Hobgoblin | Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

2,598 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: 2,598 |  Reviews: 1,084
Photo of gbarbee
4.82/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great beer overall. First time I had this this beer was in an "izakaya" style restaurant with some great sashimi.

My initial impression was surprise at the smooth character with chocolate and nutty hints.

Appearance: Light brown.
Smell: Clean and light.
Taste: Hint of chocolate and nuts
Mouthfeel: Smooth and light
Drinkability: Overall, great beer.

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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 evlu1441
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a dark ruby amber colour with a thing creamy head forming a film on top.

The aroma is dominated by roasted malts. There is a faint oakyness to the aroma as well.

The flavour is quite intense! Strong roasted malt flavours dominate alongside some bitterness. This adds to a kind of "burnt" that is quite nice. The finish is kind of dry, with some faint burnt nuttyness.

Overall, this beer has good flavour, but it's lacking complexity. It is kind of a one-trick-pony. It's also not exactly my cup of tea. I prefer sweeter brown ales.

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Photo of airforbes1
4.03/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Being a MST3K fan, I just had to buy this beer because it reminds me of that awful film Hobgoblins. I hope the beer will be much better than the movie!

Pours a dark red-orange (nearly brown) with a billowy head that sticks around. The aroma is sweeter than I expected; I smell some sweet malt and something like cherries.

I have to say I've never had a brown ale like this. I taste vanilla and cherries, with a teeny, tiny amount of diacetyl on the finish. As the beer warms, I also get a smidgen of alcohol. Definitely not a bitter beer.

A solid offering, one that to my Yankee taste buds tastes like a cross between a brown ale and a bitter.

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Photo of engagechad
3.87/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased as a single from Wine and Beer Westpark in Glen Allen, VA - tulip

Pours a nice mahogany with okay head and no real lacing. Smells very nice, floral with a sweet malty backbone. Taste follow, there is a little spice to it however it's a mild smooth flavor. Body is super nice and smooth.

This is a really great English Brown and I would buy it again

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Photo of Erish
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this 11.2 oz. bottle into a nonic pint glass. No freshness date apparent.

A: clear reddish-brown color, an aggressive pour produced a 2-finger tan head that slowly fell into a thick cap with tenacious, ropy lacing.

S: butterscotch, dried cherries, vanilla, a faint clove-like spice, earthiness.

T: the butterscotch/caramel flavor mixes with a woody/roasted/spicy flavor for a flavor that is uniquely British, the finish is nicely dry with a crisp mineral characteristic, the hop finish is herbal and slightly earthy.

M: medium-bodied, silky texture, moderate carbonation.

O: I actually like the smell of this beer better than the taste of it. I would love to try this as a cask ale.

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Photo of minterro
3.21/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Custom six pack from Ross’ Deli in Lakewood

A & S: sweet malts, smoky and a bit of caramel, but pretty darn weak smelling. Dark, murky red-brown colored beer. Thick, foamy tan head that dissolves slowly. Lacing is really good.

T & M: pretty fruity tasting. The taste also includes: smoky and malty tones also. It is similar to the smell in the fact that the taste isn’t very strong. Smooth not very robust, low carbonation kinda watery, medium bodied.

O: not a huge fan of this beer, thought that the two other English browns I’d rated were much better (Majestic Nut Brown MBC, and Samuel Smith’s). Pretty cool bottle design and logo.

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Photo of StoutishDan
4.58/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I notice that I typically review beers that I've highly enjoyed, and/or beers that I highly respect but don't necessarily (and personally) like - that Uinta Barley Wine being one, man was it a killer, literally.

A - Poured into a pint glass (I've gotta get me a nice Sweetwater pinter or something "real" fancy. This beer is a nice and tasty-looking brownish color with a relatively small head that seems to rather be stagnantly...there, although not encompassing the full glass. The lacing looks sticky which is appealing.

S - Overall the smell is faint, but what seems to be most available is the carmelly note. There's a funk in there that I can't quite put my finger on. It's not a turn off, nor is it necessarily bad.

T - Definitely the better side of this beer. If one were to pick up on the 'funk' and dislike it, the taste might just make up for it. It's not very roasty which has seemed to be something I notice in Brown ales (and 'dark' brown ales). Maybe there's a little roastiness in there, but it's not very pushy. This is fantastic! One of the best Brown Ales I've tried, which as a newby isn't saying too much.

If you know of any killer brown ales, hit me up. Check what I've "got" and we'll see about a trade.

O - This beer is splendid. Wish I had more than just one to enjoy. This is the beer that would and could get me into trouble if I let it.

I drink for the taste not for the slam.

This is D, and

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

A - Pours a light golden brown colour, finger of head with decent retention and some sporadic lacing.

