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Fuller's ESB - Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,114 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2114
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: 2,114 | Reviews: 1,233 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of RonfromJersey

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A frothy, dentable white head sits atop an orangey copper body. Nose is like walking past the bakery, a huge helping of yeasty fresh bread. A malty taste flows across the tongue. Buttery, toffee, caramel. The hops are present, but somewhat subdued, accents to be cherished. It has a rich, full mouthfeel, and I could easily drink this all night. Another Fuller's classic. Extra special indeed.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2003 20:34:07 | More by RonfromJersey
Photo of texascarl


4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear dark copper, beige head, tan foam recedes quickly. Light carbonation

Nose = Malty, not a lot of hop aroma. Slight amount of bread dough/yeast.

Taste = malt and hops in good balance, a bitter with plenty of backbone. Delicious beer, good on tap as well as from the bottle. I drink less beer these days, less but better. Better = bitter, make mine Fuller's Extra Special Bitter.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2003 18:47:23 | More by texascarl
Photo of cretemixer


4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best before date of 7-15-02. Oh well, I'm a little past that. Looks very good. Pours a deep amber with a prodigious head that lasts a good long time. Fades to a thin layer and leaves an abundant lace. Aromas of malts, mollasses and other sweet scents with a floral hop undertone. Medium-full mouthfeel with heady carbonation. A pleasant bitterness, not too overpowering. All of the aromas are represented in the taste along with honey too. I'm really enjoying the bubbly headiness of this ale. Finish is dry with a bitter aftertaste that lingers nicely. Very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2003 05:47:11 | More by cretemixer
Photo of BeerManDan


3.28/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear golden amber color with light brown form. The smell was of a grainy/malty aroma with a hint of hops. The first few sips were of a grain/malt flavor just as the smell and the bitterness was not over powering. But, after the first few sips, this ESB tasted like any other average ESB. Not a whole lot of after taste on the palate. I have yet to rate any of Fuller's beer above average, except for their "1845", that was exceptional!

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2003 12:33:08 | More by BeerManDan
Photo of mzwolinski


4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Pours dark copper in color with a somewhat thin, but very adequate and persistant head. Good lacing down the glass. Aroma is a mixture of biscuit and caramel malts, with notes of floral hops and certain fruity scents. Flavor is sweet, with an understated caramel malt body and hints of fruit. Finish is dry with a pleasant bitterness which lingers on into the aftertaste. Very slight alcohol warming as the beer goes down, completely unobtrusive. Medium-full bodied, and extremely smooth -- perhaps even a little too much on the creamy side, as this tends to detract from the otherwise very refreshing character of this beer. Still, extremely drinkable and very pleasant. A classic.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2003 15:19:12 | More by mzwolinski
Photo of JISurfer

South Carolina

4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beast a while back, but it still sticks in my brain. It was nice and copper colored, with a not so bitter after taste. Even though it wasn't super bitter, it was still a well crafted brew and got my tastebuds' attention. I liked that it finished nice and easy, which anyone would enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2003 03:05:02 | More by JISurfer
Photo of MJR


4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear, amber-orange color with a foamy, light tan head that laces well.

Smell: I pick up on sweet malt, hops, and butterscotch/toffee. There's also a bit of a bready/yeasty aroma. Very nice.

Taste: Phenomenal balance between the just-sweet-enough maltiness and hop bitterness. Outstanding hop flavor and bitterness...it's just right. There's a strong butterscotch/toffee flavor that adds greatly to the smoothness. A touch of minerals from the water used as well. Very slight fruity esters in there too. I get a strong impression of 'freshness' from this brew. Very organic. Top notch!

Mouthfeel: Light bodies with the slightest bit of an oily mouthfeel. A treat for the mouth and tastebuds.

