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Fuller's ESB - Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

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Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB

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2,544 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,544
Reviews: 1,279
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 93
Gots: 177 | 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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,544 | Reviews: 1,279 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mdwalsh
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A fluffy, full and well textured head on top of an amber-red body. I've been canning so condensation is forming like madness on the glass, but it seems pretty clean and there's nice active carbonation. The color is a little dark, but the great lacing makes up for that. But the head doesn't stay around for long. Sad.

S: Light hops, they're very much there, but not overpowering. Herbal, but I pick up a little grapefruit as well. Simple, but you know it's there.

T: Well balanced and light. Not really "extra bitter" at all though. I get bready and toasty notes of malt, nothing roasted though, nor burnt. More of a dry malty taste though than sweet, underattenuated malt. Very nice, very quaffable.

M: It leaves me feeling a little dry in the mouth, and I think if I drank this all night I would get serious cotton mouth. But other than that, it's fairly light, not too carbonated but not flat either.

D: As I said, very quaffable. I could see putting back quite a few of these.

Photo of aeminter
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - light brown (reminds me of iced tea), almost 2 fingers of foamy white head
S - moderate hop aroma with a definite caramel smell.
T - mild and balanced, initial malt sweetness with a nice punch of hop bitterness in the back of the mouth which lasts only a few seconds. medium finish
M - moderate carbonation

Photo of juhl31
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

wrote this a little bit later than i wanted to and didnt give myself enough notes, but i remember liking it although i thought it would be a bit more flavorful

-light amber in color with a smallish head

-a fruity nose with a touch of hops

-again it is sweet and a bit fruity with minimal hops

-some carb mouth in there

-good summer drink and a solid english esb

Photo of PEIBeerGuy
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A dark, copper/amber with a slightly creamy head that trails down the sides of the glass.

The smell is definitely enticing. Not the best beer I've smelled, but definitely among the best/better ones.

Rich, smooth, & slightly creamy, this beer tastes good at every stage of a sip. I like its earthy, natural tones... kind of a woody/smokiness in the aftertaste that I really enjoy... maybe a bit of a burnt caramel taste. Also some lighter hints of some citrus.

Feels great in the mouth. Creamy, not really "chewy" as some might say, but not watery at all, either. The light tingle of carbonation lingers on the tongue. Just about right. No complaints.

Very drinkable. I wouldn't sit and drink a case, but the best beers shouldn't be consumed like that, anyway. A couple or few of these would be great.

Photo of droomyster
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy amber with medium size off-white head that laces the glass. Its aromas of toffee and autumn leaves is very pleasant. Flavors of minerals, herbs and leafy hops do an excellent job of supporting its toasty and fruity malt profile, reminiscent of trail mix with dried apricots I'm sold on this classic.

Photo of hoplover82
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a crystal clear deep golden color with a medium creamy off white head that slowly dissapates to a thin film on the beer leaving only a solid colar around the beer. As the beer comes down the glass there is not much lacing.

S-I am drinking this right after fullers london pride and I'd say it smells way too much like their pale ale. I smell the smame fruity esthers, the same sweet pale malts, same earthy/floral hops. It's not bad, but you'd think that being a whole different style of beer, it would have a very different aroma.

T-And the flavor is much of the same, but with an added toasty malt character to it. It's nice with a little bit more bitterness than their pale ale.

M-A full-medium body that is creamy. There also is a setback to the mouthfeel, a slight hot alcohol bite, which is not desirable.

D-Although there is a slight alcohol hotness, I think this beer could be quite sessionable. It's a good beer, just not all I was expecting.

Photo of dbmcrorie
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz brown bottle with Best Before date printed on back. Label boats of being the "World's Original Bitter". Poured into an American pint glass.

Pours a copper amber body with a light khaki head; dissipates quickly to a ring of sticky lacing.

Exceptionally smooth. Soft hop residue swirls with caramel malt, candy esters, and faint metallic notes in the nose. There is a dry grain somewhere in the middle trying to peak through, but fades as quick as the hops.

Leafy hop profile leads into a juicy wet mouthfeel. Hints of chocolate and caramel lay underneath the rich and toasted malt body. Sugary sweetness tickles the tongue as the malt makes it way through the mouth. A flash of toasted pecans in the finish. Faint bitterness slowly fades in along the back sides of the tongue, but offers no astringency or drying bitterness (as seen in most Bitters). Pleasant earthy aftertaste leaves you with a flavored, yet clean, palate.

Phenomenal bitter. I would approve of ESB's more often if they followed this brew's format. Great malty platform with enough toastiness to offer a bitter profile, but not too many hops to overwhelm the palate; just enough to add flavor and ambiance. Extremely smooth and enjoyable.
Because of the smooth profile, I would suggest pairing more delicately. Try starting with any nutty cheese or sharp cheddars. It could easily go well with smoked seafood or lightly fried game. However, despite common suggestions, I would almost avoid heavily/deep fried foods, simply because of this beer's smooth profile. Instead, try softer dishes such as pizza or lamb. This is definitely a beer that can open up wonders to various cuisines.


