Hobgoblin | Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

2,604 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: 2,604 |  Reviews: 1,085
Photo of dgilks
3.86/5  rDev +4%
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 +11.9%
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 -1.1%
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 +12.4%
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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Photo of InebriatedJoker
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my favorite beer drinking glass from 11.2 fl. oz. bottle.

Poured a nice reddish brown color - Very little head and lace -

Smell was of toffee and roasted malts or hops -

Taste had hints of coffee carmel and chocolate .

nice overall brew - easy drink-ability - would definitely drink it again .

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Photo of megahurts4
3.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wychwood Hobgoblin Dark English Ale

Appearance: Dark red with very little lacing.

Smell: Warm inviting malts.

Taste: Warm malts with very subtle caramel, nuts, and hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium and smooth.

It starts off slightly sweet and finishes slightly bitter. It is well balanced and a good brew that I feel I can drink many of. I expected more nut flavor from first taste, but there is only a small hint.

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Photo of ritzkiss
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml brown bottle into my new CBA glass - thanks Rob!

Pours a ruddy brown with hints of amber and toffee. A finger of off white head dies down to a light lacing which leaves a few sticky tentacles on the glass.

Earth and a slightly fruity caramel malt in the nose.

Quite a smooth drinker that needs some time to warm up and hit its potential. Bready malt, caramel, subtle fruit notes, cocoa, earth, toffee. Light dryness in the finish which follows a rounded sweetness.

I can see this being a pleasant enough quaff with a meal but it's not exciting enough to hold its own. Slightly thin mouthfeel aids the feeling that there just needs to be a bit more here.

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Photo of hangh
4.2/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Nice dark chocolate colored beer with a hint of ruby red. Light tan head that dissapates quickly leaving a small ring and small vortexes in the center. Very fine lacing and an excellent looking brown ale.
S - Very malty smell, some chocolate, some caramel, some toffee, it all mixes very well and is a very sweet, malty smell
T - Rich malty beginning and a slightly bitter and tart finish. It's really some great strong caramel, chocolate, and toffee flavors up front that give way to the mild, fruity quick finish that cleans up the palate. Nothing really lingers too long and it's a great taste.
MF - Very smooth, lightly carbonated, medium bodied
D - Easy to drink, very good, well worth it

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.73/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours the lightest shade of brown with orange/ruby highlights when put up to light. Bubbly white head impales itself to the glass till the very end. Smells a bit like minerals, mix up some raisins, brown sugar, dark caramel and dark fruit like plums or cherries with a hint of alcohol. Taste is sweet with brown sugar and caramel up front. Melds into a long lingering burnt sugar/treacle flavor that persists long after each sip. Some Melanoid in there reminds me a bit of a dopplebock. Creamy bubbly mouthfeel is the best part about this brew. Medium level of carbonation and a medium body. This is not a bad beer, maybe not a brown ale but certainly quaffable. I could see drinking a few of these on a cool autumn night.

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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 AgentMunky
3.33/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 500mL bottle into a pint glass.

A: Medium-dark brown, light enough to see through the glass to my fingers, but dark enough to not be able to see beyond. Pitted head quickly collapses. I like the shape of the bottle.

S: Very average. Maybe some malts, maybe not.

T: Nice enough. Cold and malty, with a bitterness on the end that is very far from dry. The main taste is bit rough with some sourness. Aftertaste is clean. Even though this beer is on the bitter half of the spectrum, it doesn't quite taste of roasted malt.

M: Lots of tingles, not just from carbonation, as well as an odd chilling effect. Even after sitting around for a while, this beer tastes colder than it should.

D: Not special, but well-brewed. If you're out and about, you might as well grab one. I mean, it's called Hobgoblin with an axe-wielding, bow-and-arrow-toting example on the label. That said, I will probably never buy another one.

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Photo of rarbring
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The brew is a clear dark amber, a thick beige head that leaves little lacing.

The smell has some toffee, nuts, and some grassy spiciness.

The taste is initially sweet, orange toffee, some bread crust, an spicy and earthy character, grass and cherry seeds.

Low carbonation with soft small bubbles, a refreshing feeling with a dry finish.

A classic beer, very useful with fish'n chips. This time at Stringfellows in Stockholm.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had I studied for the test, I might've been more astute in judging what I had. Didn't know beforehand this was a brown...thought I was in store for a bitter. That said, I found this ale quite nice and representative of the style, I suppose.

Dank red-brown color, leaning more toward red. Fairly clean view. Head on the tiny side - 3/4 finger - lightly sooty white. Alright, alright.

Plum and cherry-like fruity esters popping out in the aroma and most definitely later in the taste. I was brought back to the smell often between sips. Very nice. Some toffee or more like caramel notes coming through further in. Short of explosive aroma, but fairly rich and full with some decent depth.

Medium-ish bitterness upfront in the flavor, holds steady. Some toasted flavors certainly, but more grainy and not so much nutty. Again, the fruit flavors are fairly bold here - essence, not so much sweetness. The sweet factor doesn't rise above moderate, and the same goes for the malt character. I'd say it's down the middle in body. There's some substance here - would not qualify as syrupy. Even if it in fact is, the surprising amount of carbonate (and, again, I thought this was a bitter so it's actually spot on for the style) scrubbed away any residual viscosity (capisce?)

