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Fuller's ESB - Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

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Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB

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2,569 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,569
Reviews: 1,281
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 92
Gots: 189 | 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:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 07-08-2001

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,569 | Reviews: 1,281 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HardcoreKeith
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My second ever hand-drawn ale, and I believe my fist ESB, at Cricketer's Arms.

Appearance was gold, with reasonable head that stayed for a little while. Dunno about smell much, but I did get a hint of hops. The taste was smooth and creamy and had a nice touch of hop bitterness to complement the slight malt and caramel. There was some fruitiness that I've come to associate with English beers. Very drinkable.

Photo of CanuckRover
4.73/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap in a Fuller's ESB glass from the local beer bar.

Appearance tells you she's special. A beautiful copper-amber, quite red though. Nice white head on top that lasts to the last drop. Lacings don't really stick, a little slippery.

A sweet smelling ale. Plenty of fruit, I always think berries with the ESB. Hops behind, noticeable but I couldn't pinpoint an aroma.

After much thought, I think that the flavour I get most from Fuller's ESB is maraschino cherries. Sweet, berry-like yet with a load of toffee and caramel in the malt, a wonderful mix of the fruitiness and sweet sugar that made me fall in love with English ales. Very buttery in taste and feel, very silky. Again I have a tough time picking out the role of the hops here, not particularly bitter and the malt is just so forward... tough.

Mouthfeel is great, very nice on tap, tastes quite fresh.

This is what it is, a classic for a reason. Wonderful beer.

Photo of rjimlad
3.76/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Coppery and clear with only faint carbonation. Good hoppy notes off the head but not huge. Flavour is well balanced with toffee malt and well integrated hop bitterness. I drank this straight after a Spitfire and though it's not as big in flavour or aroma, it's got better body and a little better balance. I like this a lot but it's pretty dear in Oz.

Photo of boston2bburg
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Super clear copper body with lots of carbonation, and a pillowy large head that really holds together well.

Aroma is pretty standard but pleasant, caramel malt with sweet, earthy UK hops.

I don't think I've tasted one of these since I first started really appreciating good beer four or five years ago. I was impressed then and remain so now. The balance and fullness of flavor are unparalleled for the style. Big caramel malts provide a sturdy base for the earthy hop bitterness. Finish is dry and sits well. Great beer.

Photo of Atlas1
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am celebrating St. Patty's Day 2008 at home with a Fuller's ESB. A little non-traditional, but so what.

Pours a bronze/amber color with little head but lots of bubbles; an average looking beer with lots of carbonation. The nose is sweet malt and fruit. Really nice smell here. Rich and full-bodied, but delicate. Slight molasses aroma, faint strawberries, and maybe even some toffee. Very tasty too. Again, nothing that would stop you in your tracks, but definitely a quality, sessionable beer. Rich malts, light fruit flavors, and a slight hoppiness in the finish that leaves a pleasant bitterness in its wake for the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is smooth; better and more pronounced as it warms to room temp.

I love a good ESB. To me it is a totally under-appreciated style. And this one is a great example of the style, delivering a very pleasing, well-balanced brew. A great session beer. Find and drink this beer if you haven't already.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This bottle makes you think "quality" so my expectations are pretty high to start. I used a good 'ol dimpled mug for this one.

Orange amber color, mild to slow carbonation leads to a lacy, scattered and thin white head with adequate retention.

This is a sweet, tangy malt with toffee, freshly baked bread, musty, all spice herbal hop and a subdued fruity hop edge with green beans and grains.

The malt has a very nice mild sweetness factor that reminds me of toffee candy. The other side of the malt flavor is a doughy, bready, musty flavor that gives this style it's edge. a tangy, herbal hop with mildly sour yeast makes the balance and finishes with a more spicey herbal effect later on.

This is medium to full bodied feel, very slick...almost cask-like.

Well, this is a classic for the style isn't it?

Photo of Redwood21
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: sticky head with an amber color body, just as a beer should be.

S: not very strong, a little malt and oatmeal type aroma, but as before nothing too strong

T: tastes like breads and oats with an extremely mild hop backbone that does provide a balanced though non aggressive bitterness well balanced, easy drinking beer

its a good solid beer to drink. it does not reinvent the wheel but it certainly keeps the good time rolling...(cheesy i know)

Photo of OKCNittany
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: 1/2" off white head. Good retention and lacing. Clear copper body.

S: Light aroma of toasted malt and some fruit. Unusual, but pretty good.

T: Robust flavor of malt and tangy fruit - slightly reminiscent of a fresh Oktoberfest at times.

M: Medium body with soft carbonation. Silky smooth, leaving a buttery coating & a lasting aftertaste.

D: Tremendously balanced, good taste, excellent mouthfeel, reasonable alcohol content - a perfect session beer.

Photo of johnyeast
3.15/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The color is copper with a slight head. Smells of malt, grains and a bit tart. The first taste is bitter, rich and malty. But bitter. Nothing really outstanding about this beer. Thinking that it may be extra bitter because of it's age. An average drinkable beer.

Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass, best before March 2nd printed on the back of the bottle. Whew just in time!

A: Pours a wonderfully clear and bright mahogany amber, with a half inch tan head (that is really my fault from a lackluster pour, because a quick swirl reveals a more active carbonation), still not much lacing to speak of.

S: Strong strong strong buttery apple aroma rips through on this beer, I mean I thought English beers were famous for their subtlety, but seriously it is nice. There is a nice nutty spice to this beer, like nutmeg (har har) and a pinch of cinnamon and sugar. The more I smell this beer the more balanced it becomes, which is what it should be.

T/MF: Has a very strong nutty taste tied with a complex interplay of floral and slightly grassy hop bitterness as the beer first hits the palate that really leaves a constricting hop bitterness on the tongue which is not to be undercut by the milder malt bitterness that tickles the roof of the mouth. On the lighter side of medium bodied the finish is long and the nuttiness that was apparent in the first sip comes through strong in the end with a slight grassy aftertaste.

D: An well balanced, easy drinking and tasty ESB, you really couldn't ask for much more, would like to try a fresher bottle though.

Photo of sjohansen
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fuller's has some of the coolest bottles around. They definitely stand out in a crowd. Pours slightly cloudy; a reddish maple syrup color, with a nice one finger head that slowly dissipates to a thin film coating the top. Leaves nice rings of lace throughout the session. Carbonation bubbles flow freely to the top of the glass throughout the session as well.

Notes of burnt caramel. Sweet malts.

Quick sweet bite of sugar on the front of the tongue. It turns into a nice bitter finish towards the back of the palate, and latches on really kicking in at the end.

Full, slick and oily mouthfeel.

There's nothing to dislike about this beer.

Photo of trackstar1043
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Reddish to Golden in hue, with a nice off white head that took it's time.

S - Rich amora or hops, citrus light malts and wheat. Almost have a bread like smell that lingered in your nose.

T - Ah there is that bread taste, with a mixure of bitter hops and citrus and danced over my tounge and left a refreshing finish.

M - Crisp and lively, moderate corbonation that worked nicely not to over whelm the taste.

D - Great drink, can enjoy one after the other.

Photo of PhageLab
4.11/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This one deserves a bit of an explanation. I had purchased several bottles of this after developing a great appreciation for ESB's over the last few weeks. I was planning on trying them and writing a review, but, as fate would have it, on my way home from work I stopped by the Tap House and saw this on a nitro tap. I'd never seen an ESB on a nitro before, only stouts and porters. How could I resist? I'm glad I didn't resist either, this was damn good. Served in a standard pint glass.

A - Orange coloration with a faint reddish glow, decent three tip head which displayed excellent retention and lacing.

S - Sweet and malty, with a touch of bitterness.

T - Smooth and creamy bitterness, and some malt backing which adds a great balance to this brew. A touch of sweetness near the finish gives the body a surprising complexity.

M - Creamy feel, low carbonation, light body.

D - Outstanding, I could do this one all night and not get bored at all. I've tried one of my bottles since and it was just as good. Fear not if you see this one, for it is a wonderful beer.

Photo of BravoTwo
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Good burnt copper coloration, with slight fluffy head, slight lacing

S - Slight fruity smell, with caramelized sugars and slightly aromatic smell from the hop content.

T - Tight caramel flavoring with a floral hint from the hops, slight toasted malt flavors and minerals from the water.

M - Average smooth mouthfeel, crisper with light body.

D - Very easily drinkable ale, an easily sessionable beer and very easily drinkable by many different people. A really great example of the style.

Photo of Brad007
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color: Copper color with decent carbonation and a thin head.

Aroma: Malty with a pronounced bitterness in the nose. Not too strong though.

Taste: Malty and a little sweet. Bitterness is in the middle. Almost spicy for some reason. Smooth. Decent malt profile.

Mouthfeel: Sweet, dry and a little bitter. Smooth. Buttery (but in a good way).

Verdict: Whoever said that a bitter couldn't be a good session ale? I really enjoyed this brew. It's simple and yet, fulfilling. I could knock back a few of these from a tap at 5.9%. Classic.

Photo of BeerLover729
3.67/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Burnt sienna brown beer with a small light tan head.

S: Malty smelling beer with overtones of caramel.

T: Fullers is a smooth creamy biscuity brew. There seem to be a nice amount of crystal and caramel malts used and the beer is rounded out with a nice butterscotch diacetyl flavor.

M: Smooth and creamy mouthfeel with a medium body and medium carbonation (maybe 2-2.5 volumes of CO2), probably more carbonation then is traditionally used (English style cask=1volume CO2).

D: Good beer thats not so heavy and has nice complexity despite a relatively mild flavor profile, perfect for an English meal. This beer goes down well and could make for a good session beer.

Notes: Biscuity flavor reminds me of Sixpoint's Sweet Action.

