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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,043 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,043
Hads: 2,423
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 12.43%
Wants: 79
Gots: 340 | 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.
View: Beers (48) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Hobgoblin Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,043 | Hads: 2,423
Photo of Gear54
3.71/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a 500ml bottle into a pint glass

A: Dark amber in color. Cannot see through at all. 1/2 inch of thick foam. The head faded quickly but leaves behind a ton of lace. It stuck to top of the glass even as I was half way through the beer

S: Faint carmel and malt

T: a bit sweet with malty finish. Not a ton of carbonation.

M: On the lighter side and it doesn't hold on to the taste buds for long.

O: Left a bit to be desired on this one. I have a feeling this bottle might have been a bit older. I would be willing to try this fresh and see if that makes a big difference. (579 characters)

Photo of scotorum
3.74/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

First from a fourpack on sale at the Liquor Outlet Wine Cellars in Boonton New Jersey.

11.2 oz. bottle

a: Black with a thin foam head and slight lacing,.

s: Caramel malt.

t: Caramel malt and a little dark ripe fruit over a mild hop bite.

m: Light to moderate with good carbonation tingle.

o: A decent English dark, about as expected. (340 characters)

Photo of MABrewHound
5/5  rDev +35.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of my all-time favorites! The moderate carbonation and reddish hue make for a very presentable beer. The aroma and flavor have a certain spicy character that I do not recall any other beer having. Not sure of the origin, but the unique flavor keeps me coming back. My perfect beer! (285 characters)

Photo of Ozzylizard
4.58/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at cellar temp into an imperial pint
Aroma of Wood and fruity malt
Head large (5cm), off white, creamy, slowly diminishing to an irregular layer varying from 2 – 4 mm
Lacing OK – partial rings of small bubbles as well as large irregular islands
Body deep red-amber, clear
Flavor of wood and light chocolate; no hops, no alcohol, faint diacetyl, ends quickly to dry finish
Palate medium, watery, soft carbonation

An excellent Brit beer – what’s sold in the US is pasteurized but still very good. I almost always have some of this in the cellar. The flavor is fantastic, the appearance is outstanding, the aroma and palate are exceptional. (653 characters)

Photo of SmashPants
3.17/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Bottle: stylish embossed brown 500mL bottle with a decent Wychwood label.

Appearance: mid-dark brown in colour with a one-finger beige head that drops slowly to a creamy cap. Streaks of lace.

Aroma: as with so many English ales, the aroma is far too demure for my likes. Light cocoa and toffee, light malts.

Taste: bread malts and toffee, some chocolate and nut. Reasonable but not massively exciting.

Aftertaste: the light bread malts remain, but much more the drying bitterness on the mouth feel.

Mouth feel: moderate in feel with with a lower carbonation. I couldn't help think it would have benefited from a stronger carbonation.

Overall: not a bad beer, but neither is it great. Similar to Newcastle Brown but with less carbonation. At $80 a case of 12 x 500mL, it is a bit steep a price too. (803 characters)

Photo of PvtSnowball
4.13/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Purchased from one of the local marts.

A: A fantastic amber with good head and retention.

S: Very nice balance or malt and hop. Very good balance in fact.

M: Rich and satisfying. Crisp also.

T: Very good, almost perfect balance.

O: A fantastic brew. One of the reasons I love ESB's. (288 characters)

Photo of Kris450
3.08/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This was my first ever cask, room temp beer. Being an American, this was a new experience for me. I am used to fairly tasteless pilsners, that are being tapped from a frosty tap, so this was completely different. Pumped into a pint glass, flat dark color with little head. The room temperature opened up the beer to have a solid hop presence and a full malty taste. I think I would enjoy it more now that I have sampled more cask ales and a wider variety of beers, but I'm glad my first was this one! (500 characters)

Photo of stoutscout
2.64/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

I tried out this beer several times and probaly it was never meant to work just for me. Its overall appearence was pretty attractive, it looked like any classic strong dark ale really should look like. If I recall it correctly, its smell combined slight notes of caramel and coffee together, which wasn't bad in itself as well. But what didn't strike me too well was the taste of this beverage. Unfortunately enough, every sensation supposed to derive from Hobgoblin became overshadowed by a strong bitterness which couldn't be associated with barley, malt or whatsoever. It truly had an awful alcohol-like bitterness about it and an even worse aftertaste, which almost ruined the whole picture of this ale for me. To be honest, I've had a hard time drinking it as well as finishing the bottle. The quality of this ale might have depended on storage conditions and the time it had to spend on the shelf. Still I'm afraid it couldn't have affected the taste badly.
I must confess I've also tried several other Wychwood varieties including Scarecrow (ex-Circlemaster), Fiddler's Elbow, Black Wych, and Wychcraft. Hobgoblin is by far the least interesting and captivating blend of them all. This, in fact, surprises me greatly (as the brewery itself considers it to be its flagship or core product).
I'm terribly sorry, as I know I'm treating this beer rather callously, but 2.63 is probably the only mark I can give to this ale. (1,427 characters)

