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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.

2,511 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,511
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: 2,511 | Reviews: 1,268 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ubermunkey
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a medium amber with a frothy little head which died down after the first sip. smell was of hops and light fruity notes. the first taste was of carmel malt, next came a bit of hop bitterness, but not nearly as much as the name would have you expect. the mouthfeel was very nice, smooth and creamy, ending rather dry. not much complexity to this one, but its very easy going down, fairly good overall.

Photo of brdc
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a copper beer with a foamy head that quickly disappears but leaves some lacing behind.
The nose is somewhat thin and unidimensional but pleasant, with hops mostly, and some minimal fruitiness somewhere in there.
Medium-bodied, the tastes start with a fruitiness, followed by mostly hop bitterness that although is the only discernible presence here, is not exaggerated or overpowering. Finishes dry.
Pleasant, not brilliant.

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

Pours out a very clear yellow ice tea color with very little suds but lacing appears on the glass.
smells like shellac/varnish at first. Some whiskey notes in the back. Caramel malts and a bit of yeast with a very strange hop aroma.
Taste is sugar water caramel and alcohol then you taste the malt and hops. This is not nearly as bitter as the name would imply.
Mouthfeel is oily and black bitterness.
This would be alright for a session beer.

Photo of Kulrak
3.73/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium golden brown with a decent amount of creamy white head. Smells a little yeasty, a bit hoppy and a little woody. The taste is very hoppy and fairly bitter, again some woody notes. There's a little bit of citrus in there too. The mouthfeel is very creamy and not harsh at all, good stuff. All in all, it's a fairly drinkable, tasty brew. I'll probably get some more of this soon.

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

a: Burnt orange/pale amber. Off-white foamy head, which sits nicely, sinks very slowly. No bubbling.
s: Grain & dried fruit. Muesli. Touch of citrus, like the aroma of lemonade. Biscuity malt, herbaceous hops.
t: Toasty malt upfront, spicy sour orange. Complex back palate of hops. Molasses, dried apricots, herbs. Firm bitterness.
m: Medium body, good length. Touch hollow.
d: Very drinkable, would like to try a cask version someday.

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

(Best Before: 30/APR/07) Hey! Hey, wait a minute. Hasn't Fuller's switched the label from Black/Red to Blue/Gold? This is nothing but Black and Red... good grief.

Appearance: Pours out a dark amber body with a foamy, off-white head.

Smell: Pleasing aroma of bread dough, honey, and caramel, with a few fruity notes as well.

Taste: Essentially malty, with flavors of caramel, burnt sugar, and, to a lesser degree, golden raisins. Exceptionally light citrus hop flavor with an equally light hop bittneress that comes and goes fairly quickly. Ultimately, this beer finishes fairly sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, with a curiously flat mouthfeel.

Drinkability: An enjoyable, eminently drinkable ESB.

Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from 16.9 oz bottle into pint glass, appearance is rich copper hued w/nice clarity, bouqet is of subtle english hops and caramel malt, bread, some floral notes in the nose as well. taste is well balanced between the aforementioned malt and understated hops, enough bitterness to provide a very well-structured esb, mouthfeel is light/medium and drinkability excellent, nice session beer, enough going on to pique interest but not an in-your face beer.

Photo of alexskovan
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured clear amber with a big off-white head. Biscuity malts in the nose, as well as bittering hops and diacetyl. Taste is pleasantly gritty and mouth-filling with all the notes in balance. Bitter but not overwhelmingly so.

Amber bitter British beer; "...proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." This is a very nice brew.

Photo of soupyman10
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle into a mug

A - Crystal clear amber color, with a nice inch and a half of white head on top; noticeable lacing immediately; looks really good

S - Deep malty smell, something roasted involved, caramal, some light hops; smells great as well

T - Roasted malt and hops as well; coffee scent with some deep caramal as well as grains, with a nice bitter hoppy finish; solid good taste with a nice mix of flavor; a little too salty for my taste (and a saltiness that gets more noticeable as the beer goes on)

M - Solid feel, good at coating your mouth; solid carbonation, nice solid aftertaste

D - Overall this is an excellent beer; I'm a big fan of ESBs, and this one hits it right on the money; great smell, taste, and look; definitely could drink these all night

Photo of Bestuurder
4.88/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought this at the Royal Oak in Ottawa, not bad place, always has some of the rare brews on tap.

Fine looking beer. Fairly large head, but it was consistent all the way to the bottom of the glass after the initial 1/2 inch pour head. Good colour, darker than I might have expected, more of a brown.

Not overly sweet, but still has a sweetness to it. I don’t find this beer to have a pronounced aroma of any kind.

Overall, I didn’t think the beer was terribly bitter. I would have thought the beer would finish a bit more crisp as an ESB, but it didn’t. Very well balanced, amazing taste. Not too bad with a malty character. A fair amount of booze taste when it warmed up, more that I would expect for its alc content

The two Fullers I just drank for this review were both perfectly carbonated. On the taste however, it felt like an English Pale, more flat actually, with a medium body.

