Hobgoblin | Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

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Brewed by:
Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

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User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,118 | Ratings: 2,706
Photo of GuyFawkes
3.67/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Clear ruby red hue. Khaki head; frothy lace.

Black fruit, bread-y malts & light yeast.

Medium mouthfeel.

Sweet caramel & wheat notes.

Nice but not essential.

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Photo of ism
4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice dark brown color, pours with just one finger head that dissipates. Deep and slightly bready malt with a bright bitterness to balance it. Nothing too complex, but perfectly tasty and well within the style. Perfect for cooler Spring or Autumn nights and always happy to have one.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into an English pint glass.
The appearance was a nice looking dark orange almost brown color with a thin cap of a little white foamy head quickly sliding off to leave some messy wispy lace.
The aroma had some slightly fresh nutty/caramel/toffee malts playing with a mild earthy/grassy hop note. Fuggles hops? That's what I'm guessing is the main hopping of this beer. Soft touch of soap on the back end.
The flavor mildly mixes the malts to the hops semi-sweetly allowing a clean presentable biscuity quality right before the aftertaste hits. The aftertaste was malty with a touch of soap.
The mouthfeel was between light and medium bodied with a fair sessionable sort of feel to it. Carbonation felt somewhat low but expected. Good ABV. Semi-smooth finish with a slight crisp earthy hop edge.
Overall, sometimes it's hard to look past that "soapiness" but yes, I understand it's part of the style so my numbers won't be too harsh for this beer.

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Photo of polloenfuego
3.49/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This is a fair beer. Seems right in the English bitter wheelhouse, if not a wee too malty. I could see having a few of these in an olde style pub. Not bad for $2.

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Photo of mothmanscott
3.81/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

from notes 10/31/11: Pours a dark brown with a frothy, fast fading, tan head that leaves very little lace. Aroma is caramel sweet and biscuit malt, toast, nuts,dates, dried figs, butterscotch, tobacco, floral and faintly fruity. Taste is malt forward caramel, candied apple, toast, biscuit, butter, raisin and earthy. Dries in the finish to become a mildly bitter, earthy, toasted, astringent aftertaste. Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied, moderate carbonation, watery.

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Photo of Vyacheslav
3.54/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bought in form of a can, my impression was that the beers taste reminds me of a good wheat beer foundation spoiled by too much grassy/hoppy character that I've experienced many times in different sorts of beer but never liked, so that dragged my rating down a bit.

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Photo of Anacross
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good british brown, bitter and strong beer. Well balanced and complex. Bitter but not too much. Sweetness and spicyness in perfect balance. Toasted grains and spicy banana are very noticeable.
I'd drink this again and again.

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Photo of jpeek345
4.13/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

unthinking reaction: robitussin...with some cool modification and some bubbles.
thinking response: There's been buzz on the streets in the past two years around another British invasion but this time it isn't rock-n-roll. Its British bitters and brewers respectively.
Hobgoblin is a Ruby Red with a classic mead or ale style tradition of brewing.
When I first sipped this beer it had a rather course aftertaste that *i thought* would interfere with its drinkability. I've drunk about 8 Hobgoblins on three separate occasions spanning about 8 months....and let me tell you, once you get past the little ACTUAL Hobgoblins that visit you the day after...little contradicting voices when you fire up your sense of reasoning for a work day and you hear "someone" new inside your committee in your head...(Hobgoblins from Wychwood!)... fear not for once you practice the acceptance and contentment necessary to quell the little beasties...they seem to go away AND KEEP YOU hooked on the brew for good! The only drawback to this outstanding ruby red is that its caloric. It'll go right to your girlish figure. Nonetheless, drinking 2-3 of these on this Halloween eve 2018 is a very good time indeed.

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Photo of Stoutmaster9
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Hobgoblin label art, as ever worthy of praise.

Poured into a pint glass, no smoke from the bottle.

An easy on the eyes ruby, earthy ruby hue. Finger and a half head, of wee and big bubbles. Not a trace of carbonation.

Mild Malt / "Ruby-malt" scent. Eventually some nutty-fruit notes emerge.

Easy drinking, wee bit watery. Moderately creamy, somewhat crisp.
Surprising cherry mid- aftertaste, yet not the typical sweetness Piercing, which make cherries generally loathsome.

Good brew for quiet daydreaming.
Offers vast expanses of calm, lazy space, with just a tricky pinch of goblin magic!

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Photo of Colborne
4.95/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

We all enjoy different tastes, etc. This beer meets all of my own personal requirements.

This beer meets all of my personal likes. I only wish the 500ml can did not have a 4.5% alcohol by volume but rather the higher 5.2% of the bottle.

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Photo of JonnoWillsteed
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L- Deep clear chestnut, pours with 2Cm pale tan fine-bubble head, that recedes to lacing.
S- Toffee and mild spicing.
T- Hmm nice, caramel, stone-fruits and Xmas pudding. Very suited for drinking in colder months/winter.
F- Nice balance, towards the richer overall flavour profile - perhaps the opposite of a modern-day hop-bomb?
O- It's very nice, though is quite rich, so I'd enjoy one or two buy wouldn't plan a session from it.
BB 30-Sep-19

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Photo of JimKal
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this as a cask ale in the UK. Red brown in appearance with a nice head. Low carbonation and very smooth mouthfeel. Wish we had more cask ales in the US.

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Photo of the_awesometeer
3.61/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

The beer is a reddish brown with a bubbly head that did not last long. The beer smells sweet and fruity. The taste is a little more bitter than the aroma. The dark fruit flavors are still there and a banana flavor as well. The beer is drinkable and light on carbonation.

