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Fuller's ESB - Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

Not Rated.
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: 99
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 bluejacket74
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a copper color with a very small white head which goes away quickly. The aroma isn't too strong, but the beer smells mainly like caramel, butterscotch and malt. The flavor is a mixture or caramel and malt, then ends with a slightly spicy hoppy finish. It's more sweet with not much bitterness, and there's just a small aftertaste. The mouthfeel is slick/oily, with a light/medium body and moderate carbonation. It's pretty smooth and easy to drink. Overall, it's a good beer.

Photo of rabsten
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pub pint. Dark reddish amber with thick khaki head. Sticky lacing.

Butterscotch malt in the nose.

Flavor is basic malt with an unexpected hop tang. A toffee sweetness underlays the whole flavor.

Silky roundness up front with a dry finish. Drinkability is good, but I don't think I'd want more than one at a sitting.

10-12 years back Fuller's was a go-to beer for me. It's hard to find around here though, so I kinda forgot about it. It was nice to rediscover this. I'll look for more.

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

Poured into a proper British pub pint glass.
A: It pours with a clear, deep copper colour. Thinner head than I expected, and left minimal lacing. This does not compare to other reviews, so I wonder if I got a flat bottle.
S: Fruity hops bitterness right off the top. It masks whatever else may be in there. My nose couldn't pick up on specific aromas.
T: Yum. Bursting with flavour. A bit of burnt chocolate or roasted coffee. Big hoppy bitterness, some earthiness and spice. For a strong beer (5.9%) the alcohol is not intrusive.
M: Very smooth. Low carbonation lets the taste coat the tongue without interruption by all those distracting bubbles.
D: Excellent. I won't turn down an offer for another.

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

Pint at Bishops Arms (Västra Hamngatan) Gothenburg, Sweden.

Brown color, big tan head.
Fruity hoppy aroma.
Quite bitter flavor, high bitterness.
Medium mouthfeel.
Some bitter almond taste in there.
Bitter aftertaste.
Feels a bit thin after a while.

I can remember it tasting better.

Photo of EStreet20
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounce brown glass bottle poured into a 20 ounce nonic pint glass.

A - Pours out a translucent reddish amber with a nice sized foamy head. Some lacing on the glass. Nice looking ESB.

S - Some sweet aromas with some soft faint hops. Lots of sugary malt presence is the main characteristic I'm getting.

T - A nice interplay between some malty sweetness and a little bit of a hoppy flavor. Ends with a caramel like flavor and finishes dry. A nice smooth flavor.

M - Nice and smooth with a decent amount of carbonation.

D - A nice session ale with some good sweet flavors.

Photo of petemorris
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite beers on draft, it doesn't disappoint in the bottle. Upon pouring, the aroma isn't overpowering, but it is a great blend of biscuity, caramel malt and floral hops. And the flavor is the same. While a little too strong, perhaps, to be called a true session beer, its clean finish and medium, lightly carbonated body make it very drinkable. As it warms, and as your senses adapt, you begin to fully appreciate the many components of its full flavors--sweet and malty one mouthful, hoppy the next. Just a great, great beer.

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

1pt 0.9oz bottle.

Pours amber color with big offwhite head that leaves lots of lacings.

Aroma is very malty bit of nuttyness with nice noble hops.

Slick medium body mouthfeel. Not much carbonation. Smooth.

Flavor has lots of caramel maltyness that really balances out any bitterness. Overall flavor leans to sweet malty side.

Nice drinkable ESB. A bit sweeter than similar American styles that tend to have stronger hop flavors.

Photo of haz77
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A – Pours a clear copper with an inch of head, which settles to and thin off-white layer. Moderate looking carbonation.

S – Caramel, esters, aromatic hops, honey

T – Mouthful of caramel which lingers throughout. Biscuity malts and restrained hop bitterness

M – Smooth and creamy with moderate carbonation. Light to medium body.

D – Very nice beer and worth a try. Easy to drink.

Photo of cjgator3
3.64/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear copper color with a half finger white head. Smell is of malt, toffee, and hops. Taste consists of a very sharp hop bitterness on top of a nice sweet malt backbone which leads to an interesting combination. Overall a decent brew that is worth trying.

Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.63/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle to a pt glass. The head was nice and fluffy, faded to a respectable lace. The color is a dark amber with slight red hues.

Smell is of malt and bitter hops.

Taste is of malt and very bitter hops. while the malt is strong and very rich it is not quite enough to balence the hops. Thus ESB,

Mouthfeel is above average. Medium body, nice carbonation, smoothness is nice.

