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Hobgoblin | Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

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2,638 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: 2,638 |  Reviews: 1,096
Photo of Roke87
3.38/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500 mL bottle poured into a Duvel tulip at cellar temperature.
Best before date: Feb.23/2012

Appearance- Pours a dark ruby red with plenty of light penetrating this one, has a nice fluffy two fingers of off white head that quickly resides to a nice ring and bubbly little top from the carbonation.

Smell- Not too much going on in the smell department, maybe just some dark fruity flavours, figs, orange peels, and a bit of spice.

Taste- Is a whole other animal, you get some roasted malt flavours, the dark fruit is very present in the taste as well, with a bit of sweet chocolate almost caramel/toffee tastes in there as well but you got to really look for it.

Mouthfeel- Light-Medium bodied, under average carbonation but still smooth and crisp drinking.

Overall- With such a cool bottle I was almost expecting more from this dark ale, the smells are very muted and the taste doesn’t really have anything to write home about. Low ABV that is very easy drinking, maybe a beer to start off with if you’re used to the regular BMC crowd but personally I was unimpressed by this one.

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Photo of jgirotto
3.99/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A = pours a very dark amber - almost black with one finger white head. Great contrast.

S = almost metallic and seemed sharp to me.

T = much smoother than the smell indicated. Crisper than the color indicated.

Overall, this is a very nice ale. I think that I served it too cold. At closer to room temp the taste warmed up as well and was less crisp. At this temp the chocolate and earthly taste shows up. Much better.

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Photo of hiku7
3.61/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 500ml bottle to a nonic. Love the bottle design, neat somewhat of an hourglass shape with witches etched into the design. I bought the beer just because I wanted the bottle for homebrew.

Pours a reddish brown with a tall tan head. Decent lacing.

Smell is light and a bit fruity and doughy. Mostly seems to be coming from the yeast. No hop smell. Not as much malt smell as I expected.

The taste is caramel and roasted malt with a light earthy hop finish. Mouthfeel is smooth and silky, with some fizzy carbonation.

Overall, I enjoyed this sessionable brown ale, but not sure if I'd go back to it.

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

Amber-brownish color, clear. Some bubbles. Egg shell color head.

Very fruity aroma. Some malts. Touch of earthy.

Malty up front along with fruitiness at the end. Caramel malts, just a touch of buttery. Very fruity, I’m getting black cherries and some sweet tangerines. There some hint of earthy hops in the taste. Light-medium body. Carbonation is soft.

Very dry finish that lingers in a good way.

Not bad for a English Brown Ale. Above average.

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Photo of ForWhatAlesYou
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle into a Chimay goblet

A: Pours a respectable white head, falls quickly but leaves a presence and good lace. Deep brown, almost black with auburn tones.

S: Aromas not very strong. Roasted malts.

T: The roasted malt flavor dominates here. Nice (but light) tobacco, dark dried fruit, a distinct bitter, and a touch of candy/molasses sweetness.

M: Very dry. Medium carbonation.

D: I really liked this beer but not very sessionable for me. Worth seeking out and trying.

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Photo of TCMike
4.33/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It pours, a nice reddish/dark brown color. Produced about a 2 finger beige head.
The aroma was of malt, caramel, and maybe a hint of cherry.
The taste was the same as the smell, but with a little bit of a creamy taste, and mouth-feel. Fairly low carbonation, and a medium mouth feel. No noticeable hops.
Very drinkable.

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Photo of stckhndlr
4.28/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark cherrywood brown color, 2 finger head that doesn't stick around too long. Great lacing. clings all the way up the glass.

S- Dark caramel malts with a touch of smoke.

T- Oh, this is a nice beer. caramel and sweet dark fruit, a buttery finish.

M- semi creamy medium body. smooth finish, not overly bitter.

O- I like this one. A great tasting beer to me and it goes down really easy. Will definitely drink this one again.

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Photo of bastardface
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was given to me in a bottle. The aroma of the beer was refreshing with a sweet smell, almost fruity in nature. I did enjoy this beer as it had a different mouthfeel to it. It did not leave a bad aftertaste and was easy to drink. I recommend this beer if you have an adventerous spirt by nature.

