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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,318 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,318
Reviews: 1,046
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 72
Gots: 253 | 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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,318 | Reviews: 1,046 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of phiberoptik
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cask conditioned Imperial pint from the BRIDGE Bar and Eating House in Terminal 3 at Heathrow Airport in London.

Deep amber, mahogany color with very little head. Just a small off white ring around the top.

Smells of rich maltiness, brown bread, and a faint aroma of some hops.

Bitter, rich with caramel, some roasted, and grainy malts. Subtle bread or toast flavor as well.

Medium bodied with decent mouth coating. A bit flat, even for being casked.

A great example of an English cask ale. Not familiar in many of the beers I drink at home so it was a nice experience to try this.

Photo of Pintofbrown
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This was poured into a tulip glass. Artwork and bottle design is really cool.

Appearance- The head builds slowly and ends with an even finger that is tan in color. It's really bubbly and full of air pockets. There is no lace. The body is a deep coffee brown with amber highlights.

Smell- There is certainly bread malt and some sugary dark fruit in the nose. I notice brown sugar buried, only the slightest hint of citrus hops.

Taste- There are tons of malt in the drink, but they aren't as sweet as the nose made them out to be, more bread and maybe caramel.

It isn't until the finish that a little bit of earthy and slightly tangy hop comes through. The grains were toasted due to the slight roast noticeable.

Mouth feel- It is medium bodied bordering on light. The finish is a little astringent due to the watery nature of the beer and the hoppy, roasted finish. It needs more carbonation to smooth it out and make it creamier.

Overall- It isn't quite as good as I remember, but I do have some more experience in the brown ale department as well. The nose is pretty good, but the flavors are a little bland. A creamier mouth feel will undoubtedly help this beer.

Photo of Doshkin
4.42/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - rich brown with a good amount of haze. half inch of head but a layer of tiny bubbles remains for the whole glass. those little guys leave a nice smooth lacing.

s - smells amazing. sweet, almost caramel, malts with the slightest touch of something roasted. extremely inviting brown aroma.

t - where did those hops come from? the sweet malts masked the smell of the piney hops that explode in the flavor of this beer. the aroma-dominant malts try to play tug-of-war with the piney hop taste by coming through in the swallow, but the hops win out by prevailing in the aftertaste. the flavors give this beer an interestingly moderate level of complexity.

m - medium, smooth/frothy carbonation, and a touch of dry bitterness.

o - wonderful representation of a good brown. highly recommend this brew. the smell is incredible and the taste sort of blindsides you with some hidden hops. i can see why my good friend picks this up any time he sees it.

Photo of Onenote81
3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this one on tap to finish out my lunch at First Street Draught House. Came out in a bulbed pint glass. A dark mahogany color with a finger-width off-white head on top. Sweet nose of caramel, syrup, light floral hops. The mouth is a little more bubbly than I'd like. I thought this would be a bit more smooth and mellow. Sweet toffee notes with some light caramel and a smidge of alcohol on the finish. Not a bad beer by any means. I'd have this again. It was refreshing and a great way to close out my lunch.

Photo of joemcgrath27
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - slightly hazy amber, two fingers of off white head with gobs of sticky lacing all around
S - sweet toffee, nutty, raisins, and sour fruit
T - toffee and roasted nutt malt flavours, brown sugar, light leafy hops with a mild fruity finish
M - medium to heavy body with a sticky sweet mouth coating feel with a light dryness
O - top to bottom a solid brown ale, easy to drink and works well with a hearty meal

Photo of fx20736
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16.9 oz bottle into a British Pint glass. Served at 62f.

Rich chesnut brown that is still as a cup of tea with a meringue like frothy latte colored head. Very nice lacing.

Aroma of rich toasted caramel, a noble type hoppiness and a barely discernible alcohol ester.

Mouthfeel: light.

Taste: Toasted caramel, pruny sweetness, burnt toast.