Drinkability: I could easily drink these all night without even thinking about switching beers. A world-class session beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2002 21:20:04 | More by MJR
Photo of hyuga

North Carolina

4.8/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beautiful dark mahogany/reddish brown color with a rocky white head, the trademark ESB appearance. Somehow, nothing else looks quite like an ESB. The head settles, but leaves some nice "British" lace. Great complex malty aroma! Caramel, nut, cherry, and then just a little leafy hop character. Hops aren't so noticeable until it hits your palate. Speaking of which, the flavor does not fail to completely impress! Grainy sweet malt blends perfectly with bittering hops to create one of the best, most classic flavors in English beer history! Hop character is a bit earthy, leafy, and oily, and a bit of cherry is present once again as well. Dry, hoppy finish. Hop spiciness and malt sweetness are left on the tongue afterwards. Medium to full body. What a classic brew this is! One of my favorites. This one is a 12 oz., which is not enough, I prefer the 18.7 oz. bottles. However, this time I'm not complaining, I got this in the Fuller's gift pack, which contains 2 bottles each of 4 of their beers, plus a nonik pint glass. Great deal. If you want to try an ESB, this is the one to try!

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2002 01:42:06 | More by hyuga
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A classic English ale! It's slightly hazy and deep amber/copper in color. The ivory head drops quickly but keeps a decent creamy collar and light surface covering. The Fuller's yeast is quite clear in the aroma that expresses a mineral/iron note, a touch of diacetyl, some light fruit and very mild hops over a distinctly caramel maltiness. The body is medium, and combines with an exceptionally fine (very tiny bubbles), low level carbonation to create an astonishingly smooth and lightly creamy mouthfeel. Very nice. The flavor starts with light soft fruit and a mild mineral / iron component (ie. not nearly as "bloody" as Bateman's XXXB) atop it's rich caramel maltiness and then slowly falls away to a dry, bitter and hoppy finish that showcases the earthy, grassy, and leafy hop character that runs throughout. A very bold beer with lots of sweet caramel malt and lots of brash bitter hops; and yet it's incredibly balanced and rather easy to drink!

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2002 20:36:37 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of Amdahl


4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer pours a gorgeous amber, with only a small amount of head that reduces to a thin ring quickly. Lace is minimal at best. The aroma is flowery sweet, but no concentrated sent is noticed. The taste is bitter with a little bit of chocolate. This is a great medium-bodied ESB and that I could drink all night long.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2002 01:06:05 | More by Amdahl
Photo of BeerBuilder


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

Amber/copper mix in color, with an off-white head. Nice tight bubbles form the some-what creamy head. Fruity, and sweet amomas form the malt are present. Caramel malt flavors, and also the fruity flavors leading to a good level of hop bitterness. This bitterness however, is tamed down by the malt flavors. Overall, there is a good balance of malt flavor and hop bitterness. The ESB also has moderate carbonation that leaves a beautiful lace work down the glass. It is meadium-bodied, with a bit aof alcoholic warmth as well. A very good beer overall; excellent flavors.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2002 14:58:20 | More by BeerBuilder
Photo of maxpower


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

Hazy copper color with a small head, mild hop and caremel malt aroma. Caremel malty flavor with a nice hop bite, medium body with a creamy soft mouthfeel, fishes with a pleasant bitterness, one of my favorite ESBs, IMHO not the best, still outstanding.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2002 15:44:29 | More by maxpower
Photo of AtrumAnimus


4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great ESB. Hop Heads Unite!!!

I love hops and this one just rings my bell. Fullers has some of the best Hop mixes in the world in my humble opinion

The head is somewhat lacking in that it settles to quick for my taste. But that is it's only fault. The hops an dmalt blend so perfectly that they seem like one ingredient.

A must drink for any serious beer drinker. But beware - this is a hoppy one. Not for the untrained palate. If you want to scare a newbie away from beer this will do it.

Very good finish.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2002 12:09:23 | More by AtrumAnimus
Photo of ipogios


4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber color. Tried this one couple of months. Quite strong Beer and bitter. I remember this beer because i remember tasting a bit of chocolate flavor in it. (Don't expect a Cadbury's flavor btw). One of the finest brews around



Serving type: bottle

11-20-2002 07:01:38 | More by ipogios
Photo of Morris729


4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish amber color with a thick, foamy head that remains stuck to the sides of the glass as you drink. The aroma is a combination of hops and a sweet malty scent. The taste is a slightly sweet malt flavor with a touch of caramel and leaves a pleasant bitter finish on the back of the tongue. Overall, one of the better ESBs that I have tired.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2002 19:47:07 | More by Morris729
Photo of aaronh