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Photo of Dr_Gonzo
4.22/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a clear tall glass. Has a murky molasses color, small head that dissipates quickly, medium carbonation, decent lacing.

Smells heavily of bananas, toffee, caramel, raisins, plums, cherries, and other faint tangy fruit.

Tastes of grainy malt, raisins, bananas, and toasted caramel. Other flavors include dark fruit, graham cracker, plums, and toffee.

Feels smooth.

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Photo of Furosemide
2.57/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours dark brown bordering on black with a quickly dissipating head reminiscent of cola. Aroma of burnt grain. Tastes very strongly of carbonation with a weak background of stout - like a beer diluted with soda water. Lingering smoky, slightly sweetish aftertaste with carbonated notes. Would not recommend, but it seems I must have had an off-batch considering the other reviews.

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Photo of GoatLender
3.54/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

L: Dark amber colour with a fluffy, light brown head with fair retention. Fairly consistent but thin lacing. Minimal carbonation streams.

S: Barley with a very faintly tangy fruity smell.

T: Medium bitterness with some hop presence, but quite drinkable despite the strong flavour. Semi faint and short finish. Mild coffee and banana notes.

F: Low carbonation and pleasantly smooth underneath the bitterness. Medium-light body.

O: An interesting beer. Despite some hoppy bitterness, quite drinkable owing to a short finish and understated feel. Worth a try.

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Photo of tone77
3.62/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16.9 oz. can. Has, as advertised, a ruby color with a 1 inch head. Smell is of malts, caramel, bananas. Taste is bready malts, dark fruits, some banana. Feels medium/full bodied in the mouth and overall is a solid and highly refreshing beer.

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Photo of Gorski1974
3.3/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It does not stand up to ESB style.
BB date is June 30th 2018.
Look and smell are much better than taste!I had an impression of drinking a decent beer, that was diluted.
Won't be buying it again at that price.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.54/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1/27/18...really dark crimson amber brown with light foam layer. Malty toffee nose. Cherries too. Mild heavy malt taste. Lightly carbonated, if at all. Classic english bitter and amber.

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Photo of UPMD_Bill
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Looks dark. Good balance of sweet and bitter. Had some fruity notes as well. I picked this because I'm American and like stronger beers, but I found it decent overall and would get it again.

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Photo of Nass
2.42/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

This is my first english special bitter & by the taste of things this may also be my last. Too bitter & prune tasting for me to handle. I do fancy the label artwork, it's cool. You know what they say "looks are deceiving" ha ha ha. One bottle is worth a try though if you have cannot get a hold of any other English Bitters in your neck of the woods. Cheers! C-

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Photo of WeeJoyRising
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Warm and clear deep amber brown beer with glints of ruby. Low off-white head which dissipates quickly.

Medium-bodied beer which fluffs a bit in the mouth due to its med-high carbonation level.

High level of toffee and bananas foster aroma, just a bit of Nilla Wafer cookies, and a mere whisper of warm tobacco earthiness.

Taste mimics the aroma in magnitude, intensity, and interplay... Light toasty caramel drizzled bananas and sweet biscuits with fleeting peppery spice back notes which wander in later... And the whole orchestration finishes moderately dry. Dark fruit esters crosslink the nose and tongue (black currant, raisin) - with some discernable oxidation at the finish which presented as red grape skin-esque astringency. Not uncommon for a bottled import which may have had less than ideal treatment en route to my beer glass from the UK.

Sweet, rich, caramel-y dessert-like beer that isn't cloying. I'd holla back.

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Photo of Snowcrash000
4.23/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a beautiful deep amber coloration with a small, fizzy head. Smells of bready, caramel malts with notes of chocolate, toffee and just a hint of grassy, citrus hops. Taste is malt forward, but with an excellent hop balance. Caramel, bready, slightly roasty malt and grassy, citrus hops. Notes of toffee, chocolate and red berries. Finishes with a light bitterness and some toffee covered red berries lingering in tha aftertaste. Full mouthfeel with a medium body and carbonation. A fantastic brew that combines the complexity of darker Ales with the drinkability of a Bitter. Great balance of flavor. Hobgoblin has been a longtime favorite of mine when I was living in London and it will always be one of my favorite English Ales.

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Photo of Justin23060
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

L - Look is ruby as advertised. Deep Brownish Ruby. With 1/2 finger light beige head that diminished pretty quick to a minimal lace.

S - Smell is nice all caramel with some coffee.

T- A little weak for a brown. Quite dry from start to finish. Any hopes of a linger are lost in the dryness. I was so excited at the promise of Fuggles and Golding and all that leathery graham cracker I'm used to in a Brown. But sadly, Its nowhere to be found.

F - Feel is very thin. A little too water for style.

O - One and done. A case of judging a book by the cover. Purchased this one on label art and cap design for my Brother's collection only. Priced a bit on the high side for what's actually inside. I will probably not get again. As for recommending, not really going to recommend for price point. Plenty of better option out there.

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Photo of -steve-
3.62/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Now in cans! Picked up at the LCBO.
Pours a ruby red with half inch white foam. Smells of banana esters and faint malt/toffee. Fruity up front with malt sweetness that ends dry. Overall a solid goto beer for almost any occasion. Interestingly the can is 4.5% ABV compared to the 5.2% in the bottle.

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Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
Beer rating: 3.76 out of 5 with 2,706 ratings