Hobgoblin | Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

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2,648 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: 2,648 |  Reviews: 1,099
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.01/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This beer is great but why the clear glass bottles? Ive had several of them and some have definitely been lightstruck and skunky.
The color is dark copper. The head is off white with great retention and a spiderweb of lacing sticks around. The smell is fruity malty nutty and nicely bitter, with hints of diacytl. Taste is a little hoppy up front with a nice firm bready malt base. There are also great fruit esthers and even perhaps some port notes. The finish is quenching and quite dry.
the delicate carbonation makes for a very lucious mouthfeel. The flavors are very well balanced and not too intense in any direction making for a highly drinkable ale.

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Photo of chriscolby
2.85/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I bought a six pack of dark brown, 12 oz. (355 mL) bottles.

The beer pours a clear amber with a "one-finger" head. It smells sweet with almost no hop aroma or malty tones except for a hint of dark grains (I'm guessing chocolate malt, but am not certain by any stretch). Flavor is sweet with light hop bitterness; mouthfeel is disappointingly watery when cold but improves greatly when it warms to proper ale-serving temp.

There's nothing in this beer that stands out as substandard -- but it really doesn't show any character that stands out as better than average, either. A solid, if uninspiring, English-style ale that would make a decent session beer.

Be sure not to serve this ale ice cold; let it warm to proper serving temperature (around 50-55 °F) or it will just taste like alcoholic iced tea.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.32/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a red/brown colored beer with a nice head with usual british ale retention, i.e. not much. Carbonation is below standard and aroma is great with a mix of orange and caramel. Taste is quite refreshing with again a nice mix of sweet orange and caramel. The finish is quite dry. Overall, I would qualify this one as a good but not great English ale.

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Photo of maek228
3.3/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer was a dollar more than most quality six packs, so I'm expecting it to be in the upper tier. That being said, let's crack the bottle and try to find if this beer is upper tier or not.

Appearance- A dark brown. If I had to expand on that I'd have to say it had an amber tint to it.

Taste- Big-ass spectrum of taste from the Hobgoblin. Comes on real real sweet at first, with some coffee overtones. Kinda like weak coffee w/ a healty dose of sugar injected into it. From here there is a smooth transition to some light hops that somehow manages to slap a bitter taste in your mouth. After this, your mouth feels like it's coated with a oily lubricant. You feel like you ate a bag of fat free Olestra potatoe chips.

Mouthfeel- The initial taste burst is nice, so is the hop kick....but I'm not to sure about the bitterness, doesn't fit the beer. A big negative for this beer is the nasty Olestra coating that is left in your mouth.

Drinkability. The beer is tasty, but it leaves your mouth feeling funky. Not a beer I would want to drink more than a couple of at a time. Still though, it had a nice complicated taste, but it's finish left me unsatifisfied.

My recomendation for this one....worth trying for sure, but not worth $9.95 for a sixer

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

The appearance is a dark tea-like color with hints of amber and wearing a nice frothy cream-colored hat. The smell is slightly twangy malt and grain with mild hops in the background. The taste is a malty smoothness with earthy grains and light hops that make this beer go down relatively easy. This is a medium bodied beer that finishes a tad sweet. Fairly solid brew! Cheers!

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Photo of Doiv
4.07/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark ruby in colour, with a quickly dispersing white head leaving a thin film for the remainder of the pint. Lacing is good.

Aroma is musty, coffee/chocolatey, malty and a moderate amount of hoppiness. Slight pineapple scent aswell.

Taste is ashy, stouty, caramel and toffee, chocolate, and hoppy. Very smooth and heavy, goes down a treat.

Would be tough to have more than three in a session, but great nonetheless.

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Photo of kbub6f
3.63/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

There's 1cm of light, beige, fine, dense, bubbly head. Spotty lacing. Clear, dark, dark, red-brown beer. Smell is nutty, a little smoky and shows some dark fruit. A fruity front. What is that: berries? grapes? Dark caramel, burnt middle. It's a little sour and a little watery at the same time. Quite bitter in the nutty finish. This is a nice enough, fruity, roasty brown.

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Photo of ark57
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a ruby-brown color. The aroma has some chocolate and subtle hops. The medium body is smooth and malty with chocolate, caramel, and a nuttiness. It finishes with some citrus and floral/grassy hops. It almost reminds me of an English Pale Ale.

