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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.

2,369 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,369
Reviews: 1,259
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 73
Gots: 115 | 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: 2,369 | Reviews: 1,259 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Metalmonk
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%

Poured a deep amber with a thin head that retained well, good bubble activity.

Malty as hell on the nose, with prunes and lingering hops in the back.

Total malt attack, but not syrupy. Hops bring up the rear, and the overall drinking is a sweet, rounded, somewhat bitter and very pleasant experience.

Feels full and slightly slick in the mouth, and feels better as it warms.

I'd never ever had this one before, and I'm glad I'm finally in on it. A super-good experience, can't wait for the next one.

Metalmonk, May 02, 2006
Photo of jwc215
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Pours amber with a low to moderate carbonation. Its foamy white head looks nice at first, but doesn't last long before becoming a thin lace.
The smell is not powerful. It's clean, but light. There are some subtle hints at a buttery, floral malts and hops aromas.
The taste is very nice. There is a well-balanced combination of malts and hops. It is very appetizing. I would recommend this with a meal, as it is not strong and would enhance the flavor of food. It is a buttery malt with some hints of citrus hops in the background.
The mouthfeel is refreshing. It has a thirst-quenching feel.
Makes for a good session beer, or as I said before, an accompaniment to a meal. While it is not quite exceptional, it is with good reason that this is considered a "classic" for its style.

jwc215, Apr 28, 2006
Photo of KarlHungus
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%

This brew pours a clear ruby color. The head si one-finger in height, creamy and thick, and recedes slowly into thorough lacing. The aroma is very complex: dark fruits, butter, cream, nuts, and a slight touch of caramel. The taste has everything the aroma does, but leans more toward the fruity aspects. The mouthfeel is medium-light bodied with a lot of carbonation. Overall, this is a fine ESB, and I will certainly drink it again.

KarlHungus, Apr 28, 2006
Photo of BeerRun13
3.2/5  rDev -21.4%

Pours a reddishe orange color with almost no head and no lace.
Has a slightly spicy-sweet malt aroma. Smells okay.
A malty caramel like backbone paves the way for a slight bitterness that arives after the swallow.
Medium bodied and crisp. Maybe a little low carbonation.
This beer is ok, and just that. I think I have a version of this at a B.J.'s and enjoyed it much more.

BeerRun13, Apr 27, 2006
Photo of goochpunch
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%

Pours a tawny orange with a thin head. Very sluggish bubble activity. Smells of fruity and dough-like malts with an herbal hop aroma. Tastes just how I like English ales: fruity, nutty, and bready. This is followed by a lemongrass hop finish and a present hop bitterness that rounds this out tremendously. The hop profile also reminds me slightly of chive. Slight alcohol in the taste lets you know this is strong bitter. Mouthfeel is moderate with low carbonation and leans towards a slight stickiness, which helps to make it a little bold. Very drinkable, and would make a good "session."

I had almost written this style off, having only had American interpretations. I'm glad to have found the original, which has given me some faith in ESBs.

goochpunch, Apr 22, 2006
Photo of JayTheFinn
3.73/5  rDev -8.4%

Nice orangy golden brown look with a mid to little head with great staying power. Slightly fruity scent. Fruity flavor that wasn't overwhelming in the least. Very smooth on the tongue. Lively bubbly carbonation. Goes down quite easily. Tasty number all around!

JayTheFinn, Apr 20, 2006
Photo of scruffwhor
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%

Poured a finger's width head with ok retention. Color is a copper and earthen clay hue. Lacing is decent. The raoma is very bready and full of dry malts. Taste Starts out like a Danish roll with lots of flour. The milder English hopping then makes itself evident, particularly at the back of the throat.

scruffwhor, Apr 10, 2006
Photo of IntriqKen
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%

Ok....I have to admit that I prefer American ESB's...I like just a little more hops in my brew, but I had to try this, THE classic of the ESB's.
Pours a beautiful clear dark amber with red tones and a nice white 2 finger head that melts to moderate lacing.
Aroma is bread and sweet malts with a little floral scent underlying it all. I couldn't notice any hop bite, except for the florals.
Taste is moderate malt with a little fruitiness.
Mouthfeel is smooth and full of fine carbination. A slight alcohol burn going down.
Aftertaste finally hits with slight drying hops that lasts a long time.
A good beer....probably a great beer...most definately a British beer with lots of balanced malts and just enough hops to be thirst quencing in it's dryness.

