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.

2,004 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,004
Reviews: 999
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 14.17%
Wants: 53
Gots: 96 | 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)
View: Beers (44) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Hobgoblin Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,004 | Reviews: 999 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brewQ


3.25/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

In the clear bottle or my glass, a good looking ale in "Royal Brown color". The aroma is malty, sweet. The taste is good, just less chewy and complex than I expected.

I found the finish to be just a light coat in the mouth. On the Label Roger Protz of CAMRA proclaims "packed with hops and fruit". Maybe it doesn't travel well?

Still, a decent session beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2004 21:36:10 | More by brewQ
Photo of shippos

New York

4.58/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

pours a clear light brown witha cream colored dense head. biscuity bready aromas, chocolatly and some flowery hops with a yeasty note in there as well. awesome mouthfeel on this, full of sugary malt and treacle absolutly fantastic. hops are in there but leave the malt to dominate this beer which in my mind works wonders. I've had this on tap as well and I'd say go for the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2004 16:15:16 | More by shippos
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An average beer all around. Hoppy, decent appearance but soapy bubbles. OK to drink if food around. Some citrus hop bite smoothed over by malts, carmel. Carmel colour. Some cocoa bittersweetness, roastiness Spot of nuts.. Medium mouthfeel. Decent brown style.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2004 20:01:48 | More by Sammy
Photo of Pegasus


3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Lovely clear medium amber color with a moderate offiwhite head, slight carbonation, and excellent lacing.

Aroma: Caramel and fruit aromas predominate, with lesser dark bread notes and quite subdued herbal hops.

Taste: Begins with a smooth and quite sweet caramel note which carries throughout. Late in the taste, coffee and bitter chocolate notes appear, followed by a lingering herbal presence. This slowly fades away as the last remnant of the taste.

Mouthfeel: Fairly full and pleasant, with no harsh characteristics whatsoever.

Drinkability/notes: Pleasant, overally, though I will admit that I was a bit put off by the over the top sweet caramel notes, which to me seemed excessive. Stilll, overall it is quite pleasant.

Presentation: Twelve-ounce brown glass Euro-style longneck; apparently the package has recently changed from the earlier clear glass bottle. Purchased at Whole Foods in Austin, Texas.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2004 15:55:41 | More by Pegasus
Photo of EagleTalon


3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a tan-brown color and thin foam head. Aroma is malty-sweet caramel. Mouthfeel is exceptional. Flavor is a balanced blend of caramel, chocolate and pale malts and noble British hops. Finishes slightly sweet and very tasty. This is good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2004 01:40:41 | More by EagleTalon
Photo of bronxlord

New York

4.58/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my favorite beers of all time. It tastes a bit bitter at first, but then that coffee/chocolate flavor kicks in with a little spice. The aftertaste is wonderful and rich. Its actually better as you get towards the bottom, maybe because its better when its not TOO cold. I would rate it as my top 3. A tasty treat for any beer lover.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2004 21:52:35 | More by bronxlord
Photo of elricorico

Alberta (Canada)

3.3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours reddish brown with a thin tan head. The head faded to a ring fairly quickly. The smell of this beer remind me very much of Sleeman's Honey Brown, like a lager but a bit sweeter.

Bit of coffee/chocolate in the taste with just a trace of hop in the finish. It is smooth and fairly easy to drink. Nothing to make this beer stand out from the crowd, but not a bad brew.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2004 03:24:43 | More by elricorico
Photo of Gueuzedude


3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pretty deep ruby-amber color that is topped by a creamy light tan colored head. The aroma is predominantly malty, with a deep fruitiness reminiscent of raisins and cherries, perhaps a bit of cough syrup as well. Quite light on the palate up front, which moves to a soft malty sweetness and the same type of fruitiness as in the nose. Actually this is pretty nice, it is easy drinking and is driven by the light maltiness and the ale-yeast derived fruitiness. Definitely a good session beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2004 17:02:30 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of aracauna


3.38/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber with a good head. Almost looked like it was nitrous poured. Dark caramel, apple peels and wood in the flavor and aroma. Nice flavor, but it was perhaps a bit on the thin and light side. I’m glad I got to try it on tap, though. I’ve heard some horror stories about the Wychwood clear bottles.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2004 00:54:57 | More by aracauna
Photo of Morris729


3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep reddish brown color with a short tan head that quickly fades into a thin and bubbly lace. Lots of sweet malts in the aroma along with notes of chicory. Moderate in body—a bit thin towards the finish. Taste begins with semisweet chocolate and a hint of molasses followed by some flavors of bitter day-old coffee and a trace amount of spicy hops. A nice beer but nothing special.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2004 00:38:06 | More by Morris729
Photo of Skidz


4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. BROWN bottle....yeah. No freshness date.

Pours out amber brown and sits light chocolate brown in the glass with a large foamy off-white head with good sticking power.

Smells of caramel, chocolate, hint of espresso/capuccino with a nice malty base. Light hoppy spiciness lies within.

