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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

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

2,212 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,212
Reviews: 1,022
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.83%
Wants: 66
Gots: 179 | 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: 2,212 | Reviews: 1,022 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Winter
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The "Unofficial Beer of Halloween", so states their web site.

Pours dark brown with a creamy tan head. Aroma of chocolate, fruity raisin, caramel, and sweet malt. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied and smooth with mild carbonation. Flavors of chocolate and dark fruit (raisin and prune) are noticeable upfront. You can taste what effect the local water has on the flavor. Malty, yet maintains an ale fruitiness throughout. That characteristic here is interesting for a brown ale as it focuses less on the caramel and nutty flavors that these tend to have. The finish is a little bit dry on the middle of your tongue.

I'd have to say Hobgoblin out of the can is much better than from the bottle. No more clear glass means less risk of being light-struck. I haven't had this brew in years, but it was a nice return.

Winter, Nov 02, 2007
Photo of brentk56
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy caramel color with a rocky beige head that leaves a few dots of lace around the pint glass

Smell: Toffee, hazelnuts and plummy fruit

Taste: Opens with a slightly fruity toffee flavors that yields a touch of earthy bitterness by mid-palate; after the swallow there is a hint of chocolate but the bitterness turns peaty and builds to the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and moderately carbonated; a touch watery

Drinkability: Overall, I really enjoyed this; it has enough going on to make a brown ale interesting

brentk56, Oct 31, 2007
Photo of paulthebeerguru
3/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Pours a ruby brown color with an off white head, that dissipates quickly.

S- Smells of fall fruits, baked apples and figs.

T- Malty, yet lightly bland, but has a taste of warming apples.

M- Mouthfeel was a little dry.

D- this beer is very drinkable, great for the fall season especially.

paulthebeerguru, Oct 31, 2007
Photo of srandycarter
3.25/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured into the trusty tulip

A - Decidedly dark brown and a little murky. Nice whitish head leaves quickly. Lacing light.

S - I am getting spice, a little pepper mixed in with some cooked fruit and bread.

T - Definitely sweet malts and some fruit, a little twinge of bitterness at the end.

M - Thin for my tastes and not carbonated enough.

D- Low alcohol, not overly taxing, enjoyable enough. Could make a session.

srandycarter, Oct 30, 2007
Photo of DoubleJ
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Want a sweet beer? Have a Hobgoblin. On to the beer:

It's a light bronze color in appearance. There's nothing in the smell at first, but warming it up releases sweet toffee and a bit of coffee. Nearly the same flavors pull through in the taste, but with a medium/light tone of grapey hops towards the end of each sip. Not cloying at all, well balanced. Oh darn, I'm done with my 12 oz bottle, may I have another?

DoubleJ, Oct 30, 2007
Photo of ablaze
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

500 ml brown bottle into a pint glass.

Off-white bubbly head that quickly settles, good clarity and brown-red. Average lacing.

Light nutty, bready smell.

Light body with ok carbonation. Malty caramel, lightly roasted, plums, red apples, more nuts and bread. Dry with a mellow hop profile.

5.2% and pretty drinkable ale. They've moved from clear bottles to brown, which is good. I'll see it again as it's quite tasty.

ablaze, Oct 27, 2007
Photo of DaveUK
3.48/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - A dark to dark brown red ale, with a nice 1/2 inch to inch head that persisted in lacing to almost empty.

Aroma - Surprisingly light, hints of sweet, buttery malt and a inkling of hop bitterness.

Taste - Sharp bitter taste with a large, sweet to bready note. Finish contains lots of caramel bread and some bitter hops.

Mouhtfeel - Initially sharp and bitter, later mild and sweeter.

Drinkability - The beer wasn't as in good condition as Ive had previously, but pleasant and strongly different nonetheless.

The beer is 5% in cask and 5.2% in the bottle.

DaveUK, Oct 27, 2007
Photo of armock
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured a dark brown color with a light brown head that leaves lacing

S - Was of roasted malt and some fruit

T - Sweet malt and fruit stood out

M - light carbonation made it very smooth

D - If this was available at most places it could easily be a session beer

armock, Oct 25, 2007
Photo of Bitterbill
4.33/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at Liquor Shed in Casper for US$10.45 a 6pack.

This pours from 12oz brown bottle a dark amber bordering on brown with a good 1 finger head of foam and it has some good lacing.

The smell is of caramel and roasted malt and there's some fruit going on there as well....nice nose.

The taste is a nice big load of caramel malt up front...very tasty. After another sip, I get a touch of roasted malt, a healthy biscuit presence, and a surprising amount of fruit...especially when I swish it in my mouth. Cherries, some fig, a little bit of citrus. Very tasty indeed. I've had this before so it comes as no surprise that I'll probably end up giving it a good review. lol

Bottom line: This is a tasty brew....more flavours than I'd expect from a typical English Brown Ale and they work well together. At least to my palate. Will I buy this again? It looks pretty in the glass, has a good inviting nose, is very flavourful, has a good mouthfeel, and is pretty darned drinkable...yep. I sure will.