IntriqKen, Apr 08, 2006
Photo of tgbljb
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%

Poured a medium copper color with puffy off-white head. Slowly fell to a thin ring leaving very nice lacing on the side of the glass. Smell is dominated by a sweet maltiness, with distince aromas of caramel and dark fruit. Taste is suberb the with caramel maltiness being nicely balanced by a firm hop bitterness. Finish is more strongly hoppy and gives a pleasant ending to the beer. An excellent easy drinking beer

tgbljb, Apr 07, 2006
Photo of jamie2dope
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%

I really love Fuller's beers, especially the London Porter so I decided I'de give this one a try. Poured a nice copper color with a nice thick chewy head that gave way to a thin white lace. Smell doughy and slightly floral I also picked up on a bit of a whiskey smell too. Taste biscuity and incredibly balanced. I could drink these all night long. I was expecting a little bit more hop bitterness, but still, It was a very enjoyable experience. I like this beer alot, I dont really think you can go wrong with Fuller's in the first place. If I could describe this beer, I would have to say that it is very classy, almost gentlemanly. Cheers

jamie2dope, Apr 06, 2006
Photo of TrickKnee
2.6/5  rDev -36.1%

NEver have been a big fan of British beer but I heard so many good things about ESB. Smell and color were great however the taste and mouthfeel were horrible. I cant even explain the taste because halfwaythrough the bottle I gave up. Would not recommend, however I know to many people who like this so give it a try, if only for one bottle.

TrickKnee, Apr 05, 2006
Photo of sweethome
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%

Pours a rather rich amber color - an orange hue. Flowery, spicey hop nose. Full mouthfeel. Rich malts prevail in front - sweetness. Gentle bittering builds, does not overpower.

The flowery hops define the beer. This is definition of the Extra Special Bitter style. Like sitting in a pub on this dreary, damp Chicago night.

sweethome, Apr 02, 2006
Photo of sacfly
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%

11.2 oz

Pours a clear golden orange color with a very high level of carbonation. However, only a modest head of small white bubbles is present after a minute.

Sweet caramel candy nose with a hint of earthy hops. Taste is the reverse of the nose with the hops taking the forefront with the sweetness of the malt in the background. Mild drying finish. Hints of Goldings and crystal malt linger into the aftertaste.

Very easy to drink. Classic ESB.

sacfly, Mar 30, 2006
Photo of ultralarry2006
3.2/5  rDev -21.4%

This pours a deep orange amber with 1/2 inch head that quickly subsided into just surface skim, and left minimal lacing. Aroma of mostly sweet malt,not much hops. Taste- sweet and diacetyl- not usually a good thing, because I really dislike that taste and will not hesitate to dump a beer , and start over with something else, but was able to tolerate it in this. Mouthfeel was meduim body with moderate carbonation. Drinkability- I thought this was less than impressive and I will pass it over on most days.

ultralarry2006, Mar 28, 2006
Photo of Hautacam
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%

Bottle: best by 2/28/06.
Clear dark orange-amber....white , frothy head, drops quickly to film.
Smells of nutty malt..slight dough and faint hop.
Hops right out front in flavor...sweet, steely malt..hop bitter is constant, but not strong....not very complex; but well balanced between the malt and hop...it's good.
Mouthfeel is medium..carbonation low.
Pretty drinkable..reasonably low ABV.
Not one of my favorite styles...but it's very good. I might try this again and some other ESBs.

Hautacam, Mar 28, 2006
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%

I had this on tap (cask-conditioned) at Churchill Arms in London. It was my first beer in the UK, and also the best I'd tried during that short visit.

The beer looked a little darker than a normal pale ale, more orange in color with a sticky "spitty" white head. You can smell the hops, but not near as strong as an IPA. Just smells good.

Tasted awesome, not really all that bitter in comparison with many other beer styles. Nively balanced between malt flavor and hops flavor, with a nod towards the hops.

I plan to try this in bottle back at home now to see how it compares. This would be a really good beer for the deck in the summer.

TurdFurgison, Mar 22, 2006
Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.03/5  rDev -1%

I never thought this beer was much to look at really, and this bottle seems no different. A plainly bronze colored beer with thin, foamy, fading, white head reminds me beer is ultimately there to drink, not look pretty. It all winds up the same color in the end right?

The nose is delicious. Very fresh malt with a slight sweetness and big bubbles of fresh fruit waft up. The taste is classically british. Very soft, subtle, flavors of sweet light malt and ale (or hop?) fruitiness play quietly off of eachother until a quick snap of hop bitter in the finish.

The mouthfeel is almost thick, and very smooth and creamy. If it was more affordable, I'd drink gallons of this.

A note about food pairing... This seems like a natural choice for fish and chips. When I had them together, I don't know why, but the beer took on a very boozy character that was almost overpowering. I'll definately go for something else next time.

JudgeRoughneck, Mar 21, 2006
Photo of joedon
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%

Poured from a bomber sized embossed bottle. Dark amber-brown with a firm, lacy tan head.

Very nice aroma with lots of sherry and toffee.

