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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

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

2,244 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,244
Reviews: 1,023
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.83%
Wants: 67
Gots: 194 | 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: 2,244 | Reviews: 1,023 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ChrisBuster
3.3/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark copper with very little head, what head there was disappeared very quickly.

S- Sweet a bit of fruit.

T- Mild hops taste, smooth with an earthy aftertaste.

M- Very light but not very crisp, still nice though.

D- Good would most likely have another.

Photo of tapman
3.18/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark, though slightly transparent, brown with red hues. Head pours 1 finger and rests at 1/4 finger for the duration of the brew. Looks like from the bottle, as this one is from the can. Still, could be creamier for me.

Fruity and buttery, but with a metallic hint to it. Sweet aroma, like dried plums and raisins. Hints of butterscotch and toffee. Very sweet, almost too sweet.

Taste is very very sweet. Liquid raisins with sugar, a mild undertone of dried fruit, especially a tiny bit of spicy dried apricot, but its just so darn sweeet. I'm sure the hops are bready, English, and delicious, but you wouldn't know from the s-s-sweet. For an ale made for a pub, I'm not so sure.

Mouthfeel is watery. The bottled version is not as bad, so I'm guessing this is one of the big reasons why you can get four cans for the price of two bottles. Ah well...

Not very drinkable, which is weird because I like Hobgoblin in the bottle a lot. Just isn't the same for reasons already discussed. (S-s-s-s-sweeetttt!!!)

Photo of gus
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is a very dark copper in color, with a off white to tan head that dissapated very fast. Some lacing on the sides of glass. Smell is of a low malt with a somewhat nutty aroma present. Taste was excellent, somewhat of a malty carmel flavor. Little or no bitter aftertaste. Very moderate in carbonation, drinkability is excellent, will drink this again.

Photo of drperm
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark, ruddy, and inviting

Aroma: Warm, enticing.

Flavor: 'Sublime, a hint of chocolate/toffee and caramel with a fantastic English hop presence.

Palate: Smooth and supple.

Overall: A brown ale that leaves Newcastle behind in the dust. Highly recommended. Try with a good grass-fed burger, or anything with mushrooms.

Photo of AlesALot
4.7/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

16.9oz brown bottle. (From other reviews I think the brown bottles may have been an improvement on stability.)
Poors out a dark chocolate brown with a thick light tan head.
The smell is of chocolate and caramel maltiness.
The taste is the same as the smell. The chocolate and caramel linger and don't readily leave the palat. Thick creamy mouth feel that makes this a pleasure to drink all around. Great beer, but $5 for a pint bottle from the packy is steep for any beer. I will look forward to my next one.

Photo of LumpyGuitar
4.33/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up on a whim, before I had had anything else from Wychwood, and I was profoundly impressed.

Appearance is a very solid, but clear, brown. Head dissapated fairly fast, within the first minute of pouring. Not as much carbonation as I'm used to. Definately the weakest field of this beer.

Smell was nice, malty, nutty, a tiny hint of something sweet. Not alot going on though, good but average.

Taste was great. A malty carmel with a tiny hint of something sweet, coffee would be my guess. Flavor was bittersweet, and lasted quite a bit on my pallate.

Mouthfeel was interested. It felt a tad thick to me, however it was smooth and went down well. Here the lack of carbonation was a good thing, and in retrospect I'm glad it had less, as this beer wouldn't be as smooth if it had more.

Drinkability is high. I'd recommend this beer with a dinner of say, stew or really anything beef. Definately rich so I wouldn't have more than a few at a time.

Photo of smcolw
3.55/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Crystal clear and dark amber in color. Light head which dissipates to a thin bubble layer. Spotty lace on the glass side.

Dark malts predominate the smell. There's a touch of "freezer" to it as well.

The initial taste has the slightless touch of sweetness. Afterward, it is quite dry. Astrigent and slightly bitter toward the end of the tasting. The aftertaste is mild with some chocolate notes. Moderate body with a high level of carbonation.

Bottom line: Pleasantly drinkable with some complexity.

Photo of GoreStorm
4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - above average dark brown. small and fleeting head. this is much darker that the previous times i've had this beer, and i prefer this level of darkness. this six pack came in brown bottles as opposed to the clear bottles i'm used to hobgoblin being in, i like this. also, the artwork from the label to the caps to the text on the cardboard are all very attractive.

S - malty sweetness with hints of nuttyness and something else...i think i'm storing this beer too cold and it would become more fragrant if a bit warmer.

T - solid here, malty sweetness with faint touches of chocolate, nuts and coffee. there are some very pleasant light bitter notes.

M - simple. smooth and sweet. goes down very easy.

D - this is a dangerous one for me personally, i could drink many of these in the course of a night more than a few nights in a row and be perfectly happy with it. this is a very solid, well balanced session brew.

Photo of goldenpeanut
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Arrived by friend in a 6-pack of amber 12 ounce bottles Just before Christmas. Kept in wine fridge at 54F until opened.

