1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Fuller's ESB - Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

Not Rated.
Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,572 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,572
Reviews: 1,282
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 95
Gots: 195 | 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.
View: Beers (32) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Fuller's ESB Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,572 | Reviews: 1,282 | Display Reviews Only:
3.3/5  rDev -18.7%
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 -0.2%
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.


Photo of silver0rlead
4/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Photo of elricorico
3.6/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is a clear copper with a foamy tan head. Lots of head to begin with, but it doesn't stick around. Although there is plenty of lacing.

Smell is hoppy. I'm not sure but I think I smell something bready or biscuit like in there.

Taste is a fair balance of malt and hop. There is a light caramel sweetness to the front and the hop finish is somewhat dry. Mild metallic flavour in it.

Mouthfeel is good, carbonated well but not overdone, fuller body than many.

A drinkable beer that just doesn't stand out for me. It doesn't have any wow factor that I could find. Solid but not outstanding.

Photo of theozag
3.3/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Unfortunately it's been a couple of weeks since I popped the cap off my pint-plus brown bottle and downed this ale. So i'll give you my general impressions and memories for now, and when I buy another I'll come back and refine what I've written.

Fuller's ESB was a slightly-above-average ESB in my opinion. I found the appearance to be the most superlative of all its characteristics because of the way this beer tumbled milky-tan from the bottle and settled a deep amber hue with a creamy, long-lasting head. Smell was also a bit better than one might expect from an ESB, including the trademark bouquet of bitters plus a gentler almost toffee undertone. Starts malty smooth and quite heavy, resting on the tongue with a notable full-bodied feel and a gradually more complex array of bitter flavors. I couldn't exactly detect a specific flavor, but I can say that this beer was a good representative of the sorts of tastes that an ESB should have. Mouthfeel a bit more dry than I'd expected and the brew leaves one with that ESB tail of sharp aftertastes that a drinker of heavier beers will certainly find familiar. Overall a good representative for ESBs and a tasty offering from Chiswick, but nothing amazing to me.

Photo of stopmakingsteve
3.65/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Honestly, it's SO much better on tap. The Ship in Soho in London serves it pretty cheap, go there. I was bored, so I got it in the bottle, but it's nowhere near as spicy or complicated at the stuff I drink on draught. If you're not in the UK I guess it's a good substitute, and I'm dreading returning to the US, where I'll have to get this imported for a lot more dough, It's sill a kickass brew.

Photo of Vancer
3.56/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I note in the style section that this one is the *standard* to try and review from there. OK. will do. Quick notes: Clear amber with tan head, nice lacing. Not much aroma, some hops and grasses. Thin, lightly carbonated. Very drinkable.
Now, the taste; light hops and floral. Pretty disappointed in the hop strength (Extra Strength??). Seems very mild for the style, but will take it from here with further ESB reviews (maybe I’m turning into a hop head).

Photo of MrSeth
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It's feels a bit strange reviewing a beer as well respected as this one, but these are just my impressions [read: 2 cents].

Pours with a deep transparent copper color and a hearty white-tan head. The suds leave lace on the glass and remain on the surface throughout the duration.

Smells honeyish, earthy, a bit like fresh wool. The taste is of soft honeyish malt, very pleasant on the palate, some more earthy-ness. Then a dry-bitter hops finish.. nothing is overdone. Balance is definitely the word that comes to mind with this ESBitter.

The mouthfeel and drinkability are both exceptional. If you wanted a session to get off on the right foot, this is your beer.

Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Huge off white head that just sits forever, lots of lacing left behind. Tiny effervescent bubbles rising from bottom of glass. A clear copper-orange.

A bit of floral citrus hop in the nose, some caramel and maybe a bit of licorice.

Sweet caramel malts in the flavor with maybe a bit of diacetyl. Slight hop bite...piney and herbal, could use a bit more hop presence. Finishes dry.

Nice carbonation level with a medium body.

