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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,053 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,053
Hads: 2,459
Avg: 3.72
pDev: 21.24%
Wants: 85
Gots: 377 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-15-2002

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (49) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,053 | Hads: 2,459
Reviews by Libationguy:
Photo of Libationguy
3.74/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Reddish-copper color with a 1-finger head. Medium retention.

Sweet malt notes, cherry, light chocolate notes, blood sausage, iron, earthy hops.

Light bitterness. The blood note carries through on the palate. Earthy and light spice from the hops.

Medium bodied with a mild bitterness on the finish that balances out the sweetness in the beer.

 344 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of tectactoe
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Old Chicago. Pours an off-shade of brown with minimal head and lacing. Up front, the beer has a woody smell, full of roasted malts and caramel with some nutty undertones. It hits the tongue with a slight bitterness that grows and grows. The taste is somewhat standard, a bit boring, with the usual malty taste, a bit of caramel and yeast, with a super bitter aftertaste. The bitterness is welcomed at first, but by the end of the pint, it grows a bit tangy and tiresome. The body is medium thickness with a somewhat dry finish and a nice helping of carbonation.

Not bad, but not great either. The ESBs are an acquired taste, so if you plan on getting into the style, I would recommend starting elsewhere. Otherwise, it's still a decent brew to try if it's available.

 778 characters

Photo of Rijtjeshuis
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Look ~ pours a deep coppery to ruby color. the head is decent: it comes up about two or three fingers, is cream colored, and falls at a usual pace with some decent lacing. clarity is very good with some nice visible carbonation.

Smell ~ overall, pretty good. it had a nice balance of hops and malts, though i'd characterize both as in the moderately-low range. the malt is pretty standard for the style (light, crystal, and some dark malt) and not too complex. hops are of the earthier english varieties (though i can't really identify it). some nice fruity esters round out the finish.

Taste ~ good, well-balanced, flavor. a little richer than what i got off the nose, although the character is more or less the same. the malt isn't too complex, but has a decent depth between primary malts (bread-like) and secondary malts (very light caramel, some chocolate/coffee). the malt is balanced nicely by a prominent earthy hops with a hip of floral in there. a bit of fruitiness on the finish.

Feel ~ medium-full body with moderately low carbonation. no alcohol warmth. nice mouth-coating feel.

I'm a big fan of this one. while it's not as complex and deep as Fuller's ESB, it achieves a great balance between hops and malt with some nice fruity esters in there that round out the flavor well. great sessionability.

I had this with some great english fare like yorkshire pudding, lancashire hotpot, and shepard's pie.

 1,419 characters

Photo of Jason
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 16.9 oz clear English looking bottle with no freshness date to be found.

Appearance: Deep reddish copper with a patchy spidering light tan lace that holds its own.

Smell: Chocolate and coffee with hints of malt sweetness and a buttery nose from the yeast.

Taste: Close to being silky smooth with a nice fullish body. Malt sweetness is dominant in the front though soon lets in some vague nutty and chocolaty flavours with a slightly subdued hop bitterness. More chocolate flavours become noticable as well as a light buttery yeasty finish.

Notes: A tasty rounded and full bodied brown ale.

 615 characters

Photo of DiUr
3.72/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A full bodied ale which shows in ruby colour with a beige head that stays at half a finger. Smell of malts, chocolate, chestnut, apple pie and dark fruits, the aromas growing up as the beer warms. Taste of malts, earthy chocolate, cream and fruits is balanced by some kind of acidic character. Hints of toffee and orange too, and very subtle hops. Full bodied and smooth in the mouth, with almost no carbonation and good drinkability.

 434 characters

Photo of superspak
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle into pint glass, 4BFH bottle code. Pours slightly hazy deep reddish copper color with a 2 finger dense and rocky light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of caramel, brown sugar, light toffee, toasted bread, light nuttiness, herbal, wood, grass, light plum/apple, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, moderate earthy hops, and restrained yeast ester notes; with solid strength. Taste of big caramel, brown sugar, light toffee, toasted bread, light nuttiness, herbal, wood, grass, light plum/apple, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate herbal/woody bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, toasted bread, light nuttiness, wood, and herbal/toasted earthiness after the finish for a good bit. Awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, moderate earthy hops, and restrained yeast ester flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/bready, and slightly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish as expected of 5.2%. Overall this is an excellent ESB style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, moderate earthy hops, and restrained yeast ester flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,639 characters

Photo of Premo88
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

11.2 oz. bottle poured into nonic

L: dark orange/amber ... brown ... it's a fantastic array of darker colors, crystal clear; head is smallish and dissipates quickly, tan colored, does keep a nice collar; no sticking and very little lacing

S: buttery sweet malt with a good English ale fruitiness (peach, apricot) ... fruit note is almost toasted, again the malt showing through; after tasting it, I can start picking up the earthy hops in the nose, but they're very subtle; sour grain underneath

T: classic sweet/bitter dance of the good English ale ... the brew has plenty of sweeter malt flavors including bread, nuts and butter with a hint of sugar, and the fruit note in the nose comes across like a toasted peach in the flavor; a generic bitterness balances it, "generic" as in there's little flavor to the bitterness, just something bitter ... typical earthy hop note

F: solid all around, great carbonation for a good crispness that works well to my American palate ... love it

O: for the longest time I figured this brew was just a bit -- a subpar beer with a fancy label and cool name to help market it to the masses. it's much more than that. compared to the general array of English imports in my area, Hobgoblin is as good as any ... a nice English pale ale fruitiness mixed with a subtle-but-detectable earthy hop bitterness make it a pleasant quaff. it's a good beer and one I'll revisit.