Pours thin and fleeting head over an exceptional, brilliant and clear, medium brown beer. The first disappointment is the aroma, oxidized notes dominated the malt. Expecting an oxidized flavor, we were pleasantly surprised to find the defect had not yet affected the palate. Malt dominates the flavor up front, with a sweetness and body that fades into a balanced finish with a slight lean towards malt, as opposed to hop bitter.

The use of a rational amount of sugar is evident in the clarity and mouth feel and flavor, however, this is not a cheap or improper use of an adjunct.

Flavor is malt and caramel with a mineral bite in the finish to accent the bitter hops. This is a malt beer as flavor and aroma hops are very low to non-existent. The aroma did improve on warming, currently 60F, but still somewhat oxidized and not really remarkable. Aroma seems to be its weakest point.

At or around 62F we both noticed a moderate diacetyl flavor in the malt, a defect at this level. The diacetyl was not unplesant as it was troubling. If its expressed this strong now, what will it be when the beer really warms?

At or around 63F the oxidized notes finally blew out with the carbonation leaving a caramel malt and sugar that was very pleasant. Worth waiting for. The drinkabilty was still very high with the diacetyl not getting in the way. the finish remained balanced.

With the end near our overall impression was: This was a bottle with slight oxidation. overlooking that, we felt the diacetyl was into the flawed level but not objectionable (this is a fermentation flaw). The flavor was very nice and represented a sophisticated recipe for this style. The bitter hops were appropriately used. The complexity of malts really blended into an interesting flavor and the use of sugar complimented this complexity. A good session beer if drank in moderation.

Photo of ChrisCage
4.55/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark brownish caramel with a reddish hue to it which becomes much more noticeable when held against a light. The thick foamy head dissolves rather quickly which wasn't what I was expecting but oh well I guess. Very mild carbonation was noticed which tells me that this will be a smooth one!

S- Kind of sweet smelling, but not an overwhelming aroma, but definately of malt. Maybe a little flowery or fruity could also describe the smell, but overall it's nothing outstanding, but not bad either by any means. It's just a tad mild to be anything better than average-ish.

T- This is one of the greatest beer flavors I've experienced! Nothing like I expected to be honest. Nice bitterness at the end, but not overpowering, a bittersweet chocolate/cocoa flavor, a nice sweet toffee/caramel characteristic that leaves an impressionable aftertaste for several minutes....very well balanced!!

M- This brew definately has a strong medium body to it, close to full but just not quite....however, this feels very good on the palate compared to other beers I've tried. Just like the look, the small bubbles give way to a rich smoothness that give way to a velvety finish.

D- Even though this is a fuller body than I'm typically used to, I would have a few of these in a row during a sitting, as this has such rich flavor, and overall I have to say that this is a very well balanced beer. I'm sure I'd have no problem filling my belly with a few of these, which they would definately do. A great meal brew, but I'd drink this on it's own any day too! Well done Wychwood!

Photo of Figgy
2.83/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This brown ale has good appearance and a decent smell, but the taste seems very uneven, with a slight taste of bananas but with an acidic bite to it. The color is a good solid rich brown and an average head. The acidic bite has a very slight metallic taste to it, although there is a rich base to it all. It is worth trying, but isn't pleasing to me.

Photo of RblWthACoz
2.88/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Starts off well, but fades fast. You get just a hint of a full bodied ale, but it drops off nearly immediately. Because it had no lasting power, I wouldn't go for it again, or recommend it for that matter. Beyond that, I can't really think of anything constructive to deliver to you.

Photo of Redwood21
3.48/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: I enjoyed the color and the head on this beer. The head starts out very rocky but dies off relatively fast, leaving some good lacing.

S: Very clean aroma, nothing off, but nothing that great either a little malty bread aroma but nothing strong or lasting

T: A tad nutty with a little sweetness its not bad not great. there is a little bit of bready taste as well.

M/D: Ok this is my big knock, i think it is too watery. im not asking for a syrupy thick goo, but this tasted immensely watery beer that needs a tad thicker touch, this does however make the beer very sessionable, but oh well cant have everthing

Photo of omnigrits
4.3/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a Guinness pint (imperial).

A. Dark brown with a thin head that vanished very quickly. No lace.

S. Lots of toasted malt with some floral hops mixed in. Definitely some nutty aromas in there.

T. Sweet toasted malts at first with a delicate bitterness around the side of the tongue and a subtle bitter finish. Not one of those sweet brown ales.

M. Medium-bodied and smooth with a gentle carbonation.

O. Still one of my favourite English brown ales. Well balanced and delicious.

Photo of BucBasil
4.13/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured from the 500mL bottle into the tall Hobgoblin glass. Pours a clear reddish-brown color with a nice 3 finger head that is off white.

Smell: Clean smell of dark fruits and light chocolate with some roasted malts. Aroma is somewhat faint though...

Taste: Luscious smooth taste contains chocolate and light toffee notes with a hint of balancing hops. I love the taste of this beer. This is something I'll be picking up again.

