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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.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

2,338 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,338
Reviews: 1,255
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 73
Gots: 106 | 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: 2,338 | Reviews: 1,255 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of akahn
akahn

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -1.7%

Presented in a classy, slender 11.2 oz bottle with a nice label and a printed best-before date.

Pours a deep amber-peach color with an off-white head, tall and sticky. It sinks to a skim and leaves wide sheets of lace.

Pungent, sweet aroma. Sweet biscuity malt and fruit smells. I'm surprised to find dark fruit aromas reminiscent of a barleywine, such as plum. Butterscotch as well.

Malty and sweet, medium to full body, extremely smooth around round mouthfeel. Carbonation is gentle. A mild hop flavor hovers over, juicy, spicy and mildly puckering and drying in the finish. No butterscotch in the flavor, instead caramel. Unfortunately, I pick up a metallic note in the finish, that I find unpleasant -- I guess this could just be from the water used?

Anyways, this is a tasty beer. I may be crazy, but I pick up a slight alcohol character... leading me further to think of this as a 'little' barleywine. This beer would be nice to have a few of, and I'm curious what it's like on tap.

02-10-2006 19:54:28 | More by akahn
Photo of pbr85
pbr85

New York

3.73/5  rDev -8.4%

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a nice deep amber brown with 2 inches of off white head that diminish slowly to a thin ring around the edge. Lacing is minimal.
Smell: Smell is not strong. Sweet, caramely malts are the only thing that is there.
Taste: So its been a while since I've had something without megahop presence. I can't get away from the idea that this tastes like tea, specifically Earl Grey tea. Lemon is hidden in the background and there is a slight bitter taste.
Mouthfeel: Carbonation is low and the beer is dry on the tongue. I still can't escape the tea idea because the mouthfeel is almost identical to tea.
Drinkability: Nothing overwhelming so it is a highly drinkable beer, possibly a session beer? Well worth trying.

02-10-2006 03:20:53 | More by pbr85
Photo of clabaugh
clabaugh

Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev +6.9%

Appearance: Pours a clear, ruby-brown with a billowing head colored a sandy white. Retention is superb. Lacing is quite good.

Smell: Sweet, roasty malts, hints of caramel. Fruity esters fill the nostrils as well. The hops spring forth in a nectar-like aroma.

Taste: Dry, roasted, almost burnt grains, not to suggest unpleasantness however. Hop character is bitter, and fights through the malts in a piney flavor. A very austere taste: bold, earthy, pure. Fine balance.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, some faint chewiness. Tingly as it caresses the mouth. Well-apportioned, and carbonated to the right degree.

Drinkability: Highly drinkable. No overwhelming flavors that preclude consistent consumption. Flavor is bold enough, with no unwelcome aftertaste. Altogether admirable. Perfect session beer.

02-10-2006 03:12:25 | More by clabaugh
Photo of walleye
walleye

Michigan

4/5  rDev -1.7%

poured amber with a med. size light tan head.aroma fruits, the fuzzy kind like peaches, malts, some caramel and butterscotch. flavor.malts and caramel, toffee hint of cherries. a nice mouth feel on this one with a nice bitter finish. one of the better esbs I have had

02-04-2006 01:55:08 | More by walleye
Photo of Blakaeris
Blakaeris

Iowa

4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

Pours perfectly clear copper color. Head is white and creamy with plenty of lacing. Looks very tasty.

Smell is toasted malt with light fruit and hop notes.

Taste is toasted malt and hops in a pleasant balance. Finish is crisp with a touch of grain and a nice nuttiness that lingers. Light fruit and carmel gives the brew additional character.

Mouthfeel is quite smooth and buttery.

This is an excellent session beer. Very drinkable.

01-29-2006 16:00:42 | More by Blakaeris
Photo of SupaCelt
SupaCelt

Michigan

3.9/5  rDev -4.2%

This beer pours a copper tone with a nice tannish head from a manly dump. The head crashes into oblivion, but ends up dusting the surface of my beer and tossing some thick lace at the side of my glass. Very fine carbon dioxide bubbles can be seen making their way toward the unknown reaches of their small galaxy. The nose is richly bready. Somewhat of a lightly toasted sourdough appeal. There seems to be a pinch of ginger and some old fruit and caramel scents as well. The taste is extremely well proportioned. The bitterness is not much more than a namesake here as was expected. It is vaguely bitter, with most of the accent falling into the malt arena. Ginger impressions dot the bready malt and there is a pleasant brown sugar feel in the finish. Hopping seems subdued in the nose and citrus and dry qualities are nonexistant here. This is very pleasant and well rounded. I can understand why it is recommended as an initiation into the style. My first ESB experience was less than stellar, but this one gives me hope for the style. Well done and curiously tasteful.

