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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,007 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,007
Reviews: 999
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 14.17%
Wants: 53
Gots: 97 | 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)
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Ratings: 2,007 | Reviews: 999 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of drizzam


4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my good friend cdkrenz for this bottle from a brewery that I had never tried. Prost!

A - Poured from the brown bottle into a clear pint glass. The brew is a clear ruby red/amber color with a very slight off white head that dissipated very quickly.

S - Smells malty with a bit of a buttery background. Seems like I'm also getting a bit of dark fruit, fig or raisin.

T & M - Big malt backbone with a decent dose of that dark fruit I smelled in the nose. There is some complexity here though, some little hints of hop and nut peek in from time to time to see what's happening. Tasty. The carbonation in this bottle was pretty low. Medium bodied and creamy.

D - For some reason, this brew is off the hook for drinkability! I'm not sure if it's just the style, or what this is...but this beer is smooth and easy to drink. I could sit and drink a few before wanting to move on to something else. Good job Wychwood, I'm intrigued to see what else you have to offer.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2009 03:15:19 | More by drizzam
Photo of Thur123


3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color is a deep blood red that's really dark. The head was rather weak, never amounting to more than a finger. The smell is a complex sweet and musky malt smell, with a lighter airy hop smell that's kind of weak, but still somewhat complex.

Glug glug glug

The biggest flavor here is the chocolate malt that also has an amazing roasted bread flavor behind it. The hops bring the flavor to a more balanced and mellow place by the end of the flavor. The hops are present but subdued, but that's no surprise as its English. The flavor (of the hops) would have to be citrusy, and sweetly floral. The texture is a little watery but still thick enough. Overall a pretty tasty pale ale and session worthy, IMO.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2009 02:44:40 | More by Thur123
Photo of confer


3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer once about a year and I don't remember it being this good.
Away from the light it is the color of sweet tea and when held up to the light the reddish colors show.
I am not sure of the smell but it isn't bad, maybe toast.
The taste is smooth and malty. No hops apparent. Nice after taste that slowly fades. Creamy with a good level of carbonation.
This is a beer that I could certainly have more than one of. I will drink this beer again

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2009 02:39:24 | More by confer
Photo of projectflam86


3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a dark copper color with a wispy white head that leaves a bit of lace.

S- A bit of toasted malt and nuts with some dark fruit. Some diacetyl butter aromas as well.

T- A malty sweetness comes through initially with hints of toasted grain and caramel. Some biscuit and yeast with a touch of alcohol in the finish. Buttery with some toffee and a tiny amount of hop bitterness for balance.

M- Light/medium bodied with low carbonation.

D- Overall a decent brew that was slightly underwhelming.

Serving type: on-tap

11-06-2009 04:52:47 | More by projectflam86
Photo of towersfall

North Carolina

3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a typical brown for the style that just may be a tad cloudy. Had a nice small head that disappeared quickly.

Smell: The smell of toasted malts, nuts and toffee are there for sure. Nice aroma that pleases the senses.

Taste: Very typical of the style with a nice tea flavoring.

Mouthfeel: Pretty sweet upon second taste. Solid toffee taste with a syrupy feel thus making it have a heavy body. Needs more carbonation in my opinion.

Drinkability: Great English Brown that I would probably not pick up again but it has me interested in what the rest of the brewery has to offer. The tea taste was a little meh but that's probably just because I'm not a big tea fan.

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2009 17:03:30 | More by towersfall
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle. Picking up a few brews for suppin' whilst helping hand out treats to the (sometimes not so) wee ones, it was a no-brainer to grab a beer such as Hobgoblin, this past weekend.

This beer pours a clear, medium copper amber hue, with two fingers of foamy, frothy, and somewhat bubbly beige head, which leaves some decent layered and webbed lace around the glass as it evenly falls away.

It smells of mildly bready caramel malt, middling, kind of sour dark fruit, a small metallic flintiness, and earthy, leafy noble hops. The taste is lightly biscuity, bready pale and caramel/toffee malt, wet wheat crackers, ethereal dry cocoa notes, a soft raisin and date fruitiness, and more flowery, earthy hops.

The carbonation is quite low, manifesting as just a mild edginess throughout, the body generally smooth and a solid medium weight. It finishes a bit off-dry, some nutty breadiness and pithy earthy hops closing things out.

