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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,148 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,148
Reviews: 1,014
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 64
Gots: 157 | FT: 0
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: 2,148 | Reviews: 1,014 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JosiahS
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Glass: Snifter

a: Very dark copper with shades of red. Head is nearing white in color, it gave off about one finger but settles with a large soapy ring atop the beer. Spotty lacing is left.

s: First smell was very mild, it gave off grassy hops for the most part. Second whiff revealed lots of toasted malts, butter, whole wheat bread, cracker, caramel and raisins.

t: Muted grassy hops throughout. Starts out with caramel malt and works it's way to dark sugary fruit, like dates. Finishes with more dark fruit, toasted bread and light nuts(butter). Hops ultimately finish things off, slightly stronger and lend a touch of bitterness

m: Light to medium mouthfeel and CO2 is in the medium range, there is definitely a bite to it.

d: Lots of malt flavors on a lower scale then an American brown ale make the drinkability high. Great beer.

JosiahS, Jul 16, 2010
Photo of flipper2gv
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Brownish ruby red color with tan head that has a good retention. The head looks very creamy and there is some lacing going on.

S: Very good level of nuts in the smell and a ton of buttery esters. Also, good level of grassy and floral hops and maple syrup/caramel/toffee/molasses. Biscuit/tart like malts are in this. Earthy smell for sure.

T: More of the same. Pretty much dominated by the nutty tastes and the butter. Good biscuit malts and tartness as well as a nice malty sweetness composed of maple syrup/caramel/toffee and molasses. Cuts at the end with some nice grassy and floral hops.

M: Medium body with medium carbonation. Very reminiscent of and ESB here with its creaminess.

D: Very high. It's a quality session beer for sure. Typical English feel.

flipper2gv, Jul 15, 2010
Photo of flagmantho
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 500mL bottle into a pint glass. Mine is in a brown bottle, so apparently they switched from clear at some point.

Appearance: rich brown color with a clear body and a thick finger of compact ivory head. A perfectly reasonable brown ale.

Smell: rich malty aroma with a caramel character and just a touch of biscuit. While the composition is nice, I find the intensity just a bit lacking.

Taste: malt straddles the line between sweet and dry; plenty of caramel character is present here, whereas the biscuit seems to have subsided entirely. Hops are mild and earthy and provide a nice balancing bitterness at the end. Quite tasty.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a decent level of carbonation. Not bad.

Drinkability: actually, quite drinkable. I'd be glad to quaff a few of these down the pub sometime.

flagmantho, Jul 11, 2010
Photo of beerhan
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Whether it be just for the amazing looking tap or the crispness of the refreshing beverage on a hot summer day it is a necessity to knock this one off your list of beers to try. Hobgoblin is a very easy going down brown ale that is a perfect session beer. Not a very complex beer but has a great taste to it.

beerhan, Jun 27, 2010
Photo of VolcomBrewer
4.83/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have heard only good about this ale, and being an English-loving ale drinker myself, I needed to try it. So I went ahead and picked up some pint bottles.

A: Pours a ruby hued brown. Creamy tan head that lasts and lasts. Laces very, very nicely.

S: Smells of sweet malts, toffee, and nice floral hops fill my nose. I'm very excited for the first drink.

T: My mouth is filled with joy. Sweet toffee-like flavors with some fruitiness and hop bitterness which isn't too bitter. It flows oh so well throughout my palate. Finishes with a complex mix of sweet and bitter that slowly fades into a dry finish, leaving you wanting more.

M: Smooth, Creamy, light carbonation. Along with the lasting flavors of sweet and bitter, it feels like heaven in your mouth.

D: Smooth and easy to drink. Perfect beer with dinner, Cigar and session afterwords. I could drink these to the end of time and never get disappointed.

This honestly has to be my favorite of English beers thus far...and top 5 overall for sure!

VolcomBrewer, Jun 22, 2010
Photo of Jiggamyte
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A poured with a reddish brown coloring. nice, long lasting lacing and slightly brown/tan creamy head.

