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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.

2,424 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,424
Reviews: 1,264
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 81
Gots: 130 | 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: 2,424 | Reviews: 1,264 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly amber honey brown with a fluffy dirty looking head that left spotty lacing. Smells of raisins, sour grapes and a bubblegum malt. Tastes of an almost liquorish-like woody candy and coffee malts with a sweet nip of dry on the edges of my tongue. Very smooth and tangy. Mouth feel is medium, but the carbonation is very light and smooth.

DarkerTheBetter, Dec 16, 2005
Photo of Finite
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Red amber with a perfect thick head which doesn’t go anywhere.

Smell: Sweet, dark fruits smooth malts. A very pleasant caramel / vanilla smell.

Taste/ Mouthfeel: Dark fruits with sop bitter hops and smooth sweet malts resembling brown sugar. Very buttery, oily and nutty.

Drinkability/Overall: Easy to drink but with firm fruity characteristics. A great brew to have after a big meal when relaxing.

Finite, Dec 16, 2005
Photo of Prufrock
3.13/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pilsner.

very nice medium coppery, caramel color, crystal clear with almost an inch of white head that falls evenly leaving a touch of lacing.

bitter chocolate smell with a malty breadiness. a touch of smoky roasted flavors.

flavor weaker than the smell. watery, but with nice hints of many flavors: buttery caramel, toasted malts, a touch of hops in the finish. overall would make a decent session beer, but i'd prefer a bit more heft in the flavor.

Prufrock, Dec 16, 2005
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer pours a warm deep brown with a crystal clear body and a light creamy off-white head. It has a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles.

S- The smell of fresh honey, good pale malt and a slight hop bitterness really blend together nicely. Some notes of fresh grain with a faint hint of fruit is in the background.

T- This beer has a nice pale malt base that has a hint of toasted malt with a slight sweetness that is very light with a bit of biscuit malt dryness. There is a nice floral green hop note that finishes with a nice soft hop bitterness.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with no alcohol warmth or strong fizz quality.

D- This is a well crafted balanced beer. The tastes and smells of grain and hops are distinct with lots of character yet balance each other. This is great in the bottle and I can't image how much better it would be in the cask.

rhoadsrage, Dec 03, 2005
Photo of nlmartin
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer was served in a pub glass.

Appearance: This beer is a dark gold almost brown color. Presented with a thick fluffy white head that retreated into a nice foamy ring of beer foam.

Smell: This beer smells of roasted carmel and barley. Has a peat boggy kind of smell.

Taste: Very malty and sweet with juicy goodness. There is a not unpleasant minerally taste to the beer.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: This is just a great beer. Very little to no carbonation. I could suck one of these down almost all day. This will be in my beer rotations.

nlmartin, Dec 03, 2005
Photo of metallistout
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got a good deal on a case of imperial pints.

Pours a deep amber color with a decent bubbly head.

Smells of fruit, malt, caramel, floral notes, maybe some honey and some other sweet tingley smells that are unidentifiable.

Tastes of a rush of sweet malt, a malt not so familiar, but a very good taste. I was expecting a very bitter beer, but it wasn't extremely bitter. Don't get me wrong I do taste the hops, but the flavor is definately dominated by all of the sweet fruity malty tones. It seems a rather thick drink for mouthfeel.

I'd never had this one until today and am glad that I have 23 more imperial pints in my garage (which is naturally refrigerating my beer at about 45 deg. F

metallistout, Dec 01, 2005
Photo of wedge
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear copper hue with a bubbly pillow of a head. Aroma is lightly toasted caramel malts. Strong malt base flavor with well balanced bitterness...very tasty. Nice caramel sweetness. Medium bodied, low carbonation - solid bitterness.

Very well balanced and very drinkable.

wedge, Nov 30, 2005
Photo of fisherman34
3.45/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Amber in colour with aromas of grassy and earthy hops. This one has quite a sweet and malty backbone to it with notes of raisin, wood, and toasted grain. Long finish. This one really isn't my favorite interpretation of this style, as there really isn't enough hop contribution flavor wise or bitterness to fully balance out all of the malty and fruity notes. However, this is still a very good beer which I wouldn't say no to.

fisherman34, Nov 28, 2005
Photo of tastybeer
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks clear amber with a foamy head and bubbly lacing. Smells of caramel and fruit sweetness. Tastes sweet at first like the smell and then turns into an extended bitter dry mouthwatery experience that also makes it very drinkable. Real nice mouthfeel here too.

