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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,276 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,276
Reviews: 1,034
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 71
Gots: 227 | 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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,276 | Reviews: 1,034 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Stephen63
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark brown body, head quite lively but soon dissipated.

S - Sweetish malts suggesting toffee, dark fruityness such as plums/prunes.

T - Malty and spicy, some sweetness on the palate. Somewhat subtle lingering bitterness. Improved as went down the glass.

M - Lowish carbonation, nothing too much else.

D - Too strong for a session beer but a second would be enticing.

Though not my favourite style, a satisfyingly complex brew. Have been noticeable in targeting lager drinkers (in the UK), challenging them to try "beer with taste". Good luck to them.

Photo of rohrbachsfan
4.45/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark brownish red. Very clear. Medium head.

Smell: Sweet malt, somewhat fruity.

Taste: Sweet malt with hints of toffee and caramel.

Mouthfeel: Creamy with smooth finish.

Drinkability: Enjoyable dark ale. Not too strong or bitter. Will buy again.

Photo of jeremiahjsmith
4.13/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - very clear. Brown like a strongly-brewed tea, with just a hint of redness around the edges. Long-lived creamy white head, with moderate lace.

S - clean biscuit and toffee. Slight damp earth smell. Not a ton of character overall.

T - everything an English ale should be. Smooooth (yes, those extra o's are intentional), simple, and finely balanced. Has a crisp maltiness and generous bitterness from some quintessentially English Fuggles or Goldings hops. Coffee and crackers/bread are the dominant flavors. Finish is mellowly bitter, with a touch of brown (cane sugar) sweetness.

M - the good carbonation tingles the cheeks and tongue. It's substantial, just shy of chewy.

D - definitely session material.

Photo of guinness72384
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Picked up a 4-Pk of this last weekend after seeing the article on BA.

Cracked the can open and poured it into a standard pint glass. Nice dark brown in color with a 1" head that died quickly. Smell is fruity and slightly malty with a slight odor of aluminum. Can definately detect some caramel in the beer as well. Taste is fairly weak...not very overpowering but a very good beer. Very, very smooth going down, not much carbonation. Definately a beer I could drink all night. To those who enjoy New Castle I would highly suggest trying this beer.

Photo of balconybrew
3.08/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured very nice amber-red into a nonic glass. Slightly cloudy. Nice creamy head fell rather quickly to a lacey rim. Fruity aroma full of citrus hops. A hint of chocolate and carmel. The body is fine for the style. I liked the mild finish. It's very drinkable.

Photo of ndekke39
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank this from the 1 pt, 9 ounce bottle. Poured into a pint glass. It's a clear reddish-brown with a tall tan head. Smells and tastes of heavy, toasted malts. Nice bitter finish. Features caramel and toffee flavors. Light-to-medium mouthfeel seems to fit with the flavors. Very pleasantly drinkable.

Photo of Graebner
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an orange-brown with little head that rapidly disappears. Almost no bubbles.

Smells like malty cake, caramel, spices, cider.

Taste is sweet but not thick malts up front, fruitiness (apple and pear) over the middle, and a drying roasted malt and somewhat hoppy chocolate-like bitterness as it finishes off. Quite dry in the finish.

Mouthfeel is ok. Seems a little too drying at the end, and I dont say that easily. Carbonation is good, perhaps slightly too high but not much. Drinks smoothly nonetheless.

Overall a decent beer, but not superb. It would be far from last on my list, but you can almost always do better. I might buy it again in a mix-n-match six pack or something, and I don't regret buying it this time, but I probably wouldnt buy a sixer of it. Worth trying, though.

Photo of BigBry
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ml brown bottle, embossed flying witch on the shoulder. Front label has a hobgoblin with a sword and quiver of arrows, as opposed to the axe weilding hobgoblin in the picture above. Best before date on back label.
Dark ruby / brown color, clear liquid topped with a slightly off white head. Foam does shrink, but doesn't totally disappear, thin lacing sheets left on the side of the glass. Smells of sweet malt with a bit of fruitiness coming through. The first taste is the sweet malt typical of a brown ale. Some chocolate and caramel flavors also. Slight citrus bitterness in the end, but not enough to call it hoppy. Good carbonation, body, and mouthfeel. Flavorful, easy drinking brown ale, but there are better examples with out the imported price tag.

Photo of mithrascruor
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16.9 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a dark amber-brown color; clear with a thick foamy head that laces the glass a bit.

Smell: Nice aromatic smell of caramel, spices, and fruits (such as apple).

Taste: The malty flavor hits first, with caramel, spices (cinnamon?), and a bit of nuts. Soon a slightly hoppy undertone comes forth to balance it out a bit. Aftertaste is a bit odd and bitter: tastes of apples, but a bit more like an apple core.

