Hobgoblin | Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

2,605 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: 2,605 |  Reviews: 1,085
Photo of ktrillionaire
3.09/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer is highly overrated in the bar scene.

A - Nice color, a deep translucent chestnut brown.

S - It smells vaguely of brown rice syrup or a bit cidery minus the apples.

T - Has a mellow bitterness that is highlighted along with a perfume-y floral finish that I am not a fan of.

M - Feel is thin with lesser carbonation and a dry finish that is parching.

D - Its okay, but not outstanding.

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Photo of Duxx
3.6/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Dark brown with just a hint of red. Head was beige and 1 finger high.

S: Minimal hop aroma. Marked English yeast with sweet notes.

T: No hop bite. Malty and toffee flavor.

M: Medium mouthfeel and carbonation.

D: I could drink several of these but given the price, probably not.

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Photo of Gump
2.86/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From a gift set, including a tall glass and 17oz brown bottle.
A reddish pour with quality head.
The aroma is totally english yeast. Like a sharp cheese.
Very little hops.
Mostly a smooth drinking beer with roasted carmel malt flavors, but a little watered-down.
Pale finish.

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Photo of cooncat
3.51/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received this one directly from 'across the pond' as a Christmas present from my friend in the UK. Cheers, Graham!

Taken from the fridge, and poured into a 20 oz. tankard, (had to have room for this 16 oz. bottle), I get a beer that doesn't know if its a brown or red ale. Holding up to the light, its definitely red, but if just looking at it, it could almost pass as a brown. Light ecru head which diminishes quickly, and leaves some splotchy lacing.

Nose is very light ... not much in the way of hops, but a light caramel sweetness comes through.

Taste is pretty balanced between caramel malty sweetness, and a light hop note, of Brit character ... thinking Fuggles. Mouthfeel is medium. Drinkability is pretty fair .. this is definitely in the session beer strength arena. The finish is on the dry side.

I'll be honest. This isn't going to 'knock your socks off'. Best I can say is that its an easy drinker, and a passible session brew. If you're looking for complexity .. keep looking. Nevertheless, an enjoyable brew, which you could easily quaff with other blokes.

Na Zdravje!

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.45/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep ruby brown, with great clarity just like the bottle promises. Initially, it looks like no head is forming, but after a slight pause, a whole bunch of tiny bubbles coalesce out of the body, leaving a frothy light beige layer on the top. Good lacing. Not a lot of carbonation, but the bubbling that does exist is exceptionally fine. Looks very nice.

A little malty sweetness on the nose, with a hint of dried banana, and a slight port character. A light metallic phenol character is also present, which ensures the nose isn't overly sweet overall. It's quite light, but it's a very nice English ale nose.

Taste is initially smooth, but with a crescendo of darker grain notes and a zing of metallic bitterness. Finish is quite phenolic, as though the natural grain and hop notes have been replaced by something artificial. I visualise it as though what starts in a verdant forest slowly morphs into an industrial city of steampunk pipes. Lacks sweetness and smoothness on the rest of the palate. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, although the latent carbonation becomes noticeable here.

Not bad, overall, but the most important element is disappointing - the harshness on the back is quite disconcerting, and while it stays pretty drinkable, it's not something I'll seek out with alacrity.

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Photo of NicholasSchell
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark, dark copper, light tan 2 finger head hangs around for a while, lace sticking as it settles, medium carbonation.

S- Malt, Coffee, Toffee, hops don't stand out too much.

T- Again the malt stands out, slight bitterness reminds me of baker's chocolate, coffee, a bit sweet.

M- Smooth, slightly creamy, full bodied, medium carbonation.

D- With only 5.2% ABV and a pretty good beer overall, a few of these and I would be happy.

Note: bottle was brown, unlike example pic.

