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.

2,231 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,231
Reviews: 1,245
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.03%
Wants: 63
Gots: 76 | 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)
View: Beers (35) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Fuller's ESB Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,231 | Reviews: 1,245 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jackorain


4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fantatic bottle. Raised letters. Heavy. Great classic looking label.

A-Dark Amber brown. 1 1/2 inch head that retained pretty well with 1/2 staying around for much of the glass and 1/8 inch staying til the end. Some lacing evident.

S-When I poured this I got some fruity ester, almost dried fruit, carried to my nose on a faint alcohol backbone. Deep sniff leads to malty sweet aroma of caramalized sugar. Faint, faint hop aroma.

T-Big malty presence, bitter and sweet malts abound. Well balanced with bitter malt, sweet hop and ending with some mild hop bitterness. Interestingly, after finishing this beer, I got a very late lingering finish of some grapefruit hop biterness in my jowels.

M-medium body, with a little chew to it. good carbnation for the style.

D-Quite good.

Overall, this is a very good beer that I would buy a case of as a regular drinker if it wasn't so expensive. I'm up next!

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2006 17:49:12 | More by jackorain
Photo of Generik420


3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tried a bottle of this last night, which I unfortunately do not know how old it was. Poured a dark reddish brown with a thin off-white head that dissapated quickly. Didn't notice any lacing on the glass.

Smell was a touch on the 'skunky' side, which is why I mention I don't know how old the bottle was.

Taste was fairly nice. Had a mild bitter / sour flavor with a woody after taste. Almost a bourbon like after taste.

Mouthfeel was very thin. It was very drinkable, but I think I may have gotten an old bottle. Considering it was $3.50 for an 18oz bottle, it is not something I would pick up again. For a lower price it would be great, but not at that price.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2006 13:32:20 | More by Generik420
Photo of jlmjl


3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Great choice - Great looking classy dark bottle, best bottle around actually. Matching neck ring really sets it off beyond its unique shape...

A - Fine looking beer. Not a large head, but it was consistently a 1/16th of an inch all the way to the bottom of the glass after the initial 1/2 inch pour head. Good color - darker than I might have expected

S - A little sweet .. I don’t find this beer to have a pronounced smell of any kind.

T - Overall, I didn’t think the beer was terrible 'bitter' .. If I can use my first beer jargon word, very balanced.. I would have thought the beer would finish a bit more crisp as an ESB, but it didn’t .. no disappointment though. Killer taste. I guess malty as well and malty is not really what Im after too often. .... Not too bad. A fair amount of booze taste when it warmed up, more that I would expect for its alc content

M - The two Fullers I just drank for this review both were oddly highly carbonated to the look. On the taste however, It felt like an English ale, more flat actually. I would put this in medium body category,

D- I really enjoyed the beer, however, Im not sure how many I could drink in the long run. It has a lingering taste after the swallow which I again would assume is the malt hanging around.

Lets try another ESB sometime - good idea jumping into the ESB category

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2006 01:58:04 | More by jlmjl
Photo of ski271


3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Medium copper-amber with a very small, off-white, quickly diminishing to a ring. Smell is of mild, sweet malts and light citrus. Caramel, grass, butterscotch. Taste is of sweet, pungent malts up front backed by some citrus rind and a nicely bittered finish. It has a medium body, dry texture and low carbonation. Oddly I thought it tasted a little scotch-ale-like in some ways. Nothing fabulous, but it’s definitely enjoyable and easy drinking. I could drinking this all night… well maybe ALL night, it could get a little cloying.

Serving type: on-tap

08-14-2006 21:09:45 | More by ski271
Photo of jasonjlewis


4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first ESB.
Appearance: GREAT head and head retention. WOW!

Smell of chocolate malts is dominant.

Tastes sweet and not that bitter. Taste of chocolate malts it seems and some caramel malts seem to be present. Even Balance between malts and hops.

Decent mouthfeel and easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2006 02:58:22 | More by jasonjlewis
Photo of stoner420


4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


Medium dark brown, white head, light carbonation, looks like a british ale.

Nice sweet aroma after I opened the bottle, malty notes predominate

Tastes good, nice malt upfront with an understated hops, followed by a noticeably bitter finish

Creamy mouthfeel, a pleasure to drink

Very good beer, I was pleasantly surprised. I am usually not impressed by bottled beers.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2006 01:32:54 | More by stoner420
Photo of BeerSox


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

Fuller's ESB pours as a clean copper color. The beer was fizzy, creating a decent head, however it did not last long. There wasn't any lacing on the glass when I finished, except at the top.

The beer has a malty aroma, hints of esters were barely detectable. In general, there was not much scent to this beer.

The taste definitely defined "balanced". When the beer hits your tongue you immediately taste the hoppy bitterness, then it turns into woody malty notes. As the beer warms slightly, the taste of alcohol begins to emerge.

The beer was on the high-side of carbonation, contributing to the fizzyness. The beer didn't feel too watered down at all, making it a pleasant drink.

