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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.

2,395 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,395
Reviews: 1,261
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 74
Gots: 121 | 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
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Ratings: 2,395 | Reviews: 1,261 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Jmamay22
3.55/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This ESB from the Griffin Brewery pours a deep rich amber color. Nice full sized head featuring an orange tinted off white. Nice gobs of lacing down the walls of my glass.

First whiff reveals walnuts and caramel sweetness. Light currents of fruit waft in and out. Balanced by a grape fruit hop aroma.

Taste is more of the same although slightly favoring the malts. Some of the fruit has given way to a more intense malt experience. Lightly tastes of toasted nuts, but the caramel sweetness pushes forward boldly. The diacetyl comes off tasting a little like butterscotch and I can't truly decide if it's slightly off-putting or enjoyable. Somehow a bit of both. Finishes with a balancing hop character that never quite reaches a climax.

The beer is lightly carbonated and has a medium mouthfeel than can be a little metallic at times. Certain characteristics of this beer come through as world class, but little annoyances such as the diacetyl and metallic qualities hold it back. I understand that diacetyl is a characteristic of the style, but at times it doesn't sit comfortably with the rest of the beer.

Jmamay22, Aug 29, 2008
Photo of changeup45
3.1/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

At first I wasn't overly impressed, but as I worked my way through the pint bottle I had, I began to enjoy it more and more. Amber colored with a medium foamy head, but it lasts throughout the entire beer and forms a nice amount of lace. Somewhat malty aroma, and a little fruity. Malty flavor, sour with crisp hoppy bitterness. Re-rate 8/9/08. Hand pulled at The Frosty Mug. Maybe my palate has changed but this isn't as great as I remembered. Nice creamy head and lacing. More malty than hoppy, caramel, a bit bready with light bitterness but a bit thin.

changeup45, Aug 24, 2008
Photo of barefootbrewer
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a clear brown color with a big rocky head. The aroma is malty and caramel. The flavor is malty, nutty and sweet with a hint of bitterness. The mouthfeel is big and lush and just shy of chewy. Overall, this beer has great balance and is a good drinking beer.

barefootbrewer, Aug 20, 2008
Photo of Stonebreaker
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: One of the best aspects of the the beer, deep brown, thick head with a lacing that is leaving consecutive hoops around the glass.

Smell: Not too sweet, mild alcohol and malt.

Taste: Little bit of malt upfront then the bubbling cabonation, bitter comes on strong and then another wave of malt with a strong bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy and smooth for a beer of this thickness/gravity.

Drinkability: If it weren't for the high price I would definitely down a few of these, at the bar, though its not all the time I'm in the mood for an ESB.

Stonebreaker, Aug 13, 2008
Photo of Chinon01
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Thin soapy head. Dark tea color.

Nose - Roasted malt and mineral.

Taste - Malty goodness roasty flavor melds with the minerality. Fruit character, fig and raisin. Tea flavor as well. Low hop profile in finish further adds to complexity.

Mouthfeel and Drinkabilty - Both are fairly rugged due to minerality

Chinon01, Aug 12, 2008
Photo of Haybeerman
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark amber with bit of haze. Thin tight head dissipated quickly. Thin, clear lacing all the way down.

S: Sweet, dark fruits and pretty sharp alcohol aroma.

T: Pleasing malt character; toffee and caramel. Consistent with smell, dark fruit tastes.

M: Smooth, but a light to medium body. Just felt a little thin but had a nice clean, dry finish.

D: Very drinkable; finish was very pleasing. A nice warming ESB; for the style, this is a favorite.

Haybeerman, Aug 01, 2008
Photo of OtherShoe2
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From tap received a nice red/copper brew with a slight bubbly head. Minimal lacing.

Scent is of some mild hop, caramel/sugar, and sweet malt.

This is a low(er) carbonation brew. Creamy mouthfeel -- almost soft. Some metallic flavors here, and the caramel, juicy fruits, and a moderate bitter hop finish.

