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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,276 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,276
Reviews: 1,034
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 71
Gots: 227 | 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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,276 | Reviews: 1,034 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of donteatpoop
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber-brown with very little head.

Scent of malts, toffee, caramel, and hops.

Initially the caramel, malts, and toffee hit the tongue, this is finished off nicely with the presense of hops coming in for an encore.

Not too heavily carbonated, but the ale is a bit watery in consistency. It's hard to place it exactly, because it is also a little creamy; not "thick" creamy, but "after-taste" creamy.

Very good stuff here, I think I've had this once in the past and I'm certain that I'll have it again at least once more in the future.

Photo of Traquairlover
2.73/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

1 pint, 0.9 oz bottle poured into glass.

A = Clear reddish brown, small slight tan head, light, steady carbonation in small bubbles.

S = Light amount of maple syrup, dry malt balls, pleasant smells but too light. I expected more from this.

T = Semisweet chocolate, malt balls, strong bitterness at mid-palate and into the finish.

M = Light medium bodied, fair mouthcoating, carbonation stings a little.

D = I'm not sure this beer presented itself in a way that I would want to have it again. I probably will try again, but in the English brown ale category, there are many beers I would choose before this one. A little disappointing from a decent brewery.

Photo of DesMoinesMike
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This review might be somewhat biased, er, tainted because I tried the brew after several Strongbows.

Poured into a pint glass. Dark brown at first glance, but very dark red when help up to a light. Had > 1/2 a finger of foam that quickly dissipated.

The aroma was sweet with a faint presence toffee/chocolate. The taste was hoppy with the toffee/chocolate essence not so prominent. It was a bit on the thick side, but still pleasurable.

Will definatly try this one again.

Photo of ScottUCF84
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle into a pint.

A- Poured a clear brown with amber hues. There wasn't much of a head... it was off white I suppose. Scattered lacing.

S- I smell brown sugar, caramel malt, and some prunes.

T- Mainly sweet toasted malt, brown sugar, and dried fruit. There's a very faint touch of cocoa, and towards the end I can barely make out a touch of bitter hops. This is a well rounded brown ale.

M- medium to light body... low carbonation. Smooth, slightly creamy.

D- This is a very drinkable brown ale. Surprisingly light, and very flavorful. One of my favorite brown ales. Much better than Newcastle IMO.

Photo of Offa
4.65/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a nice, flavourful, complex, and very drinkable ale.

It's clear, dark red brown, slightly bubbly with a large off-white head that lasts, shrinking slowly to a permanent, thin foamy top, and leaves some weak lace.

The aroma is rich dark malt with toffee, flowers, earth, leaves and hints of fruit andchocolate.

The taste is full and rich, complex, and very, balanced. It is richly malty, toasty, with hints of chocolate and toffee, with leafy-earthy hoppiness to balance, light bitterness and a light spicey bite. It has an enjoyably smooth, long-lasting, aromatic finish. Everything blends very well together, leaving a delicious and flavourful, yet very smooth and drinkable beer.

Photo of nasty15108
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 1pt 9oz bottle into a tulip pint glass.

A - Poured a deep brown color (Dark Amber when held up to the light). The pour produced a slightly tan colored head of foam. Sticky spotted lacing scattered throughout the glass.

S - Slight aromas of malts and toffee, nothing too overpowering.

T - Slightly sweet and nutty. Finished smooth and buttery with a hint of hoppy bitterness.

MF&D - Medium bodied. Creamy and smooth. I'd buy this again.

Photo of Godot
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My beer store has pretty much the full line of Wychwood's but I have never tried them before. Grabbed this one because I was in the mood for a brown and the label looked great. It poured into an english pint glass giving a 1 1/2 inch head that quickly dropped to just a ring. The smell was a nice blend of toasted malts and a toffee sweetness, but it looked kinda weak with its lack of head and thin look when held to the light. However, with the first sip its threat of being watery was shown to be completely unfounded. The mouthfeel was smooth and sweet, with comfy flavours of malt and chocolate, a nice buttery toffee, which then gave way to a nice clean hop bitterness that lingered slightly but was very refreshing. This is a nicely balanced and very sessionable beer. Nothing extreme or unexpected, just well rounded and highly enjoyable.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear brown body with a small, frothed, ivory-color head.

