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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

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

2,244 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,244
Reviews: 1,023
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.83%
Wants: 67
Gots: 194 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,244 | Reviews: 1,023 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Nipitato
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle at Julio's Liqours in Westborough, MA.

A: Russet brown color with a thin off white head. Clear.

S: Malt aromas dominate. Malt is sweet toffee. A very nice mild aroma. Faint trace of fruity esters develops as beer warms.

T: Malt tastes predominate up fornt. Malt flavor is toasted. Nice bitter finish that is nearly astringent. No hop flavor.

MF: Medium light body. Moderate carbonation.

D: A good English brown ale. A little too bitter onthe back end but quite drinkable nonetheless.

Photo of rattech
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

500 mL brown bottle poured into a Hobgoblin logo pint glass from a gift set.

Appearance: Moderate carbonation, dark mahogany color. It looks quite tasty.

Smell: Fairly sweet smelling, perhaps a bit of citrus.

Taste: A touch of sweetness, a mild and smooth flavor - more so then I expected.

Mouthfeel: Quite a bit of body considering the mildness. Good level of carbonation, it is fairly mild.

Drinkability: Very, this is something very sessionable.

I normally drink Belgian style beers, so I did not know what to expect. I would drink this again, and believe that it would go well with red meat.

Photo of Abita45
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours to a very dark, ruby color and a foamy head that reduces quickly but leaves good lacing in its wake. Not a prominent aroma, but a sweet malt fragrance is present.

A pretty full bodied beer with chocolate and toffee notes to its malt flavor and relatively no hop presence. A light fruit taste permeates the beer as well, that while not pronounced, it is present and adds to the overall body of the beer. For being full bodied its sweet notes make for a well balanced beer.

I think this is a decent dark ale. I've sampled a few of the Wychwood beers and think I like this the best, though a bit more hops or bitterness to the beer would make it very good.

Photo of oakbluff
2.93/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a nice chestnut colour with a good head. Smell is somewhat non existant. Taste is a nice malty faintly roasty. Little hops detected and is too sweet for my tastes. I like a little more bitterness in my brown ales. Quite quaffable, but quite boring at the same time. Wouldn't go out of my my way to buy it.

Photo of kirok1999
4.18/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber brown, clear with a sticky lacing. This thing has body, it actually rolls thickly around the rim of the glass. Smells nice, sweet malty grains, slight sweet caramel. Taste is strong of malty grains, bare sweetness, nuts. Slight smoky edge in the aftertaste. Thinner mouthfeel than the body would indicate, but still stands up well. At 5.5% this is a nice session beer. Would go very well with some sharp cheddar cheese and crackers, olives, any strong, biting food. Really nice.

Photo of phisig137
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours from a pint bottle a deep, dark amber, almost mahogany color, with a 2 1/2 finger head that protrudes from the top of my hobgoblin glass. Extremely creamy head has phenomenal retention, and very slowly falls into a creamy blanket on top of the glass leaving behind a veritable wall of dense lace. If I hadn't poured it, I would have guessed it was a nice cask ale. Looks perfect.

Aroma is malty and nutty. Fresh bread and biscuit aromas round out the malt, as well as a nice nutty tone from the chocolate malt. Just barely hoppy, and not a hint of alcohol. Smells decent for a brown, and not "fake" at all, like some browns can smell.

Flavor is quite nice, restrained, and decidedly "British". Very smooth malt flavors with some nuttiness, and again, little hops until the finish. Finishes fairly dry and lingering. Well rounded and balanced, this has a creamy mouthfeel, and great drinkability.

Not the best brown ale that I've ever had, but it's one of the best English browns out there. Perhaps I like the slightly different American versions a bit more, but this is still a great beer. Possibly the closest thing you can get to a cask beer from a bottle. Very nice overall, and worth the money. Recommended.

Photo of JustinBathurst
3.45/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice tan head about 3 cm. This remains as a nice full lacy covering after the initial suds fall back. Hobgoblin is a nice dark cola brown with copper at the edges.

The aroma is malty (oh my dear, molasses), some extremely faint cider, and hops o' plenty.

The mouthfeel is smooth and well carbonated, not at all watery or thin.

The taste? Well, the bitter, earthy hops come out in full force, followed by a nice maltiness (a bit of a walnut thing is going on as a result of the bitter-sweet combination), a touch of lemon sour, and a big copper finish. The aftertaste is tangy and citrus.

Overall, not a bad beer at all. Really nice. Again, I'd prefer a brown glass bottle to avoid skunkers, but whatever. Hard to get picky about glass when the beer tastes fine.

Photo of jbramley
4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a deep reddish-brown with small head that dissipates quickly. A very malty and yeasty smell. The malts smell slightly roasted. Taste is bitter, with a bit of a sour note. Sweetness appears at the front of the tongue as the beer warms up. Very smooth through the mouth with a roasted aftertaste. Very drinkable beer, could easily down a few of these back to back.

Photo of jmc44
3.13/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From a clear bottle.

Pours a hazy dark brown with reddish-orange hues. Creamy, thick head that quickly dissipates.

