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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,335 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,335
Reviews: 1,050
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 72
Gots: 263 | 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: 2,335 | Reviews: 1,050
Photo of Bowdoinbeerboy
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours with almost no head or apparent carbonation, some carbonation, and beer is a medium brown color.

Smell- Butterscotch in the nose, very smooth smelling.

Taste- Slightly bitter with relatively smooth taste. Darkish mocha flavors that do not overpower with a pleasant bit from carbonation at the finish.

Mouthfeel- Feels a little thin but has better than expected coverage, really seems to explode onto tongue.

Drinkability- A solid english brown ale.

Photo of Biscuit033
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Reddish brown with a two finger cream head and good lacing.

S: English hops, metal, and a bit of toffee.

T: Chocolate, toffee, sweet cream, and some red berries with a slightly bitter finish.

M: Creamy with a crisp clean finish.

D: It is a good session but a bit to rich to drink all day.

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

500ml bottle into the same pint glass that it came packaged with.

Pours a clear dark amber with a couple fingers of dirty off-white head. Retention is GREAT, with a full, creamy layer across the top that left a huge latticework of lace. The aroma is a rich smelling malt sweetness and a surprising amount of dark fruits. I'm also picking up some light citrus notes as well as a light hop bitterness.

The taste is thick, sweet chocolate and caramel malts that's mixed with that same dark fruit presence that was in the aroma. It's not necessarily a tart dark fruit taste, actually giving off more of a sweet note that goes well with the malt. Finishes with some light hop bitterness that helps end things with a pop. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a full yet smooth feel.

The flagship beer from the Wychwood Brewery, I found this be a quite flavorful and easydrinking ale and one that is worthy of leading the charge against the rising "Euro Pale Lager" dominance in Great Britain.

Photo of erosier
3.91/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown color with a reddish tint to it. The head is a nice medium bodied tan color that laces the glass pretty well on the way down. A nice sweet malty base in the aroma with some sweet fruity aromas. Not much else in the nose, but it's kind of nice. The taste is nice as well. It has a nice sweet malty taste with some darker fruits, some nice nutty flavor, and then a short hoppy bitterness. The mouthfeel is very smooth and crisp which makes for a very drinkable beer as I drank the whole 500mL no problem.

Photo of AltBock
3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500ml brown bottle that has a label of a very creepy Hobgoblin. Not only is his/her appearance creppy, but the fact that this Hobgoblin is armed to the teeth. This Hobgoblin has a sword in it's hand, a dagger to the side, and arrows on their back. I didn't see the bow, but it had to be on them somewhere. I don't know why this Hobgoblin is so well armed, but it has to be up to no good. If you see a Hobgoblin that's this well armed, shoot it! Shoot to kill!! Anyway, the back label has all the usual US information, address of the brewery, and a brief description of the beer from the Wychwood Brewery Brewmaster.

When poured into a Heavy seas Euro style pint glass, this Hobgoblin is a nice cranbeery amber color with a lightly cream colored head of foam that was about 1/2 inch in height. This head of foam had good retention that left behind foamy cream colored rings and a few spots of lace around the glass.

The aroma of this beer was subtle with tea leaves, lightly toasted malts, a smidge of dark fruits, a spatter of regular dried bitter hops, and a small touch of sweet toffee at the end. The majority of the aroma was tea like. What can I say? It liked the tea.

The taste was slightly sour and dry with lightly toasted malts, malted tea leaves, subtle milk chocolate and toffee, a splash of coffee, and then the taste finished off with dried citrus/ floral hops. Although there wasn't much going on in the taste, but what was there was actually pretty good. It was pretty much above average.

The back label of this beer stated that this was going to be a full bodied beer, but itstead it was more like a medium bodied beer that contained a mild aftertaste of chocolate, toasted malts, and crispy floral hops.

Overall it was a nice well balanced English Brown Ale that i was glad that I finally opened. Although the goblin on the front is freaky, the beer behind him/her is quite good. I don't see why not why this wouldn't make a decent English Ale session beer.

Photo of Shadman
3.13/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

cool label..custom-made brown bottle...note brown...

starts out a very dark walnut brown. Cloudy/hazy with a very rich head that u might think u could float a rolls r on for a bit it's that thick. Doesn't retain that much though, and receeds to a thin cap/ring with some spidery lacing.

aroma wise a disappontment...some hints of greatess are present, but in my sample were muted. Certainly a low floral hop aroma here, but not much else.

Taste is buttery caramel right off the top, but moves into a nuty, then tea like bitterness/dryness all too quickly IMO.
Nit-picking, but was a tad thin and perhaps a touch too carbonated initially for my liking,

still goes down easily

A Good rep of the style... but keep in mind there are much better example available/

Photo of Proteus93
4.04/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A murky, iced tea colour... not much head at all, and whatever was there didn't stick around long.

S: Sweet, English malts. Candy sugars. Very pleasant and soft.

T: Like the smell... quite sweet malts. A bit of dark fruit esters as it warms. This is quite a nice tasting brew.

M + D: Moderate & easy going. Juicy & clean... very nice, and equally drinkable. Something I would personally find very sessionable, being so friendly. A little light in mouthfeel, but good nonetheless. No idea how this would compare to the experience in the clear bottles, as I can be a little wary of them, unless I feel confident in the general quality of the store carrying (and even then... ), but since this is a canned release, I figure I'll stick to that format.

