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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.

2,516 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,516
Reviews: 1,269
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 88
Gots: 167 | 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: 2,516 | Reviews: 1,269 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, hazy, opaque, coppery brown with a decent fine-bubbled beige head. Aroma is spicy, slightly smoky, slightly hoppy, with a strong undertone of lemon, calling for at least a taste. Sharp, zingy flavor is fairly bitter but not fiercely so, and has undertones of lemon, cloves and yeast. Texture is full and glass-smooth, edgy and lively.

Photo of morimech
4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Spent some time looking for a fresh bottle. Finally found one with a few months until the Best Before date. Pours a clear amber color with a small white head that settles to a thin cap. Moderate amount of sticky lacing is left on the glass. Sublime ale aroma. Carmelized malt at first with some mineral qualities until the wonderful floral and herbal hop aroma takes over. I love the aroma of English hops. The flavor does not disapoint either. Herbal hop flavor from the get go but there is a solid malt backbone that lends a sweetness throughout. Even some fruity esters near the end. Definate bitter finish. Nice carbonation that compliments the body. The texture is not perfect but very good for a session beer. I think this is as good as it gets for an ESB. I will find more fresh bottles and enjoying this again soon.

Photo of robbyc1
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A classic ESB, the orange cloudy look with a decent head tells you it's real.

A sweetish nose of maltiness with a slight bitterness to match.

The taste follows the nose, very inviting sweetness, but nice balanced. A full heaviness in the mouth, soothing, nice.

A nice drinker and a bit strong for a session beer but one to savor.

Photo of skeetermoses
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Great selection for this one. Nice hearty beer. Overall my impression was pretty much a good stew beer or nice cold weather meal beer. fairly decent as far as taste goes I really could go for another one, bought this in a sampler pack at the local beer shop. Overall this is definately one I will be getting again.

Photo of JonMich13
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first experience with the ESB style.

A = Pretty copper amber color. Little head on my pour that disappeared quickly. Little lacing.

S = Lovely smell. Has a earthy hop tone mixed with a buttery caramel honey

T = Taste was surprisingly mild and malt dominated. Given the name of the style, was expecting more of a hop bitter finish. Really a mild flavor that is more indicative of its caramel malt nose. Was expecting more "kick".

M = Would've like more carbonation to make for the mildness of the flavor. Medium body.

D = Drinkable in the sense that it's a pleasant mild flavor, unexpectedly low bitterness, low carbonation and ABV.

Overall, a pleasant brew that I wouldn't mind drinking. But certainly not spectacular.

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

500ml bottle. Had this many times on tap around town in the various English and Irish pubs. Time to get down to business.

This beer pours a medium golden amber hue, with two fingers of tightly foamy, somewhat bubbly off-white head, which leaves a random pattern of upshot speckled lace around the glass as things evenly abate.

It smells of biscuity, crackery pale malt, with a decent addition of caramel sweetness, some middling black pepper spiciness, over-steeped black tea, and a crisp, fresh hay, wild grass hoppiness. The taste is semi-sweet pale malt, an earthy citrus sweetness, further floral and grassy hops, and a subtle musty mineral essence - nothing worthy of overt concern, really.

The carbonation comes off as supportive, and mostly frothy, if in an understated sense, the body a decently rendered medium weight, with a muted floral, rather sedated hoppy finish.

This would (and indeed does, for me, at least) make quite a fine session ale, in those places where hoppy North American offerings aren't featured by design. Anyways, it's sure nice to enjoy this beyond early-day Euro Cup game times around these parts.

Photo of Macca
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours a clear copper colour. A centimetre of beige head which drops. Some retention. Good lacing.

Some caramel/toffee aromas and a touch of alcohol. Reminds me of a good scotch.

The taste is dominated by caramel maltiness. A very assertively flavoured beer. Some warmth. Again the scotch comparisons come to mind. Some fruitiness in there.

Medium to full bodied. Rounds out in the mouth. Chewy. Extraordinary length. It just never stops.

Photo of CityBoy1986
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. The Best Before date is 6 March 2010.

The pour is copper with two fingers' off-white head. The head slowly receded and left nice lacing.

The nose was citrusy (grapefruit and apple) and grassy. There was some sweetness as well. The taste has more citrus, grassy flavours and sweetness whilst adding some caramel and nutty flavours. This is one balanced beer.

