Fuller's ESB
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB
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Bitter - English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Ranked #3
Ranked #3,892
4.08 | pDev: 10.78%
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
England, United Kingdom
Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB
Notes: Twice named World Champion Beer, Fuller’s ESB is one of the most decorated ales of its time. A winner born and brewed, it’s a strong, full-bodied ale that has delighted drinkers for decades with its smooth, mellow bitterness and superbly satisfying finish.
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Reviews: 1,416 | Ratings: 3,113 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of KRug
KRug from Massachusetts

4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Best by 3/1/21

This is my first beer in this style, and it sounds like it'll appeal to me. Especially with the colder months approaching, I grabbed a few of these and other malty beers when I saw them, though I'm breaking into one while it's still warm out

Pours a clear dark amber with 2 fingers of soapy off white head that quickly fades to a cap and leaves patchy lacing

There's a lot of toasted malt in the nose here, dark bread, honey, molasses, vanilla, dates, and peppery hops. Quite a complex aroma and it is very warm and inviting

The front end of the taste is quite sweet, bringing caramel and dark toasted malt to the forefront while being supported by subtle dried fruit and spice, both of which come out stronger in the finish. In addition, the swallow brings bright floral hops to keep this interesting and balanced

A medium body pairs with moderate carbonation to create a crisp beer that goes down easy. However, it is a bit too watery, so I'll have to criticize for that

Other than feeling a but thin, this beer is great stuff. I hope to explore this style more now

Sep 15, 2020
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nick_perry from North Carolina

3.79/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Amber color, minimal head. Bitter, floral aroma and taste. Dry floral notes slightly resembling gin…although it’s odd, because I dislike gin but liked this beer was all right. Good hop/malt balance.

Aug 21, 2020
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sjrider from California

4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle - clear amber/copper with minimal off white head leaving a minimal ring of tiny bubbles and almost no lacing. Nose is very mild sweet malt. Taste follows with a bit of bread character and more mild sweetness. Finish is quite smooth and not quite dry. Easy drinker.

Jun 27, 2020
Photo of SierraNevallagash
SierraNevallagash from Maine

4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle - best before 01 Sept. 2020 - poured into an Allagash 2020 Coolship glass at cooler temp (36-ish°F)

Pours a ruddy deep copper-amber colour, topped with two fingers of khaki head with good retention, leaving some streaky lscing as it recedes. Some effervescence is visible.

Nose: A really wonderful aroma of sweet British malts. This is all toffee, caramel, brown sugar, candied figs, plums, raisins, vanilla, milk chocolate, and just a hint of some very floral hops. Very nutty. Very much a rum-soaked fruitcake aroma. Delightfully sweet and enticing.

Palate: The beer greets the palate with sweet toasty malts, lending some caramel, toffee, and bready notes, as well as a distinctly British ale yeast. There are also sine dark fruit notes with raisin, fig, and plum. Theae sweet English malt notes are quickly dried out by a solid presence of spicy, floral hops. I'm not sure what hops are used, but they're quite floral and spicy, as English hops should be. This imparts a light bitterness, which begins to grow towards the finish with a resinous, almost pine note. The finish itself is surprisingly dry, crisp, resinous, and lightly bitter.

Mouthfeel/Body: This beer is medium-light in body - with some soft, smooth heft from the sweet malts, but a crisp, snappy, bright delivery. Effervescence is lively, but right doen the middle - not super fizzy, and not at all lacking. Some stickiness is left around the lips, but altogether, the beer is light, refreshing, and very drinkable.

Overall: To me, it's almost like a scotch ale with the heft, sweetness, and ABV turned way down, but all the same flavours. There just aren't American beers like this. Insanely crisp and drinkable, with the impression of dessert sweetness, but somehow manages to be dry with a delightful hoppy bitterness. I'm disappointed that I never tried this sooner. Crazy to think this is a cheap British beer. I coyld drink this daily, and I'll likely incorporate this into my regular rotation. For the price, this is a must-try.

Jun 17, 2020
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hopsputin from New Jersey

4.49/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: clear dark amber color with slight hints of ruby red and mahogany. 1/2 finger solid tan head

s: sweet caramel, figs, and huge doughy notes. big hit of sweet berries and sweet grass. a little floral note at the end. not too complex but very nice

t: sweet caramel and fresh dough. sweet berries and honey. big biscuity note with a nice grainy flavor. very clean. a touch of mild hops at the end. like the aroma, not too complex but very delicious

m: medium mouthfeel with moderate carbonation

o: just an awesome example of the style. sweet and malt, easy to drink yet flavorful

May 14, 2020
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OK_Denise from Oklahoma

4.06/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hmm, not totally sure how to rate this particular beer. I enjoy the malty taste but I can't really say that anything about it is super special. I don't care for "bitter" beers but this one is not really bitter at all, which is a positive for me. I guess I would say that it is an above average representative of the style and one that I will most likely drink again down the road.