Taste of malty sweetness up front with toffee and dustings of light chocolate. Mild estery build blended with a lifting sense of alcoholic presence. Nicely toasted malts and citric taste of orange peel in the bitter, hop controlled finish.

Creamy and full of life in the mouth, nice gentle carbonation eases over your mouth. Nice medium body with plenty of kick.

Very tasty brew indeed. Love the flavor profile and creamy body. Easily consumed in mass quantities.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2004 21:22:27 | More by Skidz
Photo of Guinness4me


3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Props to the label and bottle designers on this beer! It's creepy and it's spooky, but a fun beer that pours a dirty brown opaque with a soapy head.

The funky smell worried me at first; could it be I'm just paranoid of clear bottles? Once I gave into the funk, I could smell the caramel goodness that was soon to come.

The taste was warming and more alcoholic than I expected for a 5.5 beer. It was sweet and malty with a taste as dirty as it's appearance, yet not unpleasant. After the malt came a slight taste of green bananas.

The mouthfeel was standard for a brown ale and only added to the overall quality of this beer. It was a nice balance of carbonation and bitterness.

I think I could do some damage to this funky little beer. Hobgoblins beware.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2004 03:55:24 | More by Guinness4me
Photo of Frozensoul327


4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the most unique beers I have ever had. An array of different flavors ranging from floral to sweet to smooth earthy textures to dark chocolate flavors. Beautiful auburn colour and a dense, rich head. I honestly cannot say enought about this amazing brew. Highly recommended. Wish it was more available and not quite expensive. Nonetheless, it's worth it.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2004 00:40:47 | More by Frozensoul327
Photo of NEhophead


3.45/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

16.9 fl oz clear bottle.

Foamy off white head with little retention; a few groups of bubbles remain. Somewhat thin and spotty lacing with decent strength. A cloudy light brown/mahogany in color.

A mild malt sweetness; some subtle coffee and light chocolate aromas as well; also a hint of skunkiness (probably due to the clear bottle) very reminiscent of a Newcastle.

Hazelnut coffee flavors at first along with some chocolate hints: All a pleasant surprise. A mild bitterness and a mild coffee flavored aftertaste. A watery aspect that takes hold after the initial flavors and wipes out any additional flavors. Sadly, a let down after the initial first sip.

The mouthfeel is thin and watery; lacks some substance.

A lighter more consumable ale. All in all a let down IMO and not one I will return to.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2004 16:29:15 | More by NEhophead
Photo of oracle


3.45/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another beer I bought simply because I liked the way the bottle looked (although I know I should be leery of beer in clear glass).

Beer poured deep dark brown with very minimal head and the faintest hint of lacing.

Once again, the clear glass has proved to be detrimental to the smell of the beer. Beer was slightly skunky, enough so that I could detect no other smells.

One thing I have learned though. Usuallly skunkiness does not affect flavor. Big burst of sweet malt right from the beginning. No hops of any substance. Mildly fruity, mostly cherry.

Long drawn out finish that lingers just a hair too long.
Nice clean mouthfeel, even after warming up.

Get it fresh or in a bottle that's never seen sunlight and I think this would be rather good.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2004 02:32:10 | More by oracle
Photo of littlebibs

New Hampshire

4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

nice, creamy concoction from Wychwood Brewery, didn't care
for the skunked Scarecrow Ale but it was a nice bottle. This
dark brownish type ale has a nice smooth fruity edge to it that
I like, it warmed nice. Has a great head that lasts. If you're looking
for something different during these cooler October days this
is nice and smooth, malty and delicious. I also enjoyed another
English Ale (Pendels Witches Brew) Halloween themes going
on here, another treat, delicious and

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2004 22:35:12 | More by littlebibs
Photo of feloniousmonk


3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ruddy brown color, perfectly clear, with a nice, creamy layer of froth.
Nice aroma, for a brown ale/ English pale ale style, fruity, malty, light on hops, sweet, nutty, smacking of yeast, a bit.
Nice and tasty....wait, third time I've used that word, "nice"...bad monk, bad...but, it can't be helped, it's unflinchingly pleasant and, as taste now tells, palatable. No hops, thick malt, rich and round, mix of cherries, and grapes, with a distinct malty,...yumminess.
I'm liking this more and more, actually. Hadn't any clue, as my other encounters with this brewery were less than spectacular, or, at least, didn't live up to expectations raised by artistry and imagery....but this is pretty damned good. Easy to drink, packed with full flavor, medium bodied, long, fruity/nutty finish. I don't mind this little devil at all!

P.S., if it matters, this was from a brown bottle, not clear.
Although, I did see some of their other offerings in clear vessels at the same store...curious...

