King Goblin is, as the name might suggest, the strongest beer brewed by the Wychwood Brewery in Witney, Oxfordshire.
It was launched in 2010 to complement the success of ‘Hobgoblin’ and, if you are to believe the marketing, only ever brewed under a full moon. “As the full moon casts its eerie light over the shadowy old Eagle Brewery, a magical brew gurgles forth from the casks.” yeah right.
It’s brewed with roasted chocolate and crystal malts, along with Cascade, Fuggles, Sovereign and Styrian hops- an interesting mix of modern and old-school in there.
I decided to start this tasting with a ‘Hobgoblin’, to get my palate prepared, as it were; that was no hardship. It was, as I reviewed here a complex brew, with treacle, spices and baked apples.
Okay, King Goblin, I’m ready for you.
Well, it pours a similar colour to Hobgoblin, perhaps slightly darker, maybe a richer garnet colour, but a similar crisp, white head.
There’s a touch more spice on the nose, but as soon as you sip it, King Goblin reveals its true nature. It’s spicier, with a richer mouth-feel, the flavours are rich treacle toffee, gingerbread, malt loaf, baked apples, cloves, ginger and figs.
It’s not overly sweet, or cloying, that heady mix of hops imbue a ‘grown up’ dryness.
It’s declared as a ‘special reserve’, as befits a beer brewed once every four weeks, and brewed up to a full 6.6% ABV.
That said, it doesn’t advertise it’s potency, there’s no Belgian candy sugar lurking menacingly in the background, it’s well balanced, spicy and rewarding.
I gave Hobgoblin three and a half Brewclub stars, and mentioned that with a little more spice it would have merited four stars. King Goblin delivers that extra spice, and nearly one and a half percent more alcohol, this is clearly a four star brew.