Hobgoblin | Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

2,625 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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 2,625 |  Reviews: 1,091
Photo of angusdegraosta
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is my kind of English Brown. Full bodied, malty, the right amount of sweetness, with a little nut and chocolate, maybe even a slight coffee taste. Very nice finish. If I could only give points for the artwork! It's a great looking bottle. Luckily, the brew is just as fun as the label. Recommended.

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Photo of CHADMC3
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A strong pour down the center reveals a dense, frothy tan head atop the walnut brown body which takes quite a while to dissipate to a scattered, sticky lacing.

The aroma consists of malty goodness, sweet and caramel-like, with a touch of nuttiness.

The flavor is a bit different. Still maintaining a fair amount of malt, again sweet, but this time much more bready, especially mid-palate.

Medium in body and carbonation, this English has a drying finish.

This is a nice beer and fairly appropriate for the style. It is easy to drink with just enough flavor and aroma.

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Photo of marty21
4.01/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a clear deep ruby/brown with a creamy off white head. Leaves great lacing all the way down.

S: A dark malty aroma with hints of caramel and dark fruit.

T: A malty caramel taste with hints of dark fruit. Finishes very bittersweet.

M: A light body with medium carbonation. Coats the mouth nicely. Very creamy

D: Decided to buy this again to actually sit down and review it. I didn't enjoy it as much as I did the first time with a nice steak dinner but it was still really good. It would make a great session beer as it's not too heavy and goes down quite easily.

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Photo of flyingpig
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark ruby in appearance with an average sized bubbly white head & almost no carbonation visible.

Dark fruits is the main smell along with hints of caramel & chocolate. Quite pleasant really.

A malty/fruity tasting beer & hints of caramel, similar to the smell. A chocolate bitterness to finish with.

A full bodied ale with slight carbonation.

Overall an enjoyable beer that i would recommend.


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Photo of MrIncognito
3.81/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured into a mug, the body is clear mahogony with visible carbonation rising to the top. 2-finger off-white head that is sticky and fluffy. Leaves great lacing.

S - Sweet malts with dark fruits right up front. Slight hop aroma adds a sharpness. The smell is not as strong and complex as I'd hoped.

T&M - Sweet malts prominent right off the bat. The hop presence is more pronounced than expected and adds a nice balance to the sweetness. Ripe dark fruits come through as the beer warms up a bit. I catch slight milk chocolate notes but not too strong. Tiny bubbles from the carbonation acutally makes this beer pretty dry along with the hop bitterness. Still smooth, though.

D - A nice brown ale overall. Not my favorite in terms of pronounced smell and flavor, but drinks well.

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

A light brown head of two fingers resulted from the pour of this brew from a dark brown bottle. Color of the ale is a rich brown, matching a 26 on the SRM beer color chart. Great round broken lace with lots of clinging power. Aroma of chocolate and coffee in the forefront and toffee, malt, ginger, and barley wisps filling in. Flavors of dark chocolate, rich roast coffee, toffee, barley malt, molasses and honey. Good creamy feel over my tongue and soft palate. A little heavy to drink in mass quantities, but great flavor. Good for more at a party or gathering.

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Photo of Scrylol
3.43/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brownish color with a bit of ruby, very very small head that disappears quickly, leaves behind some bubbles and very little lacing.

The smell contains a bit of chocolate, lots of malt, a slight hint of toffee.

The taste isn't too bad. Lot's of malt flavor on the tongue, a bit of chocolate and coffee. Leaves a bittersweet taste behind.

Initially it felt creamy, but it got a bit watery at the end. Slight carbonation.

Overall, not a bad ale, though it could be better.

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Photo of Samp01
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark clear amber with small off white head, Aroma of dark malts, caramel, hops. Taste is dark malts, caramel, some slight notes of toffee, and bitter hops. Palate is full body, good carbonation. Finish is earthy toasted malts, caramel, and bitter hops that add some balance. Overall I wasn't to impressed but a good average brew

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Photo of Shrews629
3.59/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Respectable amber/brown "tea" color with orange highlights and a slightly off white head with so-so lacing and retention. Semi-clear and not too many bubbles climbing to the top.

Smell - Earthy malt in the aroma. Some sour dough with a somewhat toasted grain. The grain was very subdued, but in a good way. Picking up what appeared to be some apple butter. Nice change.

