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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

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

2,146 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,146
Reviews: 1,013
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 64
Gots: 158 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Hobgoblin Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,146 | Reviews: 1,013 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

penguinjive7, Feb 01, 2007
Photo of webbcreative
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured clear amber color with very small head. Not too much aroma just a little bozey. Fast is where it stands out sweet, nutty the finisher a bit sweeter than it started. This is a very smooth beer, and mouthfeel is medium.

Overall, this is a very mice brew, I thought it was going to be abut stronger than it was, and not In A good way, bit I was pleasantly suprised. Could drink a few of these.

webbcreative, Jun 09, 2009
Photo of KroMagnon
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a deep coppery brown and had a decent, though not particularly fluffy, tan head. The aroma was clean, I expected more fruitiness but instead got a very light blend of malt, toffee, and caramel. The flavor was a little more fruity, almost that juicy fruit flavor (but lightly so) and also had a nice blend of licorice notes, caramel, toasty maltiness and a slight hop bitterness. Overall this was tasty, a good session beer I think, seems lighter than 5.2% alcohol though.

KroMagnon, Jul 21, 2007
Photo of jdmorgan
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This interesting ale poured a rich, dark, amber brown from a 500 ml bottle into my glass.

The smell had aromas of malt, hops, and a subtle fruitiness. The taste had a rich toffee maltiness and a bit of caramel malt as well. There was a medium hop profile with hardly any harsh "bite". Definately indicative of a well-brewed beer. There was a little bit of a fruity flavor as well, evidently a by-product of the yeast used. The carbonation was medium and the consistency was medium/thick.

A good dark English ale. I enjoyed it's quality and volume, and would drink one again, especially with a hearty meal of meat and potatoes. ;-)

jdmorgan, Nov 29, 2007
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 TownDunkel
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

English Dark Ales, what can you say but yum. I never tried hobgoblin so this is a first taste

Appearance - A gorgeous molasses brown that sucks in light and generously lets it out, only because it wants too

Taste - Now I dig the flavors mix in here, cocoa with coffee with tree bark makes it. If your a fan of dark ales, this is the flavor you will want

Mouthfeel - The only point where the beer makes me not happy, the flavor doesnt stick around long enough and what does taste like old bottom of the bottle

Overall - This is a nice beer, just needs some work on the mouthfeel and it would be a keeper / daily drinker

TownDunkel, Jul 13, 2012
Photo of Thur123
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color is a deep blood red that's really dark. The head was rather weak, never amounting to more than a finger. The smell is a complex sweet and musky malt smell, with a lighter airy hop smell that's kind of weak, but still somewhat complex.

Glug glug glug

The biggest flavor here is the chocolate malt that also has an amazing roasted bread flavor behind it. The hops bring the flavor to a more balanced and mellow place by the end of the flavor. The hops are present but subdued, but that's no surprise as its English. The flavor (of the hops) would have to be citrusy, and sweetly floral. The texture is a little watery but still thick enough. Overall a pretty tasty pale ale and session worthy, IMO.

Thur123, Nov 12, 2009
Photo of GrimmReaper
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hobgoblin has a reddish brown kinda copper color with a
beautiful caramel colored head,reasonably bubbly but dissipates
rather quick
It has a smokey caramel aroma,didn't quite notice the smokey side of it but it came out as the beer warmed,a little bitterness towards the end.
it has a rich and full bodied texture.
This is a great evening beer,something to sit down and relax with,
upon further drinking i did notice a toffee liquorice flavor.Not a beer
i would have with a meal but an evening or a cool night drink.Great
for a winter night.Highly enjoyable...will have again.

GrimmReaper, Sep 02, 2007
Photo of Frosty80
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Color: sits a clear, dark brown with a red hue

Smell: malty sweetness with just a hint of mild hops.

Taste: malt sweetness balanced with a dry bitterness. dry, slightly bitter, yeasty finish.

Mouthfeel: med body. moderate carbonation. becomes harsher towards the finish when the bitterness settles in.

Notes: not all that bad. the dry bitterness makes you wanna keep going back for more just cool off your tongue.

Frosty80, Mar 12, 2009
Photo of SixpointJMH
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a dark amber/reddish color. hints of chocolate are immediately apparent in the smell and the taste. coffee flavouring is not so apparent in the smell but is definitely noticeable in the flavour. a very smooth ale. i bought this on a whim as i had a friend who enjoyed it quite a bit and i can now say the same. a good english brown.

