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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

(view ratings)
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 bark
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
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
4.02/5  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 -11.3%
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
4.1/5  rDev +1%
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
4.85/5  rDev +19.5%
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
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
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
3.42/5  rDev -15.8%
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
3.29/5  rDev -19%
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
3.84/5  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.

Photo of Ivanthehero
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance-clear copper

Smell- Faint butterscotch and cola, not overly appealing, but not off putting.

Taste-wow...WOW, this is damn good. Very understated, but everything is in its right place. I lack an adequate comparison for the flavor, but it is very well balanced and just plain nice. Clean and crisp

Mouthfeel- So smooth and creamy, like no other beer I've had in that department.

Drinkability- This is not a light beer despite its understated attributes, but it goes down so easily. I could drink 94 of these.

Photo of shadow1961
3.1/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Fuller's ESB Ale (extra special bitter) pours out a
creamy head over a ruby brew. Carbonation is
moderate and the nose is of yeast malt and vanilla.
The flavor is mellow- of malt and hops and a bit dry.
As the brew warms, a definite bisquit taste makes
itself felt. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, and the aftertaste
is very slight hop. Alcohol by volume 5.9%. I thought
it was pleasant but not extra-special. Decent enough,
but not a good value considering the price and the

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

Served from a 500ml bottle into a Samuel Smith's imperial pint glass.

Pours a nice clear copper color with two fingers of head. The nose is fresh malt, sweet, with hints of caramel and hops. The flavor is similar: an excellent balance of sweet malt, sugar, and fruitiness with bitter hops. The flavor is excellent, sweet and full at the front, with a bitter finish, just as it should be. The mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is very good.

This is a great ale. Very nice, and I highly recommend it. Luckily, its readily available in my area.

Photo of BlackHaddock
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint, brown bottle, best bsfore Nov 07, drank Dec 06.

Lovelly dark amber beer, with a good, off white head, which retained its size throughout the pint.

The aroma and taste were of rich malts and hops, very 'moorish'.

The richness stays in the mouth and reminds you that you have just had a drink of a very good beer indeed.

Photo of eberkman
4.64/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured a reddish-brown with a thin, foamy white head that diminished quickly. Lots of big, malty, buttery, brown-sugary aromas in the nose -- a pleasing, powerful smell. The taste was similar, sweet maltiness balanced with a rich, buttery, creamy sensation to it as well. Well-balanced by a smooth bitterness -- no harshness whatsoever. Felt slightly thin in the mouth, but exceptionally drinkable. I could pound these all night and be a happy man.

Photo of MVassar
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quite clear, with brilliant copper/raw honey color. Rich, creamy, amber head. Very attractive in the glass.

Smells of oatmeal and brown sugar, a touch of dried prunes, and sweet malt.

Tastes of brown bread and caramel, with an impressive bitter hops finish.

Creamy and lush in the mouth. Feels full and rich, without heaviness. Slight carbonation which seems just right.

A great example of this style. Superb beer, and mighty easy to drink.

Photo of kmacphail
4.51/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured a nice brown colour with a nice off white head. This remained throughout, one of the best kept heads that I have ever experienced with a bottled beer.

The smell was a nice balance of hops, malts and some fruitiness, very nice indeed.

The taste is exceptional, the odours continue through to the mouth. An almost perfect balance of sweet maltiness and bitter hops along with the tangy fruitiness. The taste of this beer is truly devine, a very rare 5 from me.

This is a good medium bodied beer that is very drinkable, it disguises its 5.9% abv too well, it tastes like a beer that has a much lower abv.

OK so not everyone will share my love for this beer, but I would recommend anyone to try this. I believe I have just found a new favourite, maybe not the best, but definately in my top 5 beers.

Photo of hckyfn9999
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear deep copper color with a nice white head and decent lacing.

Aroma is of sweet bready malt and a little fruit.

Taste is of sweet malt and a little ripe fruit along followed up some hops and a little roastedness. A lingering bitterness is present in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and pleasantly carbonated.

Pretty drinkable beer. Not the best tasting ESB I've had but pretty solid. Fuller's is the original ESB so they say but others may have perfected it.

Photo of treehugger02010
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got this 11.2 ounze bottle at Kildare's Irish Pub in King of Prussia and poured into a 7 ounze glass. The head was about a finger and a half, and gave much lace. The retention was a bit fast, but over all rather good. The smell was a bit understated. The taste was awsome, the hops and malts tasted incredibly blended, sans the last few sips where the malt taste was a bit strong. Super beer. Don't drink and review.

Photo of pweis909
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From tasting notes:

Lots more head than you would get in a draft version. Sweetish malt dominates taste and smell. My recollection is that the draft versions that I had in US and UK pubs were more bitter. Maybe I’ve fried my taste buds on IPAs. There is a slightly slick texture. Of beers in my recent memory, maybe this is similar to Youngs? Orangey amber. Regardless of comparisons to my draft experiences, I like this beer.

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

This beer pours a clear, light amber color with a foamy white head that disappears quickly. There really isn't much of an aroma, but what's there is kind of bready.

Taste is very well-balanced. A strong malt backbone accentuates the hop presence nicely. There is a doughy taste, along with some fruity tones (grapes?) and a bitter finish. Mouthfeel is clean and crisp, and the beer goes down smoothly. Despite a lishglty elevated ABV, this is a highly drinkable beer, since it's not too thick or potent. A very solid beer.

Photo of norwichboy
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful deep amber hue with cream coloured head that dissipates without much retention. Hops and malt well integrated with aromas of honey and ginger predominating. Tremendous length of bitter finish. Fine soft carbonation. Very easy to drink.

Photo of xav33
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fuller's ESB
English pint bottle
Best before 02/07, filled up on 11/06
Medium pour in an English Pint

Poured a clear orange copper with a rocky mostly lasting off white head with good lacing.

Smelt of caramel, nuts, some dried fruits, like dates, and hoppy perfumey feel.

Taste was upfront moderately sweet and doughy, like wheat bread, followed by a strong crisp bitter lemon rind bitterness backed by a light caramel sweetness on a long finish. Mouthfeel was light to medium bodied, oily, lively carbonated and moderate astringency.

Overall, Fuller's ESB delivers with complex and full flavours and a great aroma.

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

Presentation: 11.2 oz. bottle, BBD printed on the back label, poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear copper color, head forms about 1 finger thick and fades quickly into some lacing.

Aroma: toasted malts.

Taste: Caramel and toasted malts up front, pretty strong, gradually fading to a bitter hoppiness in the middle. The finish is a mix of the two, slightly bitter, leaving the palate with the desire for more.

Mouthfeel: Extremely smooth despite being rather thick. The carbonation was weak, but that fits the strong flavors well.

Overall: This is a beer everyone should try at least once, if for no other reason than it's the history behind it. Even without all that it's still pretty damn good.

Photo of billybob
4.85/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

first is appearance, i like the embossed dark brown bottle and nice labeling. beer pours a good two finger light tan head that settles but there is still some at the finish with a fair lacing med brown color. smell is clean, bready. taste is caramel hint of dark chocolate, bread and hint of fruit, malt up front with nice hop bite finish. mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation and a hop bite that lingers. drinkability is exceptional really enjoyed this beer.

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

Pours copper colored with slightly off white head. Aroma is sweet malt and fruits. Tastes of sweet malts, fruits, a some toasted malt and the finish is hop bitterness. Medium bodied, carbonation seems light. I like this one, I wish more ESBs were available.

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