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Fuller's ESB - Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

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Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB

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2,591 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,591
Reviews: 1,288
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 100
Gots: 206 | 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: 2,591 | Reviews: 1,288
Photo of Mdog
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark amber, dense head.

Smell: Vague sweetness, toffee.

Taste: Caramel, toffee, hint of bitterness in the finish. A nice mix of flavors.

Mouthfeel: Moderate, not too heavy or too light.

Drinkability: This was one of the first craft beers that I really liked. My tastes have shifted to hoppy beers, but this is still one I could have several of in a sitting.

Picked up a single to see how I would like this after a few years of not having it. It didn't disappoint, still a great beer. Now if I could only find some London Porter around here!

Photo of sinistermadman
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perfectly clear copper color with a slight head. Toasty caramel malt aroma. Flavor is of toasted malt, with caramel undertones. Slight bittering from the hops. Medium body with a slick, smooth presence on the palate. Finishes crisp and clean with a slightly lingering stickiness. A definitively sessionable brew.

Photo of joekfsu
3.28/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle. Pours copper/amber with a 2 to 3 cm white head that is quickly diminishing. Aroma is very light, mostly caramel. Flavor is balanced between malts and hops, aftertaste is slightly bitter but lasting. Great lacing, no noted carbonation, no hints of alcohol. Very drinkable, but I would prefer the London Pride over this selection.

Photo of Zephenbrewid
3.72/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type and Glassware: 1.9 pint bottle poured into 16 oz tumbler

A - Off-white head, not lingering, low apparent carbonation with a transparent copper color

S - Sweet candy-like smell, cherry lolipop comes to mind (corny i know but oh well thats what i thought), really the smell is one of the highlights of this beer

T - Equally as sweet, some toastiness pulling through with a slight bitterness in the finish, a mildly present alcohol taste throughout

M - Stickiness of the malt is the feature to note here, with a medium-light body all around

I bought this beer on a whim and wasn't disappointed. A solid beer all over and also a good ESB by style definition. I'd recommend pairing it with some fries with malt vinegar (thrashers for example)

Photo of Minkybut
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this beer into my tumblker at 50 degrees. The beere was a pretty wood risin color. The bber had a fine bubbly head but went awat pretty fast. The smell was hoppy and I thought a bit sour however I was pleased the tase was not. In fact it was a nice rich taste with a bit of a nuttyness. Ther was just so ever a hoppy note but not bad in the least. I like this breww and am going back to get the rest in the store.

Photo of Traquairlover
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12-oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A = Dark amber, small to medium off white head, medium lacing.

S = Strong piney hops scents, but underlying that there are also hints of almonds, toasted oats, some citrus fruits, mostly grapefruit.

T = Smooth light malt flavors, strong hops flavors, quite bitter, but clearly much of the hops has gone towards flavor, since the pine and citrus flavors are prevalent and this is not just a bitter bomb. Finish is long and bitter but the front of the tongue continues to taste the sweeter malts so there is still an interesting lively balancing act going on.

M = Medium bodied, light (but perfect) carbonation, and medium mouthcoating.

D = This is a very drinkable ESB. It is bitter but there is also a lot of flavor and good balance between sweeter, nuttier malt flavor and the hops sharper, bitter tones.

Photo of champ103
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A deep copper color with a large foamy white head that fades fast. Leaves a bit of patchy lace.
S: An aromatic beer and overall very pleasant . Manley dominated by toasty sweet malt. Some caramel as well and some hops towards the end.
T: Follows the nose, as an ESB should. Very malty and a good hop balance. Toasty, earthy, and some caramel again. I love ESB's and this is the benchmark for them all.
D: So smooth and easy to drink. Well balanced and not bitter at all. This is something I could drink all day.

Another great Fuller beer. This is one that should not be missed.

Photo of IgnatiusReilly
4.01/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz brown bottle to pint glass. Home.

Pours nice clear copper, touch of a haze. Very large thick head, 2 fingers, with lots of lace staying on the sides of the glass. Lots of malt in the aroma, with a hint of fruit in the nose, also some citrus hop flavoring. Taste is dominated with malt sweetness, earth tones, along with a large amount of grain flavors. Hence the name, lots of good hop bite towards the finish, Kent Goldings and Fuggles flavors. Hops linger after finish, with a hint of alcohol. Clean full mouth feel, extremely drinkable. Excellent representation of the syle.

Photo of AlexF
3.18/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

La Fuller's ESB, une fois versée, offre une mousse abondante et persistante ainsi qu'une magnifique couleur caramel. Une odeur conséquente caramélisée et un peu houblonnée s'ensuit.

