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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,314 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,314
Reviews: 1,046
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 71
Gots: 251 | 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: 2,314 | Reviews: 1,046 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t3hcho53non3
4.05/5  rDev +8%
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.

Photo of JordanEllwanger
3.86/5  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.

Photo of EgadBananas
3.6/5  rDev -4%
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.

Photo of ClevoPiwo
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

Photo of rvdoorn
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

Photo of jdubjacket
3.67/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

Photo of aristeros
3.75/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of corby112
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber/chestnut brown color with burnt orange hues when held to a light source and a frothy yellowish beige head that slowly fades into a lasting ring, leaving minimal lacing.

Nice caramel malt aroma with hints of biscuit, hazelnut and subtle hops.

Smooth creamy body with a lot of sweet caramel malt as well as hints of biscuit and hazelnut. Well balance with a nice amount of bitterness from the hops.

Photo of mintjellie
3.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The gorgeous deep ruby-brown body supports two fingers of tan head. The head quickly fades to a thin covering over the beer, leaving no lace behind. Still, the colour is gorgeous. It smells of chocolate, butterscotch, and burnt caramel, with a hint of fruit lingering in the background. Sweet malt, nut, chocolate, and dried fruit flavours are all present in this beer. There's a mild coffee bitterness in the finish. Medium bodied with low carbonation, this beer is smooth and substantial feeling.

Photo of crossovert
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The "famous" Hobgoblin I've heard talked about. With a nice fancy bottle.

Pours into my mug with a nice creamy off-white head and a dark brown body. Carbonation bubbles are visible rising to the top despite the deep, rich color.

This smells like a freshly imported bottle. Vibrant malts give of hints of chocolate and nuttiness. Slight sweetness aswell.

It is relatively watery with ok carbonation. Not as flavorful as I woudl have liked. The majority of the flavor is bitter coffee and roasted malt. Has some walnut flavor as well. Hops squeak in near the finish.

Overall it isn't the masterful brew I expected but it wasn't too much of a let down. A solid English brew that is far more flavorful than Newcastle but not as drinkable, but it feels like the two beers are in a different category. If you want a step up form Newcastle heading in the darker direction try this one.

Photo of DerBayer
3.69/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a COOL beer and I do NOT like the word cool at all.

The colour is rich ruby to chestnut - sooo promising. The rest of the beer is true to the style and somewhat above the average in all respects.

When i go to an english supermarket with a standard selection of english beers this is one of the go fors

Photo of kegger22
2.78/5  rDev -25.9%
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
3.56/5  rDev -5.1%
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 +7.5%
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
4.09/5  rDev +9.1%
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 +4%
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 -19.2%
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
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
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 +6.1%
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
3.02/5  rDev -19.5%
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
4.02/5  rDev +7.2%
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 +6.7%
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
3.06/5  rDev -18.4%
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
3.16/5  rDev -15.7%
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 +9.3%
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 .

Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
85 out of 100 based on 2,314 ratings.