Fuller's Special Edition ESB | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

Fuller's Special Edition ESBFuller's Special Edition ESB
Liked This Beer
4.64 w/ 11 ratings
Fuller's Special Edition ESBFuller's Special Edition ESB

Brewed by:
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
England, United Kingdom

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.30%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by LuckySevens82 on 01-27-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 11 |  Reviews: 9
Reviews by GeoffFromSJ:
Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.88/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Much, much gratitude to LuckySevens82 for sending this gem my way.

I'm a huge fan of ESB's and Fuller's in particular. I had extremely high expectations for this beer, and this one met those.

Most ESB's are ambers with good malt-hops balance, but the very good ones in this category have a complexity that is not seen too often. This one has an extremely deep complexity with different things going on. Or at least seeming too. You notice how Fuller's has used more hops, but they have also upped the malt to balance this out.

Pours a beautiful amber/copper. Head is smallish, but tight. The lacing is so thick and never goes away, so I had to up the score on this one.

Smell is very interesting. Starts with nice hops aroma. Later, I noticed it has a smell akin to their Vintage old ales.

Mouthfeel started off fine with a little more astringent feel due to the hops (or something else uneducated me is unaware of) but as it warmed the mouthfeel was perfect. Instead of averaging, I'm giving it the higher score. But you should be made aware. If you grab a hold of this, try it at different temps or let it warm up a tad.

Drinkable? The incredible taste makes it drinkable. I'm writing this review one or two hours after drinking the beer, and I'm still thinking about it. But you want to drink it slowly to get every little bit of taste out of this beer.

Probably the best ESB I've ever had. Beyond my wish that they would send their normal ESB on-cask to America, I would then ask that this beer continues to be made into the future.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of ppoitras
4.18/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle obtained as part of BIF XMas from wezil. Thanks for the opportunity. Bottle #00761.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed 1" of creamy light tan head over the clear light copper brew. Head is lasting, with sporadic bits of foamy lacing. Aroma is lightly hoppy, with a nice medium malt base. Taste is upfront with lightly nutty malts, then segues into a crisp hops bitterness. Mouthfeel is very nice, the bottle conditioning has obviously softened the intial bitterness, and drinkability is excellent. Worth searching out.

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Photo of RBorsato
5/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Golden-copper color with a full pillowy beige head, great carbonation, and solid sheets of lace. An all hop aroma compared to the standard ESB; flowery and earthy hop aroma. Nice earthy, flowery hop flavors with the perfect amount of malt to balance. Medium-full bodied and light creamy smoothness with a perfect finish.

Brewed for Fuller's 160th Anniversary. This stronger hoppier version of the traditional ESB is just pure awesome !! Blows the standard ESB away !! They should replace the original recipe with this one or make it available year round.

Label States: "Bottle Conditioned"

Per MJ notes:
- OG 1060 (vs. std esb 1054).
- 100% Goldings hops and doubled late copper hopping rate
- 42.55 IBU (vs. std esb 34).
- Dry hopped with Goldings

Bottle #: 00522
Best Before: End 2007
Tasted: 10/08/05

(16.9 oz. bottle embossed with lots of brewery stuff)

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Photo of EPseja
4.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Number 00291, served in a Fuller's Imperial Pint glass at cellar temperature, at 9:00 PM EST on September 30th, 2007 in memoriam to Michael Jackson, a great man with unfailing passion, and the most influential beer writer in history.

A - Deep caramel with ruby-orange highlights and an incredible, three finger, light sand colored head that looks like homemade whipped-cream and easily supercedes the rim of the glass to the tune of another finger and a half. Faintly hazed. Lacing is pillowy and thick, leaving behind an unbroken stucco wall on the insides of the glass. If ESBs had a beauty pageant, this beer would have every other contestant looking worse than Teen USA 2007's Ms. South Carolina sounds. Google it if you don't already get my gist.

S - Toasty, biscuity warmth in the malts, with some hints of old newspaper along with faint notes of wet cardboard. Peeking through regularly are surprisingly fresh and green hop notes, adding verve to an otherwise "old" smelling beer. Amazing what aging can do to take the edges off and transform a smell.

T - The malts provide a sweetness that isn't overpowering, but full of distinctly aged character. The middle brings a pleasant balance of bright hops along with only the faintest notes of alcohol. Also evident were tastes of honey-butter and nougat. Everything is superbly blended. The finish is moderately bitter and semi-dry, with a very green aftertaste both from the residual yeast and the still vibrant hops. Super interesting, and quite deep for an ESB.

M - Goes in with a forward tingle that tickles the tongue, but quickly subsides to a frothy, creamy wave. The swallow is throat coating to say the least, and there is a nice, slow belly warmth that follows from the increased alcohol. A pleasure!

