Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

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1,032 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,032
Hads: 2,390
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 12.47%
Wants: 76
Gots: 325 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-15-2002

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,032 | Hads: 2,390
Photo of SilentSabre
4.53/5  rDev +22.8%
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! (735 characters)

Photo of Jarod
3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
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. (1,157 characters)

Photo of JackStraw22
3.38/5  rDev -8.4%
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. (459 characters)

Photo of Cwrw
4.17/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Despite being clear, these bottles always catch my eye; very unique shape and design.

With the cap popped, I smelt a wave of buttery raisin. I like it already. Appearance is hazel-caramel, dark varnished wood. Dark brown, some rosewood, and clear in body-appearance. The head foamed very quickly and became a thin brownish-cream layer on top, which is completely acceptable. Fast moving lace; thin. I get raisins and cream off the initial sniff above the rim. Unctuous caramel, sweet coffee, fresh butter and ice cream, vanilla; in short, my perfect malt--just enough sweetness without being burnt. I smell a little chocolate, but it is not predominant. I can smell the salinity of the water in this beer as well; sea salt. Taste is wood-toned alcohol at first for me, which I found odd. Subsequent sips reveal definite butter, some light cinnamon, bbq-like spiciness at the back, along with the roasted sourness of the sweet caramel malt. The yeast makes itself known in the fruity ester and vanilla richness. Excellent balance with the hops in the finish, adding just enough dryness to balance the malt, with sweetness edging out bitterness just by a margin. Floral grassiness as the aftertaste. Creamy, with carbonation at a minimum. Very drinkable on an Autumn day or a cold Winter night, or even in the summer, and I imagine it would pair well with Indian food. (1,369 characters)

Photo of brewQ
3.28/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

In the clear bottle or my glass, a good looking ale in "Royal Brown color". The aroma is malty, sweet. The taste is good, just less chewy and complex than I expected.

I found the finish to be just a light coat in the mouth. On the Label Roger Protz of CAMRA proclaims "packed with hops and fruit". Maybe it doesn't travel well?

Still, a decent session beer. (363 characters)

Photo of shippos
4.56/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

pours a clear light brown witha cream colored dense head. biscuity bready aromas, chocolatly and some flowery hops with a yeasty note in there as well. awesome mouthfeel on this, full of sugary malt and treacle absolutly fantastic. hops are in there but leave the malt to dominate this beer which in my mind works wonders. I've had this on tap as well and I'd say go for the bottle. (382 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.62/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An average beer all around. Hoppy, decent appearance but soapy bubbles. OK to drink if food around. Some citrus hop bite smoothed over by malts, carmel. Carmel colour. Some cocoa bittersweetness, roastiness Spot of nuts.. Medium mouthfeel. Decent brown style. (259 characters)

Photo of Pegasus
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Lovely clear medium amber color with a moderate offiwhite head, slight carbonation, and excellent lacing.

Aroma: Caramel and fruit aromas predominate, with lesser dark bread notes and quite subdued herbal hops.

Taste: Begins with a smooth and quite sweet caramel note which carries throughout. Late in the taste, coffee and bitter chocolate notes appear, followed by a lingering herbal presence. This slowly fades away as the last remnant of the taste.

Mouthfeel: Fairly full and pleasant, with no harsh characteristics whatsoever.

Drinkability/notes: Pleasant, overally, though I will admit that I was a bit put off by the over the top sweet caramel notes, which to me seemed excessive. Stilll, overall it is quite pleasant.

Presentation: Twelve-ounce brown glass Euro-style longneck; apparently the package has recently changed from the earlier clear glass bottle. Purchased at Whole Foods in Austin, Texas. (936 characters)

Photo of EagleTalon
3.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a tan-brown color and thin foam head. Aroma is malty-sweet caramel. Mouthfeel is exceptional. Flavor is a balanced blend of caramel, chocolate and pale malts and noble British hops. Finishes slightly sweet and very tasty. This is good stuff. (250 characters)

Photo of bronxlord
4.51/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my favorite beers of all time. It tastes a bit bitter at first, but then that coffee/chocolate flavor kicks in with a little spice. The aftertaste is wonderful and rich. Its actually better as you get towards the bottom, maybe because its better when its not TOO cold. I would rate it as my top 3. A tasty treat for any beer lover. (346 characters)

Photo of elricorico
3.31/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours reddish brown with a thin tan head. The head faded to a ring fairly quickly. The smell of this beer remind me very much of Sleeman's Honey Brown, like a lager but a bit sweeter.

