Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

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very good

2,250 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,250
Reviews: 1,024
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.83%
Wants: 68
Gots: 203 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-15-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,250 | Reviews: 1,024 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bjlovers68
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a 500ml brown bottle. Love the cap, definitley one for the collection.

A-Looks very inviting but not as much 'ruby red' colour as I was expecting. Very brown with hints of red through the glass when held in light, a cherry wood colour. nice looking off white head leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

S-really nice smell, rich and malty, hints of caramel and dried fruit.

T/M-Can catch a little of the toffee malts as mentioned on the bottle, but the bitter, earthen aftertaste is too much for me. Light to medium bodied and quite dry.

O-It seems to get better as it warms in the glass a little. Maybe I tried it too cold, but the aftertaste was unpleasant at any temperature. Nothing amazing but not bad, maybe an acquired taste.

Cool website and interesting bottles and labels.
"whats the matter lagerboy, afraid you might taste something?"

Photo of Kartoffeln
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Deep mahogany with a dense tan head that leaves spotty lacing as it shrinks to a bubbly cap.

S: Toffee, sweet malts, dark chocolate, and a touch of fruity hops.

T: Sweet malts and toffee. The hops taste more floral than fruity, and roasted, nutty bitterness comes through gradually.

M: Carbonation comes on unexpectedly crisp, but it drinks smoothly. The bitter finish is long-lasting, but a bit too astringent - strongly reminiscent of coffee and dark chocolate, but I was hoping for more hops presence.

D: Though simple, fairly well-balanced and definitely sessionable. A solid, particularly bitter English brown ale.

Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Surprise! It looks exactly like a dark ale. The beer pours a dark mahogany brown, garnet in the light, with a thin tan head of approximately 1cm. I'm drinking it colder that I would typically like to serve an English ale, so the head unfortunately disappeared quickly. The beer appears rich and drinkable, not too watery.

Once again, served colder than I would typically prefer, but still notes of caramel toffee, vanilla, bitter hops, and a little dark fruit. Not too bad, at this point I am really kicking myself for not letting the beer warm some before pouring.
Therefore, in light of my mistake, I am going to give this beer the benefit of the doubt and round up at a "good." When served cold the nose is only slightly better than average.

Sweet malt, smooth and crisp hops, and a roasted lingering aftertaste that slightly overextends its welcome. This is a traditional tasting english ale that does the job right the first time and sticks to traditional roasted malt and hops to give it meaning and value. The hops add generous spice, but this beer balances both the malt and bitterness well.

As stated in taste, this beer is fairly balanced and traditional tasting. Medium bodied beer with roasted malt and bitter hops. My only complaint is in a lingering charcoal that coats the palate for long past its welcome. If you don't see what I'm talking about after only one sip, a few sips will be adequately additive to give you the gist.

This beer is unfortunately overpriced costing approximately $5-6 USD per 500mL bottle. I realize that I this is not the most I've paid for beer, but I've paid a similar price for much better beer than this. Alas, the cost to import from overseas must be taken into account and the beer worth trying once.
Great souvenir bottle to hold on to, very unique with a classy label.
In summary, the beer was smooth and refreshing, but it's hard to be relaxed while paying such an unnecessary premium.

Photo of therica
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A= dark tea brown, modest head, modest lacing.

S= very nice with clean malts and hops florals; not "light nose" but light-bright, nice. Lightly grassy notes as it warms.

T= clean, some light roasted nutty malts, UK hops florals, slight dry bitters, modestly watery according to traditional style, very nicely done.

M= clean, light bitter dryness, a light bittery tartness akin to a light red wine but stopping short of an alcohol-laden brandy.

D= overall it's a very nice traditional offering in its style and although rather expensive in the US at $4.99 per 500ml it's worth the try. Probably very nice with red meats or smoked fowl.

It sucks that The Bro's have permitted a photo of an empty bottle to represent this beer, unfortunately. I've offered a photo of a full unopened bottle without a reply.

Photo of bens0n
3.15/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a murky brown/amber color with a hefty amount of foamy off-white head that leaves spotty lacing on the glass.

