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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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469 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 469
Reviews: 212
rAvg: 3.46
pDev: 14.16%
Wants: 6
Gots: 34 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 469 | Reviews: 212 | Display Reviews Only:
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".

oberon, Nov 01, 2007
Photo of bboven
3.73/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep, rich brown with ruby highlights. great head and lacing.

Malt abounds, a darker crystal. There's a hop back-note especially if you give it an extra swirl.

Very smooth, mild and sweet. Hops take a backseat, but nice bitterness at the end.

Silky and smooth, mild carbonation which is a great hit with me.

If I could get more, I certainly would. This seems like a hype or 'shock' beer marketing wise, but regardless it's a very good beer. I'll look for others from this brewery.

bboven, Oct 18, 2007
Photo of Jedimaster1
4.03/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good brew on-tap -- taste a little thin from the bottle.

A: A dark amber with a tan head.

S: LIttle bit of spice in the smell, but not a whole lot.

T: Here is where the brew gets interesting. Nice, malty spice that makes this one an easy drinker. Little bit of sweetness, but not overpowering. It is well carbonated. Not much hops, but that is not what this brew is about anyway.

M: Nice feel to it. Malty.

D: I could have a bunch of these. Great beer, especially for the winter.

Great brew. If you see one (especially on-tap), go ahead and give it a try. You just might like it.

Jedimaster1, Oct 05, 2007
Photo of Floydster
3.8/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

32 ounce schooner from Bad Dog Ale House for only six dollars

Poured a deep brown with an inch high silky head

Smell was full of herbs and a little citrus, but not much at all

Taste is very nice and spicy, but subtle at the same time

Could drink a whole lot of this stuff, has nice abv and thickness to it

Floydster, Sep 13, 2007
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.

woodychandler, Aug 02, 2007
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.48/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours with a three-finger thick, darkish, amber-tinged, tan colored head that sits atop a opaque, dark, concentrated amber colored brew that shows a brilliantly clear, ruby hue when held up to the light. The aroma is lightly sweet and fruity (soft berry notes) up front, but then a spicy, herbal, hemp aroma comes through almost immediately. A touch green, with a hint of black pepper, some notes of rosemary and hints of pine needles make up the hemp aromatics. While the hemp is the most notable thing about the aroma, it is still fairly soft overall.

Lightly sweet with a definite bitter edge to it from the get go; unlike a typical beer the bitterness actually seems to lessen a bit as the beer slides past the tongue and down the throat. Fruity notes of raisins and a generic berry flavor contribute to the flavor as does some dark malt notes of well toasted malt and not quite burnt caramel. Did I forget to mention the hemp, it is definitely here, though it is definitely not overwhelming; it contributes a green, concentrated grassiness, touches of menthol, something like pine tar and a definite resinous character that is unmistakable.

This is not a bad beer, it certainly has an interesting ingredient, but I can't really see this being added to beer on its flavor merits alone.

Gueuzedude, Jul 10, 2007
Photo of merlin48
3.83/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle courtesy of srandycarter. Many Thanks! Pours a clear, copper body with a small beige head that leaves some minimal lacing. Aroma is subtle, notes of chocolate and herbal hops. Mouthfeel is light medium with moderate carbonation. Taste is cola and chocolate with some nuttiness and restrained earthy and leafy hops. Didn't really notice any hemp character. A fine drinking brown ale here, but nothing hempy about it.

merlin48, Mar 31, 2007
Photo of jletts
3.8/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy brown in the glass with a smallish head with decent lacing. Smelled of caramel and figs and a little toasted nuts or seeds (I suppose that's hemp seed I'm smelling). Tasted nutty with hints of raisins and nutmeg. Overall a good brown ale and I could definately drink more than a few.

jletts, Mar 23, 2007
Photo of Greenfloyd
3.93/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a great session beer that can handle it's own as a micro. Pours a lighter amber (although it actually looks fairly substantial), and follows up with a foamy lingering off-white head. This beer has an unique floral, hoppy smell that translates right into the herbal, fairly aggressive hop character that finishes with light spiced fruit. An ale with a very nice, semi substantial body, that when paired with deli sandwiches laced with herbed mayo, can be a real treat. Makes an interesting appetizer combo with assorted imported olives...Enjoy

Greenfloyd, Jan 22, 2007
Photo of mentor
4.03/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle was a 2006 GABF left-over that was given to me as a reward for my volunteer efforts. Thanks a million to GABF and to Humboldt for the opportunity. Entered into the GABF judging as category 48 (american brown ale).

Pours a 1.5 finger light brown head over a crystal clear gorgeous brown/light mohogeny liquid. Perhaps more mohgheny than brown. Smells rich wet chocolate. Touch of nut. Little bit of sour and some grassy hops.

Tastes rough grassy hops with noticable roast and an underlying malt sweet. From the smell I was expecting something more chocolate sweet, almost lactosish. Instead a sharp carb sting starts off first hops and then dry chocolate. Hops are a bit woody with some fuggles character. Perhaps wmette used as bittering. Finish is a bit lacking. A touch of iron, which I suspect is a smidgeon of roast grain coming through. Simple and almost chalky. Oh well. Enjoyable, like so many other beers. But not the end all I was hoping for.

