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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.

2,425 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,425
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: 2,425 | Reviews: 1,264 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RushLimbmalt
5/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the best ESB I have ever had. It has a wonderful caramel aroma and a sweet caramel flavor to match and has just the right amount of hops to clean up the sweetness. This is another Fuller's beer that will find a home in my refrigerator on a regular basis.

RushLimbmalt, Nov 06, 2004
Photo of granger10
4.83/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

To me this is the ultimate ESB in which all other esb's should look up to. It sets the standard. It had a beutiful auburn red appearance with a lovely soft medium white head. Smell is sweet and fruity but not really bitter. The flavor has absolutely incredible balance yet each flavor shows itself and is assertive. Caramel and toffee malts, then sharp biting bitter hops followed by soft fruity notes. Finish is dry and slightly acidic. Creamy body. This is liquid candy to me. Nice.

granger10, Nov 06, 2004
Photo of alexgash
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rich, amber/copper hue with a small, off-white head.
Toasty malt aromas and light fruit, with soft minerals and spicy, floral, fragrant hops.
Tastes of toasted biscuit malt up front. Light fruit flavors chime in. There’s an interesting/unique mineral character to it all. Nice, floral bitterness comes in. Slightly citric and spicy. Finishes with lingering bitterness and light minerally butterscotch. Medium-bodied, with a soft, almost creamy mouthfeel. This is the first time I’ve ever had this archetypal ESB, and although I’m not crazy about it, it’s quite extra special.

alexgash, Nov 03, 2004
Photo of Truh
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Rode a horse-drawn carriage through foggy, gas lamp lit alleyways with this one on 10/23/2004. 16-oz. shaker pour at the Overdraught in Cambridge, MA.

Skein of soapy initial head that laced nominally. Light copper mahogany hue, crystalline and quiet to the eye. Soapy, crème de malt bouquet; also a cloying, candy corn sweetness that invades the nasal cavities. Clinging wash of malt at taste, with the aforementioned soapy feel chumming around. Some oak chip saltiness and attenuated smoke character is also noticed, and finishing with just a bit of bitter hop bite that lends it a small crunch. Could probably session with this one for a while, but would prefer to be doing so in a pub in London, the Ripper’s shadow flittering in and out of the fog outside.

Truh, Oct 30, 2004
Photo of newyawker
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Now this is what I call a great beer. Dark amber, nice white head of substance and it lasts long with lace up and down the glass. Smell isn't strong, a little caramel like and hops. Taste is smooth, rich and vibrant, and it goes down easy. A little strong for a session brew, but easy to enjoy anyway.

newyawker, Oct 30, 2004
Photo of canucklehead
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the benchmark for ESB's as it is both complex yet quaffable. Dark tan with a great head this beer is full of hops, malt and essence from the brewery. I loved the biscuit flavours and the flowery hops that combined to show a brewers craft. Never a average beer no matter the company.

canucklehead, Oct 26, 2004
Photo of TheLiterati
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty, medium copper colored bitter, with an off-white head.

Perfumy scent, with flower and fruit essences, some citrus undertones as well.

The texture is effervescent and bubbly, with a surprisingly light mouthfeel, likely due to the amount of carbonation – maybe a bit much for some, but it works for me, especially when balanced against the bitterness from the hops.

The bite from this beer lasts long after the last swallow, but it mellows out nicely with a nice, dry finish.

TheLiterati, Oct 20, 2004
Photo of RenoZymurgist
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a rich copper ale with a white fluffy head that subsided quickly with no lace. The aroma is next to perfect with a beautiful blend of rich english malt, a fine hop nose, and that distinct english mineral character. The flavor is also good with a sweet malt in the begining which quickly segues into a quick touch of hops and a clean, dry finish. The body is the only flaw I have with this beer as it seems a little bit too light but the carbonation is perfect leaving the beer with very little carbonic bite and a nice pseudo-cask conditioned feel to it. This beer is highly drinkable and i would easilly order a couple pints as it has a very clean finish.

RenoZymurgist, Oct 09, 2004
Photo of BrewMaster
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 18.6 oz bottle on which was printed "BEST BEFORE 13/DEC/04." The beer pours a copper/amber color wiht a thick off white head. The head has moderate retention.

The aroma of this beer is just lovely. A nice malty aroma with hints of apple and a slight bit of toast. The flavor is smooth and balanced with mostly a maltiness dominating the flavor. The alcohol and hopiness are only tasted right at the beginning of the beer then the sweet maltiness takes over. The malt is a bit bready and the aftertaste is thick. I like it a lot. This could definately be a daily drinker.