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Photo of Sachsenfreude
3.89/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance; clear chestnut brown. Quickly dissipating white head, little lacing.

smell; malty with a hint of buttery Brazil nuts. Mild, mellowed out hops.

taste; roasted nuts and burnt malts, some buttery notes give way to a bitter finish. Noticable alcohol.

mouthfeel; medium bodied with very active carbonation slick a buttery, quite smooth and refreshing. Dry finish.

overall; nothing special but worth a try, pretty good but better options are out there.

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Photo of Lauthaha
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into a half-liter beer glass.

Appearance: Pours a pure mahogany; the beer is translucent. Ruby and amber tones at times. Head is a frothy tan color, and leaves moderately-heavy lacing as it recedes to a slightly-thicker-than-thin foam on the surface of the beer.

Smell: Rich malt character is glittered with prune-like vibes. Raisin bread, cinnamon, nutmeg...and hiding in the corner like a Fonz-esque rebel are the hops. Pungent, pleasant and poised to kick some tail.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Beer goes in without a fight...things are calm...and then...wham! Medium-level carbonation floods the palate with a cornucopia of color. All the flavors appear at once. There is a pervading bitterness which is attacked by the savory malt character and sweet spices, but eventually overcomes all obstacles. Aftertaste is chewy and mild, like chewing on a banana peel.

Overall: A good beer, all around. Nothing *too* fancy, but definitely a crowd-pleaser at an affordable price.

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Photo of Hollenbeck2
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Good beer not overall super impressive but easy easy easy to drink

Had this in Miami on cask super rare to find on the west coast so I had to try. I would recommend this beer to most anybody on cask although I can see this beer not being as good or exciting normally

Great looking beer with a chocolate brown color and foam ribbons that come and go quickly

Good mouthfeel with no lingering taste

A little expensive at $7 a pint

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Photo of mattgreger
3.87/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The pour on this brew poured a dark brown with some great ribbons of ruby red. It also had a beautiful creamy tan head that sat and capped the brew. It had some good retention, then follows the glass with some great sticky lacing.

The aroma is filled with sweet malts. There is a great toffee flavor that hits the nose as well. As the brew warms, I can also smell some great notes of a floral hops. Its smell great, I am looking forward to it.

Once I had my first sip, I was impressed. It has a great sweet toffee flavor that I can taste right of the bat. It then feeds into a dark fruit and hoppy bitterness. Its a nice blend, not overly bitter. The brew finishes with a bit of sweetness that gives this brew a very well round, complex flavor system, that pleases the palate. It also has a great dry finish.

The mouthful on this brew is very smooth. It has a great, light and refreshing carbonation. The mixture of the sweet and bitter flavors of this brew give it a great taste, that has you wanting more.

Great brew to drink. Not super heavy, and great for any season or time of the day. It a great brew, and would be something I would drink on more of a regular basis, if it wasn't so expensive. Its a great brew. I will have to seek out others from this brewery.

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Photo of Ommy
3.28/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The Hobgoblin pours nicely and forms a bubbly head that lingers for a while, leaving behind a very nice lace. Inside the glass it shows a darkish red which matches the label quite nicely.

The first smells I get on the nose are metallic and copper like. A faint smell of hops is noted with a hint of orange peel. It isn't too impressive, though in my limited experience it is pretty standard with a dark English ale.

The bitter hops prick the tongue quite nicely, but not overly for my palate. The slight metallic smell is also tasted briefly in the middle. The finish has a nice mouthwatering hoppiness feel that leaves me wanting more.

Overall as a relatively new person to a "Dark English Ale" I would say that this is pretty flavorful and enjoyable to try, but not something I would buy again or urge my friends to buy, but it is nonetheless nice to try.

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Photo of bjlovers68
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a 500ml brown bottle. Love the cap, definitley one for the collection.

A-Looks very inviting but not as much 'ruby red' colour as I was expecting. Very brown with hints of red through the glass when held in light, a cherry wood colour. nice looking off white head leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

S-really nice smell, rich and malty, hints of caramel and dried fruit.

T/M-Can catch a little of the toffee malts as mentioned on the bottle, but the bitter, earthen aftertaste is too much for me. Light to medium bodied and quite dry.

O-It seems to get better as it warms in the glass a little. Maybe I tried it too cold, but the aftertaste was unpleasant at any temperature. Nothing amazing but not bad, maybe an acquired taste.

Cool website and interesting bottles and labels.
"whats the matter lagerboy, afraid you might taste something?"

