Fuller's ESB | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

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Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB
BA SCORE
4.06/5
Exceptional
3,015 Ratings
Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
England, United Kingdom
fullers.co.uk

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by kbub6f on 07-08-2001

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#2,994
Reviews:
1,378
Ratings:
3,015
pDev:
11.08%
Bros Score:
4.17
 
 
Wants:
159
Gots:
419
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,015 |  Reviews: 1,378
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.

 350 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.84/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

really interesting to have this one side by side with the one from breckenridge here in colorado. they are so different, but yet so similar, and as the label says, this is indeed the esb by which all others are measured. honestly i like this one a little less. its not quite as rich in the malt build, this is a maris heavy version, and although its awesome beer, it doesnt quite have the grain depth as the breck one does. that said, i like the yeast better here, its more traditional and it speaks louder in the overall reverberation of the beer. that is to say its more flavorful, and it takes me to england the way the breck one never could. its also well balanced with a healthy hopping for the style, much more bitter and bright in the hops than others, with just the right amount of caramelization to balance it in the boil. carbonation is also high for an enlgish pub ale type, it feels so much more alive than some of the crusty old ales of england old. i like this a whole lot, and when its fresh, it truly does set the standard for the style coming out of europe. also, definitely one of, if not my single favorite of the fullers beers.

 1,147 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear orange color with a small 1/2 inch light beige head that fades to a thin film. Nice latticework of lacing forms on the sides of the glass on the drink down. Smells of biscuit-like malt and citrus zest hops. Taste is of biscuit-like malt, honey, and a very nice citrus and citrus zest hop flavor. A slightly acidic citrus aftertaste lingers after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and clean mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good and easy drinking beer. I am very impressed with this one from Fuller.

 545 characters

Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of Knapp85
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as copper color with a thick looking white head on it. The lacing was nice on the glass. The smell of the beer was malty, not much else really but had plenty of malts and some other fresh grains. The taste of the beer was sweet and had a nice caramel like flavor with a slight bitterness at the end. The mouthfeel is very smooth and easy to drink. Overall it's one of the better ESB's I've had over the years. Worth a try.

 443 characters

Photo of spycow
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of metter98
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: It poured clear light amber in color with a moderately sized head that gradually settled down into lacey patterns. A moderate level of carbonation is visible.
S: There is a light malty and somewhat sweet aroma.
T: The taste creates an interesting seesaw between malty sweetness and hop bitterness on your taste buds. The malt flavors taste lightly toasted and buttery with some hints of caramel, while the hops are subdued but create a little bitterness, particularly in the finish.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and very smooth.
D: This beer is very easy to drink and goes down smoothly.

 611 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
1.8/5  rDev -55.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Bought a 16 oz single of this for $0.99

I wanted to like this, I really did. But, this was one of the worst tasting beers I've had. It smelled and looked alright, but the taste was so bitter and rough. I actually couldn't take more than a few sips and I had to pour it, I was actually gagging. I tried another bottle a few days later and got the same result. I hope I just bought some bad bottles because this seems like a well respected historic beer.

 453 characters

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of biboergosum
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. Had this many times on tap around town in the various English and Irish pubs. Time to get down to business.

This beer pours a medium golden amber hue, with two fingers of tightly foamy, somewhat bubbly off-white head, which leaves a random pattern of upshot speckled lace around the glass as things evenly abate.

It smells of biscuity, crackery pale malt, with a decent addition of caramel sweetness, some middling black pepper spiciness, over-steeped black tea, and a crisp, fresh hay, wild grass hoppiness. The taste is semi-sweet pale malt, an earthy citrus sweetness, further floral and grassy hops, and a subtle musty mineral essence - nothing worthy of overt concern, really.

The carbonation comes off as supportive, and mostly frothy, if in an understated sense, the body a decently rendered medium weight, with a muted floral, rather sedated hoppy finish.

This would (and indeed does, for me, at least) make quite a fine session ale, in those places where hoppy North American offerings aren't featured by design. Anyways, it's sure nice to enjoy this beyond early-day Euro Cup game times around these parts.

