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Hobgoblin | Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

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1,075 Reviews

Brewed by:
Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
United Kingdom (England)

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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Reviews: 1,075 | Ratings: 2,559
Photo of Sammy
3.62/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An average beer all around. Hoppy, decent appearance but soapy bubbles. OK to drink if food around. Some citrus hop bite smoothed over by malts, carmel. Carmel colour. Some cocoa bittersweetness, roastiness Spot of nuts.. Medium mouthfeel. Decent brown style.

 259 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a clear chestnut brown color with a 1 inch off-white head that fades to nothing. Spotty small lacing on the drink down. Smells of roasted malt and caramel. Taste is the same but with a somewhat medicinal essence. Low bitterness on the tongue after each sip. Good carbonation but with a creamy smooth mouthfeel. Drinkability is average as the medicinal taste kind of kills it for me.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.76/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: brown and amber. Half finger head.

S: semisweet malt. Not much else.

T: dark fruit malty taste. Finishes semi sweet and wet. A little fig and apricot notes

M: mild to medium body. Mild to medium carbonation.

Overall: This was a decent brown ale. I like the fig and apricot nots I was getting in addition to the typical english brown background.

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Photo of t0rin0
3.65/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a dark brown with a little redness showing through in the light. Fairly hazy but pleasant looking. It produced a 3/4" inch thick head. Nice lacing left in the glass.
The aroma was sweet and malty. Some caramel in the nose and no hops to be found. This holds true for the flavor as well. Very smooth and malty. Definately some crystal malts in there to give it that caramel-browness that it has. I didn't detect any coffee wich I thought was odd considering this supposed to be a brown ale. I would almost suggest that it is a dark mild ale. Anyway, it had a nice medium body and was quite drinkable.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.77/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a characteristically english ale, i really like this. it pours a medium brown color, with a hint of copper to it, and a vibrant but quickly fading white head. the nose is sweeter english malts, some chocolate malt in there too, with a pungent earthy tinge. the taste is good, certainly malt driven, with what seems like an alcohol kick, but shouldnt be at this abv. theres also some cool barky woody flavor to this, birchy and distinct. caramel finish, mildly sweet. feel works well, lighter than the color, still big medium body, and enough carbonation. a good not great beer, nice for fall.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.28/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured out as a copper colored liquid with a nice looking creamy head on it. The head leaves behind a pretty good lacing. smell of the beer is mostly malt and earthy aromas. The taste of the beer is earthy as well. There is a pretty nice hop bitterness to the beer too. The mouthfeel was very smooth, just enough carbonation to not be flat. Overall it's a pretty nice beer all around.

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Photo of metter98
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear reddish amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin beige head that died down a bit but consistently left a thin head covering the surface.
S: There are aromas of sweet toasted malts, toffee and fruity yeast in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, but isn’t as complex and sweet; a slight amount of bitterness from the hops helps to keep the malty sweetness in check.
M: It feels a little shy of medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very easy to drink and can be considered sessionable.

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

Compared to the bottle, the beer pours a lighter-than-expected brown with ruby and golden highlights. Well carbonated and shows nice retention and lacing. The tap blends the flavors into a very suble yet heavied sweetness, hiding the chocolates, fruits, and nutty flavors. The flavors take on malty sweetness without the differentiating flavors that I noticed in the bottle. Though nice, smooth, and malty rich, the character is a bit empty without the individual flavors and fruitiness noticed. But this won't keep me from trying another.

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Photo of brentk56
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy caramel color with a rocky beige head that leaves a few dots of lace around the pint glass

Smell: Toffee, hazelnuts and plummy fruit

Taste: Opens with a slightly fruity toffee flavors that yields a touch of earthy bitterness by mid-palate; after the swallow there is a hint of chocolate but the bitterness turns peaty and builds to the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and moderately carbonated; a touch watery

Drinkability: Overall, I really enjoyed this; it has enough going on to make a brown ale interesting

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Photo of biboergosum
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle. Picking up a few brews for suppin' whilst helping hand out treats to the (sometimes not so) wee ones, it was a no-brainer to grab a beer such as Hobgoblin, this past weekend.

This beer pours a clear, medium copper amber hue, with two fingers of foamy, frothy, and somewhat bubbly beige head, which leaves some decent layered and webbed lace around the glass as it evenly falls away.

It smells of mildly bready caramel malt, middling, kind of sour dark fruit, a small metallic flintiness, and earthy, leafy noble hops. The taste is lightly biscuity, bready pale and caramel/toffee malt, wet wheat crackers, ethereal dry cocoa notes, a soft raisin and date fruitiness, and more flowery, earthy hops.

