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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,315 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,315
Reviews: 1,046
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 72
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: 2,315 | Reviews: 1,046 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Rayek
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep chestnut brown with a small foamy head. Head has OK retention and leaves bits of lace. A tiny amount of carbonation bubbles are present.

S: Very woodsy. Oak and pine scents dominate. Toffee and clove sit in the background.

T: More wood plus a bittersweet toffee flavor. Bitterness is quite acidic, but has a bit of cloves to it. Finishes very dry.

M: Medium body is both oily and syrupy. Carbonation level is right.

D: Unique. I'd need to be in the right mood to visit this again.

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

Pours a clear amber-brown. There was about a finger head with minimal lacing. You can smell the hops, malts, and a bit of caramel.
This is a decent tasting beer, not much of an aftertaste. It's mild bodied, and not too filling...would go nicely with a meal.

Photo of beerorRIP
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 'hobgoblin' tulip. Hard pouring yields a one finger, off-white, large-bubbled head that dissipates quickly. the body of the beer is rather dark; a deep red / brown color but is clarified well.

smell mostly of sweet malts. toffee notes, caramel, and some coying chocolate. not much hop aroma to speak of.

The taste is malty and sweet. the coying chocolate shows up, while caramels and toffee from the malts are abound. a touch of fruit flavor / esters here, but not nearly enough to stave off the malt sweetness. the earthy hops show themselves near the end with some mild bitterness to even things out.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied. Not to much carbonation stinging the tongue.

Overall, i beer i like quite a bit. I remember finding this one years ago... it was one one of the gateways to better beer. it was unfiltered (and in clear bottles no less) and a bit more raw. It has certainly become more 'mass produced' but it is still a good one for me. A good session beer when i'm hanging with the right group.

Photo of Jwale73
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a standard pint. Poured an opaque chestnut with ruby red highlights when backlit; no head to mention, only a thin broken skim of foam. Mild nose consisted of malt and toffee. Toffee/caramel flavors come out in the mouth, as well as an earthy character and some mild hops bittering at the finish; also detected the presence of spent coffee grounds towards the finish. Mouthfeel was medium-bodied and lightly effevescent with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Worth a try, but one was definitely enough.

Photo of PatronWizard
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Bottle says dark ale. Lo and behold, 'tis dark. Very dark ruby hued brown. Good looking head of frothy white foam.

Strong dark malts up me nose.

Theres a distinctive flavor or two. Probably come to me later like it always does. Mint leaves? Not real big flavor but enough to make it worthwhile. Ever so slight hop buzz at the very end.

Good feel. Has enough substance to be considered a beer.

Somewhat reminds me of New Castle - if New Castle grew some balls.

Overall: a decent brew

Photo of jackorain
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, clear mahogany eith a creamy tan head with some bigger bubble nestled among the cream. Recedes slowly to reveal a lace that crawls up the glass.

Smells of caramle and alcohol, some brandy notes come through.

Tastes like caramel and toasted nust and touch of alcohol, really good.

Light carbonation and medium body

quite drinkable.

Photo of treyrab
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass

A: Very hazy light brown with absolutely no head. The look of this did not surprise me, but no head?

S: Very sweet smell, some munich malt, almost a barley-wine smell to it.

T: The taste is also very sweet and matly. The sweetness hits your first, followed by a malty background. This tastes like a small barley-wine. East-Kent also in there perhaps.

Overall, an OK brew, nothing special, but really sweet.

Photo of Misfit138
3.38/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Dos Perros pint glass

A- Amber in color with a bubbly head

S- Mostly caramel, maybe some roasted malts

T- Caramel, hints of vanilla and a bitter fruit taste.

M- Moderate with fair carbonation

D- To me its just OK. I was expecting a little better. I don't really like its taste all that much so I probably won't try this again. The bottle it comes in is pretty damn cool though.

Photo of thekevlarkid
3.3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This dark English Ale produced a tan head when I poured it into my glass. The retention of this head was rather poor but it ring it left behind did lace decently. The brew was dark amber with ruby red hues. The aromas were sweet malt with almond and hazelnut undertones. The flavors were quite sweet approaching cloying, slightly tart at the end and lacking in enough hops to balance the malty punch. Slightly citric grapefruit flavors at first (the tartness) with the nuttiness in the middle as it warms. Mouthfeel was a little thin and overall this is ar ather unusual beer.

Photo of Dodo2step
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

P- an acquaintance shared a 20 oz with me.

