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Fuller's ESB - Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

Not Rated.
Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

1,297 Reviews
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,297
Hads: 2,700
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 9.85%
Wants: 121
Gots: 262 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,297 | Hads: 2,700
Photo of Tucquan
3.81/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this on 2015-01-20 in Lancaster, PA at Quips Pub

Lots of malt favor With caramel and decent bitterness. A good ESB although a bit higher ABV than I prefer for the style. (174 characters)

Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.67/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce glass poured into a nonic pint glass.

Light and airy pale white head that somehow still looks thick and chewy. Lace is just everywhere, demonstrating a stickiness that is inescapable. A dark amber color with light copper hues glimmers from the body and carbonation bubbles up steadily.

The aroma is not so fresh, like a once-bright floral arrangement gone dull. It's pungent with a bit of a tart bread note, similar to the kvass I'd had recently. I'd like to try this fresher, but in my part of the world, that's close to impossible. Still, Fuller's suggests this beer is good until May of this year, so I have good reason to have higher expectations.

All is not lost here folks. Somehow despite the less than appealing nose, this beer tastes pretty good. It's toast-like and caramelly before becoming earthy, floral and even slightly sweet with citrus. These flavors are all mostly understated and mellow and work well with each other.

As far as tossing a few of these back, it's not exactly in the light, smooth-sipper category. There's a medium-body, light sweetness and bitterness that sneaks in and seems to crescendo to a lingering mellow exit.

For not having this fresh, it's still impressive and enjoyable. It seems the nose takes the biggest dive with some time on the shelf and that's okay because it still drinks well. (1,348 characters)

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

look - very clear light amber color, good head retention and lacing

smell - very balanced smell of citrusy hops and caramel malt

taste - clean, crisp, well balanced again with the caramel flavor of the malt at the forefront and the bitterness of the hops showcased as it finishes. delicious

feel - smooth, very drinkable

overall - I was very impressed with this beer. i can see why it has won many awards. it is very well crafted and aesthetically pleasing and delicious. i definitely recommend trying one (509 characters)

Photo of kevinlater
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle into nonic pint. best before 05 sep 15. consumed on january 12, 2015

a: extremely clear amber colour with absolutely no bubbles streaming upward. finger and a half of off-white head that disappeared after i blinked

s: very grassy up front, with subtle caramel. fig, and apple notes. getting some metallic aromas too

t: caramel, grain, toast/bread, grass, raisin, apple, fig, nuts

m: stellar. medium-plus, very creamy and thick. little carbonation

o: a straight malt and fruity yeast bomb, like others are mentioning. (540 characters)

Photo of TheBierdimpfe
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Copper color. Minimal head that dies fast. Sour smell but slightly fruity. Smooth taste with a perfect crisp. Rich and hoppy feel.

Overall : Fully bodied beer with well balanced flavors. Truly a blast to drink! (211 characters)

Photo of infinitebruner
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

January 4, 2015

11.2 oz bottle, English dimpled pint glass

A – Dark gold to copper, high clarity, some small bubbles rising. About two inches of thick, luscious foam sits on top, mildly craggy, with very high retention. I’ll have a mustache after my first sip.

S – A toasty, toffee wave with just the slightest impression of peat in the foam. Hop aroma is mild floral, a lot of hop bitterness on the nose, a slight bite. Very malty upfront though.

T – Damn, that’s good. Strong malt presence of light caramel and toast, incredibly smooth, with a touch of fruity esters, apples and pears. Floral hops are present in the second wave, and bitterness is strong but provides a backbone for the malt. The finish carries for a long time.

M – Very sudsy, high carbonation, but thick and full on the tongue. Malt provides flavor without a ton of sweetness, and/or the bitterness is in great balance.

O – One of my great regrets is spending a week in England and not taking full advantage of the pubs, and/or not taking note of the experiences I did have. As such, I expect my foray into British beers to be eye-opening, and to only strengthen my regret. And what a start! This ESB is sublime, the perfect pint to quaff on a hot day or to put down next to a warm fire. Consider me blown away. (1,314 characters)

Photo of tekstr1der
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours gold-amber with thin white head. Toffee and malt in the nose and flavor. Well-balanced with a mild stylistic bitterness on the finish. One of the best ESBs I've had, and hard to imagine improving. (202 characters)

Photo of majorbase2
4.01/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, radiant amber color with a small off white foam head. Dissipates quickly. Good amount of visible carbonation. Small amount of lacing around the edges.

The aroma comes through mid-pour. Good deal of fruitiness detected. Upon bringing the beer to the nose, the fruitiness has faded and given way to subtle dark fruit, and some caramel malt. A little bit of roasted malt.

The fruitiness returns in the taste, with a hint of tropical as well as dark fruits. Some grainy malts come through as well, forming a nice combo with the fruit. As it warms a little nuttiness comes through. Excellent touch. A very well balanced beer.

Light bodied. Super easy to drink. Might be one of my new go-to's. Well carbonated.

