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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd


Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,891 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1891
Reviews: 989
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 14.17%

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)
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Ratings: 1,891 | Reviews: 989 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Tone


3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, dark brown color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of sweet malt, pale malt, slight caramel malt, hint of dry hops, hint of adjunct, and hint of dark citrus. Fits the style of an Extra Special / Strong Bitter. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of pale malt, dry hops, sweet malt, hint of adjunct, and a hint of caramel malt. Overall, good appearance, decent aroma and body, with an average feel.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2013 01:36:28 | More by Tone
Photo of ThisWangsChung


2.46/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

11.2 oz bottle into a New Belgium tulip.

A: Pours a dark ruby color. The head is not only healthy looking at 2 fingers high, but also pretty dense in its texture. It fades away deliberately, leaving some lacing in the glass.

S: Honestly, I'm not picking much up here. A faint fruity character offset by a touch of chocolate, and neither qualities become any more assertive when warmed up sufficiently. Not a bad aroma, I suppose, just nowhere near as strong as it should be.

T: Again, it's not BAD, just overly mild. The flavor seems to pick up slightly on the finish and aftertaste, with faint caramel, brown sugar, and toffee. Maybe there's a touch of mineral character here and there. Come to think of it, that's the dominant note - mineral water. Yeah. It's watery. Boo.

M: At first, it starts off too dense and rich for its lack of flavor, but manages to dry out nicely after the swallow. It's not as easily downable as this should be; that doesn't make in undrinkable, though. Carbonation is appropriately low.

O: I mean, it's not a horrible brew by any means...it's just ridiculously mild to the point of total boredom. I can appreciate a good ESB when I come across it (Fuller's ESB), but among the endless pile of ESBs that are mediocre or worse in my opinion (namely, just about all of them), this one is in the 'worse' category. Unless you really like ESBs, get something else instead.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2013 23:06:36 | More by ThisWangsChung
Photo of REDAMI


3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 500ml bottle into Samuel Smith pint glass.

A - Clear, copper-brown pour, thin foam.

S - Piney hop forward, light bready malts.

T - Not overly bitter, but definitely pine notes and grainy malts.

M - Smooth and slightly creamy, almost like it was nitrogen charged.

Not as sharp as most bitters, better classified as a brown ale. Very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2013 18:09:08 | More by REDAMI
Photo of TruePerception


2.68/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(Previous review, transferred from beer journal)

Wychwood Brewery's Hobgoblin Dark English Ale: Appearance: very dark amber; Smell: dirt, light malt and hop; Taste/Mouthfeel: well balanced (to the point of blah), faint malty sweetness, light cirtusy hop, tiny bit of grass; okay, easy drinking.

Poured into a pint glass.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2013 07:22:34 | More by TruePerception
Photo of Libationguy


3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Reddish-copper color with a 1-finger head. Medium retention.

Sweet malt notes, cherry, light chocolate notes, blood sausage, iron, earthy hops.

Light bitterness. The blood note carries through on the palate. Earthy and light spice from the hops.

Medium bodied with a mild bitterness on the finish that balances out the sweetness in the beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2013 05:44:02 | More by Libationguy
Photo of mick303

Ontario (Canada)

3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured a pleasant ruby caramel colour. Good retention and lacing of creamy tan head.

S- sweet apple, caramel sweetness, toffee, a mild floral note with little bitterness, lots of nice fruity esters.

T - a smooth body with a balanced earthy nutty bitterness and plenty of caramel malt and dry toffee character, some vanilla and dry cocoa, finish is rounded and dry. Quite balanced and tasty.

M - smooth lightly bitter body, light with some moderate carbonation. A nice dry floral aftertaste.