 1,414 characters

Photo of gumbee86
2.5/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Nice flavour. After taste to sharp

34 characters

Photo of bendythumb
4.81/5  rDev +29.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

To aptly summarize my review below -- this is probably the closest thing to a perfect beer for my palate!

The experience of Hobgoblin begins with the bottle itself -- a traditional, old-fashioned bottle shape with majestic, fantasy-themed artwork combined with beautiful typography that suits the aesthetic of the brew within.

When poured into glass, the brew is a very dark and burnt red; a colour combination between amber and ember. A small amount of head is present. When held up to light, the red essence within the brew glows within a brown shell -- like the fire within a goblin's forge.

The smell is fairly weak - but notes of chocolate, yeast and malts are present in the nose. The subdued smell of the brew stands juxtaposed to the taste of it; a clever trick played upon human tasters by the goblin brewmasters.

Drunk extremely cold, a strong taste of yeast and malt is present, with moderate notes of chocolate and toffee. As she warms, a cornucopia of flavours explodes with every sip. Sweet fruity overtones perfectly balance the heavy richness of the malts. While I usually dislike a strong yeast presence, the brew offsets a heavy yeast presence with these fresh, sugary notes.

The mouthfeel of the beer is magnificent. It can be best described as heavy (yet not thick), with a moderate amount of carbonation and a hefty amount of crispness. I love the thick, almost sludgy consistency of a stout; but this type of mouthfeel isn't perfect for every occasion. While this brew goes down as easy as a pilsner, the explosion of taste and heaviness of flavour is a definite sign that you're drinking a true brew.

Overall, Hobgoblin is akin to a symphony composed by Beethoven; a perfect balanced brew for any occasion. The traditional and fantasy-themed aesthetic of the beer fits the brew itself perfectly. In an era where American adjunct lagers run rampant, and the hyper-corporate macrobreweries create millions of bottles of tasteless pseudobeer for the unthinking masses, Hobgoblin stands in stark contrast to brews drunk by filthy casuals. Get ready to hold hands with goblins and dance around their goblin-sized campfire!

 2,162 characters

Photo of oberon
4.11/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good attention getter label,nice malty/chocalate beginning,with some fruit flavor in the end.Smell was a little musty on mind,but the appearance and taste was real nice.

 169 characters

Photo of RoyalT
2.47/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance – A very flat head and brown, clear in the body.

Smell – Strong burnt toast aroma with a sweet, sugary molasses scent.

Taste – This one is very thin at the taste. There are some interesting flavors such as molasses and maple, cane sugar, and toasted malt, but they all come out halfway and ill advised. This has a very clumsy profile.

Mouthfeel – Flat and light-bodied.

Drinkability – I won’t buy this one again.

 441 characters

Photo of cam477
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of Zakk
4/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
3.44/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a light caramel/ apple-juice colored brew which gives little in the way of head or smell. It tastes of light, but full flavored caramel malt with a unique robustness, there is a subtle apple fruitiness and spicy hops clench the finish. Very drinkable. There is definately something special about this beer, but most days I'd take a Sam Smith Nut Brown for about the same price per serving.

 397 characters

Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: A nice pretty molasses brown with a brief
head and no real lacing going on .

S/T: Sweet and malty but otherwise unoriginal
and kind of bland as the style goes.

M: Thin and undercarbonated perhaps.

D: I think I'll have to pass when given other
craft opportunities but still head and
shoulders above any macro offerings that I
can think of.

 352 characters

Photo of tbryan5
4/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of GameOfBeers
4/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of Shakerman
4.5/5  rDev +21%

Photo of -DF-
3.41/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of jose_alehouseSD
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of PATECO
3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Wychwood brewery Hobgoblin Dark English Ale in 12 fl oz Brown glass bottle. Bought at Whole Foods Market in Coral Springs FL for $7.99 per six pack.

Cute Logo on the bottle got me to buy it. poured sort of heavy with small head of dense but coarse foam clear but dark brown in color, does not look natural. Sweet malty aroma with very little hops. Flavor starts sweet and goes nowhere, lots of malt, but does not evolve into anything else sort of bland. overall not a bad beer, better than many, but not a standout either. just ok to allright. Sort of what I would expect Anheiser Busch to make if they made a Dark English Ale. Not a star, but definitely quite drinkable

Don't think I would buy again,but will not have any problem finishing this six pack.

 762 characters

Photo of FadetoBock
4/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of Satyr179
4/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.3/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This came in a 500ml brown bottle that cost $3.99. An OK, but not very great beer. It was a dark brown color with a small head. Aroma was all sweet malt. Fair taste, toffee with a little bit of hops. Mouthfeel was good, as was drinkability, but I wasn't too impressed with this beer. I enjoyed Fiddler's Elbow more.

 315 characters

Photo of freshflesh
4/5  rDev +7.5%

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Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
84 out of 100 based on 1,053 ratings.