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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

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

2,108 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,108
Reviews: 1,009
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 63
Gots: 134 | FT: 0
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: 2,108 | Reviews: 1,009 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of timtheenchanta
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big rocky head with thin sticky lacing. Light reddish orange color.

Smells of dark berries. There's a hint of sugar in the nose that I would get occasionally.

Slightly bitter malty taste with hints of chocolate and toffee.

Good creamy mouthfeel with a smooth creamy palate that sticks around enjoyably. I'll have this one again.

timtheenchanta, Jan 30, 2006
Photo of plaztikjezuz
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a burnt amber with a beige head that falls into a slight lace.
the aroma is malty, hopsack, dates.
the flavor is rich with malt, a good bitterness, spicyness, hint of citrus, minerially, lingering hop flavor.
the beer is very drinkable. i would drink this year round.

plaztikjezuz, Jan 28, 2006
Photo of wingnutter
3.28/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a BROWN bottle - a nice dark brown color with a pillowy head. Smells sweet with a bit of toffee/caramel/nuttiness.

Taste has a spiciness to it along with some toffee notes. Zero bitterness. Northing spectacular here, but not bad either. Brown ales arent my favorite style but this one goes down really easy.

Decent beer, I wouldnt turn one down but wouldnt seek it out again either.

A non-offensive brew.

wingnutter, Jan 26, 2006
Photo of geexploitation
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is a good session beer, but not something I'd want for a special occasion. Pours with a nice head (with big, frothy bubbles) and a nice caramel color. The nose is filled with spicy, cookie fragrances. The flavor is a bit more bitter than expected, but nothing assertive. The slightly sweet malt flavor mixes with the unassertive hops to create something very mild and drinkable -- a brew that can be consumed in many pints over an evening.

geexploitation, Jan 22, 2006
Photo of crwills
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is the type of beer you could sit in a bar and drink all night. Good, not great, but good enough and better than most of what you can get on tap in normal Toronto bars.

Poured into my brand new Hobgoblin glass (woo!), a dark amber/brown with a thick, fluffy head. Looks like a pint should look.

Crisp, clean malty-sweet smell with no hint of bitterness. Taste is smooth and bready, and goes down very easily. Mild bitterness in the aftertaste, but just makes you want more.

I bet this would be better on tap.

crwills, Jan 21, 2006
Photo of rustymoore
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours flat with very little head...is amber, milk chocolate in color...smells of carmel, coffee, and chocolate are apparent...tastes somewhat watery but you can pick out the nutty flavors with chocolate and malts...I like this brown ale about most that I have had.

rustymoore, Jan 16, 2006
Photo of SteveO1231
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a bright dark amber/brown. Little to no head, mild carbonation and some nice lacing.

Very nice malty/nutty aroma. Roasted chocolate smells in there.

Thick syrupy texture, sweet chocolate malt flavor, nutty and earthy. Nice mild hop bite bringing up the back end. Very smooth and drinkable.

Nice brown, very balanced and drinkable.


SteveO1231, Jan 14, 2006
Photo of Sycodrummer
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had from the bottle from the Sunset Grill and Tap in Allston, Mass. Poured from the 22oz, clear bomber into a pint glass the beer was a mild dark brown color with about a half finger of just off-white colored head. Some small bubble of carbonation ran up the sides of the glass and some spots of lace clung to the glass throughout the sample.

The smell was dominated by a toffee and caramel aroma. Faint aromas of nut and milk chocolate were also there.

The taste was innitially sweet and malty with a slightly bitter after taste to each sip. Slight nutty bitterness with a toffee/caramel like taste as well. No real chocolate flavors (as the nose and label hinted at). Ever so slightly floral in the finish.

Medium body with slight but expected carbonation. Perhaps a little weak when colder, but gets slightly more robust at warmer temperatures.

This was an enjoyable beer and would indeed make for a good session. Nothing terrific stands out about it, but it also was not lacking in any key way. Enjoyable, but I will more likely than not stick to other (perhaps more local) examples of the style (i.e. Old Brown Dog).

Sycodrummer, Jan 11, 2006
Photo of HochFliegen
2.55/5  rDev -32%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a reddish brown color with a thin white head.
The smell seems lacking to me. There seems like a sweet almost musty like smell. Truly hoping this is not a sign of flavors to come!
The taste..hmm the taste. Not quite like the aroma but almost like it. Seems watery and lacking like...well what I didnt smell.
There is a slight toffee like malty taste much like the bottles boasts. However I didnt detect any chocolate or any other flavor that stood out. There was a bit of hops bitterness in there.