Apr 26, 2020
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Michaelcbyrnes from Russian Federation

4.65/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beautiful mahogany reddish brown with nice creamy off white head.
Malty and hop floral
Sweet but not cloy very smooth and pleasant
Wonderful feel, round and full very satisfying
An amazing beer. It comes together perfectly.

Apr 13, 2020
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Hooded from Texas

3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Notes from 3/14/2020.
Poured from a 16.9oz bottle into a Rastal nucleated Teku glass.
The body is amber with 1/3in of off-white head rapidly receding leaving a small thin island of foam. 3.00
The aroma is medium-low in strength and smells of dark fruit, chocolate, and sweet malt. 3.75
The taste is medium in strength. Once it warmed up, I could taste dark fruit, chocolate, and hops in the moderately bitter finish. 4.00
The feel is thick, moderately creamy, with very low carbonation, and a moderate level of astringency. 4.5
Overall, it's very good and the feel is world class. However, this beer style is something I rarely want. 3.75

Mar 19, 2020
Photo of Anders91
Anders91 from California

3.55/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Look: nice light brown color, very little head

Smell: malty, bitter

Taste: light malt, a little bit of bitterness

Feel: very smooth, little carbonation

Jan 08, 2020
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Singlefinpin from North Carolina

3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

After a recent thread on BA about UK beers I broke this out of the fridge.
Poured with force from a 330ml bottle into a pint glass.
Not much head developed, dropped quickly, and lacing is light. Amber color.
Smells malty, bready, sweet.
Tastes malty, sweet with a hoppy bitterness that I really like.
Mouth feel is medium.
Overall, I really like ESBs as a style. This characterizes well, except for the carbonation.
01/01/20 is the date on the bottle, I guess I drank it just in time!

Dec 31, 2019
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill from Kentucky

3.66/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle into a tulip.

L: Crystal clear medium-amber body under a finger of loose off-white head. Even a rather forceful pour didn't yield much life, and retention and lacing are mediocre at best. Lovely color and clarity, but not that great overall.

S: Hoppier than I expected, but in a rather dull earthy/herbaceous way. A touch of citrus is nice, but not enough to outweigh the wet dog and dirt components. Disappointing.

T: Better here, as the lightly sweet, biscuity malt asserts itself more and works with the hops to create a honey and orange marmalade vibe just like the label promised. The finish is clean and moderately bitter, and the aftertaste has just a hint of zesty spice. Really quite good.

F: Soft, silky medium body with ample, velvety carbonation. Strikingly good.

O: This one was a decidedly mixed bag for me - I really disliked the aroma, but very much enjoyed the flavor and feel. I'm sure it's one of the best ESBs on the market, but even with its strong points I don't think I'll be seeking it out in bottles again. A fresh cask could be an entirely different story, of course.

Beers of Fame tick 184/250. Cheers!

Dec 28, 2019
Photo of chitoryu12
chitoryu12 from Florida

3.64/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Look: Clear, dark gold. One finger of white head with decent retention.

Smell: Doughy, yeasty, sweet malt. Slight citrus hop note.

Taste: Doughy malt, but without that yeast note. Not unlike a Speyside scotch. Mild with a very slight hop note.

Mouthfeel: Average body with high carbonation.

Overall: A good beer for casual drinking, but nothing really unique.

Dec 19, 2019
Photo of moodenba
moodenba from New York

3.72/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Fuller ESB bottle from refrigerator was poured into a glass in December, 2019. The Fuller ESB appearance is true to style, amber body and off-white head. The beer might have been too cool for full enjoyment. Taste had roasty malt flavor with a good hoppy component. The brew doesn't quite give me the mellow integrated taste experience that I'm looking for. It's probably just my preference, but I like the Montauk Driftwood better. However, this brew is definitely well made, and well worth trying if you like the British Pale Ale style. Maybe cask or keg is better?

Dec 08, 2019
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60sFolks from Texas

4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

When I opened the bottle, I strong smell of alcohol was present. Surprising due to being only 5.9 abv. The taste is of dried fruit. Smooth going down. This is an extremely complex beer.

Nov 30, 2019
Photo of Nass
Nass from Florida

4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour is amber colored. I disagree with other reviewers on this page because i'm definitely getting a wallop of aroma. On the taste im getting some citrus, apples dipped in caramel,black tea, & malts. I do agree with some bitterness on the backend which was previously mentioned by another fellow beer reviewer on this page. Furthermore, this beer leaves a wonderful lacing in my beer mug. This beer is easier to drink than a few other ESB's that I've had in the past; therefore, it's my favorite of the 3. Cheers! A-

Nov 24, 2019
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stevoj from Idaho

3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Cask at the Vansittart Arms. Dark amber with small frothy head. Aroma is the weak link here, everything else is spot on. Nice malty backbone with a latent bitterness. Tasty, smooth.

