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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.

2,508 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,508
Reviews: 1,268
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 90
Gots: 158 | 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: 2,508 | Reviews: 1,268 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of shererjt
3.73/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a rich, clear copper color with maybe a hint of red. Carbonation was medium and the head was nice, thick, and off-white. Rich, malty nose with hops, fruit, and caramel. Wonderful. Medium body. Lots of hop flavor and significant bitterness that lingers in the finish. Mouthfeel was nice and dominated by the bitterness. Drinkability was good.

A tasty, hop-oriented British ale. I'd prefer a touch more malt to balance, but it's plenty good as-is.

Photo of dacrza1
4.78/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Revisiting a personal favorite before the PSU Brew Fest...solid amber body with spotty head in a nonick--almost iced tea in appearance (I'm not sure why, but this beer just doesn't impress the eye--like a stodgy old Brit?)....beautiful malt presence--an mistakeable bitter...smooth malt mouthfeel, nearly perfect in the simplicity of presentation and experience...roasted and bitter--direct but with character...an all-night ale...like the Urquell, tough to offer anything new but praise for an original...sadly beers like this remind me that in a quest to sample everything in the store, I miss out on some consistent winners...

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

Poured into a pint glass.

Red/copper color with a white head that is fluffy at first but then shrinks. Decent lacing.

Smells of biscuits, caramel/toffee, bittersweet fruit, some nuts.

Tastes of biscuits, bread, some butter, caramel, grapefruit, orange-peel, apricots, some nuts. Lasting bitterness. Complex and balanced taste.

Medium body and a bit creamy. Medium carbonation.

A very good ESB and one of my favorite beers so far. Even better on tap, and I would really like to try it on cask.

Photo of mshallah
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best before Dec. 3 '07 on back label. Beautiful amber color. Small but clingy head. Wonderful fruity and malty aromas with a leafy whiff of hop. Malt smells of toffee and the fruity aromas are of dried fig, raisin and dried apricot. Flavors are a complex balance of toffee and fruitcake from the malt, dried fruit from the yeast fruitiness and a drying bitterness and leafy nose from the hops. Sweet, fruity and hoppy. Classic recipe for greatness.

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

Pours clear copper with a medium head that leaves lacing on the surface. Sweet fruity toasted malt in the nose with those distinctive english hops. Rich sweet malt flavor with fruit notes. Some herbal hops come in too. Low bitterness. Smooth, balanced and flavorful. Medium bodied, not heavily carbonated. Quite drinkable and a really good beer overall.

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

11.2oz bottle, best before 3/28/08. The label has changed to purple since I last had one.

A: reddish copper, one finger off-white head settles to thin lace that lingers to glass is emptied

S: flowery hops, sweet with aroma of caramel

T:sweet toffee, hop bitterness but malt is well represented. a nice marriage

M: medium bodied, smooth with dry finish and lingering bitter aftertaste

D: Great. There's a reason Fullers and ESB seem synonymous

A toast to Michael Jackson, Beer Hunter,on his passing.

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

A: Dark Amber with a very small head, sticks around though. No lacing. Nice looking brew.

S: Hops, hops and more hops. Specifically a sweet, herbal, floral smell with a lil pine in the hops. A lil toasty and slightly caramelly malt smell.

T: Very strong taste of, yeah, you guessed it, hops. When the beer first hits your tongue it's the only you can think about, but then it fades away very smooth and ninja-like. Tastes very toasty with a hint of caramel. On second taste my spidey senses detect a ever so slight syrupy taste in the end. Nice.

M: Feels light on the tongue and goes down smooth, especially for an ESB.

Drinkability: Because it's so smooth, it's not hard to see myself drinking quite a few of these. On the other hand, it may have a little more hop flavor than most people are used too.

Comments: WHen I think ESB, I think IPA. Wrong. This is a different beast all together and is a very strong bitter. This a beer worth recommending.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this one a ways back, like late last year for the first time and was not that impressed to say the least. I figured I should go ahead and give it one more chance, to see if maybe I was just having an off day...

