Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Fuller's ESB - Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

Not Rated.
Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,303 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,303
Hads: 2,736
Avg: 4.06
pDev: 16.01%
Wants: 135
Gots: 286 | 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:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 07-08-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (37) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Fuller's ESB Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 1,303 | Hads: 2,736
Photo of hophead723
4.82/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I grabbed this one, with high expectations. I'm already liking this brewery.

Look: Golden mahogany in color, with a sticky off-white head. Nice lacing down the glass

Smell: It smells like orange marmalade and toasted biscuits. There's also a leading hue of orange blossom honey and fruity ale yeast. The aroma shouts quality.

Taste: The taste and aroma are similar with a predominant unique and delicious orange marmalade base of sweetness that is complemented quickly by a toasted english muffin backbone of malts. This can only have come from Great Britain!

Feel: Incredibly smooth with a delicate bitterness that lingers on the palate to give a perfect finish.

Overall: Top notch delicious beer! Absolutely world-class!

 728 characters

Photo of MarkQ617
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at Ramsi's. The appearance is almost exactly what you want from an esb, a nice opaque light brown color. Flavor and aroma were however a bot weak in my mind - the bitter bready hoppiness youd want is there, its just not nearly strong enough. Mouthfeel was totally decent, fairly smooth. Maybe a bit overrated.

 327 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Fullers ESB poured a nice amber clear with thin white head that did not lace. The scent had nice English style hop presence. The taste was a nice balance of hops and malt....with it finishing with just enough bitterness to confirm that you're drinking an ESB. The mouthfeel was medium in body with subtle carbonation. Overall.....good beer.

 347 characters

Photo of ARoman
2.98/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

On cask, poured into a nonic. The aroma is lightly waxy, a bit leathery, with caramel notes. The beer is an oily amber color with a white soap head that has light retention and lace. The taste is a medium bitter followed by a medium sweet. The oily and slick texture is flat. The light body has flavors of salted caramel, musty leather, a light, mellow citrus / marmalade and a light bread crust. The finish is grainy with an aftertaste that's lingering, primarily waxy, with notes of caramel and grain.

 503 characters

Photo of SometimesIfart
3.52/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fullers ESB.

Looked this bottle over a few dozen times at my local craft shop and decided it was finally time to give it a shot. Haven't had much of this style but from the few I can remember I'm not expecting too much out of it.

Look - Pours a see through clear amber with a two and a half finger slightly off white head that retains exceptionally and drops down slowly leaving tons of sticky mountain ranges of lacing. Carbonation appears to be pretty high with this beer. The lacing remains like an acid tripped out night looking at the moving clouds. This is one beautiful brew 5.

Smell - Burnt and toasty malts make up a big heft of the nose with a touch of hops out know will be bitter. Nose truly isn't all that impressive as the scents quickly slip away. 3.

Taste - Upon the drink initially meeting the mouth you get the taste of cardboard which rapidly disappears as the brew hits the palate. Hops are a bit onion like ( yep onions, sue me ) at first but the malts take over in toasted varieties as you swallow. 3.5.

Feel - Mouthfeel is pretty well rounded for the lower ABV with heavy though seemingly dying carbonation. Also highly creamy due to the well retained head. Malts take on almost a chestnut esque flavor as the beer sits. 4.

Overall - Overall it isn't spectacular but I could happily drink this sessionably. The onion ordeal is a touch off putting for me but there was a great malty backbone to make up for it in the flavor department. 3.5..

 1,469 characters

Photo of maedhros09
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Light Amber-gold with a bit of lingering head throughout
Smell: malty sweet caramel
Taste: sweet caramel malt with some fruity acidity and a light herbal bitterness
Feel: medium body, smooth carbonation

Overall: A great hearty session ale, with a focus on the particularly English caramelly malt character. Its hallmark is an impeccable balance that makes it very flavorful yet quaffable too. I remembered liking this one but this time I could appreciate how perfectly crafted it is. Justly reputed as the definitive ESB

 532 characters

Photo of HamdenHector
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A: crystal clear; copper colored; 1 finger khaki head that receded to a thin collar; OK lacing;

S: toffee, caramel, dried fruit;

T: sweet malt, toffee, bread, raisins; finish is herbal and lightly bitter;

M: medium bodied; light carbonation; lightly dry finish;

O: I realize that this is a style that features malt, but there was virtually no hop character.