 1,135 characters

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

Undoubtedly a true Godfather of hoppy English Pales. Though I doubt if I have ever had this beer fresh, as the brewery intends, I always have room in my pint glass for this masterful beer.

A floral, spicy, and earthy nobility rises from the solid copper / light ruby-brown hue. Lightly pungent and aromatic with a deep flowery hop character that blends seamlessly with the classic fruity English yeasts. Bready to taste, much like fruitcake only in lower tones. A non-descript fruity flavor offers a complexity, smoothness, roundness, and character that is lacing from American varieties. The beer has many subtle flavors and each one comes to life as the beer warms and the carbonation escapes, seemingly to alternate with each sip.

Both elegant and gentlemanly with its attention to detail, non-flashy demeanor and with enough strength to withstand mediocracy. Balances supurgly well not to let the malts nor hops to take precidency, the beer allows just enough caramel sweetness to linger into a dry finish to keep me wanting more.

 1,036 characters

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

500 ml bottle into pint glass, best before 5/5/2013. Pours fairly crystal clear orange amber color with a 1 finger fairly dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of raisin, apple, caramel, biscuit, toffee, brown sugar, light nuttiness, and light floral hops. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt and fruity ester notes; with solid strength. Taste of golden raisin, caramel, biscuit, toffee, apple, brown sugar, light nuttiness, and floral hops. Lingering notes of caramel, biscuit, light fruit, toffee, brown sugar, and light floral on the the finish for a short bit. Very nice balance and complexity of malt flavors with moderate fruitiness; good robustness and zero cloying flavors present after the finish. Light carbonation and medium bodied; with a smooth and moderately creamy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with nearly zero warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent ESB. Very nice balance, robustness, and complexity of malt flavors; and extremely smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,156 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

500ml bottle
Date: 23 May 08

A - Poured out an orange/amber color with a good deal of carbonation. It had a bubbly, tan, three-finger head that left nice rings of lace.

S - It smelled of mild hops and grassiness. There was a light malt aroma and some grain smells.

T - It tasted of caramel malts and mild bitter hops. Well balanced and quite good.

M - It was smooth and soft. A medium-bodied beer.

D - It really is one of the best ESB's around. Just great flavor and it is easy drinking.

 492 characters

Photo of Boone757
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a beige foamy head that dapples the glass with lace

Smell: Caramel malt with some earthy hop elements

Taste: Starts with a toasted fruit and nut caramel flavor that betrays a touch of alcohol, mid-palate; after the swallow, an earthy, but spicy bitterness comes in to balance out the elements; just a touch of diacetyl and vanilla on the finish which is not inappropriate

Mouthfeel: Gloriously smooth, with a medium body and moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Just a superb example of an ESB; a standard for the English style

 572 characters

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tap: Poured a clear light brown colored ale with a small creamy head with standard retention. Aroma is quite weak with only light roasted malt being noticeable. Taste is quite refreshing but again a bit weak on taste with some roasted malts and light dry finish. I was quite disappointed by the strong watery finish and I’m wondering if this one wasn’t shot through nitro before falling into my glass. Anyway, I still persist with my belief that Fullers beers should only be drank from cask.

 493 characters

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

A: Pours a crystal clear amber to dark amber in color with some very light visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall light beige head that reduces to a thin and patchy layer over the entire surface of the beer with a much thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant lacing is observed.

S: The aroma is dominated by the caramel malt sweetness, with some lighter hints of toffee. There is a subtle almost grassy hint and just a touch of bitterness.

T: There is a really nice sweet malty body upfront with this beer, including caramel and toffee notes (including some almost butterscotch like hints as well). The beer has a nice light bitterness in the finish but it is not intense/aggressive or over the top.

M: Medium bodied with light amounts of carbonation. The carbonation is very gentle on the palate.

O: This beer is extremely easy to drink and very enjoyable. I remember putting down quite a few of these while I was watching some Premier League in a pub in London (quite a fond memory for me). The beer has enough complexity to not be a one note kind of and a very nice balance. Happy to have many of these in session and will have to get some of this again... Hopefully in London and on tap :)

 1,231 characters

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Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
Beer rating: 4.06 out of 5 with 3,015 ratings