Decided to try this from the tap (as compared to the bottle). Very different. Tap is creamier and softer. I like this one, and could put a couple back, but I think I would get a little bored after a few. Worth a shot; a decent brew.

OtherShoe2, Jul 27, 2008
Photo of Proteus93
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served as a bottle at Basil's Mediterranian Bistro in Charlottesville with a frosted Golden Carolus goblet. Replacing it with a fresh one was not a problem, which was a nice service.

A: Poured a rich and darker golden with a froth, offfwhitte headd. Nice and sticky, bubbly, reasonable retention (on the shorter side?)

S: Honeydew? Fresh floral scents with the melon... honeysuckle, perhaps? A nice, sweet malt aroma. Very nice, and as it warmed, a mild bittering of hops was more apparent.

T: A soft toffee flavour (moreso than caramel), hints of cigarbox tobacco, flowery.

M + D: Soft, creamy, a little zing of carbonation. Quite smooth. This is an astonishingly easy to drink beer, and one that I'd session, hands down. Excellent.

Proteus93, Jul 22, 2008
Photo of HoppyMcStout
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer had a nice reddish-brown hue to it. Good head when poured into a pint glass. Of course there is a bitter kick to this beer, but it's surprisingly balanced with a certain creaminess that adds to the experience. Admittedly I am not a huge fan of this variety, but found it pretty tasty in general.

HoppyMcStout, Jul 21, 2008
Photo of joshwlt
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Burnt-amber, orange and brown color, Cream colored short head. malty smell with a bit of cocoa, earthy bitter hop smell...bittersweet. Taste Creamy toffee malt, lightly buttery, bitter hop...slightly pine, slightly earthy. This stuff is going down pretty quick. Moderately thin yet again slightly creamy and oily. Sessionable for me. I suggest it... I'd like to explore more bitters after this.

joshwlt, Jul 17, 2008
Photo of Mryup
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a caramel/amber with 3/4 inch of off white head after a medium pour. The head soon dissipates into a thin sheet with a larger ring.

S: Its smells phenomenally balanced. Hops dominate with sweet fruit and alcohol esters. Toasted malt. Hmmm..raisins, plums, and pairs.

T: Mellow hops dominate with lots of earthy tones. Very interesting texture. The fruit doesn't come out anymore. Still hints of pair.

M: Medium bodied mouthfeel. CO2 is adequate.

D: Average.

A very good pale ale but not the standard I think.

Mryup, Jul 13, 2008
Photo of Natural510
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light amber color, decent head which dissipates not much lacing on the glass. Appears to be built for cask.
Smells malty with a light hoppiness.
Wonderful balance of malts & hops in this brew. Malts are sweet, giving an overall flavor of molasses, and the hops are understated but leave a nice bitter twang in the mouth.
Overall a very well-balanced beer with a crisp & mildly bitter finish. Perfect for any occasion.

Natural510, Jul 13, 2008
Photo of kbnooshay
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a nice dark amber orange color with a frothy and long lasting tan head. The malty aroma is complex with hints of caramel and butter. Kinda smells like a lipton brisk ice tea. The taste is amazingly rich! Very malty and sweet with slight hop flavor. Light metallic flavor. Weird.The bitterness is lighter than I would have expected but still nice. VERY low carbonation with a medium body. Very refreshing and drinkable brew.

kbnooshay, Jul 09, 2008
Photo of becktone
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From notes 7-2-08

Eye: Light brown in color and with yellowish and reddish tints and highlights. Body is crystal clear and looks lively with carbonation constantly streaming to the top of the glass. Head is a nice creamy whipped thing with nice retention and lacing. Bigger head and thicker lacing would just about do it. Overall looks great.

Nose: A malty aroma fills the room. Buttery and sweet malt aromas fill the nose once lifted to the face, caramel as well. Not really any hop aroma, but that can be expected, these beers are balanced in flavor, but not necessarily aroma. Really nice aroma overall, something that you just can't get enough of. Just quality malts here.

