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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

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

2,105 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,105
Reviews: 1,009
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 61
Gots: 133 | 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: 2,105 | Reviews: 1,009 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tavernjef
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Stained crimson glow. Skimpy, baggy, blanched ivory crown. Narrow collar keeps and light skeletal lacing clings.
Vapid aroma of stale graham cracker crust, flat vanilla abstract, and obtuse cocoa.
Flavors usher in a bland and empty front with a mild dark grainy malt. Slow middle with common and infinitely inadequate roast barely reaching the surface. Eases off slow and gradual with a bit more huskiness building with a exaustingly soft effort into a rounded out tameness of roasted grains. Slender sweetness sticks a bit. Slightest of slight hints of vanilla and hazelnut dust sit underneath.
Clean and firm mouthfeel with only a partail carbonation keeping a lighter airyness about it. Tender on the palate but has a slight chalky gracing and softly airs out with a scantly small drying tone.
An average typical English Brown drinker thats altogether bland and boring with meager but acceptable flavors and body to get ya to finish the pint.

tavernjef, Jun 08, 2005
Photo of karst
3.23/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured copper brown from brown 12 oz bottle with unreadable date printed on neck. Aroma very unpleasant- saying horseblanket would be too kind.Redeeming taste of rich malts with faint coffee and bitter chocolate. Some diacetyle but correct for style. Nice hop bitternes in aftertaste. Slick mouthfeel. I would suggest trying a single bottle.

karst, May 28, 2005
Photo of Viggo
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear red/brown, nice carbonation, holds it and laces well. Smells malty and fruity, very pleasant. Has a fruity taste that I really enjoy, sweet malty backbone, slight alcohol taste and taste of maybe its dark cherries. Smooth carbonation and goes down easy. Definately a session beer, I really enjoy this one for everyday drinking.

Viggo, May 25, 2005
Photo of horndecker
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A coppery red brew, with a quick off-white coarse head which left little lace.

The first aromas are of grass and caramel, with a floral smell developing soom after. As it warms there are hints of leather and earth, then something funky and not too pleasant. Hard to pin down, but maybe old fruit would characterize it.

The taste starts nutty and toasty, with chocolate and a bit of fruit. It's got nice body, pleasantly smooth, and finishes with a quite mild, dry and hoppy bitterness.

A nice brew, but there were aspects of the smell that disappointed.

horndecker, May 09, 2005
Photo of woemad
2.9/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane for $1.65.

Poured a dark brown with amber highlights. Modest, off-white head that dropped quickly, though there was a halfway decent amount of lace and a foamy collar.

Wasn't much going on in the aroma department. Mildly toasted malt, very minor brown sugar and very mild raisin aromas. Kinda weak.

Taste was a little more interesting than the smell. The brown sugar taste was a little more dominant. Still, this is a very restrained brown ale. I think my last Newcastle had more character than this, and that's kinda sad.

This is the most light-bodied brown ale I've ever had. It's far more watery than it has any right to be. Carbonation is there, but it's very mild, like the rest of this beer.

This is a brown ale that is scared of it's own shadow. It's incredibly meek. If it doesn't run and hide from you in the beer store, there's not much point in picking it up.

woemad, May 08, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Perfectly pellucid orangish bronze. The hobgoblin's cap is light beige with a hint of orange. It isn't the typical brown ale appearance, but more closely resembles a robust English pale ale. The head looks respectable enough, stays for a spell and leaves a few arching streamers of lace. Okay, but nothing special.

Surprise, surprise; I received a blast of skunk when popping the cap. It hasn't completely faded, but then the beer has only been breathing for a few minutes. Hobgoblin smells nothing like a brown ale. Dark ale? Maybe. I can appreciate moderately toasted grain, dark fruit and... lingering skunk. Sad to say, this beer isn't that far removed from what Bud Dark (please, may it remain a figment of my demented imagination) might smell like. It's better than that, but you get the idea.

Even though there's more flavor and more personality than the nose suggested there would be, this is still only so-so beer. Dark caramel/toffee is the dominant flavor with a little hoppy spiciness for good measure. Mildly sour dark fruit is present as well. Unfortunately, the flavor profile lacks even a modest amount of complexity.