As a brown, this is pretty solid - centered on many points. I enjoyed it a good bit and, now knowing it's a brown (shame shame), my confusion over what I was experiencing is gone. Daft moments are aplenty for yours truly.

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Photo of StephenRich
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

In Oxfordshire UK, lies a classic British Brewery, one which we are lucky enough to enjoy distribution of several of their beers in Ontario and across North America. Many people will recognize them by the fiendish goblin on the bottle lable, or by their winter beer called Bah Humbug. Quirky, and effective. But there is more to the beer than just the label. The Wychwood Brewery produced high quality ales that are distinctly British in flavor, composition, and feeling.

This is a quality which I greatly appreciate right now when many beers from across the world seem to be migrating to the heavily hopped, or outrageously styled brews that were made popular by the American Craft Brewers. Classic British Ale is delicate, soothing, calm and delicious. Its biscuit and bready notes show you exactly what malted barley can do, and you end up with the perfect pint for the end of a hard day, or the beginning of a wild night. The Hobgoblin is no exception.

The Hobgoblin is a 5.2% English Brown Ale that comes in a dark 500ml bottle that is available year round at the LCBO and pretty much any well stocked liquor store. It is a straight forward beer not designed to confuse you, but rather to sooth. Pale, Crystal and a touch of Chocolate malts are used, as well as Fuggles and Styrians hops. All nice and simple, all nice and delicious.

I opened the Hobgoblin cool around 12 C (54F), right at the edge of cellar temperature, and poured it into a stemmed tulip glass. The pour was very gentle and smooth - you could see a golden brown beer leave the bottle and a dark mahogany brown beer building in the bottom of the glass. This is really a masterfully constructed beer, and you can tell. The pour resulted in a deeply amber golden beer with bronze, deep reds and purples, bright mahogany and rich golden browns everywhere. Into the light it glowed with a golden orange haze peering through the lightly transparent beer. The head was a 1 inch dense and creamy cap with an eggshell, off-white, almost khaki color. Very appealing.

The nose is round and soft with gentle malt aromas lifting off of the beer easily. This is all fresh malt right here. I get fresh baked bread, biscuit, light banana, warm apples, touches of apricot, raisin and brown sugar. It is soft and warming without a trace of aggression or tartness. A soft earthy hop bitterness glides in surfacing over the beer with touches of wood, and fresh fields. Very gentle.

If I were you, for the first sip let in a big wave of Hobgoblin - let the beer fill your palate and touch your tongue, cheeks, tips and throat. You will see what I mean by creamy malts. The nose showed light hints of roast, chocolate, and toffee, but the taste brings these sensations right to the front. The soft bread and biscuit aromas are now rich and warming - but they merely facilitate the round flavors of warm barley roasting over a soft heat. Gentle fruity roast and toffee like toast becomes immediately apparent as the beer hits your cheeks, and now the soothing and creamy nature of the Hobgoblin is apparent.

It is soft and light, with an easy drinking feel - as it should be. This beer is not large, just slightly above 5%, but it shows greater character than you may expect. Notes of fruit warm to the surface as the beer mellows into a relaxing treat. Stewed raisins, pears, and brown sugar play in the middle with hints of spice, maybe cinnamon. Soft hops bring enough bitterness to balance and relax the beer creating a gently crisp finish, with warming malt sensations.

The Hobgoblin is a refreshing and soothing beer ready for any moment. I will work perfect with pub fare of all sorts, steak, burgers, anything off the grill, or soft cheeses.

Pics at: http://t.co/yK9tkx7

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Straight pour into my half-liter Hobgoblin glass (I'm really not sure exactly what kind of glass it is). The color is a dark caramel brown with ruby undertones. A good amount of sedimentation is hovering in the brew. Two fingers of tan head developed and slowly dissipated to a leave a ring around the outside and a bubbly lacing.

Smell: Very British and very enticing. Roasted caramel, honey, toffee, and chocolate.

Taste: The flavor is not as potent as the aroma, but it follows. It tastes much like a stouter version of a British pale ale. The roasted caramel dominates and is complimented by chocolate and toffee, and a little bit of honey makes it a hair sweet. An adequate amount of hop spicing provides a nip to tingle the back of the tongue.

Drinkability: Good stuff. Wychwood says it is perfect for Halloween. Maybe the name is perfect, but I'm not so sure it goes well with five boxes of Nerds, 10 mini Three Musketeers bars, and a caramel apple with a razor blade hidden in it.

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

A. Dark Red with one finger head

S. Burnt malts with some earthy tones

T. Malts and hint of carmel

M. smooth with decent carbonation

D. Very drinkable a little pricey to have more then a couple.

Recomended by the local liquer store owner he loves them.

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Photo of BBP
3.57/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Black cherry, decent head, fairly carbonated.

S- Burnt malts and slight hops followed by the slightest hints of wheat.