S a sweet malt smell with hints of toffee and coffee.

T coffee taste, malty, some nuttiness in the aftertaste, slight hop bitterness, and very slight alcohol drying in the aftertaste.

M the mouthfeel is very nice for a session beer. it's low carbonation allows the hobgoblin to surround the palate. medium bodied with a creamy/buttery feel to it on the tongue. slight bitterness on the back of the tongue.

Overall a nice version of a brown ale.

Jiggamyte, Jun 21, 2010
Photo of chase2634
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 16.9 oz dark brown English looking bottle with no freshness printed. Very cool looking label.

Appearance: Deep reddish copper/almost cola like.

Smell: Chocolate/coffee with hints of sweet malt and a faint buttery aroma within.

Taste: Nice and smooth with a fullish body. Malt sweetness is dominant with some mild chocolate/nut flavor and a hint of hop bitterness. A light buttery yeast finish.

Notes: A tasty and full bodied brown ale. I would like to have more on hand. Very easy drinker.

Serving type: bottle

chase2634, Jun 21, 2010
Photo of mcdevster
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

hobgoblin is a nice sweet brown ale with a lot of character..
it pours a dark amber with a small head that doens't last too long.. it has a nice sweet malty smell.. the taste is of a fairly typical brown ale with maybe a hint of liquorice mixed with fruity malt and a kind of crisp finish (almost bitter on the back of the tongue maybe a little hops here)..
the mouthfeel and drinkability are fairly high maybe not as easy to drink as other brown ales but very tasty. I am a big fan of english brown ales so it is hard to give a fair review but I will say that this very good.. not quite on par with samuel smith's nut brown ale in drinkability.. but the flavor has a nice complexity that is very approachable..

mcdevster, Jun 20, 2010
Photo of bump8628
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Light brown with an initial inch of head that fades to a soft ring.

Bready maltiness mixes with caramel and toffee and a very faint hint of dry coffee. Hops lend a spicy flavor, but not much bitterness. Gentle fruitiness rounds it off into a drying finish.

A nice English Brown. It definitely leans towards the dark caramel malts and steers clear of the heavily roasted ones. Balanced, and surprisingly light and refreshing. The best of the Wychwood lineup, but the bottled version we get in the US pales in comparison to the stuff on cask near the source.

bump8628, Jun 16, 2010
Photo of konadrinker
4.4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into a pint glass

A- Poured a dark brownwith a small tan head and some lacing.

S- Malty sweetness and toffee with a light hop aroma.

T- Thick malt flavor with toffee, very smooth flavors.

M - Full and creamy with a lingering flavor with very little carbonation.

D- Smooth and easy drinker. A nice brown ale that would go well with a good steak or prime rib.

konadrinker, Jun 14, 2010
Photo of dtivp
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer of the Month club selection.
Poured a dark reddish brown , foaming head with some lacing.
Sweet malt aroma with nutty caramel.
Taste may be more toffee than caramel with the nuttiness, malt and some hop notes come out as it warms.
Medium body with very little carbonation.
This is a nice brown ale very drinkable and wi;; probably enjoy the remaining bottles with a nice steak.

dtivp, Jun 12, 2010
Photo of MarvinSnyder
4.13/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

6-9-10 - poured into a Samuel Smith pint glass - 11.2 fl.oz. / 330 ml. capped bottle

Appearance: Pours brown with amber highlights. This beer is foamy with a thick, tan head and good lacing.

Smell: Aroma carries caramel, butterscotch, toffee, raisins and nuts to the nose.

Taste: Sweet malt with a nutty flavor is present. Toffee, caramel, and butterscotch reappear in the taste as well. The malt sweetness is perfectly balanced by the light, bitter hops.

Mouthfeel: Low to moderate carbonation. The feel is smooth and creamy over the palate.

Drinkability: A really nice session beer that possesses a rich complexity as it warms.

Comments: A beer of the month club selection and a standard within the English Brown Ale style.