Photo of jlux21
4.07/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A nice dark English Ale
I enjoy this beer goes well with food doesn't overpower what your eating like many dark beers can. Stands up well by it's self and can be enjoyed year round. I would put it on par with the likes of Bel haven all around smooth and refreshing. (265 characters)

Photo of ghisty
3.57/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

pours dark. deep red, as promised on the bottle, very thin head, typical for the style, not over carbbed , well balanced , tight lacing. most if all of the head dissipates to the sides and makes lacing rings for each drink.

sweet, but not the sort of sweet from fruit, more like..a BBQ sauce, its not overly powerful in anyway for the nose, id imagine its smell will increase as it warms.

its smokey, but with a sweet grainey bit that comes in partway thru, slightly slick,
sharp, but not overly bitter, there are tastes of fruit in there , its a pretty complex range , the after taste lingers bitter for a second and then breathes out a bit sweet and nutty, its enjoyable.

like an ESB should be. not overly carbed. with some crispness and good texture,only reason i chose to score it a bit lower on mouth was its a bit slick. not a trait i prefer in a bitter, or any beer for that matter. but .. still good.

im going to wait a min and drink the remainder of this pint until i write the overall..
...*drinks pass*....

these style of beer often miss the mark, for me at least, overly flashy packaging,
claims of legendary styling. ..this stands aside from that generality..
its smokey, but fruity, and malty, yet has a bitterness that comes strong.
its complex. but drinkable, and not heavy, I don't know if it's something I could regularly drink.. but as an option for a beer to enjoy slowly, while relaxing, I could see it's appeal. If the sweet side of dark and bitter is your thing, give this a try.
It's a different offering..but I do enjoy it, and I will be buying again sometime. (1,637 characters)

Photo of Zetcha7x
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz single from CJ's Doghouse in Lansdale. poured into what I'm told is a porter glass

A-amber color with an inch of off white head that didn't stay around too long. Decent lacing.

S-not a whole lot going on here. Some dark fruits and caramel malts. I kind of pick up on the metallic smell others mentioned.

T-sweet but with a bitter hoppy finish, what you would expect from the smell...some dark fruits and malt flavors...nice

M-light, smooth, slightly creamy, but with that bitter finish

O-nice English ale, pretty much what I was looking for when I made the purchase. sweet and malty but has that little kick at the end. I would definitely have enough. (664 characters)

Photo of puboflyons
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From the 330 ml. bottle. Sampled on February 28, 2014.

Very attractive medium to dark amber pour with a modest off-white head that lingers. Beautiful clarity.

The aroma is modest to say the least but there is a nice caramel malty character, light sweetness, and toast to it.

The body is light to medium but smooth.

It tastes like a British Bitter should with an upfront toasted caramel maltiness and an emerging, boastful earthy bitterness that lingers at the end. (468 characters)

Photo of SoupKitchenBeerSnob
2.4/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Never saw this one before and thought I'd give it a shot. Eeh... Tastes like amateur hour at a local micro brew... Looked good on the pour, but ultimately unsatisfying. There are hints of things, but those elements seem to get muddied by the hops. I can't even recommend this to a hop-head, because the hops-- while being the most pronounced of the flavors-- just come across as weak and half-hearted. Don't think I'll be returning to this one. Nifty looking bottle though. (473 characters)

Photo of brewbattles
3.03/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

We conducted a blind taste test with this beer and 5 other brown ales to objectively determine which one was best. The 5 beers were: Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale, Lost Coast Downtown Brown, Big Sky Moose Drool, Newcastle Brown, and Wychwood Hobgoblin. You can view the video here:

http://youtu.be/oz0hSSylY70 (309 characters)

Photo of keithmurray
2.94/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - crimson color with beige head

Smell - metallic odor (copper), toffee, grape

Taste - metallic taste comes thru, a bit of toffee and grape

Mouthfeel - medium body, hgh carbonation, metallic and sour in the finish

Overall - I don't know if this is a bad bottle or what but I can't enjoy this. Drain pour

Price point - $1.75/11.2 oz bottle (353 characters)

Photo of FickleBeast
3.69/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a copper brown color with a slight ring of foam at the top. Aroma is very malty, with plum and sweet crystal malts dominating the nose.

First sip quite malty, with toffee and crystal malt flavors. Minimal bitterness on the finish. This is a simple, sweet, malty beer with a lot crystal malt flavors, but nothing particularly exciting. Solid, enjoyable, and traditional, but nothing that I'd go out of my way to get again unless I was much closer to the source. (511 characters)

Photo of Dsimenson
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pilsner. It produces no head, but sim mild lacing that does not cling to the glass as you drink it. It has little aroma--mild malt. Flavor is mild, malt, mild hops, a bit of a chemical aftertaste. Mouthfeel is very bubbly but thin. Overall this is a good ale, not as dark or interesting as my favorite porters, similar in color but not as exciting as a very good red ale. (399 characters)

Photo of GorgonSed
2.01/5  rDev -45.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Nice dark red-amber color. Clear. No head at all, disappears instantly.