Bit of coffee/chocolate in the taste with just a trace of hop in the finish. It is smooth and fairly easy to drink. Nothing to make this beer stand out from the crowd, but not a bad brew. (374 characters)

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

Pours a pretty deep ruby-amber color that is topped by a creamy light tan colored head. The aroma is predominantly malty, with a deep fruitiness reminiscent of raisins and cherries, perhaps a bit of cough syrup as well. Quite light on the palate up front, which moves to a soft malty sweetness and the same type of fruitiness as in the nose. Actually this is pretty nice, it is easy drinking and is driven by the light maltiness and the ale-yeast derived fruitiness. Definitely a good session beer. (498 characters)

Photo of aracauna
3.36/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber with a good head. Almost looked like it was nitrous poured. Dark caramel, apple peels and wood in the flavor and aroma. Nice flavor, but it was perhaps a bit on the thin and light side. I’m glad I got to try it on tap, though. I’ve heard some horror stories about the Wychwood clear bottles. (304 characters)

Photo of Morris729
3.55/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep reddish brown color with a short tan head that quickly fades into a thin and bubbly lace. Lots of sweet malts in the aroma along with notes of chicory. Moderate in body—a bit thin towards the finish. Taste begins with semisweet chocolate and a hint of molasses followed by some flavors of bitter day-old coffee and a trace amount of spicy hops. A nice beer but nothing special. (391 characters)

Photo of Skidz
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. BROWN bottle....yeah. No freshness date.

Pours out amber brown and sits light chocolate brown in the glass with a large foamy off-white head with good sticking power.

Smells of caramel, chocolate, hint of espresso/capuccino with a nice malty base. Light hoppy spiciness lies within.

Taste of malty sweetness up front with toffee and dustings of light chocolate. Mild estery build blended with a lifting sense of alcoholic presence. Nicely toasted malts and citric taste of orange peel in the bitter, hop controlled finish.

Creamy and full of life in the mouth, nice gentle carbonation eases over your mouth. Nice medium body with plenty of kick.

Very tasty brew indeed. Love the flavor profile and creamy body. Easily consumed in mass quantities. (768 characters)

Photo of Guinness4me
3.51/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Props to the label and bottle designers on this beer! It's creepy and it's spooky, but a fun beer that pours a dirty brown opaque with a soapy head.

The funky smell worried me at first; could it be I'm just paranoid of clear bottles? Once I gave into the funk, I could smell the caramel goodness that was soon to come.

The taste was warming and more alcoholic than I expected for a 5.5 beer. It was sweet and malty with a taste as dirty as it's appearance, yet not unpleasant. After the malt came a slight taste of green bananas.

The mouthfeel was standard for a brown ale and only added to the overall quality of this beer. It was a nice balance of carbonation and bitterness.

I think I could do some damage to this funky little beer. Hobgoblins beware. (766 characters)

Photo of Frozensoul327
4.21/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the most unique beers I have ever had. An array of different flavors ranging from floral to sweet to smooth earthy textures to dark chocolate flavors. Beautiful auburn colour and a dense, rich head. I honestly cannot say enought about this amazing brew. Highly recommended. Wish it was more available and not quite expensive. Nonetheless, it's worth it. (360 characters)

Photo of NEhophead
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

16.9 fl oz clear bottle.

Foamy off white head with little retention; a few groups of bubbles remain. Somewhat thin and spotty lacing with decent strength. A cloudy light brown/mahogany in color.

A mild malt sweetness; some subtle coffee and light chocolate aromas as well; also a hint of skunkiness (probably due to the clear bottle) very reminiscent of a Newcastle.

Hazelnut coffee flavors at first along with some chocolate hints: All a pleasant surprise. A mild bitterness and a mild coffee flavored aftertaste. A watery aspect that takes hold after the initial flavors and wipes out any additional flavors. Sadly, a let down after the initial first sip.

The mouthfeel is thin and watery; lacks some substance.

A lighter more consumable ale. All in all a let down IMO and not one I will return to. (815 characters)

Photo of oracle
3.36/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another beer I bought simply because I liked the way the bottle looked (although I know I should be leery of beer in clear glass).