While the label may be scary here, the beer inside is certainly not - it's more a slightly above average brown ale, and definitely not as hoppy as the packaging would suggest. That said, it is simple, drinkable, and perfectly adequate for the evening's activities.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2009 06:50:57 | More by biboergosum
Photo of tigg924


3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: iced tea brown in color, 1/4 inch head, cloudy

Smell: toasted malt birch, and nut

Taste: toasted malt, slight hops, and tea

Mouthfeel: moderately sweet, dry, moderate carbonation, crisp, medium bodied

Drinkability: An above average English brown. I get a tea taste that dominates. A good beer for the style, but not likely one I will get again.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2009 13:59:25 | More by tigg924
Photo of Brenden


3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color is a coppery red. The pour produces a small but firm whitish head that doesn't leave a whole lot of lacing, while the lacing that is left in small patches is pretty thick. The appearance doesn't seem to be different than what I got in the bottle.
There's a sweetness as well as a roasted aroma from malts, along with a whiff of alcohol and something nutty. It's not as strong as I'd hope given how nice it seems. There is an astringency just underneath that I didn't detect out of the bottle.
There's a bit more of a hops presence in the flavor than I would have expected from the nose. The malt is still more up front initially, with the caramel sweetness and roasted notes coming through, and alcohol lingers beneath it all. While all those flavors are there, they do seem a little subtle somehow. Fortunately, the astringency in the aroma doesn't seem to carry through.
The feel is still quite creamy but seems to have flattened out in the can and lost a little of the activity it had in the bottle. Carbonation is at a good level and adds a little crispness. Body is moderate.

Serving type: can

10-29-2009 01:14:50 | More by Brenden
Photo of beerwolf77


4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an oversized stein the beer is dark blood red with traces of brown. The head is two inches high and light tan in color. After it recedes no lacing is present but a nice cap rests on the top of the beer.

The aroma is a pleasant mix of malt and and fruit. light hint of hops. Roasted nuts and tea are present as well.

The flavor is a bit light. Malty with hints of chocolate and dark fruit. A slight bitterness rounds things out. Very ice tea like. Not bad at all.

Medium to full body. Creamy and smooth on the tongue. Light carbonation.

Overall a real easy drinker. I could easily tip back a few of these in one sitting.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2009 00:40:13 | More by beerwolf77
Photo of SkunkWorks

New York

3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a nice dark, deep brown verging on black. Dark red when held up to a bright light. There's a good amount of head formation that sticks around until you reach the bottom. It leaves nice lacing. As for smell, I mostly get the aroma of the malts. The taste is pretty much entirely malty and I don't really get any bitterness there. Its very smooth and I'd say that its pretty thick and has a bit more viscosity than the average beer. Its easy to drink but I don't think I'd drink too much of it because of the thickness. Overall, a good beer and worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2009 04:51:01 | More by SkunkWorks
Photo of jacobseyb


3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A=pours a deep, dark brown/ruby almost black, clear color. One finger of sligtly off-white head that dissipates quickly to a thin crown

S=bananas, raisins, sweet malts

T=similar to the smell though not quite as bold, a little bit spicier.

M=light carbonation, with a dry finish little aftertaste

D=drinkable for sure, sweetness is not over powering, very balanced and full flavored

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2009 03:18:27 | More by jacobseyb
Photo of DeeMented


3.25/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to HeadyHops81 for sending me this one.

Poured from the distinctive 500 mL bottle into a glass beer mug.

The beer poured a dark, reddish amber, with a thin, off white, head. The head was slow to recede, and left a moderate amount of lacing.

The smell was kind of like a fruity, dry wine. A toffee aroma started to come through as it warmed, but overall, there wasn't much there.

I thought the mouthfeel was a bit thin, despite the carbonation, and it felt dry to me.

The taste started a bit sweet, and slightly fruity, but about mid-swallow, I got a dry wine kick that effectively killed that off. It finished with a moderate hops bite, but that was also a bit on the dry side. Again, not much there.

Perhaps I'm missing something here, but I fail to understand some of the high review scores this beer has gotten. It's good, but not great.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2009 04:35:02 | More by DeeMented
Photo of travolta


3.25/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A gift from the employees of twisted Gourmet:)

App: Pepsi color with an off-white head. Lacing was average and moderate. Head retentiion was minimal.

Nose: Raisins, sweet malt, grapes and fig.

Taste: Fruity, light blanket of carbonation. That is about it, not too much going on here. Fits the style well. Lingers for a while after each taste.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2009 02:38:29 | More by travolta
Photo of TheHammer

Ontario (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well Halloween approaches so I figured I'd give the old Hobgoblin a review.