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Photo of jadpsu
4.18/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16.09 ounce bottle. Pours dark brown, with a tan head that has very good retention and side lacing. Excellent appearance.
Smell has stronger malts but there is some hoppiness in the background. Malts are noted by sents of coffee, breads and Chocolate.
Same things show up in the taste, aided by some sweet buttery notes and a hint of vanilla.
Smooth, medium body with light to medium carbination.

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Photo of jamiesessions
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown colour and a head that quickly goes away and leaves little lacing. Smells of fruit and nuts, but nothing too pronounced, the nose is present, but not prevelant. Toffee and fruit is noticeable in the taste, and while it's not mind blowing, it is certainly a pleasant taste. It feels good on the palate, and goes down quite easily. Overall, this is not a life-changer, but is a nice little treat that you might not write home about, but you most certainly won't regret.

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Photo of roddwolff
4.47/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed watching the final of the Champions League 27 may 2009;

A: Very dull brown, the foam layer is thin, the irish goblin of the logo looks like Leprechaun;

S: Fruity, lots of prunes, malt with nutty essence and some spicy hops;

T: Exceptional, dark fruit too, but now figs, raisins and cranberries, combined with malt, molasses and biscuits;

M: Sweet, medium bitterness and medium body;

D: Leprechaun makes excellent beer!.

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Photo of brewdoc75
3.26/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up as part of a gift set.

A: Dark brown with ruby and mahogany hues. Nice white head sits atop the slender, tall Hobgoblin glass. Some yeast suspended.

S: Not a ton going on. Get some tootsie roll chocolate aroma followed by a faint grassy/earthiness from the hops. Otherwise not a whole lot.

T: Some caramel, some chocolate. Very faint nuttiness and maybe some biscut. I get a slight citrus component from the hops, which end a bit "green." The most pleasant component is a tobacco like flavor. Nothing is really bad in the flavor department, it is just not "wowing" me.

M: Light bodied. Crisp, clean and very sessionable body.

D: An average brown ale. Not my first choice. It isn't bad, but definitely isn't the best I've had. The light body and mildness makes it very sessionable however. I'll give it another try sometime.

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Photo of wahhmaster
3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 500 mL bottle into a Guinness-branded tulip pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark reddish-brown color. The head is tight and foamy and dissipates quickly leaving copious lacing on the glass.

Smell: Slightly fruity with a little bit of nuttiness as well. Backed by a kind of sweet malty smell.

Taste: Kind of nutty up front and finishes sweet, malty, and fruity. Has a slight metallic taste to it, unfortunately.

Mouthfeel: A little thin but still crisp and refreshing.

Drinkability: A decent brown ale. I've certainly had better and, for the price, I'm not sure this one stacks up. Still, not bad and certainly worth a try.

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Photo of EarlNuce
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark reddish ale with an average head. Few bubbles to be seen.

S: Smells lovely. Bready and malty, hints of fruits.

T: As it smells: a malty ale with hints of fruits and chocolate.

M: Powerful flavours to start tingle the taste buds, the beer then goes down smooth.

D: Very easy to drink this. Not an overpowering beer but still packs a punch with its flavour.

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Photo of ATPete
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brown 500ml bottle

Im pretty sure this bottle is about a year old give or take having picked it up in January or so and since forgot about it. Pours a warm chestnut brown color, transparent with a medium sized large bubbled and frothy light brown head. Candy sweet malts, some gingerbread and a nutty aroma in the nose. Super creamy body, fine carbonation, soft fruity notes, and a mild chocolate cherry cake like sweetness late on the quaff. Malt dominated for sure and believe me no complaints here, this one shines in pure mouthfeel above anything else though, a pleasure to drink.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

picked this up at Quick six on Mt Rose ave in York. Poured chilled from the 11.2oz into a sampler stange

A- A resplendent ruddy copper bordering on bronze w/ a light tan cap of 1/2 inch w/ tiny bead. The clarity, head retention and lace are all excellent