Tongue: Nice play of flavors here, nuttiness, definite caramel character-moreso than any I've ever tasted, this is like you're eating caramel candy. Biscuit type of flavors are also found, this beer is just bursting with flavors in the malt department...a real exploration of malt complexity. Hops aren't so much tasted as felt in my opinion. The bitterness gives some balance to this malty and sweet beer, Really by the time you've swallowed it and are ready for the next sip it is in perfect balance, the malt slowly sloughs off the palate while the hop bitterness slowly appears, giving you a very balanced beer. I think that this one would be even better with some more hop flavor, there really isn't all that much-some floral notes but barely perceivable-, just a tad to give the beer that added perception of balance.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Medium bodied on the palate with a long lasting flavor and just the right amount of carbonation tell me that this is an authentic ESB. Low levels of carbonation are really key here, giving this beer a perception that it is a cask ale. This is one I'll be picking up again next time I'm in the mood for and ESB, though I'm sure I'll be looking for others to try as well.

becktone, Jul 06, 2008
Photo of omnigrits
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a damn fine-looking beer. Very impressive head which slowly subsides to a thick film of bubbles that last all the way to the end of the pint. A good dark amber colour. Plenty of malt in the nose with a promise of hops to come. A good balance of both in the taste, tending towards the malty sweetness. I'd have preferred it to go the other way, in the direction of the hops, but that's merely a personal preference and I'm not going to mark it down for that - this is a very well-brewed beer. I do have to take off half a point for the mouthfeel though which I find a bit on the thin side. For a beer as good as this, I think the body should be a few dress sizes bigger.

omnigrits, Jun 24, 2008
Photo of fitzy84
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Moan and Dove. The drink had a good dark amber appearance with minimal lacing and a thin head throughout. Aromas were typically malty and a slight nut-like flavoring. Definitely roasty. Tastes were creamy and balanced; really well executed. Pretty sweet as well. The mouthfeel helped a lot in making this an enjoyably light and creamy beverage. Overall, pretty good.

fitzy84, Jun 23, 2008
Photo of hustlesworth
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- pours a clear rusty sepia/brown with golden highlights and a flurry of rising bubbles beneath a nice creamy soapy beige head.

S- very pronounced fruity and toasted aroma, with some caramel and dulce de leche and a little butterscotch with dried berries, honey-roasted nuts, and earthy british hops. nice sweet malty aroma, smells like a good balance.

T- starts off really sweet then to a fruity tartness then to sweet again then to toasty, malty, then to a crisp nutty bitter finish. hop bite is sharper and spicier than i usually associate with english ales and is preceded by mineral water, molasses, vanilla, and burnt orange peel with perhaps some very dark brandy soaked dried berries or raisins. kind of a boozy taste to this one as it leads into the bready stage, burnt biscuit bottom, and peanut skins, very well balanced into the earthy somewhat spicy and tea-like hop finish. as the hops fade away, the toasted malt comes back for an encore. nice.

MF- juicy and thicker than it looks, there seems to be alot of body in such a clear thin looking brew. refreshing and substantial, delicate medium low carbonation, and very grainy, went perfectly with home made salisbury steak topped with french onion soup, gruyere, and baby carrots last night.

D- a very smooth and drinkable bitter, i can see why it receives the acclaim that it does. definitely sets a standard and makes most bitters that i've had in the past a few strokes under par.

hustlesworth, Jun 20, 2008
Photo of mooseisloose
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Another selection from the new local "Pub" that is attracting beer lover's in droves. Served in an imperial pint (20 oz). Color is dark bronze with a creamy off-white head. Smell is rich and malty with slight earthy tones like peat. Taste is a smooth bitterness followed by a sweetness accompanied by the bitterness still lingering and a nutty flavored finish. This is an extremely enjoyable and highly drinkable brew.

mooseisloose, Jun 20, 2008
Photo of leif86
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle with a freshness/expiration date of 3/15/09

A: Dark but clear orange colored brew topped with a thin white head that does not last too long.

