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Fuller's ESB - Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

Not Rated.
Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB

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2,545 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,545
Reviews: 1,279
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 93
Gots: 177 | 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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,545 | Reviews: 1,279 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of giblet
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
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
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
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
3.98/5  rDev -2%
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
3.61/5  rDev -11.1%
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
3.66/5  rDev -9.9%
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
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
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 -10.1%
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
3.97/5  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
3.67/5  rDev -9.6%
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
4.52/5  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 -1.5%
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 -0.7%
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.

Photo of Stephen63
4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Typical bitter with coppery/orange body, very nice head at start but vanished in less than 2 minutes.

S - Big aromas coming off this, caramel/toffee very evident but behind this fruity contributions also. Impressive.

T - Caramel and fruits delight the palate but hops also very dominant particularly in the finish together with decent alcohol hit.

M - Quite high carbonation but really smooth.

D - Certainly too strong for a session beer but a fine bitter to savour.

Not tried this style very often but this would be a good one to start on.

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

Had on tap at the Pub in Lexington.

This beer is a very clear ambery copper with a nice white head that does leave some good lacing.

Smells sharp. English malts and light hops. Slightly sweet on the nose.

Tastes like the London Pride with just a bit more to it. Light hops on the front, sweet and bitter at the same time.

Perfectly balanced between malt and hops. Highly drinkable and another reason Fuller's selection are jumping up my list of favorites.

Photo of beeragent
3.84/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 25oz. bottle, into a pint glass. The beer pours a deep amber, forming a creamy 1/2 inch head. Spots of light lace along the glass. The aroma is light fruit and caramel from the malts. The taste is sweet malts up front, followed by smooth caramel, and finishing with a slight fruit finish. Medium smooth mouthfeel. Highly drinkable, and with the low alcohol content, this is a great session ale. Definitely worth trying.

Photo of Procrastinator
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle poured into pint glass. Best before 05/Nov/07 date on bottle label.

Appearance: bright copper colored body with little off-white head quickly breaks down. Very clean, clear and refreshing looking.

Smell: familiar mineral scents of british water, slight sweetness of raisins or plums. Slight hop bitterness.

Taste: slightly sweet fruit up front with nice dry bitterness from hops to compliment and balance. Crusty bread and alcohol at finish.

Mouthfeel: slick on the tongue. Medium body with very agreeable carbonation.

Drinkability: easily quaffable at 5.9% ABV. Well balanced and tasty with crisp dry finish is easily sessionable.

Photo of TheodorHerzl
3.56/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this on tap at my favorite bar McNiven's in Indianapolis.

The pour was perfect with a nice white head right to the rim of the imperial pint glass.

A: Nice copper/golden color with a nice white head.
S: The dominant smell is of hoppines, but that is about it.
T: Nice malty taste with a hint of carmel, but not as strong as toffee.
M: Easy on the palate with low carbination. Good English beer.
D: It's a really nice ESB, good for drinking on about any occassion.

Photo of bonbright7
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I found this copper brown ale to be pungent with bitter hops that just rolled in my mouth and was not a great match for salsa chips. Slightly cool, it took a little while for the sweet malty tastes of caramel to come through in the end of my pint glass.

I was reminded to try this after tasting another beer, which was benchmarked by this ESB. I liked this very much and I would like to find this on tap or even better, on cask.

Photo of kajerm
3.77/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Pours clear and amber with a small white head.

The smell is simple and balanced, with light biscuity malts and mild Brit hops.

Tastes exactly like it smells, simple and to the point. Mouthfeel is crisp and light.

I'm not generally a huge fan of these subdued British styles, but this is ridiculously sessionable. Liver notwithstanding, one person could put away a case of these in a night.

Photo of nortmand
4.34/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours crystal clear and brilliant copper. Nice, frothy off white head.

Aroma is an awesome balance of toasty biscuit malts and floral, resinous hops.

Very biscuity flavors up front, like eating a handful of hot, wet two row. Resin hops balance a lingering malt sweetness on the back of the tongue.

Medium bodied and extremely drinkable, this may very well be the most sessionable beer in existence.

Photo of BoucheGulp
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into pint glass: Pours a rich amber, leaning toward red. Big bubbles in the head, which does not retain well. The beautiful color of this beer would earn it a better appearance score were it not for the near-complete lack of any lacing. The first whiff is dried fruit with a very subtle tartness and astringency. These aromas subside as a complex maltiness reveals itself on the back half of my tongue. Lightly roasted malt is complimented by a sweet, earthy flavor, and the understated hops are obviously doing quite a balancing act. A surprisingly light mouthfeel contrasts with the rich, but not overpowering flavors of Fuller's ESB, making it extremely drinkable, and I'll second whoever said that even at 5.9% ABV, this could still do nicely in sessions - albeit, very hazy ones.

Photo of BMoney575
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on 4-18-07
Best before 12-8-07

Pours a nice amber/orange with a nice white head, no real lacing.

Smell is sweet, yeasty, with bits of caramel and hops.

Taste is much like the smell, with a good hop bite. The flavors meld together very smoothly.

Mouthfeel is good, resiny hops and nice carbonation.

Drinkability is good, very well balanced flavors.

Overall a good beer, although I'm not quite sold on English beers. I'll definately have to try it again.

Photo of Onslow
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this was one of my first favourites...but in recent times it has dropped in quality..but until i can re-rate i will go with my original gangster review.."A brilliant dark bitter beer that looks great but lacks alot of head. It has a full flavor and good after taste. One of my favs."...don't look before you laugh....

Photo of clickpush
4.77/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pour: .5L bottle to tulip glass, about 50 degrees. It's got a beautiful raspberry tinted amber hue with a 1.5 finger loose white head that sticks all the way down like I've never seen before, descending at an average pace. Several lackadaisical bubble streams throughout. Coat of lace and large halo remain through the duration of the beer.

Nose: Full rich caramel malt aroma. Perhaps I just really need a beer, but so far everything about this one is making me drool. Great fruit presence as well, figs and apricots, perhaps a tart note of bramble. Hints of grass or hay, the hops are not over powering but add a subtle compliment here.

Mouth: Gentle bitterness perfectly blended with caramel malt body. Velvety mouthfeel all the way back with just a tinge of a tickle in the swallow. Lingering bitterness - hops are much more present in flavor than smell, but are not over done the way I find a lot of American IPAs to be. Just a tiny little tartness mid mouth but erased by the updraft of more hop flavor post-swallow.

This is unbelievably good. Goes down smooth, and at 5.9% it might still be bordering on a session beer. I could drink several bottles of this for sure.

Photo of funkengruven
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a beer that lives up to it's title. It's Extra special, and most definitely Bitter. This came to me a nice dark gold with a slight half inch head on top that sat nicely, smell was fresh and hoppy. Taste was extremely bold, the hop character is very obvious in this one, this is reflected in the bitterness.

This is a very bitter beer and definitely recommended if you enjoy the bitterness, can be a bit much for some but I sure enjoyed it.

Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 2,545 ratings.