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Fuller's ESB | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

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1,342 Reviews
Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB

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

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 07-08-2001

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Reviews: 1,342 | Ratings: 2,886
Photo of weareallfalafel
4.93/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a standard pint glass. Pours an ever so slightly hazy deep copper/Amber color with about a finger of head that fades quickly and leaves little lacing. Smell is strong and biscuity and nutty and a touch sweet, with a touch of British hops evident. Taste follows, beautiful balance of flavors, here. Sweet graham cracker like malts, earthy hops, and an almost tea-like finish that lingers. Feel is medium in body with a light carbonation. Overall, I'd say it lives up to the hype and is certainly a perfect example of the style. Love it!

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Photo of josanguapo
4.78/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From Labirratorium. I Ikea's pint glass. Reading Java HTP11. Caramelish, with a good amount of english noble hops that leaves a long pleasant aftertaste. Very refreshing and drinkable

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Way darker than your average esb, has colors of dark amber, rustic red, earthy appearance. Aroma had some honey pale malt, not so much hops.

Taste, noble hops, toffee, dry, unsweetened. Just as bitter as hoped for in style. Bready. Toffee bread. Its a decent beer, just the 500ml bottle format is excessively expensive per oz so that often will preclude picking this and finding a different esb 6 pack of 12oz. bottles for almost half the cost per oz.

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Photo of davidperez
4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served in a hefeweizen glass, it pours a beautifully clear copper color, with a myriad tiny bubbles surfacing constantly. It forms a three-finger head, sudsy and creamy, ecru, with good retention.
Very nice lacing.

Nice bouquet.
Toasted malts, caramel, a slight butterscotch hint, fruity as in plums, and herbal hops resembling pine resin.

What a beer, a prime example of an elegant and balanced beverage.
What seemed a huge carbonation from the bubbles right after pouring, became very subtle on the palate, and you can tell that its carbonation is actually low.
The flavor follows the nose, with the toasted malts being the most prominent flavor, and you can taste some wood, a tea-like note and nuts as well.
Its bitterness is slightly more assertive than its sweetness, and it gets more pronounced as it approaches the aftertaste.
The finish is long and semi-dry, and it has a very nice tobacco note.

Definitely my favorite ESB thus far.

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Photo of acmurphy696
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had an ESB in the past and thoroughly enjoy revisiting this beer.
It looks great and certainly has great taste and character.
I enjoyed getting reacquainted with a style that I rarely encounter.

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Photo of Rukeli76
4.41/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500ml can served at cellar temp in a nonic pint.

Nice amber colour. Only a half inch or so of head, and it dissipates almost immediately.

The aroma is dominated by floral hops which for me are somewhat reminiscent of bergamot or Earl Grey tea.

I get a nice little bite of hop bitterness up front. There's something about the depth and complexity of flavour I get in this beer that's hard to describe. There's no real comparison. It's satisfyingly malty and hoppy in a way that you usually only get from bigger, boozier, more liberally-hopped beers, but at the same time it's crisp and thirst-quenching in a way you'd never in million years expect from a room-temperature pint of bitter.

Not a ton of carbonation in this canned version. The mouthfeel is unfortunately pretty light and nondescript. too. This is definitely the kind of beer you'd much rather have on cask at a pub somewhere in East London.

This is an all-around world-class beer. I think of it as the ur-bitter against which all others must be judged.

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Photo of dipso123
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In bottle = 4
In can =4.25
On tap = 4.5
Cask = 5
Few beers and vary as much depending on how their served. When done right only a handful are as addictively drinkable.

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Photo of matuto
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle (exp. 08/2016), poured in a mug. Amber clear liquid, with lots of a persistent foam, which leaves some laces. Caramel and toasted malts. Herbal hops. Light to watery body, very low carbonation. Very high drinkability.

