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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.

2,425 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,425
Reviews: 1,264
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 81
Gots: 130 | 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: 2,425 | Reviews: 1,264 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AustinBeerLvr
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a half liter bottle into a half liter O-fest style glass.

One of the most awesome beers to look at, as the head simply stuck around forever. The beer's color is a beautiful deep rich reddish amber.

The nose of this brew is very potent and includes a large array of fruit flavors and strong citrusy and bittering hops.

Once this beer hit my palate, I immediately got the huge mix of fruity malt flavors and hop bitterness all at the same time. I also tasted some apple flavors as well. The finish has just a tad bitter bite from the hops, and a good dose of alcholol flavor as well. Mouthfeel is very nice, as it's very substantial.

Overall, this is good drinkable beer. This is only the second ESB brew I have ever tried, and I am really starting to enjoy them more. The only complaint I have is that it seems this brew could use a little more bitterness to balance things out in the end. That said, this is a damn good beer. Be sure to drink at 50+ degrees in order to appreciate this fine brew.

AustinBeerLvr, Feb 10, 2007
Photo of barknee
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

ESB pours a crystal clear light tawny brown color with a soft malty head. A soft understated well-behaved malt aroma wafts from the glass, becoming much more apparent as this brew warms. A steady stream of fine carbonation rises continuously from the base of the glass. Slightly bitter, and moderately malty, this is a distinctive brew, finely tuned and not overbearing. As yes, this is a true pub style bitter that will offer continued enjoyment for as long as you are willing to stick with it. True to the style, without the modern day over saturation of flavors, this is one style that the Britt’s really excel at. Jolly Good!

barknee, Feb 10, 2007
Photo of Hornet2003
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I enjoyed this beer while writing a paper on Industrial Relations. Go figure.

Poured a very subdued amber colour with minimal head. Lacing was all but non-existent(does that make sense). Had a bit of a hoppy aroma. Overall, it smelled a little more aggressive than your average ESB. The taste was bitter(duh!), and smooth. Very nice. I found as the beer warmed a bit it became a bit syrupy. By the time I finished, I can't really say I craved another. However, overall, this was a good representation of the ESB style.

Hornet2003, Feb 09, 2007
Photo of JDK
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful clear amber color with little to no head (which is contrary to other reviews and I'm not sure what happened)
Smooth mouthfeel but tends to be a little flat towards the end
Nice spicy hoppy taste with no lingering aftertaste, mild carbonation
The smell is a nice fresh fruit with mild hops
This is one nice ESB that always seems to be recommended where ever I shop

JDK, Feb 08, 2007
Photo of bark
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have reviewed some 600 beers, but not one of my all time favourites, Fullers ESB. I am shocked.

The deep copper-amber beer got a finger thick compact white head.

The taste is overall balanced and fruity (mainly apricots). The malt is smooth and somewhat sweet with a mild roasted touch. The aftertaste is long, pleasant and complex: Fresh, bitter flavours of apricots, herbs, honey, pineapples and a mild sourness in the finish.

The carbonation is medium strong, fresh with small bubbles.

bark, Feb 07, 2007
Photo of mpyle
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Rich brownsih gold color with brilliant clarity. Smallish white head with reasonably poor retention.

Caught an initial whiff of apple (fruity British yeast?), but minimal hop and generally a clean, slightly malty aroma.

Initial malt sweetness leads to a coarse bitterness that dominates the finish and lingers. A chocolately character to the malt, and an earthiness to the hop flavor.

Medium body and carbonation. Quite smooth and creamy despite the strong bitterness. Slight alcohol warming, but overall very nice on the tongue.

Overall a nice, flavorful British ESB. Nice balance of a strong malt backbone and assertive hoppiness. A very clean beer and a fine (defining?) example of the ESB style. Strong by British standards, but I could definitely session this beer. Nice.

mpyle, Feb 04, 2007
Photo of Luchman
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: A very clear, deep copper color, with a very thin white head that dissipates quickly, leaving only trace behind,.

S: Toffee, caramel malts with some earthy hops, maybe even a tad bit of citrus hops. Very subtle and you must sniff hard, but it is pleasant.

T: Pretty good, but I was expecting a whole lot more for some reason... Caramel malts with some light, earth-like hops thrown in. A slight bit of roasted character could also be found. Ends slightly yeasty, with a mild, hop bitterness in the finish.

M: This is what shines in the beer.Mouth feel fits this awesomely. A nice smooth, Medium/full body, with a low carbonation, while not seeming flat; Great.

D: A session beer if I ever drank one. Almost too easy to drink. However, I was not too thrilled with it. I thought the taste to be a little dull. I think I much more of a fan of the American take on the ESB. It was pretty good, but nothing to brag.