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Photo of ADR
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An oddly shaped embossed clear bottle. Dark brown and clearish, deep orange highlights. Head settles at 1/4 of an inch and is lightly speckly. Thick concentric rings mark the lace on the glass. Dusty carob-like smell, rich in quality. Lighter body but very smooth in presentation, front-to-back. Pleasant, lightly cocoa flavor, honeyish, tending toward the sweet. The balance is actually quite good -- English floral-like hops do have a role mediating the finish. Aftertaste is nutty with a light sense of peach. A quaffable Ale here, I'd buy it again.

Source: Liquid Solutions

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Photo of WaltTrombone
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of my Valentine's present was a Hobgoblin Gift Set, with 2 bottles and a Hobgoblin Imperial Pint. Of course, I had to drink it from the glass...

It poured dark amber, with a fluffy off-white head. Aromas of grapefruit, malt, faint chocolate. Tastes were chocolate, malt, maple (where'd THAT come from?), and grapefruit. A smooth, thin mouthfeel kept things extremely drinkable. It finished dry, with grapefruit and leather.

Very tasty, one of my favorite brown ales! (so far...)

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Photo of SaunaKing
2.29/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

not too keen on this stuff... decent copper appearence with minimal head. Smell is very sharp, not really my thing.

A thin watery taste is not what you expect from a beer that looks like this but that is what you get. Flat, dull, sterile nothing taste.

Could be that the style does not suit me but I really dont like this beer.

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

Dark brown with a smallish head.

Aroma is full of chocolate and coffee with an additional hint of sweetness.

Nice full body, very smooth, like liquid silk. Lots of sweetness at the start, but nut and slight chocolate flavors begin to show later. Slight bitterness as well.

A nice brown ale that's worth a try.

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Photo of SeanChouffe
4.3/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Clear 500ml bottle. Cool label and bottle cap.
Pours a deep brown /red color with light carbonation and an off-white creamy head. The head diminishes, but leaves a fine layer and some sticky lace. The aroma is of malt, light hops and is a little tart (astringent). The taste has a light sweetness in the start, a citrusy middle and a mild hop finish with some smokiness lingering. The mouthfeel is light and creamy with a little carbonation and a lingering hop (astringent) bite. This beer was better than expected, and just got better.

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Photo of merlin48
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1 pint.02oz bottle with cool Hobgoblin label. Pours a red mahogany that is very clear in the glass. Small, beige head quickly fades into slick and collar lace. Aroma is caramel with a hint of floral hops. Mouthfeel is well carbonated, but very light bodied. Taste begins with active carbonation, leading into tart fruitiness. Toffee and malt flavors then take over. Some hops add some light floral and fruity notes, and the finish is dry and mildly bitter. A very average offering, overall, and seems lacking in body. Feels watered down, at times, and seems like something is missing. It's a very smooth ale that is quite drinkable, but just doesn't have enough character to make me want to have another one.

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Photo of Beersignal
3.35/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark hazelnut accented by ruby and caramel highlights, this beer poured crystal clear. Sandy tan head had medium staying power and left a trace of irish lace on my glass. At first smell, malty and slightly hoppy... but suddenly! Bananas, and other fruits laced with rum. Like a tropical fruit salad spiked with spiced rum. Carbonation was too light (my fault I think... kept swirling my glass to stimulate the release of that wonderful smell) and felt weak on the tongue. Medium bodied and initially silky mouthfeel gave way to a mild mineral grittyness. Taste was malty up front but quickly balanced by a firm bitterness accompanied by citric flavours in the middle and end. Drying resiny finish leaves a long after taste.

Pleasing beer with some of the signatures of the style which I will most likely purchase again one day if only to reaquaing myself with those hypnotizing aromas.

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Photo of SheepNutz
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Half-a-liter bottle poured into a Hobgoblin pint glass. It pours a very dark ruby red color with two fingers of foam. There is a good amount of lace left over. The smell is fairly grassy and malty, it really smells like an oktoberfestbier. There is a little hop aroma present as well. The taste full of sweet malt and caramel at first, then it is a little grassy in the middle. The finish is slightly sweet, but has a zing of hops as well. Fairly well balanced. The mouthfeel is just a little light, but very smooth on the tongue. The drinkability is fantastic. A few pints of this wouldn't be a problem at all.

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Photo of TripelJ
3.76/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Now Quaffing: Wychwood Hobgoblin

Pours a deep translucent mahogany, with a medium-sized fluffy white head. The head recedes with nice lacing to form a creamy ring around the top that enhances the mouthfeel of each sip. Aroma is of sweet malts and faint hops with a little mustiness (says chocolate on the bottle, but I'm just getting sweet.) Taste is sweet at first with some roasted malts, followed by a vinous, semi-dry finish. Mouthfeel is smooth and nearly full bodied. This could definitely qualify as a session ale, with high flavor and a moderately low ABV. Overall, I had high expectations for this beer and they were definitely met.