There are no real distinct smells I can pick out, its just a blend of malts and hops. Flavor wise, it has a very sharp hoppy bite and the malts are not there to make this go down smooth. The finish and aftertaste has a herbal/medicinal taste to it that I really do not like, plus way more carbonation than I think it needed.

I had a hard time downing this because it just did not go down easy and there wasn't anything in particular that I really enjoyed about it.

Photo of mdwalsh
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass, this beer has a great three finger, light brown head with tight bubbles. There's nice active carbonation, but it's nowhere near clear. I can see through it, but there is a lot of haze. No particles, just haze.

S: OOO Very nice cooked caramel and grain maltiness. Just a hint of floral hops. It's not overly complex, but it smells wonderful.

T: The taste is very similar to the smell, but not as impressive. It's a little thinner, a little more one dimensional, and there's some off flavors to it, maybe a little diacetal? It's ok, but nothing to go as gaga over as some people do.

M: Mouthfeel is alright, could be a little crisper, but it's not bad.

Photo of KajII
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

[Best served in an English pint]

Poured a redish/brown with a small light tan creamy head that was mostly diminishing and had good lacing.The aroma was of roasted caramel malts, a sweet leathery yeast, mild resin hops with notes of coffee. It tasted mildly sweet, smooth and malty at first and finished about the same except for a nice dose of coffee at the end with the flavor lingering a nice long time. Mouthfeel was medium in body and oily in texture with a flat carbonation. Overall a VERY tasty bitter.

Photo of wwjb
3.23/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Wychwood do a good job with their marketing. Their website looks really great and they have worked hard at the dinstinctive branding of their beers. As with all their products, Hobgoblin comes in a eye-catching bottle with an interesting shape and nice artwork. But maybe they should be putting more effort into the beer itself?

Poured from the bottle, Hobgoblin is chestnut/mahogany in colour with hints of orange. I was disappointed with the head - short-lived ivory coloured - but I didn't pour it particularly well. The nose was plummy or even pruney with hints of iron and chocolatey roasted barley.

The flavor is not as rich as the nose suggests - it is fairly smooth across the palette (too light really for this style), the dominant flavours being toffee/caramel, a hint of dark fruits and a light spicy hoppiness. It is pleasant enough, but to be honest, the flavour profile lacked any complexity. For this style of beer, you would expect much more to be there.

Overall: Decent session ale but nothing special

Photo of morebeergood
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Hobgoblin glass, which came as part of the bottle/glass gift tin. Dark blood red colored body. Thin white head and some lacing. Smell was fruity and sugary. Taste had plenty of notes of toffee, honey, and caramel. Just enough malt too that gave it a decent body, yet I found it smooth as a brown ale should be. A very easy beer to drink with a low abv. Not too complex, but a tasty and well brewed beer.

Photo of dchester
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy to muddy amber/brown in color. Head is a light colored beige with very little retention. Smell is caramel malt with a mild hint of raisins. The taste a little complex. After thinking about what the initial flavor I was getting was... it dawned on me... Twizzlers.... that faint candied fruit, strawberries, raisins and bananas with the maltiness. Wierd but good. The bitter edge I thought was also nice. Not too overpowering.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.23/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a clear chestnut brown color with a 1 inch off-white head that fades to nothing. Spotty small lacing on the drink down. Smells of roasted malt and caramel. Taste is the same but with a somewhat medicinal essence. Low bitterness on the tongue after each sip. Good carbonation but with a creamy smooth mouthfeel. Drinkability is average as the medicinal taste kind of kills it for me.

Photo of HalfFull
3.2/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served into a pint glass from a 330 ml. brown bottle with your standard pry off cap. Opens with a moderate hiss of carbonation and pours a medium brown/copper in color with a bit of haze. A half inch of tan foam settles in standard fashion.

Nose is simple and light with a bit of roasted coffee and minor nut influences. Not much to offer yet not negative either.

Flavor shows a light malt character with some roast, bit of chocolate and some light brown sugar. Dry bitter chocolate on the finish is again decent but unexciting. Not a lot of depth in the flavor profile and with a moderately lingering dry finish. A decent ale but a bit too middle of the road for me and with light hop characteristics for the style.

