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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

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

2,217 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,217
Reviews: 1,022
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.83%
Wants: 66
Gots: 180 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Hobgoblin Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,217 | Reviews: 1,022 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Slatetank
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

picked this up at Quick six on Mt Rose ave in York. Poured chilled from the 11.2oz into a sampler stange

A- A resplendent ruddy copper bordering on bronze w/ a light tan cap of 1/2 inch w/ tiny bead. The clarity, head retention and lace are all excellent

S - The smell is sweet and bready malt nose w/ light fruit ester, biscuit w/ mild apple-like aroma. There are tinges of hops w/ slight woody odors w/ a mild plum note in the background

M - Feel is light, crisp and fruity w/ dry and light toasty maltiness and moderately high carbonation w/ a clean finish

T - The taste has a crisp mild sweet malt essence w/ dried fruit notes. The flavor has a light red pear fruitiness w/ gentle pine and mild hop flavor w/ slight yeast red currant note. There is a mild flavor of biscuit malt that accents the yeast flavor

D - Hobgoblin has a green fruity and refreshing quality, the ale is very good and I am always willing to try this on every now and then. A basic pale ale that is brewed well and is highly quaffable

Slatetank, Nov 29, 2009
Photo of mikeborglum
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

caramel and choclate aroma, dark brown, minimal head off white color that holds on, clear, medium sweetness, malty, medium body, average carbonation, bitter.

It's a good beer that came highly recommended from my local beer store and I will definetly drink again.

mikeborglum, Nov 29, 2009
Photo of Cyberkedi
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, clear cinnamon brown with a thick and fairly persistent off-white head. Aroma is crisp and malty and just slightly spicy. Flavor is fairly malty with an undertone of molasses and hints of cloves and cinnamon. Texture is quite smooth and pleasant, only slightly fizzy but it does leave a nice tingle and a slightly spicy finish.

Cyberkedi, Nov 27, 2009
Photo of Baileyuk
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Amazing head, amazing lacing, continous white coating on top of this beer. Excellent start. Nice light brown color.

S - Sweet malts that after the initial smell die down quite a bit. Very nice at first blah later.

T - Exceptional. Caramelized malts give a sweet, although not overly, taste. Plays very nicely with the malts. Hops are definately present although not the big feature of this beer. One of the best browns I have had.

M/D - Both add to this beer. Medium to full bodied mouthfeel. Not sure how many browns I can drink in one go but it is an easy beer to drink a couple off here and there. Very nicely done

Baileyuk, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of Methodd
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 500mL bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Very nice amber/copper color. Two finger’s width of tan head that slowly settles into a collar. Sparse lacing.

Smell: Lightly roasted malts, toast, brown sugar and raisins.

Taste: Not as much going on here as there was in the aromas. Certainly the roasted malts are here as much as in the smell as is the toast but it seems to end there. I don’t taste the brown sugar and raisins. There is some hop taste here that didn’t come out much in the aroma.

Mouthfeel: Mildly carbonated and medium bodied … almost creamy on the palate.

Drinkability: Pretty smooth, maybe too smooth. I’d like to see more of the aromas present in the taste. I don’t feel that this ale is bitter enough for the style. I hadn’t had Hobgoblin in a few years and the last time I had it I didn’t like it. I decided to try it again and this time it was a lot better (bad bottle perhaps?) All things considered this isn’t too shabby. Are there better things to spend the money on? Certainly! Would I turn my nose up at it if offered? Certainly Not!

Methodd, Nov 24, 2009
Photo of rfgetz
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper color. Thin khaki lacing, good retention and lacing. Smell is of toasted grains, roasted nuts, crusty bread, solid hop presence. Taste is of toasted and sweetened cereal grains, roasted nuts, hints of carmel and chocolate, dark fruit, doughy and crusty bread. Nice hop presence. Medium bodied, nice carbonation level, no aftertaste. A pleasent suprise. A very good English Brown with just enought extra to set it apart.

rfgetz, Nov 23, 2009
Photo of adamette
3.13/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Winking Lizard in Mentor, Ohio a few hours ago. Review from notes taken at that time. Poured into a 22 oz. "pint" glass as it was happy hour ($1 off!) at a cost of $4.60.