Photo of Gaisgeil
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I can definatly see how people make this brew a session beer of choice.

This is a very well-balanced beer, there is a little bit o' something for everyone in here. Pours a crystal brown/amber is color with a thick and fluffy light tan head with great retention. The nose to begin with is very bready, and the European hops are quite prevalant. Taste is a bit hoppy, hence the bitter, but also a nice caramel malt profil happening here to balance out the affair.

This one was dangerously easy to quaff. Got to give the English some credit here, but only a little. *wink*


Photo of dgallina
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Burnished transparent copper-red in the glass. Only a few fingers of thin head, but lots of lace on the sides of the glass. A great deal of prickly english hops in the nose with sweet caramel malts along for the ride. Nice flavors and good balance. Deeply toasted and slightly smoky grains at the outset. Develops with plenty of tingly hops and finishes very dry, with fine bitterness. Medium-bodied and slightly chewy in the mouth, with light-to-medium carbonation.

*The* standard for strong bitters.

Photo of Luigi
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber color with a big head. Impressive head retention. Smells sweet with spicy hops and maltiness. Fruity sweetness with hint of mineral water. Roasted malts and a strong hoppy bitterness that lingers into the aftertaste. Medium to full bodied and a great drinkability. Delicious! A great english ESB!

Photo of RedLion
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A nice ruby red with a slighty off white head. Good head retention, nice lacing.

Smell: Slightly sweet. Pleasant.

Taste: Taste is very good. There is malty sweetness upfront with hops to balance it out. I never understand how this style can be called bitter, since it's less bitter than pale ale.

Overall a very drinkable beer that I will have again.

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

Poured from a 16.9oz with the best before date of Oct' 14, 05 marked clearly on the back label.

Clear copper with a light tan head that falls to a thin sheet of foam. Decent lacing.

Smells of english hops with diacetyl and mild malt underneath.

The taste starts off a bit malty then fades into a dry hoppy finish. Tastes very clean and balanced. Refreshing.

The medium light mouthfeel and carbonation add to the drinkability of this fine session beer. I enjoy this one with steak dinners.

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

Pours a nice copper bronze with a tan head. Quite clear.

Smell is very flowery, English hop aroma all around. Traces of carmel waft up.

Goes in very smooth, hop bitterness is completely blended in with the carmely sweet malts. Very rich and bready. Very full flavored toffee notes. Complex, finished slightly sweet with noticeable alcohol warmth.

Medium bodied, light carbonation fits style well. Quite drinkable and very good.

Photo of Padron4KM
3.18/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aged 18.6oz bottle. Best before 20/Dec/03 <br>
Pours out clear amber with reddish tints. Doesn’t quite fit into pint glass on one pour. Head is small. 1" tall and quickly fades to a thin cap. Sticky lace.<br>
Aroma is caramel and toffee with an underlying scent of dirty socks. <br>
Palate is kind of thin , but it has nice flavors of caramel, toffee and some piney hops.<br>
Short bittersweet finish.
Not too bad for a beer 16 months past it’s prime. didn’t age as well as the IPA but still did ok

Photo of tjthresh
3.38/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1 pint .9 fl oz bottle poured in to a nonic glass
Best Before 14/OCT/05

Appearance: Brilliantly clear. Thick white head that sticks to the side of the glass. Med/Light Carb

Smell: Big malt aroma. Caramel, toffee, some fruity esters. I couldn't really detect much hop aroma.

Taste: Mild hop bitterness. Malty sweet. A bit of lingering alcohol. Some oxidation

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Moderate carbonation. Some alcohol warmth.

Drinkability: Not bad, but I had really high expectations for this beer. I'd like to try another. Maybe draft or a cask version.