01-26-2006 06:24:15 | More by SupaCelt
Photo of taez555
taez555

Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -14%

This beer poured a clear orange/tan body with a small off-white head.

The nose has a strong biscuit malt smell.

Taste is medium bodied with an interestingly metallic or maybe stone like water flavor. A hoppy astringent fruit flavor flows against a caramel and biscuit malt. Not super bitter, but it is quite present and is slightly bigger than the malt base. Flavor has a nice toasted roasted slightly burnt wood tone as well bordering slightly on a brown ale, but clearly staying ESB.

A classic for sure. The mineraly water flavor is constantly in your face. Big malt, yet very smooth and light. Big hops and bitterness, but oh so drinkable. A beer that needs to be tried on cask, but works well here as well.

01-26-2006 01:06:01 | More by taez555
Photo of PCaravan
PCaravan

Texas

4.63/5  rDev +13.8%

If I had to give a favourite beer this might be it. I always look forward to it and since this beer is not new to me I may reviewed it here previously but I don't remember.

Pours to reveal a light amber beer with a thin white head. The head doesn't seem to last but it does leave a little lacing on the side of the glass. Complex aroma of fruity esters, earthy English hops, and caramel malts. In the mouth, it's rich and robust all the way through with initially caramel malts with a hint of toastiness followed by those wonderful earthy (maybe a bit spicey) hops and a profuse bitterness that rears its head as you swallow and then lingers for some time afterwards. It's strong flavors will keep you from drinking a lot of this at one sitting but you'll be happy to sip on a little all night long. If you haven't had this, you're missing out!

01-22-2006 09:15:53 | More by PCaravan
Photo of MrHolland
MrHolland

South Carolina

4.18/5  rDev +2.7%

Pours a dark honey brown with a head the retains for a few mins.

Smells of hops and caramel.. quite an odd smell if you ask me

Taste bitter with a touch of hops at first with a malty after taste.

Mouthfeel - cant say much bout mouthfeel except it is well carbonated.

Could drink quite few of these all through the night but the 5.9 will catch up to me.

01-22-2006 03:30:20 | More by MrHolland
Photo of sloejams
sloejams

California

4.4/5  rDev +8.1%

cask - Lucky Baldwin's, Pasadena

Pulled into a pint glass, nice copper color with little to no head, as expected from a cask. The smell is floral, slightly sweet hints of caramel. Nice maltiness with slight hop bitterness. It finishes dry with a bitter bite.

The cask serving balances the flavors and makes it very, very drinkable. I could session this one for awhile.

The previous times I had this from cask was in Oxford and the taste certainly reminded me of then. A wonderful beer.

01-18-2006 01:12:44 | More by sloejams
Photo of Gogol
Gogol

Massachusetts

4.53/5  rDev +11.3%

(0001) Reviewed: 1/11/06.
On tap at the Horseshoe Pub, Hudson, MA. Temperature appropriate for a kegged beer.

Appearance: Color brown, with orange tint. The little head in evidence upon receipt of glass dissipated, but later could be made to reappear with agitation. Lace clung to glass at first, but eventually dissipated.

Smell: Balanced, caramel malt and hops. My emotive impression is “comfortable.”

Taste: Smooth, roasted malt at start, hop bitterness at finish. A very smooth transition.

Mouthfeel: Full, slightly to moderately “chewy.” “Warming.”

Drinkability: Excellent! If only I had more time, and more of this classic beer!

It is clearly evident why this is the yardstick against which other ESBs are gauged.

01-15-2006 03:38:10 | More by Gogol
Photo of skizziks
skizziks

Kentucky

3.95/5  rDev -2.9%

12oz. bottle poured into a nonic. Inch and a half light tan head with a little yellow-orange in it. Fluffy and meringue-like. Takes a minute to relax into a 1/4inch ring. Lacing slides thick on the sides but doesn't stick. Color is a red amber.