Photo of AdamMY
4.45/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The appearance of this beer was ideal for me in terms of beers nice dark color though still wonderfully transparent, with a wonderful off white head that created wonderful lacing.

The smell was great full of spices and vegetables, with a nice subtle sweetness. It honestly reminded me of a spice cake in terms of aroma.

The Taste was solid, though had a bitter note that I felt detracted to much from the other flavors for me (i.e not incredibly well balanced flavor wise).

But mouthfeel and drinkability were exceptional, even when factoring in the slightly bitter taste.

Photo of DCon
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at Creve Couer Racquet Club in Creve Couer, MO. This is one of their new beers added to their bar so I thought I would give it a whirl.

Appearance- Dark yellow head that bubbles and a dark maple brown color with a clear body.

Smell- I can smell a maple/coffee flavor, almost as a porter.

Taste- Alot of sweetness and malt. Can definitely taste the bitter maple syrup or a nut taste in the background as well. Not too shabby!

Mouthfeel- Full Bodied and rough. This rough attribute didn't hit my taste buds in a good way, but they'll get over it.

Drinkability- Not hard to drink at all. A great brown ale and easy to drink. I think I'll have anotha bartender!

Photo of cyrock1
4.22/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep amber to amber brown with a good one finger head.

Smell: Toast and light roasted malt.

Taste: Lightly sweet malt with a tasot flavor lingering.

Mouthfeel: Good bit of bitterness right up front that lightens and lingers nicely on the finish.

Drinkability: What a great malt profile with just the right ammount of hops. Very good beer.

Photo of chefelf
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer features a crooked-nosed hobgoblin carrying a battle axe and a quiver full of arrows. Because of that I had it at the checkout stand before I even know what type of beer it was, where it was from, or if it was even beer at all.

It's a dark English ale with a thick taste (if that makes any sense) and a strong aftertaste of molasses on the exhale.

This beer is currently my preferred mythical-creature themed beer.

Photo of juhl31
3.1/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

-brown with a reddish hue to it with high clarity for the eyeballs. a tan white head that is available for most of the drinking time

-a bit fruity and sweet. there may be a little nut in the way back

-cant really say much for the taste. some fruit again, but also just a bad malt character in there. kind of tastes like a tastier michelob amber bock with some dirtiness in the finish

-decent body and not too carby, although there is a bit of a bite to it. seems like this beer would be a lot better and smoother on cask

-definitely not a beer i am reaching for...yet, thank you mother for the gift. it was a very sweet gift

Photo of shand
3.35/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a mug.

This brew pours a muddy brown colour with two fingers of head that doesn't last very long. Leaves some alright looking lacing on the way down. The smell is pretty simple, sweet caramel malts and a touch of vanilla. The taste on this is primarily a sweet caramel malt slap, with some spiky hop edges and a bitter, slightly metallic aftertaste. Some touches of vanilla help take the edge off. An average brew.

The mouthfeel is very carbonated and feels quite good, and this is a very drinkable beer. I find that brews with that slight metallic taste tend to be extremely drinkable for some reason. No idea why, but it just helps me drink faster! A decent brown ale that's worth trying, but not sure it's worth the ridiculous import prices it garners in the states.

Photo of chicagoabbot
4.18/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On-tap of Five Star Bar here. Big props to Randy the manager for consistently having a quality mix of foreign and domestic craft beers on tap, with almost no crap (except PBR, which is the best of the crap beers).

Light pale brown with a moderate head. Decent malt in the nose, not much yeast to the scent though. I like the hops, although it might not appeal to one looking for something hoppy in the massive American style, the subtle hops here (KGs mainly?) are quite adequate for the style.

So incredibly drinkable. Smooth on the tongue and just goes down the throat easily...had to consciously slow myself down.

Solid winter session beer. Will drink it again and definitely recommended.

Photo of Brunite
1.93/5  rDev -48.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A: A nice rich mahogany color with a nice 2 finger head of off white foam.

