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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 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!


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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.

 1,274 characters

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

 186 characters

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.

 586 characters

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!"

 178 characters

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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Photo of caribou43
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

It is a nice ale and I love particulary the color red and orange, thin foam and white, average carbonation. The taste is well-balanced between hop, malt and you can smell the caramel.

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Photo of twage04
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Low carbonation, pours a brownish/copper orange color, clear. Fruity, malty, very easy to drink. Not the deepest tapestry of flavors but what is there is balanced and delicious. Lots of toffee and a little sweet.

 212 characters

Photo of Harry_hp
4.14/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Quaffable. Soft mouth feel with a slightly spicy finish. Aroma - oranges, slightly sweet. Very tasty malty brew. Probably the best bottled bitter I've tasted.

 159 characters

Photo of TheStoutLord
4.67/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

L: Lacey head, dissipated pretty quickly. Beautiful copper tones and very clear, more so that I anticipated.

S: Pretty subtle smells. Very toasty and caramel-malted. It makes me think of fruit too, maybe raisins or plums or something. A kind of dried fruit. Its something interesting balance of sweet and bitter.

T: Crazy good. Malty and a little bitter, but not too bitter. Gentle hoppiness offset by the sweet/spiced"fruit" flavors. Huge flavor and pretty complex, but so drinkable. I feel like I get something different on every sip.

F: Good body. Strong start to finish. Pops on the tongue a little toward the end.

O: Just a great beer. Top of line. Rich flavors that will keep you coming back to this brew again and again.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sampled earlier this afternoon on 1/16/16. Comes in a 330ml (11.2 ounce) nice looking bottle. Found it in the discount bin over at the Hy-Vee across the Missouri river in Council Bluffs for just $2.00. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to "BUD LIGHT-OMAHA" pint glass.

Brew pours a brownish-amber in color with a good 1+-finger creamy off-white head. A decent amount of lacing was seen when sipped that stuck to the sides of the glass after each sip. Aroma is of some darker fruits, earthy hops and yeast. Don't let the name of this brew fool you as it is NOT strong, bitter or hoppy at all. Will say that the taste is close to the aroma with maybe a hint of some spice in the mix as well. Goes down very easy with no bitterness at all. Crisp and clean. Close to full-bodied with perfect carbonation. Overall, really liked this one and is worth a try for sure.

 895 characters

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

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into nonic glass.

Appearance: pours a 2" pillowy cream colored head that falls slowly with abundant lacing. Color is slightly hazy copper with moderate streaming carbonation.
Aroma: raisin and ripe fruit, bread dough and some earthy hops.
Mouthfeel: medium bodied, sticky, with a slightly damp finish.
Flavor: raisins, plums, a bit of toffee, bread crust with a nice fruity and earthy hop balance.
Overall: probably the best beer in the style category.

 480 characters

Photo of otzhorse
4.48/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Brown golden color with 2 finger head and a little lacing
S: Smells nutty and hoppy with some fruit smells
T: Nice smooth caramel, malty flavor
M: Full bodied and smooth, light carbonation
O: Outstanding beer. London has done itself proud with this beer. If I'm looking to drink a bitter this is a great one.

12oz bottle in a pint glass

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

Pours an amber color. Smell is of slightly sweet, toasty malts.
Taste starts with caramel malt followed by some dark fruit.
This is smooth and well balanced.

 159 characters

Photo of MacMalt
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into pint glass. It pours an attractive amber with a one-finger milk-white head and minimal lacing. It smells of biscuit, malt, yeast, and caramel. "Bitter" is really not a good style description as the primary taste is caramel and malt, with some light spices and hops. It's like drinking an english muffin with a caramel spread. It's really good! This beer has a pleasant mouthfeel: medium-bodied, moderately carbonated, and extremely drinkable at 5.90% ABV. Overall, this is a delightful English bitter. I enjoy caramel in beer and this one doesn't disappoint. It has a great reputation which is well-deserved. Jolly good!

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Photo of Craigory
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep copper body with excellent clarity and creamy, off-white head with good retention. Aroma features resiny and fruity hops, with lightly toasty and caramel malt. The flavor features complex fruity malt flavors; the overall impression is of biscuits lightly buttered and plentifully spread with marmalade. Just enough hop bitterness to balance and add a medium-dry finish. Reminiscent of a mini-Vintage Ale, but drinkable by the imperial pint.

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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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