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Photo of Kartoffeln
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Deep mahogany with a dense tan head that leaves spotty lacing as it shrinks to a bubbly cap.

S: Toffee, sweet malts, dark chocolate, and a touch of fruity hops.

T: Sweet malts and toffee. The hops taste more floral than fruity, and roasted, nutty bitterness comes through gradually.

M: Carbonation comes on unexpectedly crisp, but it drinks smoothly. The bitter finish is long-lasting, but a bit too astringent - strongly reminiscent of coffee and dark chocolate, but I was hoping for more hops presence.

D: Though simple, fairly well-balanced and definitely sessionable. A solid, particularly bitter English brown ale.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Surprise! It looks exactly like a dark ale. The beer pours a dark mahogany brown, garnet in the light, with a thin tan head of approximately 1cm. I'm drinking it colder that I would typically like to serve an English ale, so the head unfortunately disappeared quickly. The beer appears rich and drinkable, not too watery.

Once again, served colder than I would typically prefer, but still notes of caramel toffee, vanilla, bitter hops, and a little dark fruit. Not too bad, at this point I am really kicking myself for not letting the beer warm some before pouring.
Therefore, in light of my mistake, I am going to give this beer the benefit of the doubt and round up at a "good." When served cold the nose is only slightly better than average.

Sweet malt, smooth and crisp hops, and a roasted lingering aftertaste that slightly overextends its welcome. This is a traditional tasting english ale that does the job right the first time and sticks to traditional roasted malt and hops to give it meaning and value. The hops add generous spice, but this beer balances both the malt and bitterness well.

As stated in taste, this beer is fairly balanced and traditional tasting. Medium bodied beer with roasted malt and bitter hops. My only complaint is in a lingering charcoal that coats the palate for long past its welcome. If you don't see what I'm talking about after only one sip, a few sips will be adequately additive to give you the gist.

This beer is unfortunately overpriced costing approximately $5-6 USD per 500mL bottle. I realize that I this is not the most I've paid for beer, but I've paid a similar price for much better beer than this. Alas, the cost to import from overseas must be taken into account and the beer worth trying once.
Great souvenir bottle to hold on to, very unique with a classy label.
In summary, the beer was smooth and refreshing, but it's hard to be relaxed while paying such an unnecessary premium.

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Photo of therica
4.12/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A= dark tea brown, modest head, modest lacing.

S= very nice with clean malts and hops florals; not "light nose" but light-bright, nice. Lightly grassy notes as it warms.

T= clean, some light roasted nutty malts, UK hops florals, slight dry bitters, modestly watery according to traditional style, very nicely done.

M= clean, light bitter dryness, a light bittery tartness akin to a light red wine but stopping short of an alcohol-laden brandy.

D= overall it's a very nice traditional offering in its style and although rather expensive in the US at $4.99 per 500ml it's worth the try. Probably very nice with red meats or smoked fowl.

It sucks that The Bro's have permitted a photo of an empty bottle to represent this beer, unfortunately. I've offered a photo of a full unopened bottle without a reply.

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Photo of bens0n
3.18/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a murky brown/amber color with a hefty amount of foamy off-white head that leaves spotty lacing on the glass.

There are no real distinct smells I can pick out, its just a blend of malts and hops. Flavor wise, it has a very sharp hoppy bite and the malts are not there to make this go down smooth. The finish and aftertaste has a herbal/medicinal taste to it that I really do not like, plus way more carbonation than I think it needed.

I had a hard time downing this because it just did not go down easy and there wasn't anything in particular that I really enjoyed about it.

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Photo of mdwalsh
3.89/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass, this beer has a great three finger, light brown head with tight bubbles. There's nice active carbonation, but it's nowhere near clear. I can see through it, but there is a lot of haze. No particles, just haze.

S: OOO Very nice cooked caramel and grain maltiness. Just a hint of floral hops. It's not overly complex, but it smells wonderful.

T: The taste is very similar to the smell, but not as impressive. It's a little thinner, a little more one dimensional, and there's some off flavors to it, maybe a little diacetal? It's ok, but nothing to go as gaga over as some people do.

M: Mouthfeel is alright, could be a little crisper, but it's not bad.

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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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Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
Beer rating: 3.76 out of 5 with 2,638 ratings
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