Bitterbill, Oct 22, 2007
Photo of hustlesworth
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- reddish brown, becomes copperish amber when held up to the light. 1in soapy beige foam becomes chunky with lots of bubble constellations, decent retention, sticky wispy bubbly lace hangs around everywhere.

S- nutty sweet caramel praline buttery sandalwood, toasty malt, and a sprinkling of floral hops.

T- cocoa and dark fruit, mineral water, coffee, roasted pecans, whiskey, fruity roasted malt, woody scotch whisky, and an herbal burnt hop aftertaste.

MF- brisk and slightly dry with medium carbonation, has a bit of a leafy feel to it.

D- it feels heavier than what it is, but this is a great brown

hustlesworth, Oct 19, 2007
Photo of TheodorHerzl
3.2/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a reddish/amber hue with a thin white head. The head dissipated very quick and left very light lacing on the glass. There isn't much to smell on this beer when it is full. I picked up on a slight malty scent and bit of sweetness. As I got about halfway through the beer though the scent at least came to life and I got more sweet/dark fruit scent with a bit of yeasty/fruity esters. The first sip isn't really much to write home about for me. Middle of the road maltiness with slight tastes of dark fruits and also a slight iron/heavy mineral water flavor that got stronger as the beer warmed a bit. The beer is light and actually refreshing. This was just "allright" for me. I wouldn't not drink it if offered, but it isn't going to be my first choice either.

TheodorHerzl, Oct 19, 2007
Photo of alexskovan
3.63/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy iced-tea-like amber with a big fine-grain head that was rock solid. Aroma is sweet and alluring, grains and fruit. Taste is round and full, tea-like, with a dry bitter finish. A very English sort of ale, with the malt out front and the hops in the background.

alexskovan, Oct 17, 2007
Photo of enki
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a dark reddish brown, with a very slight head, which ended with just a tiny ring of foam around the edge of the glass. Smells good, with a hint of chocolate that doesn't really manifest as much in the taste. The mouthfeel was strangely thin for such a dark beer. There was a hint of alcohol in the nose that I only ever notice in stronger beers (this was the 5.2% abv version). Taste was good, with an earthy background. Roasted and malty. Not an absolute favourite, but I would drink it again, especially if I could find it on tap somewhere.

enki, Oct 17, 2007
Photo of meechum
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured into a pint mug from a pint bottle..pours dark brown with red highlights forming a finger and a half light brown head that fell slowly leaving a nice lace around the glass

S - Heavy malts with a touch of roasted nut smell

T - Good sweet malt up front with light dry hoppy taste in the finish

M - Light but could be a little more carbonated for me..overall very good

D - Drinkability is high..a good balanced brew overall..I like it very much

meechum, Oct 14, 2007
Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap at G.W. Tavern in Washington Depot. Conn.

A: Pours a clear, reddish brown that looks much darker in this low light. A slight tan head fades to a spider's web lace just a minute after it was drawn.

S: Smells a bit nutty, but not too overpowering where it turns me off to drinking it. Nice malt sweetness with a little bitter hop noticed.

T: A squall of sweet, toasted malt, with a mildly bitter hop background. Not the best of balances, but tasty enough to order again. (and again).

M: Mouthfeel is light-bodied, which adds significantly to the drinkability. If this were a heavier brew, like Wolaver's brown, or some other Americans, I don't know that'd it'd be as enjoyable.

D: It's a sweet, tasty malted brown that goes great with the fall season, and could be quaffed well into the winter months.

Overall, a nice English brown. More full-flavored and complex in terms of sweetness than Newcastle, but a fine example of English styles compared to U.S.

Gambrinus1184, Oct 14, 2007
Photo of brewshakes
3.45/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this beer this afternoon after getting home from work. I purchased it in a mix six pack earlier in the week. It poured a rust color with a thin tan head. The nose was malt and roasted grains. The taste is pretty good, dry towards the end. All in all a pretty good English Brown Ale.

brewshakes, Oct 13, 2007
Photo of Homerbag
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this from a 1 pint can into my trusty pint. Pours a murky, copper red, with no light passing through. Has a thin foam head that is just barely there, but does not go away. Smells malty, some fruity and butter smells. Holy sweet. The sweetness of the malt attacks the tounge like few beers do. With that being said, it is not obnoixious. Mouthfell is good as far as carbonation goes, leaves a nice dry finish that invites another sip. Overall, a very well done beer. I wish I could have this from a cask in a pub, then it would be hard to beat.