S - The smell is sweet and bready malt nose w/ light fruit ester, biscuit w/ mild apple-like aroma. There are tinges of hops w/ slight woody odors w/ a mild plum note in the background

M - Feel is light, crisp and fruity w/ dry and light toasty maltiness and moderately high carbonation w/ a clean finish

T - The taste has a crisp mild sweet malt essence w/ dried fruit notes. The flavor has a light red pear fruitiness w/ gentle pine and mild hop flavor w/ slight yeast red currant note. There is a mild flavor of biscuit malt that accents the yeast flavor

D - Hobgoblin has a green fruity and refreshing quality, the ale is very good and I am always willing to try this on every now and then. A basic pale ale that is brewed well and is highly quaffable

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Photo of mikeborglum
3.51/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

caramel and choclate aroma, dark brown, minimal head off white color that holds on, clear, medium sweetness, malty, medium body, average carbonation, bitter.

It's a good beer that came highly recommended from my local beer store and I will definetly drink again.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, clear cinnamon brown with a thick and fairly persistent off-white head. Aroma is crisp and malty and just slightly spicy. Flavor is fairly malty with an undertone of molasses and hints of cloves and cinnamon. Texture is quite smooth and pleasant, only slightly fizzy but it does leave a nice tingle and a slightly spicy finish.

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Photo of Baileyuk
4.02/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Amazing head, amazing lacing, continous white coating on top of this beer. Excellent start. Nice light brown color.

S - Sweet malts that after the initial smell die down quite a bit. Very nice at first blah later.

T - Exceptional. Caramelized malts give a sweet, although not overly, taste. Plays very nicely with the malts. Hops are definately present although not the big feature of this beer. One of the best browns I have had.

M/D - Both add to this beer. Medium to full bodied mouthfeel. Not sure how many browns I can drink in one go but it is an easy beer to drink a couple off here and there. Very nicely done

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Photo of Methodd
3.72/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 500mL bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Very nice amber/copper color. Two finger’s width of tan head that slowly settles into a collar. Sparse lacing.

Smell: Lightly roasted malts, toast, brown sugar and raisins.

Taste: Not as much going on here as there was in the aromas. Certainly the roasted malts are here as much as in the smell as is the toast but it seems to end there. I don’t taste the brown sugar and raisins. There is some hop taste here that didn’t come out much in the aroma.

Mouthfeel: Mildly carbonated and medium bodied … almost creamy on the palate.

Drinkability: Pretty smooth, maybe too smooth. I’d like to see more of the aromas present in the taste. I don’t feel that this ale is bitter enough for the style. I hadn’t had Hobgoblin in a few years and the last time I had it I didn’t like it. I decided to try it again and this time it was a lot better (bad bottle perhaps?) All things considered this isn’t too shabby. Are there better things to spend the money on? Certainly! Would I turn my nose up at it if offered? Certainly Not!

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Photo of rfgetz
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper color. Thin khaki lacing, good retention and lacing. Smell is of toasted grains, roasted nuts, crusty bread, solid hop presence. Taste is of toasted and sweetened cereal grains, roasted nuts, hints of carmel and chocolate, dark fruit, doughy and crusty bread. Nice hop presence. Medium bodied, nice carbonation level, no aftertaste. A pleasent suprise. A very good English Brown with just enought extra to set it apart.

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Photo of adamette
3.16/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Winking Lizard in Mentor, Ohio a few hours ago. Review from notes taken at that time. Poured into a 22 oz. "pint" glass as it was happy hour ($1 off!) at a cost of $4.60.

A Really nice creamy light brown head over a rather basic brown body with fair to good lacing left on the glass after repeated sips. 4.0

S Medium roast malt, kind of basic really for the style. 3.0

T Basic English pub brown ale with a high presence of barley grains. I think that this is a below average taste since it is so basic. The beer lacked depth and, as a result, interest for me. 2.5

M Actually nicely smooth, contributing to the beer's drinkability. 4.0

D Good, as I believe is the intention. I drank all 22 oz. without a problem and could have had a few given the right circumstances.