Classic ESB.

tastybeer, Nov 27, 2005
Photo of daliandragon
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is another well respected British ale that can be tough to find on tap here on the island, although you see it in Brooklyn sometimes. A bright amber with an orange tinge and a thin head that doesn't last much past the pour. A fruity nose with malt also making itself heard. It's an overall fresh and unique beer prior to the taste.
The taste is again fruity but also features a very even balance between the hops and the malt. Overall, this is what I think of when I order a pint in England. Very little carbonation and an even, inauspicious mouthfeel that leaves a mild but tasty aftertaste.
Not quite up to the standard of London Pride but this is still an excellent drinking bitter from Fuller's, perfect for watching a match in the pub regardless of season.

daliandragon, Nov 26, 2005
Photo of JohnW
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I can only echo others reviews of this beer - those who enjoyed it especially. Good medium dark colour, fairly thick creamy head, malty taste dominates for me, and the slighty dry hoppy after taste makes it easy to drink, despite its fairly heavy texture. It is obviously a Fullers beer and has the family character also found in London Pride, which I also enjoy, this just has a bit more of everything, and a better drink for it.

John W
Bham UK

JohnW, Nov 22, 2005
Photo of battlekow
3.15/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A crystal clear amber-colored beer with a firm and foamy cream-colored head, Fuller's is a pretty attractive beverage. Smells malty, definitely British, with caramel notes and a metallic quality. Taste is quite malty, with a bit of lingering hop bittering, and an alcohol presence much too large for the 5.9% ABV. Faintly appley. Mouthfeel is pretty thick.

I agree with the previous review that likened this to an odd bock. It was certainly a disappointment for me.

battlekow, Nov 10, 2005
Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a super clear and still reddish amber color with an inch of head at first pour. The head retained for some time, and left a wake of lace in it path.

Aroma: Toasty British malts with metallic hints. There is an assertive caramel here along with some reserved hopping noticeable cold. As the beer warms a bit, there is a lot more hops noticeable.

Taste: Initially you get some aggressive malts that coat your palate with a sweet/syrupy flavor to get it ready for some aggressive bittering hops. The finish is noticeably metallic and a bit chalky. A tad of warming after drinking.

Opinion: Well, I am probably not the best one to judge these beers...but this is my opinion section. I am still trying to like these styles, but the minerals in the water don't agree with me. This is a great example of the style, if you like British Ales.

SkeeterHawk, Nov 04, 2005
Photo of ghostwalker
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dark amber/red pour, thick off-white head. Head falls off fast, but leaves beautiful lacing.

Sharp, coppery, acrid nose.

Hops and bitter tangy bite up-front and in the finish. Citrus and metallic flavors. Sweet floral notes also present, but always masked in the bitterness. That is why it's called bitters, but somehow it really all works together.

Mouthfeel is sharp, mildly acidic, tangy.

All this sounds not that appetizing, but that is misleading. I love this stuff, just thinking about ESB makes my mouth water. Drinkability is tops! A great, great quaffing brew. If I ever find this stuff on-tap around here, I will be moving a cot into the establishment in question. A must try!

ghostwalker, Nov 01, 2005
Photo of orfeu
4.53/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A kickass looking, 1 pt. .9 oz bottle, "best before 14/OCT/o5". Pours a clear orange amber, with a fluffy just-off-white head that starts at about 3 fingers dissipates to about 1-1/2, then a thin later, and some decent lacing.
The nose is of floral hops, citrusy with some caramelly maltish undertones and a slight diacetyl twinge.
The first sip is grassy and flowery hops at first, then a buttery diacetyl taste sneaks in with an appropriately bitter amount of hops -- that is to say, a moderate hop rush filled out nicely with some pleasant malts and a mineral-rich hard water finish.
Nice medium mouthfeel, light to moderate carbonation.
I'd say the drinkability on this one is quite high. Maybe not quite a session beer -- but hey, why not?
Overall, completely worthy of its standard-bearer status.

orfeu, Oct 30, 2005
Photo of xoqx
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours from its brown glass pint bottle to a clear amber brew with an offwhite one finger head that exhibited light retention and moderate lacing. The smell has light citrus and fruity notes. There is a lot to the taste which has a bready caramel beginning and some grainy, herbal overtones and a long citric-hoppy finish. It is medium bodied and extraordinarily drinkable.

xoqx, Oct 29, 2005
Photo of beveragecaptain
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle. This beer pours out a clear amber color with a big head. The aroma is malty, fruity, and maybe a little smoky. Toasted malt flavor with fruit and a sharp hop bite. Finish is bitter and delicious. Noticable alcohol. Medium to full mouthfeel. Strongly carbonated. I could enjoy several bottles of this. Fuller's ESB is a great beer, but you knew that.

beveragecaptain, Oct 25, 2005
Photo of tweeder263
3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured out a nice dark amber brew with a 3 finger head that diminishes moderately.Smell of sweet malt with hop undertones.Taste is surprisingly smooth,,hops are balanced and spicy.Malt is a little thin but this beer surprised me,i figured it to be more like an ipa,,and its a lot smoother.Some bitter twang at the end .An ok brew ,,the twang at the end ruins it for me,,but i would have this brew again.

tweeder263, Oct 21, 2005
Photo of Suds
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful copper color. Clear, with a tannish-white head. This is a pretty beer. The aroma is caramel and fruit, with an undercurrent of English hops. It’s the kind of smell that’s not dominating, but rather very inviting. The brew is a little grainy, and slightly metallic (unexpected). More caramel, and a nice malt-sustained flavor. Finish is sort of sweet, a bit slick, with a firm bitterness. Medium body, and very drinkable. I enjoyed this brew…I could see how it would be easy to down a few too many of these.