Homerbag, Oct 11, 2007
Photo of pittvkyle7
4.38/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep brown with a little orangeish red coming through. White head that fades to a ring with just a little lacing.
S- Stong malts. brown sugar, toffee, chocolate, a little bready.
T- Wow great flavors. Again tons of malt, basicaly no hop untill the very end. chocolate, brown sugar, caramel, coffee, hazelnut, a little fruity too maybe apple I don't know.
M- medium body, creamy though, perfect for the style. It would be more smooth if the carbonation was lower.
D- low alcohol so very drinkable, also very tasty!

pittvkyle7, Oct 09, 2007
Photo of shadow1961
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wychwood Hobgoblin pours a nice stiff tan head over a brew which is quite
dark unless you hold it up to a light. The nose is toasty malt with a whiff of
herbal hops. The flavor is English Brown Ale all the way- big, mellow, and
toasty, with notes of espresso, butterscotch, and molasses, and a bit of an
herbal hop finish. Mouthfeel is round and full- though it's not as heavy as
the dark color promises. It's just a big, friendly, quaffable beer, just what you
want as the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer...

shadow1961, Oct 09, 2007
Photo of kkosmoski
4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

16.9 oz clear bottle poured into a Sam Smith Imperial pint glass:

Color is dark brown and clear with a cream colored head that settles down to just a covering after a minute. A very distinct and unique malt character in the aroma, including roasted nuts, toffee, chocolate, and maybe a hint of licorice. Flavor is dominated by the pleasing maltiness of this beer. Nutty, sweet flavor to start, followed by toffee and a hint of some darker roasted flavors. Just enough earthy bitterness to balance - barely even on the radar. Mouthfeel starts out a bit prickly, and fades down into a light-medium body.

This is right at the top of my list for an English Brown. I really enjoy drinking it as the weather is getting cooler and the leaves are falling in upstate NY-its my official Haloween beer! This is a very unique beer with some very interesting and pleasing malt flavors that leave you guessing through the session.

kkosmoski, Oct 08, 2007
Photo of Jonte
2.63/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is the version with 3.5% alcohol.

Reddish brown color. The color of the fast shrinking head is light brown.

Smells of sweet malt, caramel, and maybe some notes of toast and nuts.

The taste is sweet and malty with notes of caramel, chocolate and fruits. Some light bitterness in the finish. A bit thin and watery, but still quite good for a 3.5% beer.

Jonte, Oct 07, 2007
Photo of LittleCreature
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - 4.0
Poured two fingers of creamy beige head that reduced slowly, over a deep reddish brown body that looks to be quite still.

Smell - 4.0
Yum! This smells malty sweet, with other smells like chocolate, roasted grains, mild coffee, buttery and a vague fruitiness. Perhaps a tiny trace of grassy hops.

Taste - 4.0
Much like the smell, with heaps of malty sweetness, a rich, roasted grain flavour, raisins and a bit of cocoa. The finish is slightly bitter, with a little dryness, and the aftertaste is very smooth and pleasant.

Mouthfeel - 4.5
Although it looks still, there is a persistent light carbonation. Weight in the mouth is moderate to heavy. Almost creamy.

Drinkability - 4.0
This goes down really smoothly, and could definitely be used as a session beer (although I wouldn't want to at the price!).

OVERALL - 4.05
This is pretty pricey for a beer of 5.2% ABV, but is surely much cheaper in England, and it tastes bloody good, so was definitely worth the try. Smooth, malty, full of flavour and not too alcoholic, this is how a brown ale should be. Ignore the clear bottle, this is top quality stuff.

LittleCreature, Oct 06, 2007
Photo of Floydster
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle purchased from BevMo in Torrance

Had no idea what this was, just bought it because I am a huge fan of brown ales

Pour was medium brown with a 1/2 inch vanilla head

Smell was a little nutty with a good amount of malt, and a lot of sweet caramel

Taste was not as sweet as I though it would be, dry with lots of hops, but still very good

Could drink a couple of these, pretty heavy brew and kind of expensive for what it is

Floydster, Oct 06, 2007
Photo of CanuckRover
4.13/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slight prejudice, Wychwood is one of my favourite breweries, I enjoy all their beers.

Pours a dark, slightly opaque red, looks far more formidable than it actually is. Bark is louder than it's bite, everytime I pour it I wonder whether I have mixed it up with another beer. Nice big pillowey head that dissipates into a thin, but steady film. Good lacings.

Milk chocolate on the nose with dried fruit, you can tell right away this isn't for the hopheads.

True to the aroma, taste is just about all malt with chocolate and raisins to the fore. Bitterness is subdued and from the malt, not the hops for the most part. Because of the strong malt character, finish is lacking, but that's not a horrible thing. Instead it makes this incredibly drinkable for the style, leaving only a slight stickyness in the mouth, along with some roasted notes that just beg for more beer.

Certainly English and certainly tasty.

CanuckRover, Oct 05, 2007
Photo of Mryup
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

A: A deep reddish brown. Small tan head.

S: Malt with some nuttiness.

T: Very mellow toffee/chocolate maltiness. A little bitter and dry towards the end. Not complicated at all.

M: Well carbonated and medium-bodied. The dryness at the end makes it feel thin and anemic.

D: Goes down like grape medicine (if you're in to that sort of thing). Very nice.

Mryup, Oct 04, 2007
Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
85 out of 100 based on 2,212 ratings.