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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.

2,395 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,395
Reviews: 1,261
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 74
Gots: 121 | 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: 2,395 | Reviews: 1,261 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of flaminghomer
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this beers aroma i thought to be very appealing. i think i pick up some roasted coffee smell, yep it's there. taste is just freaking awsome. alot of nice hop flavor but not overdone at all. well balanced like all of fuller's beers. drinkability on this one is just wicked. i should have picked up more than one bottle.

flaminghomer, Aug 30, 2005
Photo of Sycodrummer
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the brown bottle into an imperial pint glass the beer was a medium brown/copper color with a one-finger head white head. The head fizzeled out to a sliver of white cream atop the beer. No real lacing throughout the sample, just a spot here or there.

Slightly sweet smell that was malty upfront with a bit of hop just slightly coming thru. Some slight caramel and toffee undertones, and sweet honey as well.

A very sweet maltiness was the innitial taste with some honey accents. The beer finishes slightly hoppy and bitter with a slight dryness to each sip as well.

Moderate mouthfeel with little carbonation.

Very easy to drink and enjoyable as well. Doesn't stand out in any one way, but it need not to in order to be an enjoyable beer. Great for a session and one I'll have again.

Sycodrummer, Aug 27, 2005
Photo of mmmbeer
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle, best by 2/28/06 - served chilled. Pours with a half inch off-white head on top of a dark amber body. Smells like caramel and buttery sweetness with earthy malts, floral/perfumy hops, some dark fruits, and perhaps a hint of smokiness. It tastes like earthy/nutty malts but the floral hops slowly take over, showing their decent bitterness and slight sweetness. Very balanced with a medium body and it is very drinkable.

mmmbeer, Aug 23, 2005
Photo of rdailey76
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle with a best before date of 06/NOV/05. This was actually the last thing I grabbed from my trip to the best beer store in Indy, Kahn's. I have kind of shyed away from ESBs in the past, because I find myself leaning towards American Pales and IPAs when I want my hop fix. Glad I got this though and in a six pack.

Pours a dark amber to copper with a minimal creamy white head. The nose is quite complex, but I can make out a nice sweet floral or citrusy smell.

Nice bitterness up front that eases off a little as it goes down, but reappears in the aftertaste. This has a nice balance between malty and hoppy. I can't really place the exact taste on this one. It may lead to my thoughts of the complex nose.

A really nice smooth mouthfeel that almost seems coating. What I mean is that it kind of stays with me for a few moments before I have the next drink.

Definitely enjoyed my first ESB in quite a while. It was a nice break from the hoppy past.

rdailey76, Aug 22, 2005
Photo of cracgor
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: has a decent size head. A light brown, color. Very creamy. The beer itself is a darker brown color with just a little haze.

Smell: fruity toasty hops. A bit like apple. It smells really good.

Taste: bitter like the name implies. But it is a different bitter than say an IPA. It is a more roasted flavor. Just a little sweet from the alcohol. No flavors are over the top. Just a nice drinking beer. Very well balanced. How can you argue with the original?

Mouthfeel: medium light body. No problems with the mouthfeel. Not really smooth or crisp...instead what I'm in the mood for.

Drinkability: What can I say? I love English beer. This is the kind of thing I'd like to sit at a bar watching tv, reading a paper, or conversing with friends.

cracgor, Aug 21, 2005
Photo of Higravity
4.53/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A good clean wash of a brew. Pours on top of a true copper body a lovely four finger white head that leaves tons of lacing. It smells how it tastes and in this case it is delicious. A little bit salty but full of long boil sugars that give a full caramel and complex flavor to this stellar beer. There is a nice lovely clean bitterness that you doesn't come from the big brutal American West hops. A truly hoptastic brew in the thousand small punches equal a knock-out. I love me some Fuller's.

Higravity, Aug 17, 2005
Photo of bashiba
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16.9oz bottle. What a great size, filled my 20oz Nonic up to the top with a clean copper beer and a nice crisp off white head that left tons of lacing and had great retention. Looked absolutely perfect.

Smelled like a nice fresh peace of heavily buttered toast.

