View Full Version : Hemp beer anyone?

09-11-2003, 03:35 AM
Hi all,

I'm a brewer at a brewpub in England and was wondering if anyone has had experience brewing with hemp seeds. Any ideas on grist formulation, base malts, and hops to use? I was thinking of trying with a dark bitter or nut brown ale style but I haven't been able to find any information online.


scott isham
09-11-2003, 08:04 AM
I have made a hemp ale a few times based on a 10-11 plato Kolsch beer. I use about 25 pounds in the mash tun. I grind them using my home-brew mill and just toss them in on top of the mash. The toasted hemp seeds give the beer a pronounced toasty, nutty flavor like that of roasted soybeans or roasted pumkin seeds. The aroma also has that same toasty, nutty thing going on, but it also has a slight citrus or grapefruit aroma as well. Many people mistakenly think that I use Cascade hops in this beer. I use Hallertau only. I think the hemp seeds would go well with the bitter and the brown ale. The only downfall I have seen is that the seeds are potent. You must make sure that you clean away all of the seeds out of your mash tun or they will taint the next beer.

Good Luck,

09-11-2003, 12:26 PM
Hi Scott,

Thanks for the info,

So what sort of ratio is that comparded to your grist? I was thinking of around 10 to 15 % of my total grist as not to overpower the flavor but still have a noticable impact. I was thinking of around of a 1042 gravity so not to scare off British folks!! And what sort of IBU were you aiming for with your beer and how was the final product if I may ask?


scott isham
09-12-2003, 06:58 AM
I use about 4% for my Hemp Ale. It's really more of a Blonde Ale than a Kolsch. It starts out at about 1.044 with a little residue sweetness. I think 15% of hemp may be too much, but it would depend on what other flavors and aroma are present in the beer. 10% in a Brown may be good, but probably too much for a bitter. Remember toasted hemp seeds have a very distinct and powerful flavor and can easily dominate. Since my Hemp Ale starts out so light, the flavor and aroma of the seeds completly dominate the beer. It is very well recieved here, we are in a college town and the college kids love to drink or eat anything with the word hemp in it. Hope this helps.


10-12-2004, 09:33 AM
What laboratory did you guys use to test for THC content in the finished beer for BATF approval. I need to find a lab in the US ( I think they have to be DEA approved) to test for THC. Any leads would be greatly appreciated.

many thanks

scott isham
10-12-2004, 01:34 PM
I didn't have my finished product tested. My seeds came with a certificate stating that there was 0.00% THC present in the seeds. If there is none to start with, there won't be any in the end.


10-12-2004, 06:59 PM
Hemp seed beers are so overdone (IMHO) with no "real" flavor component other than a light nuttiness. Why bother? If you need to send beer to the DEA, ATF,TTB, etc., for testing what are you really gaining? Next thing we know we are all adding Raspberries and nutmeg to our beers. Come on, get over the hemp thing already. What we need as an industry is barleywine infused with cassis aged in old port casks.


10-12-2004, 07:10 PM

I think barrel aged beers are reaching the "overdone" point.

But I think folks should brew what they want and more importantly brew what their clientel want. If thats a double hopped double gravity hemp seed beer infused with cassis and aged in a port cask...so be it, to each their own.

10-13-2004, 07:57 AM
Exactly! I was being facicous(sp?) as barrel aged and fruit beers are way overdone. But if you only brew what your clientel wants, they'll never learn anything. I guess the point of my original response was: have fun, go crazy, brew what you want, make shit up, and stay away from the stuff thats "overdone".

10-16-2004, 11:01 AM
As a home brewer and a beer drinker with some few lakes of good brew under his streached belt, I like a well made hemp beer as a break now and then. I've had a few and IMHO the lightly roasted hemp seed lends itself best to a red lager or altbier....possibly a hoppier kolsh. The nutty character of the hemp comes through in these german ales and hybrids as a "mellowing" factor to long boil hopping and makes them quite drinkable and relaxing. Just my 2cents....good luck with your hemp beer. From strictly a marketing perspective I would run it as a seasonal or special to see how it is recieved...if it shows potential get patron feedback and tweek the formula to tastes.

One of the most successful micro hemps north of the 49th started out as a hemp lager and ended up as a red alt hemp hybrid.....that hit the spot with the most people and it now does well bottled in wider distribution.