Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.
HobgoblinHobgoblin

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

1,058 Reviews
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,058
Hads: 2,490
Avg: 3.72
pDev: 21.24%
Wants: 89
Gots: 394 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
United Kingdom (England) | website

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 (50) | 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: 1,058 | Hads: 2,490
Photo of russpowell
3.72/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark copper witha chunky 3 fingers+ sand colored head. Good lacing and below average head retention

Smell: Intense fruitcake/Christmas pudding aroma

Taste: Caramel, frutiness, & toasted malt. Slight bitterness as it warms. Slightly sweet finish

MF: Good carbonation but oscillates between hints of thin and astringent to me

Drinkable, but just didn't pull together the way I know this ale can (on cask), i'm sure the clear bottle ain't helping the cause...

 474 characters

Photo of superspak
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle into pint glass, 4BFH bottle code. Pours slightly hazy deep reddish copper color with a 2 finger dense and rocky light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of caramel, brown sugar, light toffee, toasted bread, light nuttiness, herbal, wood, grass, light plum/apple, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, moderate earthy hops, and restrained yeast ester notes; with solid strength. Taste of big caramel, brown sugar, light toffee, toasted bread, light nuttiness, herbal, wood, grass, light plum/apple, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate herbal/woody bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, toasted bread, light nuttiness, wood, and herbal/toasted earthiness after the finish for a good bit. Awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, moderate earthy hops, and restrained yeast ester flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/bready, and slightly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish as expected of 5.2%. Overall this is an excellent ESB style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, moderate earthy hops, and restrained yeast ester flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,639 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.79/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

330ml bottle served in a snifter (original) and 500 ml bottle with a BB date stamp nearly 1 year from review date, purchased and served in Scotland (some minor revision).

Pours clear mahogany with a modest, semi-durable head.

Aroma: raisins and toffee with biscuit and bread base.

Flavor: Light grassy and herbal hop presence but dominated by toffee, bready and dark fruit elements. Slightly sweet overall but decent bitter/sweet balance. Approaches 4.

Feel: nice smooth mouth feel; good carbonation.

 507 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
2.9/5  rDev -22%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Starts off well, but fades fast. You get just a hint of a full bodied ale, but it drops off nearly immediately. Because it had no lasting power, I wouldn't go for it again, or recommend it for that matter. Beyond that, I can't really think of anything constructive to deliver to you.

 283 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Crystal clear and dark amber in color. Light head which dissipates to a thin bubble layer. Spotty lace on the glass side.

Dark malts predominate the smell. There's a touch of "freezer" to it as well.

The initial taste has the slightless touch of sweetness. Afterward, it is quite dry. Astrigent and slightly bitter toward the end of the tasting. The aftertaste is mild with some chocolate notes. Moderate body with a high level of carbonation.

Bottom line: Pleasantly drinkable with some complexity.

 502 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

BTW, I forgot to mention thank god these guys switched to brown bottles it means their beer actually has a shelf life and that the Hobgoblin in cans is a great move as well but pretty hard to find. Aroma has a great mix of dark raisins with malty nutty sweetness going on, herbal and earthy hops in the background but a really nice roasted malt character overall. Flavor upfront roasted malt with a mild nut finish, some sweetness brings in the fruity raisins with a slightly sour bread finish blended with the bittering hops which have an earthy herbal feel. Mouthfeel overall is pretty damn solid one of the best English brown's I've tried outside of Sammy Smith's. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with gentle carbonation goes a long way I like the drying herbal and earthy hop bitterness it is what makes this beer work. Drinkability overall is pretty good, again another worthy contender taking Newcastle Nutbrown Ale to the next level and hopefully crossing many more folks into the American micro section of the industry.

 1,022 characters

Photo of mothman
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a stange.

Color is a dark dark coller amber, basically brown. Pours a very fluffy brown head, that leaves thick lace rings.

Smell is nutty and chocolatey. Taste is very similiar. It is rich and malty. There is also an earthy hop flavor.

Mouthfeel is bitter, but creamy at the same time. It goes down easy and has great carbonation.

Overall, this is a very easy to drink beer. I really enjoyed this and I can see myself getting some more of this when I am looking for a brown ale. It represents the style quite well!

 534 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
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 jwc215
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours medium brown with ruby highlights. The head descends to a thin, well-retained covering.

The smell is of sweet toffee with a lemony tang.

