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Hobgoblin | Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

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1,074 Reviews

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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Reviews: 1,074 | Ratings: 2,565
Photo of bronxlord
4.51/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my favorite beers of all time. It tastes a bit bitter at first, but then that coffee/chocolate flavor kicks in with a little spice. The aftertaste is wonderful and rich. Its actually better as you get towards the bottom, maybe because its better when its not TOO cold. I would rate it as my top 3. A tasty treat for any beer lover.

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Photo of NickTheGreat
4.5/5  rDev +21.3%

Just getting into English Milds, but I liked this one.

The fuggles are there, but not overpowering. Good malt.

Solid beer. Will try to brew something similar.

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Photo of byronhicks
4.5/5  rDev +21.3%

I had this at The Victoria Pub near Victoria Station.

Color was a cloudy brown, with a nice white head.

Flavors were smooth, with a hint of chocolate. The head stuck around for most of the pint. It had a creamy mouth feel and went well with the Steak and Ale pie I had for dinner.

2nd favorite ale I experienced this trip to England.

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Photo of dionisio
4.5/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is pretty much perfect. It is delicious. It has a complex enough flavor, without any elements standing out glaringly. This is really one of the most solid beers out there, from, in my opnion, one of the best breweries. This is the perfect example of what an ale should be. If you were trying to convince someone that they should drink better beer, this would be a good beer to have them try so they can see what it is that they're missing.

I bought all my friends a round of this one time at a bar, and everyone was impressed with it (these are friends who appreciate beer though; it's not related to the end of that last paragraph).

I also had this from cask one time in York, but I don't remember enough to write a separate review for that.

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Photo of Ryan_Graham
4.49/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Golden brown rich color. Small head.

S: Sweet smelling. Malty and different.

T: Chocolaty with a malty aftertaste. Great balance between bitterness and sweetness. It ends with a hit of citrus. There are a lot of flavors in this beer. I think I taste bananas too. Very intriguing taste.

M: Smooth and malty. Perfect amount of carbonation. Aftertaste doesn't kill you. Almost perfect mouth feel.

O: Very good. It has a truly unique taste that never gets old. I enjoyed every sip.

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.48/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark brownish caramel with a reddish hue to it which becomes much more noticeable when held against a light. The thick foamy head dissolves rather quickly which wasn't what I was expecting but oh well I guess. Very mild carbonation was noticed which tells me that this will be a smooth one!

S- Kind of sweet smelling, but not an overwhelming aroma, but definately of malt. Maybe a little flowery or fruity could also describe the smell, but overall it's nothing outstanding, but not bad either by any means. It's just a tad mild to be anything better than average-ish.

T- This is one of the greatest beer flavors I've experienced! Nothing like I expected to be honest. Nice bitterness at the end, but not overpowering, a bittersweet chocolate/cocoa flavor, a nice sweet toffee/caramel characteristic that leaves an impressionable aftertaste for several minutes....very well balanced!!

M- This brew definately has a strong medium body to it, close to full but just not quite....however, this feels very good on the palate compared to other beers I've tried. Just like the look, the small bubbles give way to a rich smoothness that give way to a velvety finish.

D- Even though this is a fuller body than I'm typically used to, I would have a few of these in a row during a sitting, as this has such rich flavor, and overall I have to say that this is a very well balanced beer. I'm sure I'd have no problem filling my belly with a few of these, which they would definately do. A great meal brew, but I'd drink this on it's own any day too! Well done Wychwood!

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Photo of AdamMY
4.48/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The appearance of this beer was ideal for me in terms of beers nice dark color though still wonderfully transparent, with a wonderful off white head that created wonderful lacing.

The smell was great full of spices and vegetables, with a nice subtle sweetness. It honestly reminded me of a spice cake in terms of aroma.

The Taste was solid, though had a bitter note that I felt detracted to much from the other flavors for me (i.e not incredibly well balanced flavor wise).

But mouthfeel and drinkability were exceptional, even when factoring in the slightly bitter taste.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.47/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deep redish-brown pour with clingy white head. Nose is all malt and slight caramel. Bright semi-sweet body with lingering malty finish. Very smooth and way too drinkable.