Taste has a nice caramal malt toastyness with a great buttery flavor coming through and a nice mild but crisp hop finnish.

Mouthfeel is a little slick, once again almost buttery, but still has nice carbonation feel to it

Drinkability is great on this, probably the best ESB I have come across.

bashiba, Aug 16, 2005
Photo of swid
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fuller's ESB pours a copper color into my pint glass. It's about as dark as a beer can be while still being able to be clearly seen through. A 1/4" head forms, and dissipates quickly. Low carbonation, no lacing. Like all good English ales, Fuller's has a remarkably complex smell...once you get past the initial dominant prune aroma (a byproduct of pasteurization). There's notes of butterscotch, caramel, toast, citrus, flowers, spice, and alcohol, all in a nearly equal balance.

The taste follows up nicely from what is promised by the aroma. It's initally fairly sweet, with a caramel/butterscotch taste; then the hops take over, with their citrusy and mildly spicy bitterness. The alcohol flavor lurks just beneath the surface, complementing the other flavors nicely. The mouthfeel is surprisingly light, and fairly dry. Finishes crisp, and leaves a spicy/citrusy/metallic(?) aftertaste (the latter, perhaps, from the hard water used in brewing?).

All in all, this is a decent beer, and is a fine example of the complexity this style should have. However, I have the feeling that this beer would be noticeably better on tap (or better yet, on cask) in the UK. Oh well...perhaps another day.

swid, Aug 16, 2005
Photo of wl0307
4.55/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

So finally I feel obliged to review this beer. Having had it both on cask and in bottles frequently during the past few years, it's not until I joined the BA that I finally learnt over in the US there's also a crowd following this nice brew. Sometimes people don't realise the good things are right at the doorstep... If possible the US BA friends should try to find this beer on cask, if the bottled ESB already serves them well.

Best before date: 8 Apr. 06.
A: served in my Fuller's ESB goblet, it pours a copper to dark-orangey amber colour, with a fast retreating beer head, settling to just a yellowish rim on top of the nectar. Very gentle carbonation. Looking just O.K.
S: a profound aroma of sweetish malts dominates the nose, with aromatic hop sustaining solidly in the background. Overall not overly sweet and quite complex: lightly buttery lemon cake, marmalade, honey jam, honeyish tea, flowery ester, butterscotch, light caramel, barley-candy... overall very enticing!
T: a creamy texture of malts combine with a rich and profound hop flavour on the palate; the flavour in the mouth changes from lightly orange-candyish fruity and semi-sweet malts+caramelised sugar through tea-leaf tannic bitter to a slightly peppery and earthy kind of bitterness in the finish. More bitterness underneath intensifies step by step towards the end, though distinct from an IPA or heavily-hopped pale ale. The aftertaste is extremely satisfyingly bitter and rounded--slightly warmish but not alcohol-dominated. Fortunately the taste is not as sweet as the nose might suggest.
M: the mouthfeel is creamy and soft throughout, with a touch of spice/pepper but not OTT. As the hop flavour provides a good balancer with the malty body, the end result is a complex, full-flavoured, greatly balanced premium bitter.
D: though it's 5.9%abv., quite strong for my taste, it's extremely drinkable and enjoyable. Thumb-up for this beer.

wl0307, Aug 16, 2005
Photo of Xadoor
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had forgotten about this beer for quite a while until my local pub was out of what I ordered and it was the next tap over.

Poured a dark copper colour with a nice foamy head that leaves lacing and rings down the inside. Slight sweet and hoppy aroma. Bit of a caramel malt flavouring with a dry finish. Great mouthfeel with relatively good carbonation.

A good ESB that goes well with their English pub food. A very easy drinking beer which I now order quite often.