Notes: oh yeah, this has got it going on and then some. British Browns are becoming a favorite style. Bring more Hobgoblin, please.

Photo of jonb5
3.42/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass. 4.5% abv when in a cask. One little finger head. Nice mahogany colour, not cloudy but not totaly clear. Strong smell of roasted coffee and malts. Tasted quite woody with strong hints of coffee. Smooth enough. Decent pint but not really one to seek out.

Photo of BierStein711
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5


Served in shaker pint glass.

Overall, this is a bready, biscuity, brown ale that is worth consuming to get more acquainted with the style. I enjoyed this brew, but not enough to track it down to see it in my cellar or fridge. Its a great beer to celebrate fall with, though. Especially, on Halloween night.

Photo of hopsolutely
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Have enjoyed this on tap before, but this is the first time I have purchased a bottle. Although not my preferred style, a very good example of an English brown ale.

Beajutiful dark colour is very clear and pours an impressive off-white head. Aroma is malty and bready, sweet and mild. Taste follows suit, roasted malts, hints of nuts and base-line biscuity goodness. Would recommend.

Photo of thehyperduck
4.06/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500 mL bottle, best before July 2012. Pours a deep, mostly clear brownish copper-red colour reminiscent of cherry cola. Two fingers of foamy and resilient beige head sits atop the liquid, leaving tons of lacing behind on the sides as it gradually seeps away. Nice aroma, very nutty with lots of biscuity roasted malts and molasses. A bit of ethanol.

Very tasty stuff. Roasted biscuits and nuts feature prominently, alongside bittersweet dark chocolate and toffee. Raisin and plum notes, with some yeastiness. There is some earthy coffee grind bitterness in the finish that lingers only briefly. Perfect balance between the sweetness and bitterness. Medium-bodied, low carbonation with a bit of a chewy/syrupy mouthfeel. Very smooth and easy to throw back, but interesting enough to be worth savouring.

Final Grade: 4.08, a solid A-. Still one of the better brown ales I have ever tried. It has been at least 5 years since I last imbibed some Hobgoblin, which is a shame and really my own loss. Heartily recommended to any fan of bitters or English ales in general, and something I will certainly get again at some point.

[Updated Sept. 28 2013]
Picked up another bottle, in fact I've had several over the last few weeks. There's nothing mind-blowing about Hobgoblin, but it's still a tasty, highly quaffable ESB that isn't too expensive and is available almost everywhere. This is a well-brewed, no-nonsense, sitting-at-the-pub or watching-the-game type of beer, you're not supposed to be getting excited about it. I see no need to alter this one's score - it's superb for what it is.

Photo of Kendo
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured into a Sam Smith's nonic-style pint glass. Body is clear, chestnut brown witha small khaki-colored head that leaves a tiny bit of lacing.

S: Toasted grains and bread and a metallic/minerally scent.

T: First impression is more the mouthfeel than the taste: active carbonation. As for flavor, starts out with toasted cereal grains and some fruit. Minerally, maybe grassy hops finish it off - there's a surprising amount of lingering bitterness for a true English ale.

M: Light-bodied; as I noted above, carbonation is a bit too active for my tastes.

O: Decent, not great. Used to drink a lot of these with MRMOJORISIN about 12-15 years ago. Liked it better then.

Photo of phichifiji00
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from draft into pint glass.

Appearance: Reddish brown, pours about 1 finger of head that fades slowly. Lots of lacing.

Smell: Malty, nutty, caramel malt, sweet, toffee.

Taste: Malty, nutty, caramel, toffee, moderate hoppiness. Bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, moderate carbonation. Smooth.

Overall: Very drinkable. A solid English brown ale.

Photo of Murrhey
3.76/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour pint bottle into a Pilsner glass on 10-15-11

A: Coca-Cola color with a two finger head that vanished quickly.

S: Nutty, kind of skunky. Not terrible or pungent, but not my favorite.

T: Dark and malty with a coffee sort of bitterness with a clean and clear finish.