The carbonation is quite low, manifesting as just a mild edginess throughout, the body generally smooth and a solid medium weight. It finishes a bit off-dry, some nutty breadiness and pithy earthy hops closing things out.

While the label may be scary here, the beer inside is certainly not - it's more a slightly above average brown ale, and definitely not as hoppy as the packaging would suggest. That said, it is simple, drinkable, and perfectly adequate for the evening's activities.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.32/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a red/brown colored beer with a nice head with usual british ale retention, i.e. not much. Carbonation is below standard and aroma is great with a mix of orange and caramel. Taste is quite refreshing with again a nice mix of sweet orange and caramel. The finish is quite dry. Overall, I would qualify this one as a good but not great English ale.

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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.

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Photo of zeff80
3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured a clear, burgandy/amber color with a foamy, small, off-white head. Left behind a little soapy/lacy residue.

S - It smelled earthy and floral with a caramel malt aroma.

T - This had a nice biscuity malt flavor with a subtle nuttiness and some bitter hop kick.

M - This was smooth, soft and somewhat creamy. A medium-bodied ale.

D - This is a pretty good brown. Maybe a little overpriced, but good.

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Photo of oberon
4.11/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good attention getter label,nice malty/chocalate beginning,with some fruit flavor in the end.Smell was a little musty on mind,but the appearance and taste was real nice.

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Photo of jlindros
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap at BBC in Walpole. Another one of those beers I'm surprised I haven't reviewed yet.

Very light fizzy head covering as the beer is filled to the brim, clear mahogany brown amber colored.

Nose typical English brown, light brown malts, toasty and light biscuity, some brown sugar, and light esb like bittering hops.

Taste semi sweet earthy brown malts, light brown sugar, biscuity, light herbal earthy hops, even a bit creamy that gives that same feel and taste as nitro but isn't. The hops turn slightly grassy with the herbal, and mild bitterness, and even slightly estery. finishes a bit drier but not much, with a bit more grassy herbal hops, semi bitter, sticky sweet, brown sugar and brown malts.

Mouth is med bodied, bit creamy, decent carb.

Overall typical English brown ale, decent malts, sessionable, brown sugar, herbal grassy hops, nothing special but a classic at the same time.

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Photo of mothman
3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a stange.

Color is a dark dark coller amber, basically brown. Pours a very fluffy brown head, that leaves thick lace rings.

Smell is nutty and chocolatey. Taste is very similiar. It is rich and malty. There is also an earthy hop flavor.

Mouthfeel is bitter, but creamy at the same time. It goes down easy and has great carbonation.

Overall, this is a very easy to drink beer. I really enjoyed this and I can see myself getting some more of this when I am looking for a brown ale. It represents the style quite well!

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Photo of Kegatron
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle into the same pint glass that it came packaged with.

Pours a clear dark amber with a couple fingers of dirty off-white head. Retention is GREAT, with a full, creamy layer across the top that left a huge latticework of lace. The aroma is a rich smelling malt sweetness and a surprising amount of dark fruits. I'm also picking up some light citrus notes as well as a light hop bitterness.

The taste is thick, sweet chocolate and caramel malts that's mixed with that same dark fruit presence that was in the aroma. It's not necessarily a tart dark fruit taste, actually giving off more of a sweet note that goes well with the malt. Finishes with some light hop bitterness that helps end things with a pop. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a full yet smooth feel.

The flagship beer from the Wychwood Brewery, I found this be a quite flavorful and easydrinking ale and one that is worthy of leading the charge against the rising "Euro Pale Lager" dominance in Great Britain.

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Photo of superspak
4.08/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle into pint glass, 4BFH bottle code. Pours slightly hazy deep reddish copper color with a 2 finger dense and rocky light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of caramel, brown sugar, light toffee, toasted bread, light nuttiness, herbal, wood, grass, light plum/apple, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, moderate earthy hops, and restrained yeast ester notes; with solid strength. Taste of big caramel, brown sugar, light toffee, toasted bread, light nuttiness, herbal, wood, grass, light plum/apple, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate herbal/woody bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, toasted bread, light nuttiness, wood, and herbal/toasted earthiness after the finish for a good bit. Awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, moderate earthy hops, and restrained yeast ester flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/bready, and slightly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish as expected of 5.2%. Overall this is an excellent ESB style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, moderate earthy hops, and restrained yeast ester flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.22/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clear, dark chestnut body reveals glimmering highlights of orange beneath a short but creamy head of ivory colored foam. The head retention is fairly good, and it holds well before dropping to a standard collar and whispy surface covering that leaves minor spotty lace about the pint. The nose reveals dark fruit (plum/prune, red grape/raisin); a smear of buttery diacetyl; an edge of iron-like minerals; and a dusting of dark chocolate. It's smooth and light across the palate with a delicate carbonation and medium-light body. The flavor is not as rich as the nose might suggest, but its lightly vinous fruit appears first on the palate, followed by some light notes of toffee, and some mild diacetyl and leafy hop in the finish. It's quite well balanced, and the bitterness simply balances what not-particularily-sweet malt is there. It's interesting, and has enough character and drinkability to make it a decent session ale.

