Hobgoblin | Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

1,080 Reviews

Brewed by:
Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
England, United Kingdom

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-15-2002

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 1,080 | Ratings: 2,585
Photo of philgill
1.95/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

It takes a couple of years for me to forget how much I dislike this beer. Yesterday evening while facing a less than inspiring choice in the supermarket I plumped for the 5 for 10 euro deal on hobgoblin. This morning I find myself with 4 beers that I don't want to drink.

Beer pours nicely into a Westvleteren taster glass.
Aroma nothing much going on, a bit of caramel, not a whole lot of hops, maybe a bit of pine.
Taste is a real let down, sharp like carbonated water/ I think this could be a personal thing against the hops themselves, would I be right in saying challenger is used here?

Anyways, I was unable to finish the bottle. Moved onto a far more drinkable London Pride

 682 characters

Photo of Brunite
1.99/5  rDev -46.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A: A nice rich mahogany color with a nice 2 finger head of off white foam.

S: Very, very faint biscuit.

T: Arghh. Not balanced at all for this style. First sensations are a bit of malty, bready sweetness that you would expect. The middle and finish is very different. Very, very bitter notes kick in along with a lemony tartness/sourness that is not pleasant to my tastes.

M: Very thin. Very highly carbonated.

D: Well....I could not finish this one. Draino! The balance was just not there and the high carbonation along with the bitter tartness was not something I felt obligated to continue with. I have plenty of other options in the fridge.

 648 characters

Photo of TheKingofWichita
2/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pours a dark brown color with a thick foamy yellowish white head and a little lacing. Smells of malts and more malts. Tastes of caramel, a little coffee, and a huge malt explosion on the palate. Mouthfeel is light and a little watery and drinkability is low, I couldn't finish it.

 280 characters

Photo of rickyleepotts
2/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Brown ales scare me. Not because I don’t like them, but because they ALL taste the same. When I learned that this beer was an English brown ale, I crossed my fingers in hopes that the word English would make this beer taste a little different than the typical browns I drink here in the States.

It smells good, but the nose doesn’t last very long. It’s there… then gone again. The one thing I do like about this beer is the aftertaste. It’s very thick, dark… and reminds me of what my mouth feels like say, ten minutes after eating a piece of dark chocolate. The beer itself is smooth, with a hint of carbonation that I feel could easily be masked as it brings down the overall enjoyment of the brew.

The beer itself has a VERY low ABV. Apparently that helps them sell more of this… but I don’t see it. Regardless, the beer is decent at best. The bottle is cool, and after learning the story behind the hobgoblin I now know the meaning behind it. But that doesn’t have anything to do with the taste of the beer. I’ll drink it, but I wouldn’t order it. Not even sure I would buy this again, unless it was on clearance. If you like browns, find one that has a higher ABV. Thank me later!

 1,209 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.01/5  rDev -45.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Poured from a bottle into an Irish pub style (real) pint glass in low altitude Galway, Ireland, on September 30th. Pours a dark red with a nice bubble show into a relatively thick two finger head that retains well. An appealing colour.

Smell: A light estery aroma. Very fruity raspberry maybe? Too much malt. Not appealing but doesn't turn me away.

Taste: Overwhelmingly fruity, which is only pleasant on the aftertaste. I don't taste any of the chocolate or toffee described on the back of the bottle at all. Not much of a finish. Surprisingly one-note. Almost sour in its fruitiness. Not built well especially for an English Brown Ale. Is this categorized correctly?

Mouthfeel: Far too wet. Too thick and chewy. I'd like for the finish to dry off at least a little.

Drinkability: I wouldn't buy it again.

 825 characters

Photo of GorgonSed
2.01/5  rDev -45.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Nice dark red-amber color. Clear. No head at all, disappears instantly.

S: Nearly no smell to it. Smells like a raisin box.

T: Sweetness with a bitter end. Metallic notes which are unpleasant. Aftertaste is of cooked white rice.

M: Surprisingly carbonated for the lack of head.

O: Would not have again. Taste is unappealing. I do like the label artwork though.