A - Poured a very dark amber, almost a mahogany color with a two inch head that faded slowly and left a nice quarter inch layer of lace on the top. Lots of visible carbonation as well as a good amount of side glass lace.

S - Aroma was very bitter, sour would be a more appropriate word. Sour grapes and some bitter english hops. Almost a wine like smell coming off of it.

T - Muted and kinda dull would describe it. I thought it was alot more bitter when I had tasted it last. Had some notes of caramel malts, and even a subtle sweetness to it. Therre was definatly some bitter finish and a touch of grapes maybe in the back.

M - Smooth feel, with not too much of a lingering finish. It was a bit slick, not very crisp at all. Decent carbonation let you explore the flavor on your palate.

D - Fairly decent, I could put down a couple with no issue. It was a little plain to me, but seems decent as a session beer.

Overall the opinion I had was ill founded. This was actually a pretty decent brew. Very sweet flavor which suprised me, and had a good session quality about it. I would not mind ordering this up anywhere really. Will have to try some of the others as well.

Photo of TheBierBand
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Went over to my neighbor's house and was pleasantly surprised by his offer of a nice English Ale.... Fuller's ESB. It was served up in a 11.2 oz brown bottle with a freshness date (Best consumed by: August 2008!). This must keep rather well!

Poured it into a glass to form a slight head of about 1/4" of light, light tan over a reddish/amber beer. The head dissipated to a patchy cap soon.

The nose was subdued... but there was a generous portion of earthy hops scent balanced by a caramel malty aroma.

The Taste: NOT BAD! Good hop presence, but not overwhelming and a nice balacing caramel malt. Bready taste was certainly there.

Mouthfeel: A little thin for my taste.... but very refreshing for a hot day.... (got up to 93F today!) Carbonation was right on style.... middle of the road.

Drinkability: Yeah.... I could enjoy a few of these.... nothing objectionable.... pretty darn good.... RECOMMENDED.

Thanks Ric & Ger!

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

A - A light reddish amber, with some white head that fades to a thin lace. Not much visible carbonation.

S - Very nice and malty scents of biscuits, more and the sweeter side, but also with nice floral scents from the hops.

T - Sweet but not fruity beer. Straightforward and very exemplary of its style. Great tasting English malts, very bready and thick. Despite the considerable maltiness, the hops are flavourful enough to provide a great drying finish and nice floral taste with that lovely bitter bite that an ESB ought to have.

M - The hops make this beer a drier one than the malts would otherwise have it. Kind of rough and quite refreshing.

D - Great sessionability, a very nice refreshing beer, with straightforward hops and bitterness make it quite easy to drink.

Photo of Bamabrew22
3.73/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got to try this one on tap at Brit's Pub in downtown Minneapolis recently. Great example (if not 'THE' example) of the style.

Appearance was of dark leather, deep copper hue with just a slight bit of head retention. The imperial pint glass really dresses it up and makes you think you're back in the UK. Smell was good, just an overall malty presence, no real hop character to note at first. Taste was of caramel, almost burnt malt, with a slight spiciness from the hops. Maybe also some hints of fruit, toffee as well. Mouthfeel, not much, watery, but was still pleasing to the palate.

Just a good ale here, not much else. Definitely worth a shot.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pint bottle,

A: Pours a copper amber red with medium white head, which sticks around for a long time.

S: Toffee, malts, earthy hops.

T: Brilliantly simple. Tastes of sweet caramel malts, toffee, butterscotch, balanced by earthy, minty at times, English hops. A delight to drink.

M: Hard water, not terribly robust, but nice mineral finish.

D: Easily quaffable, you could stay on this particular bitter all night. A little taste of England in these here United States. This is the hallmark of the style and pretty much the best one I've ever had, certainly one of the beers I drink the most, just wish it was a little less expensive, ~$4 a pint bottle, but you'd do worse in a bar.

