Hobgoblin | Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Liked This Beer
3.76 w/ 2,619 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: 2,619 |  Reviews: 1,089
Photo of KajII
3.72/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

[Best served in an English pint]

Poured a redish/brown with a small light tan creamy head that was mostly diminishing and had good lacing.The aroma was of roasted caramel malts, a sweet leathery yeast, mild resin hops with notes of coffee. It tasted mildly sweet, smooth and malty at first and finished about the same except for a nice dose of coffee at the end with the flavor lingering a nice long time. Mouthfeel was medium in body and oily in texture with a flat carbonation. Overall a VERY tasty bitter.

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Photo of wwjb
3.27/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Wychwood do a good job with their marketing. Their website looks really great and they have worked hard at the dinstinctive branding of their beers. As with all their products, Hobgoblin comes in a eye-catching bottle with an interesting shape and nice artwork. But maybe they should be putting more effort into the beer itself?

Poured from the bottle, Hobgoblin is chestnut/mahogany in colour with hints of orange. I was disappointed with the head - short-lived ivory coloured - but I didn't pour it particularly well. The nose was plummy or even pruney with hints of iron and chocolatey roasted barley.

The flavor is not as rich as the nose suggests - it is fairly smooth across the palette (too light really for this style), the dominant flavours being toffee/caramel, a hint of dark fruits and a light spicy hoppiness. It is pleasant enough, but to be honest, the flavour profile lacked any complexity. For this style of beer, you would expect much more to be there.

Overall: Decent session ale but nothing special

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Photo of morebeergood
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Hobgoblin glass, which came as part of the bottle/glass gift tin. Dark blood red colored body. Thin white head and some lacing. Smell was fruity and sugary. Taste had plenty of notes of toffee, honey, and caramel. Just enough malt too that gave it a decent body, yet I found it smooth as a brown ale should be. A very easy beer to drink with a low abv. Not too complex, but a tasty and well brewed beer.

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Photo of dchester
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy to muddy amber/brown in color. Head is a light colored beige with very little retention. Smell is caramel malt with a mild hint of raisins. The taste a little complex. After thinking about what the initial flavor I was getting was... it dawned on me... Twizzlers.... that faint candied fruit, strawberries, raisins and bananas with the maltiness. Wierd but good. The bitter edge I thought was also nice. Not too overpowering.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.25/5  rDev -13.6%
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 HalfFull
3.21/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served into a pint glass from a 330 ml. brown bottle with your standard pry off cap. Opens with a moderate hiss of carbonation and pours a medium brown/copper in color with a bit of haze. A half inch of tan foam settles in standard fashion.

Nose is simple and light with a bit of roasted coffee and minor nut influences. Not much to offer yet not negative either.

Flavor shows a light malt character with some roast, bit of chocolate and some light brown sugar. Dry bitter chocolate on the finish is again decent but unexciting. Not a lot of depth in the flavor profile and with a moderately lingering dry finish. A decent ale but a bit too middle of the road for me and with light hop characteristics for the style.

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Photo of AdamMY
4.48/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The appearance of this beer was ideal for me in terms of beers nice dark color though still wonderfully transparent, with a wonderful off white head that created wonderful lacing.

The smell was great full of spices and vegetables, with a nice subtle sweetness. It honestly reminded me of a spice cake in terms of aroma.

The Taste was solid, though had a bitter note that I felt detracted to much from the other flavors for me (i.e not incredibly well balanced flavor wise).

But mouthfeel and drinkability were exceptional, even when factoring in the slightly bitter taste.

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Photo of DCon
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at Creve Couer Racquet Club in Creve Couer, MO. This is one of their new beers added to their bar so I thought I would give it a whirl.

Appearance- Dark yellow head that bubbles and a dark maple brown color with a clear body.

Smell- I can smell a maple/coffee flavor, almost as a porter.

Taste- Alot of sweetness and malt. Can definitely taste the bitter maple syrup or a nut taste in the background as well. Not too shabby!

Mouthfeel- Full Bodied and rough. This rough attribute didn't hit my taste buds in a good way, but they'll get over it.

Drinkability- Not hard to drink at all. A great brown ale and easy to drink. I think I'll have anotha bartender!

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Photo of cyrock1
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep amber to amber brown with a good one finger head.

Smell: Toast and light roasted malt.

Taste: Lightly sweet malt with a tasot flavor lingering.

Mouthfeel: Good bit of bitterness right up front that lightens and lingers nicely on the finish.

Drinkability: What a great malt profile with just the right ammount of hops. Very good beer.

