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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

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

2,141 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,141
Reviews: 1,013
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 64
Gots: 156 | FT: 0
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: 2,141 | Reviews: 1,013 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jettjon
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the 500ml bottle with no date into a pint glass, a transparent ruby red pale color with scattered fine carbonation. Two-finger brown-tan head fades at a moderate pace down to a solid cap and ring and scattered lace. Nose of moderate malt, not much there. Solid malt flavor, nicely balanced against mildly bitter hops. Good bock-like character, not at all “sweet-ale” like. Mild coffee presence. Nutty, mildly bitter, and dry finish. Mouth is middle-of-the-road, leaning toward the substantial style, but still light and refreshing. Drinkability is good overall; it’s flavorful and refreshing. Easily sessionable.

Overall: A decent brown ale, beats Newcastle by miles, nicely drinkable. Still, hardly the best in style. Worth a try.

jettjon, Mar 09, 2007
Photo of JohnW
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is heavily promoted in England, in the hopes it will persuade the usual "lager" drinkers to try something with more body and taste. Have to say - to my taste - it fails to impress in any way. It pours medium bronze, with little head at all. The aroma is sweetish and hints of spice and malts, also that musty sulphar smell from the "burtonised water." The taste reflects this, though has less body than expected, and fairly sweet and hints of spice (cinnamon and nutmeg?) but simply fails to impress, especially after all the "hype!" Seems just sweetish and bland with little real character. Wish I could think better of it, as the advertising is aimed at drawing folk away from the usual UK brewed "lagers" to trying real ale, but it sure would not work for me! Not to my taste at all (and same from bottle) can think of many UK 'bitter' beers far better than this.

Regret to say very disappointing, and would not have it over any other decent UK beer on hand pull or from bottle.

B'ham UK

JohnW, Mar 06, 2007
Photo of longarm
2.42/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

While it has a deep clear amber color, it seems lighter than I would expect for a "dark" ale? Very nice initial carbonation and rocky head and sticky lacing. While nice, the carbonation fades quickly.

Metallic aroma. If I can get underneath it, there's a small amount of sweet malt that wants to shine. Underwhelming at best.

Flavor seems somewhat unbalanced with a rather light dose of sweet malt that attempts to carry the whole load. In this it fails, since it seems closer to water than a dark ale. While it doesn't have major flaws besides a minor metallic taste, I can't find something in here that excites. Light bitterness on the palate from darker malts appear as it warms, but these can't save the day. Decent aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is mostly thin. This may contribute to the dry and clean finish.

Not a scary hobgoblin of a beer, but I also won't buy it again. I tried hard to find something I wanted to notice and like again in this beer, but really couldn't wait to just finish and move-on to something else.

longarm, Mar 05, 2007
Photo of BretSikkink
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clearish brown color, persistent tan head in my seidel. Not a bad looking english ale. Weak sort of nose, smells malty, slightly caramelized.

Way too sweet for such low ABV. Lots of malt, slightly unbalanced. Warming finish, not bad mouthfeel but nothing special. I found the sweetness annoying and pervading the experience.

I did enjoy this beer for breakfast with heavily peppered eggs, wilted greens and chunks of bread and cheese. Not to seek, it'll do in a drought.

BretSikkink, Mar 04, 2007
Photo of beveritt
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a 500 ml brown bottle into a Hobgoblin pint glass. I bought the glass and beer as a pair. The label depicts a evil little fellow, hunched over and holding a sword. The bottle is very cool, with raised witches and the brewery's name.

Appearance: Pours with a 1 inch off white head. This falls slowly leaving a lot of lacing on the glass and a thin coat of foam. The beer itself is a dark ruby/copper color, perfectly clear with lots of bubble activity.

Smell: Sweet, buttery malt with dark sugar, syrupy undertones.

Taste: Initally a sweet malt, with slight vegetal undertones. Slight citrus bite, but overall not much in the way of aroma hops. Finishes with a low to medium bitterness and piney, resinous hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: Average level of carbonation. Good body.

Drinkability: Good, easy drinking brown ale.

beveritt, Mar 01, 2007
Photo of Daredevil
2.45/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

the label looks like this beer might be coming out of one of the Harry Potter books ... it pours lightly with a short firm head and offers a beautiful dark amber colour ... the smell is somewhat uneven: vernal flowers paired with sweaty feet .... taste is dominated by wet charcoal with a hint of lemon zest ... definitely not a masterpiece in brewing ...

Daredevil, Feb 28, 2007
Photo of mikesgroove
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep dark amber, pretty much brown with a nice one inch head that faded to reveal a thin film of lace. Nothing clinging to the glass, but not expecting it to. Smell was faint but nice. English malts and barley, nuts, oak, and grassy earthy tones predominate. The taste was pretty much what I expected, nice English Dark, well round and very sessionable, I could kick these back all night. Not the biggest taste profile but worth a try

mikesgroove, Feb 21, 2007
Photo of Minkybut
2.78/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured beer from can into tumbler at 45 degrees. Beer was a cloudy brown dirty water color. Hoppy smell slightly with a tan thin head with thin bubbles. Slighly sweet taste with overpowering alcohole taste even though this is not a high percent beer. Decent lacing observed. Sort of Abbey tasting. I will not buy again.

