1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

2,369 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,369
Reviews: 1,259
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 73
Gots: 115 | 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
Ratings: 2,369 | Reviews: 1,259 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of supermeniscus
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

supermeniscus, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of discoinfiltrator
5/5  rDev +22.9%

discoinfiltrator, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of millhouse46
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

millhouse46, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of prosper
4.58/5  rDev +12.5%

Canned, this is VERY different than bottled! It's noticeably fresher - more yeastiness, more like a home-brewed beer. Some lightly roasty malts in the flavour that I haven't noticed before. More yeast, though - bubblegummy fruity pear-like ripe fruits, with a trace of butttery diacetyl distinctly noticeable.

Doesn't seem as hoppy, though. It's not particularly bitter, nor citrussy. Some citrus, along with the sweet crystal malt with the IBU's makes for an almost marmalade-like character to it, but none of the fresh dry-hop sort of flavour that I remember in the bottled version.

prosper, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of jamesgaither
5/5  rDev +22.9%

jamesgaither, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of Finatic
5/5  rDev +22.9%

Finatic, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of cates1tg
4/5  rDev -1.7%

cates1tg, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of pettis
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%

330ml bottle into a US pint glass. Golden copper, very thin white lacing on top. Nice malty caramel in the nose with mild hop bitterness.

Very pleasant beer to sip and has disappeared far too quickly. Lots of fantastic malt flavor--hints of caramel, toffee--and just enough hop bitterness to balance things out and leave a crisp finish on the tongue.

Taste-wise, this seems like an excellent session beer. Perfect balance between smooth, full malt flavor and subtle hop bitterness in the background. At nearly 6% abv, though, I imagine this ale could catch up to one in a hurry considering how drinkable it is.

pettis, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of barnzy78
4/5  rDev -1.7%

barnzy78, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of oldp0rt
4/5  rDev -1.7%

oldp0rt, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of captainbearcat
5/5  rDev +22.9%

captainbearcat, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of TEAMHOLT
5/5  rDev +22.9%

TEAMHOLT, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of RoryOMoore
5/5  rDev +22.9%

RoryOMoore, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of Hophead717
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Hophead717, Nov 22, 2011
Photo of ultrasupergenius
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%

500 ml bottle served in a small glass.

Amber hinting copper in color. Fine pronounced head, recedes quickly to a small / fine grained collection along the rim of the glass.

Good mouth feel - just complete, but hints that it will be hollow towards the start (nut fills out nicely). Long lingering finish of bittering hops - but not over powering. Just there.

Small beads of CO2 provide a nice tingle.

Malty, first and foremost. Some alcohol. Hops are bitter at the end. Balanced. Nothing out of whack.

A good ESB overall.

ultrasupergenius, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of Pellinore1
5/5  rDev +22.9%

Pellinore1, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of RedAleMan
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

RedAleMan, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of virinow
4/5  rDev -1.7%

virinow, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of nh2032
4/5  rDev -1.7%

nh2032, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of Nightrain87
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Nightrain87, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of KDawg
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%

had this from bottle and poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark gold/amber color with not much of a head

very aromatic with bitter notes, toffee, caramel, and a good amount of malt aromas.

medium/full bodied but seeming to lack something on the feel. But, the flavors are very good with some bitter tones, caramel and malts

This is the gold standard for ESBs and I do love it. Brings everything you want from a bitter with just the right amount of bite to it as well

KDawg, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of bacher468
4/5  rDev -1.7%

bacher468, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of CellarGimp
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

CellarGimp, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of thearsenal
4/5  rDev -1.7%

thearsenal, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of thehyperduck
4.26/5  rDev +4.7%

500 mL can from the LCBO; best before June 2012. I have been a fan of several other Fuller's brews for quite a while, but the ESB is one I have never gotten around to trying until now. Served a little warmer than the recommended range.

Pours a bright, clear brassy-orange colour, with almost two fingers of silky off-white head on top. Retention is ok; the head lasts more than a few minutes before it finally vanishes, leaving behind a thin, even creamy cap on the surface. Webs of lacing stick to the sides of the glass. Lovely aroma; toasted nuts, toffee and leafy, English hops are very prominent, alongside fruity prune, plum and pear notes.

Nice flavour; good balance but leaning on the malts, which are of a toasted, biscuit-y, nutty nature. Fruity esters reminiscent of buttery pear and apricot, in addition to tea leaf, toffee and butterscotch notes. More leafy, earthy English hops that provide a pleasant bitterness in the finish that lingers briefly. Medium-bodied, with very mild, almost flat carbonation. A little slippery in the mouth, but exceptionally smooth and easy to drink.

Not my favourite offering from this brewery, but still a solid ESB. Very enjoyable, and a good, 'heavier' sessionable alternative to their London Pride. I'll get this again at some point I'm sure, and would certainly recommend to anyone looking for a good bitter.

[Updated Jan. 8 2014]

I picked up another can to compare it with a few other bitters - Wells Bombardier, Trafalgar ESB and Wellington Best Bitter. This one wins the four-way showdown, edging out Bombardier by a nose. Fuller's ESB has a delicious malt backbone of toffee and nuts, in addition to notes of orchard fruit and a leafy, mildly bittersweet finish likely to please most English ale fans. Bitters have never been a 'go-to' style for me, but this is one of the best ones and I would never turn down a pint of such prestigious ale.

Final Grade: 4.31, an A.

thehyperduck, Nov 18, 2011
Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 2,369 ratings.