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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 dsa7783
4.47/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Out of a 16.09 oz bottle which ran me $3.50, poured a nice, dark-reddish, slightly purplish color with a minimal head... Smell is captivating, almost stout-like, with a strong coffee / cocoa / and toffee aroma which grabs you by the nose... Taste is great... full of a slight chocolate and coffee flavor that is somewhat subtle yet noticeable... The great thing about this beer is that it goes down very smooth... It was a pleasure drinking it, with a good mouthfeel and easy drinkability... The second brew I sampled from the Wychwood Company, and I am not dissapointed at all... Tastes very similar to a stout, but with a less pronounced chocolate flavor... A really good brew, and definitely recommended...

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Photo of SaltofOH
4.45/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

500 ml bottle, served in a goblet at 60 degrees.

Appearance: a bit of "smoke" from the bottle cap opening. Pours an extremely dark brown with a reddish tint. Clear with very little sign of any effervescence. Thick, foamy, 1.5" tan head dissipates to 1/8" lasting cap. This is a really handsome beer, but not quite to style for an ESB. Maybe more of a brown ale?

Aroma: English hops, with bloody/minerally smell; well-roasted malts, apple skins.

Taste: Tart, clean arrival. Tart, roasty mid-palate. Roasty, bitter finish; dry & clean.

Mouthfeel: Light- to mid-bodied. More effervescence than I am used to in an English ale, but they are tiny bubbles.

Overall: This is a more "complex" ESB than the last one I had, but I am put off a little by the higher carbonation in this bottled example, and the darker than usual malts. Aroma & appearance are fantastic, and I definitely will be buying this again.

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Photo of KodyBrannon
4.45/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is very delicious, It pours a dark brown color with a cream colored head. I couldn't really pin point an exact smell to this beer, but the tast was a little malty with a nice after taste. I will be drinking this beer agian and will be enjoying it for years to come. I would recomend this beer to anyone who wants to try this delicious lager.

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Photo of NightINgale
4.45/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Brown colour to the body, with a ruby glow, as promised on the label. I got a finger-thick off-white head, with somewhat decent retention and great lacing.

S: The smell of sweet caramel malts is dominant, you also get some roastiness, some hops, and notes of raisins and/or cherries. Overall, the smell is rather unique and isn't a typical brown ale smell.

T: Hobgoblin has a woody, nutty, slightly sweet malty taste, with a good amount of herbal hops, and a touch of caramel. You also get some subtle fruit notes (cherries, plum, raisins). Finishes in lingering breadiness, with some balanced bitterness.

M: Light-to-medium bodied. The carbonation is very mild, which is only logical for an ale.

D: Very drinkable, for my taste. You wouldn't want to have too many in a row, though. Nor it is a good idea to drink this ice-cold.

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Photo of cdoublev
4.43/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of my all time favorite beers. It pours a dark brown. Unfortunately the bar I go to and drink this pours it with absolutely no head at all which is pretty disappointing. This one has notes of maltiness, nuttiness, and breadiness that is very appealing in both smell and taste. Think of this as a heavier and better Newcastle.

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Photo of alHiboux
4.43/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

You don´t have to know much about beers, as long as you love beer, and I loved this one. You don´t get many good beers in the bars here, and this was a good surprise.

Little by little we are learning that there is a whole beerworld to explore, we dont have to buy supermarket beer all the time, we can risk and try and make up our own minds about what we like or dislike.

In that respect, this is a good gateway beer, and more than one friend has tried it, looked intently at his glass, with the realization that there is greatness in variety, and much to learn and explore. It has a good solid body, goes down smoothly, and the mix of flavors pleases without confusing your taste buds (Also, it has the coolest design!).

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Photo of Tolnik
4.42/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours with a great amount of head and reduces to a great amount of lacing. The ruby red brown beer gives a great aroma and taste. As the aroma greats the nose with brown sugars, caramel and malts. A great balance has been found within this beer. For the aftertaste it leaves a wonderful taste, if a bit dry.