HochFliegen, Jan 09, 2006
Photo of masikon
3.03/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a transparent auburn with a light off-white head. Nose is pretty faint with butter and caramel sweetness coming through. Taste is not really what I expected, much lighter and easy drinking than I had envisioned with a soft flavor profile and somewhat fizzy mouthfeel. I'm pretty sure this bottle was at least partially light stricken because I'm really not finding much going on here besides a light malt sweetness followed by a puckering bitterness that I don't really think is natural. I'll have to come back to this if they ever start using colored bottles for export to the U.S.

masikon, Jan 09, 2006
Photo of doppelmeup
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Mine came in a brown bottle.

Poured into a pint glass. Medium brownish/tan color. 3/8 inch white head.

Bit of a fruity, hoppy aroma. Not skunky at all.

Slightly bitter, fruity,malty taste. A bit creamy. It seems like the beer is struggling to find a balance between bitter and malty.

Not a real clean finish, but better than some others I've tried.

Easy to drink, but not as smooth as Newcastle Brown Ale. GIven a choice, I'd choose Newcastle over this.

doppelmeup, Jan 07, 2006
Photo of allergictomacros
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm a little concerned about this one - smells a bit skunky, but with a clear bottle I don't know if I can even get a fresher one this side of the pond. After a few sips, the skunk goes away so I'm assuming this is a decent bottle.

Appearance: 500ml clear bottle. Dark, red-brown liquid with an inch head with medium retention, leaves a thin layer of foam on top. It really does have a beautiful colour.

Smell: Well, some skunk. Bit of grassiness, and some cloying malt. Molasses and alcohol finishes the nose.

Taste: Bitterness in the back doesn't stick at all - the finish is a touch of burnt toast. A little roasty with a caramel-ish flavour.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium carbonation. Feels nice, but not spectacular.

Drinkability: I imagine getting a good bottle is a bit of a crapshoot. But barring that, it's not a bad brew at all. I wouldn't mind another.

allergictomacros, Jan 01, 2006
Photo of Mitchel
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Firstly, the bottle is a little different than the average bottle that you see on the shelf (good one to keep or refill) and I am exceptionally fond of the Hobgoblin on the label . The beer pours a dark copper with a creamy head which holds on for a while. Nothing incredibly impressive here, but nothing shockingly bad. Smells like a buttery coffee with just a hint of molasses.

Hobgoblin is a smooth, malty beer. The hops are more than under control, but it still has a solid bite to it. Very light flavors could be the downfall of this beer.

It seems a bit thin though; it leaves something to be desired. The beer has good flavor, I just want more of it. I don’t want to have to strain myself to get a flavor profile. If you like light tasting dark beers, give this one a try.

Mitchel, Dec 28, 2005
Photo of wl0307
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml clear bottle. BB 30 SEP 06. Served slightly chilled in a jug.
A: dark ruby hue with strong brownish hint; nice creamy off-white beer head with decent retention; constant and moderate carbonation; looking healthy~~
S: semi-creamy caramelised black-sugary malts mixed well with lightly sweet berry-fruits and toffee-ish note, with a tinge of tea-leaf and herbal bittering yet semi-sweet elements of hops at the back. But some funky elements appear from time to time, maybe due to it's packaging--clear bottle?
T: toffeeish flavour upfront, developing in the mouth with stronger caramelised sugar and semi-sweet edge of nuts, gradually giving way to a satisfying black tea+licorice-kind of bitter-sweetness and moderate underlying dark-fruitienss at the back of the palate; balanced and pleasantly malty, with a lingering toffeeish and roasted nutty flavour in the long, moderately bitter finish.
M: medium-bodied and flavoursome, while the mouthfeel retains the smoothness throughout, allowing the subtle bitter-sweet elements to gradually prevail on the platform. Well-structured and deceptively quaffable!
D: this is a quality brew, something you don't want to drink too warm on cask; I know, it's a disaster as I've often suffered. You could still bump into a decent Wychwood tied-house somewhere in Oxfordshire, but for people out of that region this bottle is decent enough. Just curious: why wouldn't they consider using brown bottles to maintain a better consistency of the quality of this beer?

wl0307, Dec 22, 2005
Photo of PATECO
3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Wychwood brewery Hobgoblin Dark English Ale in 12 fl oz Brown glass bottle. Bought at Whole Foods Market in Coral Springs FL for $7.99 per six pack.