Mouthfeel: Maybe a tad lighter than medium-bodied, it's quite smooth and has a light, soft carbonation.

Drinkability: Drinkable with a balanced and good flavor (despite some drawbacks). Moderately low ABV makes it no problem to drink.

It has been a while since I last had this, and I remembered it being better. But then again, that was also in my early days of beer drinking. It's still a nice English brown ale and certainly worth trying. And hey, who can resist that cute hobgoblin on the label?

Photo of baxterbrew
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: Poured from a bottle into a pint glass with a thin head that dissipated quickly into some faint lace at top. The color is a beautiful ruby red, almost purple in the light. Crystal clear.

S: The smell is ok, malty with a hint of diacetyl.

T: Very little taste here. Hoppy on the back of the tongue, astringent.

M: THIN. I kept waiting for the complexity but it was never there. Very dissapointing.

D: It's drinkable, but I don't see the point. I had high hopes and just ended up let down.

Photo of jettjon
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the 500ml bottle with no date into a pint glass, a transparent ruby red pale color with scattered fine carbonation. Two-finger brown-tan head fades at a moderate pace down to a solid cap and ring and scattered lace. Nose of moderate malt, not much there. Solid malt flavor, nicely balanced against mildly bitter hops. Good bock-like character, not at all “sweet-ale” like. Mild coffee presence. Nutty, mildly bitter, and dry finish. Mouth is middle-of-the-road, leaning toward the substantial style, but still light and refreshing. Drinkability is good overall; it’s flavorful and refreshing. Easily sessionable.

Overall: A decent brown ale, beats Newcastle by miles, nicely drinkable. Still, hardly the best in style. Worth a try.

Photo of JohnW
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is heavily promoted in England, in the hopes it will persuade the usual "lager" drinkers to try something with more body and taste. Have to say - to my taste - it fails to impress in any way. It pours medium bronze, with little head at all. The aroma is sweetish and hints of spice and malts, also that musty sulphar smell from the "burtonised water." The taste reflects this, though has less body than expected, and fairly sweet and hints of spice (cinnamon and nutmeg?) but simply fails to impress, especially after all the "hype!" Seems just sweetish and bland with little real character. Wish I could think better of it, as the advertising is aimed at drawing folk away from the usual UK brewed "lagers" to trying real ale, but it sure would not work for me! Not to my taste at all (and same from bottle) can think of many UK 'bitter' beers far better than this.

Regret to say very disappointing, and would not have it over any other decent UK beer on hand pull or from bottle.

B'ham UK

Photo of longarm
2.42/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

While it has a deep clear amber color, it seems lighter than I would expect for a "dark" ale? Very nice initial carbonation and rocky head and sticky lacing. While nice, the carbonation fades quickly.

Metallic aroma. If I can get underneath it, there's a small amount of sweet malt that wants to shine. Underwhelming at best.

Flavor seems somewhat unbalanced with a rather light dose of sweet malt that attempts to carry the whole load. In this it fails, since it seems closer to water than a dark ale. While it doesn't have major flaws besides a minor metallic taste, I can't find something in here that excites. Light bitterness on the palate from darker malts appear as it warms, but these can't save the day. Decent aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is mostly thin. This may contribute to the dry and clean finish.

Not a scary hobgoblin of a beer, but I also won't buy it again. I tried hard to find something I wanted to notice and like again in this beer, but really couldn't wait to just finish and move-on to something else.

Photo of BretSikkink
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clearish brown color, persistent tan head in my seidel. Not a bad looking english ale. Weak sort of nose, smells malty, slightly caramelized.

Way too sweet for such low ABV. Lots of malt, slightly unbalanced. Warming finish, not bad mouthfeel but nothing special. I found the sweetness annoying and pervading the experience.

I did enjoy this beer for breakfast with heavily peppered eggs, wilted greens and chunks of bread and cheese. Not to seek, it'll do in a drought.

Photo of beveritt
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a 500 ml brown bottle into a Hobgoblin pint glass. I bought the glass and beer as a pair. The label depicts a evil little fellow, hunched over and holding a sword. The bottle is very cool, with raised witches and the brewery's name.

Appearance: Pours with a 1 inch off white head. This falls slowly leaving a lot of lacing on the glass and a thin coat of foam. The beer itself is a dark ruby/copper color, perfectly clear with lots of bubble activity.

Smell: Sweet, buttery malt with dark sugar, syrupy undertones.

Taste: Initally a sweet malt, with slight vegetal undertones. Slight citrus bite, but overall not much in the way of aroma hops. Finishes with a low to medium bitterness and piney, resinous hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: Average level of carbonation. Good body.