The body/mouthfeel is light (I might be convinced to call it light-medium given the style). I have no doubt that the lack of flavor, the lack of depth and the truncated finish are due, in part, to the aqueous mouthfeel. Definite room for improvement.

I've stayed away from Wychwood beer until now for a host of reasons, clear glass bottles foremost among them. Overpricing is another. The bottles are well done with an attractive shape and embossed witches on broomsticks; as are the colorful, cartoony, Tolkeinesque labels. It has always looked to me, however, that the brewery is trying too hard, putting more emphasis on the packaging than the beer. Now that I've had my first bottle, I can't say that I was that far off the mark. I take back what I said about Bud Dark, but I have no desire to go hobnobbin' with this hobgoblin again.

BuckeyeNation, May 04, 2005
Photo of beersarang
2.53/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a brown with a nice head. Promising appearance, nice brown.

Smells yeasty, metallic. Yegh!

Tastes a little odd, yeasty, skunky, metallic. I can't put my finger on what went wrong with this beer. I might have to re review.

Thin, watery, light carbonation. Does not do it for me...

beersarang, Apr 29, 2005
Photo of abcsofbeer
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a twelve oz bottle with no fresh date, but a stamp on the neck that may be it. It pours a rosewood, dark color that is very clear with no carbonated bubbles present.

The head is tannish and thin, only about one finger that dissipates quickly. There are traces of lace. The aroma is kind of grapey, like a sweet white wine. There are other hints of fruit present along with some grassy overtones.

The taste is kind of bland with no tingle of carbonation at all. It almost tastes flat. It is kind of fruity. The aftertaste brings up a slight bitterness on the palate. Also, a slight toffee, malty bitterness as well.

abcsofbeer, Apr 27, 2005
Photo of Tballz420
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Damn, a brown ale, not my favorite style. Nevertheless, This brew is a brown bodied brew, big bubbly cream head results from a nice cascade show. Lots of rising bubbles. The scent is mainly sweet caramel malt, some butteryness to it as well. Quite rich taste, chocolate and sweet caramel malts. Some nutty and buttery notes, slight hop bitterness. Not a horrible brown, but these beers just dont do it for me.

Tballz420, Mar 27, 2005
Photo of Stimack
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was able to try Hobgoblin on tap last evening. The color was a dark brown amber with a nice sized off-white brown head that broke down and left a haze over the brew leading to lacing through out. The aromas from this brew were very malty with a fairly heavy concentration of caramel with a noticeable scent of hops. The taste is very smooth and is dominated by malt, which tends to be on the sweet side. Can notice some fruit like flavors that complement the brew nicely. Also can notice a nice hop like taste at the end of the sip. Overall this is a very nice brew, one that can be a session type brew with its nice taste and medium alcohol amount. Much better on tap than from the bottle IMO.

Stimack, Mar 16, 2005
Photo of Opethsprite
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This English Ale poured buckeye brown with exceptional clarity and a thin, short-lived head. It smells like intense sweetness in the malt--brown sugar, perhaps.

After the tingle of carbonation and hops comes an extreme chocolate-caramel flavor. It's tasty, but it lacks balance until the ash-y finish comes to round it out.

A very enjoyable beer!

Opethsprite, Feb 26, 2005
Photo of Hibernator
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single Hobgoblin 12 oz brown bottle this evening. In the past whenever I have seen this beer, its always been offered in a clear bottle. As the bottle states, this is an imported English Ale from Witney, Oxfordshire, England.

Pours an attractive shade of brown. Some nice light brown highlights.

Whiifs of malty sweetness. Pleasant to the nose.

Taste is reminding me a of strong, nutty brown ale. I like the sweet and chewy malt presence here. Buttery caramel smoothness with a noticable hop snap.

Hibernator, Feb 07, 2005
Photo of claytri
4.35/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The ale poured a thick opaque reddish brown with thin tan head. The aroma was light but smelled of sweet malt and dark fruits. The taste was very appealing it was truly sweet malt with a great cherry finish and a strong alcohol burn throughout. It's feel was thick and syrupy almost medicinal. I normally avoid beers with the most fanciful names. So I found myself in the Intermezza Cafe in Atlanta and the selections lacked a little umph. This ones promise of chocolate malt fet my thoughts and so it was ordered. I was pleasantly surprised as it was quite a treat.

claytri, Feb 04, 2005
Photo of DrJay
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Very clear reddish amber colour with a thin, light brown lacing of head. Retention was modest and stickage was minimal.