M: A tad watery, I was hoping it would feel thicker for the flavoring going on.

O: Nostalgic beer as I had it on tap in Oxford a couple months ago. Still enjoyed it, but not as much as I did when it was on tap in The Four Candles. Maybe the importing took a toll?

Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.63/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a standard pint glass. Pours leaving a thick creamy, sea-foam head. It dissipates to a thin film of creamy bubbles, and the lacing is exceptional: a sheath of sticky web. The color is a mixture of deep dark ruby red, and dark rich earth. Think of an Irish ale mixed with dark mahogany. The beer smells of bitter chocolate and a hint of citrus. The taste is amazing, but it took me a while to pick out everything. Slightly tangy citrus tones, mixed with toffee and caramel sweetness, and a bitter chocolate finish ... it's all in there. At one point, I swear I tasted a hint of raisins. A good mouthfeel, and a good session beer if you're into complex session beers. Overall this beer is awesome and fun to experience. I highly recommend checking out the Wychwood website, it's full of information and as fun to visit as this beer is to drink. This is my favorite brown ale, hands down.

Photo of Jemonster
4.52/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark root beer/cola color with thin pale head. Medium bubbled carbonation.

S: Nutty and warm.

T: Mild hops and heavy malt character. Smooth and mellow and slightly woody.

M: Good carbonation and perfect viscosity. This is how a beer should be!

O: Great! For sure I'm going to get this one again. It's exceptional.

Photo of CheezyBlaster
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm a sucker for presentation . . . I love the bottle art and the whole Wychwood thing.

Nose is nutty with mild dark fruits, mini-malt, and some alcohol.

Nutty tang, yes nutty tang. Molasses (mild). Tiny, hidden hops bite. Classic brown ale flavors. Coffee struggles through a tad. A lot of people say they find chocolate in this, I don't.

Medium bodied with a tad of cloy. Smooth feel. I like. Good drinkability.

At 4.99 this is a cool little drink I'll get again.

Photo of Zonthark
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours out pretty nice (in my Hobgoblin pint glass), a small head on this one with a nice brown colour. Smells nice, very subtle hints of caramel and chocolate. A good mouth feel, but a bit too much carbonation, and a bit dry after each sip to make it perfect in my books. It tastes good, not too sour and not too sweet, and its not too heavy to stop at one beer (which is good for my drinking habits at least).

Over all a pretty good beer, and it never fails to satisfy my British ale needs. All in all its always a safe buy when looking for a good British beer, and to my understanding is pretty easy to find where ever you are. Wychwood has yet to disappoint me so far.

In conclusion if you are having trouble deciding what beer to buy at you local liquor store (or pub if you are lucky) grab a Hobgoblin.

Photo of doktorhops
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review #84, we've come a long way haven't we? From the soaring highs (Duvel) to the crashing lows (VB). Along the way we've made some friends (Weihenstephaner in particular) and enemies (Aussie macro lagers in general), but all the time we've focussed on what matters: the brews. And today's review #84 is no exception... lets not forget it also came with a swanky pint glass (for a 500ml bottle? Does that make sense on some other planet?).

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Hobgoblin conical pint... where is the rest of my pint dammit!

A: Deep copper/rust coloured body with a boisterous 1cm cream(y) head. Certainly is a nice looking beer!

S: Hobgoblin smacks of toasted biscuit, burnt caramel/toffee malt grains and sets a bold promise in the process. Hops take a backseat and I find that I'm again reminding myself that it isn't always about the hops [get lost me! :@]. In any case a big brown ale awaits!

T: The big malt characters are there with a nice bitterness at the end that says "Look Dok, Hops!". There is also a pleasant buzz of alcohol within (it's not a slouch by any means), and a tinge of raisin flavour... just a hint in the background though. Yeast characters also make an appearance with a sour bread note.

M: Mid to low carbonation, decent medium body, English ale territory here.

