Hobgoblin | Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

2,591 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: 2,591 |  Reviews: 1,082
Photo of Pantalones
3.84/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

My last bottle of this one from the four-pack I unexpectedly stumbled across a while back. Best-by date is July 28th, 2017.

This is definitely a nice-looking beer (not to mention the nice-looking bottle -- interesting shape, little added details in the glass itself, and of course some neat art and labeling.) It's a deep dark red-brown color, light enough that you can tell how clear it is at a glance without needing a light but dark enough that it's tough to see the bubbles rising up without one. The bubbles are tiny and swirl up in several rows. Nice fluffy layer of off-white foam on top, too, and it doesn't seem to be shrinking much.

Smell is pretty nice as well. I'm noticing a caramel-like thing, some dark bread, and something else I'm not quite sure how to describe -- sort of a blend of sweet, buttery, and a tiny bit sour? It's an interesting smell, I've noticed something similar in several English beers I've had so I wonder if it's related to a yeast or malt that's commonly used in the English ales. Maybe a bit of an odd mineral thing going on in there, but generally the other smells overpower it.

Flavor is similar to the smell, but with that really nice dark bread (reminding me a lot of bread crust, to be specific) coming out really strong rather than being swallowed up in the caramel like it was in the smell. Also definitely some earthy, almost vaguely spicy-ish hops blending in with that and lingering for a bit at the end. The caramel-like and buttery sorts of things from the smell are present but dialed back a bit, with that nice toasty dark bread coming out the strongest for sure.

Feel is nice as well -- definitely lends itself to drinking through the glass pretty quickly, as I found out by drinking a third of this one in a single "sip" before I had even started writing the non-appearance-related elements of this review! XD It's light enough to drink quickly but also has a nice smooth substantial feel to it -- I guess "creamy" kinda works, though once the foam on top fades I want to say it feels slightly thinner than that implies. Still nice, but it'd be better if the initial creaminess held on a bit longer (or perhaps if I drank two in the time it would normally take to drink one, so it never has time to thin out in the first place?)

Overall, I am really enjoying this one tonight, more so than the previous two bottles for sure. It may have helped that I let this one hang around outside the fridge for a bit first -- I know English ales are not intended to be drank at super cold temperatures. It does seem like the nice bread-crust malt flavor is coming out A LOT better at this temperature than it did in the bottles I had right out of the fridge. I'm not sure what it is, but these English bitters seem to always be beers that I like well enough at first, but end up REALLY liking after I've had the experience of drinking several of them rather than just one glass. I guess that makes sense when you think about it -- these styles were originally intended as "drink a few pints in a row" pub beers, after all!

 3,084 characters

Photo of tottel
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Simon212
3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of yaron73
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of sokol_1993
3.98/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Benjolovesbeer
4.2/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of pcbnumber1
3.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of GlendonTT
4.08/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Dewsby
3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of joaopmgoncalves
3.42/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of JoLight
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Clear brown color with a finger-width frothy, khaki head that leaves nice lacing.

Toasted malt; metallic; banana bread; molasses. Something smells off....

Toasted grain; bread crust; paperiness; slight sour tang; some noticeable earthy hop bitterness. I think the flavor is a little bland.

Mouthfeel/finish: medium, not really carbonated; finishes semi-wet. Good for the style, but I don't care for the mouthfeel.

This is a highly unusual beer that had some neat attributes but is nonetheless bland and not so great. I suppose it's a good, solid beer for the style, but I don't care for this particular beer on its own: it has an unusual, unpleasant richness in the aroma (not the Aroma notes per se, but something that I cannot put my finger on) that is somehow met with a unsatisfactory blandness. I would not buy this again, but I recommend giving it a try.

 868 characters

3.43/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of KitoUY
3.62/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Red5StandingBy
3.41/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of ScottMcPherson96
4.46/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of staubot
4.24/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of chimaymandy
3.08/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

first time trying this beer I hoped for it to be a bit darker and a bit heavier but it's not too bad I will finish the bottle that I have and will probably not buy another

 171 characters

Photo of ArchimedesSox
4.04/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A dark reddish brown, 1 inch off white head, great lacing down the glass

S: Sweet malts, cherries, caramel

T: Sweet bready malts up front, a little of that cherry as the air hits your throat, sweet aftertaste

M: Medium, velvety smooth

O: I really like this beer. Sweet taste and smell, you can tell the quality is there.

 334 characters

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

Photo of CultOfKings
3.98/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle poured into a chalice, pours a nice brown, borderline copper, colour. A head of about 2 fingers on top that dispersed into a nice cap with great lingering lace. Moderate carbonation that brings forth a nice smell of chocolate and black currant with a hint of coffee, but a nice malt sweetness to balance out the strong flavors. One of the smoothest beers I have ever had with the perfect amount of carbonation to finish off the body. Minor hops bitterness with some tastes of dark chocolate and malt. A buttery like quality appears on the finish. A very well balanced brown ale that I will definitely throw on the bookshelf where I keep my D&D collection.

 668 characters

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

Photo of Boo-urns
4.15/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of TyrionBeernister
4.63/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of imfinished
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
3.71 out of 5 based on 2,591 ratings.
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