Smell: Good combination of caramel malty sweetness, rich fruity esters, a light roastiness, and earthy hops.

Taste: Fruity sweetness that reminds me of dried fruit and apples. The bitterness is subdued, but builds nicely at the finish once the sweetness gets out of the way. The finish is quite nice with a mix of sweet fruitiness, balanced bitterness and caramel.

Mouthfeel: Medium/low carbonation and medium bodied. Texture is quite smooth and nicely done.

Drinkability: Overall it's a little too sweet and earthy. Not bad at all, but a bit more bitterness would balance it nicely.

Clear 500 mL bottle with best before date stamped on the rear label.

DrJay, Jan 31, 2005
Photo of FenwaySquid
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 1 Pt. 0.9 Fl Oz clear bottled poured into a hobgoblin pint glass.

Appearance: Beer poured a deep brown color with a good head that dissipated slowly to a lace sound the rim of the glass.

Smell: Rather malty with hints of chocolate. Pleasant.

Taste: Again, a very slight hint of chocolate, but for the most part I detected a roasted malt flavor. Some hops thrown in there too for good measure on the finish.

Mouthfell: Very smooth, not too complex, though.

Overall: A most enjoyable beer and a great example of the style.

FenwaySquid, Jan 30, 2005
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clear, dark chestnut body reveals glimmering highlights of orange beneath a short but creamy head of ivory colored foam. The head retention is fairly good, and it holds well before dropping to a standard collar and whispy surface covering that leaves minor spotty lace about the pint. The nose reveals dark fruit (plum/prune, red grape/raisin); a smear of buttery diacetyl; an edge of iron-like minerals; and a dusting of dark chocolate. It's smooth and light across the palate with a delicate carbonation and medium-light body. The flavor is not as rich as the nose might suggest, but its lightly vinous fruit appears first on the palate, followed by some light notes of toffee, and some mild diacetyl and leafy hop in the finish. It's quite well balanced, and the bitterness simply balances what not-particularily-sweet malt is there. It's interesting, and has enough character and drinkability to make it a decent session ale.

NeroFiddled, Jan 26, 2005
Photo of Mark
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Finally got around to trying this beer which has always aroused my curiosity. While English ale is my favorite genre of beer, I hate clear glass bottles and that's what probably steered me clear up to now. Beer poured a deep amber, head retention was good but there was no lace at all. Sweet malty aroma also had hints of chocolate.
Sweet malts, toffe and chocolate seemed to dominate the taste profile. Fruitiness came out as well as the beer warmed. Hops were subtle. A decent enough beer but not in the same league as Young's, Fullers, or even some Sam Smith beers that we get here in the States.

Mark, Jan 21, 2005
Photo of Quaffer
3.2/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16.9 oz. bottle. Picked this up in KC, MO. Not available here in Wichita.

Appearance: This one came in an uniquely shaped, clear bottle with a menacing looking goblin on it. He is walking through the streets of a medieval village wielding an axe drenched in the blood of macro marketing execs. The beer itself was an amber, crimson color and was crystal clear, except for the small amount of sediment that I allowed to escape from the bottle. No chill haze at all. The off-white head rose up to a little over a finger. It was dense and took quite awhile to dissipate. A think ring of foam remained around the edge of the glass, but there was no lacing.

Smell: A very light aroma. Vague impressions of roasted malt and fruit were about it. A very dry aroma. As the beer really warmed, there were hints of hops and the fruitiness gained strength, but it was all still very subdued.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied and slightly buttery at times. A little watery at other times. Carbonation was definitely present, but didn't cause any roughness.

Taste: Hints of fruit, but mainly comprised of roasted malt, a muddled hops bitterness, and a sharp astringency. It dried out almost immediately and remained that way. Very dry, overall. I wish I could say more for the flavor, but that was it.

Not a bad brew, but rather ho-hum. The dryness did make it fairly drinkable.