A nice session bitter, good fruity flavor and balanced bitterness. Some dry sort of hay cloying notes though with the malty sweet notes. Pretty tasty but more exciting beers out there.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2013 03:00:29 | More by mick303
Photo of lighthabit


3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

reddish brown, bit hazy, not much head, dies down to thin layer of surface bubbles. moderate lacing, a bit clumpy in spots. a sense of black cherry hits the nose (love the smell here), followed by a smooth maltiness, hint of hops to even it out. almost a bit sweet. i learned tonight that an esb is actually not really bitter (i'd always assumed from the name it would be). mouthfeel is ok, if a bit thin. carbonation is mild, but i'm reading that's typical for the style, so it gets a bump up for correctness. not a home run for me, but a solid second base effort that i enjoyed. i'd try it again.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2013 06:38:26 | More by lighthabit
Photo of djura


4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Ruby red color,thin darker head,lasting till the end. Decent.
S - Lots of fruits,dark marmalade,elder,grape.
T/M - So refreshing,so good,excellent IPA ! Again,lots of fruits,elder grass,outstanding aroma. Balanced bitterness and carbonation.
O - Truly one of the best,so good.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2013 19:22:00 | More by djura
Photo of barnzy78


3.94/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500mL bottle shared with my dad. Best before 14FEB14. Pours reddish-brown with a thick, creamy ivory head that fades slowly. Sweet aroma of toffee, brown sugar, caramel, fruit, and faint earthiness. Tastes are brown sugar, fruit, caramel, toffee, more sweet than bitter, with earthy hop, faint chocolate, outstanding balance of flavors. Medium-fullish body, creamy but slightly resinous, while the earthiness lingers on the finish. Overall, I love the uniqueness of this beer. Great to get back to it after a couple of years!

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2013 16:48:36 | More by barnzy78
Photo of Ryan_Graham


4.5/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Golden brown rich color. Small head.

S: Sweet smelling. Malty and different.

T: Chocolaty with a malty aftertaste. Great balance between bitterness and sweetness. It ends with a hit of citrus. There are a lot of flavors in this beer. I think I taste bananas too. Very intriguing taste.

M: Smooth and malty. Perfect amount of carbonation. Aftertaste doesn't kill you. Almost perfect mouth feel.

O: Very good. It has a truly unique taste that never gets old. I enjoyed every sip.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2013 05:18:46 | More by Ryan_Graham
Photo of bmwats


3.36/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 500 ml bottle into a mug.

A: Medium-dark brown. Pours a finger and a half, frothy, brown-white head. Settles slowly leaving a dry, sticky beer ring. Spotty yet pervasive lacing.

S: Woody, roasted, malt grains with a little fresh tea leaf, and honey.

T: Kind of papery or cardboard flavor. A little peat is present. Some tobacco leaf or tea leaf. A little citrus zest and raisin.

M: Light body, bitter finish.

D: Not much resistance. Can be powered through session style if you like.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Really nice head and some distinct lacing. Nose consists of of roasted malt, wood tones, and some fresh tea and honey. Kind of a stale flavor with some peat, tea, and hints of bitter orange pith or zest and some sweet raisin for balance. Overall, this is a pretty good quaff.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2013 00:51:27 | More by bmwats
Photo of vette2006c5r


3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Hobgoblin pours a brownish color with a nice large long lasting head. There is a roasted nutty and toffee like aroma. The taste has a nice toffee and nut flavor, with a nice mi of peanuts, finish with a bit of a boozy like flavor. A bit watery but the flavors come together nicely. Overall a very nice English like beer that is easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2013 03:35:03 | More by vette2006c5r
Photo of artoolemomo


3.21/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance- Pours up a good amount of head which appears to have some head retention. The head is a light beige with hints of yellow while the body is a very dark amber that glows shows hints of orange and dark amber when held up to the light. Some lacing is left behind. The body is also hazy.

Nose- It's a little weak from the glass but rich and inviting when I smell the bottle. Roasted malts, weak notes of burnt bread and smoke, chocolate, and caramel. The aroma from the glass has softer roasted notes with a gummy or almost generic fruitcake character to it. Some brown sugar and molasses are evident as well. Maybe some raisins, leather?

Taste- Brown sugar with some leathery woodiness are the first tastes that I get. The finish tastes a lot like cardboard which would lead me to believe that this beer may be a little old. This is unfortunate because more hops presence would really balance out the sweet malts. The roasted notes seem a little too sour and have hints of something close to licorice. Some notes of raisin as well. At the moment, this beer lacks balance and integration. I do not see the situation improving. The sweetness of the malt in this beer is definitely too pronounced for my palate.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied with some smoothness and moderate amount of carbonation. A bit of syrup to the texture as well.

Drinkability- Cloying sweetness and a five dollar price tag? This is not this beer's category.

