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Fuller's ESB - Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,109 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2109
Reviews: 1233
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.03%

Brewed by:
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 07-08-2001)
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Ratings: 2,109 | Reviews: 1,233 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BEERMILER12


4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Best Before 24 MAY 14

A: Pours a golden amber color with slightly less than a fingers worth of head that quickly fizzles down to a tiny patch of bubbles in the center of the pint

S: Nice and malty, with quite a bit of sweetness and molasses brown bread coming through. Some earthiness as well, along with a light fruitiness that rounds out the sweetness

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with the brown bread and molasses notes from the hefty malt bill and then goes into a nice sweetness that is accompanied by the earthy and fruity notes. Finishes with a lingering sweetness with a light bitterness

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: One of the standards for the style. Very easy to drink for being a point under 6% and really keeps you wanting more despite the quite simplistic flavor profile. Probably a good intro to ESBs if you're looking for one

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2014 04:22:20 | More by BEERMILER12
Photo of beergoot


4.29/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark gold colored body with a one-finger thick, creamy head. Caramel and toffee aroma. Caramelized brown sugar and toasted nut flavors; mid-grade hop bitterness; diacetyls. Medium-heavy body; sugary and chewy body; buttery.

Chewy caramel candy taste in a beer body! Rich and flavorful with a nice balance of malt sweetness and unobtrusive hop bitterness. Warm and inviting.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2014 20:22:13 | More by beergoot
Photo of jngrizzaffi


4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber color with a half finger width foamy head. Smells like apples, pine and freshly cut grass. Malty taste with slight hops at the beginning, followed by more of a piney hoppy aftertaste. Overall a good beer. Never tried an ESB before, but it seems like an English version of an American Pale Ale. It has a more malty taste, though. Would definitely enjoy again.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2014 23:26:35 | More by jngrizzaffi
Photo of Beer4B


4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

When we were in London for 10 days this was a true palate opener. I had made the progression from light beers to ambers and ales. This ESB straight from the cask at cellar temperature was my gateway beer into awesomeness.

I've since had this beer over in the states in the bottle and it isn't nearly the same beer, which was expected. The smooth balance of flavor and strong mouthfeel were mostly gone.

My palate has changed but I am sure I'd still be able to drink too many pints of this from the cask.

Serving type: cask

03-14-2014 18:43:08 | More by Beer4B
Photo of Premo88


4.83/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 5

16.9 oz. bottle poured into nonic
(best before: 11 July 2014)

L: 100% clear orange red ... bronze but with definite red in it; hard pour rendered a relatively weak head -- about 1/3 to 1-2-inch of off-white that isn't super thick, the bubbles are big and soapy and it all dissapears quickly; some stick off the head with very minimal lacing; keeps a nice bubbly collar of off-white foam.

S: toffee; buttery sweet ... perfect lighter malt smell of sweet bread and sweet biscuits; no hops present in the nose

T: classic mix of sweet bread malt, fruity sweetness and noticeable spicy/earthy hops; the bitter bite is there ... it's classic English hops, nothing over-the-top sweet or citrusy or even grassy, just BITTER. love it!

F: solid all around with decent carbonation despite the very hard pour; watery but super drinkable ... the feel is a bit thin for a brew pusing 6% ABV, but it works just fine

O: there's definitely a bit more bite here than in the assortment of English pale ales I love, but it also touches base with the fruity sweet bready malt goodness of those English pale ales. if I could get this beer in my hometown, it would be in my fridge often. the English pale ale is my favorite style, and this nails all of those notes with that extra bitter bite ever-present on the back end of each swallow ... so in essence, it's perfect!

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2014 23:37:49 | More by Premo88
Photo of Flounder57


4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a copper color with great clarity and vision of bubbles coming up through the glass.

Smell: Toasted malts, caramel, fruity, and herbal.

Taste: Chewy toasted malt, caramel, fruity, herbal, earthy, and a little bitterness.

Mouthfeel: A bit smooth, chewy, medium bodied, low to medium carbonation, and very drinkable.

