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Tasting – Hobgoblin Clone




May has been a really busy month with all kinds of goings and comings keeping me from posting so there are some tastings waiting to be written. Hopefully I’ll also get to brew today and utilize my shiny new fermentation fridge. This beer was my attempt at brewing Wychwood brewery’s Hobgoblin, a rare beer in the sense that my girlfriend likes it. Though I didn’t quite manage to brew a proper clone, she has helped me empty the keg which is now close to kicking. We did a tasting comparing the 3,5% abv bottled version with my clone (which ended up at 4,1%).

Here are our observations :

Appearance : Pours with a thin head that subsides quickly leaving a few bubbles. The body is light brown with some haze.

Appearance (clone): Pours from the tap with fluffy white head that takes some time to diminish to a head half a finger wide. Right of the bat it’s obvious that I missed the colour; the cloned beer is much darker than the real thing as you can see in the picture. When held to the light the beer is very clear (after a month in the keg).

Smell : Toffee, caramel, Coca-Cola, licourice-root, slight peat bog and fruity (not dark but “brighter” tropical kind of fruit) notes are evident.

Smell (clone) : The clone is more roasty with a coffee-chocolate like aroma. Dark fruit esters, plum in particular. The nose is more robust compared to the real version.

Taste : Pretty much what you get in the nose – a toffee caramel taste, slightly sweet with very little bitterness. Balanced and nice but “slight”.

Taste (clone) : Like the nose, the taste is roastier in comparison. Coffee and mocha-chocolate sweets. Dark fruits. Maltier than the real version, some biscuit notes.

Mouthfeel : Thin with slight carbonation. Could use more body.

Mouthfeel (clone) : The cloned beer feels much thicker in comparison with a fuller mouthfeel. To my memory Hobgoblin was thick and malty but this is not the case at least with this bottled version.

Notes/thoughts : From a clone standpoint this beer was largely a miss. The flavour profile is different with a more coffee-chocolaty taste as opposed to the toffee like flavour of Hobgoblin. The yeast also imparted a different ester profile to the beer. Next time I’ll use less Chocolate malt and lighter crystal malt to get closer to the real thing. The yeast should also produce more pear-apple kind of esters and overall should impart less taste than in the clone beer (the Mangrove Jack M03 was really aggressive, shooting to 3C over ambient on the second day).

On the other hand the beer went down well with its intended audience and was a really good learning experiment. It was also interesting to note that tasting the beer was much easier with a side by side comparison. Somehow it seemed that is was easier to name the different smells and tastes this way. I’ll definitely try to brew this beer again with a different malt-bill and yeast. I’d also recommend trying to clone a beer for anyone wanting to learn more about the effects that different ingredients have on the finished beer. At least for me this try was a good learning opportunity and something I’ll try to do again in the future.


From → Tastings

One Comment
  1. The above mentioned GF :P permalink

    Thanks, luv, for brewing this. ❤ I really enjoyed it, even though it wasn't exactly the same as the Real Thing. 🙂

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