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Humboldt Brown (Hemp Ale) | Humboldt Brewing Co.

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Humboldt Brown (Hemp Ale)Humboldt Brown (Hemp Ale)

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".

Added by boatshoes on 04-04-2010

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Reviews: 227 | Ratings: 598
Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled on 4/16/2013. Pours slightly cloudy deep reddish brown color with a 1 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, biscuit, light chocolate, light nuttiness, herbal, floral, and toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark malt and light hop/hemp notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, toast, toffee, biscuit, brown sugar, light chocolate, light nuttiness, herbal, floral, and toasted earthiness. Minimal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, biscuit, brown sugar, light chocolate, light nuttiness, herbal, and toasted earthiness on the finish for a bit. Nice balance and robustness of dark malt flavors with light hop/hemp presence; with no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a moderately creamy and smooth mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a nice brown ale. Good balance and robustness of dark malt flavors and very smooth to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of AwYeh
3.21/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Clear, reddish-brown cola color with a finger of thin tan head that dissipates quickly.

S: Sweet and malty, a little toasty and nutty. Nice pine hop aromas. I'm not sure if I'm smelling anything unique from the hemp, but it's pretty nice.

T: Follows from aroma; pretty balanced without any of the flavors being too strong. Vaguely sweet with piny complements.

M: Thin/medium body, with moderate carbonation. Smooth and a little dry.

O: "Okay" works well to describe this one- nothing is offensive or particularly good, so I didn't mind drinking it but also wasn't particularly enthused.

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Photo of NiceTaps
3.36/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap in a pint glass.

A- Reddish brown color, 2f tan colored head. Lots of rings of lacing. Bubbly.

S- Mild hop aroma, floral. Very malty, sweet caramel..

T- Mild brown ale flavors of caramel and sweet malts.

M- Modest body, good carbonation. Easy on the alcohol. Malt finish is mild.

O- It's drinkable in its mildness, but could use a flavor boost.

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Photo of mactrail
3.19/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark reddish mahogany color in the Ommegang chalice. Really quite attractive while the head lingers. The mouthfeel is less carbonated and a little oily. Rather musty smell. No trace of hops. Something herbal about this but not really any bitterness.

There is something like a dry chocolate or rather carob flavor. Some odd sweetness lingers in the aftertaste. This seems well made but the taste gets a little tiresome. It doesn't seem to have either the crispness of a more refreshing beer or the roasted malt of the better Browns. From the 12 oz bottle purchased at Bine & Vine in San Diego.

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Photo of StoneTSR
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

APPEARANCE: Typical Brown Ale with the exception of the enormous amount of bubbling. Thousands of large bubbles sparkle and dash towards the top. The head quickly rises and falls, leaving behind just enough foam to very thinly cover about 80% of the surface of the beer. The color is a darkish brown with a decent amount of lighter brown light getting through around the edges and up top. There is no lacing to speak of.

SMELL: The aroma is fairly light, but again, spots on for a Brown Ale. A mostly sweet, but slightly roasted malt dominates the nose while a hint of grassy and citrusy hops are buried somewhere in the background.

TASTE: The flavor is where this beer sets itself apart from the other American Brown Ales. Although it is a little lighter in color than others in the category, the Humboldt Brown is closer to a stout than the rest. Chocolate is one of the first flavors I notice; it is not the dominating flavor, but it is certainly present. The roasted malt flavor is also more pronounced than usual in a Brown Ale, but the strong nuttiness does pull it back into the category. The finish is marked by a somewhat strong bitter citrus taste.

MOUTHFEEL: Despite the big bubbles early in the glass this beer mellows fairly quickly and by mid-glass the carbonation has settled. There is still a decent tickle on the palate however and the body is closer to medium than full. The only unpleasant piece of the feel is the finish. That bitter citrus close brings a pucker that I could do without.

OVERALL: Nicely done Brown Ale from Nectar. I cannot say that the hemp changes it too much, maybe I just don’t know what I’m looking for, but it certainly does not take anything away from it.

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Photo of ckollias
3.35/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Enjoyed this 12 oz bottle out of a porter glass.

A: Pours a brown-amber hue with a thin white head that dissipates quickly and leaves no lace or trail.

S: Dark roasted malt aroma.

T: Roasted malt flavor with some mild hints of chocolate and coffee.

M: Medium body and minimal carbonation.

O: I have no idea what hemp actually tastes like but it didn't add much flavor or aroma to this brew. Not a bad brown ale but nothing remember-able.

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Photo of barczar
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brilliant brown with deep caramel highlights and a foamy quarter inch beige head that dissipates somewhat quickly into a thin layer of film.

Dark malt fruitiness and toasted malt notes are accompanied by hints of chocolate and floral hops. There's a touch of roast and a bit of nuttiness. Malt dominates the balance.

Flavor is also very malt dominant. Fruity malt notes begin the profile and linger throughout, becoming nutty, deeply toasted, and finishing with a bit of lightly roasted coffee. Floral goods surface at the dry finish, but bittering hops are kept in balance. Cola notes emerge.