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Photo of chefelf
3.56/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer features a crooked-nosed hobgoblin carrying a battle axe and a quiver full of arrows. Because of that I had it at the checkout stand before I even know what type of beer it was, where it was from, or if it was even beer at all.

It's a dark English ale with a thick taste (if that makes any sense) and a strong aftertaste of molasses on the exhale.

This beer is currently my preferred mythical-creature themed beer.

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Photo of juhl31
3.11/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

-brown with a reddish hue to it with high clarity for the eyeballs. a tan white head that is available for most of the drinking time

-a bit fruity and sweet. there may be a little nut in the way back

-cant really say much for the taste. some fruit again, but also just a bad malt character in there. kind of tastes like a tastier michelob amber bock with some dirtiness in the finish

-decent body and not too carby, although there is a bit of a bite to it. seems like this beer would be a lot better and smoother on cask

-definitely not a beer i am reaching for...yet, thank you mother for the gift. it was a very sweet gift

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Photo of shand
3.36/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a mug.

This brew pours a muddy brown colour with two fingers of head that doesn't last very long. Leaves some alright looking lacing on the way down. The smell is pretty simple, sweet caramel malts and a touch of vanilla. The taste on this is primarily a sweet caramel malt slap, with some spiky hop edges and a bitter, slightly metallic aftertaste. Some touches of vanilla help take the edge off. An average brew.

The mouthfeel is very carbonated and feels quite good, and this is a very drinkable beer. I find that brews with that slight metallic taste tend to be extremely drinkable for some reason. No idea why, but it just helps me drink faster! A decent brown ale that's worth trying, but not sure it's worth the ridiculous import prices it garners in the states.

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

On-tap of Five Star Bar here. Big props to Randy the manager for consistently having a quality mix of foreign and domestic craft beers on tap, with almost no crap (except PBR, which is the best of the crap beers).

Light pale brown with a moderate head. Decent malt in the nose, not much yeast to the scent though. I like the hops, although it might not appeal to one looking for something hoppy in the massive American style, the subtle hops here (KGs mainly?) are quite adequate for the style.

So incredibly drinkable. Smooth on the tongue and just goes down the throat easily...had to consciously slow myself down.

Solid winter session beer. Will drink it again and definitely recommended.

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Photo of Brunite
1.99/5  rDev -47.1%
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.

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Photo of xodin
3.61/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Crisp, mohagony brown appearance with a mild, somewhat neutral smell. Very bitter flavor, reminiscent of an IPA, but without the kick at the end. Rounds out nicely at the end of the swallow, but I don't detect any originality, boldness, or gusto. A characteristic "slightly above average" brew, IMHO.

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Photo of Naugros
3.92/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cola-colored with ample and evident carbonation. The head is frothy and the color of cooked egg whites which leaves behind short-lived lacing.

The smell is sweet caramel malts with floral/spicy hops.

Caramel and hops come through in the first sip and they are nicely balanced. The hops hit the palate without imparting a whole lot of bitterness. Dark fruits and vanilla also appear at the sides of the tongue in the aftertaste.

You'd expect more body from a beer this dark, but it is pretty light in mouthfeel. The carbonation is copious, but doesn't interfere with the enjoyment of this beer. In fact, the lightness of it all and the carbonation make it quite drinkable.

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Photo of Brabander
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hobgoblin was sold in one of the cheaper shops in Holland, Lidl or Aldi, not sure which of the two. I got this bottle form a beer tasting buddy, thanks Bill!!

Poured it in my Struise glass. Very nice looking beer. Deep amber/darkcopper coulour with a very decent very lightbrown head. Too bad there is no carbonation at all. The head stays quit a while.

Taste is light,roasted malts and a very pleasant sugar taste, must be some brown sugar. Not many spices and the hops are not noticable.

Mouthfeel is a bit watery, the alcohol could be a bit higher, but also smooth and soft.

Good beer all the way!

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oh, the joys of being a tax accountant in February...

Finally home to enjoy this tall brew. I need a nice refresher, and this appears to be just that. Pours a brilliant red-amber, very clear and lots of nice, creamy head atop. Lacing is sheet-like and the beer is middling carbonated. Better than I recall it being in the past.

Aromas are very British. I get some vanilla, but mostly caramel malt and also some of those wonderful, slightly metallic notes. Not exciting and not unique, but very British!!!

