Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

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very good

2,253 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,253
Reviews: 1,026
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.83%
Wants: 68
Gots: 207 | 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
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Ratings: 2,253 | Reviews: 1,026 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kegger22
2.73/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hobgoblin dark English ale is similar to the pale English ales of the Boddington's and Tetley's ilk with two differences. The first, and most obvious, is the dark color. The second is that there actually is some slight taste that those pale ales can only aspire to. It pours a dark amber/brown with a moderate head that hangs in as a collar throughout. A sweet aroma is all I can pick out. The initial flavor was sweet vanilla, but it was meek. The feel was medium bodied and low carbonation. Drinkability was above average.

Photo of LukeD23
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Very nice pour, cocoa brown with a small bone white head.

The aroma was malty, notes of candy bars, toffee, grains of paridise and grassy hop aroma that is very subtle

The taste was just as the beer smelled, a very mild hop flavor with a prominent maltiness. The beer really made me feel like I was drinking what people in europe might have had pint after pint of in taverns back in the 1700s. I really enjoyed that part of the beer.

Mouthfeel was medium in body with no substantial chew to it.

Overall a great drinkable beer, if it was cheaper here in the states I would drink it regularly, especially in the fall.

Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This beer pours brown with a red, almost glowing tone. The head is (contrary to what many other rewievs says) rather large, but also creamy and thick with an off white colour. After the dissipation that takes a while there are nice lacings - not the thickest, but nice.

S: Definitely roasted (not to heavy) sweet caramell malt, but also dried fruit, some bitter hops and nice chocolate.

T: Sweet malt is what fills your mouth at first (there are some light roasted notes to the malt, but the smell was more roasted). There are both a freshness from fruit (citric notes) as well as heavier fruity notes (dried fruit), but the twist is the dryness from the bitter hops.

M: A medium bodied beer, but still creamy with moderate carbonation. The aftertaste is interesting: both sweet and dry at the same time, with a nice bitter feeling at the end.

D: This is a great brown ale, rather complex. I've had it many times and never grows tired of it.

Photo of twaddlac
4.13/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Small head that dissapates very fast, leaving little lace. Clear, brown/red coloration

S- Slightly malty and hoppy, toffee, heavy cocoa

T- Malty, toffee, chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, very good taste! Notes of honey, maple syrup

M- Good carbonation, medium/heavy body

D- Very good beer overall! Could drink many of these without any hesitation, party pleaser!

Photo of drcarver
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

To start this off when my brother puchased the case there was a significant amount of dust that had settled on the top... makes you wonder. Having said that it was a pretty good beer.

A - thick medium brown body with a creamy off white head.

S - toffee and sweet malt

T - roasted malt, toffee, and brown sugar

M - light a creamy despite it's thick appearance. Smooth with a metallic aftertaste (I'm guessing a bottle will eliminate that flavor)

D - Goes down easily, but it is a little too sweet to slam it.

Photo of crowncapcollect
3.03/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500 ml brown glass bottle into a straight pint glass. 4 pack on special offer for £3.06 in Sainsbury's.

The aroma was lacking in appeal (it has that brown ale smell I don't like), but it pours a nice dark caramel colour with a creamy head, which does not last long. Taste is a touch sweet at first with an okay malt and then hop finish.

Solid enough as brown ales go, yet certainly not "legendary" as they claim. What am I going to do with the other three bottles?

Photo of capra12
4.33/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed with Speedwayjim and steph on 8/7/09,

Appearance: Deep brown like a brown ale should be.. lol

Smell: Sweet and grainy

Taste: Opens with subtle hop with tang and earthy profiles which come about from the middle to the end, leaving a light malty aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, simple and quite refreshing

Drinkability: I would call this a session beer had it not crossed the ABV by 0.1% lol, aww heck I'm calling it a session beer and I wouldn't hesitate for another.

Photo of tai4ji2x
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

bottle size was either 330ml or 12oz or something like that. brown glass. batch code of "8 CHM 13:15" printed onto the glass at the base of the neck. tasted in mid-may 2009.

dark brown amber, gemstone clear under the light. 1-finger off-white head soon fades to thin layer, then creamy wisps and ring. thin but consistent lacing.

aroma: classic english hops (earthy, grassy, leafy) meet dark caramel and toffee from the malts, w apple esters and hint of plum. flinty metallic whiff in the back.

taste: crisp english hops upfront, moderately flavorful, with mild to moderate bitterness, balanced underneath by the toffee and caramel, along with apple and brown sugar esters. dry finish with crisp minerality. faintest trace of fusel or phenol in the back, but not a problem.

light to medium body, just a touch watery, but smooth, w light resins in finish. mild to moderate carbonation for lift and body.

could use just a touch more maltiness, but still pretty decent.