Drinkability is ok, smooth yet to much bitter to make it an all night choice.

Cheers mates! MK

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

Undoubtedly a true Godfather of hoppy English Pales. Though I doubt if I have ever had this beer fresh, as the brewery intends, I always have room in my pint glass for this masterful beer.

A floral, spicy, and earthy nobility rises from the solid copper / light ruby-brown hue. Lightly pungent and aromatic with a deep flowery hop character that blends seamlessly with the classic fruity English yeasts. Bready to taste, much like fruitcake only in lower tones. A non-descript fruity flavor offers a complexity, smoothness, roundness, and character that is lacing from American varieties. The beer has many subtle flavors and each one comes to life as the beer warms and the carbonation escapes, seemingly to alternate with each sip.

Both elegant and gentlemanly with its attention to detail, non-flashy demeanor and with enough strength to withstand mediocracy. Balances supurgly well not to let the malts nor hops to take precidency, the beer allows just enough caramel sweetness to linger into a dry finish to keep me wanting more.

Photo of Phocion
4.11/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into oversized Fuller's pint glass from a 500ml bottle. Dark amber color and an explosive, thick head that took a couple minutes for me to pour.

Not too strong of a scent on this one. Light fruity smell and sweet malts coming through.

Bitter hops bite is most evident, excellently balanced with a sweet caramel taste. Very well-balanced ESB, though I'm wondering what happened to the fruit scent from before. Alcohol is very well-hidden.

Pretty light on the palate, despite the heavy carbonation.

This is an easily drinkable beer. Light-body, but full-flavor. Excellent cold on a hot day, and it seems like it'd be a great match for spicier foods.

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

500ml bottle bought from Sainsbury's...

Poured a coppery orange colour... Slightly off white head pours quite thick then faded to very thin layer. Some patchy lacing...

Aroma - Nice juicy fruits (oranges, apples, maybe some figs too), spicy hops, biscuity / toffee maltiness, honey notes, nice nutty sweetness, light toasted bread notes, some peppery hints...

Taste – Nice juicy hop bitterness, strong biscuity malts, light caramel sweetness, nice fruitiness (definite oranges, some grapefruits, apples), nutty...

Feel - Pretty smooth and creamy. Light body... Very very drinkable... a great session beer...

Overall - An excellent beer.... Recommended...

Photo of beeroclock
2.83/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Amber in color w/ a nice frothy head, smells slightly sweet. The sweet smell may be part of it, but I taste caramel then it finishes very bitter. Almost too bitter & too sweet for me. Its well carbonated. I wasn't really fond w/ the taste, but I was in a hurry and this beer seemed easy to down when necessary. The beer is just ok, not a great Fuller product.

Photo of acrawf6
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a nice amber hue with a foamy slightly tan head.

Smell. Nice caramel smell that is a touch sweet. nice hop sharpness. very nice.

Taste. Great balance of hops and malts. slightly buttery. creamy and slightly roasty malty taste. aftertaste has the roasted malts come out.

Mouthfeel. very nice balance. lively carbonation. good mouthfeel.

Overall, a nice beer, complex enough to savor, yet highly drinkable. nice beer, and nice within its style.

Photo of Cresant
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 11/Sept/06. Poured to a Stone IPA glass vigorously and achieved only a 1/4" head that quickly melted. Body looked like strong iced tea.

Smelled of vegetables and malts. Maybe because of the apppearance, but I smelled tea.

Tasted like-- wait for it...sweet tea. Smooth sweetness up front and hops that linger with a mild bitterness. Alcohol was well hidden.

Low carbonation and thin texture.

Could drink several.

Photo of SwillBilly
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle

Appearance: Amber in color, almost iced tea like with very minimal head and lacing.

Smell: An initial fruitiness hits the nose, almost apricot like. Hints of caramel with a slight hint of citrusy hops.

Taste: An initial malty backbone dominates the beginning then transitions to a subtle, dry bitterness in the middle. The finish is dominated by a well balanced malt sweetness and hoppy, dry bitterness. The bitterness linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel with a creamy texture, carbonation is on the mark.

Drinkability: Fuller's ESB is highly drinkable. This would make an excellent session beer in my opinion. A nice balance between sweet malts and a hoppy bitterness. The hops are very subdued. A very good beer that I would definitely drink again, and probably more than one in a session. Seek and enjoy.

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

Very nice looking, clear orange red with a rocky, long-lived offwhite head. Lots of little particulate floating around, as well as carbonation trails.

Malty aroma, with notes of kaiser rolls, raisins, even a little pepper.

