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 AgentMunky
3.33/5  rDev -11.4%
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 -4.8%
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 +3.5%
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 -3.5%
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 -0.3%
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 +4.5%
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 -5.1%
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 +17%
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 -6.1%
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 +4.3%
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 +8.5%
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 +17%
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 +14.6%
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 +3.2%
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 -6.9%
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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Photo of EwaldEichstaett
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a Hofmühl mug, damn 11.2 bottle only fills it up halfway. But it pours great! LOTS of carbonation, big beige head. A little foamy head even remains for the entire drinking of the beer. So much for lacing :D only complaint is the beer looks a bit light in color.

S: Strong smell of sweet, toasty, fruity malts. Hints of nut as well. The smell is almost reminiscent of brown sugar.

T: Tastes much like the smell. There is also the taste of a ripe/over ripe banana, a little herbal character and a slight bitterness at the end. I noticed a nice spiciness lingering in my mouth for minutes after the last sip.

M: Nice carbonation and body, but it leaves your mouth feeling really dry at the end.

D: Good beer, a bit spendy for what you get-- at least in MN. I was pleasantly surprised by the beer's carbonation as brown ales tend to be flat in my experience.

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

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear but slightly dark burnt copper color. 2 1/2 fingers of off white creamy head that gives way to spotted lacing.

S: Sweet, light malts with a touch of fruit - maybe bruised bananas. Some nuttiness here as well.

T: Taste like it smells, with the fruits and sweetness leading. Brown sugar, a hint of banana, and a very faint bitter kick. Very mild.

M: Creamy and smooth. Medium body and moderate carbonation.

D: Fairly sweet to be very drinkable, although this one went quick in my glass. Nothing remarkable, but seems solid for the style.

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Photo of wolfinthemirror
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours darker, with reddish brown tint, looks very similar to some kind of cola like Pepsi or Coke. Nice half an inch worth of head that dissipates fairly quickly.

Smells of toasted malts and almonds...a nutty smell and some alcohol.

taste is very sweet and malty with an almost medicinal finish of tannins. Somewhat odd tasting beer compared to what im used to, though this is the first i've had of the style.

the mouthfeel is on the lighter side, as well as the carbonation. there. Fairly smooth drinking

Very easy drinking beer, i could easily have a couple of these. I was excited to try this beer and i think overall i'm pretty impressed yet surprised. I wasn't expecting it to be so sweet.

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Photo of sixerofelixir
3.42/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

16.9 oz brown bottle.

Pours a pleasant dark-tea, see-through brown. Patchy tan head. Smell is very nice, toffee and floral hues. Taste starts off with some mineral and melds into grassy bitterness. Some very mellow burnt-toffee malts come into play, as well as a touch of "dark fruit" - fig or dates. Finishes dry. Beer is actively carbonated, no complaints on that front. Drinks OK, but overall it's too bitter with not enough flavor to satisfy.

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

A light brown ale in a clear glass bottle. Doesn't seem to carbonated.

Sweet tasting, no hop presence. This is what I think of when I hear the term session beer, not the lower than ___ % specific blah blah blah. Just something that you drink and just carries on at times. Caramel and a little chocolate on the nose. Nuts. Seemed a little pricier for something this bland. It barely had nuances.

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Photo of PintOHops
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Glass - Snifter

A - Ruby red color with a 1-finger head, it's quite soapy looking and it dissipated pretty fast. A bit hazy, it left a bit of spotty splashing on the glass.

S - There's a big grassy hop note that's dominate, I even get a bit of alcohol. Soft toffee & biscuit underneath the hops. A bit of grape & date fruit in there as well.

T - I get mildly herbal hop flavors upfront, a bit grassy as it unfolds into mild grain with a touch of biscuit. Soft caramel & honey flavors, almost faint cocoa powder along with some plum towards the finish. It finishes with an herbal/citrus hop flavor with mild bitterness.

M - A bit smooth with soft crispness. It's pretty thin overall, lite bodied. I would have like more body to it.

D - It's pretty good, the body makes it easy to toss back more than a few. I was really digging for those malts, and I just didn't get it. I wanted deep toffee/buttery/caramel flavors and this one just didn't have it. I'd pass for something else in the future.

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Photo of JosiahS
4.04/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Glass: Snifter

a: Very dark copper with shades of red. Head is nearing white in color, it gave off about one finger but settles with a large soapy ring atop the beer. Spotty lacing is left.

s: First smell was very mild, it gave off grassy hops for the most part. Second whiff revealed lots of toasted malts, butter, whole wheat bread, cracker, caramel and raisins.

t: Muted grassy hops throughout. Starts out with caramel malt and works it's way to dark sugary fruit, like dates. Finishes with more dark fruit, toasted bread and light nuts(butter). Hops ultimately finish things off, slightly stronger and lend a touch of bitterness

m: Light to medium mouthfeel and CO2 is in the medium range, there is definitely a bite to it.

d: Lots of malt flavors on a lower scale then an American brown ale make the drinkability high. Great beer.

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Photo of flipper2gv
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Brownish ruby red color with tan head that has a good retention. The head looks very creamy and there is some lacing going on.

S: Very good level of nuts in the smell and a ton of buttery esters. Also, good level of grassy and floral hops and maple syrup/caramel/toffee/molasses. Biscuit/tart like malts are in this. Earthy smell for sure.

T: More of the same. Pretty much dominated by the nutty tastes and the butter. Good biscuit malts and tartness as well as a nice malty sweetness composed of maple syrup/caramel/toffee and molasses. Cuts at the end with some nice grassy and floral hops.

M: Medium body with medium carbonation. Very reminiscent of and ESB here with its creaminess.

D: Very high. It's a quality session beer for sure. Typical English feel.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 500mL bottle into a pint glass. Mine is in a brown bottle, so apparently they switched from clear at some point.

Appearance: rich brown color with a clear body and a thick finger of compact ivory head. A perfectly reasonable brown ale.

Smell: rich malty aroma with a caramel character and just a touch of biscuit. While the composition is nice, I find the intensity just a bit lacking.

Taste: malt straddles the line between sweet and dry; plenty of caramel character is present here, whereas the biscuit seems to have subsided entirely. Hops are mild and earthy and provide a nice balancing bitterness at the end. Quite tasty.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a decent level of carbonation. Not bad.

Drinkability: actually, quite drinkable. I'd be glad to quaff a few of these down the pub sometime.

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Photo of beerhan
3.96/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Whether it be just for the amazing looking tap or the crispness of the refreshing beverage on a hot summer day it is a necessity to knock this one off your list of beers to try. Hobgoblin is a very easy going down brown ale that is a perfect session beer. Not a very complex beer but has a great taste to it.

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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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