Photo of deanhead
3.4/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance-Nice brown Toffee like color. Poured a nice subdued head that lingered to the finish of the beer

Smell-Malty and toffee like, hints of chocolate, and caramel.

Taste- Nicely balanced. Malty with subtle hints of noble hops in the front. Finishes with a slightly mild chocolate, toffee-buttery note.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied in the front but finishes thin. Either way it is a respectable beer

Drinkability-Good beer, but not really my bag. I may try another in a few months and see if anything changes.

Photo of t0rin0
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a dark brown with a little redness showing through in the light. Fairly hazy but pleasant looking. It produced a 3/4" inch thick head. Nice lacing left in the glass.
The aroma was sweet and malty. Some caramel in the nose and no hops to be found. This holds true for the flavor as well. Very smooth and malty. Definately some crystal malts in there to give it that caramel-browness that it has. I didn't detect any coffee wich I thought was odd considering this supposed to be a brown ale. I would almost suggest that it is a dark mild ale. Anyway, it had a nice medium body and was quite drinkable.

Photo of TheTrevor
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer 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. I could imagine putting back quite a few over the course of the night if they served it at my local bar, it's a tasty beer that doesn't sit too heavy.

Photo of dsa7783
4.47/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Out of a 16.09 oz bottle which ran me $3.50, poured a nice, dark-reddish, slightly purplish color with a minimal head... Smell is captivating, almost stout-like, with a strong coffee / cocoa / and toffee aroma which grabs you by the nose... Taste is great... full of a slight chocolate and coffee flavor that is somewhat subtle yet noticeable... The great thing about this beer is that it goes down very smooth... It was a pleasure drinking it, with a good mouthfeel and easy drinkability... The second brew I sampled from the Wychwood Company, and I am not dissapointed at all... Tastes very similar to a stout, but with a less pronounced chocolate flavor... A really good brew, and definitely recommended...

Photo of foles
2.78/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This was an unusual one. Pour was really good, nice head, etc. Dark brown colour. Sweet caramel and fruity mouthfeel and taste, with a very slight medicine style twang.... I know this might be reminiscent of a english brown ale, but something wasnt right. Like an almost artificial taste. Not too bad I guess but not really for me.

This tasting will probably be a one-off, but i had no problem drinking it.

Photo of jdmorgan
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This interesting ale poured a rich, dark, amber brown from a 500 ml bottle into my glass.

The smell had aromas of malt, hops, and a subtle fruitiness. The taste had a rich toffee maltiness and a bit of caramel malt as well. There was a medium hop profile with hardly any harsh "bite". Definately indicative of a well-brewed beer. There was a little bit of a fruity flavor as well, evidently a by-product of the yeast used. The carbonation was medium and the consistency was medium/thick.

A good dark English ale. I enjoyed it's quality and volume, and would drink one again, especially with a hearty meal of meat and potatoes. ;-)

Photo of iceball585
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark reddish brown color, semi-transparent, thin lacy cover that lowered to a thin ring around the glass

S- Caramel malts, nutty, fairly sweet, hint of cocoa

T- Sweet, roasted malts, caramel, nuts, cocoa, some bitter hops

M- Medium weight, light carbonation, smooth, fairly oily finish

D- Worth trying

Definatly not my favorite brown ale but it's not too bad. Just not much auroma or complexity to this beer.

Photo of dirtylou
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, found in the garage fridge at home over thanksgiving...time for a beer after a number of glasses of wine

appearance: pours into a pint glass - fairly clear mahogany-amber body with a light beige head and very little lacing

smell: dry maltiness present, euro-skunk present as always, sweet and nutty

taste: actually a pretty good example of a style that i'm not terribly fond of...dry and malty, sweet and loaded with nutty traits, light caramel, touch woody - not too bad

mouthfeel: smooth and chewy

drinkability: good

Photo of TheBeerWolf
4.43/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours a dark amber with an eggshell head that doesn't stick around too long but laces the glass nicely.

S - Nice malty scent. Hints of chocolate and roastiness.

T - Initially you get a little bit of a bitter hop bite not overwhelming. There is a dry sherry like taste too its but very subtle and comes out more in the aftertaste. Just like the smell hints of chocolate and roasted malt. A kind of dark cherry aftertaste to it also. Very balanced.

M - The mouthfeel is medium not overbearing and not thing and fizzy, Carbonation normal to this style.

D - With all the above factors and with a 5% alcohol content this would make a good session beer. At least to me.

I think you have to like "english" styles beers to really enjoy this one. They have a style all their own. Overall I enjoy this one a lot and glad they are now in brown bottles. I had tried this beer a while back and it was skunky as hell. The bottle I am enjoying right now does not seem to have that problem. Awesome.

Photo of Nibbley
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a nice dark amber with little cream colored head that all but disappears.Good malty/bready taste with a hint of chocolate and coffee.Finishes with a slight hoppy bitterness.I would have no problem drinking these all evening long.
Also, is great with pasta and pizza

Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
85 out of 100 based on 2,244 ratings.