A large quaff brings the malt to the forefront. A somewhat sharp, rounded only a bit by a creamy mouthfeel, tang of malt slaps your tongue, then slowly dwindles into a middle and that leaves you wondering what flavors are in there. I get a confused jumble of malt, some bitter hops, and a fleeting lemon like note - without the citrus. That's the best I can describe it. Maybe like a Lemonhead candy, but it's faint. It helps to pull the malt and hop characteristics together. The finmish is hoppy bitter in a good way and this beer is better than I recall, but not elite by any means. $4.49/500 ml bottle, and only 5.2% ABV. This is almost worth the price, but not quite.

What I like most: The surprisingly creamy and pleasant mouthfeel.

What I like least: The faint aroma profile and metallic notes.

Verdict: Not bad, but not scintillating either. If the price point was slightly lower, this would be worth it.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a dark amber color with some slight copper edges. There is a nice tight off-white cream head that is about 1 inch tall and recedes slowly with some nice sticky lacing.

S - Aroma of delicious dark English malts. There are hints of fresh baked bread and some slight banana sweetness. There is some slight hop bite to the nose especially at the back end and very similar to a English Pale Ale. Not as emphasized though.

T & M - Taste starts off with some light roasted malt hints. There is some nice biscuit malt notes as well as some grassy grainy notes. The malt bill in the beer is quite strong and delicious. The hops just act as a slight counter weight with some dry finishes and slight bitterness on the end. Quite light offering with good flavors.

D - The beer is quite good but nothing too impressive.

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a slightly hazy orange brown with red hues. 1.5 fingers of khaki head. Very good retention all the way through.

S - Deep bready malt, toasted caramel, sorghum, & raisins.

T - Creamy malt, white bread, sorghum molasses, citrus hops show up in the background in the middle and follow to the finish. Some nuttiness and slightly fruity on the finish.

M - Medium body, creamy, adequate carbonation, slightly metallic.

Nice malt character. A very enjoyable brew. 1st from the brewery. The metal was very close to being too much. Would go great with fish and chips.

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Photo of midwestbrewers
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Beautiful creamy looking 2 finger head. Kind of a complex color. A very dark ruby red color. Amazing lacing.

S: Carmel notes as well as some light chocolate. Nice malty smell but fresh on the nose as well.

T: Amazing. Nice creamy toffee/chocolate flavor with very smooth bitter finish.

Overall this beer deserves a try from anybody. I think it could easily suit many drinkers. It's got some body to it, but isn't real heavy. The malt and hops marry beautifully to make a sweet, smooth and crisp brew. GREAT BREW WYCHWOOD BREWERY!!!

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Photo of bylerteck
2.59/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A - Pours a brown/amber colour with significant amounts of carbonation and a fluffy, three finger tan head. Bright.

S - Cola. Maybe some mild toffee but that's it.

T - Some cola, mild burnt coffee, mild hop. Let down.

M - Medium carbonation and a medium body.

D - Weird. I could have some of this but it's overly sweet. Odd. So odd. I've had this numerous times in bottle, on tap, and once on cask and it's been much better. Either that or my palate has matured.

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Photo of SebD
4.18/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a nice dark brown amber colour to it. It has a nice off-white head that dies down moderalty and lacing is present.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of caramel, toffee, malts and fruity notes.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has nice carmaly/toffee flavours with a sweet roasted malt taste and a bitterness coming from the hops.

Mouthfeel: It has a low to medium carbonation with a nice balance of sweetness and bitterness.

Drinkability: It's a very drinkable beer accompanied with great flavours and aromas.

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Photo of Mardukk
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly cloudy dark amber color with an off white head and some lacing.

Smells of fruit with a hint of toffee.

The taste is of lightly roasted malt with fruity hop bitterness typical of many english ales. Toffee and and fruit dominate the flavor. Alcohol taste becomes more evident as the beer warms.

Low carbonation and no off tastes make this a nice smooth drinking ale. The drinkability is very good for this medium bodied english ale.

Overall, the distinct taste with a bit more bite than most English Ales makes this one of my favorites of the genre.

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Photo of trevorjn06
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a rich copper/brown color with amber highlights and a frothy, off-white head that slowly recedes and leaves heavy lacing on the glass.

Aroma malt, toffee, butter, caramel, toastiness and very light fruity notes.

Taste is rich with caramel and toffee malt flavors accented by slightly roasted and toasted notes. There is just enough hop bitterness to balance the malt sweetness and the finish leaves malty toffee notes, a bit of burnt caramel and a bit of earthiness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium/low carbonation.

Overall this is an easy drinking, malty, smooth beer. It has a nice depth to the caramels and slight roasty elements and I would drink this again.

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Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
Beer rating: 60.1% out of 100 with 2,619 ratings
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