some earthy nuttiness.

Tastes of the nutty earthy notes rounded out with more roasted malts. Some roasted bitterness and slight hop bitterness adds to the finish. Pleasant roasted malts throughout.

Mouthfeel is medium with a smooth amount of carbonation.

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

This is a dark reddish-brown beer with an offwhite head. The nose offers light notes of oily, resinous hops and a light but toasted malty scent. The taste is pretty typical for a generic brown: soft caramel malt, with some light cocoa, with very moderate bitterness but good piny hop flavor. I'm not sure what the hemp is added for, as I can't find any contributions to the taste, except perhaps a toasty spiciness at the finish, which is very subtle.

Decent brown, though that's not one of my go-to styles.

Photo of donniecuffs
2.75/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a reddish-brown hue into a pint glass, with a finger of off-white, poor retention, and spotty lacing. The nose only revealed biscuit, yeast, and malt; nothing else. The taste revealed no additional flavors, with a semi-dry finish. A little underwhelming. Medium-bodied and more carbonated than the appearance would suggest; sessionable but lacking in flavor profile.

Photo of ccrida
2.72/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearance is dark caramel brown with a small off-white collar that leaves scattered lace.

Smell is sweetish caramel malts and a hint of citrus.

Taste is very muted, some bitterness, maybe a touch of nutty malt character, but really bland, with some light phenolics. Served cold, this really struggled to open up, just a hint of caramel coming through as it warmed. Reminds me of a bad dubbel or something.

Mouthfeel is pretty dry, crisp, but with creamy carbonation. Medium bodied.

Drinkability isn't too hot. It's certainly not offensive, there's just nothing particularly redeeming about it, with a mostly acrid character that certainly doesn't beget seconds. Not even worth the novelty.

Photo of spoons
2.93/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown sugar color, light tan head.

Smells chocolaty but not roasted. The mouthfeel is light and smooth. Not terribly impressed by this one. I would think that it would have been more hop oriented but its certainly not.

Wont drink it again.

Photo of coldmeat23
3.52/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

GLASS: Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 55 degrees
I know that this was an extra from someone, recently, but I seem to have misplaced my notes and don't remember who sent it to me. Thanks goes out to someone for this one, though!

This pours a nicely dark shade of brown with some mild ruby highlighting. The tan colored head of foam is just over a fingers worth. Retention is decent. Lacing is pretty much non-existent.

The nose is very subdued, but I find that to be pretty typical of brown ales, in general.
Light hints of earthy nuttiness. Mild hints of roasted malts. Slight traces of cocoa powder. Mild hop presence.

Very mild in the flavor area, also. Follows the nose very well. Not much hop presence in the taste, but the finish has a nice touch of dry spiceiness to it.

This has a medium body with a medium-to-high level of carbonation. This makes it quite sharp and crisp. Needs to calm down, just a bit.

By all means, this is a really drinkable beer. It would be a good candidate for session drinking, for sure.
There is just enough here to keep you interested, without overdosing your palate.

Humboldt Brown (Hemp Ale) from Humboldt Brewing Co.
79 out of 100 based on 517 ratings.