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Fuller's ESB - Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

Not Rated.
Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB

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2,569 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,569
Reviews: 1,281
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 92
Gots: 190 | 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.
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Ratings: 2,569 | Reviews: 1,281 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at d.b.a. in NYC.

Fuller's ESB is a sunburst orange hue. The beer has a fluffy, off-white head that has lasting retention and leaves plenty of lacing about the pint glass. The aroma consists of English malts and a very enticing biscuit scent. This beer has a terrific flavor. It is very malt forward and remarkably smooth. The feel is fantastic and the aftertaste is of subtle spices and malts. I could easily enjoy several of these in a session.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark auburn with edges of coppery rust red. Aroma was sweet, a tad dry.

Taste, again, sweet and dry. A degree of complimentary Euro hops. Small bubbles. Typical Fuller's yeast I imagine is what makes this work. Minimal citrus, some breadiness, good degree of bitterness, more than most esb's out of the island. A neat beer to change it up for a hophead or extreme beer guy or whatnot.

Photo of drabmuh
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Spent the day getting the car worked on and thoroughly weeding the yard and mowing. Review #999, that is close to a power of 10 therefore its of special importance.

Poured from a bottle into a bruery tulip glass. Beer is dark amber / brown and clear. Forms a thin diffuse head that leaves very little lacing on the glass. Carbonation is low.

Aroma is mild, a little bit of roast a little bit of toffee.

The beer has a light to medium body, its quite smooth. Minimal carbonation in the mouth overall. Its highly drinkable, there is a mild aftertaste. Overall its quite good.

Photo of Lauthaha
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle into a mini mug.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful amber/auburn color. The way the mug is contoured, it looks darker in the middle, almost as though a shot of cola syrup was added to a red beer. Gorgeous. The head is about 1/2 finger thick even five minutes after pour. Only slightly cloudy; so maybe partially filtered? This one looks great.

Smell: Also gut. Gentle earthiness, strong but pleasant hop aroma, some sugar to the nose. I get the impression that this is a heavy beer! (See Style above...hahaha) Also, for some reason, I'm thinking rhubarb pie. Hmm, let's give it a taste.

Taste: Remarkable. A blast of flavor as it touches the tongue. I get a touch of honey, perhaps. Definitely a great choice of hops, the bitterness is supremely supplemented by a warm malt taste and candy sweetness. Aftertaste is mellow and unoffensive. This beer is awesome.

Mouthfeel: Pretty good here too. Upon entering, beer is foamy, yet liquid. The flavors dance within this interesting carbonation and recede gently after imbibing. Rinses clean, this is a good one!

Drinkability: I could have one every night, I think. Definitely a good beer to start out with...the first or second beer of the night. Lots of good flavor, but it doesn't kick you in the face with it. Bravissimo, Fuller's!

This was just another random beer in a mix-n-match six-pack, but I'm sure glad I stumbled upon it. I believe this is my first Fuller's, and the quality of this beer (even though it's supposedly a few months past its prime according to the date) makes me want to try some more of their brews. A definitely recommendation!

Photo of darkmartin
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours to a translucent caramel-brown with a small tan head that doesnt hang around. Leaves very thin lacing.

Smell: Smells of sweet caramel and slight citrus tones. Hops quite prevalent.

Taste: Very nice, sweet malt initial taste, followed by a robust, bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and creamy.

Drinkability: The mixture of the pleasingly sweet initial taste and the nicely bitter finish makes this an excellent esb.

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

Nice beer.... but not in the top 100. Geez!

appearance: reddish brown copperish, great head and lacing.

smell: good hop presence from the first sniff, sublte citrus and caramel

taste: strong hops, sublte citrus, rich and touch of caramel sweetness.

mouthfeel: medium bodied

drinkability: nice esb!

Photo of baseballrock
3.86/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - burnt orange color with a reddish hue. the head on this pour is pretty average, though i have had this beer on draft and its head was supper thick.

S - Floral hop aroma, a slight sourness is detected

T - Bitterness that is sweeter than most. Probably becuase of the English hops that i am not accustomed to. At first the malts masks the hop character, but as you sip the hops take over.

M - medium bodied, complex with flavors.

D - Decent, the whole time i was drinking the beer i was trying to place all the flavors i was tasting.

Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured in a chalice.

Traditional British Bitter. "Bloody Lovelly".

A: Beautiful amber color. Medium size yellow head which dissipates leaving some lacings (not much)
S: Characterisitc British yeasts and flowery hops. Caramel malts
T: Like the nose. Characterisitc British yeasts, caramel malts and flowery hops. Simple but lovely beer
M: Medium body. Low carbonation. Delicious moderate bitterness
D: High as a good British Ale should be

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

Light brown with a touch of red and a fizzy head that does not last. Some sticky lacings on the glass. Light, sweet caramle malt smell with hints of butter, biscuit, and dark cherry. Very smooth feel with typical light ESB carbonation. Sweet malty beginning that leads to bitter, almost spicy middle that tapers to a dry, dark cherry, and biscuit ending. A smooth easy drinking ESB.

