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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
89
very good

2,441 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,441
Reviews: 1,264
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 82
Gots: 133 | 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: 2,441 | Reviews: 1,264 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Initially the bitterness I was looking for, but then seems malted out and wasn't so drinkable and refreshing as I wanted. Nice amber colour. Some toffee carmel nut. On cask it's one of the best cask beers, mellow and delightful citrus hops with great fruity aroma, and I have kept the rating that way.
On cask december 2007 it was fine above-average.

Sammy, Apr 10, 2005
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -1.7%

t0rin0, Nov 19, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear orange color with a small 1/2 inch light beige head that fades to a thin film. Nice latticework of lacing forms on the sides of the glass on the drink down. Smells of biscuit-like malt and citrus zest hops. Taste is of biscuit-like malt, honey, and a very nice citrus and citrus zest hop flavor. A slightly acidic citrus aftertaste lingers after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and clean mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good and easy drinking beer. I am very impressed with this one from Fuller.

UCLABrewN84, Jul 16, 2011
Photo of spycow
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

spycow, Jan 14, 2013
Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

djrn2, Mar 26, 2012
Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -1.7%

zestar, Sep 09, 2014
Photo of Thorpe429
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Brownish copper with a decent white head. Pretty good lacing.

S: Tasted malt with a bit of caramel going on.

T: Medium malt with some sweetness to go along with a bit of bitterness. Something in the full package just doesn't fit perfectly for me.

M: Medium body and fairly smooth.

D: Pretty drinkable, although something is missing. All around, a quite good, readily-available beer.

Thorpe429, Apr 29, 2009
Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -14%

acurtis, Jan 19, 2012
Photo of metter98
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: It poured clear light amber in color with a moderately sized head that gradually settled down into lacey patterns. A moderate level of carbonation is visible.
S: There is a light malty and somewhat sweet aroma.
T: The taste creates an interesting seesaw between malty sweetness and hop bitterness on your taste buds. The malt flavors taste lightly toasted and buttery with some hints of caramel, while the hops are subdued but create a little bitterness, particularly in the finish.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and very smooth.
D: This beer is very easy to drink and goes down smoothly.

metter98, Apr 23, 2010
Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Texasfan549, Jan 27, 2013
Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a beige foamy head that dapples the glass with lace

Smell: Caramel malt with some earthy hop elements

Taste: Starts with a toasted fruit and nut caramel flavor that betrays a touch of alcohol, mid-palate; after the swallow, an earthy, but spicy bitterness comes in to balance out the elements; just a touch of diacetyl and vanilla on the finish which is not inappropriate

Mouthfeel: Gloriously smooth, with a medium body and moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Just a superb example of an ESB; a standard for the English style

brentk56, Mar 16, 2007
Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

kjkinsey, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of BEERchitect
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Undoubtedly a true Godfather of hoppy English Pales. Though I doubt if I have ever had this beer fresh, as the brewery intends, I always have room in my pint glass for this masterful beer.

A floral, spicy, and earthy nobility rises from the solid copper / light ruby-brown hue. Lightly pungent and aromatic with a deep flowery hop character that blends seamlessly with the classic fruity English yeasts. Bready to taste, much like fruitcake only in lower tones. A non-descript fruity flavor offers a complexity, smoothness, roundness, and character that is lacing from American varieties. The beer has many subtle flavors and each one comes to life as the beer warms and the carbonation escapes, seemingly to alternate with each sip.

Both elegant and gentlemanly with its attention to detail, non-flashy demeanor and with enough strength to withstand mediocracy. Balances supurgly well not to let the malts nor hops to take precidency, the beer allows just enough caramel sweetness to linger into a dry finish to keep me wanting more.

BEERchitect, Jun 01, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.58/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is it, the gold standard for ESBs (or so I'm told). I wanted to try Fuller's version now so that I could compare all future ESBs to the supposed benchmark.

Absolutely clear coppery orange; looks a little like an IPA. The head is dark cream in color, average in size, and leaves speckles and spatters of lace on the glass. The lid eventually falls to a thick film and leaves chunky sheets of lace. Very nice. The nose isn't all that hoppy, which surprises me. It's of caramel malt with undercurrents of earthy-herbal hops. It's also pretty subdued; I had to almost dip my nose to appreciate much.

The flavor is an improvement on the nose, but still isn't a world-beater. It isn't even particularly bitter. More malty than hoppy with elements of toasted caramel malt, earthy-herbal hops and a wee bit of alcohol lurking in the background. In reminds me of a weak Old Ale in some respects. The mouthfeel is solid; smooth, but not quite creamy.

