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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: 2,421
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 12.43%
Wants: 79
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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,043 | Hads: 2,421
Photo of barleywinefiend
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
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. (350 characters)

Photo of biegaman
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
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 wl0307
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
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? (1,511 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev +8.1%
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. (975 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
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. (293 characters)

Photo of plaid75
4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
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. (406 characters)

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
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 Tone
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, dark brown color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of sweet malt, pale malt, slight caramel malt, hint of dry hops, hint of adjunct, and hint of dark citrus. Fits the style of an Extra Special / Strong Bitter. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of pale malt, dry hops, sweet malt, hint of adjunct, and a hint of caramel malt. Overall, good appearance, decent aroma and body, with an average feel. (494 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.3/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from 2/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a coppery brown amber. Small white head with short retention and lacing. Light aroma of toasted and sweet malt and dark fruit. Flavor follows with light sweet and toasted malts, faint dark fruit, subdued. A bland, almost diluted brown beer. No off flavors and seems like it could have been a nice beer with some more intensity. I liked the graphics and presentation and wanted to like this. (456 characters)

Photo of ppoitras
3.66/5  rDev -1.1%
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. (627 characters)

Photo of beerthulhu
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
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. (592 characters)

Photo of flagmantho
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 500mL bottle into a pint glass. Mine is in a brown bottle, so apparently they switched from clear at some point.

Appearance: rich brown color with a clear body and a thick finger of compact ivory head. A perfectly reasonable brown ale.

Smell: rich malty aroma with a caramel character and just a touch of biscuit. While the composition is nice, I find the intensity just a bit lacking.

Taste: malt straddles the line between sweet and dry; plenty of caramel character is present here, whereas the biscuit seems to have subsided entirely. Hops are mild and earthy and provide a nice balancing bitterness at the end. Quite tasty.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a decent level of carbonation. Not bad.

Drinkability: actually, quite drinkable. I'd be glad to quaff a few of these down the pub sometime. (818 characters)

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

A: Copper-amber-brown, off-white/light-tan head, some retention, good lacing.

S: Earthy mineral, fruit, rind, toffee & nut.

T: Earthy, orange rind, mineral, figs, pear, toffee, roasted nut, modest bitterness.

M: Moderate body is smooth, almost creamy, off-dry finish.

D: Not overly enticing, but certainly drinkable.

An all-around good brew, considering the style (British brown ales are one of my least favourite). (420 characters)

Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This beer pours brown with a red, almost glowing tone. The head is (contrary to what many other rewievs says) rather large, but also creamy and thick with an off white colour. After the dissipation that takes a while there are nice lacings - not the thickest, but nice.

S: Definitely roasted (not to heavy) sweet caramell malt, but also dried fruit, some bitter hops and nice chocolate.

T: Sweet malt is what fills your mouth at first (there are some light roasted notes to the malt, but the smell was more roasted). There are both a freshness from fruit (citric notes) as well as heavier fruity notes (dried fruit), but the twist is the dryness from the bitter hops.

M: A medium bodied beer, but still creamy with moderate carbonation. The aftertaste is interesting: both sweet and dry at the same time, with a nice bitter feeling at the end.

D: This is a great brown ale, rather complex. I've had it many times and never grows tired of it. (949 characters)

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

A - Reddish/amber color with low to moderate carbonation visible. A light lace and a wispy hurricane pattern ontop.

S - Light caramel notes and toffee sweetness. Some fruit sweetness and nutty bitter scents.

T - Very rich and smooth flavors. Nutty and dry, sweet and smooth, malty and buttery. Toffee and grains swirling around with a pleasantly light sweet aftertaste. A hint of chocolate or carob but the malt and nutty flavors shine.

M - Smooth and soft on the palate, with some refreshing soft carbonation. Smooth finish, a tad dry.

