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Fuller's ESB - Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

Not Rated.
Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

2,375 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,375
Reviews: 1,259
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 75
Gots: 117 | FT: 0
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Fuller's ESB Alström Bros
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Ratings: 2,375 | Reviews: 1,259 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Aldemir_lachapelle
1/5  rDev -75.4%

Aldemir_lachapelle, Aug 02, 2014
Photo of oriolesfan4
1.7/5  rDev -58.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Bought a 16 oz single of this for $0.99

I wanted to like this, I really did. But, this was one of the worst tasting beers I've had. It smelled and looked alright, but the taste was so bitter and rough. I actually couldn't take more than a few sips and I had to pour it, I was actually gagging. I tried another bottle a few days later and got the same result. I hope I just bought some bad bottles because this seems like a well respected historic beer.

oriolesfan4, Sep 15, 2008
Photo of callmeclemens
1.88/5  rDev -53.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I never understand why beers like this always come so highly rated here on BA. Plenty of Caramel Taste (and flavour) smooth and a little thick.I drank one cold and one warm to compare taste, niether was better than the other, pretty bland really overall.

callmeclemens, Jun 13, 2011
Photo of Landar
1.94/5  rDev -52.3%
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.

Landar, Jan 12, 2014
Photo of Rymish
2/5  rDev -50.9%

Rymish, May 27, 2012
Photo of Hopheadjeffery
2/5  rDev -50.9%

Hopheadjeffery, Dec 22, 2012
Photo of cfalovo97
2/5  rDev -50.9%

cfalovo97, Nov 11, 2012
Photo of apanloco
2/5  rDev -50.9%

apanloco, Jun 05, 2013
Photo of SimplySinister
2.2/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Highly carbonated dark copper brew with a moderate head and minimal lacing.

S - A mix between floral, fruit, hops, and malt.

T - I don't particularry care for the taste of this brew. It may be legendary in certain circles, but its mediocre at best for me. The rampant bitterness really takes away from the overall taste. I find it to be far too sweet/fruity in the finish, far too harsh, and extremely acidic.

M - Thin, clean, and dry.

D - Although I would recommend this beer to a hops fan, as far as I'm concerned its not very drinkable. The main problem, for me, is the overall fruity sweetness of this brew. If the sweetness/bitterness of the brew was toned down a bit making it mellow, yet flavorful, I think it could be a winner. Unfortunatly, as is, I am nowhere near impressed. All in all, its not an experience that I wish to repeat any time soon. I mean no disrepect of course; its just my opinion.

SimplySinister, Apr 30, 2009
Photo of DrewZ926
2.3/5  rDev -43.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

my first go at an ESB style beer, was not impressed though.

A- pours a translucent copper body with virtually no head. some sporadic soapy lacing.

S- malts are very overbearing. multiple swirls present the faintest hoppiness. smells of bread, yams, caramel.

T- first few sips are tasty, big bold malt profile, very rich and sweet with a nice body. however, the taste to me gets overwhelming very fast. the lack of balance between hops and malts throws me off here. again tasting a lot of yeast, yams, malt, caramel.

M- a little too thin on the palate. very minimal carbonation.

D- would not drink more than a half bottle again. perhaps on cask would be better? the flavors were really too out of balance for me.

DrewZ926, Nov 03, 2010
Photo of JDV
2.35/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Copper, clearish color with a small head. Smell is mostly caramel like malt with a hint of alcohol at times with the caramel. Tastes like lightly bitter smooth liquid caramel. Almost a light burnt sugar taste because of the light bitterness with a touch of alcohol. Decent, drinkable beer, but not my preferred style.

JDV, Feb 13, 2008
Photo of Rod_J
2.5/5  rDev -38.6%

Rod_J, Jul 13, 2014
Photo of beernads
2.5/5  rDev -38.6%

beernads, Jun 03, 2013
Photo of TheCzig
2.5/5  rDev -38.6%

TheCzig, Jun 28, 2012
Photo of TrickKnee
2.6/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

NEver have been a big fan of British beer but I heard so many good things about ESB. Smell and color were great however the taste and mouthfeel were horrible. I cant even explain the taste because halfwaythrough the bottle I gave up. Would not recommend, however I know to many people who like this so give it a try, if only for one bottle.

TrickKnee, Apr 05, 2006
Photo of pmcadamis
2.68/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Light brown brew with almost no head. Only a few soapy suds sit on top of this slightly hazy brew.

