1. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.

Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.
HobgoblinHobgoblin

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

2,257 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,257
Reviews: 1,028
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 69
Gots: 208 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Hobgoblin Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,257 | Reviews: 1,028 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of megahurts4
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wychwood Hobgoblin Dark English Ale

Appearance: Dark red with very little lacing.

Smell: Warm inviting malts.

Taste: Warm malts with very subtle caramel, nuts, and hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium and smooth.

Overall:
It starts off slightly sweet and finishes slightly bitter. It is well balanced and a good brew that I feel I can drink many of. I expected more nut flavor from first taste, but there is only a small hint.

Photo of WaltTrombone
3.9/5  rDev +4%
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...)

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

On-tap 5/30/08 at British Beer Company in Walpole, MA, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains caramelized malts, maple, nuts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is malty with sweet flavors of caramel, maple, honey, roasted nuts and a little fruit. There's a decent hops presence that provides a good balance. The after-taste is slightly bitter despite the sweet start.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a nice beer to drink for a while if your in the mood for the style and especially with a meal.

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

Pours a very deep ruby red with about a two finger tan coloured head that slowly settles. Smells of chocolate and biscuits and a bit fruity. The taste is buttery malt and chocolate accompanied with a nice level of bitterness. Nice lacing that follows the beer to the end of the glass. This beer is very smooth and creamy and very well balanced. I would definately grab this again. Merry Christmas!

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

Hobgoblin is a typical English ale, full of nice color, a decent head, a nice hoppy taste and a taste of barley o finish. This is not a heavy beer by any means, but well worth the price. Definitely a good beer, for beginners or experts of English Ales.

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

Ahh, the ole Hobgoblin. Back before I knew a single thing about beer other than it got you inebriated, my friends and I would buy these bottles (a great deal owed to the label art) and would blow on the empty tops and liken them to war horns. Fast forward six or seven years, and I find myself with a brown bottle to review. The old ones were clear, glad to see they've made the change. Poured into a nonic pint glass.

A - The beer looks the same, just as the label does. Dark brownish colour with a nice head of froth. Iconic, I give it a perfect rating here.

S - Nuts, and toasted malts, with a fruity like characteristic. Not the strongest aroma, yet pleasing.

T - Figs, and other dark fruits dominate the sweet body. An earthy and nutty quality can be detected before being washed away by the mildly bitter aftertaste.

M - Light bodied, mild carbonation level.

D - Still good to me after all this time and experience with other beers. Great gateway brew and not a bad English ale to boot.

Photo of Sachsenfreude
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance; clear chestnut brown. Quickly dissipating white head, little lacing.

smell; malty with a hint of buttery Brazil nuts. Mild, mellowed out hops.

taste; roasted nuts and burnt malts, some buttery notes give way to a bitter finish. Noticable alcohol.

mouthfeel; medium bodied with very active carbonation slick a buttery, quite smooth and refreshing. Dry finish.

overall; nothing special but worth a try, pretty good but better options are out there.

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

Very clear deep red body, low carbonation and a light tan head, moderate retention and lace.
Burnt coffee and mild hops in the nose along with some caramel notes.
Sweet malt with a little honey, burnt toffee and molasses. Goes slightly astringent before the aftertaste which is fairly long lived and lets the subdued hops come through with some grass and faint flowery notes.
Good mouthfeel, little to moderate coating. Sharp at first but smoothing out at the end. Lightly dry finish.
Pleasant and easy to enjoy. Good warm up for the heavier winter brews. Definitely a fall brew.

-Oelergud

Photo of lpayette
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours mostly brownish in color with a slightly red hue with good clarity. Solid two-finger off-white head that produces quite a bit of lacing up and down the glass.

Smell- Is mostly balanced on the sweet malty side of things with suggestions of caramel and faint toffee. Yeasty bread-like character as well.

Taste- Initial impression is malty up front followed by a near banana bread middle and finishes nutty and lingering. Going deeper, it's fruityness is not limited to banana but also contains suggestions of apples. The maltyness can be broken down into several areas which inclue caramel, toffee, and a whisper of smoke. Subtle low alpha acid hop presence keeps everything in check for the most part and lends a woodsy/earthy flavor presence.

