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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,312 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,312
Reviews: 1,046
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 71
Gots: 249 | 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: 2,312 | Reviews: 1,046 | Display Reviews Only:
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

Photo of Erish
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this 11.2 oz. bottle into a nonic pint glass. No freshness date apparent.

A: clear reddish-brown color, an aggressive pour produced a 2-finger tan head that slowly fell into a thick cap with tenacious, ropy lacing.

S: butterscotch, dried cherries, vanilla, a faint clove-like spice, earthiness.

T: the butterscotch/caramel flavor mixes with a woody/roasted/spicy flavor for a flavor that is uniquely British, the finish is nicely dry with a crisp mineral characteristic, the hop finish is herbal and slightly earthy.

M: medium-bodied, silky texture, moderate carbonation.

O: I actually like the smell of this beer better than the taste of it. I would love to try this as a cask ale.

Photo of minterro
3.21/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Custom six pack from Ross’ Deli in Lakewood

A & S: sweet malts, smoky and a bit of caramel, but pretty darn weak smelling. Dark, murky red-brown colored beer. Thick, foamy tan head that dissolves slowly. Lacing is really good.

T & M: pretty fruity tasting. The taste also includes: smoky and malty tones also. It is similar to the smell in the fact that the taste isn’t very strong. Smooth not very robust, low carbonation kinda watery, medium bodied.

O: not a huge fan of this beer, thought that the two other English browns I’d rated were much better (Majestic Nut Brown MBC, and Samuel Smith’s). Pretty cool bottle design and logo.

Photo of StoutishDan
4.58/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I notice that I typically review beers that I've highly enjoyed, and/or beers that I highly respect but don't necessarily (and personally) like - that Uinta Barley Wine being one, man was it a killer, literally.

A - Poured into a pint glass (I've gotta get me a nice Sweetwater pinter or something "real" fancy. This beer is a nice and tasty-looking brownish color with a relatively small head that seems to rather be stagnantly...there, although not encompassing the full glass. The lacing looks sticky which is appealing.

S - Overall the smell is faint, but what seems to be most available is the carmelly note. There's a funk in there that I can't quite put my finger on. It's not a turn off, nor is it necessarily bad.

T - Definitely the better side of this beer. If one were to pick up on the 'funk' and dislike it, the taste might just make up for it. It's not very roasty which has seemed to be something I notice in Brown ales (and 'dark' brown ales). Maybe there's a little roastiness in there, but it's not very pushy. This is fantastic! One of the best Brown Ales I've tried, which as a newby isn't saying too much.

If you know of any killer brown ales, hit me up. Check what I've "got" and we'll see about a trade.

O - This beer is splendid. Wish I had more than just one to enjoy. This is the beer that would and could get me into trouble if I let it.

I drink for the taste not for the slam.

This is D, and

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

A - Pours a light golden brown colour, finger of head with decent retention and some sporadic lacing.

S - Musty and spicy with some cinnamon and nutmeg, with a touch of caramel on the finish.

T - Much like the scent with the spicy malt notes dominating (cinnamon and nutmeg). The caramel lingers on the palette with a touch of buttered bread.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and wet on the finish.

O - A tasty brown ale that's memorable and unique. Easily drinkable with some tasty flavours that linger on the finish. Would be tasty on tap.

Photo of wvsabbath
3.56/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Copper brown/tan, killer 4 inch head, plenty of lacing.

Smell - Malts, hops, carmal, some spices, grassy/earthy, smell not strong.

Taste - Malts mixed with some hops, sugars and chocolate with some coffee notes add flavor. Slight yeast flavor is present, not very strong though. Toffee and carmal with some butte creamy sweetness comes at the finish.

Mouthfeel - Really smooth and easy on mouth. Tounge gets mostly malts, were palette gets the creamy flavors. Aftertaste is pretty mild and not long lasting.

Overall - A pretty solid, easy to drink beer. Alot of flavors came out more so after it warms. Theres alot better out there, but for low alcohol, price, and flavor, its worthy.

Photo of kylehay2004
3.76/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: brown and amber. Half finger head.

S: semisweet malt. Not much else.

T: dark fruit malty taste. Finishes semi sweet and wet. A little fig and apricot notes

M: mild to medium body. Mild to medium carbonation.

Overall: This was a decent brown ale. I like the fig and apricot nots I was getting in addition to the typical english brown background.

Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
85 out of 100 based on 2,312 ratings.