I really enjoyed these two beers, however, I'm not completely sure how many I could drink in the long run. It has a lingering taste after the swallow which I again would assume is the malt hanging around.

This was the first of the ESB's I have tried since coming back from Britain, and I am still equally impressed now as I ever was.

Photo of atsprings
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have been a fan of this style of beer ever since Redhook ESB was one of the main beer's to open my eyes to the world of craft beer. Needless to say, when I first had this beer about a year ago, my eyes were opened wider. Poured into a Fuller's imperial pint glass with good thick barely off white head. The beer had a good burnt amber color to it. Aroma was an almost perfect blend of caramel malts and subtle hops. Taste was the epitome of what this style should be. Great malt flavor combined with a hop bitterness that barely shows any hop flavor. Mouthfeel was very acceptable with decent carbonation and well hidden alcohol. Very drinkable beer, one of my favorites, just a tad on the pricey side.

Photo of TechMyst
2.93/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pint bought at Pridom. One of the few I saw without dust all over the bottle. Luckily this had a freshness date...best fefore 9-10. Consumed 2-10. Thought I'd try the "Standard." Strong caramel malty notes in the aroma. Conditioning was not too harsh. ruby amber color. Heavier on the malts than the hops. Sorry everyone, not too impressed here. I would have liked this much better after my Guinness phase. But now I'm on the primrose path to geekiness/snobbery, this is just so-so to me. It's a nice quality brew; just not what I like...Something odd in the bitter after taste I did't like and could not place, I'd like a Bass please...

Photo of AustinBeerLvr
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a half liter bottle into a half liter O-fest style glass.

One of the most awesome beers to look at, as the head simply stuck around forever. The beer's color is a beautiful deep rich reddish amber.

The nose of this brew is very potent and includes a large array of fruit flavors and strong citrusy and bittering hops.

Once this beer hit my palate, I immediately got the huge mix of fruity malt flavors and hop bitterness all at the same time. I also tasted some apple flavors as well. The finish has just a tad bitter bite from the hops, and a good dose of alcholol flavor as well. Mouthfeel is very nice, as it's very substantial.

Overall, this is good drinkable beer. This is only the second ESB brew I have ever tried, and I am really starting to enjoy them more. The only complaint I have is that it seems this brew could use a little more bitterness to balance things out in the end. That said, this is a damn good beer. Be sure to drink at 50+ degrees in order to appreciate this fine brew.

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

ESB pours a crystal clear light tawny brown color with a soft malty head. A soft understated well-behaved malt aroma wafts from the glass, becoming much more apparent as this brew warms. A steady stream of fine carbonation rises continuously from the base of the glass. Slightly bitter, and moderately malty, this is a distinctive brew, finely tuned and not overbearing. As yes, this is a true pub style bitter that will offer continued enjoyment for as long as you are willing to stick with it. True to the style, without the modern day over saturation of flavors, this is one style that the Britt’s really excel at. Jolly Good!

Photo of Hornet2003
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I enjoyed this beer while writing a paper on Industrial Relations. Go figure.

Poured a very subdued amber colour with minimal head. Lacing was all but non-existent(does that make sense). Had a bit of a hoppy aroma. Overall, it smelled a little more aggressive than your average ESB. The taste was bitter(duh!), and smooth. Very nice. I found as the beer warmed a bit it became a bit syrupy. By the time I finished, I can't really say I craved another. However, overall, this was a good representation of the ESB style.

Photo of JDK
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful clear amber color with little to no head (which is contrary to other reviews and I'm not sure what happened)
Smooth mouthfeel but tends to be a little flat towards the end
Nice spicy hoppy taste with no lingering aftertaste, mild carbonation
The smell is a nice fresh fruit with mild hops
This is one nice ESB that always seems to be recommended where ever I shop

Photo of bark
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have reviewed some 600 beers, but not one of my all time favourites, Fullers ESB. I am shocked.

The deep copper-amber beer got a finger thick compact white head.

The taste is overall balanced and fruity (mainly apricots). The malt is smooth and somewhat sweet with a mild roasted touch. The aftertaste is long, pleasant and complex: Fresh, bitter flavours of apricots, herbs, honey, pineapples and a mild sourness in the finish.

The carbonation is medium strong, fresh with small bubbles.

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

Rich brownsih gold color with brilliant clarity. Smallish white head with reasonably poor retention.

Caught an initial whiff of apple (fruity British yeast?), but minimal hop and generally a clean, slightly malty aroma.

Initial malt sweetness leads to a coarse bitterness that dominates the finish and lingers. A chocolately character to the malt, and an earthiness to the hop flavor.

Medium body and carbonation. Quite smooth and creamy despite the strong bitterness. Slight alcohol warming, but overall very nice on the tongue.