Smells a bit of hops and bread, with a hint of chocolate and carmel, roasted malts. The aroma is fairly light.

The beer is a bit on the sweet side, but not much out of balance with the hops. Primary flavors of lightly roasted malts, with hints of chocolate. Has a slight hop bite at the end, very light. A bit tart in the finish as well. This is an easy drinking, medium-bodied beer. Could easily be a daily drinker.

Overall, a decent beer, nothing that pushes the envelope but nothing really detracting from its quality either.

It would be nice to see in a darker bottle simply to preserve freshness in the singles racks; I do quite like the clear bottle however.

Photo of jcdiflorio
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

served into a nonic glass from a clear 1pt. 0.9oz.bottle with a crimped on cap.

Intense,clear deep ruby red color,very creamy looking light tan head,2'' thick dissapating to a thin layer of foam with spotty lacing down the glass.

A very pleasing,moderate malty aroma that was nutty/chocolatly with burnt carmell aromas also.A nice complex aroma with fruitty notes throughout.

A very good,clean well balanced taste very malty with notes of chocolate/toffee,nutty with a burnt taste also noted.Very fruitty with a taste of dates and figs with a slight tartness. The finish was a bit dry,a nice bittersweetness at the end.Not an overpowering taste,very relaxing and enjoyable.

A light to medium body,very smooth and creamy. Extremely drinkable,a very good English ale that's very refreshing and enjoyable. Could drink this one all night long.

Photo of Estarrio
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I much prefer this on tap but I was intrigued by the holiday collector tin with holiday glass set.

The Whychwood brewery has some of the more brilliant labels and creative marketing. The Hobgoblin exemplifies this tradition in all his mythical glory.

This beguiling brew pours a mysterious, dark ruby red a small, light charcoal head. The head disperses quickly into intricate, smoky lacings.

The aroma consists of cherry, cocoa, currants, chocolate and an underlying malt presence.

The flavor is chocolate and cocoa up front with a medium malt character that balances well with fruity essences of currants and cherries. Big taste of cherry in the aftertaste with a slight tartness and some bitter hops.

The palate is unexpectedly light bodied for such a complex flavor profile. This throws me off a bit. Still, the mouthfeel is not unpleasant. The light body actually renders this tasty brew a bit more drinkable.

Hobgoblin is a tasty brew that is even better on tap. I'm glad to see them using darker bottles as the clear bottles made freshness very unreliable when purchasing in the U.S

Photo of MillRat
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium brown with a solid tan head that doesn't get "rocky," dissipating before I can wear in on my mustache. Smell carries plenty of rich English hops plus some caramel and a hint of chocolate. The hops dominate the flavor a little more than I expected, perhaps as they are accentuated by the darker malts. The malt flavors are there, more in a caramel than a bready range. This is a medium-bodied ale, which seems to carry a lot of flavor for its weight. The hop and dark malt aftertaste get a little tiresome, but it's still certainly good for 2 or 3 of the 500 ml bottles.

Photo of shamus
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this beer a few times before but never drank with the intent to review it. Hobgoblin is a wychwood beer and tthus has a cartoony fantasy figure on the label that screams novelty beer but I really loved their stout and Fiddler's Elbow.So my expectations are higher than if I were to judge this bottle by its label.

It poured with a very thick and cramy looking tan head. It has a very pleasant bread smell not overly yeasty but biscuity perhaps.Mmmmm a lovely sweetness but not cloying. This is good. Not my usual type but a great surprise because of that.

I would gladly drink another.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in an Imperial pint glass)

A- This beer has a dark amber body that is clear but a bit dense. There is a thick creamy light tan head that last a good while with a good carbonation of tiny bubbles.

S- The smell of bright fruity brown malt has a faint dark honey malt note and the light smell of yellow apple skins.

T- This beer has a dark brown malt flavor with a soft dark toffee note and a light chocolate malt hint that has a fruity edge. There is a light dry soft green hop finish that has a very faint taste of apple skins that hangs on for a second. There is a slight tartness after the malt that is a pretty non-distinct fruit tartness.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a very faint sweetness and hop bitterness in the finish that leaves this pretty neutral.

D- This beer has a good mouthfeel with a interesting complexity in the taste and smell. It reminds me of cask beer and I bet it would be amazing if it were served on cask.

Photo of gmfessen
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured beer into a pint glass, it is copper brown in color with a two finger milky off-white head. The smell is of sweet malt, milk chocolate, caramel and slightly nutty. Taste is also sweet, with a toasted malty taste with hints of caramel and a fairly hoppy, dry finish. There is also a slight metallic taste. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with creamy carbonation, chewy. Overall a pretty drinkable beer, not a bad English brown ale.

Photo of gpcollen1
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a Grade A dark amber maple syrup, with hints of autumn red, into my imperial pint. A ½” head quickly develops and then fades. A mildly hoppy/roasty fruity aroma wafts from the glass. Taste is soft at first with the roastiness coming through in the middle and riding to a hoppy finish.