A Really nice creamy light brown head over a rather basic brown body with fair to good lacing left on the glass after repeated sips. 4.0

S Medium roast malt, kind of basic really for the style. 3.0

T Basic English pub brown ale with a high presence of barley grains. I think that this is a below average taste since it is so basic. The beer lacked depth and, as a result, interest for me. 2.5

M Actually nicely smooth, contributing to the beer's drinkability. 4.0

D Good, as I believe is the intention. I drank all 22 oz. without a problem and could have had a few given the right circumstances.

Notes: As I suggested above, this is a kind of basic English pub brown ale but I will say that this is likely the intention of the beer. Although it is basic the beer has a good feel and is quite drinkable.

adamette, Nov 21, 2009
Photo of cdkrenz
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank to BA Buddy JDostal.

A - Dark brown body with an amber hue topped off by a light tan head starting at about an inch before fading rather quickly.

S - The scent of apricots and soap accented by some brown sugar.

T - This is a tasty brew. It has a slightly pungent malt flavor and it hints at a hops.

M - The feel is smooth and watery, yet warm.

~ I has a sort of "winter warmer" to it that really makes this a likeable brew on the cold Wisconsin winter eves.

cdkrenz, Nov 18, 2009
Photo of jizdepski
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured into a standard pint glass. appearance is brown with a puffy, tan colored head. i noticed a fair amount of lacing. head thins out but a layer remains. not much carbonation noticeable to the eye. immediate aromas are of malts, with some earthy tones. smell is ok, not very powerful. taste is more complex than the nose. good hop balance up front with malts, giving way to a nutty, malty middle with a more sweet than bitter finish. nuttiness is the prevailing taste on this one. i did like that it has a good hop presence underneath, so it isn't overly sweet. i'm not super impressed but overall its not bad. mouthfeel is unfortunately on the thinner side of medium bodied with low carbonation. has a thin buttery feel to it that i did like, but it is also a bit watery for me. drinkability is good but i expected a little more body...overall fairly average for an english brown ale, but certainly drinkable.

jizdepski, Nov 14, 2009
Photo of pokesbeerdude
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1pt .09 oz single from Arctic Liquors in Steamboat, around $4.

A: brown/red in color, similar to a coke, white head about half an inch thick, fairly airy, not very dense at all, nice rings of lacing all around. not a bad looking beer.

S: has a few malty smells, and slightly mineral, really not much else, maybe slightly metallic? not very aromatic.

T: tastes like a brown ale, slightly nutty, just a whiff of honey, and a little tiny tinge of earthy hop bitterness, all around nothing exciting, but still tasty, can't say I'm a huge fan, but nice nonetheless. a few hints at light roasted coffee, and slightly toasted malt.

M: medium mouthfeel, with light carbonation, pretty slick.

D: easy drinker, definitely a session beer, and one that I would try a few times, not a bad beer, but nothing terribly exciting.

pokesbeerdude, Nov 14, 2009
Photo of drizzam
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

drizzam, Nov 13, 2009
Photo of Thur123
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

Thur123, Nov 12, 2009
Photo of confer
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
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

confer, Nov 12, 2009
Photo of projectflam86
3.55/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

projectflam86, Nov 06, 2009
Photo of towersfall
3.33/5  rDev -11.4%
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

towersfall, Nov 05, 2009
Photo of biboergosum
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

biboergosum, Nov 05, 2009
Photo of tigg924
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

tigg924, Oct 30, 2009
Photo of Brenden
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Brenden, Oct 29, 2009
Photo of beerwolf77
4.1/5  rDev +9%
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.

beerwolf77, Oct 27, 2009
Photo of SkunkWorks
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

SkunkWorks, Oct 21, 2009
Photo of jacobseyb
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
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

jacobseyb, Oct 20, 2009
Photo of DeeMented
3.25/5  rDev -13.6%
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.

DeeMented, Oct 17, 2009
Photo of travolta
3.25/5  rDev -13.6%
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.

travolta, Oct 17, 2009
Photo of TheHammer
4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
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.

TheHammer, Oct 16, 2009
Photo of trooperp
5/5  rDev +33%
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....

trooperp, Oct 06, 2009
Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
85 out of 100 based on 2,217 ratings.