Overall, a supremely easy to drink beer. Strongly recommend. (784 characters)

Photo of Taybeh
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%

From a bottle into an imperial pint glass
A: amber, clear, minimal head
S: caramel malts, plums, raisins, a tinge of floral hops
T: follows the nose, but also some nuttiness. This is quite good. Toasted whole grain bread, then a lot of caramel and toffee, together with some nutty flavors and very slight and subtle dark fruits. Floral hops come in at the margins. Ends with caramel/toffee and nuttiness.
M: Smooth, toasty, low carbonation; pleasantly filling
Overall: do I really need to hop the Atlantic to find this on cask somewhere...? (546 characters)

Photo of Greywulfken
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: deep amber ale, perfect clarity; a few fingers of fat tan head left lotsa lace down the glass

S: something sweet like dark fruit atop a fresh, wet grain aroma of malt

T: caramelized sugars, toast points, roasted nuts, and pale fruits like apricot or fig

M: silk smooth and slick - quick across the tongue; mild bitterness and a roasty, toasty aftertaste

O: super-fine drinking experience here, lads and lasses - make sure to find your way around to this, yet another fine ale from Fuller Smith (500 characters)

Photo of JamesMN
3.79/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best before 3/12/15.

Appearance: Subdued caramel color with brilliant clarity. Some effervescence making its way from the bottom of the pint glass to the thin layer of off-white foam on top.

Aroma: Stone fruits and sweet apricot. Different than I was expecting.

Taste: It starts with a nice blend of lightly bready malt and smooth low end hop bitterness. The hop character comes out more with each sip and reveals sweet hearty fruit flavors, apricot, date, etc. The overall bitterness builds over time and reaches a moderate level, maybe like 35 IBUs. The finish is a little muted but transitions to an aftertaste in which the bitterness builds slowly and then fades along with the fruity hop character. A lot of flavor and never watery, which is impressive at 5.9% ABV.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body with a smooth feel but enough carbonation that it is never tepid. Good drinkability.

Final Thoughts: I had I expectations going in to this one based on Fuller's other offerings. My expectations were met by this ESB. With all the up-and-coming breweries these days it's nice to drink a beer with a history spanning several generations. Would I drink it again? Yes. (1,165 characters)

Photo of gutbucket2
3.25/5  rDev -20%

Bottle. A: amber, quickly subsiding head.
S: plums, raisins, caramel.
T: fruit and caramel, appropriate bitterness.
M: rather thin, plenty of fizz.
O: Could be improved by secondary fermentation in the bottle. (210 characters)

Photo of JTuomi
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

0,5 l bottle into a pint glass. Clear pale amber color, two finger white head that fades quickly, ample lacing. Smell is light and fresh, malt and caramel with a hint of nut.

Taste is light and crisp, fruity, malty and nutty with some caramel and toffee notes. Floral hops rise up in the end with a slight bitterness to balance the taste. Light body and mouthfeel, stingy medium carbonation, very drinkable.

Overall light but flavorful. I could easily have another after finishing the first one. (497 characters)

Photo of TimZebGir
4/5  rDev -1.5%

A: Pours a clear amber with very thick foamy head that dissipates quite slowly (3/3)
S: Fairly fruity nose with a little bit of alcohol in between roasted malt notes (9/12)
T: Sweet maltiness, almost like a fruity jam, with a bit of toffee and raisin (16/20)
M: Very bubbly and wet with a little bit of dryness on the finish (5/5)
O: A remarkably drinkable beer given how sweet it is. Surely a classic, but I think the hops could have played a slightly bigger role (maybe my subconscious desire for bitter to mean bitter). The after-taste is a treat that keeps on giving. (7/10)
40/50 (587 characters)

Photo of The_Mad_Capper
4.53/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There's lots of rich caramel in the aroma with a slight tartness akin to molasses or prunes. The crystal clear body is an orange-ish copper with an eggshell-white head. The flavor is primarily bitter and coppery with considerable caramel-like sweetness; the hop flavor is woody, resiny, spicy; some alcohol warming is present; there is a roasty, earthy finish from the malt. There is some alcohol dryness and a slight bite from the mineral texture and carbonation.

A very characterful and sophisticated beer, the aromas and flavors are consistent throughout and all-around satisfying. The structure of the flavor is largely well balanced. (640 characters)

Photo of barczar
3.94/5  rDev -3%

Pours a brilliant deep copper with a lingering frothy cream head. Floral and lightly fruity notes counter a light caramel malt backbone in the aroma. Very perfumey. Flavor echoes the aroma, with a toasted finish, which becomes bitter in the aftertaste. (252 characters)

Photo of bristol2120
3.25/5  rDev -20%

Was motivated to try this after tasting Beer Camp There and Back ESB in order to get a read on what a classic ESB should drink like. Hey, the label even says it's the ESB by which all others are judged.
Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle with best by date of 4/17/15. Nice offwhite head eventually settles down leaving a decent amount of lacing. The beer itself is a very nice deep orange copper. Nose is slightly less prominent than expected. What is there is pleasant enough with malt and hops detectable in equal measure.
Taste has a slight hoppy spiciness to it along with a solid malt foundation. On the negative side, there is also a steady presence of what I can only describe as a "wet dog" character lurking in the background that really takes away from the rest of this beer. I don't have a great deal of experience with this style so I am not sure whether this is a typical trait. Mouthfeel is very smooth with a nice level of carbonation.
Overall, this is a really solid effort that sadly is marred by those odd notes in the taste. (1,040 characters)