SixpointJMH, Dec 31, 2002
Photo of joshwlt
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an amber brown color, small off white cream colored head that laces well. Plenty of small bubbles. Can barely smell anything maybe a little vegetable skunk and slight coffee. Has a good vanilla cream flavor that spreads in the mouth up to and during the after taste. Maybe a little bit of roastiness and very little twang of a biting smokey chocolate in it. Fairly watery though. Has more of a hop presence than say... newcastle; that lasts. Very drinkable, it went down quickly.

joshwlt, May 29, 2008
Photo of mdwalsh
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass, this beer has a great three finger, light brown head with tight bubbles. There's nice active carbonation, but it's nowhere near clear. I can see through it, but there is a lot of haze. No particles, just haze.

S: OOO Very nice cooked caramel and grain maltiness. Just a hint of floral hops. It's not overly complex, but it smells wonderful.

T: The taste is very similar to the smell, but not as impressive. It's a little thinner, a little more one dimensional, and there's some off flavors to it, maybe a little diacetal? It's ok, but nothing to go as gaga over as some people do.

M: Mouthfeel is alright, could be a little crisper, but it's not bad.

mdwalsh, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of KraegerB
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark Brown 500mL Bottle

A: Pours a deep red-ish brown with a thin tan head which dissipates quickly.
S: Nice earthy malt smell with subtle tones of coffee and toffee scents.
T: Sweet malty flavors with a nice light balance of hops coming through towards the end of the taste.
M: Smooth and creaming with a small tingling bit. Medium body.
D: Overall I would say this is a very enjoyable beer one that I would definitely enjoy again and again.

KraegerB, Feb 26, 2009
Photo of jongillin
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From Notes on: 4/8/07

Pours a crystal clear amber color with a light head that dissipates quickly.

This beer has a mild aroma that is mostly of ripe fruits and sweet malts.

On the first sip I noticed a fruit flavor (dark cherries I think) which then gives way to caramel and coffee and finishes with a little bit of hop bitterness. Fairly complex.

Mouthfeel is a full bodied but the carbonation helps to give this beer a bit more of a clean finish.

This is a great one to have at least a couple and enjoy the complexity. A very lively beer and full of flavor. A good pairing might be a coq au vin.

jongillin, May 02, 2007
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.

Biscuit033, Mar 30, 2008
Photo of Bouleboubier
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had I studied for the test, I might've been more astute in judging what I had. Didn't know beforehand this was a brown...thought I was in store for a bitter. That said, I found this ale quite nice and representative of the style, I suppose.

Dank red-brown color, leaning more toward red. Fairly clean view. Head on the tiny side - 3/4 finger - lightly sooty white. Alright, alright.

Plum and cherry-like fruity esters popping out in the aroma and most definitely later in the taste. I was brought back to the smell often between sips. Very nice. Some toffee or more like caramel notes coming through further in. Short of explosive aroma, but fairly rich and full with some decent depth.

Medium-ish bitterness upfront in the flavor, holds steady. Some toasted flavors certainly, but more grainy and not so much nutty. Again, the fruit flavors are fairly bold here - essence, not so much sweetness. The sweet factor doesn't rise above moderate, and the same goes for the malt character. I'd say it's down the middle in body. There's some substance here - would not qualify as syrupy. Even if it in fact is, the surprising amount of carbonate (and, again, I thought this was a bitter so it's actually spot on for the style) scrubbed away any residual viscosity (capisce?)

As a brown, this is pretty solid - centered on many points. I enjoyed it a good bit and, now knowing it's a brown (shame shame), my confusion over what I was experiencing is gone. Daft moments are aplenty for yours truly.

Bouleboubier, Sep 20, 2010
Photo of JordanEllwanger
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a nice dark brown burgundy with an off white head leaving little bumps of lace. Smells like a good belgian dubble, strong, alcoholic and malty. Taste is much the same with a slight endorsement towards the alcoholic overpowerment. Feels bubbly and strong across my pallet. A good beer but I'm not much for the dark ales yet.

JordanEllwanger, Sep 26, 2009
Photo of flagmantho
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 500mL bottle into a pint glass. Mine is in a brown bottle, so apparently they switched from clear at some point.

Appearance: rich brown color with a clear body and a thick finger of compact ivory head. A perfectly reasonable brown ale.

Smell: rich malty aroma with a caramel character and just a touch of biscuit. While the composition is nice, I find the intensity just a bit lacking.

Taste: malt straddles the line between sweet and dry; plenty of caramel character is present here, whereas the biscuit seems to have subsided entirely. Hops are mild and earthy and provide a nice balancing bitterness at the end. Quite tasty.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a decent level of carbonation. Not bad.