Photo of bigdan908
3/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - The beer pours a nice deep red color with a very thin-ish head. The a thin head stays with the drink. Definite lacing happening throughout the drink also.

S - When first pouring the beer it smelled of bananas and caramel.

T - I get some fruity esters from this beer though I can't pinpoint the exact fruit that I'm tasting. I taste a alittle toffee and caramel.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel is about average on this beer. Nothing more, nothing less.

Drinkability - Overall, this is a very average beer. I was not really impressed with it. Don't get me wrong, it is very drinkable but I feel I was let down. I've been wanting to try this beer for about 1.5 years and it didn't deliver.

Photo of SingleCell
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a mug after warming out of my fridge for about 30 mins. The best before listed on the back of the 500 ml bottle is 24 May 2010. Glad to see Wychwood changed the bottles from clear to brown...

A: A small 1/4 tan head sits atop a clear yet very dark amber coloured beer with a dark red tinge. The head dies down quickly to just a thin layer. Some spotty lacing is there.

S: Sweet caramel, bittersweet chocolate, dark fruit (mainly plums), salt water toffee with earthy hops in the back. Definitely getting some roasted malt and grain characters in the nose as well.

T: Caramel, dark fruits, biscuits, bitter earthy hops, metallic and copper taste as the beer warms which is kind of unpleasant but doesn't make enough of a presence to be a complete turn off. Also there is a surprising amount of alcohol in the finish as the beer warms.

M: Medium peppery carbonation and just heavier than water in the body. Bitterness in the mouthfeel comes from the hops and that alcohol in the finish.

D: Despite the alcohol in the finish this beer is very sessionable. At 5.2% ABV you're not going to be punished for having a few in one night but with that said I probably would and will only have one of these a night.

Ah I've tackled the infamous Hobgoblin. He's been on my hit list (and in my fridge) for quite a while now and I'm glad I had the chance to try it. Cheers everyone and have a spooky evening!

Photo of Derek
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Copper-amber-brown, off-white/light-tan head, some retention, good lacing.

S: Earthy mineral, fruit, rind, toffee & nut.

T: Earthy, orange rind, mineral, figs, pear, toffee, roasted nut, modest bitterness.

M: Moderate body is smooth, almost creamy, off-dry finish.

D: Not overly enticing, but certainly drinkable.

An all-around good brew, considering the style (British brown ales are one of my least favourite).

Photo of PartyBear
3.05/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served chilled from cask.

A - Ruby red in colour, with a thick half-inch head. Good lacing through the pint.

S - Slight hoppiness, with noticiable chocolatey undertones.

T - Initial taste is malty, with mild chocolate. There is a definite sweetness about this, almost caramel. Finishes with a hoppy bitterness.

M - Medium bodied, but quite light in the finish.

D - A good pint, however, I tried this from cask and it was chilled, and when I'd had this previously it has been room temperature. I think this beer can taste very differ with alter temperature. Will definitely drink this again but will not have it chilled.

Photo of MeisterBurger
3.15/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Pours a very deep dark ruby brown with a finger of frothy head and ample carbonation that leaps rather than cascades to the head as if it's got somewhere else to be. It laces nicely though.

The aroma is malty--slightly sweet toffee/chocolate malt--with some earthy, herbal hops and crisp fresh cut apples.

The taste is a light nutty malt with hints of caramel and chocolate, with some light fruity apple and not a whole lot more bitterness than the bare minimum required. In truth this tastes like a half way decent beer that was slightly watered down.

The mouthfeel is a little thin and watery.

Overall this is just a really average ale. Pleasant and inoffensive, but more of a gateway beer than anything.

Photo of WakeandBake
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A dark amber color body with a two finger soapy offwhite head , medium carbonation . Aroma of english hops, caramel malt, and dried apples . Flavor is caramel , roasted malt, nuts , floral and spicy hops, lightly sweet , and fruity with a nice bitterness coming through . Nice clean bitter/sweet aftertaste .Medium body with a creamy , smooth mouthfeel , very drinkable and much better than I expected .

Photo of IRONRakkasan
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber with almost no head to speak of.

A malty and slightly sour yeast aroma.

A malty and light sour and bitter taste to it. As with the nose, I could taste the yeast pretty well too. I picked up some hints of chocolate as well.