 368 characters

Photo of becktone
2.04/5  rDev -45%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

So I started walking down the long and winding road, my shadow was taller than my soul. I was tired from traveling all day and fighting dragons, ghouls, and all other sorts of monsters that show up in this middle earth. I began to look for a place to rest my body, sword arm and to grab a fine ale.

Lo, to my suprise I stumbled upon a tavern. The swinging sign which read, "The Aurochs' Homosexual Encounter," was partially coverd by the leaves of a deku tree. The place looked nice enough so I decided to grab a room and then a brew.

After washing the dragon blood from my sword blade and taking a nice bath I found myself in the common room. I bellied up to the bar and orderd a wing of a capon, I wasn't hungry because I had already eaten my Jolly Green Hero's Giant Food Ration for the day. I also ordered an ale. I asked the innkeep what ale he had, he replied that he had a fine craft brew entitled "Hobgoblin."

"By the prophecies of Nostradamus" I replied " I hath slain a hobgoblin today! I'll by a round for all my fellow warriors, warlocks, and wise men in the bar to celebrate my victory over such a whimpy beastling!"

As the innkeep poured I noticed that the reddish brown liquid gave off no scent. My warrior's sense told me something was amiss. It didn't feel like many tiny fireflies were flying around on my tounge as I drank it. This hobgoblin ale appered to be dead, it looked as if it hath sat in stonehenge for a least a fortnight uncorked. As I inspected the goblin piss further I noticed that it didn't even look like ale, It looked more like sarsaparilla. It's taste, as it were, was not like other fine ales I hath consumeth.

"It doth taste stale." I said to myself. "I shalt certainly not partaketh in such a vile ale ever again."

Later on in my travels I met up with one who called himself kinjushkeka, one of the rare and famed seers, wise men, and eunuchs from the mid east. When asked about the quality of this beer he replied only this, "Ale in clear bottle is no good idea. Is easliy transformed by great alchemist Sun/UV Ray to black rodent with white mohawk and terrible ass perfume."

 2,138 characters

Photo of Mitchster
2.12/5  rDev -42.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Brown bottle. Pours out to a very clear beautiful mahogany, forming a pretty sad head with ok retention and minimal lacing. Carbonation is very mild to absent. Aroma is pretty typical for English Brown ale...amber malts without any raisins or prunes, dank garage, some perfumish hops, kinda like Drakkar Noir and TPN. Mouthfeel is very wet and pretty mild with an aftertaste of fusel alcohol. Taste like any other brown ale...not being a fan of many of them. There is a soapiness in the finish. Medium body.

Flat and boring. This beer sucks.

 544 characters

2.22/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

11.2oz bottle to pint glass. No date or ABV indicated on the bottle. Sampled 10/29/11.

A: Pours with 2 fingers of a semi-dense foamy head with big bubbles on top. Light brown in color and long lasting. Persistent collar. Good lacing in straggley layers. The body is medium brown with amber tints and 70% opacity.

S: Malt bill puts out toasted aromas of cookie, caramel and restrained chocolate. Light toffee accents. The English Fuggles and Styrian Goldings add little to the aroma.

T: Light brown sugary sweetness mixed with toffee and butter. Light hop spiciness and traces of cardboard. Neutral yeast.

M: Light body with thin but creamy texture. Carbonation is on the softer side of average.

O: Drinks like a sub 5% beer. Decent and definitely not offensive, but not thought-provoking either.

 800 characters

Photo of Clockwork420
2.28/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Hole in the wall shop - $7.00 OR $8.00 4pk cans (Wychwood.com)

I poured The can into a glass in a perfect swoop. There was zero head, But a little lacing. Just the smallest amount on the edge of my glass. There was no bubbles. Completely still.

The smell was fairly sweet. Didnt really notice anything special really.

The color was a dark Red in the light. And almost as dark as a Draught from Guiness without the bright light present. Beautiful Presentation overall. Pretty Impressive.

Light on the palate. Intensely sweet. Wow. Really sweet.
This would also be my first ale. Sugary. Very sweet. Almost overbearing.

Oddly, its easy to drink. Goes down easy, and its not too bad. Just really sweet. But since its my first Ale I will be generous.

