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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.
HobgoblinHobgoblin

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

2,117 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,117
Reviews: 1,011
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 63
Gots: 140 | FT: 0
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Hobgoblin Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,117 | Reviews: 1,011 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep ruby brown, with great clarity just like the bottle promises. Initially, it looks like no head is forming, but after a slight pause, a whole bunch of tiny bubbles coalesce out of the body, leaving a frothy light beige layer on the top. Good lacing. Not a lot of carbonation, but the bubbling that does exist is exceptionally fine. Looks very nice.

A little malty sweetness on the nose, with a hint of dried banana, and a slight port character. A light metallic phenol character is also present, which ensures the nose isn't overly sweet overall. It's quite light, but it's a very nice English ale nose.

Taste is initially smooth, but with a crescendo of darker grain notes and a zing of metallic bitterness. Finish is quite phenolic, as though the natural grain and hop notes have been replaced by something artificial. I visualise it as though what starts in a verdant forest slowly morphs into an industrial city of steampunk pipes. Lacks sweetness and smoothness on the rest of the palate. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, although the latent carbonation becomes noticeable here.

Not bad, overall, but the most important element is disappointing - the harshness on the back is quite disconcerting, and while it stays pretty drinkable, it's not something I'll seek out with alacrity.

lacqueredmouse, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of tempest
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

tempest, Nov 09, 2007
Photo of barleywinefiend
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown with almost purplish highlights. The smell is pleasantly malty with a little hint of nuttiness. The taste starts off sweet with a little bit of malty caramel taste and ends up with a slight hops bite that is refreshing. The mouthfeel has a nice thickness and mild carbonation. To me, the big draw of this beer is its drinkability.

barleywinefiend, Aug 03, 2008
Photo of Billolick
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

Billolick, Jan 06, 2005
Photo of Georgiabeer
3.23/5  rDev -13.9%
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.

Georgiabeer, Nov 19, 2006
Photo of wl0307
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml clear bottle. BB 30 SEP 06. Served slightly chilled in a jug.
A: dark ruby hue with strong brownish hint; nice creamy off-white beer head with decent retention; constant and moderate carbonation; looking healthy~~
S: semi-creamy caramelised black-sugary malts mixed well with lightly sweet berry-fruits and toffee-ish note, with a tinge of tea-leaf and herbal bittering yet semi-sweet elements of hops at the back. But some funky elements appear from time to time, maybe due to it's packaging--clear bottle?
T: toffeeish flavour upfront, developing in the mouth with stronger caramelised sugar and semi-sweet edge of nuts, gradually giving way to a satisfying black tea+licorice-kind of bitter-sweetness and moderate underlying dark-fruitienss at the back of the palate; balanced and pleasantly malty, with a lingering toffeeish and roasted nutty flavour in the long, moderately bitter finish.
M: medium-bodied and flavoursome, while the mouthfeel retains the smoothness throughout, allowing the subtle bitter-sweet elements to gradually prevail on the platform. Well-structured and deceptively quaffable!
D: this is a quality brew, something you don't want to drink too warm on cask; I know, it's a disaster as I've often suffered. You could still bump into a decent Wychwood tied-house somewhere in Oxfordshire, but for people out of that region this bottle is decent enough. Just curious: why wouldn't they consider using brown bottles to maintain a better consistency of the quality of this beer?

wl0307, Dec 22, 2005
Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in an Imperial pint glass)

A- This beer has a dark amber body that is clear but a bit dense. There is a thick creamy light tan head that last a good while with a good carbonation of tiny bubbles.

S- The smell of bright fruity brown malt has a faint dark honey malt note and the light smell of yellow apple skins.

T- This beer has a dark brown malt flavor with a soft dark toffee note and a light chocolate malt hint that has a fruity edge. There is a light dry soft green hop finish that has a very faint taste of apple skins that hangs on for a second. There is a slight tartness after the malt that is a pretty non-distinct fruit tartness.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a very faint sweetness and hop bitterness in the finish that leaves this pretty neutral.

D- This beer has a good mouthfeel with a interesting complexity in the taste and smell. It reminds me of cask beer and I bet it would be amazing if it were served on cask.

rhoadsrage, Dec 01, 2006
Photo of DoubleJ
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
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?

DoubleJ, Oct 30, 2007
Photo of Zorro
4/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

Zorro, Aug 21, 2005
Photo of jdhilt
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice full-bodied brew, smooth malty finish. Deep copper red, that poured with a good head and leaving no lace. The site has it with "a moderate hoppy bitterness" but it isn't that hoppy. As it warms it becames more mellow. A very good brown. Clear 500ml bottle and it did not affect the taste.

jdhilt, Jun 24, 2003
Photo of ejimhof
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%

ejimhof, Apr 08, 2012
Photo of BARFLYB
3.45/5  rDev -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?

BARFLYB, Mar 04, 2012
Photo of mothman
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
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!

mothman, Jan 08, 2009
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
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.

Stinkypuss, Oct 27, 2010
Photo of ppoitras
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from GCBrewingCo as part of BIF 20. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1" tan head above the clear dark amber brew. Head fades quite slowly, with excellent foamy lacing. Aroma is balanced of grains and hoppiness. Taste is light maltiness upfront, and as with the nose, well balances, but with a bit of an aftertaste that I can't put my finger on. Not off, but not exactly a benefit either. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both average to good, but could even be a bit better if the close was smoother. Nice brew nonetheless, which I imagine would be even better on handpull.

ppoitras, Aug 16, 2005
Photo of BillRoth
3.75/5  rDev 0%

BillRoth, Dec 07, 2013
Photo of mdaschaf
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

mdaschaf, Feb 14, 2013
Photo of LXIXME
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%

LXIXME, Jan 16, 2014
Photo of biegaman
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
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...

biegaman, Oct 24, 2008
Photo of plaid75
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Lark in East Northport, New York.

Poured a dark amber hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a light doughiness, some caramel and a grassy hop.

The taste consisted of clean toasted malts, nuttiness, an herbal hop and a touch of smoke at the finish.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a very tasty and complex ale.

plaid75, Jul 16, 2009
Photo of Latarnik
3.75/5  rDev 0%

Latarnik, May 24, 2014
Photo of tdm168
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

tdm168, Sep 24, 2012
Photo of beerthulhu
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poued a dark ruby red with a 1+ finger foamy off white head that faded rather quickly.

S: sweet malt and toffee along with light coffee notes and a rich sweet chocolate nuttiness.

T: The initial flavor was sweet with some toffee and sweet caramel which then progressed to a light roasted caramel and fresh coffee. There was some milky lactose chocolate notes, as well before finishing with a good dry earthy bitterness of burnt caramel and chocolate.

M: medium-full with a creamy lustrious lacing on the tongue.

D: Nice drinkability, can definitely have a couple and not get tired.

beerthulhu, Sep 16, 2008
Photo of Kelp
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

Kelp, Feb 01, 2013
Photo of sendbeer
2.25/5  rDev -40%

sendbeer, Jan 06, 2013
Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
85 out of 100 based on 2,117 ratings.