1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

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

2,063 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,063
Reviews: 1,003
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 58
Gots: 121 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Hobgoblin Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,063 | Reviews: 1,003 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Shaw


4.1/5  rDev +9.3%

I had a glass of this beer at my local pub, the Cock & Bull. I'd seen it in bottles for years but had never tried it. Two friends had had the beer at the pub before and recommended it.

This is a very fresh English beer. It has a bit of a hop aroma, which is probably extreme in the UK. The hop aroma carries over to a nice bitterness in the brew, which is balanced by good malt flavors.

This is one of the best English beers I've had. It is very drinkable and a beer to seek out for session drinking when you want something with a little more bitterness than the typical UK brew.

11-03-2005 04:24:02 | More by Shaw
Photo of Backer2004

North Carolina

3.28/5  rDev -12.5%

The best thing Hobgoblin has going for it is its serving size of 500mL for the same price as many other 10 oz. craft beer. Everything else is just so so. For its style, does not possess anything special, plain with litte head or lacing, no redeeming flavors or smells, and a just a tad better than avergae with drinkability (though not a session beer). The clear glass and lack of buyers at the palce I gfot it may have caused it to be a bit skunked. Don't plan to get this one again.

11-03-2005 02:30:13 | More by Backer2004
Photo of kdog630


3/5  rDev -20%

Poured a darker brown with decent head. Very sweet malty aroma with almost no hint of hops. Not skunky as pointed out by some reviewers, but this was in a brown bottle.

Very sweet taste also. No bitterness whatsoever. Really coated my mouth, like drinking syrup. I had trouble getting to the bottom of the glass because it felt so heavy going down.

I don't think this is one I'll have again. I've had one; time to move on...

10-30-2005 23:52:50 | More by kdog630
Photo of buxwheat


3.55/5  rDev -5.3%

First off just wanted folks to know that this brew now comes in brown glass. Label has changed, too (Hobgolin carrying sword if front of him). I have read reviews attributing skunkiness to the clear glass, none noted with this pour. If memory serves me well, I did not like this one the first time I had it (only bought a single in clear glass). Maybe it's the brown glass, but I really liked it this time around.
Poured a dark reddish brown w/ an inch of head that quickly settled to less than a quarter inch. Laced well. Had to sniff really hard to appreciate any smell: malty. Loved the taste: slightly sweet w/ a hint of hops. Finished chocolatety with a faint hint of licorice. Good mouthfeel w/ a lot of fine, fizzy carbonation. Could have easily thrown back quite a few of these. Wait a minute, I did.

10-28-2005 22:31:17 | More by buxwheat
Photo of FightingEntropy


3.8/5  rDev +1.3%

Hobgoblin is a dark brownish color with streaks of red when pouring. Head was thin, but present. Smell is good when pulling the glass up. Poured it too cold, so it had a bit of a bite, made the hop taste much more assertive and out of proportion for the style. As it warm, the malty, nutty taste balanced much better, smoothed the taste while leaving just enough of a strong taste to give it some edge. Growing up on the farm, we had hard water, and it has that flavor--which is a compliment. Compared to a standard brown ale, it has a good, stronger than category flavor that makes is enjoyable.

If it's on the shelf in front of you at the store, I wouldn't be afraid to pick it up.

10-22-2005 18:32:29 | More by FightingEntropy
Photo of becktone


2.1/5  rDev -44%

So I started walking down the long and winding road, my shadow was taller than my soul. I was tired from traveling all day and fighting dragons, ghouls, and all other sorts of monsters that show up in this middle earth. I began to look for a place to rest my body, sword arm and to grab a fine ale.

Lo, to my suprise I stumbled upon a tavern. The swinging sign which read, "The Aurochs' Homosexual Encounter," was partially coverd by the leaves of a deku tree. The place looked nice enough so I decided to grab a room and then a brew.

After washing the dragon blood from my sword blade and taking a nice bath I found myself in the common room. I bellied up to the bar and orderd a wing of a capon, I wasn't hungry because I had already eaten my Jolly Green Hero's Giant Food Ration for the day. I also ordered an ale. I asked the innkeep what ale he had, he replied that he had a fine craft brew entitled "Hobgoblin."