To put it simply. Dont buy unless you want to drink a sweet easy Ale. If your a Guiness guy like me, Maybe try it if you want somthing new. If not stray away. Chimay kinda?

(Not to mention it was the last 4 pack of cans there. That may have somthing to do with it?)


 1,052 characters

Photo of SaunaKing
2.29/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

not too keen on this stuff... decent copper appearence with minimal head. Smell is very sharp, not really my thing.

A thin watery taste is not what you expect from a beer that looks like this but that is what you get. Flat, dull, sterile nothing taste.

Could be that the style does not suit me but I really dont like this beer.

 333 characters

Photo of rastaman
2.32/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

One of the smellliest beers i've ever had, kind of had a rotten smell, which didn't really make me want to drink, but to my surprise, it was OK, quite malty, and bitter hop finish, just a bit strange. Oh yeah, lose the clear bottles.

 233 characters

Photo of slitherySOB
2.33/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Asides from the cool, axe weilding label, the only thing going for this beer is the colour and the smell. I got a fresh bottle, so skunkiness was nonexistent as it was for some reviewers. Beautiful, dark amber glow I fell in love with. Aroma was sweet enough to be pleasant, but not so sweet that it smells like a calorie stuffed dessert. That was all I enjoyed from this beer. It tasted bland. I"d give it a lower taste score, but after a few sips, I guzzled it. Then guzzled, it tastes okay, but not enough to save it. Mouthfeel was sticky, chewy and dry. Drinkability? No way will I ever be drinking this beer again. Which sucks. I really wanted to like this beer. Don't know why, but really, I did. Oh well.

 711 characters

Photo of GimpyCane
2.36/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

When I first spotted this beer I thought this would be a winner, but I really wasn't impress. Nice ruby red pour w/ a hint of toffee and maple syrup but that is about all for this brew. Sweet start and ending w/ not enough body or taste. Remember this is only my opinion.

 271 characters

Photo of jp32
2.39/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

This one pours much darker than I expected. Dark brown with copper-colored accents. There is virtually no head retention at first, but a little begins to appear as I make my way through the glass. The aroma is subtle. I notice a faint nut smell alongside extra-sweet malts. The taste is a little wild. There's a lot more going on in my glass than I thought there was. The overwhelmingly sweet malt flavor is definitly in command of this ship, but there are some hops, raisins, dried fruit and nuts, and maybe hints of toffee and chocolate as well. Almost one too many flavors crammed into a bottle. Interesting, though I'm not so sure all the different tastes in this beer are mixing well on my palate. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied, maybe more. It could use a little more carbonation. The intense flavor gives this beer a rough drinkablility. I'd have a hard time knocking back a whole lot of these. Not bad by any means, just hard to really put em down.

 956 characters

Photo of SoupKitchenBeerSnob
2.4/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Never saw this one before and thought I'd give it a shot. Eeh... Tastes like amateur hour at a local micro brew... Looked good on the pour, but ultimately unsatisfying. There are hints of things, but those elements seem to get muddied by the hops. I can't even recommend this to a hop-head, because the hops-- while being the most pronounced of the flavors-- just come across as weak and half-hearted. Don't think I'll be returning to this one. Nifty looking bottle though.

 473 characters

Photo of schavuytje
2.41/5  rDev -35%
look: 2 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I see a strong photochromic foam layer on a copper red body
in the nose light tones of caramel brown sugar toast and plum
I taste a little layer of toffee caramel and plum away some nutty
a pleasant ESB

 202 characters

Photo of longarm
2.42/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

While it has a deep clear amber color, it seems lighter than I would expect for a "dark" ale? Very nice initial carbonation and rocky head and sticky lacing. While nice, the carbonation fades quickly.

Metallic aroma. If I can get underneath it, there's a small amount of sweet malt that wants to shine. Underwhelming at best.

Flavor seems somewhat unbalanced with a rather light dose of sweet malt that attempts to carry the whole load. In this it fails, since it seems closer to water than a dark ale. While it doesn't have major flaws besides a minor metallic taste, I can't find something in here that excites. Light bitterness on the palate from darker malts appear as it warms, but these can't save the day. Decent aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is mostly thin. This may contribute to the dry and clean finish.