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Photo of chinchill
3.79/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

330ml bottle served in a snifter (original) and 500 ml bottle with a BB date stamp nearly 1 year from review date, purchased and served in Scotland (some minor revision).

Pours clear mahogany with a modest, semi-durable head.

Aroma: raisins and toffee with biscuit and bread base.

Flavor: Light grassy and herbal hop presence but dominated by toffee, bready and dark fruit elements. Slightly sweet overall but decent bitter/sweet balance. Approaches 4.

Feel: nice smooth mouth feel; good carbonation.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.33/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Perfectly pellucid orangish bronze. The hobgoblin's cap is light beige with a hint of orange. It isn't the typical brown ale appearance, but more closely resembles a robust English pale ale. The head looks respectable enough, stays for a spell and leaves a few arching streamers of lace. Okay, but nothing special.

Surprise, surprise; I received a blast of skunk when popping the cap. It hasn't completely faded, but then the beer has only been breathing for a few minutes. Hobgoblin smells nothing like a brown ale. Dark ale? Maybe. I can appreciate moderately toasted grain, dark fruit and... lingering skunk. Sad to say, this beer isn't that far removed from what Bud Dark (please, may it remain a figment of my demented imagination) might smell like. It's better than that, but you get the idea.

Even though there's more flavor and more personality than the nose suggested there would be, this is still only so-so beer. Dark caramel/toffee is the dominant flavor with a little hoppy spiciness for good measure. Mildly sour dark fruit is present as well. Unfortunately, the flavor profile lacks even a modest amount of complexity.

The body/mouthfeel is light (I might be convinced to call it light-medium given the style). I have no doubt that the lack of flavor, the lack of depth and the truncated finish are due, in part, to the aqueous mouthfeel. Definite room for improvement.

I've stayed away from Wychwood beer until now for a host of reasons, clear glass bottles foremost among them. Overpricing is another. The bottles are well done with an attractive shape and embossed witches on broomsticks; as are the colorful, cartoony, Tolkeinesque labels. It has always looked to me, however, that the brewery is trying too hard, putting more emphasis on the packaging than the beer. Now that I've had my first bottle, I can't say that I was that far off the mark. I take back what I said about Bud Dark, but I have no desire to go hobnobbin' with this hobgoblin again.

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

Appearance: Clear brown body with a small, frothed, ivory-color head.

Smell: Aroma of toasted grain, nuts, and fruit. All of these notes are quite light, making for an overall pitiable scent.

Taste: Mild maltiness with a taste of toasted nuts and a light powdered sugar sweetness. Faint fruitiness. Minimal amount of hop bitterness that lingers into the watery finish.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied. Mild carbonation.

Drinkability: A little too bland, a little to lifeless.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 5/30/08 at British Beer Company in Walpole, MA, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains caramelized malts, maple, nuts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is malty with sweet flavors of caramel, maple, honey, roasted nuts and a little fruit. There's a decent hops presence that provides a good balance. The after-taste is slightly bitter despite the sweet start.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a nice beer to drink for a while if your in the mood for the style and especially with a meal.

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Photo of Rifugium
2.68/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First had: bottle from Eulogy, Philly, PA

Clear brown color on this one, with a thin eggshell head. Nutty aroma, toasted grains, and sweet malts; a bit stale. Similar taste, with sweet malts, thinned out a bit, toasted grains and bread, lightly hopped. Light mouthfeel, pretty thin and lacking in flavor generally. Moderately drinkable if you're not looking for anything outrageously daring.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep dark amber, pretty much brown with a nice one inch head that faded to reveal a thin film of lace. Nothing clinging to the glass, but not expecting it to. Smell was faint but nice. English malts and barley, nuts, oak, and grassy earthy tones predominate. The taste was pretty much what I expected, nice English Dark, well round and very sessionable, I could kick these back all night. Not the biggest taste profile but worth a try

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Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
3.71 out of 5 based on 2,559 ratings.
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