Smell: Aroma of toasted grain, nuts, and fruit. All of these notes are quite light, making for an overall pitiable scent.

Taste: Mild maltiness with a taste of toasted nuts and a light powdered sugar sweetness. Faint fruitiness. Minimal amount of hop bitterness that lingers into the watery finish.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied. Mild carbonation.

Drinkability: A little too bland, a little to lifeless.

Photo of Andreji
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is one of the beers i've stored for about a year and a half now, rare event for me because i tend to be quite compulsive about taking it all in right away.

I didn't enjoy this one so much as the others. The pour was intriguing, quite deep brownish and with a comfy tan head, seemed very promising.

However, one sniff into the beer i wasn't all too thrilled. it had a decent wheaty complexion, but it was subtle and didn't go much further.

The taste was a reflect of the smell. 'superficial' taste, a bare feel of some wheat and a scarce bitter end feeling but that's about it. I'm all about the fruity or otherwise the complexity so this is too sessionable to have only one, and not decantable enough.

all in all it's decent for a few rounds, but not an everyday purchase.

Photo of Boilermaker88
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 500ml bottle into the Hobgoblin glass that accompanied it as part of a gift set. Had a dark brown color and a short-lived frothy light beige head that left light lacing behind.
Smell: lots of fruits and toffee and milked coffee notes. Very sweet. Hops notes? Nope.
Taste: bready malts, fruity, with a lot of toffee, caramel, and to a lesser degree, coffee flavor all wrestling around vying for attention. Light coffee bitterness comes forward as Hobgoblin rolled to the back of the palate but the hops bill is clearly subservient to the malt platform.
Feel: medium-bodied and a trifle syrupy.
Overall, not too bad as the second half paired well with the strawberry/blueberry fruit torte I had for dessert. Leans a bit too far in the direction of seriously sweet but still a nice brew.

Photo of trackstar1043
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a deep ruby-brown with barely any visable light passig through. Pured with a syrup like thickness, left thin tan head with little lacing.

S - Deep and malty, has the sweetness of burnt brown sugars, carmels and dark fruits, rasins, prunes. Seemed a little one dimensional, I was hoping for a more rubust and complex aroma.

T - Suppers from the same one deminsional taste af the nose, it has a very malty and sweet pleasant balance but a bit lackluster.

M - Med bodied, a bit syrup-like, but goes down easy with little aftertaste.

D - A pleasant beer but could have been so much more.

Photo of jsprain1
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a sixteen oz bottle based on discussion I had heard about it.
A- The appearance was a medium brown, with reddish edges with very little head.
S- The smell was really the only downfall to this one. The fruityness totally overwhelmed me. There was good malt aroma as expected, but far more prevelant were the fruit, grape and apple predominantly, with a bit of chocolate.
T- The taste did not match the scent at all. The same fruit scents were there but switched roles with the toffee, while the chocolate maintained a high amount of flavoring.
M- The carbonation was kept at an appropriate level. My mouth did have a mildly dry feel to it when I finished.
D- Overall, a decent beer, probably one of the best ones to match with a burger among the beers I've had recently. If you can get it for a reasonable price, it is certainly worth trying.

Photo of swizzlenuts
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown with a head that is about a fingers width that leaves pretty quickly.

S: Very malty but it's pretty sweet

T: This is sweet tasting malt beer with a nut hint to it. The beer doesn't really have much hops, and it's fairly tame. It's balanced though, which makes it's so good.

M: Nice, creamy and carbonated.

D: Yep, great session beer, however after a few I get sick of the flavour.

Photo of Lukie
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured with no head at all, but there was slight carbonation. Seems like it is a cola, as there is no lacing or anything discernable.

Hints of toffee and coffee, with subtle tones of dark chocolate and almost fresh dough.

Slight nutty and malt offerings. Mild chocolate. Not much really.

It is smooth and easy drinking, but I can't understand the complete lack of carbonation. It was in date, it doesn't smell or taste skunky, it just seems to be lacking.

