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Hobgoblin - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,053 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,053
Hads: 2,459
Avg: 3.72
pDev: 21.24%
Wants: 85
Gots: 377 | 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 (49) | 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: 1,053 | Hads: 2,459
Photo of jamiesessions
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown colour and a head that quickly goes away and leaves little lacing. Smells of fruit and nuts, but nothing too pronounced, the nose is present, but not prevelant. Toffee and fruit is noticeable in the taste, and while it's not mind blowing, it is certainly a pleasant taste. It feels good on the palate, and goes down quite easily. Overall, this is not a life-changer, but is a nice little treat that you might not write home about, but you most certainly won't regret.

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Photo of A380
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a dark ruby red, with nice brown head with ok lacing. not that strong though. smells like strong sweet toffee and chocolate tastes the same with a hint of alcohol. overall a food beer i find. tastes great with a steak on a cold winter day! with some lovely asparagus. :) enjoy!

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Photo of anakar
3.81/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pretty good beer - a craft spin-off to the classic English Browns

App - pours amber and bronze. Clear, with a small cream-colored head which fizzes away quite quickly.

Smell - While it has a very classy English smell to it, it also has a bit of toffee in the smell. Not mouth-punching, very subtle smell

Taste - Heavy alcohol, as if you took something like Newcastle or Fuller's and "juiced" it with something stronger. I liked it, it's not as easy-to-drink as the classics but it's pretty good on its own

Feel - Carbier than expected. Smooth and very nice. Great feel.

Overall - Try it, very nice strong version of the classic English Browns

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Photo of jongillin
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From Notes on: 4/8/07

Pours a crystal clear amber color with a light head that dissipates quickly.

This beer has a mild aroma that is mostly of ripe fruits and sweet malts.

On the first sip I noticed a fruit flavor (dark cherries I think) which then gives way to caramel and coffee and finishes with a little bit of hop bitterness. Fairly complex.

Mouthfeel is a full bodied but the carbonation helps to give this beer a bit more of a clean finish.

This is a great one to have at least a couple and enjoy the complexity. A very lively beer and full of flavor. A good pairing might be a coq au vin.

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Photo of mattd017
3.26/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep dark brown with very little head. Has a very sweet, malty smell. Sweet, nutty, almost too sweet. Very thin in the mouth, like carbonated water. Not the best ESB I have had, but not even close to the worst beer. Probably would not buy it again

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Photo of ChugsMugs
4.17/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- mahogany brown. Nice finger head and good lacing.

S- some fantastic sweets. almost strawberry or kiwi, just such a blast of candy or fruit store. raisins maybe? followed up by a bit of nuttyness.

T- liquid dream. Starts with just some of the fruitiness, but mostly a nutty earthy presense. The tiniest bit of bitter on the sides of the tounge. A great rich flavor, a hint of mollases.

M-not thick, but full presense in mouth. mild carbonation. Very smooth.

D- Have had several now over the past few months and everytime I am more impressed. Easy to put down and the perfect go to beer when in doubt.

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Photo of ncsutton
3.42/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Serving - Bottle

A - Brownish color with Amber highlights to it

S - Very earthy/nutty smell to it

T - Roasted malts with a nutty taste to it, also a very earthy undertone to it

M - Medium to light bodied brew, with some decent light carbonation

O - A solid Brown Ale in my opinion, it reminds me a lot of Newcastle Brown Ale, but is enough different and maybe a little better, but that may just be my bias based on how cool the bottle is (only in making it more preferable than Newcastle)

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Photo of scot_chale
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Beautiful beer. Nice dark red with a cap of beige foam. Carbonation dancing in there but not as much as an American lager.

S- Diacetyl all the way, with just a touch of caramel malt.

T- Balanced. A bitterness comes through, but I would attribute that to the bittering hop, not a late addition. The malt base is thick, but the carbonation breaks it up very pleasantly. The finish is a lingering, sweet malt.

M- silky, buttery, smooth with just a tiny bite of CO2.

O- Very nice beer. I'm not very well educated on ESBs, but I can say I really like this one. I would buy a 6 pack and show it to my home brewing friends as a great example of what an ESB should be, based on what I've read about the style.

