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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,007 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,007
Reviews: 999
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 14.17%
Wants: 53
Gots: 97 | 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)
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Ratings: 2,007 | Reviews: 999 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of Suds


3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this one on cask.
It’s a deep brownish-red color with a thin tan head. Very low carbonation, nice malty aroma, chocolate, subtle hops, caramel. Hints of fruit in the first sips, then the beer turns to a nutty, mildly malty taste. It’s a smooth, creamy, and has a very soft, restrained finish…balanced with English hops. It’s extraordinarily drinkable. I could have countless of these. Still, I’d be leery of the bottle, I’ve had mixed results with this brewery and light-struck beer.

Serving type: cask

07-04-2004 02:01:53 | More by Suds
Photo of cokes


3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz *brown* bottle.

Pours to deep amber under milky cream.
Nose full of earthy tobacco, buttered carobs, and brown sugar.
Enters with that sub-chocolatey carob impression, then sweetens dramatically. Caramel nougat, raw sugar, and toasted honey. Earthiness enters midway. Buttery but not obnoxious (as this was when I last tried this in the clear bottle). Soddy, sweet maltiness lingers. Ends herb bittered and fruity sweet, not unlike raspberry flavored iced tea.
Medium-built and glossy.
Perhaps a bit sweet for mass consumption. But this is much better than I recall.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2004 19:39:08 | More by cokes
Photo of revdrjbob


3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

An interesting English ale. The label says "Exrta Strong Ale", but at 5.5% abv, I beg to differ. Not sure on it's shelf life considering the clear bottle. Poured well, a nice thick creamy head that dissapated quickly, to exhibit the usual thin English example. Aromas of chocolate, dark sugars and a slight hoppiness. Tasted good, reflecting the aromas, and additions of malt and hop in the finish. A fine English brown ale, easy drinking, a perfect example.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2004 01:41:47 | More by revdrjbob
Photo of Hunter


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

Love the presentation…the uniquely shaped bottle depicting a witch, the label depicting a pointy-eared goblin wielding a bloody axe…it speaks to an old AD&D aficionado (yes, I admit it). The clear glass is worrisome, particularly for one living in AZ where the sunlight has often ruined a Sam Smith’s for me.

The beer is deep red and clear, like a gemstone. A thick pillowy head boils out of the pour and has stamina. No carbonation, but you don't expect it in an English ale.

Hops, toast, and sweet malt in the nose. Reminds me of a freshly poured Bass from the tap. The label promised some chocolate but I’ve yet to catch a whiff of it.

Smooth, satiny mouthfeel. The chocolate malt makes an appearance near the end but is more a tease than anything else. Otherwise, it’s all about the malt. Finishes fairly clear, with the taste of peat and light smoke lingering. This is a nice beer, but there’s little here to distinguish it. I certainly wouldn’t turn one down, but I wouldn’t complain if you snagged the last one.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2004 16:40:23 | More by Hunter
Photo of chugamugofsud


3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This was served in a 1pt.0.9fl.oz. glass and poured into a pint glass at around 40 degrees farenheit. The beer poured thinly and left litte or no head other than some carbonation bubbles that quickly popped. The beer was a dark brown; however, it was thin despite being so dark.
The smell was chocolate with slight hints of coffee and wood (potentially oak?) and was one of the better things about this beer, sadly.
The taste was a little bit sweet and chocolatey. It is hearty; however, there are really only the two or three major tones of taste (chocolate, coffee, hops) and very few undertones to this beer. The overall taste is disappointing.
It is not very consistent in the mouth, having a sedimentary like consistency of chocolate; however, it drinks relatively smoothly on the whole and I was able to finish the bottle despite the disappointing taste. Go for a different brown ale unless you like candy water.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2004 17:06:28 | More by chugamugofsud
Photo of cypressbob

United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)

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

500ml bottle

Pours with a light brown, dark amber hue, half decent head, with a fair bit of retention

Smell is sweet. Malty with a touch of hoppy aroma, but very little

Taste, very dry and malty. There is a chocolaty warmth, a nutty taste and aroma. Almost no hops to speak of though.

Had another bottle, and when this beer aint skunked its not bad, a fairly drinkable little brown ale, some toasted malt flavour

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2004 22:41:22 | More by cypressbob
Photo of CAMRAhardliner

Ontario (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This beer is great but why the clear glass bottles? Ive had several of them and some have definitely been lightstruck and skunky.
The color is dark copper. The head is off white with great retention and a spiderweb of lacing sticks around. The smell is fruity malty nutty and nicely bitter, with hints of diacytl. Taste is a little hoppy up front with a nice firm bready malt base. There are also great fruit esthers and even perhaps some port notes. The finish is quenching and quite dry.
the delicate carbonation makes for a very lucious mouthfeel. The flavors are very well balanced and not too intense in any direction making for a highly drinkable ale.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2004 19:13:11 | More by CAMRAhardliner
Photo of chriscolby


2.8/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I bought a six pack of dark brown, 12 oz. (355 mL) bottles.

