Hobgoblin | Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

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2,661 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: 2,661 |  Reviews: 1,105
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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Photo of VolcomBrewer
4.8/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have heard only good about this ale, and being an English-loving ale drinker myself, I needed to try it. So I went ahead and picked up some pint bottles.

A: Pours a ruby hued brown. Creamy tan head that lasts and lasts. Laces very, very nicely.

S: Smells of sweet malts, toffee, and nice floral hops fill my nose. I'm very excited for the first drink.

T: My mouth is filled with joy. Sweet toffee-like flavors with some fruitiness and hop bitterness which isn't too bitter. It flows oh so well throughout my palate. Finishes with a complex mix of sweet and bitter that slowly fades into a dry finish, leaving you wanting more.

M: Smooth, Creamy, light carbonation. Along with the lasting flavors of sweet and bitter, it feels like heaven in your mouth.

D: Smooth and easy to drink. Perfect beer with dinner, Cigar and session afterwords. I could drink these to the end of time and never get disappointed.

This honestly has to be my favorite of English beers thus far...and top 5 overall for sure!

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

A poured with a reddish brown coloring. nice, long lasting lacing and slightly brown/tan creamy head.

S a sweet malt smell with hints of toffee and coffee.

T coffee taste, malty, some nuttiness in the aftertaste, slight hop bitterness, and very slight alcohol drying in the aftertaste.

M the mouthfeel is very nice for a session beer. it's low carbonation allows the hobgoblin to surround the palate. medium bodied with a creamy/buttery feel to it on the tongue. slight bitterness on the back of the tongue.

Overall a nice version of a brown ale.

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Photo of chase2634
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 16.9 oz dark brown English looking bottle with no freshness printed. Very cool looking label.

Appearance: Deep reddish copper/almost cola like.

Smell: Chocolate/coffee with hints of sweet malt and a faint buttery aroma within.

Taste: Nice and smooth with a fullish body. Malt sweetness is dominant with some mild chocolate/nut flavor and a hint of hop bitterness. A light buttery yeast finish.

Notes: A tasty and full bodied brown ale. I would like to have more on hand. Very easy drinker.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of mcdevster
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

hobgoblin is a nice sweet brown ale with a lot of character..
it pours a dark amber with a small head that doens't last too long.. it has a nice sweet malty smell.. the taste is of a fairly typical brown ale with maybe a hint of liquorice mixed with fruity malt and a kind of crisp finish (almost bitter on the back of the tongue maybe a little hops here)..
the mouthfeel and drinkability are fairly high maybe not as easy to drink as other brown ales but very tasty. I am a big fan of english brown ales so it is hard to give a fair review but I will say that this very good.. not quite on par with samuel smith's nut brown ale in drinkability.. but the flavor has a nice complexity that is very approachable..

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Photo of bump8628
3.63/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Light brown with an initial inch of head that fades to a soft ring.

Bready maltiness mixes with caramel and toffee and a very faint hint of dry coffee. Hops lend a spicy flavor, but not much bitterness. Gentle fruitiness rounds it off into a drying finish.

A nice English Brown. It definitely leans towards the dark caramel malts and steers clear of the heavily roasted ones. Balanced, and surprisingly light and refreshing. The best of the Wychwood lineup, but the bottled version we get in the US pales in comparison to the stuff on cask near the source.

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Photo of konadrinker
4.38/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into a pint glass

A- Poured a dark brownwith a small tan head and some lacing.

S- Malty sweetness and toffee with a light hop aroma.

T- Thick malt flavor with toffee, very smooth flavors.

M - Full and creamy with a lingering flavor with very little carbonation.

D- Smooth and easy drinker. A nice brown ale that would go well with a good steak or prime rib.

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Photo of dtivp
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer of the Month club selection.
Poured a dark reddish brown , foaming head with some lacing.
Sweet malt aroma with nutty caramel.
Taste may be more toffee than caramel with the nuttiness, malt and some hop notes come out as it warms.
Medium body with very little carbonation.
This is a nice brown ale very drinkable and wi;; probably enjoy the remaining bottles with a nice steak.

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

6-9-10 - poured into a Samuel Smith pint glass - 11.2 fl.oz. / 330 ml. capped bottle

Appearance: Pours brown with amber highlights. This beer is foamy with a thick, tan head and good lacing.

Smell: Aroma carries caramel, butterscotch, toffee, raisins and nuts to the nose.

Taste: Sweet malt with a nutty flavor is present. Toffee, caramel, and butterscotch reappear in the taste as well. The malt sweetness is perfectly balanced by the light, bitter hops.

Mouthfeel: Low to moderate carbonation. The feel is smooth and creamy over the palate.

Drinkability: A really nice session beer that possesses a rich complexity as it warms.

Comments: A beer of the month club selection and a standard within the English Brown Ale style.

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Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
Beer rating: 3.76 out of 5 with 2,661 ratings