Photo of velosuds
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16.9oz heavy dark brown bottle into a clear pint glass with very attractive label. Best by date of October 5, 2009. Single purchased at Cost Plus World Market.

A-Pours a copper-amber with nearly a one finger cream color head. A more vigorous pour of the remaining content produced a two finger head. Very scant lacing. Very effervescent.

S-Mildly fruity with hints of sweet caramel malt. Not much hop aroma.

T-Fruity with a pleasant malt sweetness. Finishes with noticeable hop bitterness. Nicely balanced and complex.

M-Very smooth and extremely well balanced, even slightly chewy.

D-Not as bitter as I expected. And thus more drinkable. This is very nice, but not a favored style of mine.

Photo of Jeffo
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got tjhs at the LCBO in my town.

From a bottle into a pint glass.

APPEARANCE: Pours a fluffy 2 finger medium off-white head. Color is a rust brown with lower end carbonation evident. Head quickly recedes to a good foam cap, but only a ring remains around the rim leaving no lacing down the sides.

SMELL: Caramel malt with some floral hops and citrus notes. A touch of toffee and sweet honey as well. Some bread notes with hints of vanilla in the background. Complex and very enticing indeed.

TASTE: Follows the nose very well, with caramel malt, toffee, along side floral and citrus notes. Some vanilla touches come through, as well as a strong dose of bitter hops at the finish. A stronger and longer lasting bitter-sweet aftertaste is a very welcome ending.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Goes down creamy smooth and finishes slightly dry on the palate. Complements the taste profile well. Good for the style.

OVERALL: Great strong bitter. Perhaps this one doesn't get the notoriety it deserves because it's so easy to find. Great nose and taste profile, this is one worth checking out if you're a fan of bitters and haven't gotten around to it yet. Recommended.

Photo of allergictomacros
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Clear copper with an inch of jiggly tan foam. Nose is sweet malt, grapefruit and lemon, light caramel. Taste is caramel, juicy lemon hops and a light toasted grain. Some butter perhaps and light fruitiness and a background nuttiness as well. Finish is a slow, mild bitterness and a bit of metal. Smooth, medium body and low-ish carbonation. Incredibly well balanced and drinkable.

Photo of ADZA
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a pale copper hue with nice carbonation that leaves a one finger head with sporadic lacing,it has aromas of fruity hops and a malty alcohol backbone,it has an above average mouthfeel with a big citrus floral hop taste that finishes with a nice strong malty,bitter finish,quite a nice beer thats easy to drink.

Photo of 2roosters
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type: 500ml brown bottle with best before date

Appearance: Cooper, gold thin slightly off white head that doesn't last but good lacing

Smell: Caramel, malt with a bit of yeast in the background

Taste: Delicious, roasted nuts and yeasty grain with a bit of floral undercurrent. A classic of it's style.

Mouthfeel: the only shortcoming is a bit of a short finish

Drinkability: Too rich for a session, well maybe a small session but two is a good number - maybe three.

Photo of jsh420
3.33/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

best by 01/01/2010

pours copper with a 2 finger head that leaves lacing

smell - something is off here reminds me of sunscreen

taste - good thing the sunscreen smell does not come through - but still the beer taste like you standard english pale with some fruit and nutty flavors

mouthfeel is light and a little thin - no carbonation

drinkability is good if you can get past the smell

Photo of Brenden
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew's a rich amber, almost copper, color. A slightly orange-tinted head sat at about one finger, leaving some thin patches of lacing partway down the glass.
There's a light hops aroma with a malt back and a bright, subtle sweetness.
The flavor is to par, with a little bit of a metallic touch that just barely touches the tongue and then is gone. There seem to be a nice mix of malts in this one, making for a nice complexity that doesn't overwhelm the senses. The bitter of this one is all for the flavor, neither destroying the palate for the novelty of it or too weak, making this about as well-crafted a bitter as could be.
The mouthfeel is very smooth, almost creamy. Body is moderate and carbonation is fairly light.
This is a tasty bitter with great balance, delicacy, and craftsmanship.

Photo of zornbeast
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fuller's ESB lived up to my memories. The wonderful complexity of a beer you could easily quaff all night. It came out a shade darker than Amber, great clarity, a modest carbonation (classic to the style). The aroma was fantastic, notes of malt sweetness with a hop aroma that was gone before you could put your finger on it. Taste is full but not heavy, delicate flavors of the English hops surround the tongue as the malt complexities become more apparent. Starts with the toffee, caramel malted flavorings and finishes slightly sweet with a mellow honey note that was delicious. Finishes a bit full in combination with a slightly less carbonation left the beer feeling richer and more complex. This still is a classic among English beers. As Sierra Nevada is to Pale Ale, we can see Fuller's is to ESB.