S: Nearly no smell to it. Smells like a raisin box.

T: Sweetness with a bitter end. Metallic notes which are unpleasant. Aftertaste is of cooked white rice.

M: Surprisingly carbonated for the lack of head.

O: Would not have again. Taste is unappealing. I do like the label artwork though. (368 characters)

Photo of jhartley
3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A-Reddish-copper body with a 2 finger head. Great label art and an embossed bottle.

S-Dark ripe fruits - Plums, malts.

T-Raisins, some spiciness-clove(?) and cinnamon.

M-Light carbonation and a nice sweetness, not cloying, carbonation evens it out.

O-A very easy drinking beer, not too sweet, a bitter hop bite on the end.

Originally reviewed 08/22/2012 (415 characters)

Photo of Das_Reh
2.68/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.5

I've been seeing this one the shelves for a while now, finally decided to give it a try.

Poured from a bottle into a tulip. Color is a deep mahogany, very little head and little lacing.

Smells of cherries, raisins, perhaps some brown sugar or molasses, somewhat boozy.

Taste is very sweet, cloyingly sweet in my opinion. Cherries, raisins and caramel, sugar and booze. This tastes like a much higher ABV beer than it is, reminds me somewhat of a Belgian dark ale but not in a good way. There is a sharp bitterness but no actual hop flavor, which is a shame because this beer needs it to help balance out the boozy sweetness.

This beer lacks carbonation, which it desperately needs. There is nothing to cut the sweetness and cut the body a bit. This isn't very palatable in my opinion, it's too sweet and difficult to drink. Not quite a drain-pour but not something I'll ever buy again.

I do not like sweet, high alc beers, with few exceptions. This beer, at only 5.5%, tastes like a beer that is 8% or higher, and does not sit well with me. I found the sweetness overwhelming and the alcohol character almost fusel, and there was virtually no hop character to cut the sweetness. (1,183 characters)

Photo of beergoot
3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice, reddish-copper color with a great, soft foamy head. Strong caramel and toffee aroma; malty. Warm and buttery grain flavors; some spiciness; big hop bitterness at the finish. Medium-light body; somewhat fizzy; semi-dry finish.

A pretty well-rounded ale, flavor and appearance-wise. I even get a bit of rye spiciness with the taste. Kind of rough around the edges with the mouthfeel, though; not as smooth and a tad weak. Still, the pluses outweigh the negatives. Definitely should appeal to those who favor malt-centric beers. (540 characters)

Photo of Kevichella
4.04/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured this from a 330ml bottle into a pint glass. Got a bit over eager and ended up with a big frothy head. It settled down quickly though to leave a small bubbly head

Look: The head is a bit bubbly for my liking, but I love the dark brown colour below it . When held to the light, it gains some warmth

Smell: There is a slight chocolate smell, i'm not sure what else i pick up.

Taste: I read someone had put the taste as raisiny and now tasting this i cannot get that out of my mind, so i'm gonna go with that. Except i don't like raisins but i do like this. There is a chocolatey taste in there too, though it is faint.

Feel: Feels watery and with an ever so slight fizz

Overall: I like this ale, it has a pleasant aftertaste that means it is quite hard to stop going for another sip, and before you know it, you're off to the bar for another pint. Lovely. (864 characters)

Photo of bluedaisyboo
3.74/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A: A nice golden red; slightly darker than I would have expected of the style.

S: Not much of a smell, but the predominant scent is a light raisin bread smell. Overall quite pleasant.

T: Exact what you'd expect from the smell... raisin and a bready malt taste are foremost. Hints of oak, chocolate, and caramel underneath, but the raisin lingers after swallowing.

M: Overall a light mouthful, slightly watery but finishes slightly denser than I would guess from initial sip.

O: A quite pleasant ESVB/ale with moderate bitterness. Easy and enjoyable to drink.... definitely worth trying. (633 characters)

Photo of CMUbrew
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Dark copper-brown color and a clear body. Head only stays full for a few moments. Carbonation doesn't appear to be overly active.

S: Toasty malt aroma, slight earthy hop, just a touch of raisiny oxidation.

T: Sweet caramely malt, a little toasty, and a balancing grassy/earthy hoppiness. Remains a little on the sweet side.

M: Light, but not thin or watery. Carbonation is on the lower end.

O: Overall, a really nice English ale. Definitely makes me want to seek out similar English beers of this style and others. (522 characters)

Photo of inglebk
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a mug.

A: a pretty translucent brown/ amber with an inch and a half white head. Pretty good lacing.

S: Toasty malt and bready yeast. Caramel. Not much for hops.

T: Get the slight hop bitterness that wasn't in the nose. Big biscuit yeast with the roasted malts bringing up the rear. Pretty light. Very sweet.

M: On the watery side but not to the point where it was unenjoyable. Hops left a nice bite and the carbonation was about perfect.

O: Overall I could definitely drink this beer again. I like sweeter, malty beers and this one definitely embodied that. I'll have it again if offered to me. (630 characters)

Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
84 out of 100 based on 1,043 ratings.