Suds, Oct 16, 2005
Photo of Derek
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I had this at the Albion hotel/pub in Bayfield, Ontario.

A: Tarnished copper/rust. Produced a moderate amount of head, which quickly faded, but still left some nice lace.

S: Earthy, slightly fruity.

T: Very well balanced, nice hop flavour (Goldings earthyness). Slightly fruity, with the presence of minerals, gives it a nutritious feel.

M: Moderate body, mild carbonation. This ESB doesn't have as much of a malty backbone as some.

D: Quite drinkable.

Although I am not overwhelmed by this beer, it is stereotypical British... and a must-try!

Derek, Oct 15, 2005
Photo of Oxymoron
3.48/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

You know how father in law’s are. Well they are family and this family member gave me Fuller’s ESB. It’s nice to know at least he’s looking out for me.

So family values aside, Fuller’s ESB has a cloudy amber to a darker red color. A good pour with ample head retention and lace that remains through the glass. The smell is more of a malty English style with bready tendencies. The flavor is a little surprising for an ESB. Expecting more bite from hops, really what I got was a nice blend of caramel and toffee but more on the drier side. The hops are very (I mean very) smooth and slides down easily.

So I guess you can win with family. Fuller’s ESP is a very easy beer to drink and great taste. I would like to see more of a bit on the hops flavor especially at the beginning and with bit, but still good to drink

Oxymoron, Oct 12, 2005
Photo of RedwoodGeorge
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is yet another tasty English Ale from Fullers... The pour is a clearly recognizable amber with a creamy off-white head. The head dies off but leaves a bit of lacing on the glass as you work your way to the bottom.

The nose is a bit on the light side - plenty of the characteristic fruity notes and a bit of caramel but not much in the hops department - I would have expected more from an ESB. Same with the taste, plenty of strong, quality malt and yeast flavors but pretty quiet on the hop front. It's a bit more bitter than the similar "Special / Pride" ales but not by a whole lot.

Mouthfeel is typical for the style - a bit of an oily residue but mostly cleared up by the hop bitterness. (While there may note be much hop flavor or aroma, the is a bit of bitterness) A bit more carbonation would have been nice but this one's within expectations.

All in all good but not extraordinary. Enjoyable, drinkable, something I'm sure I'll have many times again. Better than a Bass by far but it doesn't really measure up to Fuller's 1845 which is an extraordinary brew.

RedwoodGeorge, Oct 09, 2005
Photo of BeerBeing
3.2/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12oz brown glass custom bottle, red/white/green/gold on black label

Appearance: copper color, average head, good lacing

Smell: caramel, malt, hops

Taste: medium body, smooth mouth feel, some fruitness, some malts, HOPS big way, minor alcohol

Notes: good, but not exceptional

BeerBeing, Oct 08, 2005
Photo of Melchizedek
3.38/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this one on-tap at the Flying Saucer in FW. Came out bronze-amber with a medium head that subsided to a nice, lasting cap.

The smell is very mellow, with some fruitiness--bubblegum and apple. Tastes quite nice, matching the smell, though a bit thin in the mouth. Sweet gummy flavors dominate, with some light, grassy hop, and the flavor subsides to straight grain in the finish, not what I would have liked, but nothing offensive.

This is a nice, easy drinker, very mellow, and absolutely sessionable. I could happily kill about a gallon of this stuff in a sitting, though I might get a touch bored. This is my first experience with the ESB style, and I look forward to exploring beyond this standard.

Melchizedek, Oct 08, 2005
Photo of joecast
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

ahh. esb. this is fast becoming one of my favorite styles. maybe ive just been lucky and have had some excellent examples. anyway, here goes.

clear copper color with 1cm frothy tan head which settles to a thickish lace. the head always ready to reappear with a quick swirl.

intensely sweet floral aroma. a bit earthy with some alcohol notes. a real sniffer.

nicely balanced. good maltiness. piney. bittersweet chocolate. medium-high level of bitterness that blends in well with the flavors around it.

goes down a treat. so easy to drink, good thing it comes in 500ml bottles.

joecast, Oct 03, 2005
Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 2,424 ratings.