Luchman, Jan 29, 2007
Photo of BlindPig
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- 1/4" white head on a clear deep orange body with amber hues.
S- Sweet toffee, caramel, light roasted aromas, dry grass hops, and a hint of bread.
T- Toffee malts (more on the caramel side) come through the most. There are some dry grass hops that balance it out pretty well and leave quite a dry bitterness on the tongue.
M- Low carbonation on a medium body.
D- I like it a lot besides the carbonation. I think it just seems to be a bit flat. I would like to see if it's this bottle or just how it is.

BlindPig, Jan 28, 2007
Photo of HossMcGraw
4.88/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was amazing on tap! So complex, so delicious, I wish I were drinking it right now, even though it's about 9:50 in the AM. Not like that's stopped me before, but I have to work later and it's kind of hard to just drink one of these.

Appearance is a lovely amber/burgundy, with a small head. Aroma is caramel, spice cake, milk chocolate, toffee, cigar humidor, etc. Pretty damn good. The flavour is ridiculously complex, and pretty much contains the same characteristics as the aroma, and since I'm a lazy fuck, I'm not going to type them all out again. The finish is sweet/dry with a nice hop bite.

Mouthfeel is full and smooth. Glides ever so gracefully across the palate and down into my belly where it awaits its cruel destiny. The drinkability is great. I could drink this all day, and plan on doing so some day in the near future. This was pretty boring in the bottle as I recall, but on tap, it is phenomenal.

HossMcGraw, Jan 26, 2007
Photo of ohitsbrad
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

30 November 2006, Best Before Jan 07

Clear amber colour with a small white head. Aroma of sweet malt, honeyish yeast and flowery hops. Tastes of sweet caramel malt and leafy hops with a bitter finish. Medium bodied. Well balanced and flavoursome bitter.

ohitsbrad, Jan 24, 2007
Photo of Erdinger2003
3.43/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served at The Map Room
The beer was served with a beautiful head that had a slight lacing. The smell was a bit bready and a little nutty. The taste was very, very bready and it also had the slight nuttiness to it. The mouthfeel was pretty good and smooth with a slight wateriness that wasn't so bad. Overall it was nice to try, but why can't you find the freshest stuff without going to England??

Erdinger2003, Jan 14, 2007
Photo of jcdiflorio
3.28/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

poured into a pint glass from a 11.2 oz brown bottle with crimped-on cap best before 40/JUN/07 on bottom of back label.

Clear,reddish,brown, a very light tan head almost off-white,soapy looking head dissapated down quickly to a thin bubbley slight coating of almost foam. A slight bit of spotty lacing here and there.

Malty nose,fruity,notes of figs/dates,very wine like,no real hop aromas present.

A good complex taste,winey,hint of licorice,bisquity,green apple tastes.
Grassy,carmelly,slightly tart,very good balance of flavors. Finishes dry,bittersweet,with a nice clean, easy, slightly sharp bitterness.

A bit on the thin side with a grainy mouthfeel. Goes down quickly and easily,very wine like,A good English styled beer,very drinkable,refresing,tastes good a bit on the cold side, would be a good beer on a warm summer day. I like this beer just not crazy about it.

jcdiflorio, Jan 13, 2007
Photo of niall
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Caramel and polished copper. It's a pleasantly warm color with little carbonation and not much head retention or lace.

S: I really like the smell of this beer. There's an apple pie/allspice sweetness to it that blooms into subtle creme brulée or butter toffee notes. Very promising.

T: Happily, the taste lives up to the smell. The creme brulée notes are still present, with a lively tartness reminiscent of black tea. The flavor has a nice release that lingers on the tongue for several seconds after swallowing. Nice.

M: Average. There's just enough bead to remind you that it's a beer, and not a particularly heavy or light body.

D: I reckon I'll do a sixer of this over a weekend quite happily.

I don't think I've had this since the 90s, having since settled into Belgian, and latterly, way OTT American styles. I've missed out on an understatedly satisfying session ale. I'll definitely buy more.

niall, Jan 13, 2007
Photo of Ivanthehero
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance-clear copper

Smell- Faint butterscotch and cola, not overly appealing, but not off putting.

Taste-wow...WOW, this is damn good. Very understated, but everything is in its right place. I lack an adequate comparison for the flavor, but it is very well balanced and just plain nice. Clean and crisp

Mouthfeel- So smooth and creamy, like no other beer I've had in that department.

Drinkability- This is not a light beer despite its understated attributes, but it goes down so easily. I could drink 94 of these.

Ivanthehero, Jan 11, 2007
Photo of shadow1961
3.13/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Fuller's ESB Ale (extra special bitter) pours out a
creamy head over a ruby brew. Carbonation is
moderate and the nose is of yeast malt and vanilla.
The flavor is mellow- of malt and hops and a bit dry.
As the brew warms, a definite bisquit taste makes
itself felt. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, and the aftertaste
is very slight hop. Alcohol by volume 5.9%. I thought
it was pleasant but not extra-special. Decent enough,
but not a good value considering the price and the

shadow1961, Jan 08, 2007
Photo of auntfloyd
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 500ml bottle into a Samuel Smith's imperial pint glass.