S: Very, very faint biscuit.

T: Arghh. Not balanced at all for this style. First sensations are a bit of malty, bready sweetness that you would expect. The middle and finish is very different. Very, very bitter notes kick in along with a lemony tartness/sourness that is not pleasant to my tastes.

M: Very thin. Very highly carbonated.

D: Well....I could not finish this one. Draino! The balance was just not there and the high carbonation along with the bitter tartness was not something I felt obligated to continue with. I have plenty of other options in the fridge.

Photo of xodin
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Crisp, mohagony brown appearance with a mild, somewhat neutral smell. Very bitter flavor, reminiscent of an IPA, but without the kick at the end. Rounds out nicely at the end of the swallow, but I don't detect any originality, boldness, or gusto. A characteristic "slightly above average" brew, IMHO.

Photo of Naugros
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cola-colored with ample and evident carbonation. The head is frothy and the color of cooked egg whites which leaves behind short-lived lacing.

The smell is sweet caramel malts with floral/spicy hops.

Caramel and hops come through in the first sip and they are nicely balanced. The hops hit the palate without imparting a whole lot of bitterness. Dark fruits and vanilla also appear at the sides of the tongue in the aftertaste.

You'd expect more body from a beer this dark, but it is pretty light in mouthfeel. The carbonation is copious, but doesn't interfere with the enjoyment of this beer. In fact, the lightness of it all and the carbonation make it quite drinkable.

Photo of Brabander
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hobgoblin was sold in one of the cheaper shops in Holland, Lidl or Aldi, not sure which of the two. I got this bottle form a beer tasting buddy, thanks Bill!!

Poured it in my Struise glass. Very nice looking beer. Deep amber/darkcopper coulour with a very decent very lightbrown head. Too bad there is no carbonation at all. The head stays quit a while.

Taste is light,roasted malts and a very pleasant sugar taste, must be some brown sugar. Not many spices and the hops are not noticable.

Mouthfeel is a bit watery, the alcohol could be a bit higher, but also smooth and soft.

Good beer all the way!

Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oh, the joys of being a tax accountant in February...

Finally home to enjoy this tall brew. I need a nice refresher, and this appears to be just that. Pours a brilliant red-amber, very clear and lots of nice, creamy head atop. Lacing is sheet-like and the beer is middling carbonated. Better than I recall it being in the past.

Aromas are very British. I get some vanilla, but mostly caramel malt and also some of those wonderful, slightly metallic notes. Not exciting and not unique, but very British!!!

A large quaff brings the malt to the forefront. A somewhat sharp, rounded only a bit by a creamy mouthfeel, tang of malt slaps your tongue, then slowly dwindles into a middle and that leaves you wondering what flavors are in there. I get a confused jumble of malt, some bitter hops, and a fleeting lemon like note - without the citrus. That's the best I can describe it. Maybe like a Lemonhead candy, but it's faint. It helps to pull the malt and hop characteristics together. The finmish is hoppy bitter in a good way and this beer is better than I recall, but not elite by any means. $4.49/500 ml bottle, and only 5.2% ABV. This is almost worth the price, but not quite.

What I like most: The surprisingly creamy and pleasant mouthfeel.

What I like least: The faint aroma profile and metallic notes.

Verdict: Not bad, but not scintillating either. If the price point was slightly lower, this would be worth it.

Photo of JoEBoBpr
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a dark amber color with some slight copper edges. There is a nice tight off-white cream head that is about 1 inch tall and recedes slowly with some nice sticky lacing.

S - Aroma of delicious dark English malts. There are hints of fresh baked bread and some slight banana sweetness. There is some slight hop bite to the nose especially at the back end and very similar to a English Pale Ale. Not as emphasized though.

T & M - Taste starts off with some light roasted malt hints. There is some nice biscuit malt notes as well as some grassy grainy notes. The malt bill in the beer is quite strong and delicious. The hops just act as a slight counter weight with some dry finishes and slight bitterness on the end. Quite light offering with good flavors.

D - The beer is quite good but nothing too impressive.

Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
85 out of 100 based on 2,250 ratings.