Minkybut, Feb 19, 2007
Photo of Hampton73
3.2/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is my first try of this beer from a can. The bottled version is much better. I thought that maybe the can would have a nitro in it, but it did not.

Poured out with no head, just a creamy bubble ring around the glass.

The aroma is of English noble hops and sweet caramel malts, with raisins too.

The flavor is far sweeter than I remember from the bottles I have had before. Maybe too sweet. I will drink just one at a time.

Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy, with almost no carbonation.

Next time I will buy the bottle.

Hampton73, Feb 17, 2007
Photo of mattd017
3.28/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep dark brown with very little head. Has a very sweet, malty smell. Sweet, nutty, almost too sweet. Very thin in the mouth, like carbonated water. Not the best ESB I have had, but not even close to the worst beer. Probably would not buy it again

mattd017, Feb 17, 2007
Photo of mmmbeer
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. brown bottle with no freshness date. It pours a dark reddish-copper with medium carbonation and a two inch tan head that leaves nice lacing. The aroma is malty sweet, almost sugary, with caramel and a light fruitiness (peach?, apple?, berries?). It is fairly full-flavored, with caramel, green apple,and leafy green/grassy hops that impart a mild to medium bitterness. The body is medium, smooth and coating, with a medium, lightly drying finish. Overall a good, solid ale, and I was happy to find one in a brown bottle - so much better than the clear half-liters.

mmmbeer, Feb 12, 2007
Photo of rec
2.8/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Great lacing is a sporting feature of this dark ale, and the body is a brown copper.

Earthy and bitter hops are present in the aroma.

The taste is quite bland, a mixture of many things that don't seem to jump out. Toasted malt and honey sweetness are apparent, but not strong enough to distract you from the typical English Ale style.

It's not something I'll buy again, but was worth the taste-test.

rec, Feb 09, 2007
Photo of theopholis
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance- Pours a nice, clear, fairly dark amber. About a 3 inch loose, whitehead that dissipates rather quickly but with decent lacing.

Aroma- Smells very clean. Somewhat grainy, some bittering hops, tho they are hard to smell. Some clean grassy notes in there to.

Taste- Not quite as sweet as some brown ales. Not as much molassas as you might expect either. Overall, it's not bad tho. Very smooth, like honey in a well-made mead. Not really to style, but it ain't bad.

Mouthfeel- Average body for the style. decent level of carbonation.

Drinakability- Not great, not bad. Not the best English Brown Ale out there, but far from the worst.

theopholis, Feb 06, 2007
Photo of IntriqKen
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Now that this brewer is bottling in brown bottles I feel more confident buying their brews.
Pours a reddish dark copper with a creamy tan head that melts to sticky tan lacing.
Aromas are slightly amber malt, chocolate and coffee.
Taste is the amber malt with coffee and chocolate (not 'in your face'...just subtly there) and a nice hop bitterness on the end.
Mouthfeel is creamy and pleasant with a toasted malt and hop aftertaste.
Best English Brown I've had...ever.

IntriqKen, Feb 02, 2007
Photo of penguinjive7
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark amber form a 12 ounce bottle. About an index finger of head that dissipates rather quickly with not a whole lot of lacing.

Smells very sweet and malty, quite pleasant actually.

The carbonation is just how it should be for this style and is quite enjoyable.

The taste is rather dry upfront, I thought, but is immediately followed by a nice sweet aftereffect. The sweetness is almost has the quality of honey in a way that balances the alcohol very nicely.

A very drinkable brew that is great for just sitting around at home with friends, or for a couple rounds at the pub. I wouldn't call this the best English Brown Ale out there, but it is definitely worth a go. I would definitely give this one another round.

penguinjive7, Feb 01, 2007
Photo of beerphan
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle -> tulip
no date

Pours a clear amber with a respectable bone white head that leaves some droopy spiderwebs. Intense carbonation is present.

Nose: Sweet caramel malt, a tad nutty.

Taste: Toasted malts with a little of the caramel sweetness from the nose sticking out. A mild drying finish.

Smooth full and thick mouthfeel. A bit drying also.

This brew seems extremely drinkable, alas i have only one.

beerphan, Jan 26, 2007
Photo of markgugs
3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic pint

A: a nice looking ruby reddish brown ale, with just under 1 inch of cream-colored head, lasts a bit and leaves some nice lacing.

S: this is a very sweet smelling beer, with hints of toffee and bready, brown sugar, and even allows a minor whiff of alcohol to escape.

T: beer comes off slightly sweet and features a subtle malted sugary flavor that reminds me of sweetened bread and some nice fruit flavors along the lines of raisins and dates. My major complaint is that the beer almost entirely lacks any hoppiness whatsoever.