Photo of bozebus17
4.9/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a brilliant clear copper. There was a large off-white head that died down to a nice thin foam. This lasted all the way down.

This is a very aromatic beer. Lots of toasted aroma and fruit come through. It makes me anticipate the first taste even more.

The taste is wonderful and there are many things going on here. It is slightly sweet. This one is a bit buttery and I detect a bit of nuttiness. There is a hint of fruit and a nice slightly earthy bitterness comes through in the end to balance. As it warms I detect a hint of mintiness. This beer is soft on the palate, medium bodied and creamy. Very nice.

Wow, I can't believe it has taken me this long to try this beer. I must say this one exceeded my expectations. This is a top-notch ale and one I would be glad to drink any time. It is definitely about the maltiness. Pour me another one please!

Photo of giblet
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

very good ESB. nice bitter. had very good qualities all around and nice aftertaste.

poured a nice amba color with nice carbonation and head. very nice lace as i sip away. wonderful smell. the taste i yum!!!

not the type that i could have 4 or 6 of - but i may still try!

i am certainly going to try many more ESBs. i have had a few but it is a very interesting style.

not for the weak!

suckem up and movem out!


Photo of msubulldog25
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a beer I've heard many good things about...poured from a 16.9 oz bottle into a pint glass. Bottle dated "Best Before: 05/OCT/07".

A: Gorgeous color; fiery red-orange & clear capped with a bubbly, somewhat crusty 3-finger head of eggshell white. As it fades over the course of several minutes, the leaves spotty bits of clinging foam and dwindling to a thin veil of bubbles on top. Moderate amount of rising carbonation.

S: Slightly sour/lactic aroma, doughy bread maltiness, roasted nuts and a big dose of bittering hops.

T: Rich malt flavor with a decent touch of sweetness & a little citrus fruit. Toasted grain is so full it coats the mouth. Hops are bitter but not overbearing, finishing clean, floral and a little herbal. The beginning of this beer evokes and huge hunk of toasted bread with a dollop of honey and the finish is of a meadow. Very tasty and well balanced!

M: Medium body, crisp carbonation. Finishes bitter but clean.

D: A very fine beer, deserving of its reputation. Slightly strong for session-drinking, but excellent flavors, superb balance. A winner all around and one I'll certainly have again.

Photo of kellyst
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A – A beautiful reddish-brown color. White head that clings all the way down the glass. Low carbonation.

S – Slightly sweet malty smell.

T – Definitely malty. The malts are very caramelly. No strong roasted taste to the malt. The hops provide just enough bitterness, especially on the aftertaste. The hop taste is very earthy. I like. There is also a flavor to Fullers ESB that is peculiar to this beer, indescribable, but I have experienced it with no other esb.

M – Pretty smooth. Nothing exceptional.

D – Medium. I could have a few.

Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- beautiful beer. Translucent red body with thick foamy cream colored head. Head becomes thin but has great retention. Lacing remains all the way down the glass.

S- A little bit of everything. Hops, malt, and nuts.

T- Initial taste is of sweet caramel malt. This is immediately followed by a fairly harsh bitter hop aftertaste. Some hops and a smooth nutty flavor linger.

M- Medium carbonation and medium weight body. Well done.

D- This was pretty good and pretty drinkable. It was a bit more hoppy than I expected but it was a good balanced beer. I will probably have this one again.

Photo of MiScusi
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a very clear pale reddish orange with a foamy white head. There were some small yeast particles suspended in solution since I poured the whole bottle. The smell was toasted malt and sweet. Strong caramel presence in the taste. The bitterness is quite low and not much hops come through. The drinkability is actually pretty good though, as you may find yourself drinking this one pretty fast. I wouldn't spend too much time with it though.

