Humboldt Brown (Ale Brewed With Hemp) | Humboldt Brewing Co.

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Humboldt Brown (Ale Brewed With Hemp)Humboldt Brown (Ale Brewed With Hemp)
621 Ratings
Humboldt Brown (Ale Brewed With Hemp)Humboldt Brown (Ale Brewed With Hemp)

Brewed by:
Humboldt Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly called "Hemp Ale".

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 621 |  Reviews: 232
Reviews by ariceclemson:
Photo of ariceclemson
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%

More User Reviews:
Photo of Beginner2
3.85/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like finding under-rated beers... it reminds me that I follow the beat of a different drummer.
Being a California hippie in the 1970s (I was in my twenties, just to date me), I suppose nostalgia makes me like a brew started on the Mendocino Coast (a hippy hot-bed) and then uses the marijuana plant.
But nostalgia is neither a big motivator for me, nor why I like this beer.

It has an interesting history. This modest second generation brewer has gone through a few relationships (Firestone Walker being primary as their current base of operations) and now owned by a beer and wine importer. Breaking the business model of the brewpub, Humboldt has built some healthy relations in the distribution chain. (Experimenting with the business model may be as important as experimenting with recipes in the coming period when America's 3200 craft brewers have to sort themselves out.)

Oh, yes... about the beer...
I like American editions of British styles that stick more closely to the originals (largely that means, "don't go crazy with the hops".) Humboldt Brown actually reminds me of how British Browns blend the malts so the taste buds continue to salivate as the beer warms. The hops and other spicing never take over. I like being left with the taste of malt.

This beer was listed in the "1001 Beers" because of its unique owner and because of the special ingredient (the stuff that gets you high from marijuana actually is not in this beer.) Should this be on the list? Yes, because of its story and its following in what I call the "Anchor tradition" of making minor innovations from the masters instead of extreme leaps.
Let us all praise moderation.

 1,663 characters

Photo of oberon
3.18/5  rDev -8.6%
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".

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.05/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

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Photo of liveandletdie
2.48/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I hadn't realised this was a brown ale from passing it by on the shelf at albertsons. However it was on sale and a closer look revealed it was infact a brown ale and not the pale ale one might think of with a green cardboard cutout. So since I usually like browns I decided to try it out. Looked pretty thin, not a lot of head on the beer. Slight hempness smell though not like the weed smell you get from some green bottles- more of a foresty smell. Flavor was not good and not bad- just rather lacking. Made me wonder why they called it a brown ale. This one does go down pretty easily but that's about it, not much flavor to speak of and hardly a brown ale.

 660 characters

Photo of tbryan5
3.75/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of Fiore757
2.5/5  rDev -28.2%

Photo of merlin48
3.8/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

 428 characters

Photo of Billolick
3.97/5  rDev +14.1%
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.

 663 characters

Photo of tigg924
2.9/5  rDev -16.7%
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.

 418 characters

Photo of aquazr1
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%

Photo of Andrew_Rios122
4/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of avitallo
3.4/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of magictrokini
2.92/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tap @ Clocktower in Mammoth. Pours murky brown with an off-white head. Dank malty aroma with the noticeable vegetable-hemp aroma. Same goes for the taste. BIg caramel malt flavors mixed with peppery hops. The straw/vegetable/hemp flavor is throughout, but doesn't really add anything in a positive way.

 302 characters

Photo of dogfishandi
3.23/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, fridge temp, snifter, bottled 10/19/11.

pours out a dark ruby reddish brown with a thin light tan/ off white head. thin lace and thin retention. good clarity.

toasted, light biscuit malts, fruity esters, maybe a hint of an herbal, earthy hop but thats streching it.

similar to the aroma, toasted grains, biscuity, the slightest hint of roast, fruity esters, slight earthiness. somewhat sweet mid palate then the slightest bitterness in the finish.

bland average mouthfeel, light bodied.

pretty average brown ale. wheres the hemp?

 547 characters

Photo of PretzelsNBeer
3/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of boatshoes
3.26/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

 979 characters

Photo of far333
3.8/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Burnished copper color with a thick and tightly bubbled head of beige lumpy foam.

Aroma of biscuity malt, a little toasty, mild corn notes, some cinnamon and floral notes.

Rich flavor of toasted malt, some toffee and cinnamon, hints of brown sugar, rye-like spiciness, good bitterness offsetting the malt, faint citrus flavors, finishes a bit piney, some grapefruit rind lingers. Would not know there was hemp in the recipe if not for the label.

Full and rich mouthfeel, nice and creamy. Tasty and drinkable, thanks to barleywinefiend for sharing.

 550 characters

Photo of BurdockBoy
3.23/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Photo of HopsForBrains
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%

Photo of centbeerfest
2.8/5  rDev -19.5%
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.

 345 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.4/5  rDev -2.3%
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 jamisonspitzer
3/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of glid02
3.6/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at the Yardhouse in Long Beach, CA.

Pours an amber-brown color with a half-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel and pale malts with a hint of nondescript fruits and herbal hops.

Tastes alright. Sweet caramel/pale malt flavors up front are joined by herbal hop flavors midway through the sip. There's a light bitter ending with some medium fruit flavors lingering in the aftertaste. Nothing bad here but nothing really good either.

Mouthfeel is alright. It has a slightly thin thickness with above average carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass without a problem and wouldn't be averse to having another.

Overall this is a middle of the road beer that certainly has nothing disagreeable about it, but I'm not sure I would order this again.

 846 characters

Photo of cmwilliq
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%

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Humboldt Brown (Ale Brewed With Hemp) from Humboldt Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.48 out of 5 with 621 ratings