Md body with a bit too much carb. Average drinkabliltiy. A fairly easy drinking brown.

mentor, Dec 26, 2006
Photo of goschool
3.05/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: The pour is burgundy with a tiny off-white head that fades to a thin ring.

Smell: The nose has brown sugar and pine.

Taste: I was expecting a paler, hoppier style. This is something similar to Pete's Wicked Ale's or Scotch Silly. The flavor profile has sticky-sweet malts up front, bringing caramel and brown sugar to the mix, and a rough hop bitterness, bringing pine. I can't figure out where the hemp is. If it is responsible for or if it contributes to the rough aspect, then I'd be willing to call this a bad style.

Mouthfeel: It's medium-bodied and, as I mentioned above, it's rough.

Drinkability: It's vaguely interesting... once. I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to buy a single bottle.

goschool, Dec 14, 2006
Photo of Beerzebub
3.55/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Rosewood color. Quarter inch of beige head that stays around. Good chunky lacing.

Smells of caramel, brown bread, honey, roasted grain. Pleasant.

Not very strongly flavored. Nutty, roasty, some honey. Fairly dry. Slight floral and piney hops, but not much.

Thin mouthfeel. Highly drinkable.

A bit like a brown ale. Nothing special.

Beerzebub, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of drewbage
3.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ruddy brown beer with a minimum tan head, but lively carbonation through the length of the glass.

Aroma has a large brown sugar malt sliding under a large piney resinous hop aroma.

Flavor has a surprisingly strong roasty caramel malt that holds off a raspy hop flavor that is interrupted briefly by a slick feeling on the palate.

Overall, not as dry as I'd like out of a hoppier beer, but then again this reflects it's growth under of the early American Micro Brown ale stylings with a ton of crystal malts

drewbage, Oct 06, 2006
Photo of jhammerly
2.85/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to IntriqKen for the trade.

This beer was sort of a surprise to me. I have only tried one other hemp ale, and that was years ago. From what I remember, it was similar to an IPA. I was expecting something along those lines.

This beer poured a very dark mahogany with a tannish head that dissipated rather quicly. Not sure what I'm smelling...roasted hemp seeds? Definitely a roasted aroma. Taste of roasted malt reminds me of a black beer...but watered down. Mouthfeel is thin which could make this fairly drinkable, but the actual taste leaves nothing for me. Nice to try, but I probably won't be seeking this one out in the future.

jhammerly, Sep 16, 2006
Photo of IntriqKen
2.58/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Looks very dark amber in the glass with a small half finger of dark tan head that disappears quickly but leaves a sticky lacing.
Aroma is sort o a pale toasted malt but little else.
Taste is toasted malt with a hop sharpness and bite on the end.
Mouthfeel seems weak and thin to me.
Aftertaste is disappointingly lacking. Dry hop bite simply disappears to nothing.
Just a minor step above a macro, IMHO.

IntriqKen, Sep 08, 2006
Photo of kosmoraios
3.75/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An interesting ale. Pours a clear reddish dark color with a white head that lasts for a bit.

Aroma is of skunky weed-like hemp, hops, and toasted malt. Interesting aroma, maybe a bit floral also?

Complex taste includes strong, bitter hops balanced with toasty malts, again with that interesting floral/fruity undertone. Not bad; you could spend some time analyzing the different flavors this ale has to offer.

Mouthfeel is spicy and carbonated. A very drinkable ale, nice and fun on a warm spring day.

kosmoraios, Aug 26, 2006
Photo of Westsidethreat
3.13/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Darker than I expected. Has the color and light kicks of brown sugar when melted. Clean brew, lots of streams of tiny bubbles scurrying to the surface.

S: Malty. Black strap molasses.

T: Reminds me sort of like a watery doppelbock. faint molasses taste mixed with some fruity characteristics. Apricot and orange predominantly. Finishes with a subtle caramel taste

M: Medium body, slightly fuzzy.

D: OK beer I guess.

Westsidethreat, Aug 20, 2006
Photo of JayTheFinn
3.95/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had one of these at Alisal Cellars in Solvang, CA USA.

A - Dark, ruby red in the glass. (I missed the head, so I can't say much about that.)
S - Roasty, malty scents.
T - Roasty, malty flavors. Grape or currant, super subtle hemp. Sweetish, but not overbearing.
M - Full.
D - Even with all the flavors, they blend together well and make this quite drinkable.

JayTheFinn, Jul 04, 2006
Photo of benito
2.33/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

The jokes to be made about this beer are too easy: did you know they sell it for only $4.20 a six pack? Ah, America's most famous pot-producing county puts out a Hemp Ale. Is this brewery run by teenagers?