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2004 09:23:50 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of PorterLambic


4.33/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a dark, coppery brown, clear with a decent amount of light penetration. A small head develops that leaves some nice lace.
Smell is malt, chocolate, hops and caramel with a little green apple note.
Taste is dark chocolate, malt, honey, hops, caramel with a fruity note and alcohol at the end. Great complexity.
Mouthfeel is smooth, somewhat tangy, full-bodied with good, but not overdone, carbonation.
Drinkability is extremely high. Great balance and flavor, an absolutely superb English ale.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2004 02:37:05 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of henrysunset


3.3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

dark and somewhat cloudy, poured with a fine tan head that left serious lacing on the glass.

scent is pretty sweet and decently hoppy. mitterness is apparent in the nose. Definitely smells good but not phenomenal.

taste is a bit sweet for my taste. A lot of residual malts but the aftertaste is quite pleasent. Feels nice in the mouth with a little carbonation and a nice thickness.

It's tasty enough, but not somethign I will seek out again. The balance of bitterness and malty sweetness is too far towards the sweet end for me. if it fermented a bit dryer I think I would like it alot better.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2004 01:26:18 | More by henrysunset
Photo of baiser


3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark, almost opaque brown with a creamy tan coloured head which reduced to a nice thin film coating the top of the beer.

Smelled of roasted malts, caramel.

Tasted grainy, with a definite toasted character. Ends quite bitter and is pretty astringent. Really bitter for an English ale, but this is what I liked about it.

An excellent brown ale, but the style is more american than it is english IMO.

This is something I buy every so often.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2004 07:57:09 | More by baiser
Photo of connecticutpoet


3.15/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer is quite attractive... pours out a nice rich ruby red. There is not much head, but it is composed of small bubbles and it lasts for a long time.

The aroma is pretty good too... rich dark malts, with a hint of sweetness and a touch of mustiness.

The taste was not exceptional, though. It was bitter, which I liked... slightly fruity, also, but an odd fruitiness. There was a faint hint of sweetness. The alcohol of the ale was evident though, which I do not like unless I am going for something strong like a barleywine, which this is not.

The mouthfeel was a little thin. Overall it's not a bad beer, but honestly, one 12 oz. bottle was enough for me.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2004 02:21:22 | More by connecticutpoet
Photo of Sigmund


3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(500 ml bottle). Pours with a dark brown colour, low head. Aroma of malts and ensilage. The flavour has some maltiness, some bitterness - but lacks complexity. Cool bottle and label promises more than the beer keeps. Probably better cask conditioned?

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2004 22:57:15 | More by Sigmund
Photo of coasterfreak75

North Carolina

2.93/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour was a dark mahogany with a two finger head that slowly dissapated to a thin white lace on top of the beer.

The smell was that of a lager with just a hint of fruit in the back of the nose. Alot of skunk smell, also a trace of acidity.

The drink started with a kick of carbonation, no flavor, then the middle was a hint of fruit with some pronounced hops. The finish was grainy with a lingering aspect that I can't quite put my finger on. It's quite odd, almost bordering on metallic, but I didn't care for it.

All and all not a bad beer, but not a great beer either. The gift pack my wife got for me had two bottles and a pint glass. I thought the gift pack was pretty cool, but it's not a beer I'll run out and look for again.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2004 03:23:55 | More by coasterfreak75
Photo of IronDjinn

Alberta (Canada)

3.08/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Comes in a 500 ml clear bottle with the Wychwood insignia embossed 4 times around the shoulder. The best before date is clearly absent under the "best before/meilleure avant:" line on the back label. A nearly indecipherable stamp on the bottle's neck says something like Jan 05 (hey, I'm apprehensive at times about sampling from a clear bottle).

The beer becomes a very enchanting clear deep chestnut hue when held up to the light. It's capped by a large creamy, perforated beige head that settles to a ring. Chocolate, caramel, and toasted malt can be found in the bouquet, there is a definite sweetness to it, although mild. Light flowery hops are hiding behind that, although become sharp on occassion. The flavour really comes out once it warms up, a honey sweetness with toasted malt in the middle, herbal hops on the finish, and a return of the sweetness to accompany the hops on the aftertaste. There is an astringent character that lingers on after everything else fades away. The mouthfeel is a bit on the light side, but it rolls over smooth until the aftertaste becomes sticky and herbal. This ale runs the gamut from sweet to astringent, and is not shy about it. My lasting impression after finishing the pint has all of that sweet malt forgotten and has me feeling like I've been chewing on dandelion leaves all afternoon. Only one of these in a sitting for me, and perhaps once every blue moon as well.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2004 23:16:13 | More by IronDjinn
Photo of pootz

Ontario (Canada)

3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Came in another wychwood trendoid clear glass artsy labeled extravaganza clear bottle…..thankfully it was not skunked. Poured a crystal clear brown-amber with a smallish off white cap which reduces to a nice surface covering lace. Aromas are fairly pronounced…roasted caramel malts , grassy hops, some spice notes and a slight mustiness..nice nose to this brew. Starts with a large buttery mellow malt body…great burnt toffee tastes that give way to a wonderful licorice taste as the hops kick in…finish drops off rather quickly with the lingering licorice taste that hangs in as an after taste…..a nice brown ale…I love how they got the licorice effect with the hop/malt balance …but over priced and with the clear bottle there is a chance of getting a skunked bottle.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2004 22:54:09 | More by pootz
Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
84 out of 100 based on 2,004 ratings.