Overall- I am beginning to question whether I like this style- I will have to try Fuller's ESB to test this. This beer was rather mediocre in my opinion and the malt bill is too much for me. If you're a fan of the style, you might want to go for it. I,for one, will not be purchasing this beer again.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2013 02:13:36 | More by artoolemomo
Photo of DenisKolkin

Ontario (Canada)

3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

500ml bottle from LCBO for $3.15 CDN into a pint glass- Best before June 2014.

A- Pours to a dark amber / garnet color and leaves just over a finger a head in the glass. Head quickly dissipates but lacing sticks to the glass nicely.

S- Malty with some caramel and fruit on the back end up front. Substantial earthy aromas on the nose as well.

T- Fairly similar to the scent caramel with some fruity then earthy undertones. Grainy malts and some bitterness on the finish and in the aftertaste.

M- Feels heavy and quite a surprisingly filling beer. Carbonation feels high in the mouth yet virtually no bubbles are perceptible the deeper I get into this glass. Pretty good in the mouth.

O- A better beer than I remember, pleasantly surprised at its depth and the lingering of flavors in your mouth. Maybe my tastes have changed since the last time I had it but overall a plus brew that is worth drinking again.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2013 22:18:08 | More by DenisKolkin
Photo of dwren89


3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark ruby when held up to light, dark brown when not, off white-tan foamy head, great clarity

Aroma: Nutty and earthy aroma, very bready malt aroma similar to a dark raisin or pumpernickel bread; slight citrusy aroma as well

Taste: Nutty, dark, and bready with a fruity bitter finish. Earthy hop character balances the dark nuttiness and a raisin and slight citrus character on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Thicker than most ESB's but still quite drinkable. Medium-full to full body, moderate carbonation

Overall Impression: Quite a nice dark ale that would be especially delcious when the weather is cold out because of its thicker and full flavor. Nutty, earthy, bready, and fruity, this ale accomplishes the characteristics that all ESBs should aim for to varying degrees. Worth buying again.

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2013 19:18:35 | More by dwren89
Photo of IchLiebeBier


4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Amber-red, clear body with a big, frothy head

Aroma: Malty; hops; vinous fruit

Taste: Refreshing; crisp; bitter-sweet start; hoppy, slightly bitter finish; excellent overall

Remarks: Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2013 13:43:34 | More by IchLiebeBier
Photo of IdeaSpeeder

Ontario (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Serving Type - 500ml bottle poured into a nonic pint glass.

Appearance - Pours a gorgeous, dark amber colour, with a finger of off white head which dissipates quickly, but leaves behind a good amount of lacing.

Smell - A heavy presence of crystal/caramel malts. Like a crazy amount. Smells sweet like toffee and caramel. Some dark fruits, rasins or prunes.

Taste - Roasted caramel malts dominate, but there's alot going on here besides. There's also a heavy fruit presence, as in the nose. I'm picking up some cereal and grainy notes. Towards the end there is a distinct hop bitterness which lingers. Bottle claims there are some coffee flavours but I can't pick up on them.

Mouthfeel - Medium body that feels silky on the tongue. Carbonation is pretty low.

Overall - 4/5

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2013 03:52:43 | More by IdeaSpeeder
Photo of Darkmagus82


3.96/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – Pours an amber-red colored brew with a thick two finger off white head. The head has a nice level of retention, fading slowly over time to leave a good level of lace.

Smell- The aroma is biggest of dark fruit smells but has a nice presence of caramel and a bready aromas as well. Mixed with these smells are some lighter notes of an earthy and grassy smell as well.

Taste – The taste begins with a smooth bready and doughty flavor with hints of roasted malt and some dark fruit. As the flavor advances, some caramel comes to the tongue along with a bit of nuttiness. The nuttiness is mainly of a hazelnut like taste which actually bring a tiny bit of bitterness to the tongue as the fruit flavors seem to fade toward the end. The light bitterness is not from the nut alone however as other flavors of an earthy hop nature join into the taste to leave a smooth and very pleasant flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is on the slightly thicker side for a beer of only 5.2 % abv with a carbonation level that is rather on the lower side.

Overall – This is a rather tasty and very satisfying beer at only 5.2 % abv. A nice one to try for sure.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2013 01:27:54 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of KYGunner


3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark auburn with a mahogany hue this ale has a light fluffy but short lived white head.