It's obvious by the appearance and the mouthfeel that this is quality beer, but the flavor didn't impress me as I'd hoped it might. I'd like to believe that there are better versions out there, because if Fuller's is the epitome, then ESBs won't be one of my favorite styles. Perhaps, as with IPAs, I'll much prefer what the U.S. brewers have to offer.

BuckeyeNation, Apr 09, 2004
Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tap: Poured a clear light brown colored ale with a small creamy head with standard retention. Aroma is quite weak with only light roasted malt being noticeable. Taste is quite refreshing but again a bit weak on taste with some roasted malts and light dry finish. I was quite disappointed by the strong watery finish and I’m wondering if this one wasn’t shot through nitro before falling into my glass. Anyway, I still persist with my belief that Fullers beers should only be drank from cask.

Phyl21ca, Sep 23, 2004
Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -1.7%

GRG1313, Mar 06, 2014
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.25/5  rDev -20.1%

ygtbsm94, Nov 26, 2013
Photo of mikesgroove
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this one a ways back, like late last year for the first time and was not that impressed to say the least. I figured I should go ahead and give it one more chance, to see if maybe I was just having an off day...

A - Poured a very dark amber, almost a mahogany color with a two inch head that faded slowly and left a nice quarter inch layer of lace on the top. Lots of visible carbonation as well as a good amount of side glass lace.

S - Aroma was very bitter, sour would be a more appropriate word. Sour grapes and some bitter english hops. Almost a wine like smell coming off of it.

T - Muted and kinda dull would describe it. I thought it was alot more bitter when I had tasted it last. Had some notes of caramel malts, and even a subtle sweetness to it. Therre was definatly some bitter finish and a touch of grapes maybe in the back.

M - Smooth feel, with not too much of a lingering finish. It was a bit slick, not very crisp at all. Decent carbonation let you explore the flavor on your palate.

D - Fairly decent, I could put down a couple with no issue. It was a little plain to me, but seems decent as a session beer.

Overall the opinion I had was ill founded. This was actually a pretty decent brew. Very sweet flavor which suprised me, and had a good session quality about it. I would not mind ordering this up anywhere really. Will have to try some of the others as well.

mikesgroove, Aug 16, 2007
Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev -1.7%

jaydoc, Nov 16, 2013
Photo of womencantsail
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer pours a clear copper sort of color with a finger or two of white head sitting on top.

S: Mild honey aroma with plenty of floral hop notes and a definite earthy hop quality. Sweet malt of bread, caramel, and lots of toffee. There is a nice toastiness to it as well.

T: The flavor is similar but more enjoyable. Nicely sweet and malty with the same reliance on toast, bread, and toffee, but a more intense hop flavor. Plenty of floral and earthy hops with a moderate bitterness.

M: Medium in body with a rather lively carbonation, especially for an English beer.

O: One of the better English offerings that I've had thus far. Solid beer.

womencantsail, Apr 28, 2011
Photo of kylehay2004
3.5/5  rDev -14%

kylehay2004, Jun 21, 2013
Photo of Knapp85
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as copper color with a thick looking white head on it. The lacing was nice on the glass. The smell of the beer was malty, not much else really but had plenty of malts and some other fresh grains. The taste of the beer was sweet and had a nice caramel like flavor with a slight bitterness at the end. The mouthfeel is very smooth and easy to drink. Overall it's one of the better ESB's I've had over the years. Worth a try.

Knapp85, Jun 30, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Best Before: 30/APR/07) Hey! Hey, wait a minute. Hasn't Fuller's switched the label from Black/Red to Blue/Gold? This is nothing but Black and Red... good grief.

Appearance: Pours out a dark amber body with a foamy, off-white head.

Smell: Pleasing aroma of bread dough, honey, and caramel, with a few fruity notes as well.

Taste: Essentially malty, with flavors of caramel, burnt sugar, and, to a lesser degree, golden raisins. Exceptionally light citrus hop flavor with an equally light hop bittneress that comes and goes fairly quickly. Ultimately, this beer finishes fairly sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, with a curiously flat mouthfeel.

Drinkability: An enjoyable, eminently drinkable ESB.

ChainGangGuy, Feb 25, 2007
Photo of oberon
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the most satisfying beers I have ever had.Great rich color,great malty taste with good hop ending.Maybe the standard for an English ESB with it's fruity maltiness and subtle hops in the finish.A mellow sessionable beer that I need to try on cask.

oberon, Mar 28, 2002
Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

SocalKicks, Mar 22, 2014
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Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
89 out of 100 based on 2,441 ratings.