D: Would be quite the session ale if it wasn't dirty expensive here in Australia (felt like I was giving myself a treat just by looking at it). It's easy down the gullet and will give me an 'empty-glass' remorse once it's finished which in my book is an apt description for 'session beer'... only wish I had another bottle in the fridge... mmm, burnt caramel (just had another

Food match: I can't get the image of Medieval-pork-roasting-on-a-spit out of my head so I'm inclined to say Medieval-pork-roasting-on-a-spit, and other Medieval fare; Blawmanger, Broiled Venison and Blancmange (the three "B's" of Medieval cuisine!).

Photo of fostachild
3.04/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

best before 17 jul 12

pours a clear dark brown amber colour with an inch of light tan head - okay retention.

smell was malty and had a bit of a skunkiness aroma as well.

taste was okay - sweet malt, chocolate toffee noticeable in the aftertaste. good drinkability

not a whole lot to say about this one... overall pretty average - didn't love it, didn't hate it.

Photo of bnes09
3.04/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good clarity in this copper-colored ale. Big, frothy, sponge-like head towers over the brew and new fully disappears. Leaves a ring of fluffy lace with each sip.

Smells like burnt toast with a bit of skunk. Not the best.

Malt is slightly burnt with a stale bread-like quality. Slightly sour with hints of ginger spice. Hops are mild with mostly herbal flavor. Finishes with an old, burnt, sour, stale aftertaste that lingers on for a while.

Lighter to medium-bodied. Good carbonation and crisp texture.

Apart from the appearance, this beer is nothing special at all. Just a step above New Castle but at twice the price.

Photo of gbarbee
4.82/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great beer overall. First time I had this this beer was in an "izakaya" style restaurant with some great sashimi.

My initial impression was surprise at the smooth character with chocolate and nutty hints.

Appearance: Light brown.
Smell: Clean and light.
Taste: Hint of chocolate and nuts
Mouthfeel: Smooth and light
Drinkability: Overall, great beer.

Photo of Rifugium
2.68/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First had: bottle from Eulogy, Philly, PA

Clear brown color on this one, with a thin eggshell head. Nutty aroma, toasted grains, and sweet malts; a bit stale. Similar taste, with sweet malts, thinned out a bit, toasted grains and bread, lightly hopped. Light mouthfeel, pretty thin and lacking in flavor generally. Moderately drinkable if you're not looking for anything outrageously daring.

Photo of evlu1441
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a dark ruby amber colour with a thing creamy head forming a film on top.

The aroma is dominated by roasted malts. There is a faint oakyness to the aroma as well.

The flavour is quite intense! Strong roasted malt flavours dominate alongside some bitterness. This adds to a kind of "burnt" that is quite nice. The finish is kind of dry, with some faint burnt nuttyness.

Overall, this beer has good flavour, but it's lacking complexity. It is kind of a one-trick-pony. It's also not exactly my cup of tea. I prefer sweeter brown ales.

Photo of airforbes1
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Being a MST3K fan, I just had to buy this beer because it reminds me of that awful film Hobgoblins. I hope the beer will be much better than the movie!

Pours a dark red-orange (nearly brown) with a billowy head that sticks around. The aroma is sweeter than I expected; I smell some sweet malt and something like cherries.

I have to say I've never had a brown ale like this. I taste vanilla and cherries, with a teeny, tiny amount of diacetyl on the finish. As the beer warms, I also get a smidgen of alcohol. Definitely not a bitter beer.

A solid offering, one that to my Yankee taste buds tastes like a cross between a brown ale and a bitter.

Photo of engagechad
3.87/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased as a single from Wine and Beer Westpark in Glen Allen, VA - tulip

Pours a nice mahogany with okay head and no real lacing. Smells very nice, floral with a sweet malty backbone. Taste follow, there is a little spice to it however it's a mild smooth flavor. Body is super nice and smooth.

This is a really great English Brown and I would buy it again

Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
85 out of 100 based on 2,318 ratings.