Taste - Noticeably malty with the sour dowgh showing itself again in the taste. Only slightly bitter and the butter flavor comes along nicely after a few minutes in the glass.

Mouthfeel - Medium, smooth, dry, creamy mouthfeel. Nice enough. Leaves plenty on the palate for me.

Drinkability - This brew is not bad at all. This "old style" is starting to grow on me. Hope I can find a few more like this so I can have something to compare it to. This beer seems to be suited to the Fall season. Glad I tried it.

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

Hobgoblin brown ale has brown red colour and a head that goes away quickly and leaves only some large bubbles around the edge of the glass. The smell is malty with a hint of sour maple syrup. The taste is intensely malty with some roastiness (but no coffee or chocolate flavours). The aftertaste is a little boring. This beer has a light body with a little foaminess. A decent but not great brown ale.

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Photo of BeardedBoffin
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a murky brown color with a wispy head. A dark malty aroma with some dark sweet fruit. Fairly full bodied brew, but very smooth and creamy. Caramel toasted malt leads to a bittersweet finish. There is a nuttiness to the beer from start to finish.

This is a decent English ale.

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Photo of taigor
4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into official Hobgoblin glass.

A - Poured dark brown almost non-transparent color with slight head that quickly dissipated leaving slight lacing around the glass.

S - Malts with hints of chocolate and toffee.

T - Sweet malts with caramel, toffee and slight dark chocolate bitterness.

M - Medium bodied with light carbonation.

D - Very enjoyable and easy-going. Would definitely recommend it and have it in the future.

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Photo of goalie33
3.97/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a 16oz pint glass.
A: Clear brown color with a redish hue. One finger of creamy tan head.
S: Hints of chocolate and toffee.
T: A little watery. Chocolate and toffee malt with a subtle bitterness. Almost like a stout but not as bitter or as thick/dark.
M: Very light mouthfeel with slight carbonation.

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Photo of tylernim
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very dark amber. Finger worth of head that dissipated quickly. Left a nice ring the rest of the way.

Smell was pretty malty. Taste was full of sweet malts, some butter tones, a bit of bitter hop on the back end.

Mouthfeel was pretty light with a bit of carbonation. Very drinkable if you ask me.

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Photo of mcroper
3.64/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Being new to the world of Ales i decided to give Hobgoblin a try.

Appearance: Dark oaky brown colour when poured from bottle, good head which quickly dissolved into patchy foam.

Smell: Roasted and nutty, quite warming

Taste: Roasted flavour is very apparent, a slight tang and fruity. Sometimes it had a slight chocolate aftertaste, different after each sip.

Feel: Creamy, low-mild carbonation, medium bodied

I was impressed with the ale and at a cheap price it can't be knocked. The only issue I had with it was the smell, although it was average it wasn't anything different. Drinkable and nice tasting, I would definitely have this again.

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Photo of cleolicious
3/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Copper in color. A small head of foam. Slight citrus and malt aroma. Kind of a flat, watery taste, nothing to brag about. Tastes like a slightly more carbonated Newcastle, which isn't saying much Leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, literally. I'm glad I only bought one bottle of this. I wouldn't buy this beer again. This is definitely not my favorite in this style of beer. There are way better. Great looking labels though!

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

poured into tulip, nice auburn color with light head and nice lacing.

Nice malt smell with hint of sweetness, getting a bit of acid like cider smell as well.

Taste like british ale, that somewhat flat taste, also pretty creamy again reminiscent of british ales I've had.

Would buy again, if a bit cheaper than $5 for 16.5 oz.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.51/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear pale oxblood with creamy white head that puckers and sheets. Nose is faint toffee and Red Delicious apples. Toasty grain and brown bread with a bit of cocoa and plum, then lemon zest and crab grass hops. Slightly sour middle and a bit of butterscotch. Thin, light and crisp.

This is about as light as a brown ale can get and not be dross like Newcastle. Sacrifices depth for easy drinkability.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.07/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle. A brown beer with a khaki colored head and minimal lacing. Smell is malty and nutty. Taste follows the nose with some caramel, toffee, mild roast and tea like hop bitters. A crisp, spritzy mouthfeel on a medium bodied beer. Excellent session beer from England, go figure.