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

from the 12 ounce bottle, 5.9% abv

Copper colored, with a short tan head of fine carbonation. The aromas are of piney hops, not overpowering, and caramel-sweet malt. There's also a hint of citric fruit.
The taste is a somewhat bitter hop start, followed by a round and juicy malt, toffeeish and a dry, orange pekoe tea finish. There is also a taste of clover honey and perhaps rye bread (w/o caraway seeds)
It's all so ultra smooth and balanced. Familiar flavors, but wonderfully wedded. One of my ultimate session beers.

Photo of Sammy
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Initially the bitterness I was looking for, but then seems malted out and wasn't so drinkable and refreshing as I wanted. Nice amber colour. Some toffee carmel nut. On cask it's one of the best cask beers, mellow and delightful citrus hops with great fruity aroma, and I have kept the rating that way.
On cask december 2007 it was fine above-average.

Photo of neonbrown82
4.11/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a dark amber red in color with a thin head that recedes to a film just seconds after the pour. The smell is simply amazing. Smells of caramel malts and candi sugar. Almost smells like a liquor of some sorts without the harsh astringency of alcohol in the nose.

The taste very interesting. It has that typical butter/biscuit flavor that I've come to expect from English brews, but it also has a crossfire of sweet and bitter flavors. The sweetness is of caramel and candi sugar, and the bitterness is obviously from the hops, which actually have quite a citrusy kick for low AA English noble hops. The mouthfeel is moderate and brings about more of a bitter flavor when swished through the palate.

I am not quite as fond of this brew as I am of the London Pride, but it was decent. The aroma alone is worth spending the cash on, though.

Photo of Litterbean
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

550ml bottle for $2.99.

Nice clear amber color, with a light bubbly head that dissipated rather quickly.

Pleasant malty aroma. Smells like bread. I can make out some earthy hops in there as well, but it is mostly the malts that leap out at me.

Taste is incredibly smooth. Sweet, with light carbonation. Some fruity esters pull through with the first sip. Slightly bitter finish but it goes down smooth. There is some oiliness from the hops but not much. Deliciously tasty beer.

This goes down so well and is really a treat after some of the hop-bombs I've been drinking lately. It's incredibly smooth and balanced, and it's something perfect for a day of drinking. You know, if you were so inclined.

Photo of southernshred
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful dark red, with a nice 1" or so head. Head disappears into nice lacing. I love the smell of this beer...I smell molasses with hints of toffee...nice maltiness.

Mouthfeel is very good. This goes down great and works well with most food. As a big British beer fan, I keep this on hand at all times and usually have at least one with dinner or while reading a book. Great ESB!

Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer has a very appealing color to it when it is poured. It has about a 1/2" head that retains pretty well but fades into laciness on the glass. The smell is of a wonderful caramel malt and toffee. Smells like it should be a candy bar. The taste is a perfect balance of malt and hops. The taste lingers as a fruity taste and a bit of smoke. I can also feel the alcohol taste in my mouth and the warmness as it goes down. I think this is a great beer with a nice malty aroma and flavor. A very nice beer.

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

A great example of an English ESB. Pours a nice tawny brown color with a swirly frothy head. Smells of roasted carmel malts and a bit of toffee. Taste is less hoppy than a lot of ESBs in my opinion. There is that bitter kick in the end but it's more of a dry musty feel, not hoppy. But for this beer that seems to work well. The malts are soft, sweet, and mellow. Nice carmel, toffee undertones. Really really liking the smooth creamy mouthfeel on this beer, reminiscent of cask-conditioned ale. A real treat to throw this one back when you're in the mood for an English ale. Cheers.

Photo of mynie
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful deep, dark red with a nice head and great lacing.

Faint but very nice odor of burnt malt and light hops and heavy fruit esters.

Wonderful taste. Malt upfront, rich and slightly sweet, making way for a big burst of lingering hops. And Fruit, too. Like, generic Juicy Fruit fruit, all around. Really nice.

This is a great beer that lives up to its hype. That's really all I have to say.

Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 2,572 ratings.