The beer pours a clear amber with a "one-finger" head. It smells sweet with almost no hop aroma or malty tones except for a hint of dark grains (I'm guessing chocolate malt, but am not certain by any stretch). Flavor is sweet with light hop bitterness; mouthfeel is disappointingly watery when cold but improves greatly when it warms to proper ale-serving temp.

There's nothing in this beer that stands out as substandard -- but it really doesn't show any character that stands out as better than average, either. A solid, if uninspiring, English-style ale that would make a decent session beer.

Be sure not to serve this ale ice cold; let it warm to proper serving temperature (around 50-55 °F) or it will just taste like alcoholic iced tea.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2004 02:39:58 | More by chriscolby
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a red/brown colored beer with a nice head with usual british ale retention, i.e. not much. Carbonation is below standard and aroma is great with a mix of orange and caramel. Taste is quite refreshing with again a nice mix of sweet orange and caramel. The finish is quite dry. Overall, I would qualify this one as a good but not great English ale.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2004 18:56:45 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of maek228


3.3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer was a dollar more than most quality six packs, so I'm expecting it to be in the upper tier. That being said, let's crack the bottle and try to find if this beer is upper tier or not.

Appearance- A dark brown. If I had to expand on that I'd have to say it had an amber tint to it.

Taste- Big-ass spectrum of taste from the Hobgoblin. Comes on real real sweet at first, with some coffee overtones. Kinda like weak coffee w/ a healty dose of sugar injected into it. From here there is a smooth transition to some light hops that somehow manages to slap a bitter taste in your mouth. After this, your mouth feels like it's coated with a oily lubricant. You feel like you ate a bag of fat free Olestra potatoe chips.

Mouthfeel- The initial taste burst is nice, so is the hop kick....but I'm not to sure about the bitterness, doesn't fit the beer. A big negative for this beer is the nasty Olestra coating that is left in your mouth.

Drinkability. The beer is tasty, but it leaves your mouth feeling funky. Not a beer I would want to drink more than a couple of at a time. Still though, it had a nice complicated taste, but it's finish left me unsatifisfied.

My recomendation for this one....worth trying for sure, but not worth $9.95 for a sixer

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2004 06:17:00 | More by maek228
Photo of BeerAngel


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

The appearance is a dark tea-like color with hints of amber and wearing a nice frothy cream-colored hat. The smell is slightly twangy malt and grain with mild hops in the background. The taste is a malty smoothness with earthy grains and light hops that make this beer go down relatively easy. This is a medium bodied beer that finishes a tad sweet. Fairly solid brew! Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2004 04:30:08 | More by BeerAngel
Photo of Doiv

United Kingdom (England)

4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark ruby in colour, with a quickly dispersing white head leaving a thin film for the remainder of the pint. Lacing is good.

Aroma is musty, coffee/chocolatey, malty and a moderate amount of hoppiness. Slight pineapple scent aswell.

Taste is ashy, stouty, caramel and toffee, chocolate, and hoppy. Very smooth and heavy, goes down a treat.

Would be tough to have more than three in a session, but great nonetheless.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2004 09:10:19 | More by Doiv
Photo of kbub6f

New York

3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

There's 1cm of light, beige, fine, dense, bubbly head. Spotty lacing. Clear, dark, dark, red-brown beer. Smell is nutty, a little smoky and shows some dark fruit. A fruity front. What is that: berries? grapes? Dark caramel, burnt middle. It's a little sour and a little watery at the same time. Quite bitter in the nutty finish. This is a nice enough, fruity, roasty brown.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2004 23:17:22 | More by kbub6f
Photo of ark57


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

It pours a ruby-brown color. The aroma has some chocolate and subtle hops. The medium body is smooth and malty with chocolate, caramel, and a nuttiness. It finishes with some citrus and floral/grassy hops. It almost reminds me of an English Pale Ale.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2004 18:36:59 | More by ark57
Photo of ADR


4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An oddly shaped embossed clear bottle. Dark brown and clearish, deep orange highlights. Head settles at 1/4 of an inch and is lightly speckly. Thick concentric rings mark the lace on the glass. Dusty carob-like smell, rich in quality. Lighter body but very smooth in presentation, front-to-back. Pleasant, lightly cocoa flavor, honeyish, tending toward the sweet. The balance is actually quite good -- English floral-like hops do have a role mediating the finish. Aftertaste is nutty with a light sense of peach. A quaffable Ale here, I'd buy it again.