Drinkability: actually, quite drinkable. I'd be glad to quaff a few of these down the pub sometime.

flagmantho, Jul 11, 2010
Photo of Jayli
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber-brown. There was about a finger head with minimal lacing. You can smell the hops, malts, and a bit of caramel.
This is a decent tasting beer, not much of an aftertaste. It's mild bodied, and not too filling...would go nicely with a meal.

Jayli, Sep 04, 2008
Photo of brewymcgee
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark amber with a frothy head that reduces to a nice persistant lace for the rest of the drink.

Aroma: Dark fruity malts with caramel a hint of hops.

Taste: Sweet malts (but not overbearingly sweet) with a little caramel and a hoppy bitterness at the end to balance things out.

Mouthfeel: Light yet creamy with a perfect balance of medium carbonation

Drinkability: It's a well balanced easy drinker

brewymcgee, Jan 06, 2011
Photo of Murrhey
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour pint bottle into a Pilsner glass on 10-15-11

A: Coca-Cola color with a two finger head that vanished quickly.

S: Nutty, kind of skunky. Not terrible or pungent, but not my favorite.

T: Dark and malty with a coffee sort of bitterness with a clean and clear finish.

M: A tad watery, I was hoping it would feel thicker for the flavoring going on.

O: Nostalgic beer as I had it on tap in Oxford a couple months ago. Still enjoyed it, but not as much as I did when it was on tap in The Four Candles. Maybe the importing took a toll?

Murrhey, Oct 16, 2011
Photo of swizzlenuts
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown with a head that is about a fingers width that leaves pretty quickly.

S: Very malty but it's pretty sweet

T: This is sweet tasting malt beer with a nut hint to it. The beer doesn't really have much hops, and it's fairly tame. It's balanced though, which makes it's so good.

M: Nice, creamy and carbonated.

D: Yep, great session beer, however after a few I get sick of the flavour.

swizzlenuts, Apr 08, 2008
Photo of donteatpoop
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber-brown with very little head.

Scent of malts, toffee, caramel, and hops.

Initially the caramel, malts, and toffee hit the tongue, this is finished off nicely with the presense of hops coming in for an encore.

Not too heavily carbonated, but the ale is a bit watery in consistency. It's hard to place it exactly, because it is also a little creamy; not "thick" creamy, but "after-taste" creamy.

Very good stuff here, I think I've had this once in the past and I'm certain that I'll have it again at least once more in the future.

donteatpoop, Apr 26, 2008
Photo of UnionMade
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Eli Cannon's in Middletown, CT. I was excited to see this, so i could actually try an unskunked version of Hobgoblin (clear bottles). Anyways, the beer flowed out of the tap looking amber brown, with a nice head that quickly settled into a thin haze over the beer. Aroma is malty, with a hint of caramel and plenty of esters. Hops come through as well, in the english style. Goldings and Fuggles? Flavor is very nice. No skunkiness! Malty, with very mild small bubbled carbonation. Fairly sweet. Plenty of fruitiness, particularly pear, and perhaps a little white grape, but that might have just been from the dryness of the finish. Hops come through in the end of the sip, and finish the beer with a nice dryness. Beautiful balance, long finish, an excellent beer.

UnionMade, Jul 25, 2003
Photo of Jeffo
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this bottle up at the LCBO, and it seems as though they've gotten rid of the clear bottle in favor of a brown one.

Into my pint glass.

APPEARANCE: Pours a small beige medium thick head that quickly dissipates into a thin film with a few larger bubbles on top. No carbonation at all. Looks brown / rust in colour and is very clear. No lacing, but a rim of film stays until the end.

SMELL: A slight malt sweetness and some dark fruits, caramel, and a hint of licorice there as well. A little weak, which seems to be common for the style, but a nice combination non-the-less.

TASTE: Malt sweetness with some dark fruits as well, including grapes and dates at the end. A bitter sweet hop finish and the aftertaste is strong and makes a statement. Aftertaste lingers long as well. The toffee is there as well, as advertised, but the promised chocolate undertones didn't show up. Non-the-less, an interesting and relatively complex taste profile.

PALATE: Velvet smooth, goes down rather creamy without a bite and finishes quite dry. Medium body and low end carbonation. Not bad.

OVERALL: An enjoyable brown ale. Tasty with a longer hop presence at the end. Definitely drinkable and would make an enjoyable session beer, thought the ABV is technically a little high. This was probably the best brown ale I've had, so I'd revisit this one for sure.

Jeffo, Jan 08, 2009
Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
85 out of 100 based on 2,146 ratings.