Photo of babaracas
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from brown bottle with label printer gone wild lack of discernible date (dots everywhere!), dark copper/ruby with tan head. Head fades to a quarter inch, lacing is impeccable. Smell: fruit esters, a little diacetyl, burnt grains. Taste: grassy, grainy, toffee, burnt notes, sweet/bittersweet and a bit astringent. Mouthfeel: light to medium bodied, smooth but the astringent character hurts it a bit.

Photo of burtonbe
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Deep deep amber brown in appearance, with a smallish head. Smells of caramel with a hint of roastyness. Malt and prunes. Wow, just great.

The taste is very smooth, with malt dominating. Fruity and delicious. I'm getting a very slight nuttiness. Complex. Very good.

Mouthfeel is great, with low carbonation and substantial body.

Drinkability is so-so in my opinion. Overall a very very solid dark brown ale that is tasty and satisfying without being over-the-top in any one area.

The oddest thing is that it smells better than it tastes...

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

Appearance- Pours with almost no head or apparent carbonation, some carbonation, and beer is a medium brown color.

Smell- Butterscotch in the nose, very smooth smelling.

Taste- Slightly bitter with relatively smooth taste. Darkish mocha flavors that do not overpower with a pleasant bit from carbonation at the finish.

Mouthfeel- Feels a little thin but has better than expected coverage, really seems to explode onto tongue.

Drinkability- A solid english brown ale.

Photo of Biscuit033
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Reddish brown with a two finger cream head and good lacing.

S: English hops, metal, and a bit of toffee.

T: Chocolate, toffee, sweet cream, and some red berries with a slightly bitter finish.

M: Creamy with a crisp clean finish.

D: It is a good session but a bit to rich to drink all day.

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

500ml bottle into the same pint glass that it came packaged with.

Pours a clear dark amber with a couple fingers of dirty off-white head. Retention is GREAT, with a full, creamy layer across the top that left a huge latticework of lace. The aroma is a rich smelling malt sweetness and a surprising amount of dark fruits. I'm also picking up some light citrus notes as well as a light hop bitterness.

The taste is thick, sweet chocolate and caramel malts that's mixed with that same dark fruit presence that was in the aroma. It's not necessarily a tart dark fruit taste, actually giving off more of a sweet note that goes well with the malt. Finishes with some light hop bitterness that helps end things with a pop. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a full yet smooth feel.

The flagship beer from the Wychwood Brewery, I found this be a quite flavorful and easydrinking ale and one that is worthy of leading the charge against the rising "Euro Pale Lager" dominance in Great Britain.

Photo of erosier
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown color with a reddish tint to it. The head is a nice medium bodied tan color that laces the glass pretty well on the way down. A nice sweet malty base in the aroma with some sweet fruity aromas. Not much else in the nose, but it's kind of nice. The taste is nice as well. It has a nice sweet malty taste with some darker fruits, some nice nutty flavor, and then a short hoppy bitterness. The mouthfeel is very smooth and crisp which makes for a very drinkable beer as I drank the whole 500mL no problem.

Photo of AltBock
3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500ml brown bottle that has a label of a very creepy Hobgoblin. Not only is his/her appearance creppy, but the fact that this Hobgoblin is armed to the teeth. This Hobgoblin has a sword in it's hand, a dagger to the side, and arrows on their back. I didn't see the bow, but it had to be on them somewhere. I don't know why this Hobgoblin is so well armed, but it has to be up to no good. If you see a Hobgoblin that's this well armed, shoot it! Shoot to kill!! Anyway, the back label has all the usual US information, address of the brewery, and a brief description of the beer from the Wychwood Brewery Brewmaster.

When poured into a Heavy seas Euro style pint glass, this Hobgoblin is a nice cranbeery amber color with a lightly cream colored head of foam that was about 1/2 inch in height. This head of foam had good retention that left behind foamy cream colored rings and a few spots of lace around the glass.

The aroma of this beer was subtle with tea leaves, lightly toasted malts, a smidge of dark fruits, a spatter of regular dried bitter hops, and a small touch of sweet toffee at the end. The majority of the aroma was tea like. What can I say? It liked the tea.