S - Musty and spicy with some cinnamon and nutmeg, with a touch of caramel on the finish.

T - Much like the scent with the spicy malt notes dominating (cinnamon and nutmeg). The caramel lingers on the palette with a touch of buttered bread.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and wet on the finish.

O - A tasty brown ale that's memorable and unique. Easily drinkable with some tasty flavours that linger on the finish. Would be tasty on tap.

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Photo of wvsabbath
3.56/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Copper brown/tan, killer 4 inch head, plenty of lacing.

Smell - Malts, hops, carmal, some spices, grassy/earthy, smell not strong.

Taste - Malts mixed with some hops, sugars and chocolate with some coffee notes add flavor. Slight yeast flavor is present, not very strong though. Toffee and carmal with some butte creamy sweetness comes at the finish.

Mouthfeel - Really smooth and easy on mouth. Tounge gets mostly malts, were palette gets the creamy flavors. Aftertaste is pretty mild and not long lasting.

Overall - A pretty solid, easy to drink beer. Alot of flavors came out more so after it warms. Theres alot better out there, but for low alcohol, price, and flavor, its worthy.

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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 heebes
3.46/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown, clear with a 3 finger foamy off white head. Lots of lacing. Nose is pale malts, amber lager, reminiscent of a brown ale, sugary, slightly phenol. Taste is similiar to the nose, lots of mingling yeast and maltiness, sort of a stale taste...a fairly weak brown ale. Mouthfeel is dry, medium bodied. Overall, I believe this sells well in my market, perhaps to the Dungeon & Dragons fans? but for a beer enthusiast theres not much to like. Unique bottle is cool, but falls short of a decent, returnable brew of choice.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 500ml can with a BB of Jan 2012. Features an image of a hobgoblin that has become the icon for this brewery.

Poured into a Sam Smith's pint glass. A clear ruby-brown hue with medium carbonation. Produces a nice thick head of tan foam with a creamy consistency and good retention; eventually subsides to a surface layer. Smells rich and malty with notes of roasted grain, caramel, brown sugar and dried fruit. A hint of spice and alcohol.

Tastes of sweet roasted malt with a mild dry finish. Notes of caramel, brown sugar, dried fruit, stewed leaves and subtle burnt grain. A faint background hint of solvent/alcohol. Mouthfeel is smooth and dry with pleasing carbonation, but a bit thin. Bitter, malty aftertaste.

A decent brown ale and one I would happily drink again. The sweet caramel notes are nice, although there is a background off-flavour that could be improved. The mouthfeel also seems a bit insubstantial for the style. Worth trying if you come across it.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rereview, this brew being one of my first beer reviews on BA. It's a favorite of mine and deserved another glance.

Poured into a nonic glass. Nice foamy head, great retention, surviving as a thick ring with sticky lace. Dark amber, only slight ruby hues when held to the light. Great-looking brew.

A malty, sweet nose, with some lovely cherry, chocolate, butter, and fig notes. Slight metallic twang typical of an English pale. A touch of bitterness to it as well.

Sweet, malty, good fruit and chocolate notes, nice dry bitter hopped finish. Robust enough to enjoy sipping slowly, but smooth enough for some serious drinking. Medium bodied, mild carbonation, slight dryness to the finish. The hop bitterness lingers long after each sip.

A solid brew, very tasty. Good default sippin' ale.

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

A: Ruby red amber. Head dissipates fast yet retains nice lacing.

S: Smells of malt, toffee notes, and dark fruits.

T: Taste of sweet malt with dark fruits, chocolate, tart, and slight bitterness.

M: Smooth, medium body, and light carbonation.

O: Very tasty beer, especially for the price. Would defiantly recommend and buy.

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

A - A deep ruby red and light brown in appearance. Starts with a two centimeter head that shrinks to foam around the edges of the glass.

S - Smells of malts, apple, spiciness, earthy hops, there is also a very noticeable solvent type aroma as well.

T - Predominantly the malts, spice, a rich earthiness, chocolate, and some zesty notes as well. A nice bite from the hops pulls through, though it not overdone in the least.

MF - Mild carbonation that doesn't take away from the flavours, luscious and rich body overall.

O - A very decent brew, taste and mf combine for a solid drinkability.

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Photo of EricMichael
4.22/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

appearance - Little head at the start and disappeared quickly. Some lacing. A little more clear than I'd expect for a bottle labelled "Dark English Ale".

smell - A smell like toffee butter on top of a chocolate/coffee.

taste & mouthfeel - Light on the tongue, but heavy with flavor. Some chocolate sweetness with light hopping... maybe some caramel. A very noticeable toffee-butter finish.

overall - This started off as a decent beer, but I let it warm in my hand and the flavor came out making it far better. Don't drink at refrigerator temps.