Pours a nice clear copper color with two fingers of head. The nose is fresh malt, sweet, with hints of caramel and hops. The flavor is similar: an excellent balance of sweet malt, sugar, and fruitiness with bitter hops. The flavor is excellent, sweet and full at the front, with a bitter finish, just as it should be. The mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is very good.

This is a great ale. Very nice, and I highly recommend it. Luckily, its readily available in my area.

auntfloyd, Jan 02, 2007
Photo of BlackHaddock
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint, brown bottle, best bsfore Nov 07, drank Dec 06.

Lovelly dark amber beer, with a good, off white head, which retained its size throughout the pint.

The aroma and taste were of rich malts and hops, very 'moorish'.

The richness stays in the mouth and reminds you that you have just had a drink of a very good beer indeed.

BlackHaddock, Dec 27, 2006
Photo of eberkman
4.68/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured a reddish-brown with a thin, foamy white head that diminished quickly. Lots of big, malty, buttery, brown-sugary aromas in the nose -- a pleasing, powerful smell. The taste was similar, sweet maltiness balanced with a rich, buttery, creamy sensation to it as well. Well-balanced by a smooth bitterness -- no harshness whatsoever. Felt slightly thin in the mouth, but exceptionally drinkable. I could pound these all night and be a happy man.

eberkman, Dec 17, 2006
Photo of MVassar
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quite clear, with brilliant copper/raw honey color. Rich, creamy, amber head. Very attractive in the glass.

Smells of oatmeal and brown sugar, a touch of dried prunes, and sweet malt.

Tastes of brown bread and caramel, with an impressive bitter hops finish.

Creamy and lush in the mouth. Feels full and rich, without heaviness. Slight carbonation which seems just right.

A great example of this style. Superb beer, and mighty easy to drink.

MVassar, Dec 04, 2006
Photo of kmacphail
4.55/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured a nice brown colour with a nice off white head. This remained throughout, one of the best kept heads that I have ever experienced with a bottled beer.

The smell was a nice balance of hops, malts and some fruitiness, very nice indeed.

The taste is exceptional, the odours continue through to the mouth. An almost perfect balance of sweet maltiness and bitter hops along with the tangy fruitiness. The taste of this beer is truly devine, a very rare 5 from me.

This is a good medium bodied beer that is very drinkable, it disguises its 5.9% abv too well, it tastes like a beer that has a much lower abv.

OK so not everyone will share my love for this beer, but I would recommend anyone to try this. I believe I have just found a new favourite, maybe not the best, but definately in my top 5 beers.

kmacphail, Dec 03, 2006
Photo of hckyfn9999
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear deep copper color with a nice white head and decent lacing.

Aroma is of sweet bready malt and a little fruit.

Taste is of sweet malt and a little ripe fruit along followed up some hops and a little roastedness. A lingering bitterness is present in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and pleasantly carbonated.

Pretty drinkable beer. Not the best tasting ESB I've had but pretty solid. Fuller's is the original ESB so they say but others may have perfected it.

hckyfn9999, Nov 30, 2006
Photo of treehugger02010
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got this 11.2 ounze bottle at Kildare's Irish Pub in King of Prussia and poured into a 7 ounze glass. The head was about a finger and a half, and gave much lace. The retention was a bit fast, but over all rather good. The smell was a bit understated. The taste was awsome, the hops and malts tasted incredibly blended, sans the last few sips where the malt taste was a bit strong. Super beer. Don't drink and review.

treehugger02010, Nov 17, 2006
Photo of pweis909
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From tasting notes:

Lots more head than you would get in a draft version. Sweetish malt dominates taste and smell. My recollection is that the draft versions that I had in US and UK pubs were more bitter. Maybe I’ve fried my taste buds on IPAs. There is a slightly slick texture. Of beers in my recent memory, maybe this is similar to Youngs? Orangey amber. Regardless of comparisons to my draft experiences, I like this beer.

pweis909, Nov 16, 2006
Photo of BBM
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a clear, light amber color with a foamy white head that disappears quickly. There really isn't much of an aroma, but what's there is kind of bready.

Taste is very well-balanced. A strong malt backbone accentuates the hop presence nicely. There is a doughy taste, along with some fruity tones (grapes?) and a bitter finish. Mouthfeel is clean and crisp, and the beer goes down smoothly. Despite a lishglty elevated ABV, this is a highly drinkable beer, since it's not too thick or potent. A very solid beer.

BBM, Nov 14, 2006
Photo of norwichboy
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful deep amber hue with cream coloured head that dissipates without much retention. Hops and malt well integrated with aromas of honey and ginger predominating. Tremendous length of bitter finish. Fine soft carbonation. Very easy to drink.

norwichboy, Nov 12, 2006
Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 2,425 ratings.