Overall a nice, flavorful British ESB. Nice balance of a strong malt backbone and assertive hoppiness. A very clean beer and a fine (defining?) example of the ESB style. Strong by British standards, but I could definitely session this beer. Nice.

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

Poured into a pint glass.

A: A very clear, deep copper color, with a very thin white head that dissipates quickly, leaving only trace behind,.

S: Toffee, caramel malts with some earthy hops, maybe even a tad bit of citrus hops. Very subtle and you must sniff hard, but it is pleasant.

T: Pretty good, but I was expecting a whole lot more for some reason... Caramel malts with some light, earth-like hops thrown in. A slight bit of roasted character could also be found. Ends slightly yeasty, with a mild, hop bitterness in the finish.

M: This is what shines in the beer.Mouth feel fits this awesomely. A nice smooth, Medium/full body, with a low carbonation, while not seeming flat; Great.

D: A session beer if I ever drank one. Almost too easy to drink. However, I was not too thrilled with it. I thought the taste to be a little dull. I think I much more of a fan of the American take on the ESB. It was pretty good, but nothing to brag.

Photo of BlindPig
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- 1/4" white head on a clear deep orange body with amber hues.
S- Sweet toffee, caramel, light roasted aromas, dry grass hops, and a hint of bread.
T- Toffee malts (more on the caramel side) come through the most. There are some dry grass hops that balance it out pretty well and leave quite a dry bitterness on the tongue.
M- Low carbonation on a medium body.
D- I like it a lot besides the carbonation. I think it just seems to be a bit flat. I would like to see if it's this bottle or just how it is.

Photo of HossMcGraw
4.88/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was amazing on tap! So complex, so delicious, I wish I were drinking it right now, even though it's about 9:50 in the AM. Not like that's stopped me before, but I have to work later and it's kind of hard to just drink one of these.

Appearance is a lovely amber/burgundy, with a small head. Aroma is caramel, spice cake, milk chocolate, toffee, cigar humidor, etc. Pretty damn good. The flavour is ridiculously complex, and pretty much contains the same characteristics as the aroma, and since I'm a lazy fuck, I'm not going to type them all out again. The finish is sweet/dry with a nice hop bite.

Mouthfeel is full and smooth. Glides ever so gracefully across the palate and down into my belly where it awaits its cruel destiny. The drinkability is great. I could drink this all day, and plan on doing so some day in the near future. This was pretty boring in the bottle as I recall, but on tap, it is phenomenal.

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

30 November 2006, Best Before Jan 07

Clear amber colour with a small white head. Aroma of sweet malt, honeyish yeast and flowery hops. Tastes of sweet caramel malt and leafy hops with a bitter finish. Medium bodied. Well balanced and flavoursome bitter.

Photo of Erdinger2003
3.43/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served at The Map Room
The beer was served with a beautiful head that had a slight lacing. The smell was a bit bready and a little nutty. The taste was very, very bready and it also had the slight nuttiness to it. The mouthfeel was pretty good and smooth with a slight wateriness that wasn't so bad. Overall it was nice to try, but why can't you find the freshest stuff without going to England??

Photo of jcdiflorio
3.28/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

poured into a pint glass from a 11.2 oz brown bottle with crimped-on cap best before 40/JUN/07 on bottom of back label.

Clear,reddish,brown, a very light tan head almost off-white,soapy looking head dissapated down quickly to a thin bubbley slight coating of almost foam. A slight bit of spotty lacing here and there.

Malty nose,fruity,notes of figs/dates,very wine like,no real hop aromas present.

A good complex taste,winey,hint of licorice,bisquity,green apple tastes.
Grassy,carmelly,slightly tart,very good balance of flavors. Finishes dry,bittersweet,with a nice clean, easy, slightly sharp bitterness.

A bit on the thin side with a grainy mouthfeel. Goes down quickly and easily,very wine like,A good English styled beer,very drinkable,refresing,tastes good a bit on the cold side, would be a good beer on a warm summer day. I like this beer just not crazy about it.

Photo of niall
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Caramel and polished copper. It's a pleasantly warm color with little carbonation and not much head retention or lace.

S: I really like the smell of this beer. There's an apple pie/allspice sweetness to it that blooms into subtle creme brulée or butter toffee notes. Very promising.

T: Happily, the taste lives up to the smell. The creme brulée notes are still present, with a lively tartness reminiscent of black tea. The flavor has a nice release that lingers on the tongue for several seconds after swallowing. Nice.

M: Average. There's just enough bead to remind you that it's a beer, and not a particularly heavy or light body.

D: I reckon I'll do a sixer of this over a weekend quite happily.

I don't think I've had this since the 90s, having since settled into Belgian, and latterly, way OTT American styles. I've missed out on an understatedly satisfying session ale. I'll definitely buy more.

Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 2,511 ratings.