Big flavor of malt, caramel, and notes of orange and cloves. Good hop bitterness to balance.

Pleasant drinking beer.

I haven't tried much British beer lately. On visits to England, I tend to go with the exports and lagers. Fuller's may have sold me on the ESB; it's a very nice beer.

joedon, Mar 20, 2006
Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.15/5  rDev +2%

this ESB pours a golden caramel brown color with a long-lasting thick creamy head. Pouring releases a buttery smoth, slightly fruity aroma. The smooth maltiness rolls down your throat. The bitters have almost a vodka-y flavor. A great, drinkable ESB.

I heard alot about this ESB before I tried it, and it lived up to it's reputation.

sinstaineddemon, Mar 14, 2006
Photo of Byeast
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%

Appearance: Poured a clear , darker brown. Head is about an inch , dissipates to a ring of creamy white.

Smell: sweet brown bread , some light, buttery diactyl , hearty but clean malt , herbal-tea like hop aroma.

taste: smooth malty flavors,bread, grain and slight sweetness , bitter and earthy hops flavors.

Mouthfeel: medium body , lightly bitter dry finish

Drinkabilty: soooo quaffable. This bitter is flavorfull smooth, and satisfying , with an appetizing aftertaste that begs for another deep sip.

Byeast, Mar 11, 2006
Photo of custardcb
3.35/5  rDev -17.7%

I picked up a sixer of this since I was in a small town and my options were limited. I've had it on tap from a beer engine that was unpasterized and was absolutely incredible. However the bottled American version doesn't do it justice.

It pours a nice fluffy head with small bubbles, it doesn't last to long and dissipates into a thin film across the top. The color is kind of a burnt orange. About the only thing I'm picking up on the nose is caramel and light bit of malt.

The taste from this bottle is pretty mild and does no justice to the beer. engine version. This is much sweeter and lacks the same bitter punch I picked up from the engine. The mouthful is pretty decent and leaves a pleasant feel.

Overl all it is a good representation of the style but not the best. The particular bottle I had was two weeks past the best before date but I wouldn't call this skunky. I could do a good session with this beer and be content.

custardcb, Mar 11, 2006
Photo of Jredner
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%

Aroma is sweet malt with a bit of nuttines and low bitterness hops. Light copper in color with a thumb thick white head. Fruit, Malt and Nutty aftertastes come out in abundance once it warms up a little, but initially the bitterness is the most noteable feature. English ESB’s taste so much more refined to me than the wild and wooly American offerings and this one is one of the best from England.

Jredner, Mar 08, 2006
Photo of crwills
4.7/5  rDev +15.5%

Fantastic session brew, even if it's a little high on the ABV. Had this on tap at the Olde Angel Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Poured into a Kilkenny glass. Nice 1/2 inch creamy head, light to medium brown colour, some reddish highlights.

I didn't get much out of the smell, although it's often hard in a pub setting to get past the smell of fried food and such. Some malty sweetness, a bit of hop bite, mild caramel and bread.

Taste is great. Another beer I could drink all day. Well balanced malt and hops, with a nice bitterness -- definitely present, but not overpowering. Mild, bready aftertaste, great full mouthfeel. I found myself gulping at the end and wanting more.

crwills, Mar 07, 2006
Photo of beermanbrian
3.28/5  rDev -19.4%

Nice copper color. White head foams up with a heavy pour but drops quickly to a film that leaves almost no lacing. Almost no carbonation activity. Smell of butterscotch, faint alcohol, and some light fruitiness. The butterscotch comes to the front in the taste for me. I assume this is diactyl. I have found that once I note this taste in a beer it is something I just can't get past. It becomes the dominant taste and it just overpowers everything else on my palate. In this case it wasn't as overpowering as i've noted in the past but it was still there and I can never quite get it out of my mind as I drink this one. Some malt flavors and spicyness do break through. Overall an OK beer but not one that I will return to often. I know I am going against the grain on this one but the butterscotch just kills this one for me.

beermanbrian, Mar 06, 2006
Photo of Rezzin
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%

A - Poured a deep red / copper hue. 1" white head that drops fairly quickly. Minimal lacing in my pint glass. Looks inviting.

S - Sweet caramel and toasty. Plums and apples. I don't detect much of a hop presence but I am somewhat getting over a cold. Smells clean and good.

T - Slight alcohol sweetness. Nuts, plums, and caramel all balanced together. It's good. Slightly bitter but not overly so.

M - Moderate carbonation. Body is full, maybe slightly on the thin side to me. Makes me pucker a little afterwards. Still, it's pretty refreshing - a perfect dinner beer.

D - I'd definitely order this if I went out to eat. It's not my favorite beer but it's deginitely one to try if you haven't so already. Overall a good beer.

Rezzin, Feb 26, 2006
Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 2,369 ratings.