Source: Liquid Solutions

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2004 16:32:52 | More by ADR
Photo of WaltTrombone

New York

3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of my Valentine's present was a Hobgoblin Gift Set, with 2 bottles and a Hobgoblin Imperial Pint. Of course, I had to drink it from the glass...

It poured dark amber, with a fluffy off-white head. Aromas of grapefruit, malt, faint chocolate. Tastes were chocolate, malt, maple (where'd THAT come from?), and grapefruit. A smooth, thin mouthfeel kept things extremely drinkable. It finished dry, with grapefruit and leather.

Very tasty, one of my favorite brown ales! (so far...)

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2004 17:39:13 | More by WaltTrombone
Photo of SaunaKing

Ontario (Canada)

2.3/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

not too keen on this stuff... decent copper appearence with minimal head. Smell is very sharp, not really my thing.

A thin watery taste is not what you expect from a beer that looks like this but that is what you get. Flat, dull, sterile nothing taste.

Could be that the style does not suit me but I really dont like this beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2004 06:30:11 | More by SaunaKing
Photo of Southernbrew


3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with a smallish head.

Aroma is full of chocolate and coffee with an additional hint of sweetness.

Nice full body, very smooth, like liquid silk. Lots of sweetness at the start, but nut and slight chocolate flavors begin to show later. Slight bitterness as well.

A nice brown ale that's worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2004 02:56:05 | More by Southernbrew
Photo of SeanChouffe

New Mexico

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

Presentation: Clear 500ml bottle. Cool label and bottle cap.
Pours a deep brown /red color with light carbonation and an off-white creamy head. The head diminishes, but leaves a fine layer and some sticky lace. The aroma is of malt, light hops and is a little tart (astringent). The taste has a light sweetness in the start, a citrusy middle and a mild hop finish with some smokiness lingering. The mouthfeel is light and creamy with a little carbonation and a lingering hop (astringent) bite. This beer was better than expected, and just got better.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2004 03:13:13 | More by SeanChouffe
Photo of merlin48


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

1 pint.02oz bottle with cool Hobgoblin label. Pours a red mahogany that is very clear in the glass. Small, beige head quickly fades into slick and collar lace. Aroma is caramel with a hint of floral hops. Mouthfeel is well carbonated, but very light bodied. Taste begins with active carbonation, leading into tart fruitiness. Toffee and malt flavors then take over. Some hops add some light floral and fruity notes, and the finish is dry and mildly bitter. A very average offering, overall, and seems lacking in body. Feels watered down, at times, and seems like something is missing. It's a very smooth ale that is quite drinkable, but just doesn't have enough character to make me want to have another one.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2004 22:54:34 | More by merlin48
Photo of Beersignal

Quebec (Canada)

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

Dark hazelnut accented by ruby and caramel highlights, this beer poured crystal clear. Sandy tan head had medium staying power and left a trace of irish lace on my glass. At first smell, malty and slightly hoppy... but suddenly! Bananas, and other fruits laced with rum. Like a tropical fruit salad spiked with spiced rum. Carbonation was too light (my fault I think... kept swirling my glass to stimulate the release of that wonderful smell) and felt weak on the tongue. Medium bodied and initially silky mouthfeel gave way to a mild mineral grittyness. Taste was malty up front but quickly balanced by a firm bitterness accompanied by citric flavours in the middle and end. Drying resiny finish leaves a long after taste.

Pleasing beer with some of the signatures of the style which I will most likely purchase again one day if only to reaquaing myself with those hypnotizing aromas.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2004 15:33:06 | More by Beersignal
Photo of SheepNutz


4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Half-a-liter bottle poured into a Hobgoblin pint glass. It pours a very dark ruby red color with two fingers of foam. There is a good amount of lace left over. The smell is fairly grassy and malty, it really smells like an oktoberfestbier. There is a little hop aroma present as well. The taste full of sweet malt and caramel at first, then it is a little grassy in the middle. The finish is slightly sweet, but has a zing of hops as well. Fairly well balanced. The mouthfeel is just a little light, but very smooth on the tongue. The drinkability is fantastic. A few pints of this wouldn't be a problem at all.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2004 02:40:52 | More by SheepNutz
Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
84 out of 100 based on 2,007 ratings.