Body is moderate, with carbonation a touch low, and a hint of alcohol warmth. The fruity malt undertones could be astringent.

Decent malt complexity, but lacking a bit in hops for the style. The fruity notes were a bit offputting. Not a big cola fan, either.

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Photo of Brenden
3.87/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This medium brown-colored beer's body lies in the median between clear and opaque. A soft, bubbly tan head reaches half a finger, shows reasonable retention while it slowly fades off, and deposits spotty lacing.
The nose is sturdy, neither too weak nor too strong, but in a good range for a brown. It doesn't have unnecessary roast, char or the like. It's got a steady, firm foundation of malts, as it should. The smell most prominently displays nut and earth.
The flavor offers the same, with an additional slight sweetness and finishes with a pleasant sesame/nut combination.
There's a bit too much spritz, but otherwise the medium body holds together well.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.55/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.75

Date tasted: May 24, 2013... Glassware: Victory Hop Devil nonick... Occasion: recognizing baseball coaching season is almost over... Appearance: dark brown body with a monstrous brown two-finger head that foams significantly--welcoming!... Aroma: lightly toasted, brightly hopped--a bit of mild sweetness too... Palate: smooth--too smooth?--with mild effervescence late, and little more... Taste: quite mild and unassuming--mellow to the point of nondescription; I recall having a Hempen Ale and wondering the similar thought--hemp doesn't seem to alter much... Overall: a pleasant, easy-drinking brew that has little in its complexity (it is a brown, after all), and yet its promise to be anomalous doesn't quite pan out....but for its price point, about right.

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Photo of schoolboy
3.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is an OK brew, but it feels like it is going to give me heart burn. Why is that?

It comes out very brown and has a thin head and very little lacing. The aroma is slightly roasty, but not like burnt bud (wouldn't that be nice). The taste is of brown ale with a little extra. Malty, slightly hoppy (almost none).

The aftertaste is not particularly outstanding. So I would not seek this out again.

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.76/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into an Upland pint glass.

A: Clear burnished brown with a half-finger's worth of off-white head and moderate visible carbonation.

S: Brown, mildly roasted bready malts (these, as usual, smell a bit like cardboard to me), some nuttiness, a bit of spices, kinda earthy. Not blowing me away here.

T: A simple flavor profile - earthy brown malt sweetness, nutty, hints of spice, and a slight hoppy bitterness near the end. A very clean, almost absent finish.

M: Medium body, carbonation on the low side, no alcohol presence to speak of.

O: A solid brown ale, but nothing exciting. Still, for the style it's fairly well-done, and I wouldn't hesitate to grab a couple more if I'm ever in the mood.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.57/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz Bottle from Whole Foods Las Vegas NV for $2.50

Appearance - Clear light brown with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for around 3-4 minutes.

Smell - Hops, malts, grassy/peat, chocolate

Taste & Mouth - There is a slightly below average amount of carbonation and I can taste caramel, malts, grassy/peat. There is also a hint of chocolate and some dark fruits. It ends with a earthy malty aftertaste.

Overall – Not my type of flavours found in a beer, but it still tastes well crafted and interesting. It has a touch too many earthy notes for me but still worth a try.

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Photo of Oakenator
3.94/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown to black yet still can see a bit of light coming through this beer. Some head at pour disappates to almost nothing with no lacing present on the glass. Aroma reveals some earthy tones - grass (no pun intended) and dirt (on the good side). Flavor is mild and not as interesting with a mostly consistent flavor from front to back. Relatively light.

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Photo of Fatehunter
2.88/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a finger and half of head on a dark amber colored body.
The aroma is earthy with some grain. A nice smell I had encountered in a beer before.
The taste has a metallic tone with vegetables and malt. It's interesting.
The texture is crisp with moderate carbonation.
The metallic and vegetable taste did not work for me.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Medium to big light brown head settles into a decent lacing above a clear reddish amber colored beer.

Light roasted malts, nuts of some kind, and not much else in the aroma.

This brown isn't bad, it has a slight nutty taste that comes through with the light roasted malts and the taste of the hemp. I don't recall ever drinking a hemp beer before, so not really sure what I can compare the taste to.

An almost dryish aftertaste with some of the nutty and hemp taste sticking around with this medium bodied drink.

This ale brewed with hemp isn't to bad, sort of tastes like a slightly washed out Newcastle or something along those lines. I don't know what the purpose of adding hemp but what the heck give it a try.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
2.7/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

A-Pours brown and slightly clear. Nearly zero head. Looks a bit watery despite its color.

S-Very soft and I also don't really like what I can decipher. Some wet cardboard, toast and another slightly off-putting aroma.

T-About the same. There seems to be two different flavors that I am having trouble describing; both are not tasty. Behind that lies some of the usual Brown flavors.

M-Semi-light. Not very crisp.

O/D-Not a fan of this one at all.

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Photo of nickfl
3.6/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with one finger of off hits foam on top of a clear, dark brown body with ruby highlights. The head fades quickly and leaves light lace.