The taste is of sweet toffee with subtle hints of brown sugar. A lemony hop tang balances out the sweetness nicely. Suggestions of chocolate emerge as drink progresses. It has a pleasant, well-balanced taste to it Nutty finish. A slight warming alcohol touch finishes it off.

Fuller side of medium bodied. Smooth.

This is a nice English "session" ale.

 506 characters

Photo of tdm168
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - dark brownish amber with a large, thick, foamy, brownish head that has good retention

S - light citrusy aroma

T - malty, chalky, milky, some caramel, clean bitter finish

M - medium bodied, well carbonated

The chalky, milky flavor is incredibly off putting. Otherwise, this is a decent, sessionable ale. I probably won't be buying it again, though.

 355 characters

Photo of WesWes
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark amber/brown color with thick frothy off-white head. The aroma seems a bit skunky, but I can detect a hint of roasted barley and victory malt. The taste is good, but not great. The beer just does nothing for me. Sure, I can drink it, but where is the complexity. They have these really cool labels, but the beer just isn't as good. When will the European breweries quit with the clear glass bottles? The mouthfeel is fine. This is a medium bodied beer and is a good sessions ale.

 500 characters

Photo of Mora2000
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours medium brown with an off-white head. The aroma is strong caramel malt with some English malt, hops and yeast. The flavor is caramel malt with a little bit of chocolate. There is some roasted and nut character with some English hop bitterness. Medium mouthfeel and carbonation.

 282 characters

Photo of Billolick
3.87/5  rDev +4%
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 johnnnniee
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours the lightest shade of brown with orange/ruby highlights when put up to light. Bubbly white head impales itself to the glass till the very end. Smells a bit like minerals, mix up some raisins, brown sugar, dark caramel and dark fruit like plums or cherries with a hint of alcohol. Taste is sweet with brown sugar and caramel up front. Melds into a long lingering burnt sugar/treacle flavor that persists long after each sip. Some Melanoid in there reminds me a bit of a dopplebock. Creamy bubbly mouthfeel is the best part about this brew. Medium level of carbonation and a medium body. This is not a bad beer, maybe not a brown ale but certainly quaffable. I could see drinking a few of these on a cool autumn night.

 722 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Want a sweet beer? Have a Hobgoblin. On to the beer:

It's a light bronze color in appearance. There's nothing in the smell at first, but warming it up releases sweet toffee and a bit of coffee. Nearly the same flavors pull through in the taste, but with a medium/light tone of grapey hops towards the end of each sip. Not cloying at all, well balanced. Oh darn, I'm done with my 12 oz bottle, may I have another?

 413 characters

Photo of BARFLYB
3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A bottle into a Hobgoblin glass from a tin can gift set thing.

A nice hiss from the bottle, Hobgoblin spouts out a ruddy colored pond water brown and a off shade of white on a inch of head that fades quick. A ring around the glass and minor streaks.

Smell is very one demensional, pretty much toasted malt, caramel, and malt. That's about it. Malt.

Taste is very one demensional, pretty much toasted malt, caramel, and malt. That's about it. Malt.

Feel is smooth and luscious, no bitterness at all, sweet, yet not cloying. Aftertaste is minimal and not lasting.

This beer is simple. It packs in the malt, the caramel and if that's your thing, you will probably love this. While im not all that thrilled with this, it's not offensive, and well made. Im glad I got a fresh bottle. Why do they call this a ESB?

 814 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer is a moderately translucent brown with no head. Not really getting a lot of aroma off the beer itself, maybe a little malt and sweet. The taste is typical of a brown, with a slight bitterness at the end. Flavors of nut, caramel, and barley in the beer. The beer is sharp and light in mouth, with a fairly easy, smooth finish. The higher carbonation makes this a beer not for mass consumption.

 441 characters

Photo of tempest
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Not a bad "dark ale". Basically this beer has some mellow fruit and caramel malt flavors. Really, we're talking subtle here except for a mice, spicy hop finish. So overall it's a nice session beer, but the mouthfeel is a little off. It's a sort of cheap beer tang. Meh, it's still a good beer, but I wish I could try it on cask and see if it opens up more.

 356 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
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 BlackHaddock
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have always drank this in cask condition before (draught in a pub) and liked it very much. I haven't tried it in a bottle before, this review is for the bottled variety, I haven't had a draught one since joining the BA world.

The bootle version is not (in my opinion) as good as the cask, but here goes anyway.

Looks good, dark amber, ruby brown in colour, with an inch high off-white, cream coloured head, which stayed throughout the pint, although it was a lot thinner by the end.