Photo of MNAle
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%

Amber color. Pleasing malty aroma. Light carbonation. Slight hop bitterness is present, but this is dominated by the slightly sweet malts. Excellent body. Wonderful bitter, even considering this was the USA import version rather than the cask version. Very nice malty finish with some hops presence. Interesting fact: English Bitter, despite the name, is not particularly bitter. All of the American bitters I have tasted thus far are too hoppy to be a true English-style bitter. (480 characters)

Photo of SHODriver
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

A: poured into a nonic pint to a clear golden copper hue with a small white head that fades quickly
S: smells of fruity esters, caramel and some juicy hops
T: taste is caramel malts, fruity esters, and some slightly floral hops. swallow is a nice lingering floral bitterness with a little more caramel malts
M: this beer sits at the lighter side of medium on the palate with soft carbonation and a refreshing finish
O: very well made and this beer has no apparent faults. very drinkable and a great example of the style. (530 characters)

Photo of Act25
3.4/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Other reviewers mostly seem asleep at the wheel on this one, which is supposed to be the ESB standard. It's mid-pack and the ESB style is not my bag anyway. Here goes....

A: Nice color, clear amber like SN Torpedo, but lacking in head, lace, energy, head retention.
S: Lacking also - perhaps my bottle is flagged. Nice balance of 80% caramel malt, English pub style, and 20% hops.
T: Follows smell and there's more of it. But it's basic old ale / strong ale malt but weaker and more tea like, with a weak bitter finish. Flattish flavor arc and feel.
MF: Thin, flattish.

Always ready to try another ESB, but I dont find them particularly bitter or interesting, and I'd move in direction of old ale or strong ale as a preference. (732 characters)

Photo of Svart
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served from bottle in a tulip glass. The foam is thick and it looks golden yellow/amber. The smell is very fruity with hints of blackberries, cranberries and a bit of malt. The sip stick to your tongue and has some delightful bitterness, it's has a nice full body and it simple taste a lot of berries, malt and hops in a great combination. I think this ale s one of the best I had in a long time (395 characters)

Photo of BTodd
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle poured into nonic pint glass.

A-orange to cherry in color, pouring lively with 1-2 fingers of suds gathering on top and dissipating to a thinner layer of foam in the first 30-60 seconds. Crystal clear with fine bubbles climbing up for minutes after pour.

S-malty for sure, carmel and some spicy, earthiness.

T-classic English maltiness, spicy, with hints of vanilla.

M-low carbonation, finishes pretty clean, lighter than you'd expect.

O-First time having this and it's really pretty good. Whenever I make it to England I'll be comfortable knowing that it's there to catch me. (598 characters)

Photo of seedyone
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

March 2014 From bottle at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Beautiful copper clarity sustains a substantial head of sparsely lacing foam. Balance of bitter & sweet keep this on my list of favs.

05/26/12 On tap At Beer Authority , NYC. IMO this is as bitter as I like my beers to be. On tap it's nice & polite. No need to slap me across the face to get my attention, I can be impressed with subtlety and this one did just that. (412 characters)

Photo of Mikus
2.91/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Wanted to try this for awhile, as I was thinking of brewing an ESB in the near future. Now I am on the fence again. Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into my tulip glass. Nice appearance with a clear amber body and small, whitish head which left some nice lacing in the glass. Just a bit of hop bitterness (kind of generic hop bitterness) on the nose. It also had a bit of the wet cardboard funk on the nose as well... glad it didn't show up in the taste. They definitely hit the bitterness just right (I like bitter), and the overall taste was just a bit grassy and light. Nice, light, easy-drinking mouthfeel. Quite refreshing to the palate on a hot afternoon. Bit lacking in flavor overall, though I am not sure if this is the style or the Fuller'. From my understanding ESB should be a little lighter and straightforward... what can I say, I am a big IPA fan! This was an ok beer. Probably a nice beer to offer to someone who is not a craft drinker who wants to try something a little different from their everyday BMC beers. (1,023 characters)

Photo of SitkaSteve
4/5  rDev -1.5%

I had this in an American sized pint glass (yes, I know not a true 16 oz like the English) but hey still the same shape).
The appearance was a hazy burnt orange to brown color with a one finger white foamy head that died within about a minute leaving some light lacing here and there sticking nicely to the glass.
The smell had a real deep sweet earthy English maltiness with fairly decent nutty notes.
The taste was mainly the same and it leaves a deep fullness on my tongue which leads to a fairly simple yet smooth fulfilling quality running about my tongue and mouth.
Overall, in my opinion, this sets the standard for ESB's. Of course, I would have this again. (669 characters)

Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
91 out of 100 based on 1,297 ratings.