The taste was slightly sour and dry with lightly toasted malts, malted tea leaves, subtle milk chocolate and toffee, a splash of coffee, and then the taste finished off with dried citrus/ floral hops. Although there wasn't much going on in the taste, but what was there was actually pretty good. It was pretty much above average.

The back label of this beer stated that this was going to be a full bodied beer, but itstead it was more like a medium bodied beer that contained a mild aftertaste of chocolate, toasted malts, and crispy floral hops.

Overall it was a nice well balanced English Brown Ale that i was glad that I finally opened. Although the goblin on the front is freaky, the beer behind him/her is quite good. I don't see why not why this wouldn't make a decent English Ale session beer.

Photo of Shadman
3.13/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

cool label..custom-made brown bottle...note brown...

starts out a very dark walnut brown. Cloudy/hazy with a very rich head that u might think u could float a rolls r on for a bit it's that thick. Doesn't retain that much though, and receeds to a thin cap/ring with some spidery lacing.

aroma wise a disappontment...some hints of greatess are present, but in my sample were muted. Certainly a low floral hop aroma here, but not much else.

Taste is buttery caramel right off the top, but moves into a nuty, then tea like bitterness/dryness all too quickly IMO.
Nit-picking, but was a tad thin and perhaps a touch too carbonated initially for my liking,

still goes down easily

A Good rep of the style... but keep in mind there are much better example available/

Photo of Proteus93
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A murky, iced tea colour... not much head at all, and whatever was there didn't stick around long.

S: Sweet, English malts. Candy sugars. Very pleasant and soft.

T: Like the smell... quite sweet malts. A bit of dark fruit esters as it warms. This is quite a nice tasting brew.

M + D: Moderate & easy going. Juicy & clean... very nice, and equally drinkable. Something I would personally find very sessionable, being so friendly. A little light in mouthfeel, but good nonetheless. No idea how this would compare to the experience in the clear bottles, as I can be a little wary of them, unless I feel confident in the general quality of the store carrying (and even then... ), but since this is a canned release, I figure I'll stick to that format.

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

this beer pours an insane head. careful not to end up with all foamy head. excellent carbonation. nice lace in the glass. pleasant aroma - but lighter than expected. nice taste an mouthfeel - better than expected after smelling it. this is one that could be shared with people with a lighter taste. i would like to try this on on tap.

suckem up and movem out!


Photo of malty
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got my 500 ml DARK BROWN glass bottle in a tin tube with proprietary pint glass over Christmas.

Poured into new age bulbous Sam Adams glass. Peanut skin colored deep reddish brown with just a tad amount of tiny suspended particles. Visible fine and sparse carbonation uprising to keep the creamy dense light beige head alive. Great amounts of spattered globs of lace look very appealing to me.

A few swirls of my glass evoke a wonderful array of sweet toasted malts, milk chocolate caramel and macerated apples, plums & raisins all swirled together in a nutty fluffy nougat. Extremely fresh and blossoming scents!

The flavors of the dark fruits and toasted sweet malts translate nicely from the nose. The chocolate & nutty nougat pretty much end at the nose sensory though. More pronounced woody dry flavors are born, which counterweigh the dark malts nicely. A pleasant mix of dry, mild spice and sweet malts mingle with each quaff. The sweet malts have a quick ending, while the chalky dryness (and the woodiness) lingers to create an interesting long finish. It almost tastes a little smoky to me, but the flavor/s I detect are very fleeting in that department (?).

The mouthfeel is traditional English. Modest carbonation with a lighter side of medium body. Even though the carbonation feel low at first, it gently bubbles-up with a very fine bubbly texture.

Drinkability is great. With its light/med. body and attenuated carbonation, it's very easy to consume a few of these back to back, I imagine.

Overall a beautiful looking and smelling ale. The dryness & woodiness of this ale is impeccable. I'm drinking it cellar temp. (50ish F) to get a better perspective. I'm curious the brewery uses more hops to create this wonderful dryness I keep mentioning, or is it the malts/yeast that are responsible. Either way, I like the uniqueness and simplicity of this ale.

Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
85 out of 100 based on 2,276 ratings.