Aroma is caramel, malt, and a little orange without the citric acidity. Hops float in the background.

Flavor is a seamless continuation of the aroma. Malt-balanced, with just enough bitterness to keep it from turning to syrup. medium-full body sticks to the tongue letting sweet malt and a little bit of bitter hop linger for a long time. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth, but sticky enough to keep this from being a real quaffer of a beer. That's ok, with this much flavor it's better to have to stop and pay attention for a while anyway. Good stuff.

01-09-2006 03:41:08 | More by skizziks
Photo of Mebuzzard
Mebuzzard

Colorado

4.4/5  rDev +8.1%

Poured into glass.

Light brown, tint of orange maybe yellow. Nice white medium body head.

Smells caramel, roasted malt, hops and more hops.

Darn good taste. Not sure if ESB is right title. Perhaps SB and full flavor. Good balance of hops and malt with fruit and caramel. Feels fantastic, just enough bite to wake you up, but stops short of making a face.

One of the better ESBs I've had

01-06-2006 01:02:57 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of Tupperwolf
Tupperwolf

Washington

3.8/5  rDev -6.6%

Pours a crystal clear dark reddish amber with a thin, good-bodied eggshell head that fizzes away after a time and leaves tiny lacing and an incomplete covering.

Kind of funny - while opening the bottle at near arm's length, I was surprised to catch a sudden intense whiff of beer that could only have come from the first release of the cap. I was expecting a very pungent ale, but have discovered that it's quite the opposite. I have a hard time rating the smell because there's just so little of it. What I am lucky enough to catch after a good minute or two of letting my scent receptors relax is a few quick whiffs of carmally malts, then nothing at all. What I catch of the smell is good, it's just almost nonexistant.

I have really been looking forward to trying out this ESB because it's the first beer of the style I've tried and I figured I couldn't go wrong with the "yardstick", as Fuller's seems to be regarded. I like it! That quick whiff of caramel leads to a grainy, malty beginning with a delicately bitter finish that's decently balanced.

Light carbonation; A mildly chewy feel for an ale, with a buttery finish. It's so very very clear in the glass, but not light in body.

All of this leads to the final point - very drinkable. Good body, easy to drink, the tastes and scents don't beat you up; A tasty beer to follow up with a couple more.

01-04-2006 10:57:42 | More by Tupperwolf
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
DarkerTheBetter

Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev -0.5%

Pours a slightly amber honey brown with a fluffy dirty looking head that left spotty lacing. Smells of raisins, sour grapes and a bubblegum malt. Tastes of an almost liquorish-like woody candy and coffee malts with a sweet nip of dry on the edges of my tongue. Very smooth and tangy. Mouth feel is medium, but the carbonation is very light and smooth.

12-16-2005 21:27:05 | More by DarkerTheBetter
Photo of Finite
Finite

Australia

3.98/5  rDev -2.2%

Appearance: Red amber with a perfect thick head which doesn’t go anywhere.

Smell: Sweet, dark fruits smooth malts. A very pleasant caramel / vanilla smell.

Taste/ Mouthfeel: Dark fruits with sop bitter hops and smooth sweet malts resembling brown sugar. Very buttery, oily and nutty.

Drinkability/Overall: Easy to drink but with firm fruity characteristics. A great brew to have after a big meal when relaxing.

12-16-2005 09:59:20 | More by Finite
Photo of Prufrock
Prufrock

Massachusetts

3.13/5  rDev -23.1%

12 oz. bottle poured into a pilsner.

very nice medium coppery, caramel color, crystal clear with almost an inch of white head that falls evenly leaving a touch of lacing.

bitter chocolate smell with a malty breadiness. a touch of smoky roasted flavors.

flavor weaker than the smell. watery, but with nice hints of many flavors: buttery caramel, toasted malts, a touch of hops in the finish. overall would make a decent session beer, but i'd prefer a bit more heft in the flavor.

12-16-2005 05:30:47 | More by Prufrock
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer pours a warm deep brown with a crystal clear body and a light creamy off-white head. It has a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles.

S- The smell of fresh honey, good pale malt and a slight hop bitterness really blend together nicely. Some notes of fresh grain with a faint hint of fruit is in the background.

T- This beer has a nice pale malt base that has a hint of toasted malt with a slight sweetness that is very light with a bit of biscuit malt dryness. There is a nice floral green hop note that finishes with a nice soft hop bitterness.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with no alcohol warmth or strong fizz quality.