A- a reddish brown toffee color. a light head rims the glass but nothing major.

S- toffee and malts. a sweet sugary aroma hits me. Some caramel as well.

T- sweet like brown sugar and malt vinegar. Toffee flavor as well.

M- creamy and juicy like biting into toffee candy. Warming and easy to pick up on the alcohol.

D- easy to put down and could drink this in a sixer. impressive! i would like to try some of their other brews.

Photo of Romulus141
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into the official Sam Adams glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark, caramel brown with an ample, manilla colored head. Small hints of red hue are revealed by the light. Healthy lacing is left behind by this brew. Quite nice to look at.

Smell: As I poured this beer, I was able to get a whiff of its aroma. A strong scent of malts and caramels, mixed with a slight floral flourish. There are also hints of toffee in the background, and the experience gives a warming feeling. This beer is very inviting.

Taste: The taste does not disappoint. Full bodied and hearty, the initial flavor is bitter, which gives way to a mild roasted character of caramel and malts. The finish is long, and a malty aftertaste lingers after my sip is done. The taste is not overly complex, and it is quite satisfying.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a good density. This is accompanied by a large deal of carbonation, almost a little too much for my taste. However, it is a minor complaint. The feel lives up to the smell and look of the beer.

Drinkability: The flavor is pleasing, the nose wonderful, and the ABV is average. That makes for an easy to drink beer that I would reach for all night, if it wasn't for the high price this fetches.

A great brown ale, and I recommend it.

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

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Clear reddish brown. Two fingers of light tan head form with excellent retention and lots of lace.

S - Sweet, caramel malt with just a hint of floral/citrus hops.

T - Very mild, but extremely balanced. Caramel malt comes on strong at first, but the brew begins drying out and tastes like hearty, dark breads. A touch of nuttiness makes an appearance near the finish before a taste of citrusy hops. Aftertaste is slightly bitter with an earthiness.

M - Moderate carbonation, medium bodied leaning towards light. I would've liked to have seen a slightly fuller, slicker body.

D - A winning session ale for sure. From the nose I was weary of some overpowering sweetness, but this beer remains very well balanced throughout.

Photo of RobH
4.24/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

16.9oz. brown bottle

I drank this one right after finishing a bottle of Monty Python Holy Grail. I chose the correct order to try both of these for the first time. It makes for a very nice 2-beer "flight", in that order.

A: Poured a nice dark copper/ light brown into a pilsner style glass held up to a late afternoon sun. Had a nice light brown head.

S: Wish I could speak to this; The head blocked the true aroma and I frankly just went right about tasting.

T & M: Nice notes of toffee/mild coffee and chocolate, with a balancing, slightly bitter tone from the hops that pulls through on the back. The mouthfeel is silky smooth.

Finish: smooth, silkiness leads to a balanced malt toffee/coffee 'sweetness' balanced by hops. The taste and mouthfeel hold on through the finish. If you like the flavor of this beer then the finish will draw you to another sip.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown with almost purplish highlights. The smell is pleasantly malty with a little hint of nuttiness. The taste starts off sweet with a little bit of malty caramel taste and ends up with a slight hops bite that is refreshing. The mouthfeel has a nice thickness and mild carbonation. To me, the big draw of this beer is its drinkability.

Photo of philbe311
3.56/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Big fluffy cotton ball like head... Brown and very still... Tea color... Coats glass well...

S - Malt, almond and a hint of caramel...

T - Nuts, biscuit, and malt... A tinge of rye... Very slight hops kick on the finish

M - Smooth, creamy, and refreshing, but surprisingly light...

D - Very solid and enjoyable brew... Goes down super easy... I could enjoy a few of these...

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

Consumed at McG's, Chatsworth CA on 07/19/08.

Dark garnet colored pour. Starts with a one finger light tan foam head when newly poured. Degenerates into sticky lacing.

Subtle aroma of nuts and darkish malts.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin and slightly astringent, though a wet/juicy character appears near the end of each taste.

Nut flavor from aroma is present as almonds on the tongue. Malt asserts itself strongly as an aftertaste. I detected no bitterness or hoppiness in this brew.

An easy drinker.

Photo of zeff80
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured a clear, burgandy/amber color with a foamy, small, off-white head. Left behind a little soapy/lacy residue.

S - It smelled earthy and floral with a caramel malt aroma.

T - This had a nice biscuity malt flavor with a subtle nuttiness and some bitter hop kick.

M - This was smooth, soft and somewhat creamy. A medium-bodied ale.