Photo of Damian
3.55/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from a 12 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Cambridge Wine & Spirits, Cambridge, MA

Poured a clear, deep amber with a white, bubbly, one-finger head that faded to a stubborn ring of lace.

The aroma was initially sweet and fruity. Rich caramel malts came though strong with slight metallic notes in the background. As the beer warmed, the nose changed considerably. Damp earth was noticeable along with a slight mustiness. This earthiness continued to become stronger as the drink progressed.

The taste was a well-balanced mix of rich, sweet malts and noble hops. Up front, this flavorful balance was quite evident. Notes of caramel and toffee came through as well. In sharp contrast to the aroma, the palate became sweeter and fuller as the beer warmed. Hops were once again apparent on the back end and they crescendoed into the fairly bitter, dry and slightly tannic finish.

The beer was full-bodied with a creamy, frothy and smooth mouthfeel.

At 5.9% ABV, this ESB was surprisingly sessionable.

Photo of tempest
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've got mixed feelings on this one, but it's hard to tell if it had bad handling in transit. The malt flavor just seemed a little off, a bit medicinal or plastic. Still, there was the nice subtle malt and hops flavors that make a great ESB. It was very easy to drink and tasty overall, I'd try it again.

Photo of BigRedN
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apperance: Poured from the bottle into an imperial pint glass, the beer is a clear reddish brown. My pour produces a thin white head, about 1/4 inch that quickly fades to nothing. Leaves no lacing behind.

Smell: Some really good malts from this. Not really roasted malts but some slightly sweet caramel and toffee scents. Hop aromas are somewhat weak on this.

Taste: It may say bitter, but this one has some definite malty presence. Caramel malts, not really roasted, a touch sweet. Caramel and toffee flavors. Faint bitterness on the finish. Very good balance.

Mouthfeel: Smooth on the toungue, get's a little prickly and warming going down the throat, probably due to the alcohol.

Drinkability: A very fine beer, but the higher alcohol content (5.9 percent) would keep this from being a session beer for me.

Photo of roblowther
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep red brown in color with no real head. Smell is hoppy and sweet. There is a caramel note that just makes me want to pour it over ice cream. The taste is a great balance of malt and hops. The hops dominate but the bitterness refreshes more than it puckers. The mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, light but not watery. Drinkability is damn good for something this hoppy. One of the best examples of the style. Get it on tap if you can.

Photo of DoubleJ
4.53/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This might be one of the most oxy-moronic names for a beer style, but this offering was good, no matter how you name it. On to the beer:

Fuller's ESB is bright amber with orange hues. A sweet, gummy beer with a pleasant bitterness, raisins, and pine. There's also a little tropical fruit and chocolate in it. Maltiness is detectable, but all the other by-flavors overpower it. Very creamy and satin smoothness from The Olde Ship's taps. Good stuff.

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

Was able to have this brew on tap which was nice as I normally only see it in bottles. It had a nice amber color with a fairly good sized light tan head that had good retention and left some nice lacing down the side of the glass. The aroma is nice, malt is the first thing that I notice which seem to give of a scent of caramel while also having a pretty clear hop smell that seems to catch up. The hop aroma really makes you think that this is a classic English beer with the Challenger, Northdown and Golding hops. This is a very nice beer as it has a very smooth feel with taste highlights of caramel, nuts, and additional malt flavors noticeable upfront and carrying through to the end. Around the middle I notice the hops which give it a nice accompanying flavor while they seem to try to take over a little bit. Over all this is a very good brew, one that is an English classic.

Photo of pootz
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Had this from cask...one of 5 of these that found its way into the frozen white wastelands.

The difference between this and bottle was not redily apparent to me.

Aside from the sharp carbonated character of the bottled version I got some mild yeasty tastes and some bready maltiness that was not so well pronoinced in the bottled version.

What I did get from the cask was a snmooth creamy mellownes in the moth that the bottle could not give.

Not my favorite syle but about as good as this style gets.

Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 2,508 ratings.