Nov 05, 2019
Photo of Nofoba

3.56/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 500ml bottle. It has a clear, copper colored body with visible carbonation. Small white head with poor retention.

It has an aroma of grapefruit, toffee and a hint of plum.

The taste has floral hops and malts, with notes of grass, bananas and minerals. The aftertaste has a slight, lingering bitterness to it with a mineral taste.

Smooth, bitter, dry, but enjoyable.

Oct 27, 2019
Photo of Peach63
Peach63 from New York

4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours light amber with minimal head. little Lacing. Light carbonation.

Aroma is malty, floral, earthy.

Taste is malty, spicy, fruity, citrusy. Excellent bitterness.

Medium bodied dry finish.

One of the best English beers I've had as of yet. Outstanding.

Oct 15, 2019
Photo of James94
James94 from England

4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

L: Golden amber, small head, a bit of lacing
S: Toffee, raspberry yogurt, sweet malts, some dairy/creaminess
T: Citrus, dark fruits, bitterness at the back
F: Mild carbonation, smooth

O: 4.25

Oct 08, 2019
Photo of Charliethebrit
Charliethebrit from Massachusetts

4.09/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look: Dark ruby amber-like. Head that diminishes, light lacing inside of glass

Smell: Caramel malt, English ale aroma

Taste: Rich flavor of malt and distinctly strong version of an English ale

Feel: Smooth, normal carbonation

Overall: Excellent ale. It was out a bottle. I have had better straight from the barrel. A bit too expensive at nearly $11 for 4, but it is a great import, after all.

Sep 26, 2019
Photo of octortus
octortus from Canada

3.89/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 mL Can. ABV 5.9%
Appearance: Copper, Clear, Centre pour yields half a finger of off-white head, Dissipates fairly quickly, Low-Medium carbonation.
Aroma: Lightly toasted malts, Lots of apple, Pear, Perceptible diacetyl.
Mouthfeel: Above medium body, Smooth, Very slight alcohol warmth.
Flavour: Caramel malts, Not as fruity as aroma, Slight alcohol.
Overall: Nicely balanced and smooth. It fits the beer style, just not mine.

Review: 57

Aug 22, 2019
Photo of Ozzylizard
Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

$ 3.29 (Including tax and deposit)/11.2 oz bottle ($ 0.294/oz) at Alkies, Massena, NY. Reviewed 7/31/19.
“Best by 01 Apr 19” stamped on bottom of back label. Stored on shelf in store. Traveled in my ice chest, then refrigerated overnight in hotel refrigerator before being served in a hand washed and dried shaker.
Appearance – 4
First pour – Light orange, clear.
Body – Orange, clear.
Head – Large (Maximum four cm, aggressive center pour), off-white, medium density, average retention, diminishing to a two mm crown and rocky cap.
Lacing – Poor. Only a few tiny islands remain on the glass.
Aroma – 4 – Light spice, seems to be nutmeg with a hint of mace.
Flavor – 4.25 – Flavor is subdued with a barely detectable malty fruitiness. Never bitter. No alcohol taste or aroma (5.9 % ABV), no diacetyl, no dimethylsulfide.
Palate – 3 – Medium, almost creamy, soft carbonation.
Impression and interpretation – 4.25 – Despite being a bit past date and served a bit too cold, this still puts up a respectable showing.

Jul 31, 2019
Photo of KentT
KentT from Tennessee

4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A nice English ale. Has a wonderful, smooth taste with notes of caramel, some fruity notes of pear and apple, has a little bit of biscuit incorporated, with a nice rich malt finish, with a slight bit of butter incorporated. Enjoyed my examples in a Duvel glass, in 11.2 ounce glass bottles. Needs to sit 4-5 days after bringing the bottles home for the flavor to be best. Expensive, but very good.

Jul 26, 2019
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mshanecrowe from Mississippi

4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark copper color, thin head, light bodied feeling but still high in flavor. Well balanced mild citrus on the front end and mildly hoppy aftertaste. This is a super well balanced beer. Seems to be some of a number of things but not real heavy in anything.

Jul 20, 2019
Photo of Bluecrow
Bluecrow from New York

3.99/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

-clear, copper colored bottle pour with a 1 cm tan, foam cap. The aroma is of sweet malt and a tad pine hop note. The flavor is toasted malt with a bit of caramel and beech in the finish. The mouthfeel is clean. This is very well crafted.

May 29, 2019
Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 3113 ratings