The mouthfeel is medium-bodied with low carbonation. Drinkability is good; I could have another.

This is a nice beer. I will give it a revisit every now and then.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.6/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle, best before 01/10, served in a standard pint glass.

L - clear orange/amber color with an off-white head that stayed as a layer leaving thin sheets of lacing behind.

S - sweet malts and grassy hops in the aroma.

T - balance, balance, balance...
did I mention this is a very well balanced beer?

F - light/medium bodied with a silky feel.

D - an absolute pleasure to drink.

Photo of efhart
4.97/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is a wonderful bitter from Fuller's. Named extra special bitter (ESB) it lives up to that naming, a strong somewhat bitter beer without lingering bitterness. I found it to be one of my favorite beers. The only beer of this style that might exceed it is a beer I believe is called six X in the UK. The mouth feel and drinkability are outstanding. Best on draft.

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

poued this out of a 330 ml bottle best before 09/jun/09 into my glass .the bottle does looks different from the picture on the BA page. it`s a blue label with the words "the worlds original" under the bold ESB .

A the color is a copper amber on the brownish side it`s alittle murky with a thin frothy head that quicky dissapates and leaves some foam on the sides of the glass .

S,this beer has got a good scent to it . first the fruit ,apples slight citrus now the malt flavor hits the nose some sugar sweetness the hops are there also.

T, medium body with a light sugar sweetness ,i got the citrus and hops but there not as up front as the malt over all this is a good beer even better then good.

M,the month feel is citrus and sweet,some creaminess . i got a little bit of that puckering of the month afterwards. not too,dry of a after taste either .

D this is a very good english ale ,tasty and goes down smooth one of my favorite from the fuller line up.i would recommend this beer to i friend any time.

Photo of tigg924
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: clear, amber, small head, medium carbonation

Smell: grapefruit, hops, and pine dominate the nose

Taste: same as the smell, once the initial bitter hops shock the tongue, you taste a sweet malty finish

Mouthfeel: bitter and more bitter initialy. once my palate got adjusted, I tasted some slightly sweet tastes especially in the finish

Drinkability: This one grew on me. My first impression was very bitter, but its complexity came out after the first few sips. This is a sipper, but one that I will have again

Photo of tosshin
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a : Golden amber color. Appears to be very clear. Pour resulted in an inch of dense white foam that is disipating slowly, leaving good lacing.

s : Sweet, fruity, malty smell. Also have a faint smell of freshly baked bread.

t : Tastes like Honey and fruit with a strong malt backbone. Slight bittering. Great taste, not too hard to pick out the flavors though.

m : Great feeling in my mouth. This is a full bodied beer.

d : Fair drinkability. I think that these might hit you pretty hard after 3 or 4.

Photo of projectflam86
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Nice amber color with a thin white head that offered just mild lacing.

S- Lots of hops and malt make up the nose. Maybe some sweet fruit citrus flavors.

T- Bitter hops dominate the initial taste with some sweet malt coming through in the end. I like the hoppy flavor but it dies off quickly.

M- Smooth and medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation.

D- Pretty nice brew and worth getting again.

Photo of SpecialK088
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured from the bottle into a pint glass

A-Nice bronzy coppry color head goes away quickly but lingers just arounf the edges

S-Very floral, most noteably sweet friut mostly grape with some light hop notes with some grain

T-Taste is almost deleacate. Bitter fruit flavor with a crisp green apple like finish

M-Very smooth one of the smoothest I have ever drank, not overly complex but very good. pretty thin body but a great carbonation level.

D-Very easy to drink something to keep around for when the mood strikes or on a warm day.

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

poured into a pint glass with little head and a deep amber color that is crystal clear.

smell is a nice malty character and a yeasty nose. very little hops to speak of but it still smells damn fine!

Taste is smooth and malty sweet with a bit of caramely nuances. I get some figgy notes and a nutty finish.

mouth is so smooth and delicate with a medium to low carbonation. This beer drinks very easy and is one of the most delicate and enjoyable esb's I've ever had.

Photo of bimish
4.8/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours with a thin, bubbly head that dissipates quickly. Minimal lacing. Clear, light organish-brown color.

S - Crisp, fruity, herby, malty aroma. Citrus and caramel notes apparent. Quite complex.

