Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,043 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,043
Hads: 2,421
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 12.43%
Wants: 78
Gots: 341 | 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: 2,421
Photo of Hibernator
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
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. (519 characters)

Photo of claytri
4.33/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The ale poured a thick opaque reddish brown with thin tan head. The aroma was light but smelled of sweet malt and dark fruits. The taste was very appealing it was truly sweet malt with a great cherry finish and a strong alcohol burn throughout. It's feel was thick and syrupy almost medicinal. I normally avoid beers with the most fanciful names. So I found myself in the Intermezza Cafe in Atlanta and the selections lacked a little umph. This ones promise of chocolate malt fet my thoughts and so it was ordered. I was pleasantly surprised as it was quite a treat. (566 characters)

Photo of DrJay
3.67/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Very clear reddish amber colour with a thin, light brown lacing of head. Retention was modest and stickage was minimal.

Smell: Good combination of caramel malty sweetness, rich fruity esters, a light roastiness, and earthy hops.

Taste: Fruity sweetness that reminds me of dried fruit and apples. The bitterness is subdued, but builds nicely at the finish once the sweetness gets out of the way. The finish is quite nice with a mix of sweet fruitiness, balanced bitterness and caramel.

Mouthfeel: Medium/low carbonation and medium bodied. Texture is quite smooth and nicely done.

Drinkability: Overall it's a little too sweet and earthy. Not bad at all, but a bit more bitterness would balance it nicely.

Clear 500 mL bottle with best before date stamped on the rear label. (799 characters)

Photo of FenwaySquid
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
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. (549 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.22/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clear, dark chestnut body reveals glimmering highlights of orange beneath a short but creamy head of ivory colored foam. The head retention is fairly good, and it holds well before dropping to a standard collar and whispy surface covering that leaves minor spotty lace about the pint. The nose reveals dark fruit (plum/prune, red grape/raisin); a smear of buttery diacetyl; an edge of iron-like minerals; and a dusting of dark chocolate. It's smooth and light across the palate with a delicate carbonation and medium-light body. The flavor is not as rich as the nose might suggest, but its lightly vinous fruit appears first on the palate, followed by some light notes of toffee, and some mild diacetyl and leafy hop in the finish. It's quite well balanced, and the bitterness simply balances what not-particularily-sweet malt is there. It's interesting, and has enough character and drinkability to make it a decent session ale. (931 characters)

Photo of Mark
3.87/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Finally got around to trying this beer which has always aroused my curiosity. While English ale is my favorite genre of beer, I hate clear glass bottles and that's what probably steered me clear up to now. Beer poured a deep amber, head retention was good but there was no lace at all. Sweet malty aroma also had hints of chocolate.
Sweet malts, toffe and chocolate seemed to dominate the taste profile. Fruitiness came out as well as the beer warmed. Hops were subtle. A decent enough beer but not in the same league as Young's, Fullers, or even some Sam Smith beers that we get here in the States. (600 characters)

Photo of Quaffer
3.21/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16.9 oz. bottle. Picked this up in KC, MO. Not available here in Wichita.

Appearance: This one came in an uniquely shaped, clear bottle with a menacing looking goblin on it. He is walking through the streets of a medieval village wielding an axe drenched in the blood of macro marketing execs. The beer itself was an amber, crimson color and was crystal clear, except for the small amount of sediment that I allowed to escape from the bottle. No chill haze at all. The off-white head rose up to a little over a finger. It was dense and took quite awhile to dissipate. A think ring of foam remained around the edge of the glass, but there was no lacing.

Smell: A very light aroma. Vague impressions of roasted malt and fruit were about it. A very dry aroma. As the beer really warmed, there were hints of hops and the fruitiness gained strength, but it was all still very subdued.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied and slightly buttery at times. A little watery at other times. Carbonation was definitely present, but didn't cause any roughness.

Taste: Hints of fruit, but mainly comprised of roasted malt, a muddled hops bitterness, and a sharp astringency. It dried out almost immediately and remained that way. Very dry, overall. I wish I could say more for the flavor, but that was it.

Not a bad brew, but rather ho-hum. The dryness did make it fairly drinkable. (1,370 characters)

Photo of aquaderek
3/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a brownish red color with a head that dissipates quickly to a lace on the glass. The nose is malitness with grainy nunances. A suprising lack of taste here, I get some sweetness with maltiness, the mouthfeel is like watered down club soda and I could drink few but not overly impressed. I like the goblin on the bottle though!!! (334 characters)

Photo of Billolick
3.87/5  rDev +4.6%
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. (294 characters)

Photo of BDTyre
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good "brown ale" that is copper in colour. Good white head that doesn't disappear completely.

Smell is faintly malts, a bit nutty and toffee-ish. Taste is similar. Good bitterness, slight sweet, fruity tastes. Metallic bitter aftertaste, not terrible.

Good drinking. This is something I buy every year, especially around Halloween. (339 characters)

Photo of apintofknowledge
3.04/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I had gotten rave reviews about this beer, and even see many such reviews here. I was looking forward to trying what one friend deemed his all-time favorite.

I was surprised to find the beer came in a clear bottle (I’ve always understood that light is the enemy of beer). Not a good sign from the start. I poured and found the medium-light brown color somewhat lighter than expected. The aroma… the nicest part so far… fruity and malty… seemed promising. Then I tasted… and tasted again. It just wasn’t filling my mouth with flavor the way I was expecting. Yes, a nice balance of sweetness and spice, hints of chocolate and even a little pepper, with a molasses finish. Warm toasted malt all the way through. But it just seemed weak in a way… like the flavor was more watered down than it should be. Easy drinking, but no “wow” in the glass.

Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I wasn’t expecting so much. Alas, maybe this should be a lesson to me to not over-hype beers to others, and let them judge for themselves, for they may experience the same thing I did with this selection. (1,100 characters)

Photo of SilentSabre
4.53/5  rDev +22.4%
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 -1.9%
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 -8.6%
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 +12.7%
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 -11.4%
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 +23.2%
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 -2.2%
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 -5.4%
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 +2.7%
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 +21.9%
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 -10.5%
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 -3.2%
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 -9.2%
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 -4.1%
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)

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