Même portrait en bouche, une amertume loin d'être extrême, accompagnée d'un caramel brûlé et de quelques arômes fruités. Bon, équilibré, mais rien d'extraordinaire.

Quelque peu déçu vu le prix de la bouteille.

Photo of Atron67
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the BBC last night

A- came a crystal clear reddish amber with a small off-white head on top, the head didnt last long.

S- maltieness mainly with a little hops, the maltiness is nice, complex with delicate biscuit notes

T- Has a nice malty flavor throughout, biscuit malt delicate flavors ending on a mild hop bitterness that is lightly balanced for the maltiness

M0 has a full body thickness with a light carbonation that was just right for the flavors to come out.

D- pretty solid ale, not as bitter as i was expecting but the maltiness made up for it

Photo of DaveUK
3.2/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Light reddish brown, a generous head on the initial pour with lots of lacing present on the way down.

Aroma - Pears and citrus fruit hops immediately. I also found marmalade and yeast with a slight medical (phenol?) tinge.

Taste - A little cardboardy, fresh juicy malt, a surprisingly subdued hop character compared with the aroma. The finish was bitter but not overly bitter and retained a yeasty note to it.

Mouthfeel - Dry and thin, not what I was expecting. The carbonation was perfect however.

Overall - Refreshing and light, with very well disguised alcohol. I must say that this bottle that I rated was not how I remembered ESB from the cask. I think perhaps that this bottle was a little offish. Im almost tempted to increase the rating based on my past experience of this beer, but I will leave it for now and re-rate when I try it again.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

English Style pint bottle picked up at the Boise Coop for about $4.50... shared with a buddy... my half poured into a shaker pint.

Sudsy white head quickly drops leaving nice crusty lacing for the entire glass... Soft pour shows a crystal clear copper amber brew.. good looking for sure.

Aroma is big caramel/toasted malts and earthy/grassy hops.. to really get the smell, swirl the glass and let sit, then bury your nose in it... a little underwhelming... but still very appealing.

Flavor is much better.. complex for such a low ABV brew (bonus points!).. toasted malts and caramel/lite toffee.. some raisin.. very low brown malts mix into the earthy hops... from there the lite spicy hops finish with a lingering pale malt palate... suprisingly lite butterscotch.. bigger body than expected.. very drinkable for an experienced beer drinker, but I believe if you were trying to convert a macro person, it would be a hard sell.. just too much going on to be saleable to an inexperienced palate.. That being said, I need to pick up the Fullers more often. I often don't because of the increased ticket price, but in the grand scheme of things.. I probably should be enjoying more English brews.

Photo of techdiver
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear copper color with a modest head, yet shows a lot of initial carbonation.

Sweet caramel to the nose, very inviting.

Caramel malt taste with hops evident in the finish. A delicious balance here.

Very smooth, medium bodied with a little fine carbonation.

Very drinkable, an excellent example of this style, if not the best.

Photo of Bierguy5
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pretty clear copper color. Bright white head holds together for a few minutes, leaving a few nice patches of lace.

Faint toasty, caramle malt in the nose, along with some equally faint floral hoppy nites. Maybe a hint of fruit in the background.

Toasty caramle malt, balanced by some earthy and floral hops. Very balanced, very little bitterness. A bit of a metallic, mineral flavor. Clean, but a bit of fruit does linger.

Medium body, very soft on the carbonation. Very easy to drink. A great, classic session beer.

Photo of praufs01
3.89/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Clear copper color with an off white head and a good bit of lacing.

Smell – slight malty and citrus hop notes.

Taste – Nice caramel taste up front followed by a mild hop finish

Mouthfeel – Very smooth with light fizzy carbonation.

Overall: Very sophisticated well crafted brew. This is one of my favorite English bitters.

Photo of joeplyr
4.79/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Deep copper color, not much head produced. Light amount of carbonation in glass.

Aroma: Bursts with flavor. Initially, very sweet molasses malts exude from glass. Then, a candy/fruitiness comes out which is very appealing, which is balanced by caramel throughout.

Taste: Complex taste to say the least. Sometimes I get the fruity hops, other the malty-caramel and molasses flavors are pronounced. Part of me wants to say there is a caramel apple, but there really is no apple flavor, it tastes like a darker, sweeter fruit.

Mouthfeel: The sweet malts linger for awhile. It goes down pretty bitter, which it should. Robust sweet flavors splash all around the taste buds.

Drinkability: This is definitely a session beer for me. The flavors are very pronounced, but they are not overwhelmed. Consider me impressed.

Notes: This is one of my favorite styles. This brew was my first venture into ESBs and it was a good one to start with.