BrewMaster, Oct 09, 2004
Photo of trumick
3.73/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber color with little head that quickly disapears. There is some mild lacing.

Scent is sweet malty, malts, carmel, fruit.

Taste isn't what I expected from this beer. It is very sweet and nutty with a sweet finish. I noted some hoppiness at the end but still quite sweet.

Mouthfeel is almost perfect. Very smooth medium to light bodied and just the right amount of carbination.

Drinkability is very good. I will buy many of these and drink them all at once the next time I try them. Easy to drink.

I have never had this before, and it wasn't what I expected. I am used to Arcadias ESB which is really hoppy. Fullers is much sweeter than I expected but very nice.

trumick, Sep 24, 2004
Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tap: Poured a clear light brown colored ale with a small creamy head with standard retention. Aroma is quite weak with only light roasted malt being noticeable. Taste is quite refreshing but again a bit weak on taste with some roasted malts and light dry finish. I was quite disappointed by the strong watery finish and I’m wondering if this one wasn’t shot through nitro before falling into my glass. Anyway, I still persist with my belief that Fullers beers should only be drank from cask.

Phyl21ca, Sep 23, 2004
Photo of jvajda
3.73/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark red color with no head.
Smell: Bitter, believe it or not, and some fig notes in the nose.
Taste: Super bitter. The best way for me to explain this beer to the uniniciated, is take a good beer, open it, and leave it out for a day. It tastes like it went bad, but in a good way. This is a very unique style.
Mouthfeel: Nice and smooth, very low carbonation.
Drinkability: Its very strong flavor makes it a little overwhelming at times.

jvajda, Sep 17, 2004
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.88/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I got the chance to try this on cask at the Fuller's Brewery in London. The notes were written almost a month ago.

Pours a slightly hazy rusty orange color with a big foamy head and tonnes of lace. The aroma is of raw pungent earthy hops first and bready malts second. The taste is absolutely phenomonal. Lots of raw leaf hops with an herbal earthy feel, and a clean and strong bitterness. On top of this, theres a slightly caramel malt feel. The malt is definitely present. The finish is crisp and mostly bitter. The mouthfeel is smooth and slightly creamy with minimal carbonation. Brilliant stuff.

Ive had this beer on tap a million times in Canada but the cask version is much better. Its more aromatic and hoppy, it also has a much rawer feel.

CAMRAhardliner, Aug 26, 2004
Photo of TongoRad
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear dark copper color with a thick and lasting head (slightly amber head).

Rich bouquet of caramel and fruit with some bread-like malt in the background.

Flavor follows through with the same characteristics as the nose. Great full mouthfeel with a decent amount of bitterness to balance it out.

Excellent beer.

TongoRad, Aug 23, 2004
Photo of skybluewater
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best by date: Dec. 13, 04. Pours an orangish-amber color. Nice rocky head, very little lacing. Caramely, malty smell, but there's also a nice frutiness. Tastes biscuity, malty, fruity, but with a pleasent bitterness...very nice. I'd love another pint, but this is my only one...

One suggestion: Drink warm.

skybluewater, Aug 23, 2004
Photo of rlcoffey
4.75/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Imperial Pint served on tap. Virtually no head. Deep copper color. Aroma is of hoppy goodness and also of malt but not overpouring. Taste follows the smell. In years past, I thought of Fuller's ESB as a very hoppy beer. Now it is the definition of balance. Hoppy, malty, clean, refreshing - its close to the perfect beer. A very drinkable beer, one of my favorites.

All ESBs I drink get compared to Fuller's. And its not fair to anyone else.

rlcoffey, Aug 22, 2004
Photo of RocketWidget
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the definition of a proper bitter. Comes in a funky shaped tall and narrow 12 oz. brown bottle. Pours a clear dark orange, with moderate white head. Carbonation is moderate. Smell is of slight hops. Taste is excellent. A very drinkable brew, dry with slight malt sweetness on the aftertaste. Hops are ever present yet expertly made quite subtle. Crisp, clean aftertaste. Could drink this all day, if it wasn’t ten bucks a sixer.

RocketWidget, Aug 20, 2004
Photo of beertaster13
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

So I've been waiting to try this and now I know why it is so highly regarded. Pours a nice light brownish with orange amber tints. The off white head is amazing to look at. Lacing will coat the glass. The smell is of sweet caramel malts and nice grainy pine hops (slight) a bit butter nose as well. The taste is great, the malt caramel overtones and a hint just a hint of hoppy citrus. The malts really crate a perfect oaked aged sweetness that is undescribable. Very nice. The mouthfeel is smooth and full, very nice. A perfect session beer, dangerously good.

beertaster13, Aug 18, 2004
Photo of usualpulp
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice deep amber color, with an off white head that laces down the glass as the beer is consumed.