Beer poured deep dark brown with very minimal head and the faintest hint of lacing.

Once again, the clear glass has proved to be detrimental to the smell of the beer. Beer was slightly skunky, enough so that I could detect no other smells.

One thing I have learned though. Usuallly skunkiness does not affect flavor. Big burst of sweet malt right from the beginning. No hops of any substance. Mildly fruity, mostly cherry.

Long drawn out finish that lingers just a hair too long.
Nice clean mouthfeel, even after warming up.

Get it fresh or in a bottle that's never seen sunlight and I think this would be rather good. (766 characters)

Photo of littlebibs
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

nice, creamy concoction from Wychwood Brewery, didn't care
for the skunked Scarecrow Ale but it was a nice bottle. This
dark brownish type ale has a nice smooth fruity edge to it that
I like, it warmed nice. Has a great head that lasts. If you're looking
for something different during these cooler October days this
is nice and smooth, malty and delicious. I also enjoyed another
English Ale (Pendels Witches Brew) Halloween themes going
on here, another treat, delicious and
different. (495 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.95/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ruddy brown color, perfectly clear, with a nice, creamy layer of froth.
Nice aroma, for a brown ale/ English pale ale style, fruity, malty, light on hops, sweet, nutty, smacking of yeast, a bit.
Nice and tasty....wait, third time I've used that word, "nice"...bad monk, bad...but, it can't be helped, it's unflinchingly pleasant and, as taste now tells, palatable. No hops, thick malt, rich and round, mix of cherries, and grapes, with a distinct malty,...yumminess.
I'm liking this more and more, actually. Hadn't any clue, as my other encounters with this brewery were less than spectacular, or, at least, didn't live up to expectations raised by artistry and imagery....but this is pretty damned good. Easy to drink, packed with full flavor, medium bodied, long, fruity/nutty finish. I don't mind this little devil at all!

P.S., if it matters, this was from a brown bottle, not clear.
Although, I did see some of their other offerings in clear vessels at the same store...curious... (992 characters)

Photo of PorterLambic
4.3/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a dark, coppery brown, clear with a decent amount of light penetration. A small head develops that leaves some nice lace.
Smell is malt, chocolate, hops and caramel with a little green apple note.
Taste is dark chocolate, malt, honey, hops, caramel with a fruity note and alcohol at the end. Great complexity.
Mouthfeel is smooth, somewhat tangy, full-bodied with good, but not overdone, carbonation.
Drinkability is extremely high. Great balance and flavor, an absolutely superb English ale. (502 characters)

Photo of henrysunset
3.35/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

dark and somewhat cloudy, poured with a fine tan head that left serious lacing on the glass.

scent is pretty sweet and decently hoppy. mitterness is apparent in the nose. Definitely smells good but not phenomenal.

taste is a bit sweet for my taste. A lot of residual malts but the aftertaste is quite pleasent. Feels nice in the mouth with a little carbonation and a nice thickness.

It's tasty enough, but not somethign I will seek out again. The balance of bitterness and malty sweetness is too far towards the sweet end for me. if it fermented a bit dryer I think I would like it alot better. (603 characters)

Photo of baiser
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark, almost opaque brown with a creamy tan coloured head which reduced to a nice thin film coating the top of the beer.

Smelled of roasted malts, caramel.

Tasted grainy, with a definite toasted character. Ends quite bitter and is pretty astringent. Really bitter for an English ale, but this is what I liked about it.

An excellent brown ale, but the style is more american than it is english IMO.

This is something I buy every so often. (458 characters)

Photo of connecticutpoet
3.18/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer is quite attractive... pours out a nice rich ruby red. There is not much head, but it is composed of small bubbles and it lasts for a long time.

The aroma is pretty good too... rich dark malts, with a hint of sweetness and a touch of mustiness.

The taste was not exceptional, though. It was bitter, which I liked... slightly fruity, also, but an odd fruitiness. There was a faint hint of sweetness. The alcohol of the ale was evident though, which I do not like unless I am going for something strong like a barleywine, which this is not.

The mouthfeel was a little thin. Overall it's not a bad beer, but honestly, one 12 oz. bottle was enough for me. (670 characters)

Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
83 out of 100 based on 1,032 ratings.