Mouthfeel- Full-bodied, and well-rounded overall, but finishes a bit drier than I'd like.

Drinkability- Definitely sessionable for sure. Interesting and complex enough to not get bored with it, especially if starting off cold and seeing how it progresses as it warms up.

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

Appearance- Pours with almost no head or apparent carbonation, some carbonation, and beer is a medium brown color.

Smell- Butterscotch in the nose, very smooth smelling.

Taste- Slightly bitter with relatively smooth taste. Darkish mocha flavors that do not overpower with a pleasant bit from carbonation at the finish.

Mouthfeel- Feels a little thin but has better than expected coverage, really seems to explode onto tongue.

Drinkability- A solid english brown ale.

Photo of Viking
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark, clear, garnet-colored body, with just a bit of apparent CO2. Not much of a head, and that fades pretty quickly, though a fine lace stays atop the beer nearly until the end. Malty chocolate aroma with spicy, floral hops. Hints of fruit present as well. Rather hoppy flavor - spicy and somewhat fruity - with a smooth malt backing. Chocolate flavor is subdued, but comes through strong in the finish where it blends with a rich fruity flavor. Mouthfeel a bit thin, but somewhat saved by an oily hop finish. Very interesting ale. I'd purchase again if it didn't come in clear bottles.

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

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a pint glass

A - Pours a slightly hazy dark copper-to-amber with minimal carbonation rising to the two-finger, creamy, tan head. Head stays intact till the bottom of the glass. Leaves behind a substantial web of lacing.

S - Not much at all from the bottle. Nose opens up substantially in the glass to with rich caramel malt notes with hints of earthy fruit.

T - Caramel malt upfront. The body is an excellent balance of candied caramel malt with hints spiced rum and light, earthy fruit hops. A small splash of earthy hops and caramel as the beer passes over the back of the tongue sag-ways into a slightly bitter caramel finish.

M - Not much carbonation at all which lends to an exceptionally creamy character, almost like a cask beer. Medium bodied suits the style well.

It's been several years since I've had a respectable ESB, and Hobgoblin doesn't disappoint with a characteristic creaminess and exceptional balance. Overall, the beer does everything well, however given the price for a single bottle (~$5.00), the value factor is more than likely to keep me from coming back to this for quite some time.

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

Review #84, we've come a long way haven't we? From the soaring highs (Duvel) to the crashing lows (VB). Along the way we've made some friends (Weihenstephaner in particular) and enemies (Aussie macro lagers in general), but all the time we've focussed on what matters: the brews. And today's review #84 is no exception... lets not forget it also came with a swanky pint glass (for a 500ml bottle? Does that make sense on some other planet?).

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Hobgoblin conical pint... where is the rest of my pint dammit!

A: Deep copper/rust coloured body with a boisterous 1cm cream(y) head. Certainly is a nice looking beer!

S: Hobgoblin smacks of toasted biscuit, burnt caramel/toffee malt grains and sets a bold promise in the process. Hops take a backseat and I find that I'm again reminding myself that it isn't always about the hops [get lost me! :@]. In any case a big brown ale awaits!

T: The big malt characters are there with a nice bitterness at the end that says "Look Dok, Hops!". There is also a pleasant buzz of alcohol within (it's not a slouch by any means), and a tinge of raisin flavour... just a hint in the background though. Yeast characters also make an appearance with a sour bread note.

M: Mid to low carbonation, decent medium body, English ale territory here.

D: Would be quite the session ale if it wasn't dirty expensive here in Australia (felt like I was giving myself a treat just by looking at it). It's easy down the gullet and will give me an 'empty-glass' remorse once it's finished which in my book is an apt description for 'session beer'... only wish I had another bottle in the fridge... mmm, burnt caramel (just had another
sip).

Food match: I can't get the image of Medieval-pork-roasting-on-a-spit out of my head so I'm inclined to say Medieval-pork-roasting-on-a-spit, and other Medieval fare; Blawmanger, Broiled Venison and Blancmange (the three "B's" of Medieval cuisine!).

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.

Photo of WissBrauSean
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

I poured this beer aggressively into a mini Imperial pint and got a nice two finger yellow head that lingers and laces nicely from a deep, rich, clear and amber beer.