Xadoor, Aug 15, 2005
Photo of thechaacster
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big "Victorian pint" bottle. Pours a clear amber-brown, with a modest head that recedes to leaves some excellent lacing. Aroma of toasted malt, with some sort of metallic character detectable. Big, sharp attack of bitterness in the flavor. Very herbal hop flavor, with little (but some) malt sweetness. The metallic/mineral twang bothered me for a while, but this beer grew on me quickly. I personally like Young's Ram Rod better for the style, but you definitely have to pay respects to one of the most imitated beers in the world, the original ESB.

thechaacster, Jul 30, 2005
Photo of Wasatch
4.88/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dated 6 Jan 06. Pours a amber/copper color with a great head, leaves a nice lace, actually there was a big spot in the middle of the glass for quite awhile. Scents of malt, hops. A very smooth feel to this ESB. This ESB has a great taste with a medium body. I really like this ESB, it's a very social brew. I will definitely be buying more.

Wasatch, Jul 24, 2005
Photo of carln26
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perfect copper amber color topped by a thick cream colored head. The head leaves a nice ring of lace on the side of the glass. Caramel toffee aroma backed by pears and a mild citrus. The taste is mainly toffee with mild caramel and a great hop orange back. Smooth rich mouth feel. Very drinkable. This is a great beer. Especially hand-pulled, at he perfect temperature.

carln26, Jul 24, 2005
Photo of palliko
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a cloudy amber/red with a beige head of foam that disappears quickly and leaves a little sticky lace. Aroma is predominately hops and soft vanilla. Initial taste contains some apricot, dark peat, herbs and toast. The malt kicks in, but there is a lack of sweetness, medium body. Finish allows the hops to dominate on your tongue for a while. I might try this again.

palliko, Jul 15, 2005
Photo of Ricochet
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well, I haven't had a tradional ESB since the last time I had Fullers over four years ago. I've had some pretty good brewpub ESBs...so compared with those...well, here goes.

App: High! Deep amber, but little head.

Smell: Kind of like the Fuller's Pale. There is a special note to the way these Brit beers smell, and for the most part, most good imports have that smell. A dark, rich malt smell with fruity wine notes. Bravo.

Mouth: It was a little thinner, with little foam and I gotta say, a hint of a brown taste I've had from JJ Wainwrights.

Taste: The american brewpub ESB's seemed like they were verry bitter, hoppy and good tastes. This was more complex. Licorace, hops, wine, alcohol, balance and bitterness, I know this is true. Outstanding.

Drinkability: Again, suffers from being bottled, but like many have said, if this was on tap in London, if I wasn't drinking Batemans, I'd be having Fullers. Only a treat for me, but a welcome one. Makes me HATE every American burp beer and really appreciate some of the craft/microbrewed beers I can get here.

Ricochet, Jul 14, 2005
Photo of Billolick
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

midsized bottle,comes with best before dating printed on the label. Pours a nice orangy shade of maple. Clear and with a soft, tiny bubble head, that leaves well striated and finely patterened lacing. Nose is of malt, maple and toffee. Maltly layers of sweet and smooth flavors carry the freight here. Mellow, understated and British in attack. This is a classic sessionner. Great all year round. Allways enjoy this stuff. Fine quality and a must try for any British ale lovers.

Billolick, Jul 14, 2005
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, brilliantly clear, red-copper color and is topped by a frothy, 2.5 finger thick, light tan colored head. The aroma is spicy and herbal with notes of caramel and toffee. The taste is lightly sweet up front with a toffee maltiness to it. Interestingly enough this beer seems to be more balanced towards the malt than the London Pride I just had (perhaps this is palate fatigue). There is a nice fruitiness that compliments the toffee & caramel maltiness; much of the fruitiness is from the slightly citrusy, lemon-like hops with perhaps some hints of currants. The beers finish is nicely bitter with a lingering herbal hop note. This is quite tasty, but not as flavorful and hoppy as I remember it being.

Gueuzedude, Jul 12, 2005
Photo of SwillinBrew
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Hollingshead and i'm just getting around to putting down my notes. I really liked this beer much more on tap than in the bottle (dont get me wrong, bottle is still damn good)

This poured a deep coppery bronze color with a nice thick oatmeal colored head. It's aroma was a nice malty biscuit scent. The kind you would smell in your grandma's warm kitchen when she's baking bread.