Photo of gory4d
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep toffee color with a dense white head, lots of lacing -- this is a good-looking beer. The smell is grain, brown sugar/mild molasses, hay or dry grass, flowers. The taste comes on big and malty, moves into nice raw sugar notes, then grain, with orange-peel tang and more sweet malt in the finish. It's highly carbonated, light in body, refreshing but rich. It's not a sipper: a slow gulper, perhaps. The best in its class.

Photo of rfgetz
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Crystal clear copper/amber color. Thin white head, minimal retention but good lacing.

S - Malts! Carmel and sweet malts. yeasty bread scents. Light fruity hop note.

T - Malts! roasted nuts, cereal grains, sweet carmel. Sweet fruity hop background. Light hints of bread.

M - Medium bodied, excellent carbonation level.

D - Excellent beer in its class! top notch.

Photo of trentley87
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My first experience with the ESB...wow!

Deep rich amber color with a thing, rapidly dissipating head.
Aroma is fairly light hops, hard to detect much of anything. Citrus hops flavors with a nice malt balance in the finish. Perfectly balanced. Mouthfeel is smooth and dry with just the right amount of carbonation. Crisp. I could drink this all night.

Photo of mltobin
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Upon pouring the Fullers ESB into a pint glass, the appearance is a thick amber color, quite a bit of cloudiness to the looks of it.
Smell consists of light hops, bitterness, and dryness.
Taste is rich, sweet, with caramel and hop aspects also coming into play here. Mouthfeel is earthy, fairly robust, finishes dry. Drinkability is better than average, very good beer.

Photo of Offa
5/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this beer from the bottle as much as from the tap. It is an incredible blend of full flavour, character, and complexity, with balance, and high drinkability, sweetness and bitterness both persent yet balanced and restrained. The bottle review is basically the same as my tap review because it find it largely the same both ways.

It is deep amber with a huge, long-lasting off-white head that slowly shrinks and never vanishes, leaving a little lacing.

The aroma is rich, highly appealing, and complex, with lots of caramelly toast, leaves, nuts, bread crust, fruit, with citrus, yeast, and hints of coconut, pineapple, and pine.
The taste is smooth and with plenty of sweetness and bitterness,incredibly balanced, with the edge just to the oily, full sweetness. It has complex flavours of caramel, nuts, bread, fruit, citrus, earthy pine, a wonderful, full body and slightly oily, yet lively texture. It also has a light, zesty quality and spiciness. It has a faintly sweet-sour, yeasty fruitiness under the predominantly caramelly-toasty-leafy character, but plenty of other elements mixed in.

Photo of ThickestHead
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chilled imperial pint glass.
Comes a clear dark copper with a small, dense off-white head that leaves spotty lacing.
Smells and tastes of earthy hops and a rich caramalized toasted malt.
Has a smooth medium body with light carbonation and leaves a pleasant bitterness in the finish.
Overall, a tasty brew and one I could enjoy again and again, but I will still prefer a Summit ESB to this.

Photo of mrmanning
3.08/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sample- Half pint on tap.
Poured with a rich, thick, off white head. Colour was a dark amber. Tasted sweet, malty and almost like a choclate bar. Went down smooth, with a great malty and bready aftertaste that kept me coming back for more. Recommended!

Photo of GilGarp
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best before 5-OCT-09.

Served cool in an imperial pint glass.

A pale golden amber color with good clarity and thin head.

Aroma is that of sweet fermented apples, mild hops, and english yeast.

Flavor is sweet up front with apples and bread. It turns bitter towards the middle but never gets to be too much. Finishes with a clean dry snap. There is a little bit of toasty grains and a carmel flavor that go really well together.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side with lower carbonation. Drinkability is strong with this beer - very enjoyable if not very challenging.

Served at room temperature with that creamy cask carbonation is truly where it's at but it's still good out of the bottle.

Photo of aristeros
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an amber tinged with red into my Bodum pint glass. A one-finger white head fades with decent lacing. Good clarity. Visible carbonation. Smells of honey and sweet malts, with a bit of bittering hops on the back end.

Strong, well-balanced malt presence. Toffee, some roasted malts in the background, honey, with hops present particularly after the swallow, lingering but not for very long.

True to the style and won't ruin your palate. Interesting, decently sessionable. I am reminded of Well's Bombardier in a good way. Glad I tried this.

Photo of horshack7
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Out of a twelve ounce bottle comes a very nice amber with red hues around the edges. A head that is about one finger thick but thins out quick. A little bit of lace is left behind.

Aroma: A light hop aroma but balanced out by the malts. It does have slight hints of syrup or sugar wandering around.

Taste: A nice crisp mouthfeel with a sticky toffee like finish. A nice balance between malts and hops but it does lean towards the sweet side.

Notes: A relatively balanced e.s.b a great year round beer. Also a very good example of what this style should be. Cheers.

Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 2,544 ratings.