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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.

531 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 531
Reviews: 219
rAvg: 3.46
pDev: 14.45%
Wants: 10
Gots: 52 | 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: 531 | Reviews: 219
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.

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

4 oz. Taste @ Portland, Oregon Spring Beer & Wine Fest April 3rd, 2010. 5.0% ABV.? 20 IBU's.? Clear thin dark bronze color. Mild herbal front. Thin slightly roasted dry sweet body. Clean end. Novel, but bland. (3.0 / 5.0)

Nectar Ales--Firestone Walker Brewing Company--Humboldt Brown--All Natural Ale Brewed With Hemp--2010 22 oz. Bottle. 5.70% ABV. 32 IBU's. (3.0 / 5.0) Brown Ale. Thin mild lace tan head. Clear dark walnut red brown color. Mild hop chocolate hint hemp front. Mild thin dry sweet light toasted caramel cocoa brown ale mild fruit vegetable flavored body. Mild hop spice thin herbal hemp weak bland Brown ale. Bad flavors from Hemp. Sampled 6/13/2010. 2 @ $4.99 Each.

Nectar Ales--Firestone Walker Brewing Company--Humboldt Brown All Natural Ale--Ale Brewed With Hemp--2010 12 oz. Bottle. 5.70% ABV. 32 IBU's. (3.75 / 5.0) Thickish pour. Thin light lace fizzy tan head. Clear dark bright red brown color. Herbal soft cocoa mild hop front. Crisp somewhat zesty dry sweet thin textured soft toasted brown biscuit body. Soft clean hop spice end. Tasty refreshing with herbal hemp hint. Sampled 2/14/2011. 6-Pack purchased for $9.99 at Sharif's Deli, Ballard, Seattle on 7/31/2010.

Photo of ebin6
2.78/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Decent in all areas, spectacular in none. I'm happy to drink this on tap or on bottle as an alternative to BMC beers, but would much rather drink a Red Nectar or Nectar IPA in almost any circumstance, not to mention beers offered by other breweries.

Photo of blackc5
2.8/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this on tap - pint glass at about 45F I would guess.

A - Dark brown in color, slightly reddish. Not much head or lacing actually.

S - Mild aromas here - mainly malt, caramel and brown sugar. Slight hint of hops.

T - A mild flavored brew, and I have to admit I am not sure what the hemp connection is as it tasted quite standard and mild. I assume hemp is included in the recipe, but it seems like a labelling gimmick as it doesn't really reflect in the taste in any fashion. This seemed like a pretty basic brown ale. Mild roasted malts, just a touch of caramel sweetness, and a smidgen of floral hops.

M - Somewhat thin, but nicely carbonated. Fairly dry. Again, pretty standard for a brown ale.

D - A pint went down easy enough, although I can't really see the point of drinking more than one unless you are just looking for a simple brew. Meh... next!

Photo of tchenery
3.82/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to glass.

Beer pours a mahogany, reddish brown. Little to no head.

Beer has tastes of chocolate, raisins, and other dark flavors, but not over the top. Very drinkable, tasty brew.

The beer is a bit too thick and syrupy, but pretty quaffable.

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

12 ounce bottle, w/o freshness info. Purchased as part of a sixer at DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY. Pours a familiarl brown ale brown, light khaki head, loose and frothy, leaves ample spotty lacing. Earthy, nutty nose. Pleasant brown, malty, nutty, more earthiness picked up. Musty light chocolate note also detected. I'm not exactly sure what Hemp smells like or tastes like so I cant comment on how much of a hemp character this beer exhibits. Balanced, drinkable, sessionable and quite pleasant brown.I'd like to try this one as the base for a marinade for chicken/pork tenderloin, cuz of the moderate sweetness and earthy notes. Nice new offering from Nectar Ales.

Photo of Phelps
3.87/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on 4/20!

A beer, made with toasted hemp, a fiber collected from plants in the cannabis family -- the same family both hops and weed belong to. Yum.

Hops lead the nose. In a word: dank. Sweet and piney, I want to bury my face in it.

Hemp is definitely noticeable in the taste. I'm interested to know what kind of hops are used in this. The hemp offers an interesting twist on the hop flavors. Slightly more skunky and raw. Finishes sweet, with but a hint of malt that makes this one a brown. Lightly bitter on the back of the tongue. As it warms, a nice cocoa flavor emerges.