T - Delicious. Starts with nice, well-rounded caramel flavor, ends with more roasted, nutty malt flavors. Floral hops balance the malt nicely. Quite complex flavor for the relatively low ABV.

M - Medium to full body, very smooth. Light carbonation.

D - This is a great session beer. One of the true classics IMO.

Photo of NightINgale
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Nice copper colour, the head is light tan in colour, foamy, but does not dissipate completely.

S-Quite fruity, citrusy, with a nice biscuit maltiness

T-Starts out fruity, followed by a rich biscuit malt base, then ending in a crisp hoppy bitter finish, which does not linger for too long.

M-Light-to-Medium bodied. Goes down very smooth; lovely drinkability.

D-Now, this is the pinnacle of the ESB style. I like it a lot, since I'm a big fan of bitters in general. Perfect for anyone who likes pale ales and bitters.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this one on cask at The Memphis Taproom as part of their "no repeat beer week" during Philly Beer Week. Served to me in a shaker glass and appeared a cloudy amber/brown color with a solid two fingers of fluffy ecru foam. Smells and tastes of bread and biscuits with a touch of caramel. Super smooth and fulfilling. A fantastic ESB that I would be happy to drink all day.

Photo of Deuane
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Rich amber with a medium, creamy, off-white head. Head reduced a bit to a thin cap and left nice lacing.

S-A nice bready / biscuity aroma paired with light fruit notes of apple/pear.

T-Light fruit notes with a healthy biscuit malt base combine for the majority of the flavours. A sharp, spicy bitter bite in the finish makes it known that there are hops present.

M-Medium bodied but light in feel with a wonderful creamy smooth texture thanks to the cask delivery. Mild lasting residual flavours.

D-This beer on cask has got to be THE benchmark ESB. It is simple, yet delicious and quaffable beyond belief. When obtained fresh and on cask this is one of the great beers on the planet.

Photo of ffejherb
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On cask at Memphis Tap Room on 3/8/09 during Philly Beer Week.

A - Clear amber/caramel-colored body with one finger of thick, creamy off-white head that settled to a quarter inch of retention and left plenty of decorative lacing around the glass.

S - Subtle fruity hops paired with an abundance of sweet caramel malt and bready notes. Not extremely aromatic, though.

T - Tasty balance of light fruity and Noble hops acting in concert with sweet caramel and bready malt goodness. It's as simple as that, folks.

M - Super smooth and creamy texture that's not too thin or watery. Minimal bitterness on the palate, but not overly sweet either. Very nice cask mouthfeel overall.

D - This beer was made to be pulled from a handpump. The flavors really blossom here. I'd imagine Fuller's would have to be the benchmark ESB. This is the definition of a session beer. Simple, classic and delicious.

Photo of roddwolff
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Very good english beer.

In the appearance have a coppery color with a finger of consistent and creamy foam.

In the smell are toast malts and grape; the taste is very good, bitter and strong, with essences of prunes.

In the mouthfeel there's only coffee, very good to accompany with blue cheese.

Photo of armock
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured a clear amber color with a thin off white head

S - Is mostly of malt some fruit scents

T - Follows the nose malty with a touch of fruit and caramel

M - This beer has a lighter body with medium carbonation to it

D - Very easy to drink it has a good taste that goes down smoothly I could drink a number of these in one sitting worth trying

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

Bottle - 11.2 oz, best buy 8.10.09

The beer poured a darker amber color than expected, kind of like an apple juice color, but clear and with a nice white head.

The beer gave off more of a malt aroma than anything else. Some hops, but only a hint really. Also maybe a floral hint with a bit of something sweet. Straight forward really, but very well done.

The taste of the beer was really good. A lot better than I had initially expected (as I did not check the BA rating before trying). A really nice malt flavor with only hints of what was detected in the aroma. To finish it off, a nice bitter aftertaste, but not to much so. A very nice finish.

The beer felt a little under-carbonated, but not really to the detriment of the beer. I would say that it had a medium body to it. Smooth, creamy and exceptionally easy to drink. Easily the best of the style that I have tried to date and possibly one of the best beers that I have tried to date, period. Excellent beer.

Photo of Thanby
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is like a cider, clear and golden with little head. The nose is a little buttery, straw and wheat, some spices that I can't quite pick out. Mild flavor, buttery and smooth, the hops don't really sink in until the finish. Full, round flavor, easy to drink, and generally a pleasant brew.

Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 2,516 ratings.