"By the prophecies of Nostradamus" I replied " I hath slain a hobgoblin today! I'll by a round for all my fellow warriors, warlocks, and wise men in the bar to celebrate my victory over such a whimpy beastling!"

As the innkeep poured I noticed that the reddish brown liquid gave off no scent. My warrior's sense told me something was amiss. It didn't feel like many tiny fireflies were flying around on my tounge as I drank it. This hobgoblin ale appered to be dead, it looked as if it hath sat in stonehenge for a least a fortnight uncorked. As I inspected the goblin piss further I noticed that it didn't even look like ale, It looked more like sarsaparilla. It's taste, as it were, was not like other fine ales I hath consumeth.

"It doth taste stale." I said to myself. "I shalt certainly not partaketh in such a vile ale ever again."

Later on in my travels I met up with one who called himself kinjushkeka, one of the rare and famed seers, wise men, and eunuchs from the mid east. When asked about the quality of this beer he replied only this, "Ale in clear bottle is no good idea. Is easliy transformed by great alchemist Sun/UV Ray to black rodent with white mohawk and terrible ass perfume."

10-15-2005 22:45:41 | More by becktone
Photo of DogFood11


3.8/5  rDev +1.3%

Poured into a pounder glass it forms a respectable head and sticky lacing. Brown body with some reddish hue.

I didn't pick up too much in the smell other than a sweet malt presence.

Taste was much better as it has a nutty characteristic that was pleasant and balanced by the slightly toasted malt presence. Yeast was subtle but needed.

This brew glides its way around the palate from start to finish. Milky mouthfeel and an oily finish. Drink one today.

10-10-2005 22:12:50 | More by DogFood11
Photo of dgallina


2.63/5  rDev -29.9%

Served from a clear 16.9 oz bottle with no freshness date. Nearly still dark copper color with frothy thin white head that quickly dissolves, leaving light lace. Metallic skunk and earthy, damp toasted grains in the nose; not good at all. Thin and sticky sweet in the mouth. Grainy caramel sweetness throughout, with a touch of roasted malts and hop dryness towards the end. Tin foil and skunk finish.

A very poor brew apart form the initial appearance. Doesn't leave me eager to try the breweries' other products.

10-10-2005 02:33:59 | More by dgallina
Photo of ReebShorts


3.48/5  rDev -7.2%

Dark Brown color, some light coming throught the narrower portion of the glass, 1 fiinger off-white head, tight bubble, faded to slight layer with island effect.

Pretty potent aroma was evident from several feet away on the pour. Buttery malt, spices, pine, and fig.

Taste was ok, malts were up front, and there was something earthy/grassy also. A bit too sweet and lingering for my taste.

Mouthfeel was a bit watery.

10-09-2005 23:22:15 | More by ReebShorts
Photo of NClifestyle

North Carolina

3.83/5  rDev +2.1%

is this really an english brown ale?
dark amber color, almost brown, large tan head, tiny bubbles, almost stout looking head, leaves a thin top on the beer.
sharp, tangy malt smell.
coffee/toffee taste, sweet malt, quick hop bite, and a tinge of hidden cherry in there later in the glass. lovely ale taste.
little or no carbonation, classic english ale.
medium, slick, glides over the mouth, i've always liked this beer.


10-07-2005 23:57:55 | More by NClifestyle
Photo of nortmand


4.03/5  rDev +7.5%

First, the key to this beer is getting the gift pack, which just came out at the liquor store. Other than that, on-tap is the only way to get this non-skunky.
Pours tawny browm with some off white foam and a tad bit of lacing.
Smell is creamy chocolate not much hop presence.
Flavor follows suit, but with a bit more creamed corn flavor.
Really quite drinkable, just not too exciting.

09-30-2005 01:59:11 | More by nortmand
Photo of Bonhoeffer


3.38/5  rDev -9.9%

A tad too sweet. Which i guess by definition makes it cloying.

Pretty representative of the style, as far as i've experienced it. It's just not a style that excites me very much. It has some body and flavor, but it's pretty bland as craft beer goes.

Preferable to all macro lagers. But not something i plan on revisiting again anytime soon.