I get a lot of banana in the nose but some light caramel malt lingers in the backdrop. Very light in scent but pleasing.

The nose and taste are quite relative as banana and caramel malt is present. Simple and easy to drink, I don't consider this amongst the world's most complex of beers but it's still pretty darn tasty.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2013 21:43:09 | More by KYGunner
Photo of Whyemier


3.24/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've tried this one on several occasions, not my favorite because it is more hoppy than I like, not as bitter as an IPA but still more hops than I normally look for. That should be expected in an Dark English Ale.

Having said that, it is a one I still drink on occasion for a difference in taste.

Dark Amber or Red in color, the body is 'normal' the best I can say about it though much better and far beyond what I term as 'commercial beers'. There is a very slight sweetness, on the front of the tonque and a nut like flavor as you swallow. For me this is obscured somewhat by the hops.

I am not knocking this beer completely just recognizing it is not my favorite. Because it is close to an IPA in my opinion, many would find it an excellent substituion for one of those beers.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2013 22:02:33 | More by Whyemier
Photo of Jetulio


3.81/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle poured into a Pint glass
Appearance... dark brown beer with head colour beige of almost 2 fingers
Aroma... grass, hazelnuts and hops. Fresh and not too strong smell with a little touch of malty aroma too
Taste...some nuts and malt, then bitterness appears soon lasting all the time,
Mouthfeel... medium body and medium/soft carbonation
Overall... a very nice ale, bitterness is present in a classic English style

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2013 17:10:28 | More by Jetulio
Photo of HappyPappy2X


4.43/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark chestnut color, substantial head that dissipates in 1-2 minutes.

S: Sweetness dominates, metallic hints, earthy.

T: Sweetness balanced with roasty bitterness. Nutty, earthy flavors last longer than the sweetness.

M: Medium light, average carbonation.

O: Typifies British style ale in the earthiness, low hops bitterness, mellow roastiness. I love it!

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2013 16:00:22 | More by HappyPappy2X
Photo of Bear1964


3.41/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a Pint glass, great reddish brown color with a 2 finger medium brown head that lasted a tad. The aroma was toasted malt and sweetness in the mild dark fruit range, the taste was filled with a nice malt balance against mild hops and a hint of sweet. Really a enjoyable Black Ale all the way around as it had a nice mouthfeel that satisfied in all the right places,had you thinking about having another as you looked at the beautiful lace hanging on the glass. I like the style and will pick this one up again, I would love to try this on tap!

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2013 15:33:51 | More by Bear1964
Photo of Flounder57


3.76/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16.9 oz bottle poured into a nonic pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head that reduced to a thin layer and left some nice lacing on the glass. It is a ruby color with good clarity and bubbles coming up through the glass. Nice lacing on the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: caramel and bready malts, with a little fruitiness in there too.

Taste: Same as above with some mild hop bitterness and citrus notes.

Mouthfeel: smooth, tingly hop bitterness, a little chewy, medium carbonation, and medium bodied.

Overall: Pretty nice ESB that I have time before and many more in the future.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2013 06:45:13 | More by Flounder57
Photo of BeerDocT


3.84/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Been meaning to review this one for quite some time... .

Appearance 3.75: Dark, mahogany brown and completely transparent. Fizzy and non-existent head screams "CO2!", but there are nice swirls left after the pour.

Smell 4.00: Very nice bouquet. I smell the fuggle hops and the Marris Otter grains; wonderful combination. However, the bouquet does seem a bit flat.

-Taste 4.00: Front is completely missing. Just cool liquid. Middle is where the barley and the hops begin to assert themselves and this turns into a subdued wave of malt and hops in the finish, which leaves an aftertaste of caramel and alkaline hops along with a strange, minerally, slightly metallic taste that is, I think, linked to the water the beer was brewed with rather than a lead-lined tank at the brewery.

-Mouthfeel 3.0: Nothing special. An added level of carbonation/conditioning could really enhance this brew, IMHO.

-Overall 3.75: Very good beer. Certainly not the best English Ale available, but it is certainly a very good representative of the style. As I state above, I think an added level of conditioning (i.e. "more bubbles") would really help the overall profile of this beer and push it into "great" category. Nonetheless, definitely worth a try if you have not sampled it before.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2013 05:15:50 | More by BeerDocT
Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
84 out of 100 based on 1,891 ratings.