D - Age has indeed done this amazing beer some favorable justice. All effervescent forwardness has been curbed. All hop bite has been restrained. All malty sugars have been tamed. This is one fantastic ESB, with it's only flaw being the high alcohol that keeps you from being able to session it. BUT... this creation was never intended to be a session beer. It is a special release for a special few people, and tonight it was enjoyed with a very special person in mind. Thank you Michael Jackson, for bringing this beer into my possession. Through my enjoyment of it and my advocacy of quality craft beer on the whole, I bring it back to you.


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Photo of dag1991
4.93/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of marburg
4.65/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tasted side by side with Fuller's ESB and Fuller's 1845.

Reddened amber-brown with a moderate, fleeting head. Sweet nose of caramel. Fizzy and floral with hints of lemon peel, there's a bit of "pop" to this aroma. Crisp. Begins with crumbly biscuit flavor, a caramel sweetness with a chewy, medium-bodied feel.

Americanized, in some ways, this has clearly been hopped up for a special audience. They really assert themselves midway through and create a dulled, lingering bitter finish.

For those interested in comparisons, I'd liken this much more to their 1845 product than the standard ESB. The ESB is fruitier and sweeter by quite a bit. And the 1845 is quite a bit roastier than this brew, but both have the big mouthfeel and more robust, interesting finish.

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Photo of uturn
4.5/5  rDev -3%

Photo of LuckySevens82
4.88/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 1.09 Fl oz bottle into an imperial pint.
Pours an extremely clear amber color with a very nice 1.5-2 finger head, lacing is minimal. Just a damn fine looking beer.
Smell is sweet, caramel, and perhaps a bit of scotch. There is also, of course, some hops in the nose as well (not quite as overpowering as an IPA, but certainly present).
Taste is absolutely heavenly. The caramel sweetness is pronounced at first followed by a very nice biscuity taste and of course finished with a dry and pleasent hoppiness.
The mouthfeel on this beer is incredible. Just smooth enough and just enough hops to keep you on your toes.

This is without a doubt the best ESB I've ever had. Apperently the brewers over at Fuller's decided to make this one more hoppy and I think that they did a fine job in that. This beer is absolutely exceptional for the style.

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Photo of yelterdow
4.48/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #00284 sampled on 5/28/05

Serveware: Samuel Smith nonic

Appearance- Pours a clear, deep amber with excellent head retention and phenomenal, sticky cling. The foamy head lasts well into the lifespan of this brew. Best ESB on the eyeballs thus far.

Smell- The nose opens with an immediate display of juicy, Goldings hops, and swirling the beer really is essential. Not only for the olfactory benefits, but for the unbelievable activity inside the glass. Lively would be an injustice. Try it.

I love ESBs, but this lives up to the mission that Fuller's intended it to fulfill. They took on Michael Jackson's request to create a slightly more "American" version of this style, and added more hops... the result is a truly great beer that I can't wait to sample again next year. Five more in the cellar!!

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Photo of wl0307
4.45/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Having tried my first bottle of Special Edition ESB under a different label ("Anniversary Ale"), I decided to keep the second bottle (with the "correct" label) in the cellar for one more year so as to see the difference. Now comes the moment of truths~~ This bottle is No. 03599, BB End 2007, served cool in a large tulip-shaped wine glass.

A: dark copper, coming with a creamy off-white head with good retention; carbonation is very decent, not fierce at all.
S: thickly-textured sweet longan-fruit tea, thick flowery esters, dates, overripe apples, roast nuts, and amber malts all mixed together... Very settled, and less complex than the previous bottled enjoyed last autumn.
T: dried dates, sour-sweet fat marinated prunes, roast walnuts, black grass jelly, the bitter edge of raisins, roast malts, sour yeasts upfront, ensued by an incredible length of peppery&spicy hop bitterness with a good dryish texture, while the roast-nuttiness also adds a remarkably bitter body to the overall enjoyment; the chewy, roast-tea-ish, tannic finish rounds off the whole palate just brilliantly...
M&D: creamy carbonation w/ healthy dose of soft fizziness, full-bodied w/o feeling full on the palate; this is not as complex as the other bottle tasted last year, but all the more mellow, featuring a soothing, tea-ish and mildly spicy-bitter aftertaste. A fantastic, brilliantly balanced premium bitter full of life this is!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.32/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear, caramel color, huge head, swiftly diminished, huge carbonation.
Lightly hoppy aroma, caramel/toffee notes, softly sweet.
Bold, rich flavors charge the palate at the start, ...wow, this is thicker than I've ever tasted in an ESB of any kind. Very fully flavored, brisk, lively and totally right in line for the style...just better than any others I've sent down my gullet. a non-stop hop dance on the tongue, a mega-ESB, especially delicious.
A sheer pleasure to pass past my lips. So smooth, so rich, so tasty.
bottle #00105

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Fuller's Special Edition ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
Beer rating: 100% out of 100 with 11 ratings
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