Hobgoblin | Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

2,593 Ratings

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

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Ratings: 2,593 |  Reviews: 1,082
Photo of MEP
4.75/5  rDev +28%

Photo of Cowman1211
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of cates1tg
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of jtierney89
3.3/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep ruby color semi hazy. Off white head. Chocolate covered rum raisin on the nose with some roasted caramel and toffee.

Creamy mouthfeel. Flavors similar to the nose with extra roast. Hop bitterness comes in to dry things out. Nice sweet malty hop bitter play back and forth. Pretty good. Touch of smoke, is there smoked malt in this? Classic English hop presence paired with a big complex malt character. Slightly detectable alcohol which is strange for 5.2 but the beer itself is pretty nice. Maybe too complex for such a small beer.

 538 characters

Photo of Kirdo
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of lauries444
4.5/5  rDev +21.3%

Photo of Trent
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of Converge
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle poured into a 20oz nonic. My first ESB!

A - This brew pours a hazy, dark amber-ruby color with pillowy, off-white head of bubbles. Head recedes to a thin cap, but leaves minimal lacing at best. Disappointing appearance, but the bottle/label are fantastic, and I love it when breweries take the time to do individual cap designs for each beer they brew.

S - The aroma comprises of dark, bready caramel malt, with distinct notes of cherry and anise coming through. It's got a real kick of spices to it that appeals to me, with a rich sweetness that balances it out really well. Dark dried fruits add to the fruitiness, with figs and raisins upfront. It's got malty notes, it's got fruity notes, it's got spice, it's got sweetness, it's got floral aromas, and overall it's got me really intrigued. I wasn't expecting much based on this beers ratings, but this is both complex and unique.

T - Unfortunately for this brew, the aroma doesn't quite transition to the flavor. While much of the more prominent characteristics from the aroma still show up here, it lacks the complexity and uniqueness that made the smell so great. The rich caramel malt lays down a bed of toasty, bready, and mildly sweet flavors for the spices and fruits to be showcased on. The anise/licorice still comes through, but doesn't pack the punch I thought it would. Figs, raisins, and mild cherry notes make up the prominent fruitiness. Finishes with a meld of sweet spices and subtle earthy hops. Aftertaste is diacetyl, lingering dark fruits, mild alcohol, and tasty spice.

M - It has the weight of a medium bodied beer, but somehow feels lighter than that. Smooth, mild carbonation throughout. Drinkable and surprisingly refreshing, but could use more bitterness or spiciness to up the flavor/feel here.

D - Overall I enjoyed my first ESB, although I'm not sure how well a representation this beer is of the style anyways. From a general standpoint, this was a good beer, but not quite what I was hoping. The complex aroma had me ready to dive into this one, but what I got was a malt-forward ale with moderate complexity and flavor, but not quite so to make it an overly memorable brew. Still, this gave me a unique character of malt, spice, and sweet all melded together in way that doesn't make me feel like I've had a beer just like it before.

 2,338 characters

Photo of ByMySword
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: This beer looked great. It featured a dark reddish brown color that permeated the entire glass. It poured well with a distinctive head that preserved every nuance of the bear. No carbonation was really seen as it sat in the glass. The beer was extremely cloudy.

Smell: The smell was unique but very faint, possibly due to a prominent head.

Taste: The taste of this beer was phenomenal. The spices used are a mystery to me, but whatever they were using, they need to keep it up. It was a thoroughly enjoyable kick to my tastebuds which evoked memories of the fall season. Its no wonder the brewing company takes inspiration from goblins and witches.

Mouthfeel: Despite the appearance of the beers thickness, it was surprisingly thirst quenching, but not at all watery. The carbonation was set at a perfect level which complimented the texture of the brew very well.

Overall: This beer was a welcome addition to my drink list. A little more evidence of hops would have been nice, but for what it was, I was happy. Despite its lower alcohol content, this beer definitely does not sacrifice any quality in taste. I will definitely drink this brew again.

 1,168 characters

Photo of MAUEX_MFA
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of Riverared
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of vonnegut21
3.66/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown with two fingers of faint brown head. Smell is mild, with slight notes of roasted malt. The first sip is bready. Malt and toffee. Very minor hop presence. Definitely a dark and relatively un-bitter example of the style. Still, it's certainly enjoyable to drink.

 280 characters

Photo of Intrinsic
4.18/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

What a beautiful colour of browish-red this beer is. Top-notch. The head disappears too quickly and there's no lacing at all, but the colour....
The smell - Floral floral floral. Some fruit as well. Not much else, but man is it ever nice. Taste is pretty much the same but adds a very nice malt experience - complimented very well by the bitter hops. What kind of flower am I drinking exactly?
Quite dry, slightly creamy. Overall, a very good beer.

 448 characters

Photo of Domochevsky
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of soulfly1492
3.73/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma: Mild chocolate and caramel malts. Mild floral hops. Some diacetyl, wonder how old this bottle is. Residual sugar, syrupy.

Appearance: Dark brown, not opaque. Looks like deep copper when held p to light. Head is small and light brown. Good retention, no lacing.

Taste: Chocolate malt, very worty. Moderate crystal malt. some diacetyl. Mild floral and slightly funky hops.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body. The finish is quite dry. Very mild carbonation.

Overall: Nice dark ale. The age of this bottle might have been a factor here, a freshness date would be nice. This is exactly why I used to strictly avoid imports in general.

Drank on 5/5/2012.

 657 characters

Photo of abrodsky
4.25/5  rDev +14.6%

Photo of Hanglow
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of Wordslinger
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of Fbm427
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of agreenman19
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of fisherbray
4.25/5  rDev +14.6%

Photo of TempeBeerMan
3.18/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a nonic pint.

A – Pours a clear chestnut brown with a one-finger head of off-white bubbles with solid retention. Patchy lacing.

S – Skunky musty hops and nutty, caramel malt. However, not nearly as bad as that description probably sounds. Smells like an old, wet, English cellar.

T – Big caramel malt presence, followed by funky almost vegetal hops (I am reminded of celery). HUGE diacetyl taste in the mid palate, brining a taste somewhat akin to artificial movie theatre butter. Hard mineral finish, which lingers on the tongue.

M – Here’s where this beer fails miserably. It’s extremely watery. In fact, water might not be this watery.

O – Reading all the comments above this must be a terrible beer, right? Not exactly. “Different” and “weird” are probably better descriptions. Oddly charming. Definitely nothing out there quite like it. I must say its big brother “King Goblin” is far superior (mainly by way of being far less watery). This one is not something I would buy regularly when having a taste for English ale, as it’s just a little too bizarre and “off” for my tastes.

 1,149 characters

Photo of beerscience
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of djcreepshow
2.25/5  rDev -39.4%

Photo of lvoutlawjlh
3/5  rDev -19.1%

Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
3.71 out of 5 based on 2,593 ratings.
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