Overall: Very balanced crew between the mats and hops. I have enjoyed this brew a lot over the years and many more in the future too.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2014 05:40:32 | More by Flounder57
Photo of M_C_Hampton


4.16/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: poured from a 330 ml bottle into a pint glass, orange amber colored with a white head that dissipates leaving some lacing, clear

S: caramel, honey, peppery hops, whole grain bread

T: peppery hops up front, caramel, grain, lemon, slightly sweet middle, finish bitters with slight pine

M: medium with lower carbonation

O: quite refreshing, nice bitterness without being overpowering

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2014 20:10:14 | More by M_C_Hampton
Photo of Givemebeer


4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear golden with a 1 inch head and excellent lacing.

S: Earthy smell dominates, herbal, floral, a bit of citrus. Wonderful!

T: Ah that wonderful English made bitter that I neglect so often. The herbal, earthy, floral hops lead the way on the pallet but leave just enough space for the malt backbone to balance it out perfectly. Not too much bitterness.

M: Light bodied and extremely drinkable.

O: With all the craze being insanely hopped beers and new hop varieties, it's a great change of pace to have such a classic. Absolutely love this beer. A classic and a must try.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2014 22:26:19 | More by Givemebeer
Photo of Landar


1.94/5  rDev -52.5%
look: 5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Poured from a bottle. Expiration 4/22/14.
Aroma 4/12

Moderate English hop aroma which gives way to strong caramel.
The expected pale malt character is entirely absent.
As it warms the hops aroma is entirely absent and the caramel dominates.
A faint diacetyl hint is noticeable.

Appearance 3/3

The beer pours to a white foamy head that quickly disappears and leaves behind a thin ring lace that slightly sticks to the glass.
The beer has a deep copper and brilliant clarity as is expected from the style.
A small amount of carbonation is visible.

Flavor 7/20

Caramel flavor upfront with a medium English hop bitterness coming through.
There is a sulfur flavor as expected from the style water profile that permeates and maintains the same prominance even as it warms.
Dry finish.
A lingering medium hop bitterness is in the aftertaste that gives way to caramel sweetness.
As it warms the low levels of diacetyl becomes more noticeable. Additionally, the mineral flavors of the water profile and the English hops bitterness become more prominant, creating complexity and balance.
The expected complex pale malt profile that would tone down the dominant caramel flavor is completely absent.

Mouthfeel 3/5

Medium carbonation and very smooth.
Diacetyl slickness gives way to a dry finish with the expected carbonation bitterness feeling left on the tongue.

Overall 3/10

A tad too much diacetyl for the style.
The expected complex malt profile is completely absent.
As the defining example of the style I expected a stronger hops bitterness and the diacetyl to be completely absent.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2014 21:19:51 | More by Landar
Photo of Captain_Komamura


4.21/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - It is a clear amber color, with a decent head.

Smell - It is a strong fruity smell; with some malts.

Taste - It is like the smell; with a good hoppy bitterness and nice roasted malt flavor.

Mouthfeel - It has good carbonation; it is medium-bodied beer.

Overall - It is a pretty good beer; well balanced.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2014 04:50:23 | More by Captain_Komamura
Photo of fourstringer


4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle into a Samuel Smith pint glass with an aggressive hand. Label states best by 14 Jun 14.

A: Copper-orange body with excellent clarity. 1/2 finger of sudsy, white head that quickly fades to a thin film. Light lacing.

S: Appealing, fruity malt notes with interesting, though intermittent, traces of black pepper. Mainly grape, apple, pear. Faint hop.

T: Surprisingly subdued, semi-sweet malt gradually blossoms into a nice English hop bitterness. Semi-dry finish. No alcohol of note. Roasted notes arrive late with some light toffee, chocolate.

M: Low carbonation and light body. Does have that watery, English beer thing...

O: High quality, classic hopping is really dialed in on this one. Very nice finish and drinks quite well. Could use a bit more substance in terms of body/mouthfeel, but it does go down pretty damn smooth. Good session brew - I sucked down #2 before I wrote the review and it's definitely improving as it goes.


Serving type: bottle

01-10-2014 22:23:14 | More by fourstringer
Photo of PaulyB83


4.36/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- Burnt orange, deep caramel. amber with a medium head that dissipated to nothing.

S- Light toasted notes, some corn sweetness, noble hops. some alcohol coming through.