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Photo of cdoublev
4.43/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of my all time favorite beers. It pours a dark brown. Unfortunately the bar I go to and drink this pours it with absolutely no head at all which is pretty disappointing. This one has notes of maltiness, nuttiness, and breadiness that is very appealing in both smell and taste. Think of this as a heavier and better Newcastle.

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Photo of ramseye4
4.22/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Brooklyn Pint Glass. Pours a nice looking dark brown color, with a slight bit of head, but fairly good head retention. Great lacing. Smells like roasts and nuts. The taste is wonderful, with a nice touch of bitterness and very nicely done roasted malts. Perfect amount of carbonation, and it sits very nicely in the stomach. All in all I really like this one, and I definitely wouldn't mind having Hobgoblin being a constant in my fridge. Definitely one of Wychwood's best offerings.

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Photo of dgilks
3.86/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful clear chestnut colour with a small, foamy tan head. Poor head retention.

Dull, malty aroma. Slightly nutty but not all that powerful.

Smooth, luscious malt. Tasty light toffee note. Moderately fruity from yeast esters. Nice.

Medium-light body with moderate carbonation. Good.

A really tasty beer which is easy to drink and the half litre can is a nice touch.

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Photo of DaveBlack
4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a stein

A: Clear brown color, almost entirely opaque. Maybe an inch of head that fades pretty quickly

S: Maltiness with a sour note to it. I'm not picking much up beyond caramel malts, there's just not a whole lot on the nose from this one.

T: Really, really well balanced. Caramel, toffee notes with breadiness and just enough sweetness to balance. The flavor is not overpowering, but it is very solid.

M: Medium level of carbonation and medium bodied. Goldilocks would be proud: not too heavy, not too light, JUST right.

D: Very drinkable. I don't think that there are any outstanding qualities to this beer to overwhelm, but it is, overall, just a very good, very well rounded beer. Good if you're just having one or as a session beer. I can't say for sure, but I imagine it would go well with food because it can compliment with sweetness without competing.

A really good beer. If you're looking for a middle-of-the-road beer for any occasion this would be a good choice. Inoffensive enough that anyone would like it, but sophisticated enough for the discerning consumer.

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Photo of damndirtyape
3.67/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 mL bottle (no date I could interpret) poured into a Nonic glass.

Appearance: Clear brown with orange highlights on the table, more of a darker copper color when held up to the light. The 1/4" light tan foam upon pouring died down to a thin film across the top and a ring of foam around the edge of the glass. Little dots of lacing here and there.

Smell: Toasted malt and caramel with some mild burnt sugars thrown in for good measure. Pretty good.

Taste: The caramel and toasted malts are stronger when the beer is first poured and cold, but those become more muted as the beer warms up and those English hops with some tea-like bitterness show up instead. It's probably a bit more balanced on the bitterness side of things, but it's balanced enough that the tea-like flavors don't become annoying.

Mouthfeel: There is a mild carbonation on the tongue that is mostly non-existent when the beer is cold but shows up again as a bit of spiciness when the beer has warmed up. The beer otherwise is a bit chewy. Pretty typical for an English beer.

Drinkability: Went pretty well with a meal (cheddar cheese filled meatballs simmered in tomato sauce) but I can say after having it that it's just okay. Above average and maybe it would be better freshly poured from a cask than bottled. I've had better English brown ales but this one is still good.

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Photo of dogfishandi
4.17/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle pulled from my fridge poured into a nonik pint glass. nice to see this in six packs as ive only seen it in the bowling pin bottles.

pours a clear chestnut brown color with one and a half fingers of off white head that eventually faded to a small ring and some patchy foam. just tiny spots of lace. really nice color, not the best head.

in the aroma theres a nice range of malts. chocolate, crystal, slightly roasted, toffee. a slight herbal tea like quality maybe from the hops and some slight fruity like esters.

that nice range of malts transfers to the taste as well. chocolate, toffee, slightly roasted/ toasted malts, nutty, a little buttery. a little bit of the fruity esters coming through. finishs with a slight hop bitterness.

a very nice silky smooth feel on the palate. medium bodied. good carbonation for the style.

this one drinks with the best of them. one of the best choices for halloween. i will come back to this beer again and again. theres something about it that i really love but cant quite put my finger on. definatly worth a try.

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Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
Beer rating: 3.76 out of 5 with 2,625 ratings
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