Quaffer, Jan 16, 2005
Photo of aquaderek
3/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a brownish red color with a head that dissipates quickly to a lace on the glass. The nose is malitness with grainy nunances. A suprising lack of taste here, I get some sweetness with maltiness, the mouthfeel is like watered down club soda and I could drink few but not overly impressed. I like the goblin on the bottle though!!!

aquaderek, Jan 08, 2005
Photo of Billolick
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear bottle, pours faintly cloudy, nice toasted almond color, nutty, malty nose, leaves well dispersed lacing. Malty British brown ale, lots of malt evident, moderate sweetness, balance is the British way and this one is a nice example. Nicely rounded mouthfeel, smooth finish. Fine sessioner.

Billolick, Jan 06, 2005
Photo of BDTyre
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good "brown ale" that is copper in colour. Good white head that doesn't disappear completely.

Smell is faintly malts, a bit nutty and toffee-ish. Taste is similar. Good bitterness, slight sweet, fruity tastes. Metallic bitter aftertaste, not terrible.

Good drinking. This is something I buy every year, especially around Halloween.

BDTyre, Dec 31, 2004
Photo of apintofknowledge
3.03/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I had gotten rave reviews about this beer, and even see many such reviews here. I was looking forward to trying what one friend deemed his all-time favorite.

I was surprised to find the beer came in a clear bottle (I’ve always understood that light is the enemy of beer). Not a good sign from the start. I poured and found the medium-light brown color somewhat lighter than expected. The aroma… the nicest part so far… fruity and malty… seemed promising. Then I tasted… and tasted again. It just wasn’t filling my mouth with flavor the way I was expecting. Yes, a nice balance of sweetness and spice, hints of chocolate and even a little pepper, with a molasses finish. Warm toasted malt all the way through. But it just seemed weak in a way… like the flavor was more watered down than it should be. Easy drinking, but no “wow” in the glass.

Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I wasn’t expecting so much. Alas, maybe this should be a lesson to me to not over-hype beers to others, and let them judge for themselves, for they may experience the same thing I did with this selection.

apintofknowledge, Dec 22, 2004
Photo of SilentSabre
4.53/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Absolutely wonderful! There mere appearance of this stuff was just fantastic. Poured a few shades darker than say, New Castle. Nice head and decent head retention. Nice thick lacing. Just a wonderful looking brew to behold. The fact that I poured it into an actual "Hobgoblin" goblet only added to the appearance.
The smell is quite delightful, too. I detect a bit of brown sugar, a hint of fresh sliced green apple, some cinnamon, and perhaps a bit of toffee. Very pleasant indeed.
The taste was quite malty and smooth, with what seemed to me, very little traces of hops. There is also a bit of a toasted taste on the finish that is quite nice.
Everything about this brew is truly fantastic. I seem to think so anyway. Smashing!

SilentSabre, Dec 22, 2004
Photo of Jarod
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presented in a 12oz. Brown bottle, no freshness date listed.

This beer poured a crystal clear mahogany color that had ruby red highlights on the edges, and seemed to be well carbonated. After a normal pour a beige/cream colored head was formed, light cloud like texture not very dense, lasted some time but not overly long then it falls to a light ring on the edges. There was some lace present, mostly in presented in creamy sheet form. The aromas that came from the glass were of chocolates, caramels, dark malts, roasted nut, fall leafs and some earth tones. The tastes were much like the aromas, it started off with a dry leaf landing on the tongue, followed by roasted nuts and malts, a sweet caramel taste comes in and leaves just as fast, light bitter chocolates through out, earth notes/tones as it heads to the back of the throat then gets nutty as it leaves. The aftertaste was mostly malty. The overall impression of the taste was it started off on the dry side then slid into a watery feel the rest of the way. The body was on the light to light-medium side. This is a simple beer, a good beer and very drinkable. A good example of the style.

Jarod, Dec 17, 2004
Photo of JackStraw22
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The bottles look like they've changed, mine was brown, not clear like the picture on this page. Beer was a nice rich amber red color, relatively clear. Not too much head. Just the right amount of hoppiness for me, less than say Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Very bubbly in the mouth. There's a quite strong sweet honey aftertaste. I like this taste, though I think it's something you have to be in the mood for. Overall I'd recommend this as definitely worth a try.

JackStraw22, Dec 11, 2004
Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
85 out of 100 based on 2,105 ratings.