T- Nice malty sweetness that resembles some corn and apple juice. Lightly toasted white bread with a communion wafer like aftertaste.

M- Very drinkable with nice medium light body but also while offering up a full flavor.

O- This is my favorite English bitter that I've had and one of my favorite beers in general. It is really drinkable and bready and lightly sweet. Would like go to England some time and have some on cask.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2014 07:45:08 | More by PaulyB83
Photo of Amandazor


4.78/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Fuller's ESB is by far my favorite beer. Mmmm. It is very seductive with a malty flavor and just enough hops to keep it different.

A: Honey Brown, nice glossy, foamy head

S: toffee candy (yum!), a hint of lemon, I kind of taste a little metallic flavor, and I think of dark brown sugar when drinking this fine beer.

T: This beer is most definitely multi-layered. You can taste the honey malts, the hint of lemon rinds, and an overall flavor of woody earthiness. There's a kick of carbonation when you take a sip, but it mellows out quick for a smooth ride. It's a tad bitter but not the kind of bitter you would expect form an IPA or a pale ale.

M: Very balanced, you can taste each layer of the beer and those layers live in harmony in your mouth.

If I could, I would drink this beer instead of water to stay hydrated.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2013 19:43:58 | More by Amandazor
Photo of utopiajane

New York

3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours dark gold with a tinged, creamy head of white foam that settled to a ring and left loose bubbles and great lacing. Clear and very pretty.

The nose is toasty malt, caramel. Herbal, fruity. I think I am getting a touch of lemon peel. Has a touch of something metallic on the nose.

The body is medium and smooth. Sweet caramel, toffee, herbal hops, malty, lightly fruity. It reminds me of a caramel apple. Simple crisp dry finish. Tea notes and grassy. Hops are leafy and it has a slight bitter. Overall it's more fruity than I expected.

This had a way of drinking that grows on you. It's subtle in some ways. The fruity quality of the hops was terribly pleasant alongside the rich but easy drinking malt. Not at all what I expected but I am happy I tired this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2013 16:52:15 | More by utopiajane
Photo of Rooster21


4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - nice gold brown color, brownish white head that dissipates in a minute.
Smell - hops, maple, brown sugar, bread, Carmel
Taste - maple, hops, bread, Carmel
Mouthfeel - smooth, one of the best mouthfeel of any beer I've had.
Overall taste - Excellent! Never had a Fullers masterpiece before and I gotta say I'm sold. Very smooth, great mouthfeel, and a unique and perfectly crafted beer that can be enjoyed by all! Definitely recommend this one.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2013 05:05:29 | More by Rooster21
Photo of micromaniac129


3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The one thing I didn't like about this beer was the aroma.
The aroma was sweet and fruity but there was some underlying aroma that just didn't agree with me at all.
The color was a nice amber with a small head and light carbs.
The taste was sweet and fruity.
The finish was slighltly bitter and flowed very smoothly.
Tastes good smells bad.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2013 13:50:07 | More by micromaniac129
Photo of scratch69


4.09/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I poured a bottle into a pint glass

Appearance- Clear amber color with a fingers worth of off-white head. Fair amount of lacing.

Smell- Sweet caramel malt aroma with some floral hop notes.

Taste- Sweet malt flavor with just enough hop presence for balance. Hints of caramel and biscuit flavors as well.

Mouthfeel- On the light side of medium bodied with a slightly below average amount of carbonation. Smooth and wet feeling with a slightly dry finish.

Overall- A nice beer that's full of flavor. Thirst quenching and one of the better ESBs that I've had.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2013 18:10:45 | More by scratch69
Photo of Sludgeman

District of Columbia

4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased for $3.79/16.9 oz three days before the Best Before date of 4 Nov 2013. I drank it after the best before date.

Not a fan per se, but it does seem to taste to style. 4

A – Pours a clear light amber with an off-white rock three-finger head that dissipates quickly. Moderate carbonation. 4.5

S – Maltiness, faint sweetness. 4.25

T – Resiny bitterness, brown bread maltiness and slight minerally/metallic taste. 4

MF – Well carbonated but a flat mouth feel. Medium bodied. Dry finish. 4

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2013 03:35:32 | More by Sludgeman
Photo of happy4hoppybeer


3.15/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Amber-orange, with off-white head about half-finger thick. Little bit of lacing around the top of the glass.