Carbonation is a little intense, and the mouthfeel is just a tad on the light side.

Overall, an interesting take on the brown style. Some research reveals that hemp has only about 0.3% THC, compared to marijuana's 6-20%, so no high. But its resiny darkness was just what I needed as a nice 4/20 celebration.

Photo of zoolzoo
3.96/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks chickencoop

A: Dark mahogany, two finger off white head

S: Toasty malts and some slight floral hoppage - not alot going on

T: The same toasty malts but bigger - some really great spice. This thing has some herbal characteristics going on mid palate which im really liking. Its like floral hops backed with cinnamon, maybe a little dark fruit. Finishes lemon zest hoppy bitter.

M/D: Light in body, pretty fizzy. Low ABV but interesting flavors. I would like to have this again.

Photo of bennetj17
3.68/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Twelve-ounce bottle, labeled "Humboldt Brown- Ale Brewed With Hemp". I am assuming this is the same beer. Ultra clear, deep brownish-amber color. There are a few lazy streams of carbonation. Not much head although the foam that does develop seems to last nicely. The aroma is a bit weak, with some nutty/toffee malt notes.

Very clean maltiness on the first sip. Sort of a nutty chocolate character- only lightly sweet with a balancing toasted bitterness. The beer has a decent thickness, with a fine and almost draft-like carbonation to it.

I like that this beer was not too sweet, and that the bitterness lingered, not in excess, but enough to keep me drinking it. It has this lager-like clean flavor, making it less interesting perhaps, but at the same time almost sessionable. Worth a try...

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

Sampled this at the Firestone Walker Brewing Company last weekend. The following review is based on notes taken at that time.

Served in a 5oz. snifter.

Appearance: Body is crystal clear and brown, with amber shading around the edges. A thin, creamy, khaki-colored crown sits on top. Head retention is pretty weak, and lacing is light. No visible carbonation. Great clarity though.

Smell: Smooth, toasted hemp seed all over. Caramel, sweet hops, toasted almonds and and floral esters add some complexity. Unique, well balanced, and very pleasant.

Taste: Hemp seed, nuts, earth, and grains. Low bitterness. Finishes on a clean, mildly alcoholic, note. Once again, nicely balanced and very pleasant.

Mouthfeel: Light in body, moderately carbonated, and malty. Finishes crisp and clean. Very smooth; easy-going.

Drinkability: This isn't the most exciting ale out there, but it showcases the hemp seed well and is nicely balanced. I'm sure I'll be buying this again.

Photo of boatshoes
3.26/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received this in a really generous random box from papollo, thanks again!

Appearance- Pours a deep ruby brow with a finger and half of slightly off white head sitting on top. Dies back in short order to a minimal sheet across the top of the beer. Very small amount of lacing as well.

Smell- Very mild smelling and I have a hard time detecting a lot in this one. I picked up a little roasted coffee and malt with a small whiff of hops as well. Not a whole lot going on but doesn't smell unpleasant.

Taste- Again, very mild beer. Some roasted malt, again a little bit of coffee, some mildly bitter hops coming through again. Pleasant enough all around but nothing to really wow me.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is nice actually and fairly substantial for the style. Carbonation is good as well. This one went down easy but gets docked a little on drinkability for being a bit boring.

Overall, a decent brown ale. Nothing particularly distinguishing but not bad.

Photo of RedBrewer83
3.62/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aggressively poured into goblet...

A: Pours a dark amber with ruby hues and very transparent. One finger off white head forms and then falls very quickly to a thin ring around the edge of the glass.

S: Spiced caramel malt, toast, citrus hops, maybe nutmeg and some brown sugar as well.

T: Follows the nose with a little added spice and some bittering hops on the finish. Pretty straightforward brown ale, malt first with some spice and then some bitter hops on the finish. Not bad, but nothing standout...

M: Light medium body, crisp and just the right amount of bitter on the finish to make it dry.

D: Smooth and drinkable and crisp. Nothing to complain about...

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Humboldt Brown (Hemp Ale) from Humboldt Brewing Co.
79 out of 100 based on 531 ratings.