Photo of juju7
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Could've sworn I'd already reviewed this...apparently not. Don't know why I hadn't - I love this beer. A true benchmark in Bitter Ales. If you haven't had one before check out the description of ESBs in the styles section coz this fits that description perfectly. Balance is the main feature of this beer. Mostly caramel malt driven but some floral hop aromas holding theirown too. Smooth, assertive and moreish. Classic.

Photo of Chico1985
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amber color with a very nice creamy white head. Retains well and leaves lots of lacing.

Smell is very malty, caramel and bready.

Taste is great. Very subtle, smooth, and balanced. Caramel, biscuit, toffee, fruit, nuts. Simple yet not. Carbonation is on the low side.

An excellent beer that seems to be overlooked alot. To me it drinks like an incredibly well-made beer, the balance and smoothness are so well-done. Belongs in the same tier as Ayinger Celebrator and Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier.

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

Picked up a case of this while in London. Beautiful clear, copper pour with a great head and nice lacing. Huge, wonderful toasty, complex nose with dark caramel malt up front along with butterscotch, tea and biscuits. The taste is perfectly balanced and complex with malty caramel, butterscotch, brown sugar, nuts and biscuit, combined with a nice subtle hop bitter bite on the finish. All of that combined with the smooth Fullers mouthfeel that seems to be present in all their stuff, make this one of my favorite session beers. World class!

Photo of bsp77
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Clear amber with moderate off-white head and very slight lacing.

Smell: Caramel malt and fairly complex English hops - spicy, floral, metallic and a tad citrusy. Aroma is a little too subdued after initial pour.

Taste: Relatively mild but complex with caramel, tea, cherry, spice and light citrus. Great balance between malt and hops and just a little bitter.

Feel: Moderate carbonation,medium body that is very smooth, dry finish.

Drinkability:The definitive ESB and a great English Ale overall. Very drinkable.

Photo of bobsy
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is canned for the Ontario market, and as much as I enjoy it in that format, I don't find it to be comparable to the beer on tap, which if the focus of this review.

Pours a nice, crisp deep orange with a finger of creamy white head that laces generously, and exhibits good retention as it slowly drops to a film. The aroma brings to mind, biscuit and brown sugar, along with a slightly spicy floral note - quite pleasing for an ESB.

The flavour is fairly malt forward, and the hopping is quite restrained in comparison to an ESB like Rogue's Brutal Bitter, but still brings a refined citric bitterness. Again, the biscuit forms the backbone of the brew, upon which waves of caramel slowly build, before culminating in a delightful kiss of citrus/floral hops. Extremely well-balanced, and a great flagship for the styel. Medium-light mouthfeel and medium carbonation seems about right for the style.

In the can its not a bad beer, but hardly a game changer. On tap its an entirely different beast, dispaying a great balance of flavour and an excellent consideration of both the hops and the malt. Not only is this a great ESB, but its a fine advert for the English sensibility when it comes to brewing. Lovely stuff and the epitiomy of the style.

Photo of deapokid
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light brown in color with no head retention, this UK classic makes up for the lack of foam with sticky lacing and an appealing creamy richness.

Smell is hard candy sweet with hints of syrup, butter, caramel and a slight biscuit quality. Upon closer inspection, hints of alcohol and roasted almonds peak out from behind the doughy stink.

Beer has a sweet opening, followed by a cornbread/biscuit conclusion and hints of dark/dried fruit. Yeast and malt are the two strongest flavors followed by a caramel taste that's reminscent of Werther's original candy.

Mouth is smooth and luscious and the concluding "bitterness" isn't actually bitter, but more of a pleasing and crisp dryness.

This is stronger than most English session beers, but here in the States, we like our chugging beers to have a bit more muscle and this definitely fits the bill.

Photo of ectomorph
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Brilliantly clear amber with lively carbonation forming a small but persistent white head.

S - Faint honey, caramel, and fresh bread up front. Mild fruitiness makes me think of grapes, raisin bread, and a hint of oats.

T - Honey on fresh crackers. The sweetness is balanced at the back with rather assertive English hops. The earthy and spicy hops play well together in the flavor additions. Almost a hint of apricot in the finish.

M - Medium body is crisp but not overly dry. Can a beer be crisp and rich at the same time? Yes they can! Who knew?

D - Very high I'm afraid. This is the epitome of session beers despite the near 6% ABV...

Probably the best ESB I've ever had. Definitely the best commercial example.

Photo of AmberMan22
4.62/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Damn, just missed being the 1000th review. Could've had it, too.

In my opinion, this is what a beer should be. I really enjoy the ESB style because of the exceptional balance between hops and malted grains.

Pours a clear amber hue, decent head retention and a bit of lacing.
Smell is is a wonderfully balanced, bready, toast, sweet and hoppy melange.
Taste is just what makes everything about beer great. Nothing too polarizing -- you won't find 120 IBU's or burnt, triple fermented malt grains. Just a good, honest beer that delivers great taste.