Complex but balanced taste in a medium body -- Starts sweet with more raisin, slight black licorice, toffee. Very soft mouthfeel leads to just enough leafy, spicy hops to be interesting, with a clean finish free of any aftertaste other than perhaps slight alcohol warming.

Very tasty and highly drinkable, would be an excellent with-dinner beer.

Photo of bort11
3.41/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Something left over in the fridge from a get together. 12 oz bottel poured into an Imperial Pint glass. Not a very strong head. White, but quickly receededs. Not much lacing. Color is a very nice clear copper. Smell is weak, some hop notes. Taste is a nice hop up front with a slight buttery finish. Good medim body. This is pretty drinkable, but not outstanding

Photo of Fugazme
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Although the head didn't last too long... some excellent lacing has occurred. Deep copper... lovely looking beer.

Aroma is sweet and caramel-like. Very nice... some great hop essence as well. A touch of pine and a little butterscotch.

Somewhat creamy mouthfeel... quite smooth... dry on the finish.

Excellent bitter flavor upfront, through the middle and on the swallow... it finishes with a touch of malt and caramel.

One of my favorites.

Photo of arizcards
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 500 ml bottle from TJ's in late April for $2.99. Best before 08-05-06.

Poured a mahogeny color with an OK head. Nose is malty with a hint of ripe fruit. Taste is a wonderful balance of the malts with a nice ripe fruit slightly bitter hop finish. Mouthfeel is fairly full for the style and smooth. Overall drinkability is good. This is the 2nd beer i have tried from this brewery and i would recommend this to try for anyone unsure about this brew.

Photo of jslot38
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz Bottle to a Pint Glass

Appearance: Lovely golden with deep, dark amber hues. Great quarter inch white head that stuck around.

Smell: Toasted bread and biscuits with earthy hop tones.

Taste: Toasted malts, slight touch of hops. Roasted barley, biscuity, a bit of sweetness and a touch of orange peel zest.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth. Light and refreshing. Good level of carbonation.

Drinkability: Low level of alcohol and bitterness make this a very good session beer.

Photo of Phatz
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I previously reviewed this beer on-tap and I must say it was a very different experience. I certainly prefer this beer on tap. This is the bottled version

Appearance: Pours a nice coppery color with red hues. 3 finger tan head. Nice lacing.

Smell: Very sweet and fruity. Some jolly rancher candy and some butteryness in the nose.

Taste: Straightforward and very quaffable. This beer is a pleasure to drink but somehow seemed to be less complex than the on I had on tap at Quips. Toffee malts and gentle English hops make it a decently balanced beer leaning to the sweet side.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, sharp around the edges but remarkable smooth and slightly slick. The finish has a small bite before the mild wave of dry and the mild wave of sweet wash over the palate.

Drinkability: On tap or in the bottle this is one of the easiest drinking beers I have come across. Well done Fuller's!

Hope this is helpful.

Photo of Beersignal
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was particularly surprised to see Fuller's products on the shelves of my local SAQ. It has easily been 8 years since they have stocked this item so I had to purchase a few and take notes as I do not know when or if they will bring in more.

Pours a warm crystalline copper hue beneath a 1/2 inch sand coloured cap of foam that stays a few minutes but not long enough for my pleasure. Some moderate lacing shadows the gentle bead which emanates from the depths of the brew.

Aromas are classic! Firm maltiness with a hint of caramel and a slightly alkaline touch in the middle. Finishes with mild aromas of hops and malt mingling and dominating in turn. Very faint ripe fruitiness permeates the whole but as a background to the more dominant malt and caramel.

Flavours mirror to a great extent the aromas but are dialed up a notch. The malt dominates up front but eventually shares the spotlight with a touch of caramel. The fruit expresses itself with more assurance in the middle and jostles with mineral notes before being pushed aside by a firm balancing bitterness. The whole is very pleasing, rather dry but firm, and nearly perfectly drinkable.

So glad to see this once again on SAQ shelves. It is a satiating experience to plunge one's nose into a glass of Fuller's ESB, and take a full draw to let the simple but complete brew saturate the nose and tastebuds with malt, caramel and bitterness. For me this is as satisfying as it can get.


Photo of Metalmonk
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep amber with a thin head that retained well, good bubble activity.

Malty as hell on the nose, with prunes and lingering hops in the back.

Total malt attack, but not syrupy. Hops bring up the rear, and the overall drinking is a sweet, rounded, somewhat bitter and very pleasant experience.

Feels full and slightly slick in the mouth, and feels better as it warms.

I'd never ever had this one before, and I'm glad I'm finally in on it. A super-good experience, can't wait for the next one.

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