M: there is a decent amount of carbonation that remains constant throughout the entire beer and leaves an overall nice feel as your drink it.

D: easy to drink, probably a good session beer, but overall not exciting enough for me to drink a whole lot of.


markgugs, Jan 26, 2007
Photo of reeder
3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This wicked looking can came in a four pack.

A - Pouring from the can, this beer has a nice, warm brown color with reddish hues. Not much of a head to speak of.

S - Letting the beer sit for a bit, I detected some subtle fruity scents. A hint of apple with dank overtones. This beer has an appropriate smell for a british pub on a cold winter evening.

T - Taking a healthy drink I first encountered a full, bready taste. Berry overtones. Strawberries with a bit of apricot. The fruit flavors seem a bit overripe. This beer is quite mild. A distinct bitter aftertaste grew stronger as I drank more of the beer.

M - Noticeable carbonation. The bitter aftertaste leaves a dry feeling.

D - Drinkability is average. I would get tired of the bitter aftertaste. One pint was enough for me.

Overall a solid english brew. I would have another pint sometime if presented with one.

reeder, Jan 25, 2007
Photo of bluejacket74
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an amber/brown color with a half inch off-white head. It smells sweet, mostly like toasted malt, toffee and caramel. The beer also tastes the same way, mainly like malt and no hops that I can notice. The mouthfeel is light/medium, with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth going down. Overall I think this is a decent beer, and it wouldn't be a bad choice as an occasional session beer.

bluejacket74, Jan 21, 2007
Photo of lehows
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark amber color with an off-white head. Head faded quickly but left nice lacing all the way down. Nose was strong of malt, caramel, and sweet fruit. Distinctive flavors of roasted malt, caramel, and a sweet alcohol aftertaste. This is a great beer to sit back and relax with, Wychwood definitely hit the mark here with a good all around Brown Ale.

lehows, Jan 18, 2007
Photo of BradBLR
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a very dark root beer brown with an almost white head. The head was thin but lasted most of the beer with a pretty good amount of lacing. The aroma was a very strong toasted malt smell with hints of chocolate and maybe a slight hint of smoke.

The taste was really all malt, mostly a blend between chocolate and toasted malts with a very slight hop bitterness at the end. The mouthfeel was good with the CO2 being pretty good and the thickness being ok. This beer seemed very clean, like they filtered it a lot. I would have liked to see a little yeast in the bottom of the bottle.

I was very happy to try this beer, if you like english ales, this would be a good one to try. I plan on trying some more from this brewery.

BradBLR, Jan 17, 2007
Photo of jjayjaye
2.93/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours dark rusty brown. Clear with half finger light tan head that resists fading, leaves broad sheeting lace here and there.

S - Very subtle clay-like malt and a bit of orange

T - Simple, smooth and a little sweet. A diluted caramel flavor that lingers.

M - On the lighter side and slightly creamy.

D - Not difficult to drink and not exciting me to want to run out for another 4 pk.
I've had this in a bottle serving from a British grocery store and it is consistent. Marketing is bolder than the product.

jjayjaye, Jan 17, 2007
Photo of Nipitato
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle at Julio's Liqours in Westborough, MA.

A: Russet brown color with a thin off white head. Clear.

S: Malt aromas dominate. Malt is sweet toffee. A very nice mild aroma. Faint trace of fruity esters develops as beer warms.

T: Malt tastes predominate up fornt. Malt flavor is toasted. Nice bitter finish that is nearly astringent. No hop flavor.

MF: Medium light body. Moderate carbonation.

D: A good English brown ale. A little too bitter onthe back end but quite drinkable nonetheless.

Nipitato, Jan 14, 2007
Photo of rattech
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

500 mL brown bottle poured into a Hobgoblin logo pint glass from a gift set.

Appearance: Moderate carbonation, dark mahogany color. It looks quite tasty.

Smell: Fairly sweet smelling, perhaps a bit of citrus.

Taste: A touch of sweetness, a mild and smooth flavor - more so then I expected.

Mouthfeel: Quite a bit of body considering the mildness. Good level of carbonation, it is fairly mild.

Drinkability: Very, this is something very sessionable.

I normally drink Belgian style beers, so I did not know what to expect. I would drink this again, and believe that it would go well with red meat.

rattech, Jan 14, 2007
Photo of Abita45
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours to a very dark, ruby color and a foamy head that reduces quickly but leaves good lacing in its wake. Not a prominent aroma, but a sweet malt fragrance is present.

A pretty full bodied beer with chocolate and toffee notes to its malt flavor and relatively no hop presence. A light fruit taste permeates the beer as well, that while not pronounced, it is present and adds to the overall body of the beer. For being full bodied its sweet notes make for a well balanced beer.

I think this is a decent dark ale. I've sampled a few of the Wychwood beers and think I like this the best, though a bit more hops or bitterness to the beer would make it very good.

Abita45, Jan 06, 2007
Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
85 out of 100 based on 2,141 ratings.