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Hobgoblin | Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

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Very Good
2,631 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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 2,631 |  Reviews: 1,094
Photo of drunkenmess
4.28/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of fallenshadow
4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Kurzman
3.4/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of mynie
4.54/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled the bottled version a few times before--once it was badly light-struck, and the other times it just overly smooth and pasteurized.

I was fortunate enough to happen upon a cask of this at the British Beer Company in Danvers, MA. I couldn't pass up a rare chance like that.

And I'm glad I didn't. Suddenly, the plaudits this beer received in the the 90s and early 2000s seem pretty much warranted. This is still an old school ESB that's very British, but it's an excellent example of the style.

The aroma is malty, with complex nodes of toffee, coffee, and chocolate against some tangy old world hops. The flavor follows suit, with a malty beginning, lemony hops on the back end, and a surprisingly firm and pleasant warmth of alcohol on the back end.

Again, this review comes with the big caveat that this was the CASK version. If you ever get a chance to try the beer in its proper form, you shouldn't pass it up.

 930 characters

Photo of Starchaserva
4.65/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

Photo of Kamahl16
3.62/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of SDL1911
4.32/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Robertas
4.18/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of MN_Beer
4.81/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of my favorites. A true classic and a go-to beer. Everything an English ale should be.

91 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Here comes a weird ESB. Seems more like a British mild or brown ale. Clear bottle. Light colored brown, weak in appearance, not enough heft, malt etc. . . doesn't hold a head, went up to about 1/3" and died quickly.

Almost no hops, something totally off for an esb, same with the bitterness, so muted. You get a little sugar water like Newcastle feel to the mouth feel. Maybe some caramel in there from the malt. Nutty. Pricy, especially for everything it lacks, inconvenient pricy format. Undercarbonated. Pass, would not bang again.

 546 characters

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

Deep brown with ruby red highlights; a tan 1 finger head, sweet baby! Sticky icky lace on the glass. A nice smell of roasted malt, some cinnamon and caramel. Tastes like roasted malt, cinnamon, some hints of chocolate, and brown sugar; toasted malt and nuts. The backend has a mild bitterness that is rounded out quite dry. It's full bodied, but silky smooth. A nice mild ale. This is actually 4.5 % abv although BA lists it as higher. Oh well....good beer.

 457 characters

Photo of GentleKnight1
3.37/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of The_Kriek_Freak
4.06/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Pantalones
3.84/5  rDev +2.1%
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 -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Simon212
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of yaron73
4.12/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of sokol_1993
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Benjolovesbeer
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of GlendonTT
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Dewsby
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of joaopmgoncalves
3.42/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
Beer rating: 3.76 out of 5 with 2,631 ratings
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