Photo of giblet
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this beer pours an insane head. careful not to end up with all foamy head. excellent carbonation. nice lace in the glass. pleasant aroma - but lighter than expected. nice taste an mouthfeel - better than expected after smelling it. this is one that could be shared with people with a lighter taste. i would like to try this on on tap.

suckem up and movem out!


Photo of malty
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got my 500 ml DARK BROWN glass bottle in a tin tube with proprietary pint glass over Christmas.

Poured into new age bulbous Sam Adams glass. Peanut skin colored deep reddish brown with just a tad amount of tiny suspended particles. Visible fine and sparse carbonation uprising to keep the creamy dense light beige head alive. Great amounts of spattered globs of lace look very appealing to me.

A few swirls of my glass evoke a wonderful array of sweet toasted malts, milk chocolate caramel and macerated apples, plums & raisins all swirled together in a nutty fluffy nougat. Extremely fresh and blossoming scents!

The flavors of the dark fruits and toasted sweet malts translate nicely from the nose. The chocolate & nutty nougat pretty much end at the nose sensory though. More pronounced woody dry flavors are born, which counterweigh the dark malts nicely. A pleasant mix of dry, mild spice and sweet malts mingle with each quaff. The sweet malts have a quick ending, while the chalky dryness (and the woodiness) lingers to create an interesting long finish. It almost tastes a little smoky to me, but the flavor/s I detect are very fleeting in that department (?).

The mouthfeel is traditional English. Modest carbonation with a lighter side of medium body. Even though the carbonation feel low at first, it gently bubbles-up with a very fine bubbly texture.

Drinkability is great. With its light/med. body and attenuated carbonation, it's very easy to consume a few of these back to back, I imagine.

Overall a beautiful looking and smelling ale. The dryness & woodiness of this ale is impeccable. I'm drinking it cellar temp. (50ish F) to get a better perspective. I'm curious the brewery uses more hops to create this wonderful dryness I keep mentioning, or is it the malts/yeast that are responsible. Either way, I like the uniqueness and simplicity of this ale.

Photo of DmanGTR
3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mine came in a nice brown bottle

A - poured dark brown/garnet color body with a foamy 1 inch head that diminished after about 2 - 3 minutes, leaving trails of lace

S - malty, fruity, slight whiff of hops and chocolate

T - good hoppy taste with a definite presence of malts, mild chocolately sweet taste, although I would like the taste to be stronger

M/D - very smooth, lightly carbonated, good body yet light enough to wash over the entire palate and satisfy the taste buds

Overall - I found this to be a good session beer that is very drinkable. 1 bottle for less than 3 bucks (it was around 2.70 or something), wouldn't buy it every week but will definitely drink again in the near future

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

Contrary to the posted picture, this came in a dark bottle. That is always an improvement.

This poured dark brown, almost black. Nice almost white head. Good lace as well.

The nose is very weak.

The taste at first was bothersome, but after a little time, it mellowed out to a nice malt profile with typical blend of English hops; not real hoppy. The finish is somewhat strong but appealing. Pretty easy to drink.

Photo of steinlifter
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Came in a fancy type brown bottle, "Hobgoblin" on label.
Poured a medium ruby/brown tint, thin head which left broken lace down sides of glass medium carbonation.
chocolatey nose,with sweet malts, fruity whiff.
Nice tangy hopping up front,buttery toffee,and just a hint of chocolate.
Mouth is slick with lots of tangy bubbles.
This just "feels" like a good authentic English Ale to me....it has a great balance and is easy drinking with great quality...very nice!

Photo of thierrynantes
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer bottle (50cl), tasted in 2000.
Appearance : reddish brown colour, white foam not persistante, pretty little bubbles
Smell : chocolate
Taste and mouthfeel : fruity and sweet (plums and grapes), hoped
Drinkability : a good beer (style brown ale) from Wychwood

Photo of DavidSeanNJ
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up the !obgoblin gift set at one of my local stores. The set came with the bottle of hobgoblin and a nice looking tumbler. Poured a ruby red brown color, creamy head, some lace. Smelled of carmelied fruits, candy, and english toffee- maybe some prune mixed in. The beer itself was surprisingly sweet and fruity. Some ripe cherries came through in addition to the dessertish flavors of the cream and caramel. This was very drinkable and an enjoyable experience all around. Not too complex but absolutely refreshing and tasty. Nice brew.

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

pours a 2 finger head with good retention.

Smell is of caramel malts and tofee.

Taste is of caramel malts and toffee. Hop smell is almost nonexistent.

Caramel malt sweetness with a lot of toffee. Sample is slightly oxidized and I will try this again if in england. Citrusy hop bitterness cuts through the sweetness slightly.

Slightly creamy on the mouthfeel, but somewhat watery.

Not a bad beer, a decent brown ale that I would rink again.

Photo of avalon07
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The Hobgoblin had a middling brown color and a decent head that dissipated before long. Had a fairly thick consistency.

There was a sweet smell, with some sort of sugar making itself known. Also evidence of malts.

The taste was alright, with a mix of some toffee, a little coffee and hops. Not bad, but not strong enough in my opinion.

Had a nice mouthfeel with a good camount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a decent beer, but not exactly something I'd put down as a regular thing.

Photo of ChrisBuster
3.32/5  rDev -11.5%
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
3.22/5  rDev -14.1%
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
3.71/5  rDev -1.1%
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 -0.5%
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
4.65/5  rDev +24%
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
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
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 -5.3%
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
4.13/5  rDev +10.1%
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
3.59/5  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.

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Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
85 out of 100 based on 2,335 ratings.