As for the beer itself, it is a deep amber with aromas of alcohol and and caramel. This seems to be a brown ale flavored with hemp, though the base style isn't indicated anywhere on the bottle. The hemp tries to impart a drying finish to the beer as well as a nice oaky flavor. Overall, it's feel is smooth and creamy, though it doesn't really go anywhere from start to finish. Malts reign king at both the beginning and end, almost
overpowering the hemp presence. By the end of a full pint, the feel is a little tiresome and comes across as heavily viscous.

I'm a big fan of spiced beers and have always defended chile, spruce, and other herb beers in the face of aspersions ("they're made for tourists;" "they're a gimmick"). Humboldt's Hemp Ale hasn't convinced me that those criticisms should be ignored for hemp beers.

benito, Jun 20, 2006
Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.05/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber from the Berkeley bowl. Wasn’t sure about this brew but when in Rome…

Pours a pretty dark crimson color with ruby hues. Rapid bubbles, really wicked carbonation but almost no head. What there is of it is white.

Nose is grassy and dull. Taste is malty and nutty, walnuts I think, and reminiscent of an American Brown Ale. Mouthfeel is light because of the carbonation but surprisingly round as the beer warms and flattens.

There are no marijuana flavors to speak of and really not much of any flavor. Pretty dull beer that I will pass on in the future.

DaPeculierDane, May 15, 2006
Photo of NEhophead
3.18/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Caramelized bronze in color; near maple. Whispy white head with very noticeable carbonation. A few trails of thin and spotted lacing.

Floral hops and ginseng tea. Slightly sweet caramel malt aroma. Very faint fruity-esters: light raspberry, bay leaves.

A touch of semi-sweet caramel and toffee followed by a bittered-tea and buttered biscuit flavor. Noble, rustic floral hops adding some grittiness. A bit of spice at mid-sip that leads to a bland, unsweetened caramel aftertaste.

Medium bodied; gritty, yet pretty tame and mellow. Unobtrusive is as descriptive as this one gets in terms of mouthfeel.

As bland as a beer gets. I bought it for the novelty, which is all it was worth.

NEhophead, Apr 30, 2006
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a deep reddish-brown body that is crystal clear with a strong soda-pop carbonation of fast, big bubbles. The head is a light yellowish-white mousse that turns to a thin even layer floating on top but clinging to the sides.

S- A soft note of brown malt comes through with a note of sweetness.

T- This beer has a smooth brown malt body with some chocolate notes and a dry pale malt hint. The finish has a soft noble hop bitterness but there is no hops aroma of flavor other than the bitterness. There is a slight tangy flavor in the malt that is almost cidery but it is a bit more dry . This might be from the hemp or it might be a slight off flavor.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a slight fullness in the texture that is not quite a creamy texture but has some presents.

D- The malt characteristic has some good depth and flavor but the hop component were singular in flavor. It was interesting as a novelty but with a bit more enhancing it has potential to be a good beer.

rhoadsrage, Mar 24, 2006
Photo of scottoale
3.73/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

With the label depicting weed growing in the hills of Humboldt county, I was preparing to get red-eye stoned. And to think it comes in a 650ml brown bottle...what's up?

It's a rather dark, copper-red colored ale with a finger and a half of quickly deminishing, off-white head. It does however have some nice delicate lacing as you drink.

Caramel malty, nutty nose is about all I get out of this, not even a hint of hops to this one..

Semi-sweet malt with a nutty background with a light, roasty dry finish. Tasty, but in no way impressive. Where's the hemp? Was it thought perhaps that the hemp addition would help take the place of the hops? the bittering is light and this let's the malt flavor dominate. Where's the hemp?

Pretty much fill the mouth, smooth and malty. Medium in body with a mellow, some what dry finish. Perhaps that's the hemp although my eyes aren't getting any red-er.

It's none the less drinkable...just not really flavorful.

scottoale, Mar 01, 2006
Photo of pgroove
3.7/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer is all malts. The hops are almost as indetectable as the hemp. Granted cannibis and hops are genetically related, I suppose the tastes and smells could be confused. Then again, I have never consumed hemp in liquid form so I am not sure what I am looking for. Although there is an aroma slightly reminiscent of aged bongwater (maybe thats where the hempiness comes from).

This brew definitely suffers from a lack of hops balance. Despite the lack of hops present the brew is not terribly sweet either. The malts are tasty however--whisps of roasted and black patent.

pgroove, Sep 17, 2005
Photo of DogFood11
3.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed Sunday July 17th 05. Library Ale house, Santa Monica.

Poured into a pounder glass, Head quickly fades into no-man's land never to be seen again. Surprisingly without a head with each drink it did bubble up and leave some lacing.

I thought it tasted earthy, nutty, wood flavor that ends sweet.

This is one of those beers that I found tasted better as it warmed up a bit. More flavors came out and I thought the complexity actually was in there it was just hiding....reccomend you try it cold and then let it warm up and note the difference.

DogFood11, Jul 22, 2005
Humboldt Brown (Hemp Ale) from Humboldt Brewing Co.
79 out of 100 based on 469 ratings.