Cute Logo on the bottle got me to buy it. poured sort of heavy with small head of dense but coarse foam clear but dark brown in color, does not look natural. Sweet malty aroma with very little hops. Flavor starts sweet and goes nowhere, lots of malt, but does not evolve into anything else sort of bland. overall not a bad beer, better than many, but not a standout either. just ok to allright. Sort of what I would expect Anheiser Busch to make if they made a Dark English Ale. Not a star, but definitely quite drinkable

Don't think I would buy again,but will not have any problem finishing this six pack.

PATECO, Dec 17, 2005
Photo of GreenCard
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: light mahogany, good clarity, spongey layer of tan foam that slowly compacts and then forms a crown

Aroma: chocolate-banana cake, malty caramel, marcipan, hint of woodsy hops, hazelnuts

Flavor: light malt sweetness framed by a mild roast bitterness, bittersweet chocolate, slightly nutty, herbal hop flavor, finishes semisweet with a hint of almost burnt caramel

Mouthfeel: medium body, mild carbonation, soft texture

Other comments: I definitely prefer the canned version to the bottled one. If they used brown bottles, it might be a different story. Haven't found it on cask yet, though. All in all, it's a nice easy-drinking brew.

GreenCard, Dec 08, 2005
Photo of Finite
3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours very dark with a nice head which holds pretty well and ends thin and foamy.

This was a pretty standard English ale for me. Hints of pleasant malts. With dome burnt coffee and chocolate malts just poking their head in the mix. The aftertaste was a little bitter but fine.

Overall a pretty standard ale. Doesn’t really do anything wrong but it doesn’t try to push the envelope with what’s possible either.

Finite, Dec 01, 2005
Photo of oelergud
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very clear deep red body, low carbonation and a light tan head, moderate retention and lace.
Burnt coffee and mild hops in the nose along with some caramel notes.
Sweet malt with a little honey, burnt toffee and molasses. Goes slightly astringent before the aftertaste which is fairly long lived and lets the subdued hops come through with some grass and faint flowery notes.
Good mouthfeel, little to moderate coating. Sharp at first but smoothing out at the end. Lightly dry finish.
Pleasant and easy to enjoy. Good warm up for the heavier winter brews. Definitely a fall brew.


oelergud, Nov 25, 2005
Photo of danielharper
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from the BP in Five Points, Huntsville, AL.

Twelve dollars a six-pack? This had better be crazy good to justify that. Thankfully I only bought a single for now.

Pours a dark brown, almost-stoutlike color with a thin brown head that dissipates very quickly. I like the darkness with just a touch of reddish tinge at the bottom of the glass, but I'd rather have more and better head. (heh heh)

In the nose I get an astringent alcohol smell, with a bit of malt and hops for good balance. Not much to the nose, but what's there isn't all that pleasant.

Wow... that's actually a good-tasting beer. Doesn't even really taste like a nut brown, but rather a coffee stout. I get mainly a sort of coffee bitterness, with some maltiness and hoppiness to balance out nicely in the finish. A slight astringent quality upfront, but is mostly buried by the solid quality of the flavor. Very surprising taste, given other BA's opinions.

Mouthfeel is thin, but with enough carbonation to give it some bite. Average.

I actually find this quite drinkable. I still don't know if it's worth $12.99 for a six, but I'll probably buy a single or two every now and then. Nice beer.

danielharper, Nov 17, 2005
Photo of BeerBob
3.13/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Hobgoblin By Wycwood Brewery, Witney, Oxfordshire, England, pours a deep mahogany from a 500ml clear glass bottle with a pry off cap. Head of light tan foam went to about two fingers before collapsing to a full cover of fine foam with very thick lacing foam along the sides of my 26oz beer glass.

Nose is of caramel and chocolate. Palate is bitter thin chocolate and light sweet malt.

The level of carbonation adds to the overall mouthfeel, for a refreshing taste of Mother England.

BeerBob, Nov 08, 2005
Photo of Shaw
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Shaw, Nov 03, 2005
Photo of Backer2004
3.28/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Backer2004, Nov 03, 2005
Photo of kdog630
3/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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...

kdog630, Oct 30, 2005
Photo of buxwheat
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

buxwheat, Oct 28, 2005
Photo of FightingEntropy
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

FightingEntropy, Oct 22, 2005
Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
85 out of 100 based on 2,108 ratings.