S: A fruity aroma -- something with a hint of apples.

T: Malty, slightly metallic, and a bitter and tart flavor that reminds me of grapefruit. Overall, delicious. The bitterness lingers for a minute or two, sticking to the inside of your mouth.

M: Thick but not syrupy or sticky. Not too carbonated. Goes down smooth.

D: A great ESB that I've been looking for. I bought a 6 and drank several (not all in a row) before finally sitting down to write the review. This tells me I'll be keeping this stocked in my fridge so long as I can afford it.

leif86, Jun 19, 2008
Photo of blamoe
4.75/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Fulers ESB is one hell of a beer, with its distinctive colour and taste with a wonderful hint of marmalade to give it a slight sweetness. I like all of the fullers brands and i live a couple miles from there impressive brewery and with ESB there may be many imitations but only one original!

blamoe, Jun 16, 2008
Photo of montageman
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

I like Fullers a lot. The only problem is their beer is on the high end of the price scale, so it is rare that I get to enjoy them as often as I'd like. This ESB is nearly perfect. Nice, deep amber color and a strong molasses aroma are perfect complements to the sweet, roasted flavor. Complex like a good scotch, but much easier to drink. A really great beer - highly recommended.

montageman, Jun 15, 2008
Photo of Greggy
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Nice 1 finger head with nice staying power. Nice lacing.

S- WOW!! Nice maple, nice cognac pipe tobacco aroma going on as well as some nice syrup smell. Great.

T- Initially, some nice matliness, caramel/maple, then some dry hops.

M- Low carb let's this complex brew talk.

D- 5.9% great drinker. Hope to have this in the fridge in the near future.

Greggy, Jun 14, 2008
Photo of MMAJYK
3.58/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Bright transparent copper color with yellowish hues. Head is minimal after medium pour.

S- Caramel malt smell with hop undertones. Definitely not as hoppy as I anticipated.

T- Very well balanced between the malt and hops. I think its a little bit sweet midstream but drys out a little on the finish.

M- Medium thickness and relatively low carbonation. Definitely true to style.

D- Decently drinkable just too malty sweet and rich for me. I would like it a little more bitter and dry but I am not going to try and reinvent the wheel either.

MMAJYK, Jun 11, 2008
Photo of cvstrickland
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle poured into my DFH pint glass yields a sparkling-clear burnished copper-amber with a creamy light beige head of two fingers with rocky bubbles and stubborn retention.

Smell is a perfume of earthy hops, sweet caramel-covered apples and a lovely, spicy note I could only describe as... gardenia? Excellent.

Rich caramels of many colors greet the tongue, with both smooth and sticky textures, and a wonderful essence of smoky roasted malts and loamy-sweet black earth. Subtly-spicy hops and fruity notes of alcohol grow as the drink warms, as does an increasingly dry finish with just the right amount of bitterness and a mouthwatering mineral note.

For me this is a benchmark of what an ESB ought to be... really smooth and drinkable with great flavors from all the ingredients, a nice medium body, and all in good harmony.

cvstrickland, Jun 11, 2008
Photo of Rayek
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The benchmark ESB.

A: Rich amber color has good clarity. Carbonation bubbles are a little large. White head is small and dissolves quickly to a thin ring around the edge of the beer. Leaves a small amount of lace.

S: Woodsy with pine and oak. Spicy aromas of cinnamon and coriander.

T: Good stuff. Malt comes on first with toasted bread and tart apple qualities. Bitterness hits with a cinnamon-like spiciness. Finishes with a lingering bitterness that departs fairly quickly.

M: Medium body is slightly slick. Carbonation level is just right.

D: Great alone or with food. Makes a good session beer.

Rayek, Jun 06, 2008
Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 2,395 ratings.