09-26-2005 14:26:01 | More by Bonhoeffer
Photo of UncleFlip


4.05/5  rDev +8%

Looks pretty good...nice very light, clear chestnut-ruby colour. Off-tan head is very active, with a mix of tight to loose bubbles. Recedes somewhat slowly, leaving an attempt at lace that looks like it;s going down with the head.

Sweet smell- light and malty, with a bit of brown sugar, orange, yeast, and hops.

The flavour is a little round and fruity- but at the same time, has an element not unlike burned sugar, that hits sometimes at the front of the tongue, sometimes at the back. It seems a little too tangy for its own good at times- at others a little too fruity. Overall, it's not too bad. Not world class, but I rather enjoy this one.

The liquid is just a little thick, which is rather nice- and the carbonation, while obvious, is not overbearing.

Very drinkable, IMO. I wouldn't turn down a second one, anyway.

Be well

09-20-2005 03:23:24 | More by UncleFlip
Photo of garymuchow


3.63/5  rDev -3.2%

Aroma shows English style malt of some darkness with mild toastiness, slightly sweet. Not unpleasant.
Brown with reddish amber. Pretty clear. Decent head. Seems to look as it should.
Taste an extension of aroma with a fair amount of bitterness from mid to finish. Pleasant enough tasting, but not esp. bold, unique or interesting.
Seems somewhat thin with a water quality. Carbonation is fairly soft and balanced well.
Nothing really bad about this. Could do well with food I would think.
Thanks Mark.

09-03-2005 00:33:52 | More by garymuchow
Photo of Bestuurder

Ontario (Canada)

3.58/5  rDev -4.5%

Very dark, almost black, in colour with a slightly offset yellow head. Very thick head, though lacing set in very quickly.

Fairly pleasant aroma, though lacks the chocolate aroma that it so deserves.

Full taste, and thick mouthfeel. Chocolate is very descent and not overpowering. Taste is well balanced and fairly even.

You oculd easily drink three or four of these in a couple of hours, but begins to get heavy after a few. Really fills you up.

09-01-2005 03:52:19 | More by Bestuurder
Photo of fisherman34

Manitoba (Canada)

3.03/5  rDev -19.2%

Brown with some slight ruby hints. Aromas are of black licorice, rose, apple, and some soft fruit. The flavors are fairly malty, with some minor grassy hop notes, and some roasted malt and chocolate making a brief appearance. However, there is very little body to this beer at all, and not much of a finish to speak of. Overall, quite disappointing.

08-24-2005 16:31:56 | More by fisherman34
Photo of Golden2wenty1


3.35/5  rDev -10.7%

Picked up a single from Steve's Liquor here in Madison. 500 ml clear glass bottle with a cool curvy design, that clear bottle though...methinks it contributed to a skunky little brew here.

Pours a standard brown ale amber with dark garnet highlights, a nice tan head and some lacing. Smell is a little off-putting at first, adjuncty macro corn/Heineken skunk fades into caramel malts. Taste sadly does the same, skunky then caramel malts, maybe a hint of chocolate. Mouthfeel is crisp, body is a little light. Overall, the skunky Heineken aspect of this beer kind of drowned out the sweet caramel malty tones that I like in a brown. I can't help but think those damn clear bottles that British breweries love to use adds to this unfortunate characteristic. Has potential, but just didn't do much for me.

08-22-2005 21:49:23 | More by Golden2wenty1
Photo of Zorro


4/5  rDev +6.7%

Clear glass bottle from a fresh unopened case delivered to my local store. The owner allowed me to pick my bottle from the center so I am certain that I got this in as good condition as is possible.

Pours a deep clear brown ale. Held up to the light you see a wonderful garnet red highlighting.

Smell is big malt and British ale fruitiness. Other smells, a bit of grass, a trace of sulfur, and faint herbalness.

Taste is very malty and fruity from the very start. Dry in flavor there is a strong herbal hop flavor and a trace of butter. Fairly bitter in flavor there is also faint coffee flavor from dark roasted malt. A tasty ale in my opinion.

Mouthfeel is good.

A tasty and drinkable ale. This has a nice strong flavor that isn't fatiguing on the tongue.