S - Nutty brown malt with a touch of molasses.

T - Dry, bready malt up front with some light roast in Netherlands middle. Finishes with more nutty roasted notes and light hop presence.

M - A moderately thick body, average carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - Not bad, it is pretty standard brown ale with a decent malt presence and a pronounced nutty character presumably from the hemp.

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Photo of abcdefghijkyle
3.37/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up as part of a mixed sixer. I needed try it for the novelty

A: Nice mahogany color. The khaki colored head dissipated pretty quickly after the pour although the suds are clinging to the sides of the glass.

S: Smells like wet wood, resin, and a faint frutiness which I can't place. This smells really earthy altogether

T: It tastes a lot fruiter than the smell. I'm picking up juniper berries, nuts, pine, and resin.... no hemp though unfortunately. There is a vague roasted character to this, but I'm picking up much malt

M: Kind of watery, this is the lowlight for me

Overall, I wish that there were more hemp in this. If this had been billed as a garden variety brown ale I think I might've like it a little more. I'm glad I tried it but I probably won't have it again. It's worth a try.

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Photo of Immortale25
3.28/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a Ninkasi Brewing pint glass. Bottleneck says 07/26/12.

A- Pours a medium brown color plus some ruby shining through with a 1/2 inch light tan head that bears little retention before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and thin splotchy surface foam. Resilient ring of drippy lacing.

S- Lightly roasted malt nose with a trace of hops. No cannabis notes to speak of yet, just some typical caramel and bread but very light.

T- On the lighter side of things with more toasty character than roasty. Only a tad sweet with notes of dark bread...but still no cannabis. Barely any hop bitterness either.

M- Thin and watery with very little body coming through. Medium-low carbonation doesn't help.

O- Very drinkable but certainly not very exciting. And, if you're looking for something that comes even a little bit close to tasting like marijuana, steer clear of this one.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.38/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out as an average looking brown color, good clarity and a white fizzy head. The retention was minimal as well as the lacing. The smell of the beer some sweet malt with a touch of coffee and an herbal note. The taste of the beer is lightly roasted, it's got a subtle chocolate flavor as well as a bitter finish. The mouthfeel of the beer was light, decent carbonation with a soft creamy finish to it. Overall it's not a bad brown ale. It's not the best but it's still worth trying.

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Photo of wethead
4.25/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Smell like a nice brown ale with some hits of spice and coffee.

Taste: Great ! - Its a must try beer, I could say all kinds of things about this beer, but lets put it this way, my friend who just recently tried Guinness a few weeks ago said: "Wow, I like this beer better, Its got a great taste and feel".

Its true, Its an interesting but not a super overpowering taste that so many other smaller beer companies put out, I have had some really hard to drink beers,

This beer is a fun, delicious nut brown that is great to drink at 3am if you can't sleep.

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Photo of 57md
3.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

So, I saw “hemp” ale on the menu at my favorite watering hole and I simply could not resist ordering one.

Appearance is a brownish color with ruby edges. There is a thin layer of head that dissipates quickly and leaves no lacing. In spite of the thin head, there is fizziness that remains. The nose is light – some malt and a touch of nuttiness. The flavor is mild. I am not sure what hemp is supposed to taste like, but this just tastes like a basic thin brown ale.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz, 6/15/12

A: Pours out a deep dirty brown amber color. One finger of off white head. Seems to be nice carbonation.

S: I like the nose in this one. Really nice nutty character. Definitely some hops underneath. Some mild roast hints. Maybe a touch of chocolate.

T: On the tip of the tongue, I get a little bit of coffee or roast bitterness. It's very mild. Then you get the nice nuttiness in the mid palate. Again, a touch of chocolate on the back end. Not the overly dark rich stuff, just mild hints. Finish is dry and as aspects of a very light porter.

M: Medium bodied.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a fairly clear mahogany-brown color with a hinger of frothy off-white head. THe head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of caramel malts, nuttiness, with some brown sugar and roastiness, with a bit of floral hop.

T - Starts off with a mix of sweet sweet caramel malts with some nuttiness and brown sugar. Through the middle, some floral hop comes through with some bitterness and some bready malt and a bit of roastiness. The finish is a mix of sweet caramel malts with some bready malts, floral hop, and a bit of brown sugar.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet finish.

D - Very drinkable. Nice malty brown ale. Good mix of flavors and balance.

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Photo of alric0smi
3.43/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not as thick as it initially seems. I am usually not a fan of darker brews just because a lot of them seem to be too 'meaty', after one beer the sound of another doesn't sound too appetizing, but Humboldt Brown is actually very light. The top note still has that classic brown ale flavor, but it dissipates into a very smooth, refreshing middle, leaving an equally refreshing aftertaste. Its light with a robust flavor and yet maintains a 5.7% alcohol content. I really enjoyed it. It seems to go well with everything(food, other drinks, etc.)

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Humboldt Brown (Hemp Ale) from Humboldt Brewing Co.
3.47 out of 5 based on 598 ratings.
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