The nose is chalk full of warm caramel and vanilla malt aromas. A little nutty smelling. Smells really smooth and appealing. There is a slightly funky off smell that has me wondering if I got a bad bottle or something.

Warm and nutty tasting with a big malt taste. I tatse pecans, wet hay notes, and grassy hops. This one is bitter, but not in the way that I would like it to be.

Mothfeel is very thin and highly carbonated with a trace of alcohol.

I don;t really like this one to tell you the truth. Maybe I got a bad one, but it's thin and dank tasting. Not terrible, but I'm disapointed to have something so mediocre from such a respectable brewery.

pmcadamis, Oct 02, 2006
Photo of BrewitYerself
2.73/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle poured into pint glass @ 54 deg. F.

Pours a clear dark copper, with a modest (<1 finger) off-white head, which dissipates quickly. No lacing.

Moderate aroma of rich sweet malts, honey and caramel. Slight ester presence. No hops.

Taste is of sweet malts, honey and caramel. Not particularly rich or complex. There is a touch of bitterness upfront, accompanied by a slight sourness, which gives way to the sweet malts. Finishes with a sour bitterness, followed by a lingering sweetness. Slight to moderate mineral presence.

Slightly overcarbonated; a bit too thin to showcase the malt.

Overall a good beer, but I was unimpressed. Aroma promises more richness than is delivered. Malt profile is overly sweet, yet it's a pretty dry beer - that was odd. By the end of the glass I would have had another, but I wouldn't get up and drive to the store for it.

BrewitYerself, Nov 01, 2009
Photo of ngandhi
2.73/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Amber, good head retention and lacing. A little too fizzy.

Very malty on the nose with some caramel. A ton of solvent. Bocky. Light hops marry well with the malt. The hoppiness is very fresh. Homebrewers might appreciate this a great deal.

Taste, too, opens with solvent and, later, finishes with it. Unpleasant, this note lends a bit of medicinality as well. Otherwise, the malts have the sweetness of a maduro cigar. The hops are indistinct and lend a pathetic, hesitant strike at the back of the tongue. On the tongue, as on the nose, however, they seem quite fresh; the hop oils are well preserved. Also, light dry cider on the finish.

Overall, I find this beer largely confused. The solventy nose, which is really just an incongruity of malt and hops, carries over on to the tongue and suppresses most everything that might be good about Fuller's ESB. I don't know how it ranks up against ESBs, this is my first, but the maltiness makes it reminiscent of a poor attempt at the bock style. The dry finish is odd because the beer is rather sweet at first; it makes the carbonation (which I find a touch heavy) overbearing. I can think of no appropriate occassion for this beer.

Relax, relax.
ng

ngandhi, Sep 25, 2003
Photo of Elicoleman
2.75/5  rDev -32.4%

Elicoleman, Sep 03, 2014
Photo of Eucrid
2.75/5  rDev -32.4%

Eucrid, Mar 10, 2013
Photo of braican
2.75/5  rDev -32.4%

braican, Jan 11, 2014
Photo of rudy0908
2.75/5  rDev -32.4%

rudy0908, Dec 21, 2012
Photo of beeroclock
2.8/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Amber in color w/ a nice frothy head, smells slightly sweet. The sweet smell may be part of it, but I taste caramel then it finishes very bitter. Almost too bitter & too sweet for me. Its well carbonated. I wasn't really fond w/ the taste, but I was in a hurry and this beer seemed easy to down when necessary. The beer is just ok, not a great Fuller product.

beeroclock, May 26, 2006
Photo of anakar
2.8/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is an overpriced beer from an overhyped brewer to my taste.

App - It poured beautifuly into my glass, a bronze-ish foggy beer with a small head.

Smell - it was nothing exceptional, just a good beer smell - no flavor or anything

Taste - well, here's where it loses it. For a
beer that says "Extra Special Bitter" all I can say is that it wasn't bitter - it was mild. It wasn't special, I can get a stronger, more bitter, tastier one for a cheaper price, and there was nothing extra about it.

Mouth - It seems to lack ditinction, the feel goes away as soon as you swallow

Drink - See Mouth

anakar, Feb 03, 2011
Photo of twi1609372
2.83/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

To me i should like this beer more than i do, yet i only think it's ok. Yes it has a medium body, bold taste, yet if having a taste was all that mattered i could drink motor oil. this beer's flavor to me was overall poor. normally i appritiate this kind of beer, yet i found myself unable to order another. Justa matter of opinion and personal taste i guess.

twi1609372, Oct 15, 2006
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Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 2,375 ratings.