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Photo of Mangus
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a ruby coppper color with a thin white head.

Smells of skunky malt overtones with a hint of raosted caramel.

Malty smooth taste ends with a slight dry hoppy bitterness and leaves a pleasant afterthought of raosted malts and caramel. Nice ale. I'd have this with a nice duck dinner.

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Photo of Mitchster
2.12/5  rDev -43.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Brown bottle. Pours out to a very clear beautiful mahogany, forming a pretty sad head with ok retention and minimal lacing. Carbonation is very mild to absent. Aroma is pretty typical for English Brown ale...amber malts without any raisins or prunes, dank garage, some perfumish hops, kinda like Drakkar Noir and TPN. Mouthfeel is very wet and pretty mild with an aftertaste of fusel alcohol. Taste like any other brown ale...not being a fan of many of them. There is a soapiness in the finish. Medium body.

Flat and boring. This beer sucks.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
2.94/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12 fluid ounce (355ml) brown glass bottle. No freshness, best before date or strength – nothing except a smug looking big eared Hobgoblin on the label actually.

Appearance: Big 12 ounce dunk into my 20 fluid ounce Beer Mug forms an expansive cream colored head that is thick and smooth. Lots of lacing but minimal levels of dissolved carbonation.

Nose: Toasted malts with a “dank” fruitiness. It smells kind of funky at times and somewhat off-putting I have to say.

Taste: Sweet toasted malts again, sometimes with a light roasted feel. Minimal hop character but there is some bitterness in the back end. A pretty simple beer all round but with a decent taste profile nonetheless.

Mouthfeel: Moderate body with a nice malt dimension that lends some backbone to an otherwise very average mouthfeel.

Drinkability: I didn’t have any real problems drinking this one down, but it wasn’t exactly a quaffing beer. It is thin and rather one-dimensional at times.

Overall: I have to be brutally honest and say that I am not a big fan of Wychwood Brewery, their beers, or Pubs – but this is not that bad an offering, in fact it tasted better than what I remember of this offering on Cask. But it is still nothing better than average and will remain a one-off sampling.

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Photo of Shiredave
3.62/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great chocolate brown color and firm, jiggly tan head of rocky foam. Head slumps but leaves a boiled sugar lace behind.
Aroma is dead skunk. When will they stop using clear bottles for Gods sake? Some toffee and coco notes fight thru.
Classic brown ale flavors with a nice nuttiness and solid, earthy hop flavor and lingering bitter. Some mocha capuccino flavors mix with w/ grassy dryness. Medium in body, somewhat tinny tingle on the tongue.
Certainly more flavorfull and satisfying that a New Castle. More roasty, and hearty, less caramel character. Much better on tap.

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Photo of Gusler
3.55/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer pours from the bottle a transpicuous deep mahogany color with the head majestic in size, creamy in texture and a beauteous light tan in color, as it ever so slowly fades away a silky sheet of lace forms to cover the glass. Nose is sweet malt dominated, fresh and inviting to the senses; start is also malt rich and sweet with the top light to medium in feel. Finish is meek in its acidity with the hops delicate in their spiciness, very dry and slightly tart aftertaste, a good representative to the style.

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Photo of goindownsouth
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Quite good, overall. This brew had been staring me in the face for weeks at one of my local haunts, JP O'Malley's. It poured out of the tap a deep, dark, and rich color, worthy of a second glance. The head was respectable, and laced away nicely. The flavor was intriguing, something sweet and malty, but I could not place a finger on the specific notes I was getting. This one is a must-try.

Zum wohl!

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Photo of frank4sail
2.7/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Deep dark red color with not a big head on the pour, just pale/white bubbles. Not much retention but lots of bubble action in the glass. Lively larger bubbles. slightly fruity and abv warmth in the nose. Fruity initial taste followed quickly by a sharp straw like bitter bite. The mouth is smooth upfront followed by a dry tongued finish. This beer just does not float my boat... That strangly bitter/sour (skunk)finish seemed off... maybe a bad bottle.. it is clear glass....?

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Photo of hotstuff
2.49/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

The appearance is a medium sized tan rocky head with fine-small sized bubbles. It has an opaque body with no carbonation observed and the hue is reddish. The nose is skunky and the flavor consists of malt and hops with an aftertaste observed. The mouthfeel is tingly, smooth, thin, watery and light bodied. This beer has good lacing to it.

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Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
Beer rating: 3.76 out of 5 with 2,648 ratings