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Photo of QuentinCompson
3.86/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1 Pint 9 oz bottle into Goliath glass

A - Nice pour, luscious head, dark brown blackish brew, creamy lacing, good looking.

S - Malty, hops, smoky, slight caramel, syrupy

T-M - Roasted malt nose moving into syrupy hops; a touch watery; nice carbonation, bitter and bready finish

D - Nice dark ale; works well for the style; would like to experience this on tap

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Photo of brianlg
4.53/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 Pint 0.9 oz. bottle poured into a tulip. Nice dark amber/copper color with fluffy bubbly cream head. It smells of malts, and nuts. The taste is phenomenal. This is what I think of when I think of how beer tastes. It's very smooth, medium carbonation, just the right amount of malts and hop bitterness. This is going to be my new session beer.

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Photo of xodin
3.61/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Crisp, mohagony brown appearance with a mild, somewhat neutral smell. Very bitter flavor, reminiscent of an IPA, but without the kick at the end. Rounds out nicely at the end of the swallow, but I don't detect any originality, boldness, or gusto. A characteristic "slightly above average" brew, IMHO.

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Photo of brewbattles
3.03/5  rDev -18.5%
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:


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

My beer store has pretty much the full line of Wychwood's but I have never tried them before. Grabbed this one because I was in the mood for a brown and the label looked great. It poured into an english pint glass giving a 1 1/2 inch head that quickly dropped to just a ring. The smell was a nice blend of toasted malts and a toffee sweetness, but it looked kinda weak with its lack of head and thin look when held to the light. However, with the first sip its threat of being watery was shown to be completely unfounded. The mouthfeel was smooth and sweet, with comfy flavours of malt and chocolate, a nice buttery toffee, which then gave way to a nice clean hop bitterness that lingered slightly but was very refreshing. This is a nicely balanced and very sessionable beer. Nothing extreme or unexpected, just well rounded and highly enjoyable.

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Photo of Mechphisto
3.66/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Unfortunately this is an example of "I may not know if it's art, but I know what I like."
A nice color, a nice, creamy head, and a creamy feel without that oily feel that a lot of dark ales tend to have.
But I couldn't quite pinpoint exact flavor or aroma notes. Some have said "caramel coffee," and I could see that. There's a sweetness to it that balances the bitterness. The aftertaste is mainly what has the coffee-like flavor, but it doesn't last too long.
I found it more pleasant at a cool temperature. Not frigerator temperature, but definitely above room temp. Warm enough to bring out the creaminess but cool enough to temper the bitterness and "open" hoppiness. If that makes sense.

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

Poured a very dark amber. Finger worth of head that dissipated quickly. Left a nice ring the rest of the way.

Smell was pretty malty. Taste was full of sweet malts, some butter tones, a bit of bitter hop on the back end.

Mouthfeel was pretty light with a bit of carbonation. Very drinkable if you ask me.

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Photo of Ommy
3.28/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The Hobgoblin pours nicely and forms a bubbly head that lingers for a while, leaving behind a very nice lace. Inside the glass it shows a darkish red which matches the label quite nicely.

The first smells I get on the nose are metallic and copper like. A faint smell of hops is noted with a hint of orange peel. It isn't too impressive, though in my limited experience it is pretty standard with a dark English ale.

The bitter hops prick the tongue quite nicely, but not overly for my palate. The slight metallic smell is also tasted briefly in the middle. The finish has a nice mouthwatering hoppiness feel that leaves me wanting more.

Overall as a relatively new person to a "Dark English Ale" I would say that this is pretty flavorful and enjoyable to try, but not something I would buy again or urge my friends to buy, but it is nonetheless nice to try.

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Photo of Chris_Burton
4.23/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Hobgoblin is something of a go to beer for me, and I'd been meaning to review it for a while.