The taste was an exquisite malty caramel taste with a mild and faint hop finish. Rather sweet, malty and just well balanced. This is a good benchmark of what i think an ESB should be like. Rather crisp and solid on the mouth that will leave you wanting more. Very good!

SwillinBrew, Jul 05, 2005
Photo of Gagnonsux
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fuller's ESB is rusty copper with a nice-sized head. The head is moderately creamy and off-white. The aroma is of an inviting caramelized English malt, very full on the nose. The taste consists of a strong caramelized malt flavor with flavorful, drying hops making their appearance towards the end of a sip. Bitterness is relatively mild. A touch of fruitness is also detected. A sip is concluded with a sustained malt finish. This is far from my favorite style and one that I don't have too much experience with, but I found this to be a great beer, driven by it's malt character, with really high drinkability. I need to search out some more authentic ESBs to get a greater grasp of the style.

Gagnonsux, Jul 04, 2005
Photo of BeerNutta
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fullers ESB

I was expecting this to be really bitter. However I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't.

Poured a dark amber with a thick foam head. You could smell and mixture of sugary sweetness mixed with hops that was damn inviting.

The taste was Sweet fruitiness that mellowed to a malt middle and slightly hoppy finish. Damn refreshing.

Carbonation was just enough. This is a really great beer.

BeerNutta, Jun 23, 2005
Photo of sitbooboosit
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a rich gold orange. head is a creamy colour and nice and pillowy, about 1.5 inches.
smells creamy like caramel and sugary malts
tastes of strong malt, butterscotch, caramel, buiscuty flavours that finish with a bigger hop bite than i was expecting.
very tasty, good mouthfeel, perhaps a bit dry at the end for my liking, but overall pretty well balanced.

sitbooboosit, Jun 18, 2005
Photo of BigBry
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 ml brown bottle, embossed with Independant Family Brewery, Estd. 1845. Gold and red ESB label with best before date stamped on back. Pours a clear amber-orange color, with a slightly beige head. Foam does shrink to a thin covering, but does leave a thin spider web of lace. Pleasantly suprised by the aroma -not a 'bitter' smell you might expect, but smooth bready malt.
The bitterness is in the flavo, but not overdone. A very nice blend of hops with the malt. Full body with enough bitters to cleanse the palate, but not so much as to leave an aftertaste. Rich and smooth - a real winner

BigBry, Jun 07, 2005
3.33/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The ESB pours out a orange/amber color with about a 1/2" of white head. The head quickly disappears into a ring and leaves no lace on the way down.
The nose of this beer is dominated by a sweet and vegetably smell (pumpkin or something like that, maybe a rooty vegetable??) Very slight hops detected in the aroma.
The beer tingles the tongue as it first enters. Rich sweet malt is prevalent with a decent bitterness at the end. Well balanced beer, nothing really stands out or is overpowering.
This is a good ESB, a little sweet for my taste but still a well made beer.

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

Clear dark copper body with good carbonation and a somewhat rocky head, light tan. Decent lace and retention.
Scent is deliciously bitter and potent with a solid malt undertone which includes molasses and some caramel. Alcohol notes apparent when it warms abit.
Very well balanced brew in which both malts and hops both pull through very clearly, lemon and grass comes through after 1/2 a glass and some warmth. Aftertaste is great hops with caramel notes which linger well into the next pull of the mug.
Mouthfeel is just a little chewy with by no means is a bad thing. Coating is present, good solid body.
Highly drinkable and good warm weather afternoon brew.


oelergud, May 29, 2005
Photo of silver0rlead
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear amber hue with a nice white head that dissapaptes quickly, an average looking bitter. Smell is light floral and citrus hops with a slightly sweet malt background. Taste is floral and citrusy hops, grapefruit, orange, lemon zest, and a lightly sweet caramel malt backbone. This beer is not an extreme american esb (like brutal bitter) but it's a classic english esb and there's something to be said for that, a classic taste that isnt exciting maybe but deserves respect all the same. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth (like an esb should be) with moderate carbonation. and the drinkability is high.

silver0rlead, May 27, 2005
Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 2,395 ratings.