MarvinSnyder, Jun 09, 2010
Photo of chaz01
4.22/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle from the Beer of the Month Club, poured into a Hobgoblin glass I just happened to have.

A: Dark Mahogany color, thick foamy head that leaves some lacing.

S: Floral, almost soapy aroma, with earth and nut tones.

T: Earthy, nutty, smoky and woody. Starts out a bit smooth and mellow, but then there's a big kick of woody smokiness to it that lingers on through the finish.

M: Medium bodied. Beer starts out well carbonated, but then becomes more soft and creamy in the mouth as you get to the bottom of the glass.

D: Awesome full flavored beer that would make a nice session beer. Or would make a nice pairing with a hunk of prime rib and mashed potatoes.

chaz01, Jun 09, 2010
Photo of olegv40
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very dark brown red, almost black unless held up to a light. A thick foamy head formed and laced all the way down the glass.

Very malty and a slight hint of caramel with a nice hopy bitterness. Maybe it was just my bottle, but there was a weird metallic taste like you get sometimes from cans, although this was in a bottle. But even saying that, the true flavor of this beer came though and it was very good. Mouth feel was downright silky. Ultimately, this was one fine beer.

olegv40, Jun 07, 2010
Photo of alHiboux
4.45/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

You don´t have to know much about beers, as long as you love beer, and I loved this one. You don´t get many good beers in the bars here, and this was a good surprise.

Little by little we are learning that there is a whole beerworld to explore, we dont have to buy supermarket beer all the time, we can risk and try and make up our own minds about what we like or dislike.

In that respect, this is a good gateway beer, and more than one friend has tried it, looked intently at his glass, with the realization that there is greatness in variety, and much to learn and explore. It has a good solid body, goes down smoothly, and the mix of flavors pleases without confusing your taste buds (Also, it has the coolest design!).

alHiboux, May 31, 2010
Photo of Clutch28
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep copper to dark red

S: Fairly malty, Toffieish with a intial hit of cinnamon, slight hoppiness on the tail end of the nose.

T: Huge fruitiness suggesting pears dusted in cinnamon, bit of plum, some molasses toffee flavors, late hit of hop character.

M: Medium in body. Session type

D: Definately a sessionable beer. Seems like it could be happy with some English type pub fare

I would not call Hobgoblin a Brown Ale in my opinion as it really to my mind have none of the characteristics of a Brown. This is what i'd call a stronger version of an English Mild. that said I'm pleasantly surprised by the flavor this beer offers.

Clutch28, May 29, 2010
Photo of rfabian
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tumbler it produces a 1 inch head with good lacing. The appearance is dark amber and clear. The aroma is of toasted malts. The taste is sweet and slightly bitter. The feel is medium bodied with a metallic finish.

This is a refreshing and tasty brown ale.

rfabian, May 22, 2010
Photo of boss302
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wychwood Hobgoblin, draft in a Hobgoblin pint glass.

A deep copper to brown in color, clear, very little head that disappeared almost immediately.

S A nutty caramel aroma, crisp. No hop aroma to speak of. I was really trying to smell other things, but couldn't. There is a little butter note, but it's faint.

T Rich nutty deep flavor. Hops balance perfectly, but are otherwise un-noticed. Carbonation is low, leaving just the malt which lingers on the tongue for quite a while. A slight amount of sweetness toward the end.

M Has a nice thickness to it and its a little warm. I think the warmth wouldn't be as noticeable if there were more hops or carbonation.

O This is a very good beer, which to me is better on draft than in the bottle. Easy to drink. Would recommend.

boss302, May 17, 2010
Photo of tubacharlie
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A short, frothy head existed when delivered to the table (who knows how long it sat though). What little head was there remained for the duration of consumption of the clear, red-brown ale.

Fresh hop aroma exudes from the tall Pilsner glass in which it was served, with a good malty backdrop.

More full-flavored than the last bottle sampled, but not by a lot. Both had well-developed flavors, pretty smooth up front, with caramel notes and toasted crusty bread accents, followed by a blast of hop bitterness akin to an ESB as the swallow ends.