It's definitely on the darker of ESB, although not dark or rich enough to really qualify as a porter. The body is a translucent brown with shades of ruby when held to the light. A finger of head quickly disappears. It smells of forest berries and caramel. The taste is a strange combination: light hints of chocolate, a slightly bitter dryness and an aftertaste of cherries. A very balanced beer, being neither sweet and malty nor bitter and hoppy: as Goldilocks would put it, this one is juuust right! Mouthfeel is full enough to support the chocolate and dark fruit without being rich and heavy; this is a beer you can enjoy a few of in one sitting.

Hobgoblin isn't quite my favourite ESB, but it definitely stands out from the crowd. Probably the best beer Wychwood have to offer.

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Photo of leeenglewood
3.06/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A quick pick when nothing looked exciting and the graphics caught my eyes figuring that it was just a gimmick brew. Just to note this beer had been skunked but was not horrible. Poured a ruby brown color with a head that dissipated after a few minutes. Smell was slightly skunk but you could make out a faint smell of sweet malt. Tasted sweet with little hop to it. Mouthful was decent. Sad part is this beer was in a brown bottle and purchased in a store that has a very high turnover had been distinctly light struck I would drink again insuring storage was better on the part of the importer and distributor as this beer would be infinitely better had it not been mishandled.

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Photo of chriscolby
2.85/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I bought a six pack of dark brown, 12 oz. (355 mL) bottles.

The beer pours a clear amber with a "one-finger" head. It smells sweet with almost no hop aroma or malty tones except for a hint of dark grains (I'm guessing chocolate malt, but am not certain by any stretch). Flavor is sweet with light hop bitterness; mouthfeel is disappointingly watery when cold but improves greatly when it warms to proper ale-serving temp.

There's nothing in this beer that stands out as substandard -- but it really doesn't show any character that stands out as better than average, either. A solid, if uninspiring, English-style ale that would make a decent session beer.

Be sure not to serve this ale ice cold; let it warm to proper serving temperature (around 50-55 °F) or it will just taste like alcoholic iced tea.

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Photo of konadrinker
4.38/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into a pint glass

A- Poured a dark brownwith a small tan head and some lacing.

S- Malty sweetness and toffee with a light hop aroma.

T- Thick malt flavor with toffee, very smooth flavors.

M - Full and creamy with a lingering flavor with very little carbonation.

D- Smooth and easy drinker. A nice brown ale that would go well with a good steak or prime rib.

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Photo of mash4077
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 5

A- Big and foamy light-tan head. Dark brown with slight amber tint.

S- A light nuttiness with strong fruit and caramel scents. Bit closer to a porter in the nose.

T- Bread with walnuts. Very smooth. Nice warm malts and a decent hop balance. Sort of a buttery taste towards the end.

M- A bit watery for my taste, and the carbonation doesn't do it for me.

D- Very drinkable, smooth and easy.

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Photo of beerman599
3.18/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

oved this beer a couple of years ago in an unfiltered bottle but sense then they have changed hands and our now more easily found but i have to say this beer lacked something it was thin and tinny with an undesirable off character maybe a bad keg but the bottles i've had recently were disappointing as well

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Photo of brewshakes
3.47/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this beer this afternoon after getting home from work. I purchased it in a mix six pack earlier in the week. It poured a rust color with a thin tan head. The nose was malt and roasted grains. The taste is pretty good, dry towards the end. All in all a pretty good English Brown Ale.

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Photo of Taffle
3.29/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hobgoblin poured a dark amber color with quickly dissipating head. Lingering lace throughout most of the drink.

Aromas were weak, however some sweet caramel or toffee-like smells present

Smooth malt flavors blend and transition into mild hoppiness. A little sweet n' sour if you will - but not too bold of flavors. A hint of paleness teases the tongue on its way down. Surely a unique brew.

Body was a bit light, but well balanced. Overall not a bad beer. Didn't wow me with anything too special, but was uniquely tasting.

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Photo of Jonte
2.63/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is the version with 3.5% alcohol.

Reddish brown color. The color of the fast shrinking head is light brown.

Smells of sweet malt, caramel, and maybe some notes of toast and nuts.

The taste is sweet and malty with notes of caramel, chocolate and fruits. Some light bitterness in the finish. A bit thin and watery, but still quite good for a 3.5% beer.

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Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
84 out of 100 based on 1,053 ratings.