Appearance: Poured with a good solid thumb of head that did lace well but sadly didn't stick around. The beer itself is a pleasant brown with a ruby red glow, just like the bottle says. Decent carbonation coming from the body as well.

Smell: Fairly mild even after warming, which is a bit of a disappointment. A nice treat of fruity malt of which I catch berries, grapes and a touch of fig. I'm also noticing a good undertone of light toffee and touch of herbal hops. Great stuff, just needs to make more of a presence.

Taste: Light caramel and malt dominate the taste at first, to which the more fruitier aspect takes over which seems to also carry the barest hints of chocolate. It then ends with a light dusting of herbal hops that leaves for a crisp, clean finish. It could be a bit more pronounced, but that is a minor complaint.

Mouthfeel: Exceptionally good, as is transitions masterfully and leaves only the barest touch of a pleasant fruity, toffee aftertaste. The only thing I can complain about is that the carbonation seems to come at odd times but that's it.

Drinkability: The exceptional mouthfeel really helps this beer out and it seems to be sitting quite well. I wouldn't say it's the most refreshing beer on the planet, but it goes down quite well. I would not mind drinking this all night.

Final Thoughts: This is an excellent beer, especially for it's price. The flaws it has are fairly minor and I would gladly drink this stuff again. This brew has made me look forward to the bottle of Fiddler's Elbow I have sitting in the fridge.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2009 00:20:56 | More by TheHammer
Photo of trooperp


5/5  rDev +33.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Let me just say...I've had this beer ON Tap and in a bottle....It is one of my all-time favorites...tough to find sometimes though...never saw it in bar on tap....I purchased a keg for my home bar...consumed it with two nice Hobgoblin glasses...the bottle looks great too

Turned "ON" a lot of people to this fine brew...even the most skeptical snobs

The appearance is a dark chestnut amber---great coloring--almost glows-looks tremendous in a glass pint

Smells great and nothing like any other beer--a bit toffee, bit fruity--a tiny bit hoppy

This beer tastes like no other--complex and very satisfying...I crave it

very nice mouthfeel--goes in soft and tastey---finishes a bit hoppy---perfect blend of malt and hops

Very drinkable beer--much like Smithwicks---but a definite step up in quality with a more robust flavor and complexity

Overall, again, I will say, I love this beer---tastes even better after it warms a bit---give this one a good try---I always have at least one case on hand at all times....

Serving type: on-tap

10-06-2009 19:33:21 | More by trooperp
Photo of ChugsMugs


4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- mahogany brown. Nice finger head and good lacing.

S- some fantastic sweets. almost strawberry or kiwi, just such a blast of candy or fruit store. raisins maybe? followed up by a bit of nuttyness.

T- liquid dream. Starts with just some of the fruitiness, but mostly a nutty earthy presense. The tiniest bit of bitter on the sides of the tounge. A great rich flavor, a hint of mollases.

M-not thick, but full presense in mouth. mild carbonation. Very smooth.

D- Have had several now over the past few months and everytime I am more impressed. Easy to put down and the perfect go to beer when in doubt.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2009 16:17:00 | More by ChugsMugs
Photo of WVbeergeek

West Virginia

3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

BTW, I forgot to mention thank god these guys switched to brown bottles it means their beer actually has a shelf life and that the Hobgoblin in cans is a great move as well but pretty hard to find. Aroma has a great mix of dark raisins with malty nutty sweetness going on, herbal and earthy hops in the background but a really nice roasted malt character overall. Flavor upfront roasted malt with a mild nut finish, some sweetness brings in the fruity raisins with a slightly sour bread finish blended with the bittering hops which have an earthy herbal feel. Mouthfeel overall is pretty damn solid one of the best English brown's I've tried outside of Sammy Smith's. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with gentle carbonation goes a long way I like the drying herbal and earthy hop bitterness it is what makes this beer work. Drinkability overall is pretty good, again another worthy contender taking Newcastle Nutbrown Ale to the next level and hopefully crossing many more folks into the American micro section of the industry.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2009 22:50:07 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of WYVYRN527


4.22/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Mahogany in color, with a finger thick white head that retains throughout the entire glass. Good carbonation, but not much lacing.

S: This brew has an awesome aroma. Caramel, raisin, fig, and spice are predominant, with just a slight hint of hops in the back.

T: Flavors are somewhat like the smell. Caramel and dried dark fruits are most noticeable, But the hops give it a crisp, very clean finish.