Notes: As I suggested above, this is a kind of basic English pub brown ale but I will say that this is likely the intention of the beer. Although it is basic the beer has a good feel and is quite drinkable.

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Photo of cdkrenz
3.96/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank to BA Buddy JDostal.

A - Dark brown body with an amber hue topped off by a light tan head starting at about an inch before fading rather quickly.

S - The scent of apricots and soap accented by some brown sugar.

T - This is a tasty brew. It has a slightly pungent malt flavor and it hints at a hops.

M - The feel is smooth and watery, yet warm.

~ I has a sort of "winter warmer" to it that really makes this a likeable brew on the cold Wisconsin winter eves.

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Photo of jizdepski
3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured into a standard pint glass. appearance is brown with a puffy, tan colored head. i noticed a fair amount of lacing. head thins out but a layer remains. not much carbonation noticeable to the eye. immediate aromas are of malts, with some earthy tones. smell is ok, not very powerful. taste is more complex than the nose. good hop balance up front with malts, giving way to a nutty, malty middle with a more sweet than bitter finish. nuttiness is the prevailing taste on this one. i did like that it has a good hop presence underneath, so it isn't overly sweet. i'm not super impressed but overall its not bad. mouthfeel is unfortunately on the thinner side of medium bodied with low carbonation. has a thin buttery feel to it that i did like, but it is also a bit watery for me. drinkability is good but i expected a little more body...overall fairly average for an english brown ale, but certainly drinkable.

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

1pt .09 oz single from Arctic Liquors in Steamboat, around $4.

A: brown/red in color, similar to a coke, white head about half an inch thick, fairly airy, not very dense at all, nice rings of lacing all around. not a bad looking beer.

S: has a few malty smells, and slightly mineral, really not much else, maybe slightly metallic? not very aromatic.

T: tastes like a brown ale, slightly nutty, just a whiff of honey, and a little tiny tinge of earthy hop bitterness, all around nothing exciting, but still tasty, can't say I'm a huge fan, but nice nonetheless. a few hints at light roasted coffee, and slightly toasted malt.

M: medium mouthfeel, with light carbonation, pretty slick.

D: easy drinker, definitely a session beer, and one that I would try a few times, not a bad beer, but nothing terribly exciting.

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Photo of drizzam
4.07/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my good friend cdkrenz for this bottle from a brewery that I had never tried. Prost!

A - Poured from the brown bottle into a clear pint glass. The brew is a clear ruby red/amber color with a very slight off white head that dissipated very quickly.

S - Smells malty with a bit of a buttery background. Seems like I'm also getting a bit of dark fruit, fig or raisin.

T & M - Big malt backbone with a decent dose of that dark fruit I smelled in the nose. There is some complexity here though, some little hints of hop and nut peek in from time to time to see what's happening. Tasty. The carbonation in this bottle was pretty low. Medium bodied and creamy.

D - For some reason, this brew is off the hook for drinkability! I'm not sure if it's just the style, or what this is...but this beer is smooth and easy to drink. I could sit and drink a few before wanting to move on to something else. Good job Wychwood, I'm intrigued to see what else you have to offer.

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Photo of Thur123
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color is a deep blood red that's really dark. The head was rather weak, never amounting to more than a finger. The smell is a complex sweet and musky malt smell, with a lighter airy hop smell that's kind of weak, but still somewhat complex.

Glug glug glug

The biggest flavor here is the chocolate malt that also has an amazing roasted bread flavor behind it. The hops bring the flavor to a more balanced and mellow place by the end of the flavor. The hops are present but subdued, but that's no surprise as its English. The flavor (of the hops) would have to be citrusy, and sweetly floral. The texture is a little watery but still thick enough. Overall a pretty tasty pale ale and session worthy, IMO.

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Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
3.71 out of 5 based on 2,605 ratings.
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