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Photo of DUBinMIA
3.41/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

served from a bottle in an English pub glass.

clear dark brown with a hint of amber color. pours to a 1/2 in medium thick head that dissipates to about 1/8 in. and lots of lace.

smell of malt and woody hops

taste is started with sweet malt, caramel is dominate, and finishes with a bitter hop bite towards the end but its not overpowering.

mouth feel is decent. normal carbonation and medium body.

Overall a good beer.... better as it warms i started at ice cold and it definitely got better as it warmed up a little

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Photo of aeolianshredhead
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Nice murky, deep ruby red colour. Achieved a medium caramel coloured head with a slightly aggressive pour. Head depleted to a thin coating on top within a minute.

S- Notes of toffee, what seems to be almost a red apple sweetness and a little chocolate on the back. Smells pretty good.

T- Nice and sweet on the front and middle with the toffee-chocolatey taste definitely coming through mostly. There is also a maple syrup like taste which is very welcome! Thankfully, I find the carbonation does not get in the way of the taste. A slight bitter after taste on the back. Excellent mixture of complementing tastes.

M- Silky and velvety on the tongue with a medium to light body. This is seemingly offset with a fair level of carbonation which is there but no real complaint.

O- This is a great beer. It tastes great with a dessert- like quality. Maybe, just maybe, the chocolate flavour could be a little more accentuated, but it is still a fine taste. Highly seasonable at only 5.2%.

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Photo of
3.57/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Kildare House.

Appearance - reddish brown with a small head that fades rather quickly. Looks kind of flat and dull in the glass.

Smell - Nice malty aromas, but not much going on. The smell fairly subdued.

Taste - Sweet dark fruits, chocolate malt, buttered bread, nice touch of English hops bitterness.

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Photo of VMWhelan
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours brown with some reddish/amber hues and a finger of light tan head. Good retention.

Smells very malty and sweet with a lot of caramel, a typical brown ale. Some smokiness and a little bit of hops.

Bitter hops stick out first, followed by the maltiness. A lot less sweet than the nose, but it is there. Slightly roasty.

Mouthfeel is light but sticky. Lingering aftertaste with is rather bitter.

Overall it's decent. Expected a little more flavor from the smell and the aftertaste is a little much. Easy to drink though.

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

came in a brown bottle.
maghogany with nice tan head.

lots of malt aroma. lots of sugar sweetness in the nose. a bit of solvency, vinegar like notes.

hoppy bitterness, with some midpalate fruitiness and some sweet on the finish. the hops lingers and dries out the palate for more beer.

i like this even though its on the sweet side. tasty stuff

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Photo of MacQ32
3.71/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice dark amber into my samuel adams glass with a fluffy 1+ khaki colored finger head with great lacing and retention, really nice.

S - Dark malts, nuts, and dark fruits (raisin/prune type smells). Aromas OK

T - Delicious caramel and roasted malt flavor definitely dominates (in a good way), toffee/milky hints as well. Some ripe fruit tastes and a minor bite at the end, slightly dry finish. Great taste!

M - Perfect mouthfeel, medium bodied+, appropriate carbonation. very drinkable!

O - Taste is great, not going to dominate the tastebuds but a fairly complex range of flavors and everything else plays the appropriate role. smell is a bit underwhelming

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Photo of IPA35
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally, after drinking lots of lager for a while I have got myself a proper drink.

Pours a dark ruby beer with a small slightly off-white head.

The smells is wonderful, but I expect most beers to smell great after drinking and reviewing lager for the last few weeks.

Smells of dark malts, caramel and dark fruits. The scent is not very strong.

It has quite a strong dark malt taste, it is quite bitter (typical English hops flavour) and it is sweet with a hint of fig and it has a dry aftertase with a little bit of that sweetness and hop bitterness.

The mouthfeel is only slightly creamy, with enough (but quite weak) carbonation.

Overal this is a decent English ale.
It was my first Brown Ale, I only had some bitters before which I liked a little bit better than this one. Quite expensive here in the Netherlands but one of the most common British ales (they are rare over here) available so I would recommend this to Dutch people who want to try one of those beers they have seen in Midsommer Murders and such.

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Photo of soju6
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a chestnut brown with a tan head that fades to bits of lacing.

S: Has a dark fruit aroma with a trace of nuts and roasted malt.

T: The dark fruit continues into the taste, with some malt. Smooth finish.

F: Fairly medium body, smooth and well balanced.

O: I have to admit I was enticed by the unique bottle shape and label. Nice enough English Brown Ale, but nothing special.

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Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
3.71 out of 5 based on 2,598 ratings.
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