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Photo of WunderLlama
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a glass

Brown with a taupe foam ring

Aroma of roasted malts

Roasted malts, almost nut like taste, bit of spice, bitter hop notes, no real bite

good beer

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Photo of Jonleonbass
5/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the top 5 beers in the world IMO. I have spent many a night in Fullers Pubs in London drinking this beer on cask......which is the best way to experience it. It should not be too cold and just cool to room temp as drank.
The Old Packhorse in Chiswick is one of my Fave pubs. I have toured the Fullers brewery and it is a special place and this recipe is just divine.
If you like Hops meeting a Caramel malt with bitter notes and strong flavor and presence , this is the great one.
The singer from Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson has been known to run off stage to catch last call just to drink a couple of ESB's.....many englishmen know it's almost hallucinogenic properties and covet it's special flavor and feel.
Only for the true beer drinker. If you are a pussy that drinks merlot and lager beer you will spit it out and cry......but that is okay. Go home hippie. You cannot handle this beer.
Look-Amber godlike hue.
Smell-Beautiful floral hops and sweet malts.
Taste-Strong hops with bitter bite finished by a nice caramel malt that is perfectly balanced.
Feel-On Cask might be the best mouthfeel of any beer in the world. Nothing like it. Finished perfect. One of the greats.

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Photo of 5anvils
4.65/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Drank and poured from the 11.2oz bottle. Deep red color. Initial head was solid landing down to a thin head line. There is a hint of sweetness to the drink with alcoholic tones emanating from below. This is a solid traditional British ale that is one of my standards. I really like the taste of fullers, and its actually is not really bitter. Slight creaminess to the mouthfeel and a nice carbonations that is soft to the finish. Overall a solid drink. It is a keeper and a great go to classic beer.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Back label says Best Before 01 JAN 17.

A- Pours a dark amber color with a 1/4 inch light tan head that retains a bit before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and some wisps of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves large clots behind.

S- Biscuity malt but not very sweet with a vegetal hop aroma.

T- Balanced flavor of herbal, slightly spicy hops and more biscuity malt that now shows a bit of sweetness. There's also more of that vegetal hop character which is actually quite pleasant.

M- Somewhat slick with medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the lighter side.

O- Right where you want a session beer to be. The flavors are interesting and well-integrated but not so assertive that you can only take so much. Also, the ABV is above that of a true session beer...which makes it more my kind of session beer, thank you.

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

A- muddy, murky golden brew.

S- strong caramel malt dominates with a hint of dark fruits.

T- similar to the nose, toffee,caramel and figs dominate with just a little bitter on the end.

F- smooth as hell, goes down almost too easy

O- probably the best in its style, absolutely superb take on a basic style.

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Photo of Ferb
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a British ale in the truest sense. It pours a beautiful light copper color and builds a light and thin eggshell head that quickly retreats into a thin ring that slides down the glass as you drink it.

The aroma is generally clean with a bit of freshly cut grass and a faint citrus, but hardly a strong impression. The medium texture glides over the tongue gently and leaves a nice fizzy memory .

The taste is grassy and dry, with a gentle malt that balances with a hop finish that is so subtle, I can't tell which one wins. There is a slight metallic taste (nothing like a Boddington's foundry of iron on the tongue), but as it seems hard to get fresh British ale in the Midwest, my samples are a month past their "best by" date.

This is a refreshing ale that comforts me the way a meatloaf and mashed potatoes does. It is an ale designed to be consumed in quantity with friends and one that I will buy again.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.19/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured of an 11.2 oz bottle into an imperial pint glass of mine, this beer pours a very clear, medium amber/copper color with a nice, thick, fluffy looking, slightly tan/slightly off-white head that's about an inch thick when first poured. Head eventually settles to a nice thick surface coating of a film layer of foam on the beer's surface along with a medium sized ring linins the inside of the glass. Decent lacing here. Aromas of toasted, biscuit caramel malt sweetness along with toffee that are followed by a floral and fruity hop smell. The taste pretty much follows suit, with somewhat toasted, biscuit, caramel malt sweetness along with some definite toffee hints that are followed by an herbal grassy note. This is rounded out with a slightly citrusy and floral, earthy hope presence along with hints of melon. Good balance of flavors here indeed. Has a fairly crisp, yet also very smooth, medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Has a clean finish with a decently dry after taste. Pretty good all around in all respects. Worth a try for sure!