 361 characters

Photo of beer488
3.37/5  rDev -17%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Dark amber color. No head, with low carbonation. Smells of malted barley with light fruit in the background. Mouth feel is medium, with a bitter entry. Finish is slightly bitter. Prefer london pride and london porter which are tastier imho.

 240 characters

Photo of ajm5108
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lots of warm, biscuity malt aroma, with some oak vanilla and faint scotch peat as well. The flavor struck a little flat for me after that really powerful aroma. The sweetbread malt is present with some nutmeg and raisin, but it is really washed-out and lowkey. The hops come in for support but they provide just a medium bitter kick but not much flavor. Bottle was dated fresh so I don't think it was past its shelf life or anything. It is still very drinkable & there are no bad notes, but it is more muted than I hoped.

 525 characters

Photo of sejorules
4.49/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear copper color with an almost inexistent head. Few bubbles.
S: caramel and roasted malt, perhaps some plum that gets mixed with the sweetness from the caramel.
T: caramel, and specially lots of roasted malt, with medium bitterness in the end. It tastes sweet and roasty at the same time. Extremely nice. One little thing is that, despite being a more alcoholic beer (5.9°), you can't taste the alcohol whatsoever, which is also a very positive point.
F: medium to low carbonated, and clear. The taste is very well defined and full. Refreshing, but very strong at the same time.
O: Really nice beer. Would totally drink it again. Well balanced. One of my favorites

 671 characters

Photo of Tom_Banjo
2.93/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

330 ml bottle purchased from City Swiggers and poured into a pint glass. Do not understand the hype this beer gets. To me it was like a partially flat American Amber Ale. Will not be going out of my way to have this again.

 222 characters

Photo of breadwinner
2.81/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Absolutely wretched pint on cask at the Lamb and Flag in London. Given the rep of the establishment, I'm not inclined to think it was a poorly kept cask, but you never know. Either way, just a painfully sweet mess, as though someone took mixed equal parts generic cask ale with Southern sweet tea. Will have to give a bottle a go sometime, but this particular pint was surprisingly awful (esp given its reputation).

 415 characters

Photo of TH28
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

330ml bottle. 8/3/15 code date. Appearance: Reddish copper, clear, with a moderate white foam cap. Aroma: Fruity, candy like English yeast esters, with some biscuity, toffee malt notes. Taste: Sweet, biscuity malt, with some molasses. Moderate herbal hop bitterness. Hint of bread crust on the swallow. Mouthfeel: Medium body with light carbonation. Finish: Lingering bready, toasted crust flavors. Overall: Leans toward the malty side, sweeter than I expected. Bitterness is there, but reserved. Wonderful fruity yeast and malt aromas.

 536 characters

Photo of clager
3.1/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Bready/caramel flavor with minimal bitterness. Some tropical fruit flavor finish but predominant malt flavor throughout. Not bad, not great, what I would expect from an English bitter.

 184 characters

Photo of Gajo74
4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark copper, good lacing and carbonation visible. Caramel sweet aroma, malts and dark fruit. Bready and malty sweet taste, alcohol and a slight alcohol and hops bitterness. Medium bodied, low carbonation, dry alcohol finish and very drinkable. This was my first experience with the English bitter style. I was impressed.

 328 characters

Photo of Chris_Burton
4.26/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Fuller's have a reputation as one of the best traditional British breweries, and with good reason. This ESB has a lovely amber body with a finger of head. Smells of marmalade on toast. The flavour is rich, fruity, slightly woody and spicy, with enough hop presence to avoid an intense sweetness from the malt. Perfectly balanced, as a good ESB should be. Mouthfeel is smooth, fairly low carbonation but not flat, and fairly full.

It's easy to see why this beer is seem as the quintessential ESB. It's a fantastic example of the style, and highly recommended.

 559 characters

Photo of PorterPro125
4.75/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Serving Type: 500 mL Can

A- Clear and clean amber topped by a silky white 1 1/2 finger head that doesn't seem to want to disappear! Light lacing on the glass.

S- Creamy orange with a great backbone of sweet malt. Earthy bitterness from the hops balances things out to perfection.

T- Same as aroma. Extremely pleasing.

M- Creamy but not overly thick mouthfeel and medium high carbonation. Perfect for a bitter.

O- Absolute classic of a beer. In my opinion (and in the opinion of many others), this is the beer by which all other ESB's are put up against.