Photo of Daredevil
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

had this one to go with a lunch in a City pub .... the food (battered cod and chips) wasn't worth the mention, however the brew was .... a medium to full bodied strongly flavored ale, with quite strong bitterness ... quite strong in alcohol too, which you will not feel while drinking, perhaps afterwards ...

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

Pours the deepest shade of copper, burnished and gleaming. Head is big and billowing, just a shade off of white and leaving great lacing behind. Surfacing carbonation leaves trails of bubbles running up the side of the glass. Smell is bang on ESB, as one would expect from the archetype of them all. Light caramel and a hint of hops with breadiness and nuts. A hint of light fruits and berries. Taste is more of the same, malty at first. The toffee and butter come first and lead into a dry nuttiness. Hops aren't assertive, but they're ever-present and provide the lightest spicy/citrus backdrop to everything. Finish is nice and long. Mouthfeel is exceptional, plenty of body with great levels of carbonation, and drinkability is perfect. An excellent beer and deserving of its reputation.

Photo of jayb
3.6/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a deep gold/copper color with excellant clarity and a thin light tan head. Lace sticks around in a few places but overall settles to a thin film. Pleasant.

Smell: Sweet, malty, and citrusy. Kind of like caramel and with a grapefruit tinge and a faint hint of chocolate.

Taste: First taste is again the caramel and citrusy with a funny husky flavor. Kind of metallic also. It leaves a plenty of bitterness at the back of the mouth. Tangy aftertaste with a slight alcohol bite. a little unpleasant, but not bad.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, very smooth.

Drinkability: Enjoyable. My first ESB. I am hoping that this is not my last but it is certainly a pleasant first experience. A pleasant and nonabrasive brew. After the beers warms up a bit, the taste mellows out quite a bit to make this a great tasting, easy drinking beer. More so than to begin with, if possible.

Photo of rodenbach99
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bouteille brune de 500ml acheté à la SAQ

belle couleur cuivré, la mousse est blanche consistante au début mais se dissipe assez rapidement. le goût est parfaitement équilibré entre le malt et les houblons, la finale houblonnée est particulierement bonne et longue. un classique dans le genre.

Photo of slyke
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fuller's ESB pours a wonderful copper color with a slightly off-white head that falls to a thin cap after a few minutes and laces nicely.

The aroma of the malty with a little sweetness and a touch of grassiness.

The taste is dominated by a slightly sweet malty flavor and a touch of hops around the edge of the tongue.

Mouthfeel is good. Slightly coating, but short lived. About what I've come to expect from this style.

This beer is pretty darned good. Give it a try if you happen upon it.

Photo of JamesS
3/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was expecting more from this ESB, given how well it's know. Everything was pretty much average across the board. Has a nice copper color, but almost no head and little lacing. Nice malty scent that has a bit of a sourness to it. Not a bad taste, a bit hoppy, but nothing to offset it and round it out. Goes down fine, but not overly smooth.

I may have to try it again just to make sure I didn't get a bad one or that it needs to grow on you.

Photo of meechum
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured on tap at Taco-Mac into a pint glass. Poured amber with a tight off white head that fell slowly with nice lacing

S - A nice bready, malty smell to it

T - A nice malt up front with notes of toffee and caramel, with a nice hop finish with a bit of a raisin taste

M - Nice thick mouthfeel with good amount of carbonation

D - Very drinkable. Enjoyed this very much

Photo of jdmorgan
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this brew after trying London Pride, and was thus convinced that I had to try ESB. It poured a beautiful amber hue with a small, lacy head.

The beer had an aroma of hops primarilly with a bit of malt as well. The taste had a nice, robust body which was balanced very well with a medium/high hop flavor and a medium bitterness ot close it off. The after taste had a fading hop flavor with a caramel maltiness. There were some nutty flavors in there as well. All in all, well-balanced. Not "bitter" in a negative sense at all. The mouthfeel was medium in consistency with a medium/low carbonation.

The drinkability was surprisingly good due (again) to its balance. I agree with a previous post that you could drink these in a session quite easilly, although the higher ABV compared to London Pride lends itself to being a comforting beer for an ESB man. Very drinkable, and highly recommended!

Photo of bigdeuce
4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am no fan of most English beers, but this one is a thing of beauty. Great session brew, you can down 50 of these in a sitting and not get sick of it. Pours a decent head, disappates quite quickly, not much lacing. Nice, nice bittering hops at the end, with a fruity, almost cherry like maltiness with a slight nutty palate as well. Smells of some toasty almonds and cherries and bittering hops. An all around terrific beer.

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Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 2,591 ratings.