Sweet malts, light toffee and caramel dominate the nose.

Light body, full of sweet fruits, and some chewy malt goodness. Not a whole lot going on, just a smooth lightly malted brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2013 18:55:10 | More by happy4hoppybeer
Photo of Ryan_Graham


4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a translucent amber brow with a small head that fades quickly. Beautiful color. It's very light to the nose. I can't really distinguish much of an odor. Great taste.It's sweet like honey but smooth like rootbeer. Just the right balance. Smooth and light bodied. There isn't much depth to it but it's a good. It doesn't leave much of an aftertaste. Overall it's a great light bodied, drinkable beer. I would recommend it to a friend.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2013 04:46:13 | More by Ryan_Graham
Photo of bareju


3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a chilled pint glass.

A: Pours light, translucent copper with a white finger-width head that dissipates quickly.

S: Light fruity and piney aroma, roasted malts

T: Lightly sweet, lightly roasted full malt front, caramel dominating the malt flavors, with just a touch of toffee. The pine and apple appear quickly in the middle along with some floral notes. Finishes with a pleasant bitterness that lingers. Very crisp taste. Lots of flavor throughout.

M: Mouthfeel is my favorite part: very full, coats your mouth just the slightest and really pulls through the bitterness, medium high carbonation.

O: Wasn't really sure what to expect from an ESB - I like this brew a lot, it's very easy to drink and has a nice, simple flavor profile that's clean and crisp. Nothing about it is very exciting, it's just a simple beer done very, very well.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2013 17:45:51 | More by bareju
Photo of DenisKolkin

Ontario (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500 ml can from LCBO for $2.60 CDN poured into a pint glass. Served cold.

Appearance - Clear dark copper color is poured into the glass, 1 finger of white foam is poured but dissipates quickly. Soapy residue at top left throughout session.

Smell - Malty, some hops, floral notes, grapefruit. Mild toffee and molasses aromas as well. While all of it is subdued, the array of scents is pretty impressive.

Taste - Again malts dominate up front but the hops bite through in a more substantial way than on the nose. Some caramel and molasses. Overall mild but quite flavorful and not overstated.

Mouthfeel - Watery, nice and wet but sufificient body to make it not thin tasting if that makes sense. Slightly sweet finish with moderate dryness.

Overall - The best part this beer is that it is that it will quench you thirst if your thirsty in a flavorful manner but retains full flavor. Thoroughly enjoyed this and excellent example of the style.

Serving type: can

10-29-2013 03:31:33 | More by DenisKolkin
Photo of dar482

New York

3.76/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The beer comes in an amber orange with lots of clarity.

The aroma has floral hops, a clean bready sweetness along with apple and some light fruity esters.

The flavor follows with a floral note and then a sweet candied light caramel, a toasty bready note. On the end, there's a tea like bitterness, almost of tannins. That apple note still lingers in the flavor as well.

A clean easy drinking beer with a wonderful clean hoppy flavor.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2013 03:16:39 | More by dar482
Photo of jrenihan

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Beer is clear copper with a small white head.

Nose contains grassy hops and toasted, biscuity malt.

Lots of caramel and toffee in the nose, creamy and sweet. Biscuit and toasted malt. A grassy bitterness accompanies, with a slightly fruity flavour. Very flavourful.

Medium bodied, moderate to high carbonation level. Crisp.

Overall, very nice and flavourful.

Serving type: on-tap

10-20-2013 21:04:17 | More by jrenihan
Photo of schoolboy


3.96/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been watching too much 1980's English TV lately, and what I really wanted was a Yorkshire bitter but I'll take this (others will follow). I remember having this a long time ago and I still like it.

It pours a gorgeous light copper color with much head (it is barely cold). There isn't a ton of aroma but what there is, is nice - dark hoppy.

The taste has that bitter, caramel, yeasty taste that I consider a requirement for the style. I think it is as authentic as can be. Loads of character that sticks in the aftertaste. This is helping transport my mind to the other side of the pond right now but I could drink this any time.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2013 15:53:00 | More by schoolboy
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Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 2,109 ratings.