D - This is a pretty good brown. Maybe a little overpriced, but good.

Photo of cvstrickland
3.26/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500 ml svelte dark brown embossed bottle poured into its own Hobgoblin pint 'willi' glass yields a clear dark garnet body with active carbonation topped with a finger of loose ivory-ecru foam that retains at a broken sheet and leaves thin webby lacing on the glass.

Smell is a bit musty with earthy molasses with toasted pecans.

Taste is earthy and herbal with green fruit, black dirt, cloves and currants. A dry note of cocoa-laced, unsweetened ginger ale closes the show with just a tad of strong black tea-style astringency.

Weirdly spicy and thin-bodied, this isn't anything I'd want more than one of, but the Hobgoblin glass is a nice shape and definitely a keeper!Too bad I'm not reviewing the glass!

Photo of yemenmocha
3.42/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from BROWN bottle, not clear bottle.

Dark brown pour with thin, very light tan colored head.

Nose is the best feature of this ale. Has a faint brown sugary caramel component.

Palate is uninspiring with a dry powdered cocoa mix, mild hop bitterness, and tartness on the finish.

Photo of charlatan
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This particular brew enjoys widespread availability in supermarkets here in the UK. My bottle was brown rather than clear (a definite improvement) as in the photo, and as I recall from having bought one when I lived in the US.

Pours a pleasant dark tan colour with a minimal head which forms a very thin ring around my rim. I detect a rich fruity nose with hints of cherry and fig. Very well coordinated taste with a rich, slightly fruity malt start, and a pleasantly bitter finish.

Both the wife and I recall it being significantly inferior to our present take on it when we had a bottle five years or so ago in Ohio. Has it improved or doesn't it travel well or have our palates changed?

Photo of GoodKnight1220
3.52/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle to a Weizen glass.

Very nice redish brown pour with a one finger off white frothy head, with good lacing throughout. Good carbonation as the bubbles rose throughout.

Smells of malt and a slight yeasty alcohol.

Taste is smooth and frothy with a grainy malty flavor and the slightest chocolate roast fading towards the end.

Medium salavating mouthfeel with good carbonation, calling for another taste.

Could have 2-3 of these easily.

Photo of kjyost
3.61/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of bottle, and had a nice head that disappeared in about a minute. The beer appeared a little cloudy coming out

Nothing particularly worthy to note in the nose, in fact it barely registered in my nostrils. On a second whiff there was a bitterness to it

A neat and distinctive taste, there is a strong molasses-like aftertaste to the beer. I don't note the fruity character they claim on the label, but yup the toffee malt is certainly there!

I would considering buying it again, but rarely. I got it as a gift and have another in the fridge. This is a beer that you are only going to have 1-2 of in a night

Photo of Mikeus
4.35/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours with a rocky two finger head which diminishes to a frothy lacing after the first couple of sips. Dark brown until light hits to reveal a deep copper hue.

Smell: Almonds and biscuit, with an undertone of coffee and a pinch of nutmeg at the last second.

Taste: A nice baked malt hits the front of the tongue and evolves to a nice wet brown sugar finish with a lingering of hops mixed with a bit of chocolate. Feel is somewhat full and softly carbonated. Continue drinking and the yeast will make itself known with whipped butter and oil.

Final thoughts: A supremely drinkable English brown which doesn't fill the stomach or dry the mouth. Signature sweet biscuit English malt flavor is gracefully balanced with a clean hop finish. My favorite English beer to date.

Photo of Hoagie1973
4.37/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Translucent, but dark chestnut brown with a medium foamy head. Reduces quickly, leaving some stringy lace.

Very nutty and malty in the nose. Mild burnt sugar and a little dark bread.

Starts malty, but before the sweetness has a chance to settle on the tongue, a nice rounded hop flavor hits from all sides. A touch roasty overall with a little coffee-like bitterness in the aftertaste. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel is smooth and light bodied. Very subtle carbonation. This beer is flavorful, but not filling or heavy at all.

An excellent English Brown in my opinion. I could drink these 'till I fell down.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 5/30/08 at British Beer Company in Walpole, MA, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains caramelized malts, maple, nuts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is malty with sweet flavors of caramel, maple, honey, roasted nuts and a little fruit. There's a decent hops presence that provides a good balance. The after-taste is slightly bitter despite the sweet start.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a nice beer to drink for a while if your in the mood for the style and especially with a meal.

Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
85 out of 100 based on 2,315 ratings.