4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This copper colored ale shows nice clarity and pours with a strong head with excellent retention and develops a nice rocky quality as it subsides. The lace clings to the glass and refuses to slide down, content to stay put throughout the entire glass. The aroma is almost all sweetness, with a hint of hops to lend a spicy note. The taste is exquisite, with a very pronounced caramel sweetness like I have never tasted before. There is some nice hop spice in the finish. The aftertaste is lingering but very pleasant. The mouthfeel is somewhat thick, but it matches the flavor profile. This would be an excellent session beer, as this glass went down very quickly and left me craving more.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2002 11:32:53 | More by aaronh
Photo of zerk


3.68/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a deep clear amber with a thick white head, which quickly settles. The carbonation is somewhat mild. Very malty in aroma and flavor... some sweetness with mostly carmel malt, but some toasted malt flavor also sneaks through. Floral hops in the aroma, and some floral notes in the flavor as well. Not very bitter for an ESB... but smooth, and very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2002 08:15:58 | More by zerk
Photo of Dogbrick


3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was lucky to get the draught version. Dark amber with a decent off-white head. Hops aroma very conspicuous. On the scale of ESB's I have had, this was better than average but it doesn't beat the Crooked River I had not too long ago. It just didn't have the bitterness I was expecting. As a matter of fact I think the London Pride has more bite. There is more malt in the mix here, which doesn't make it a bad beer, just less "ESB" than I was expecting. All that aside this is still a good beer.

Serving type: on-tap

11-05-2002 10:23:37 | More by Dogbrick
Photo of Gusler


3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The pour a deep amber too almost brown color, the head is massive, creamy with thick glutinous lace that clings to the glass. Nose is light malt, caramel, and a hint of citrus. Start is malt, lightly sweet, the top flimsy, and the finish pleasantly hopped, mildly acidic, with a long lasting malt dry aftertaste. Quite drinkable and well worth a sample, and a beer I sample often

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2002 06:14:18 | More by Gusler
Photo of zakery


4.75/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Nice white head on a dark amber beer.

Smell: A bit stronger of the same plum jam, caramel and toffee as in the London Pride.

Taste: The hop bitterness dominate over the malt in the taste at first. The aftertaste and alcohol then carries the maltier notes forth. Very flavorful and tasty!

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body with medium-low carbonation.

The ESB has a bit more sting than Fuller's London Pride which is nice, but it covers up some of the more subtle notes of the London Pride too. I simply love this beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2002 06:54:36 | More by zakery
Photo of rastaman

United Kingdom (England)

3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Better cask conditioned than from the bottle, but have had good samples on cask and have had bad ones, at its best, its quite resiny, bittersweet, with a bitter hop finish, medium to full bodied, quite good, but perhaps a touch overated.

Serving type: cask

09-30-2002 01:56:04 | More by rastaman
Photo of sinistersteve


4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer seemed to pour a little flat but still left a bit of head. Outstanding amber color. Excellent full, well bablanced flavor. For a person who is not big on English style beers, I was quite impressed with the taste of this one. For a company whose botle mentions that Fuller's ESB is the world's original ESB, they certainly have it done right.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2002 13:57:31 | More by sinistersteve
Photo of Jon


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

Pours to a nice clear amber color with an off-white head that seemed to disappear rather quickly. I noticed that biscuity/malty aroma that others described. The taste is well-balanced between a mild hop flavor and some caramel malt flavor. The mouthfeel is nice and smooth with a little carbonation. It's easily drinkable, and I don't know who could resist a second offering of this. This is a classic ESB.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2002 15:27:52 | More by Jon
Photo of beerluvr

Ontario (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with an off-white head, clear golden liquid with highlights of red. Nose is of very biscuity malt, clean too. Taste is a bit of butterscotch diacetyl, with great hoppy dryness taking it all the way to the finish which is pleasantly bitter and long. This original E.S.B. still stands above all others, I.M.O.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2002 21:29:50 | More by beerluvr
Photo of Murph


3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served a clear amber color with a tiny, creamy white head and minimal lacing. Great smooth biscuity malt aroma but not much else leaving the aroma with a little to be desired. The biscuity malt opens up the brew and carries it most of the way as their is a subtle hop bitterness that holds up the brew well. Very smooth but slightly overcarbonated, none the less this is one awesomely drinkable brew and one that I would love to try on cask.

Serving type: on-tap

08-17-2002 08:40:21 | More by Murph
Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 2,114 ratings.