Sweet and malty, with a hint of fruit, apples maybe, not sure.

A good honest ale taste, a little sweet, but to my tastebuds, about right. Malty aftertaste which stays until the next mouthful.

Fairly thick, it hangs around for a time, not heavy, but a pleasant body to the beer.

Very drinkable in my book, still prefer the draught, but after a hard days work and 3 hours on a University course and then a drive home, this beer did the trick and I was normal again half way through it.

 974 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.07/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle. A brown beer with a khaki colored head and minimal lacing. Smell is malty and nutty. Taste follows the nose with some caramel, toffee, mild roast and tea like hop bitters. A crisp, spritzy mouthfeel on a medium bodied beer. Excellent session beer from England, go figure.

 305 characters

Photo of Zorro
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear glass bottle from a fresh unopened case delivered to my local store. The owner allowed me to pick my bottle from the center so I am certain that I got this in as good condition as is possible.

Pours a deep clear brown ale. Held up to the light you see a wonderful garnet red highlighting.

Smell is big malt and British ale fruitiness. Other smells, a bit of grass, a trace of sulfur, and faint herbalness.

Taste is very malty and fruity from the very start. Dry in flavor there is a strong herbal hop flavor and a trace of butter. Fairly bitter in flavor there is also faint coffee flavor from dark roasted malt. A tasty ale in my opinion.

Mouthfeel is good.

A tasty and drinkable ale. This has a nice strong flavor that isn't fatiguing on the tongue.

 772 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle.... does not look like the BA pic anymore.. picked up at the Coop a couple of weeks ago.. I don't remember the price.. but it couldn't have been that much because I didn't write the price on the cap... poured into my shaped SA glass..

The brew is a surprisingly clear amber brown.. the head didn't stick around for that long.. but descent lacing for an English Ale..

Sweet malty nose.. caramel.. a little bit nutty.. light fruitiness... nothing at all is wrong with this brew with the aroma.. I bet it would be amazing from a cask.

The flavor doesn't quite deliver.. nutty and brown malts.. some caramel.. toasted malts are definitely there.. very balanced.. and very drinkable.. good bitterness to balance.. not much flavor to describe as expected.. finish is sorta tannic with dry caramel contributions.. slight cherry fruitiness.. lingering finish.. makes me want another sip.. the body is lite/medium with low carbonation without ever verging on flat.. very very drinkable as I come to the bottom of the glass..

It took me a while to come around to the Hobgoblin... but I am leaving a fan..

3.5/3.5/4/3.5/4.5

 1,137 characters

Photo of biegaman
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The light auburn highlights concealed by its deep russet brown skin are exposed when the beer is held up to light. It has cooling, autumn themed tones. A thin spread of ecru blankets the top and stands taller around the perimeter. The little dots of lace seem to be slowly sinking.

Its aroma has the soft, nutty malt character typical of English Brown Ales, although it doesn't stand out for me as being one of the best examples of one. A few sips in and I'd change my mind to say it's not even really a good example. Approximately double the malt with about double the roast would be a good way to start making up some ground.

This would go a long way to solving the issues its flavour faces, too. There just isn't enough malt to give a convincing 'nutty' impression and the level of roast is too little to invoke notes of caramel or butterscotch. There may be a smack of molasses but I fail to pick out any hazelnut, any pecan, and only very little toffee.

I feel terribly cheated on the mouthfeel as well: little malt that has been little toasted makes for little mouthfeel. A well crafted brown ale has that dry, chalky bitterness paved over with the rich, sweet, gooey sensation of toasted caramelized malts. Instead, I get the texture of spent grains.

I think it's fair to say of Wychwood beers that, on the whole, they are pretty underwhelming. This is partly due to the fact that the majority of their offerings are plain old English bitters of one type or another, which are largely unexciting styles themselves. That said, a good pint of bitter won't be displeasing, but this on other hand...

 1,610 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.2/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a medium caramel brown with a short head that quickly dissappears.

Smells lightly of toffee with a faint hop background. Not much there.

Taste is not bad, but not a homerun. Very malty woth a treacly flavor and an underlying saltiness. Sort of like saltwater taffy thats been a little carmelized? There is even a little bit of iodine on the finish. Somewhat intriguing flavors, but nothing spectacular here.

Mouthfeel is very soft with light carbonation.

Somewhat drinkable, but a little sticky and bland for my taste.

 536 characters

Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
84 out of 100 based on 1,058 ratings.