Maybe slightly too heavy to be a superb session beer (plus I never would've guessed 5.9% ABV) But this is a real winner in my book. Don't care that it's not "bitter" since that's not what the style is about, considering these guys wrote the book on ESB's.

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

Copper color, clear. Some fine bubbles. Head looks fluffy, leaves a few lacing on the glass.

Caramel-toffee malts, toasted, spicy hops, some fruity.

Caramel-toffee malts up front, mild toasted, along with spicy/herbal hops. Hint of buttery in the middle. Finish off zesty citrus with mild dry aftertaste. Body is pretty creamy, carbonation is mild.

Very drinkable. I really enjoy this beer a lot.

Photo of dolzan
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Date of tasting: 17.7.2010

Appearance is clear, a mixture of red and brown colours with a froth that diminishes pretty quickly.

Smell is somewhat spicy, but pleasant.

Smooth, creamy ale, with a moderately bitter finish, the carbonation is very soft. A highly drinkable ale, one of the very best bitters I have ever tasted.

Photo of BeerNemesis
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Fuller's ESB | 500 ml. | 5.9% ABV | 2010

Brewer: Fuller Smith & Turner PLC (London, England)
Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Glass: Pint

The standard Fuller's 1/2 liter bottle has an unusual, but attractive shape. The new blue and gold label is bold but elegant -- a tough combo to pull off.

Clear amber with a 1" snow white head and wild lacing. On the better side of standard.

Caramelized sugars belie a much more metallic malt. Fruity esters hint at the alcohol.

Rich, sweet caramel maltiness brimming with a crisp, ginger-like bite and just a hint of carob. Though straightforward, the flavors are exceptionally well balanced.

Bright and bubbly, the medium bodied gives some heft, and the carbonation adds a playful nip. Excellent.

Simply the best ESB I have ever had. Fuller's nailed it.

Would I get it again?:
[Yes] In a heartbeat. It's such a high-quality brew, but simple enough to be enjoyed repeatedly. Highly recommend.

Bottled on: It doesn't say (best before Sept. 25, 2010)
Served on: July 13, 2010

Price = ?

Photo of BeerAndBourbon
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Pours a slightly rust colored orange with a thick creamy white head that dissipates slowly leaving thick residual lacing.

S. Hay, pale malt, some mild sweetness.

T. Light malty bread upfront with a hoppy bitterness that I recognize as distinctly British.

M. Crisp and refreshing - read: medium body with brisk carbonation.

D. A good level of bitterness with a crisp carbonation. I'd prefer an American IPA mostly because I prefer the fresh American hop flavors more, but this is a good beer that I wouldn't refuse.

Photo of BretSikkink
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear copper orange color with a frothy off white head. Served in a nonic pint, the head sticks pretty well to the sides. Nose struggles a little to breach this slurry. Malty caramel and toffee, with a hint of earthy hops. Herbal undercurrent.

The flavor profile remains malty, bringing a little more toffee diacetyl than the nose. There's some herbal notes from the hops, and some crispy toast. Finishes a little dry and herbal, with smooth mouthfeel delivering just a hint of alcohol.

Drinkable, even-handed beer. Not an exuberant style, but a good pub kind of beer.

Photo of thecarster1
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a- bottle poured into a pint, one finger of head, crystal clear amber color with ruby highlights, uneven pattern of lace with a big bubbly ring around the glass, cool bottle.

s- spice, malt, some fruit - maybe berries, dry, bready and sweet. complex nose.

t- very balances, faintly bitter ending, fruity, some dried berries, sweet fresh baked bread dough, light grapefruit, lemon hops on the back end.

m- light to medium body, slickness and coating.

d- really top notch esb, probably the best i've ever had. i would pick up this beer again for sure.

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

Tasted 01/01/08

Appearance: Poured a cleared amber, off white head. Retained well and left a bit of lacing.

Aroma: Toasted malt, bread, light hops.

Taste: Caramel, toasted bread, touch of diacetyl.

Mouthfeel: Medium light bodied.

Final Statement: Enjoyed the beer, good to have a couple of, but would not repeat all that often.

Photo of nicnut45
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

a-A dark copper, clear. 3/4" of off white head settles to a thin tight beady patch.

S-Beautiful earthy hop smell, like fresh mushrooms. A clean scent throughout. Sugar cookie dough sweetness from the malt. Beautifully balanced beer. Hop and malt both seperate and compliment each other wonderfully.

T-Bitterness comes through upfront followed by a pleasent alcohol warmth. Upon more discernment a floral taste from the hops is evident. Tastes a bit like tree sap. Malt hides faintly behind the bitterness, it wants to shineout but is subdued and is more evident after the swallow. All in all this lives up to its name, not overpowering but a interesting bitterness throughout.

M.F.-Lively carbonation and m.f. Carbonation really brings out the bitterness from hops. Smooth creaminess afterwards.

D-An interesting beer all in all. Sophisticated and doesnt hide behind blandness. You wil never forget it. But not something I would drink a lot ofin one night. But definetly something I would get again.

Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 2,569 ratings.