Photo of Tolann
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- I had imagined this beer darker. It's a golden color, a bit orange. White foamy head that isn't too dense. Looks like the head will calm down soon enough. The beer is not cloudy or hazy.

S- kind of a malty biscuit-y smell. Some rich caramel in the back to sweeten it up. The smell isn't very powerful but it's still there. You just gotta stick your nose in the glass to find it.

T- Some bitterness, but not a lot. Not bready tasting as what you may have thought from the smell. A real rounded out taste.

M- Medium body and very smooth. Not a carbonated or bubbly feel to it. No big after taste and doesn't weigh heavy in your gut. Very pleasant to drink. Little bit of the biscuit feel is on the back of your breath after the sip.

D- One to kick back and relax with. Not really a session beer, but i'm still glad I have another bomber in the fridge.

Photo of dsa7783
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz slender bottle copped from Buy Rite in South Plainfield... heard a lot of good things about this particular beer and brewery, and this sample certainly lives up to its hype... nice copper-colored appearance with minimal head leads to a decent aroma of bittersweet hops, citrus, and fresh florals... taste strongly complements the aroma, with a noticeable bittersweet hop flavor bursting through along with citrus, grapefruit, and grains... a very good depiction of the style that is easily drinkable without the slightest hint of alcohol... I could easily down a few of these in a single setting... flavor was uncloying and subtle yet really flavorful with a strong mouthfeel... Certainly one of the best ESB's I've sampled... good stuff... Definitely recommended...

Photo of bloberglawp
4.46/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours light cooper in a pint glass, white head dissipates slowly, nice light aroma of herbal hops, british yeast and fresh bread. Taste is dominated by typical british ale barley goodness. Lots of malty caramel notes as well. Firm bitter finish that balances this ale very well.


Photo of JDV
2.38/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Copper, clearish color with a small head. Smell is mostly caramel like malt with a hint of alcohol at times with the caramel. Tastes like lightly bitter smooth liquid caramel. Almost a light burnt sugar taste because of the light bitterness with a touch of alcohol. Decent, drinkable beer, but not my preferred style.

Photo of SIRIUS2
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Darker clear amber in color, minimal light colored head, good lacing.

S: Very faint caramel malt. Not very aromatic.

T: Smooth full balanced flavors combine with boldness on the tongue. The complex heavier flavors are complimented nicely with fine but persistent carbonation. Clean finish.

M&D: Full mouthfeel, deceptively heavy for the clear color. Filling and satisfying.

This beverage just has 'classy' all over it. For a brew this full it sure does go down easy. This is the first time I've tried this and I'm really liking it. The flavors stay solid throughout the experience and it just seems to get better with every pull. So far I haven't been disappointed with a Fuller's product.

Photo of shabbtastic
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a clear amber color with an off white fluffy head.

S - Moderate sweetness, Carmel I think. Very mild hops and grain.

T - Very buttery, I mean VERY buttery. Not exactly what I expected. A finish of bitter was very nice to offset the buttery thick feeling.

M - Warm and soothing. A slow drinker for sure IMO. A great ESB.

D - This is a fine brew, gotta have it on tap though. Recommended.

Photo of Stoneman78
4.36/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a clear orange to amber hue, head is a huge mass of effervescent foam that mostly sustains, great lacing all over

Smell is moderate caramel and toasted malts intermixed with fruits, toffee, and light sugar sweetness

Taste is mostly toast and roast malts, the toffee comes in midway as does slight caramel and bittering hops, finishes dry and malty with a hint of alcohol

Mouthfeel is light-to-medium bodied, thin and watery texture, mild carbonation

Drinkability is high, this is an amazing beer and what I would hold to be an exemplar of the ESB style, alcohol is well-masked and this is well in the the session range, big props to the guys from the Craft Beer Radio podcast for hyping this beer!

Photo of marcpal
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle poured into American pint glass.

A: Auburn and clear with a moderate head and lacing that just holds on enough throughout the beer.

S: Clever mix of malts and some bitter fruits behind it. Enticing to say the least for a mild beer.

T: Toasted malts with the great matching bitterness. The bitter hops are tight and crisp adding tons of texture to this beer.

M: Doesnt get much smoother than this for an ESB.

D: A refreshing and truly drinkable beer.

Well before the freshness date- this is a fine beer, a damn fine session beer.

Photo of mcallister
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Such a crisp copper colored beer. Very resilient and handsome in nature. A thick coating of white head rests on top with molten bubbles showing forth. Long long retention.

Pale malts aroma with zest hop interaction. A good dose of fruit shows through with some candied type aromas on the end.

Just another solid brew by Fullers. Great sessionability. Almost perfect hop to malt balance. Fruity yet so toffee malty. Bitterness is sustained on the finish with a hint of citrus. Bright lively carbonation really helps out in the overall showing of this beer. I like this much better on draught but eithe way a sure winner.

Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 2,569 ratings.