 1,081 characters

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

500ml bottle poured into a mug.

Crystal clear brown amber color in the showcase, massive creamy off-white head forms up with good retention, it just slowly recedes to thin everlasting foamy sheet atop along with plenty amount of refined lacing in form of ring, patch, and spot. Not much of carbonation can be seen through its body.

Significant aromas of creamy toffee / caramelized / biscuity malt along with citrus from hop, lightly toasted, some hop earthiness too.

Solid malty foundation in the tasting sensation providing the characters of biscuit, caramel, and toffee, hop unveils in the middle to balance all those sweetness from malt with citrus, peppery, grassy, and herbal notes. Slight toasted and mineral notes add in complexity while moderate bitterness from hop is at the almost end with a clean cut through the palate also pleasantly traversing to the aftertaste.

Medium body with smooth mouthfeel and some lively carbonation that makes some crisp through the palate, finish is dry and clean.

Very well balance between malt and hop that makes it not too overwhelming sweet for one who prefers hop and not too hoppy for one who is not hop heads, the intensity and mixture in overall aspects are very easy drinkable and same time have some depths to unfold.

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Photo of Bruno74200
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not as bitter as I thought it'd be but it's definetely very balanced with a great caramel malt presence and a light herbal hop bitterness. Pure English pub material. Glad to enjoy a pint

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Photo of Gregaroo
4.16/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

5/4/16 - On tap at Elephant and Castle in Chicago. Tasty bitter from Fullers served in a tulip glass. Nice frothy head. Had a couple with friends to remind me of London. Nice treat.

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Photo of Marraybay
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Look: Golden amber color: decent head.

Smell: Floral and fruity: Perhaps a touch of distilled spirits.

Taste: For me personally, I get an almost doppelbock or
bourbon-esque "note" out of the gate; (I.e. flavor not booze).
There's a bit of bitterness here as well, but not overpoweringly so.
Perhaps a medicinal or mineral quality also.

Feel: non-descript

Overall: This was different. Not sure if I'm a fan or a detractor on
this one: Would probably need another test run. Seemingly did
ok as a beer with food though, as it wasn't overly influenced or
changed by the meal.

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Photo of Beginner2
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Listed in the "1001 Beers To Drink Before You Die," this one will have to wait for my review as I can't find my notes.
Reviewed in Roger Protz' "300 Beers To Try Before You Die!"

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Photo of Thryptamine
3.94/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Medium amber look with decent head retention, slight carbonation and not too murky, some sweet notes in the smell, taste is an instant bitter that does not linger for too long in the palate, overall an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Cthulhusquid
4.89/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Orange-red body, 1 finger white head.

Smell: Stone fruits, orange, caramel, cream, and a mild nuttiness from the hops.

Taste: See above.

Feel: Medium bodied, medium-low carbonation, mild bitterness.

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Photo of larryi86
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

11.2 oz bottle, best before 5/9/16, poured into pint

A- A clear caramel copper with a two finger white head.

S- Caramel malts, faint dark fruits, touch of roasted malts, mild floral hop character, nicely balanced.

T- Some malts, toasted malts, floral hops, touch of dark fruits, mild earthy/herbal flavors, pretty malt forward.

M- Smooth, medium to full body.

O- Up until now I've only had American ESB and I have to say this is different, far more malt focused and has a more complex malt character. Very enjoyable and easy to drink. Nice to see what an ESB should be.

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Photo of EMH73
4.31/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear deep amber color with a one inch head and good lacing. Smells of malts and caramel. Taste is predominately malts with some caramel, spices and dark fruits (maybe raisins) and a hint of hops. Minimal bitterness despite the name. Lightly carbonated and medium bodied. An excellent beer.

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Photo of puck1225
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On draft into a pint, and at the right temperature. Beautiful head and lacing, a golden clear color. The taste was malty, a bit sweet and mildly bitter. I have had other Fuller products in a bottle that did not impress. This was great.

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Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
4.06 out of 5 based on 2,886 ratings.
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