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Photo of Doshkin
4.42/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - rich brown with a good amount of haze. half inch of head but a layer of tiny bubbles remains for the whole glass. those little guys leave a nice smooth lacing.

s - smells amazing. sweet, almost caramel, malts with the slightest touch of something roasted. extremely inviting brown aroma.

t - where did those hops come from? the sweet malts masked the smell of the piney hops that explode in the flavor of this beer. the aroma-dominant malts try to play tug-of-war with the piney hop taste by coming through in the swallow, but the hops win out by prevailing in the aftertaste. the flavors give this beer an interestingly moderate level of complexity.

m - medium, smooth/frothy carbonation, and a touch of dry bitterness.

o - wonderful representation of a good brown. highly recommend this brew. the smell is incredible and the taste sort of blindsides you with some hidden hops. i can see why my good friend picks this up any time he sees it.

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Photo of grub
4.42/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a nice brown colour with great ruby highlights and about a half inch of dense tan head. head is slow to drop and leaves minimal lace.

aroma is great. rich malt. biscuit. caramel. hint of roast. nutty.

taste is great. nice caramel sweetness. biscuity malt. bit of roast. light bitterness. touch of earthy hops. fruity. really nice.

mouthfeel is good. nice body and good moderate carbonation.

drinkability is great. well balanced and really enjoyable. i need to get more of this one.

as a side note, i've had both the hobgoblin and fiddler's elbow before in the old clear bottles, and they always had at least a little skunk to them. i have just had both in the new brown bottles and it's a world of difference. i'll definitely be going back for more of this one. if you were unhappy with this one in a clear bottle, give it another try in the brown. you won't be disappointed!

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Photo of kimcgolf
4.42/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From 22 ounce bottle into pint glass. Good head, pleasant aroma, though hard to describe. Just the right amount of bitterness, very tasty and a great finish. Despite the clear bottle (which I'm still not sure why they use), this beer with the funny label has a great taste.

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Photo of TippySelenoid
4.42/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

It's a coppery brown with a tan head. Nice lacing as well.

It's got some chocolate notes and a big butter smell.

It's buttery, chocolaty, and nutty. A bit sweet. Very complex.

It's medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Why can't American brewers make them like this?

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Photo of HappyPappy2X
4.41/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark chestnut color, substantial head that dissipates in 1-2 minutes.

S: Sweetness dominates, metallic hints, earthy.

T: Sweetness balanced with roasty bitterness. Nutty, earthy flavors last longer than the sweetness.

M: Medium light, average carbonation.

O: Typifies British style ale in the earthiness, low hops bitterness, mellow roastiness. I love it!

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Photo of rohrbachsfan
4.4/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark brownish red. Very clear. Medium head.

Smell: Sweet malt, somewhat fruity.

Taste: Sweet malt with hints of toffee and caramel.

Mouthfeel: Creamy with smooth finish.

Drinkability: Enjoyable dark ale. Not too strong or bitter. Will buy again.

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Photo of darkmartin
4.4/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours to a dark, opaque molasses with some deep red undertones. Large, foamy tan head that hangs around. Thin lacing.

Smell: Smells of sweet caramel and nut malts with some lingering floral hops. Enticing and fairly complex.

Taste: Roasted malt with some toffee come up first, followed by a perfect amount of bitterness. The floral hops and yeasty bread flavors work together very well in the finish. Very good.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light bodied with only a little carbonation, a bit thin for the style.

Drinkability: This is one of my favorite brews, the complex and delicious nose carries on into the taste. Simply an excellent creation with the mouthfeel being its only weakness.

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Photo of TheBeerWolf
4.4/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours a dark amber with an eggshell head that doesn't stick around too long but laces the glass nicely.

S - Nice malty scent. Hints of chocolate and roastiness.

T - Initially you get a little bit of a bitter hop bite not overwhelming. There is a dry sherry like taste too its but very subtle and comes out more in the aftertaste. Just like the smell hints of chocolate and roasted malt. A kind of dark cherry aftertaste to it also. Very balanced.

M - The mouthfeel is medium not overbearing and not thing and fizzy, Carbonation normal to this style.

D - With all the above factors and with a 5% alcohol content this would make a good session beer. At least to me.

I think you have to like "english" styles beers to really enjoy this one. They have a style all their own. Overall I enjoy this one a lot and glad they are now in brown bottles. I had tried this beer a while back and it was skunky as hell. The bottle I am enjoying right now does not seem to have that problem. Awesome.

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Photo of jthor018
4.4/5  rDev +18.6%
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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Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
3.71 out of 5 based on 2,565 ratings.
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