O - Balanced and flavorful, yet crisp and refreshing. Highly drinkable. (613 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 Viggo
3.56/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear red/brown, nice carbonation, holds it and laces well. Smells malty and fruity, very pleasant. Has a fruity taste that I really enjoy, sweet malty backbone, slight alcohol taste and taste of maybe its dark cherries. Smooth carbonation and goes down easy. Definately a session beer, I really enjoy this one for everyday drinking. (333 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
4.32/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at Liquor Shed in Casper for US$10.45 a 6pack.

This pours from 12oz brown bottle a dark amber bordering on brown with a good 1 finger head of foam and it has some good lacing.

The smell is of caramel and roasted malt and there's some fruit going on there as well....nice nose.

The taste is a nice big load of caramel malt up front...very tasty. After another sip, I get a touch of roasted malt, a healthy biscuit presence, and a surprising amount of fruit...especially when I swish it in my mouth. Cherries, some fig, a little bit of citrus. Very tasty indeed. I've had this before so it comes as no surprise that I'll probably end up giving it a good review. lol

Bottom line: This is a tasty brew....more flavours than I'd expect from a typical English Brown Ale and they work well together. At least to my palate. Will I buy this again? It looks pretty in the glass, has a good inviting nose, is very flavourful, has a good mouthfeel, and is pretty darned drinkable...yep. I sure will. (1,001 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.28/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A light brown ale in a clear glass bottle. Doesn't seem to carbonated.

Sweet tasting, no hop presence. This is what I think of when I hear the term session beer, not the lower than ___ % specific blah blah blah. Just something that you drink and just carries on at times. Caramel and a little chocolate on the nose. Nuts. Seemed a little pricier for something this bland. It barely had nuances. (396 characters)

Photo of wordemupg
3.99/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into tulip 2/4/13

A clear brownish amber with a short lived finger of tan foam that leaves a single thick ring of lace followed by some random patches

S almost smells like a fruit pie, spice, fruity notes, a little bread and some toffee with a slight nutty aspect, not overly strong but quite nice

T more of the same really, slightly more spice and the toffees darker then the nose and the breads darker too, earthy notes add to the mix

M has some body to it and creams up nicely, nice spicy earthy finish lingers for a while

O pretty well rounded and easy to drink, this one works for me

Pretty solid brew that's worth trying for sure, not a bad flagship brew for Wychwood (702 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 dgilks
3.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful clear chestnut colour with a small, foamy tan head. Poor head retention.

Dull, malty aroma. Slightly nutty but not all that powerful.

Smooth, luscious malt. Tasty light toffee note. Moderately fruity from yeast esters. Nice.

Medium-light body with moderate carbonation. Good.

A really tasty beer which is easy to drink and the half litre can is a nice touch. (372 characters)

Photo of Brad007
3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium brown color with a one-finger head. Aroma is rich and malty with a bit of sweetness in the nose. I'm liking it for some reason. Taste is thick and malty, chewy with a lot of the malt showing through more than anything. A second sip confirms the maltiness of this brew. The aftertaste is somewhat dry and sweet. Definitely tastes like an English Brown Ale should in my opinion. The maltiness is a definite positive sign here. I like this beer. (457 characters)

Photo of bark
2.83/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The colour is mahogany brown, the liquid clear. The finger thick head is beige. Some lacing occurs.

The smell is loaded with caramel, but also a slight hint of vegetables. Medium strong somewhat metallic bitterness. It is rather sweet, but at the same balanced.

The taste starts off with caramel and toffee and a bitterness with metallic hints. Medium body. The aftertaste is sweet with some bitter and vegetable notes. Apricot jam and smooth bitter notes in the finish.

The carbonation is medium strong, the liquid is a bit sticky.

Apart from the metal bitterness, this is a pleasant ale. A bit too malt-heavy, perhaps. (628 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an amber/brown color with a half inch off-white head. It smells sweet, mostly like toasted malt, toffee and caramel. The beer also tastes the same way, mainly like malt and no hops that I can notice. The mouthfeel is light/medium, with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth going down. Overall I think this is a decent beer, and it wouldn't be a bad choice as an occasional session beer. (420 characters)

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