D- This is a well crafted balanced beer. The tastes and smells of grain and hops are distinct with lots of character yet balance each other. This is great in the bottle and I can't image how much better it would be in the cask.

12-03-2005 04:31:08 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of nlmartin
nlmartin

Ohio

4.2/5  rDev +3.2%

This beer was served in a pub glass.

Appearance: This beer is a dark gold almost brown color. Presented with a thick fluffy white head that retreated into a nice foamy ring of beer foam.

Smell: This beer smells of roasted carmel and barley. Has a peat boggy kind of smell.

Taste: Very malty and sweet with juicy goodness. There is a not unpleasant minerally taste to the beer.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: This is just a great beer. Very little to no carbonation. I could suck one of these down almost all day. This will be in my beer rotations.

12-03-2005 00:36:19 | More by nlmartin
Photo of metallistout
metallistout

Ohio

4.47/5  rDev +9.8%

Got a good deal on a case of imperial pints.

Pours a deep amber color with a decent bubbly head.

Smells of fruit, malt, caramel, floral notes, maybe some honey and some other sweet tingley smells that are unidentifiable.

Tastes of a rush of sweet malt, a malt not so familiar, but a very good taste. I was expecting a very bitter beer, but it wasn't extremely bitter. Don't get me wrong I do taste the hops, but the flavor is definately dominated by all of the sweet fruity malty tones. It seems a rather thick drink for mouthfeel.

I'd never had this one until today and am glad that I have 23 more imperial pints in my garage (which is naturally refrigerating my beer at about 45 deg. F

12-01-2005 00:55:16 | More by metallistout
Photo of wedge
wedge

North Carolina

4.2/5  rDev +3.2%

Clear copper hue with a bubbly pillow of a head. Aroma is lightly toasted caramel malts. Strong malt base flavor with well balanced bitterness...very tasty. Nice caramel sweetness. Medium bodied, low carbonation - solid bitterness.

Very well balanced and very drinkable.

11-30-2005 01:13:25 | More by wedge
Photo of fisherman34
fisherman34

Manitoba (Canada)

3.45/5  rDev -15.2%

Amber in colour with aromas of grassy and earthy hops. This one has quite a sweet and malty backbone to it with notes of raisin, wood, and toasted grain. Long finish. This one really isn't my favorite interpretation of this style, as there really isn't enough hop contribution flavor wise or bitterness to fully balance out all of the malty and fruity notes. However, this is still a very good beer which I wouldn't say no to.

11-28-2005 21:59:22 | More by fisherman34
Photo of tastybeer
tastybeer

North Carolina

4.38/5  rDev +7.6%

Looks clear amber with a foamy head and bubbly lacing. Smells of caramel and fruit sweetness. Tastes sweet at first like the smell and then turns into an extended bitter dry mouthwatery experience that also makes it very drinkable. Real nice mouthfeel here too.

Classic ESB.

11-27-2005 02:11:00 | More by tastybeer
Photo of daliandragon
daliandragon

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -4.7%

This is another well respected British ale that can be tough to find on tap here on the island, although you see it in Brooklyn sometimes. A bright amber with an orange tinge and a thin head that doesn't last much past the pour. A fruity nose with malt also making itself heard. It's an overall fresh and unique beer prior to the taste.
The taste is again fruity but also features a very even balance between the hops and the malt. Overall, this is what I think of when I order a pint in England. Very little carbonation and an even, inauspicious mouthfeel that leaves a mild but tasty aftertaste.
Not quite up to the standard of London Pride but this is still an excellent drinking bitter from Fuller's, perfect for watching a match in the pub regardless of season.

11-26-2005 22:48:02 | More by daliandragon
Photo of JohnW
JohnW

United Kingdom (England)

3.85/5  rDev -5.4%

I can only echo others reviews of this beer - those who enjoyed it especially. Good medium dark colour, fairly thick creamy head, malty taste dominates for me, and the slighty dry hoppy after taste makes it easy to drink, despite its fairly heavy texture. It is obviously a Fullers beer and has the family character also found in London Pride, which I also enjoy, this just has a bit more of everything, and a better drink for it.


John W
Bham UK

11-22-2005 12:30:16 | More by JohnW
Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 2,338 ratings.