T- Caramel, burnt malts which were balanced very well by hops, and a slightly smoky flavor.

M- Very smooth and pretty full. Medium carbonation feel.

D- Easy to down and one of my preferred reds. A little costly though to buy regularly.

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Photo of darkmartin
4.4/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours to a dark, opaque molasses with some deep red undertones. Large, foamy tan head that hangs around. Thin lacing.

Smell: Smells of sweet caramel and nut malts with some lingering floral hops. Enticing and fairly complex.

Taste: Roasted malt with some toffee come up first, followed by a perfect amount of bitterness. The floral hops and yeasty bread flavors work together very well in the finish. Very good.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light bodied with only a little carbonation, a bit thin for the style.

Drinkability: This is one of my favorite brews, the complex and delicious nose carries on into the taste. Simply an excellent creation with the mouthfeel being its only weakness.

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

Pours an ruby-brown colour with off-white head. Smells of floral hops and nutty toasted malt. Taste has a nice sweetness balance to the small bitterness. It is a tad bit thin, but carbonation level was pretty good. Not an exciting beer, but a serviceable English ale that is available Toronto.

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Photo of mmva321
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A beer I remember fondly from my craft drinking infancy. I just got around to having it again, and the experience was a bit mixed.

A: The beer pours like a soda (fuck you if you say pop): fizzy and thin. The body is a clear brown color with a slight ruby red tint to it. No carbonation to speak of. There is about 2 fingers of foamy, khaki head. A bit flat.

S: Out front are some bitter hops along with some roasted auromas and a slight spiciness. These roasted smells meld nicely with chocolate and toffee malts. There is also a slight breadiness to it all. It's really nice; it doesn't seem complicated, but there are really a lot of auromas that I detect, but it manages to come off as simple and straightforward.

T: Once again, the beer seems direct, but there's a lot going on here. The hops and spices again take center stage while the toffee malts and bread taste act as agaents that fill out and meld the whole palete together. It all just works very well together.

M: Way too thin! It's basically like water with maybe a little bit of carbonation. I can't help from sloshing it around in my mouth like mouthwash, and I don't like it.

D: Aside from that distracting feel, this is actually a very enjoyable beer. Good for relaxing and not thinking too much some afternoon(I'm picturing autumn in my mind), but it also provides enough complexity to hold up to any discerning taster.

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Photo of mash4077
4.08/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 5

A- Big and foamy light-tan head. Dark brown with slight amber tint.

S- A light nuttiness with strong fruit and caramel scents. Bit closer to a porter in the nose.

T- Bread with walnuts. Very smooth. Nice warm malts and a decent hop balance. Sort of a buttery taste towards the end.

M- A bit watery for my taste, and the carbonation doesn't do it for me.

D- Very drinkable, smooth and easy.

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Photo of jthor018
4.4/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This was one of the first beers I legally bought and one that I always go back to. Pouring it reminds me of pouring a Pepsi into a cup; dark with a nice foamy head that goes away quickly. My smelling might suck but I get a molasses smell for this beer but not the taste. Not a heavy beer and easily drinkable. Probably too drinkable as it has caught up on me a few times and put me on my ass since I wasn't paying attention because of the 5% abv. This is the hardest beer for me to keep around the house because anyone who tries it loves it.

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Photo of Fladder
4.31/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Dark reddish brown, still transparent and quite clear. Didn't pour with much head.

Very prominent spice character that I would expect only in doppelbocks, but it swells out of the glass into a strong vapor like few other beers. Really sucks me into the drink.

The strong spice of the smell initially drives itself like a dull spike into the center of the tongue and spreads out with a dry, rough hay-like flavor. There are hints of salmiakki and a good backbone of bitterness. I like it.

This beer is dry and a bit heavy and sticky. It feels a bit heavy by the end of the pint, but it sits well in the stomach.

This beer takes a doppelbock as its base and adds the complexity of an ale and extra bitterness. I've had this beer a few times, with many months in between tastings, and each time I've come to the conclusion that this is one of the essential beers that everyone must try.

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

Hobgoblin is a typical English ale, full of nice color, a decent head, a nice hoppy taste and a taste of barley o finish. This is not a heavy beer by any means, but well worth the price. Definitely a good beer, for beginners or experts of English Ales.

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

Poured from 500mL bottle into 16oz Samuel Adams Perfect Pint Glass.

Appearance: Light cola color with a fairly large, quickly dissipating slightly brown head that leaves behind spotty lace as it dissipates.

Smell: Smells strongly of sweet grains and caramel, with an odd grassy hint as well.

Taste: Begins with sweet caramel flavor, finishing with more sweetness and a bit of a pilsner-esque grassiness which is a bit out of place.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with heavy carbonation and a watery finish.

Drinkability: This beer really is not all that impressive, and I suspect it maybe lost something during the cross-Atlantic trip, as it has odd grassy notes which seem really out of place for the style. Still, this isn't a bad brew overall and I'd be happy to at least try it again, especially if I know it's fresh.

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Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
3.71 out of 5 based on 2,604 ratings.
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