 563 characters

Photo of tillmac62
4.59/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

BBD 8/3/15. Pours a clear amber with a slight garnet cast. World class head volume, lacing and retention.

Rich world class complex nose of citrus hops (orange), herbal hops (coupled with an airy spice note), huge caramel malt and the classic mineral water. As it warms, a touch of diacetyl (butter) is noticed.

Medium bodied with a silky smooth texture that approaches creamy. Soft, but perfect, carbonation that releases an effervescent undercurrent from the middle on.

The flavor profile is world class and is the standard to which others are judged. It is intense, complex and balanced to perfection. Some ESB's take the bitterness too far, this one takes it to perfection. It begins with a wave of sweet citrus (mostly orange), but no hint of rind. Then the other hop aspects (earthy, with only a hint of being dank) appear. Underneath is a rich malt base of caramel and light crystal that balances to perfection. The middle is mildly bitter, but he bitterness is smooth and retains it's varied flavor components along with a hint of toffee. The finish is where the classic mineral aspects of the water shine and add the final layer of complexity. The finish is a slow fade of mineral sweetness with just a touch of bitterness. Sometimes the original is the best version. Such is the case, here, with the ESB style.

 1,337 characters

Photo of captaincoffee
4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pretty classic English brew here. Copper with medium head. Nose is muted, but has a good English hop presence. Flavor is fruity and bready, although I would have liked a bit more substantial mouthfeel. A classic ESB. A beer you find yourself drinking much faster than you planned to.

 288 characters

Photo of Mike_Aguirre
4.91/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Awesome beer, I loved it. Complex, strong, not too bitter, not too sweet, perfect balance. Smells malty and has notes of noble hops in the aroma. Taste improves as it warms up .

 177 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.84/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

really interesting to have this one side by side with the one from breckenridge here in colorado. they are so different, but yet so similar, and as the label says, this is indeed the esb by which all others are measured. honestly i like this one a little less. its not quite as rich in the malt build, this is a maris heavy version, and although its awesome beer, it doesnt quite have the grain depth as the breck one does. that said, i like the yeast better here, its more traditional and it speaks louder in the overall reverberation of the beer. that is to say its more flavorful, and it takes me to england the way the breck one never could. its also well balanced with a healthy hopping for the style, much more bitter and bright in the hops than others, with just the right amount of caramelization to balance it in the boil. carbonation is also high for an enlgish pub ale type, it feels so much more alive than some of the crusty old ales of england old. i like this a whole lot, and when its fresh, it truly does set the standard for the style coming out of europe. also, definitely one of, if not my single favorite of the fullers beers.

 1,147 characters

Photo of DypsoBubble
3.82/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours from the bottle a copper colour. Head dissipates quickly with a few bubbles raising to the surface after the initial pour.

Smells of hops, lemon and caramel.

Tastes of apples, lemon and sherbet with a caramel base. Low carbonation and being pretty strong, is almost wine like with a touch of sharp acidity.

A lighter mouth-feel than I expected and does not cling. Hoppy after-taste.

Light, tasty and refreshing and yet pretty high in alcohol.

 463 characters

Photo of drmeto
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

-clear copper with almost no head
-low carbonation visible
Huge toffee,grassy,plums,raisins
-caramel,big sticky toffeeplums,raisins,slightly nutty,slightly toasty finish
-medium grassy hop bitterniss
medium-high carbonation,medium-full body
Really nice brew

 272 characters

Photo of supervike
3.94/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I'm unsure really what a 'bitter' is. I do know, however, that this one is damn tasty.

It's a caramel color, the smell is slightly copper. it's light on both hop and malt, but both are balanced nicely. It has a clean finish. The only thing I do not like is the lingering metallic taste on my tongue. But ,another sip fixes that. Good stuff.

 347 characters

Photo of pat61
4.66/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Brilliantly clear gold, 1” frothy head reduces to thick film, pencil lead to pencil eraser sized bubbles, ledges of lace.
S: moderate light fruit – grape, slight maltiness, moderately low hop and malt. No DMS, no diacetyl.
T: Moderate earthy hop flavor, noticeable hop bitterness well balanced by the malt. Rich well attenuated malt, not sweet. Suggests nuttiness and biscuit.
F: Medium full body, medium low carbonation
O: Drinkable higher strength session ale with well balanced hop, fruitiness and malt with the balance tilted slightly to the hop. Could drink all day.

 581 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 1,303 ratings.