I'm getting notes of mild diacetyl (dark fruits) and caramel malts with some earthy hops and maybe a little yeasty, but nothing more overpowering than the other and all very mild.

The flavor is pretty much the same. It's malty sweet, but not syrupy, more like thin with some notes of fruits, mild hops and yeast. Not overly complex. It finishes mildly bitter after the sweetness flattens out. I would have to say that it's pretty balanced and a bit bland.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a body that is a bit on the thin side and leaves a bit of a film on my tongue, but perhaps that is already there. LOL The carbonation is definitely mild and the finish slightly dry.

Overall, I would say that this is a good beer! I didn't get a huge amount of diacetyl like like everyone was saying. The beer was NOT syrupy sweet out of the bottle. I served it at 55 degrees F, maybe that is the way to go. The only problem with the beer that I had was that it was a little thin or watery, but that leads to more drinking! At 5.2 ABV you could drink a few of these! I'm going to give it high 3's or a 4 out of 5!

Photo of 9InchNails
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper amber color body. Not much of a head as it seems to fade quickly. Leaves decent lacing on the glass.

Slight metalic smell. Some roasted malts, caramel and toffee also but they're pretty well hidden.

I get a sweet nutty taste, I'm thinking hazelnut, with caramel. It tastes real good. A little bitterness at the end; not a whole lot. This is what I kind of expect from a English Brown Ale. You got the malt being the main upfront taste and then the slight bitterness at the end.

Mouth feel is very smooth and crisp. Feels nice. Carbonation is there. Light to medium body.

Drink ability is good. This goes down easy but is enjoyable enough to pace. No alcohol taste at all.

I got this in a Glass & Bottle Gift Set. It comes with a limited edition Pint Glass and 500 ml bottle. Looked cool so I bought it for myself. Got it for a real cheap price.

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

Poured a dark brown with almost purplish highlights. The smell is pleasantly malty with a little hint of nuttiness. The taste starts off sweet with a little bit of malty caramel taste and ends up with a slight hops bite that is refreshing. The mouthfeel has a nice thickness and mild carbonation. To me, the big draw of this beer is its drinkability.

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.

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

hobgoblin is a nice sweet brown ale with a lot of character..
it pours a dark amber with a small head that doens't last too long.. it has a nice sweet malty smell.. the taste is of a fairly typical brown ale with maybe a hint of liquorice mixed with fruity malt and a kind of crisp finish (almost bitter on the back of the tongue maybe a little hops here)..
the mouthfeel and drinkability are fairly high maybe not as easy to drink as other brown ales but very tasty. I am a big fan of english brown ales so it is hard to give a fair review but I will say that this very good.. not quite on par with samuel smith's nut brown ale in drinkability.. but the flavor has a nice complexity that is very approachable..

Photo of Eric_Standard
3.9/5  rDev +4%

Crisp, medium richness, sweet and just deep enough. Very good.

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

Poured from the 500ml brown glass bottle into my trusty pint glass. The head came up to a perfect 1" of light beige foam. The color of the ale is a dark amber with ruby highlights when held to light.

Smell?... not too much here... faint maple syrup

Taste: Quite nice. Maple, with a nutty (hazelnut) taste. a little earthy.... nice

MF: Not too thick.... but nice and rich. good body.

Drink: heck yeah... go for it.... pleasant surprise. Recommended.

Photo of drunkboxer1
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a pretty sweet goblin cartoon on the label. Pours a deep brown with a white, half inch, head. Leaves quite a lot of lacing. Smells of earthy, English hops and maybe some caramel. Tastes of the same earthy hops upfront, some malty sweetness, then a surprisingly bitter finish on the tip of the tongue. Went well with a patty melt. A good example of a true English brown.

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

12oz bottle -> tulip
no date

Pours a clear amber with a respectable bone white head that leaves some droopy spiderwebs. Intense carbonation is present.

Nose: Sweet caramel malt, a tad nutty.

Taste: Toasted malts with a little of the caramel sweetness from the nose sticking out. A mild drying finish.

Smooth full and thick mouthfeel. A bit drying also.

This brew seems extremely drinkable, alas i have only one.

Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
85 out of 100 based on 2,257 ratings.