Drinkability: Good, easy drinking brown ale.

Photo of Daredevil
2.45/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

the label looks like this beer might be coming out of one of the Harry Potter books ... it pours lightly with a short firm head and offers a beautiful dark amber colour ... the smell is somewhat uneven: vernal flowers paired with sweaty feet .... taste is dominated by wet charcoal with a hint of lemon zest ... definitely not a masterpiece in brewing ...

Photo of mikesgroove
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep dark amber, pretty much brown with a nice one inch head that faded to reveal a thin film of lace. Nothing clinging to the glass, but not expecting it to. Smell was faint but nice. English malts and barley, nuts, oak, and grassy earthy tones predominate. The taste was pretty much what I expected, nice English Dark, well round and very sessionable, I could kick these back all night. Not the biggest taste profile but worth a try

Photo of Minkybut
2.78/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured beer from can into tumbler at 45 degrees. Beer was a cloudy brown dirty water color. Hoppy smell slightly with a tan thin head with thin bubbles. Slighly sweet taste with overpowering alcohole taste even though this is not a high percent beer. Decent lacing observed. Sort of Abbey tasting. I will not buy again.

Photo of Hampton73
3.2/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is my first try of this beer from a can. The bottled version is much better. I thought that maybe the can would have a nitro in it, but it did not.

Poured out with no head, just a creamy bubble ring around the glass.

The aroma is of English noble hops and sweet caramel malts, with raisins too.

The flavor is far sweeter than I remember from the bottles I have had before. Maybe too sweet. I will drink just one at a time.

Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy, with almost no carbonation.

Next time I will buy the bottle.

Photo of mattd017
3.28/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep dark brown with very little head. Has a very sweet, malty smell. Sweet, nutty, almost too sweet. Very thin in the mouth, like carbonated water. Not the best ESB I have had, but not even close to the worst beer. Probably would not buy it again

Photo of mmmbeer
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. brown bottle with no freshness date. It pours a dark reddish-copper with medium carbonation and a two inch tan head that leaves nice lacing. The aroma is malty sweet, almost sugary, with caramel and a light fruitiness (peach?, apple?, berries?). It is fairly full-flavored, with caramel, green apple,and leafy green/grassy hops that impart a mild to medium bitterness. The body is medium, smooth and coating, with a medium, lightly drying finish. Overall a good, solid ale, and I was happy to find one in a brown bottle - so much better than the clear half-liters.

Photo of rec
2.8/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Great lacing is a sporting feature of this dark ale, and the body is a brown copper.

Earthy and bitter hops are present in the aroma.

The taste is quite bland, a mixture of many things that don't seem to jump out. Toasted malt and honey sweetness are apparent, but not strong enough to distract you from the typical English Ale style.

It's not something I'll buy again, but was worth the taste-test.

Photo of theopholis
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance- Pours a nice, clear, fairly dark amber. About a 3 inch loose, whitehead that dissipates rather quickly but with decent lacing.

Aroma- Smells very clean. Somewhat grainy, some bittering hops, tho they are hard to smell. Some clean grassy notes in there to.

Taste- Not quite as sweet as some brown ales. Not as much molassas as you might expect either. Overall, it's not bad tho. Very smooth, like honey in a well-made mead. Not really to style, but it ain't bad.

Mouthfeel- Average body for the style. decent level of carbonation.

Drinakability- Not great, not bad. Not the best English Brown Ale out there, but far from the worst.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Now that this brewer is bottling in brown bottles I feel more confident buying their brews.
Pours a reddish dark copper with a creamy tan head that melts to sticky tan lacing.
Aromas are slightly amber malt, chocolate and coffee.
Taste is the amber malt with coffee and chocolate (not 'in your face'...just subtly there) and a nice hop bitterness on the end.
Mouthfeel is creamy and pleasant with a toasted malt and hop aftertaste.
Best English Brown I've had...ever.

Photo of penguinjive7
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark amber form a 12 ounce bottle. About an index finger of head that dissipates rather quickly with not a whole lot of lacing.

Smells very sweet and malty, quite pleasant actually.

The carbonation is just how it should be for this style and is quite enjoyable.

The taste is rather dry upfront, I thought, but is immediately followed by a nice sweet aftereffect. The sweetness is almost has the quality of honey in a way that balances the alcohol very nicely.

A very drinkable brew that is great for just sitting around at home with friends, or for a couple rounds at the pub. I wouldn't call this the best English Brown Ale out there, but it is definitely worth a go. I would definitely give this one another round.

Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
85 out of 100 based on 2,276 ratings.