If you like strong hits from both hops and malts, this is the beer for you. With a nice finish, this beer is very repeatable.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2006 00:53:16 | More by BeerSox
Photo of hero27


3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz prestigious bottle.

Dark amber. Modest off-white head of foam. Relaxed biscuity-malt flavor with dominant toffee in the forefront. Like Worthers Original candy I remember having back in the day. Very subtle bitterness on the end of this one, which isn't too surprising from an English ESB. Certainly one of the more sweet "bitters" I've had in a while. A solid beer no doubt, but I'd label it more along the lines of an "English mild" if we were going to characterize based on flavor.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2006 00:49:06 | More by hero27
Photo of Greenfloyd


4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I might be a little partial to the Fuller's line of brews on a whole, the London Porter being one of my favorites of all time, but this is just a great beer. A nicely formed but quickly dissipating off white head, leads into a sweet malty nose, giving way to lingering aromas of a fresh biscuit with honey. The beer itself was a fantastic amber, refreshing, the color of fresh apple juice. The flavor has a wonderful maltiness about it with slight hints of fruit. This easily drinkable beer gets some of it’s complexity due to the marriage of four different hops (Target, Challenger, Northdown, and the famous Goldings to be exact), and ends with slightly bitter, lemony undertones. If only I had some fish & chips wrapped in newspaper, soaked with malt vinegar. Very food friendly, great with home grilled burgers, or BBQ chicken…….Enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2006 06:43:25 | More by Greenfloyd
Photo of ryanismean


3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was a little worried pouring from the pint bottle--a head barely formed, and while the brew has a fairly nice amber color to it, there is virtually no aroma at all. If I stick my nose right up to the minimal head I can detect faint malt notes with maybe a little hop background. Nothing really jumps out.

I'm happy to report my concerns were unfounded. One sip and I'm convinced this beer deserves its relatively high rating: it's a delicious, almost perfect pairing of malt and hop. The malt character is all apple cider and raisins, which the hop bitterness rounds out with an earthy spice. Not quite citrusy, but definitely present.

The mouthfeel is maybe a little watery for my taste--I often like to chew my beer--but entirely appropriate for the style and quite complementary to the flavor, so I can't complain. All around a very good Brit Bit. Great choice to relax with, throw back a few pints and enjoy life.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2006 23:32:26 | More by ryanismean
Photo of barleyman


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

Poured from the 12 oz. brown bottle into my straight sided tumbler. A little medium dark white head quickly recedes to little or no lace down the glass. The smell is quite faint and included notes of malt, raisin and bread. The taste is quite more distinct, with elements of the smell and clove and hop. The mouthfeel is spot on for the style. The drinkability is good for this style considering that the balance between sweet malt and hop is perfect.

Just a thought,


Serving type: bottle

07-23-2006 01:22:28 | More by barleyman
Photo of beckje01


4.63/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

In a pint glass at the local bar.

A- Amber color see through with 1 inch of head and little activity, just a wonderful looking beer.

S- Crisp light refreshing

T- Light refreshing yet slightly hoppy reall everything you can expect from a ESB

M- cool and still not much activity.

D- Goes down great and is great for relaxing with. I find it hard to have just one usally have atleast two.

This is a must try for any ESB fan.

Serving type: on-tap

07-15-2006 18:51:12 | More by beckje01
Photo of JayQue


4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear light amber color with a huge carbonated white head. Leaves fairly good lacing on the glass. Aroma is pleasing and fairly strong sweetness/malt. The taste is very pleasing, mostly malt, a little bitterness at the finish with a predominatly sweet honey/caramel/malt taste. A good choice for a warm day when you have time to sit down and savor a beer. The taste/mouthfeel was light but not watery. No unpleasant aftertaste, the sweetness was just right, not cloying. This is a beer I could enjoy several of at one sitting. Overall, very nice and refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2006 17:22:51 | More by JayQue
Photo of Drew966


3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fuller's ESB pours a copper color with a tan head from a brown 11.2 ounce bottle. Aroma is definitely on the hoppy side, seems like it's a little sweet. Flavor is dominated by hop, but woody tastes are also present. Definitely some caramel flavors. No sweetness is noticeable in the flavor. Not bad, definitely worth checking out if you've never had one.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2006 23:51:24 | More by Drew966
Photo of mithrascruor


4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a relatively deep reddish-copper color. Very clear and with a nice creamy light tan head, which eventually becomes a thick foam that clings to the glass.

Smell: Mostly malts with a fair amount of caramel, juxtaposed with nice bitter hops.

Taste: Malts, grains, sweet florals, caramel, and bitter hops. All nicely balanced and with just the right amount of complexity. The aftertaste has a very nice bitterness to it.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a unique viscosity. Quite smooth for a bitter beer, and with low carbonation.

Drinkability: A very drinkable beer; goes down quite well. The alcohol and the strong flavor may kick in faster than some other beers, though.