Not a scary hobgoblin of a beer, but I also won't buy it again. I tried hard to find something I wanted to notice and like again in this beer, but really couldn't wait to just finish and move-on to something else.

 1,033 characters

Photo of maximum12
2.43/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Mysterious 500ML bottle that appeared in my cellar...with no known ancestry. I didn't buy it, so someone must have left it here. Huh. Always nice to have a beer with no expectations.

Pour is ruby red, fairly still. Smell is sugary, syrupy sweet. Wow.

Hobgoblin is like a forty-year Cost Accountant: only one thing it knows how to do. Just like the nose, sugary sweetness stamps all over the palate. Touches of toast, grape/banana, toffee. All drowned in the malty sugar. 8.45 ounces might be too much in one sitting.

Classic case of sugary overkill; the rest of the tastes are just bludgeoned to death. Doesn't resemble a beverage I'd like to drink.

 655 characters

Photo of RoyalT
2.47/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance – A very flat head and brown, clear in the body.

Smell – Strong burnt toast aroma with a sweet, sugary molasses scent.

Taste – This one is very thin at the taste. There are some interesting flavors such as molasses and maple, cane sugar, and toasted malt, but they all come out halfway and ill advised. This has a very clumsy profile.

Mouthfeel – Flat and light-bodied.

Drinkability – I won’t buy this one again.

 441 characters

Photo of Daredevil
2.47/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

the label looks like this beer might be coming out of one of the Harry Potter books ... it pours lightly with a short firm head and offers a beautiful dark amber colour ... the smell is somewhat uneven: vernal flowers paired with sweaty feet .... taste is dominated by wet charcoal with a hint of lemon zest ... definitely not a masterpiece in brewing ...

 355 characters

Photo of riversider76
2.48/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours dark amber.Not much head,and minimal lacing. Not much of a smell here, light malts, and that about it. Mouthfeel is light,almost watery,with a bit of carbanation. Taste is light and malty from start to finish. It seems like they could have done more with this beer.

 271 characters

Photo of hotstuff
2.49/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

The appearance is a medium sized tan rocky head with fine-small sized bubbles. It has an opaque body with no carbonation observed and the hue is reddish. The nose is skunky and the flavor consists of malt and hops with an aftertaste observed. The mouthfeel is tingly, smooth, thin, watery and light bodied. This beer has good lacing to it.

 339 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.49/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

11.2 oz bottle into a New Belgium tulip.

A: Pours a dark ruby color. The head is not only healthy looking at 2 fingers high, but also pretty dense in its texture. It fades away deliberately, leaving some lacing in the glass.

S: Honestly, I'm not picking much up here. A faint fruity character offset by a touch of chocolate, and neither qualities become any more assertive when warmed up sufficiently. Not a bad aroma, I suppose, just nowhere near as strong as it should be.

T: Again, it's not BAD, just overly mild. The flavor seems to pick up slightly on the finish and aftertaste, with faint caramel, brown sugar, and toffee. Maybe there's a touch of mineral character here and there. Come to think of it, that's the dominant note - mineral water. Yeah. It's watery. Boo.

M: At first, it starts off too dense and rich for its lack of flavor, but manages to dry out nicely after the swallow. It's not as easily downable as this should be; that doesn't make in undrinkable, though. Carbonation is appropriately low.

O: I mean, it's not a horrible brew by any means...it's just ridiculously mild to the point of total boredom. I can appreciate a good ESB when I come across it (Fuller's ESB), but among the endless pile of ESBs that are mediocre or worse in my opinion (namely, just about all of them), this one is in the 'worse' category. Unless you really like ESBs, get something else instead.

 1,402 characters

Photo of beerguy101
2.52/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Yet another british beer in a clear bottle. Brown Color, small white head. Nice malty barley aroma. Look like ice tea, not beer. Medium bodied brown ale. Some chocolate to the malts, Mouthfeel is slightly thin. Finish is clean. Aftertaste is slightly malty.

 257 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
3.71 out of 5 based on 2,585 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.