Lots of roasted malt smell is present, as well as a nice helping of hops. There is an almost caramel like smell to the beer.

This beer tastes wonderful, very sweet, and bitter, the best of both worlds. The malt balances well with the hop, nothing outdoes anything else. There is a slightly fruity taste that lingers on the tongue, but isnt very powerful.

Overall this is one smooth easy drinking beer, great taste, very refreshing. Definately worth a try.

usualpulp, Aug 09, 2004
Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark amber brew with a nice white head of foam. Aromas are of juicy hops, SWEET malts, and more. The taste is a very balanced one, that leans towards the sweeter side of the spectrum. This stuff is very malty but the hop balance is there as well. The mouthfeel is creamy and good and the drinkability is classic. I find the bottled versions of this beer, and the London Pride, to be much sweeter than their cask cousins. This is a beer that needs to be served at cellar temperature as well! When this stuff is cold, it is really too damn sweet!

francisweizen, Jul 20, 2004
Photo of Hunter
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Freshness date on the label said "Best before 24 March 2005". I think I'm safe.

Beer is golden-red in color, crystal clear with scant carbonation. A two-finger head of thick off-white foam forms on the pour, and it hangs for a while. Doesn't revive with agitation, but the lacing effect is lovely. Nice.

Aroma is all about the malt. There's a hint of candied apple in there too, reminding me of those ones you get at the fair that are drowned in a caramel you can see the crystalized sugar in. (drool) Oh, and I think even some hops as well! So far, so good...

The hops make a stronger appearance as the brew hits the palate, but the malt takes over pretty quickly. Yeah, it's got more bite than your basic English ale, but I've always wondered if it deserves the name "bitter". Maybe I've drunk too much Sierra Nevada.

The hops really come out in the aftertaste as the malt departs, however. Astringent, bready aftertaste, but clean. Mouthfeel is a little rough but it's not disagreeable.

This is a solid, no frills beer. US microbrewers have made strides, but the Brits still rule when it comes to quality ales.

Hunter, Jul 09, 2004
Photo of koolk
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a darker than usual amber colour with very little head. Good steady carbonation.

Nose is sweet malt - flavours range from toffee and maple to white fruits. Some slightly deeper roast flavours, but on the whole it is sweet and fresh.

Palate is again sweet, but in a well refined way that is an absolute joy to drown. Flavours are fruity - pineapple mainly, plus other 'tropical' falvours and a tough malt backbone. Bitterness isn't over dominant or over powering, again adding to the ease of which this goes down.

So simple, yet brooding in its refined style makes this an extremely drinkable beer. Look forward to many more of these.

koolk, Jul 08, 2004
Photo of thinkbreakfast
2.9/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

App: This beer poured a standard dark amber color with a standard head.

Smell: One whiff of this brew revealed what I found to be its underlying theme: Maple syrup smelling malt.

Taste: Thick syrup/malt up front. Slight bittering into the middle and end. I did not find this particularly enjoyable, however I haven't been overly impressed with the ESB style in general.

Mouthfeel was a bit on the thick side, which hurt the drinkability.

thinkbreakfast, Jul 01, 2004
Photo of jimdkc
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a coppery clear amber with a medium sized off-white head. Toasty malt smell with a light hop aroma. It's the taste, though, that is the focal point of this beer. Very clean tasting toasted malt flavor with a little nutty taste. Finish is nicely bitter to balance the malts, but the bitterness does not linger in the aftertaste. Very clean finish. Smooth mouthfeel with just-right carbonation. Very drinkable. My first experience with an English bitter, and it turned out to be a very good one! An excellent beer that I'll be buying again!

jimdkc, Jun 21, 2004
Photo of pheurton
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

crimson copper, clear as a bell, topped with a tight and creamy slightly off white head, which manages to maintain at 1/4" for the whole pint...awesome. crystal malt and complex estery aroma detected if inhaled deeply. sturdy medium body, light on the carbonation. textured and deeply malty, dose of caramel sweetness and huge ale-ish fruit flavors dominate. sweet and supple, noble hops come in at the end to finish this beauty off. quite quaffable for a beer of this much sheer flavor. complex yet comes across as simple. an amazing feat and an amazing beer. wow.

pheurton, Jun 18, 2004
Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 2,425 ratings.