Satisfying ale, but it slightly overshadowed the pork ribs it was washing down. Probably would have gone better with a Caesar Salad and pizza with anchovies or a falafel sandwich with pickled turnips.

tubacharlie, May 06, 2010
Photo of DoktorZee
4.35/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been saving this one for a bit, but today was the day. I poured a 500ml bottle into custom Hobgoblin class (both contained in a special gift tube). The bottle noted it was best drunk before July 2010 (a few months away).

A - It was a deep rusty brown color, neither dense nor cloudy. It wasn't overly carbonated on inspection. It had a fairly voluminous head which disappeared fairly quickly.

S - on the nose it had very pleasing smells of caramel and roasted malts. It wasn't hugely potent.

T - very nice taste with a solid balance of toasty malts with strong caramel undertones. Very pleasing aftertaste, though without any real element of hops present.

M - was very good with light carbonation. It was lighter than the color would suggest, but also very smooth.

D - this one is dangerously drinkable; goes down very easy, perhaps too easy.

This is definitely a beer I'd like to keep around for future sessions. Very enjoyable drink.

DoktorZee, May 03, 2010
Photo of huxcrunner
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a- appearance is a dark brown with amber/cherry undertones with good lacing and about a fingers worth of head

s-nice smell hop toasted malts and hops

t-tastes slightly bitter that is clean and smooth, nice malt taste up front with bitery chocolate undertones

m-good full body and clean feeling some graiyness to it

d-good drinkablity

huxcrunner, Apr 30, 2010
Photo of Durge
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this at M'Coul's in Greensboro, NC. It has a dark ruby brown color with a reasonable off-white head and modest lacing. The aroma says mild malt but not very demonstrative, sort of non-descript. The taste brings a shot of charcoal malt and pineapple fruitiness. Smooth with subtle carbonation. Quite drinkable with a hint of chocolate perhaps and very light dry citrus hop. Solidly medium bodied. Not highly memorable but quite decent as a medium malt brew with a hop kiss.

Durge, Apr 25, 2010
Photo of lovindahops
4.35/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

grabbing this brew so reminds me of my college days when we would jack some kegs to get the deposit money for a 9-pack of Hobgoblin. Ugh to be young! ... Ok, from a 16.9oz bottle

A- a dark, dark brew that leaves the "rocky mountain" head of foam that is only imagined. There is ridiculous carbonation slaughtering the glass

S- wow, wicked toffee and chocolate coffee. That is a malt backbone. Lack of hops though. Makes me wonder if there is brew out there that fits that profile

T- yup, that is a great example of western europe dark ale. Coffee,Toffee,Chocolate... all producing the desired malty experience. Sure, it's an English Imported Style... so grade that taste for what it is


D- not that much alcohol for a brew that delivers. Still, it's filling and delicious. I really enjoy having one of these

lovindahops, Apr 24, 2010
Photo of thebeerdoctor
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Young's dimpled mug, I am reminded of the first time I tried Hobgoblin 16 years ago. Back then it was deemed 'strong ale' by British standards (5.5% abv). Today's 5.2% is a thinner, but more affordable version, priced around Samuel Adams or Sierra Nevada.
This is good ale, but I miss the more pronounced chocolate found a decade and a half ago. Here the emphasis is but on the citrus notes. But all in all, there is nothing to complain about. The entire presentation is fresh and delicious. The dark amber colour is just what the Doctor ordered.

thebeerdoctor, Apr 20, 2010
Photo of CityBoy1986
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16.9 oz. bottle into a tulip.

The pour is a somewhat translucent brown with about one finger's white head. Retention and lacing are on the low side.

The nose is quite faint, but I get some dark fruits. The taste mixes in some brown sugar with the fruit and some nuttiness.

Mouthfeel is smooth with very little carbonation. This might be why drinkability is almost too high.

It's a bit watery for me, especially considering the price.

CityBoy1986, Mar 30, 2010
Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
85 out of 100 based on 2,148 ratings.