08-21-2005 01:33:47 | More by Zorro
Photo of ppoitras


3.65/5  rDev -2.7%

12oz bottle from GCBrewingCo as part of BIF 20. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1" tan head above the clear dark amber brew. Head fades quite slowly, with excellent foamy lacing. Aroma is balanced of grains and hoppiness. Taste is light maltiness upfront, and as with the nose, well balances, but with a bit of an aftertaste that I can't put my finger on. Not off, but not exactly a benefit either. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both average to good, but could even be a bit better if the close was smoother. Nice brew nonetheless, which I imagine would be even better on handpull.

08-15-2005 23:22:07 | More by ppoitras
Photo of tgbljb


3.53/5  rDev -5.9%

Great lablel.Poured a reddish-brown color with a tannish puffy head. Smell is of malt (dark fruit-cherries, plums) and a hint of coffee. Taste is fruity malt with little hops noted. Finish is very light and leaves a mild malt sweetness in the mouth. Easy to drink.

08-11-2005 23:52:00 | More by tgbljb
Photo of niangelo

Alberta (Canada)

2.85/5  rDev -24%

Bought from Chateau Louis in Edmonton in the 500ml glass bottle, served in a pint-glass.

Poured a smoky ruby-brown with a little head... smells fairly skunky, but faints of once it sits for a bit. Mouthfeel is nothing special, a tad watery with some dancing carbonation.

Taste is initally a little skunky, but this fades immediately, leading to a solid malt feel with a toasted finish and dates in between. Nothing that really spins my cap. Too expensive, there's way better local stuff for cheaper.

08-07-2005 05:40:24 | More by niangelo
Photo of Redrover


3.35/5  rDev -10.7%

500 ML Clear glass bottle. Love the label and the raised design on the bottle, hate the clear glass part…. No freshness dating.

Beer pours a clear reddish brown with a lingering small tan head.

The beer smells of slightly toasted malts and some fruit.

The taste is slightly sweet with hints of fruit (apples) and just a bit of roasted malt. Turns a bit sour late. Low but noticeable hop levels.

I like the low levels of carbonation. Average enough drinker, but I would prefer something a bit more complex. I wonder if this one is better if it didn’t have to make a trip across the pond. Perhaps a road trip is in order?

08-05-2005 00:57:14 | More by Redrover
Photo of battlekow


3.28/5  rDev -12.5%

A nice mahogany, maple syrup color. A little ring of foam is all you've got for a head for most of the glass, with spotty lacing. Smells malty and little raisiny. Taste is really sweet, malty with some prunes. Finish is a little roasted. Weak, dead mouthfeel. Nothing to see here, folks.

07-30-2005 03:31:15 | More by battlekow
Photo of Higravity


2.6/5  rDev -30.7%

What a unpleasent little English beer. Nice label, about the best thing about this beer. It comes out of a clear bottle and into a IMperial pint glass. Pours like water and looks like a standard brown and I got a ok head of off white fluff. After the head sank quickly I was smelling the beer and it has a slight sulfur smell that distract from the decent malt. Drinking it is somewhat of a challegne as it is yet another slated British beer, not too bad like Sammy Smith's but I think the sulfur smell might come from one of these. The hops are pleasently mild and the malt was not too malty and I am quite sure there was some adjuct sugar used in making this. At least this beer is thin so I could chug the rest. Don't bother with this beer.

07-22-2005 12:52:50 | More by Higravity
Photo of mortarit

North Carolina

2.83/5  rDev -24.5%

Appearance: Hazy medium brown with and small,mostlydiminishing, tight head.
Has marketing abilities with the label name.

Smell: Malt sweetness is most dominant among aromas, but I also detect, chocolate, caramel, earth, cherry and grape. Slightly metallic though it carried the english style.

Taste: It has a slight initial english taste that fades to reveal a flavor that follows the aroma with malts being in the forefront, but no real noticeable hops backing it up.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, watery texture, very low carbonation.

Drinkability: Overall, it was good… but bland. It started out alright, but finished off rather lacking in character. Don’t think I’ll be having this again, especially considering the price.

07-22-2005 05:01:20 | More by mortarit
Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
85 out of 100 based on 2,063 ratings.