Overall, I'm glad I tried it. Recommended

Photo of MrHungryMonkey
4.13/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nose is deeply malty with nice fruit notes and an underlying sourness. Smells good.
Pours clear mahogany brown with large creamy head. Looks quite good.
Rich, deep malt following the nose with moderate sweetness and touch of alcohol. Nutty oiliness. Mild tartness pairs with the sourness and fruit from the nose and balances the heavy malt backbone. Strong biscuit and nut, light caramel. Finishes with a faint bitterness and a touch of fruit. Tastes great. Feels very good. Great drinkability.
A fine English Ale, I must say.
4.3 | 4.2 | 4.25 | 4.2 | 4.25

Ruby amber, clear. Mild carbonation. Moderate head.
Sweet fruit and toasty sugar. Light floral hops.
Fruity sweetness thwarted by a high metallic taste.
Light and sweet. Kind of grainy. Little metallic.
Medium bodied, fairly smooth.
Not very good, but not horrible.
4.0 | 3.5 | 3.0 | 3.0 | 2.0

Photo of SteveS1
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the glass-
Look: Pours dark amber with a thin light brown head.

Smell: Typical aroma for a dark beer.

Taste: A little spicy on the tongue. Very woody going down, a little bitter. Pine aftertaste with a hint of molasses.

Feel: Mouth feel is light with moderate carbonation.

Drink: A nice surprise, complex and interesting. Everyone will get something different out of it, definitely have again.

Photo of plaid75
4.33/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Lark in East Northport, New York.

Poured a dark amber hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a light doughiness, some caramel and a grassy hop.

The taste consisted of clean toasted malts, nuttiness, an herbal hop and a touch of smoke at the finish.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a very tasty and complex ale.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.15/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured in a snifter.

Nice deep brown color with a small light brown head. very malty smooth aroma. It's quite thick and smooth, nice amount of carbonation for an English brown. It's got some bready sweet notes to it as well. I think it's pretty good for a session ale.

Photo of dionisio
4.5/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is pretty much perfect. It is delicious. It has a complex enough flavor, without any elements standing out glaringly. This is really one of the most solid beers out there, from, in my opnion, one of the best breweries. This is the perfect example of what an ale should be. If you were trying to convince someone that they should drink better beer, this would be a good beer to have them try so they can see what it is that they're missing.

I bought all my friends a round of this one time at a bar, and everyone was impressed with it (these are friends who appreciate beer though; it's not related to the end of that last paragraph).

I also had this from cask one time in York, but I don't remember enough to write a separate review for that.

Photo of TheSarge
4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this brew out of a dark brown/vice clear bottle, into my Stone Imperial Pint glass. With a semi vigorous pour, about a two finger thick crown of light tan head came about. The cranium dissipated pretty quickly into light lacing. The body is dark copper and ruby in color.

The aroma is light, with the hops being the most prominent trait, which is somewhat citrusy, but a hint of light cocoa is detectable too.

Taste wise, it's a little leathery and fruity up front, but gives way to a brisk cocoa like flavor. The cocoa actually cuts the fruitiness quite well, making this beer a little complex.

Though this is a "dark" beer, it's still light and refreshing; not overly done with burnt malts and keeps the palate moist. I'd go with this brew whenever the opportunity arises.

Photo of johnd513
3/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark orange brown with a small fizzy head. Smells of sweet malt, not much going on here. Tastes of malt and nothing else really. The mouthfeel has a light body with mild carbination. Drinkability is limited by the bland and average taste of this beer. Not worth the import price.

Photo of Buggies
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark orange brown. Very little head just a slim fizzy one at best.

S: Has a sweet herbal aroma to it which is interesting.

T: Most sweet with that herbal taste to it. Some hints of caramel and butterscotch there too. A slightly sweet finish.

This tasted a bit thin to me. But it had enough going to make it interesting. I'd have a few of these again.

Photo of kellywilson50
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance is great except for the head, which was fizzy and disappeared quickly. The aroma is biscuity, with a slight hint of English hops. Flavor has subtle caramel/roasted characteristics which combine to give a light root beer flavor. Pretty average mouthfeel, very similar to a soft drink with slightly more body. Although pretty "drinkable", I prefer to sip and enjoy the subtle flavors of this beer. I had served it pretty cold, and as it warms up the more complex flavors come through.

Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
3.23/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: A nice pretty molasses brown with a brief
head and no real lacing going on .

S/T: Sweet and malty but otherwise unoriginal
and kind of bland as the style goes.

M: Thin and undercarbonated perhaps.

D: I think I'll have to pass when given other
craft opportunities but still head and
shoulders above any macro offerings that I
can think of.

Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
85 out of 100 based on 2,253 ratings.