This is a really good beer that I could enjoy for a session or two or three or……

Photo of Saint
4.43/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very pleasant brew. It pours very smooth and has a deep dark brown look when it is poured. It is just as smooth as you drink it, and with a slight chocolate taste to it, feels perfect for a late calm evening brew. Its all round a dark deep and rich, just as a good English Brown Ale should be. All around a enjoyable beer.

Photo of CH3CH2OH
3.33/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, dark brown with a half inch head. Subdued malt with little hop aroma; reminiscent of a wet cask. Some biscuit comes through in the flavor, both at the beginning and the finish. Very light carbonation gives a smooth mouthfeel. When I started drinking, I thought it was an excellent session beer. After a few tastes, I revised the drinkability downward because of a kind of wet dog aftertaste that builds up over time. The clear, very attractive bottle may have allowed some skunkiness to build up, but it is just at the threshold of my perception.

Photo of grub
4.43/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a nice brown colour with great ruby highlights and about a half inch of dense tan head. head is slow to drop and leaves minimal lace.

aroma is great. rich malt. biscuit. caramel. hint of roast. nutty.

taste is great. nice caramel sweetness. biscuity malt. bit of roast. light bitterness. touch of earthy hops. fruity. really nice.

mouthfeel is good. nice body and good moderate carbonation.

drinkability is great. well balanced and really enjoyable. i need to get more of this one.

as a side note, i've had both the hobgoblin and fiddler's elbow before in the old clear bottles, and they always had at least a little skunk to them. i have just had both in the new brown bottles and it's a world of difference. i'll definitely be going back for more of this one. if you were unhappy with this one in a clear bottle, give it another try in the brown. you won't be disappointed!

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.23/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a medium caramel brown with a short head that quickly dissappears.

Smells lightly of toffee with a faint hop background. Not much there.

Taste is not bad, but not a homerun. Very malty woth a treacly flavor and an underlying saltiness. Sort of like saltwater taffy thats been a little carmelized? There is even a little bit of iodine on the finish. Somewhat intriguing flavors, but nothing spectacular here.

Mouthfeel is very soft with light carbonation.

Somewhat drinkable, but a little sticky and bland for my taste.

Photo of JoeyHotrod
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad beer here, just not a great one either.

Nice looking enough with a dark black color and decent head.

The smell is dried fruit mostly, though some malt sneaks in as well.

The taste is malty with just enough hops to let you know they are there.

As mentioned before this is by no means a great beer, it is however a decent enough drinker and I wouldn't be opposed to enjoying another one from time to time.

Photo of stcules
2.98/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Deep red. Scarce foam, not long lasting.
English ale typical smell. Frutiy (orange), and some caramel.
At the taste the same notes, with a new dried fruits note. Caramel, and quite malty. Licorice and dried fruits.
Pleasant and drinkable. Quite good body.
Same in the aftertaste, with even some roasted hint, licorice and dried frutis. Quite long.

Photo of JanM
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The name and the transparent bottle has kept me away from this beer for a long time. But recently my wife bought one by mistake. She was looking for Scottish beer in Edinburgh and returned with it, I'm ashamed to admit. It poured with a darkish red-brown color. A small amount of foam settled quickly. The smell was of roasted malts, sweet bread, herbs and citrus. The bitter IPA:ish taste was of sweet oranges with bread notes. Maybe a hint of that advertized chocolate too. I did not think I would like this beer but I actually do.

Photo of BuckSpin
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

In that this was a new tap at my favorite haunt in Belfast (Rollie's) I decided to give it a try.

A pretty beer, sharply crisp & clear, warm, subset-brassy, tea stained hue. A nice parade of carbonation from the bottom, head was 1 finger of tight cream colored foam that faded quickly, however it laced the glass innards like curtains....cool.

Nose was light, some wood tones, mild fruit, a little yeast peek, some subtle spice.

Its initially crisp, sharp on the tongue, roast malts, even, a little earthy. The hop bitterness bites softly & rises on the pallete and lingers on the swallow, then fades. No real aftertaste to speak of, some lite bitter tones if anything.

It was refreshing, but seemed confused. Like a roller coaster it peaked early, then all downhill. It wasn't bad, but it didn't really impress or wow me. It did go well with my burger & fries. I would recommend trying it, and I would drink it again if nothing else caught my eyes (and tastebuds).

Photo of xav33
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wychwood Hobgoblin
500 ml bottle
Recent brewing, spellbound 11/06
Medium pour in a Hobgoblin gift set shaker glass!

Poured a clear ruddy brown with an off white frothy mostly lasting head with good lacing.

Smelt of moderate nuts, veggies, light coffee and earthiness.

Taste was upfront moderate sweet toffee and bitter mild coffee and flowery, almost citrusy, hops followed by a rustic yeasty and burnt malt bitterness on a mostly light bitter wet earth long finish. Mouthfeel was light, watery, and softly carbonated.

Overall, the flavors and aromas aren't extremely bold or complex, but distinct and clean. Easy drinking and tasty.

Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
85 out of 100 based on 2,244 ratings.