Quite a nice beer! Great flavor and feel. I'll definitely get this again, and it makes me want to try other ESBs in the future.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2006 04:56:45 | More by mithrascruor
Photo of bluejacket74


3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a copper color with a very small white head which goes away quickly. The aroma isn't too strong, but the beer smells mainly like caramel, butterscotch and malt. The flavor is a mixture or caramel and malt, then ends with a slightly spicy hoppy finish. It's more sweet with not much bitterness, and there's just a small aftertaste. The mouthfeel is slick/oily, with a light/medium body and moderate carbonation. It's pretty smooth and easy to drink. Overall, it's a good beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2006 23:24:06 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of rabsten

West Virginia

3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pub pint. Dark reddish amber with thick khaki head. Sticky lacing.

Butterscotch malt in the nose.

Flavor is basic malt with an unexpected hop tang. A toffee sweetness underlays the whole flavor.

Silky roundness up front with a dry finish. Drinkability is good, but I don't think I'd want more than one at a sitting.

10-12 years back Fuller's was a go-to beer for me. It's hard to find around here though, so I kinda forgot about it. It was nice to rediscover this. I'll look for more.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2006 00:24:03 | More by rabsten
Photo of Conrad

Ontario (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a proper British pub pint glass.
A: It pours with a clear, deep copper colour. Thinner head than I expected, and left minimal lacing. This does not compare to other reviews, so I wonder if I got a flat bottle.
S: Fruity hops bitterness right off the top. It masks whatever else may be in there. My nose couldn't pick up on specific aromas.
T: Yum. Bursting with flavour. A bit of burnt chocolate or roasted coffee. Big hoppy bitterness, some earthiness and spice. For a strong beer (5.9%) the alcohol is not intrusive.
M: Very smooth. Low carbonation lets the taste coat the tongue without interruption by all those distracting bubbles.
D: Excellent. I won't turn down an offer for another.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2006 17:07:09 | More by Conrad
Photo of gnoff


3.15/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pint at Bishops Arms (Västra Hamngatan) Gothenburg, Sweden.

Brown color, big tan head.
Fruity hoppy aroma.
Quite bitter flavor, high bitterness.
Medium mouthfeel.
Some bitter almond taste in there.
Bitter aftertaste.
Feels a bit thin after a while.

I can remember it tasting better.

Serving type: on-tap

06-20-2006 21:54:37 | More by gnoff
Photo of EStreet20

New Jersey

4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounce brown glass bottle poured into a 20 ounce nonic pint glass.

A - Pours out a translucent reddish amber with a nice sized foamy head. Some lacing on the glass. Nice looking ESB.

S - Some sweet aromas with some soft faint hops. Lots of sugary malt presence is the main characteristic I'm getting.

T - A nice interplay between some malty sweetness and a little bit of a hoppy flavor. Ends with a caramel like flavor and finishes dry. A nice smooth flavor.

M - Nice and smooth with a decent amount of carbonation.

D - A nice session ale with some good sweet flavors.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2006 23:28:23 | More by EStreet20
Photo of petemorris


4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite beers on draft, it doesn't disappoint in the bottle. Upon pouring, the aroma isn't overpowering, but it is a great blend of biscuity, caramel malt and floral hops. And the flavor is the same. While a little too strong, perhaps, to be called a true session beer, its clean finish and medium, lightly carbonated body make it very drinkable. As it warms, and as your senses adapt, you begin to fully appreciate the many components of its full flavors--sweet and malty one mouthful, hoppy the next. Just a great, great beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2006 03:51:49 | More by petemorris
Photo of kgotcher


4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1pt 0.9oz bottle.

Pours amber color with big offwhite head that leaves lots of lacings.

Aroma is very malty bit of nuttyness with nice noble hops.

Slick medium body mouthfeel. Not much carbonation. Smooth.

Flavor has lots of caramel maltyness that really balances out any bitterness. Overall flavor leans to sweet malty side.

Nice drinkable ESB. A bit sweeter than similar American styles that tend to have stronger hop flavors.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2006 01:43:35 | More by kgotcher
Photo of haz77


4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A – Pours a clear copper with an inch of head, which settles to and thin off-white layer. Moderate looking carbonation.

S – Caramel, esters, aromatic hops, honey

T – Mouthful of caramel which lingers throughout. Biscuity malts and restrained hop bitterness

M – Smooth and creamy with moderate carbonation. Light to medium body.

D – Very nice beer and worth a try. Easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2006 10:43:14 | More by haz77
Photo of cjgator3


3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear copper color with a half finger white head. Smell is of malt, toffee, and hops. Taste consists of a very sharp hop bitterness on top of a nice sweet malt backbone which leads to an interesting combination. Overall a decent brew that is worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2006 02:43:37 | More by cjgator3
Photo of MuenchenerKindl


3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle to a pt glass. The head was nice and fluffy, faded to a respectable lace. The color is a dark amber with slight red hues.

Smell is of malt and bitter hops.

Taste is of malt and very bitter hops. while the malt is strong and very rich it is not quite enough to balence the hops. Thus ESB,

Mouthfeel is above average. Medium body, nice carbonation, smoothness is nice.

Drinkability is ok, smooth yet to much bitter to make it an all night choice.

Cheers mates! MK

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2006 06:03:22 | More by MuenchenerKindl
Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 2,231 ratings.