M: Medium bodied and has a short finish. It's just a bit thinner than I would have liked in this brew.

D: A great English strong ale, this is perfect for a cool, rainy Autumn night. I'll be buying it again.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2009 04:46:12 | More by WYVYRN527
Photo of t3hcho53non3


4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown/black with a brown head. One finger lacing that goes away very rapidly. Leaves little to no lacing

S: Rich dark malts with some sweet undertones to it

T: Caramel maltyness. Good overall complexity that evolves from start to finish. The finish is roasted malts.

M: Good medium bodied that has almost no carbonation

D: Very complex tastes that evolve throughout the mouth. Not as easy to put down as some of the other beers in its category, but nonetheless more than one is warranted to compare.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2009 02:32:49 | More by t3hcho53non3
Photo of JordanEllwanger


3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a nice dark brown burgundy with an off white head leaving little bumps of lace. Smells like a good belgian dubble, strong, alcoholic and malty. Taste is much the same with a slight endorsement towards the alcoholic overpowerment. Feels bubbly and strong across my pallet. A good beer but I'm not much for the dark ales yet.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2009 03:26:54 | More by JordanEllwanger
Photo of EgadBananas


3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a dark cola color with sand colored head. The head is a tad minimal, half a finger I'd say. No lacing, or coating, though not intirely expected.

S - It's got a nice smell too it. Rich and a bit malty. It's got a mild sweetness to it as well.

T - Malty, with a bit of a caramel taste near the end. The end is also a little crisp. Most likely due to the fair amount of carbonation.

M - It's a little thin. Not bad though. Nothing special either. It doesn't take anything away from the other good aspects of the beer at all.

D - I think its very drinkable. It's got a good clean taste, light and not overly malty. ABV is solid. Not too strong and not too weak.

Notes: Over all, this is a very tasty beer. I enjoy having a couple every now and then as a change of pace from the heavier beers I typically drink. Enjoy a couple.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2009 01:36:05 | More by EgadBananas
Photo of ClevoPiwo


4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice deep, rich brown color. There isn't much of a head to speak of, perhaps half of a finger's width upon first pour. The rich character of the color combined with the clarity make this a pleasant looking beer.

The smell has a definite malt character that isn't too sweet. Aromas of toffee, grains, biscuit, toast and a hint of caramel sweetness. Little to no hops in the smell, but the caramel sweetness isn't too pronounced, so the balance is right on.

Taste is very good, not too much body, but also not terribly thin. Bread-like, toasted malty flavors all throughout with nearly no hop flavor, perhaps a tiny bit in the aftertaste.

Very drinkable beer, definitely could see my self putting down pint after pint of this.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2009 16:02:28 | More by ClevoPiwo
Photo of rvdoorn


3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A supermarket beer in the Netherlands. Poured into a Westvleteren glass. The beer pours a dark-brown-ruby color, with a tiny, light-brown head and almost no lacing.

Smell: Sweet candy, caramel, toffee, roasted malts

Taste: dark chocolate, sweet candy, spicy bitter hops, fruity (dark fruits), strong roasted malts. The aftertaste is moderately bitter, a bit alcoholic and fruity.

Mouthfeel: smooth, medium-carbonation, medium bodied. Easy to drink.

Overall: decent brew. Well balanced. Good but not great, but will have it again for sure.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2009 12:42:04 | More by rvdoorn
Photo of jdubjacket


3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Given to me as a birthday present a couple of weeks ago. Cracked it open the other day. Pours a pale brown color with little head. Sweet smell. Taste is earthy with a touch of brown sugar in the aftertaste. Slightly watery mouthfeel. Pretty drinkable due to the low ABV. Decent beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2009 17:37:58 | More by jdubjacket
Photo of aristeros


3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big brown ale fan here, and I have high hopes. Cool bottle.

Pours a dark iced tea brown into my pint glass, a little bit of off white head, little retention but some lacing. Smells strongly of cream soda with a hint of vanilla, some sweet caramel, some nuts. Surprisingly complex nose, but to nit pick, the cream soda/vanilla comes on a bit strong.

Watery feel, lower carbonation than many brown ales I've had. Starts with sweet malts and a nice nuttiness. Caramel is more noticable than in the nose, with some lightly roasted notes in the background.

A decent brown ale that does everything right and comes really close to having a wonderful aroma--even as it is, it's worth trying just to get the nose. Otherwise it's not really exceptional, especially where it counts most.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2009 04:08:08 | More by aristeros
Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
84 out of 100 based on 2,007 ratings.