Fuller's ESB | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

2,949 Ratings
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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Ratings: 2,949 |  Reviews: 1,365
Photo of Jimmys
4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: reddish copper. very clear, carbonation is easily seen. slightly bubbly off-white head.

S: caramel is rich. sweet. nutty aroma. low bitterness makes way for plenty of sweetness.

T: the sweetness interacts with a earthy bitterness. mellow but pleasant. the nuttyness is strong towards the finish and moves into a milky cream. slightly salty.

M: pretty average carbonation on a medium body.

D: very nutty, but good complexity between the malt and hops. good start to the night.

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Photo of flyingpig
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle (500ml): Dark orange/amber in colour, perfectly still & quite clear with a foamy white head that is about a finger width high. This eventually settles after a minute or two, down to a thin soap lacing.

A strong mixture of caramel & toffee works well together & is quickly followed up by some nice earthy malts & a biscuit like smell. The beer is a very sweet smelling one but at the same time isn't too sugary.

Very much like the smell with a toffee taste dominating along with more earthy malts & hops. As expected it is quite sweet with hints of fruits & nice bite at the end.

Medium bodied & silky smooth with excellent carbonation; an excellent beer & goes down so easily.

A very pleasant & enjoyable beer with a beautiful sweet toffee taste that is backed up by hints of fruits & earthy malts throughout. It is very well balanced with no flavour overpowering another & goes down easily.

1001 Beers to Try at:

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Photo of tdm168
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Village Draft House in Raleigh

Arrived a reddish amber with a quarter inch of head and great retention. Nose showcases a very rich maltiness. Taste is sweet and malty with very mild hops for balance. There is very mild carbonation and light to medium bodied; creamy and refreshing.

Probably one of my favorite ESBs. It has all the right characteristics of a great beer, and is drinkable any time of the year.

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Photo of engagechad
4.11/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased as a single from Wine and Beer Westpark in Glen Allen, VA - Tulip

Pours a beautiful red mahogany, crystal clear, well filtered with a fat head. Smells of complex hop profile and well balanced, taste follows. Perfectly bitter yet not harsh, finishes really nice with a slight bite.

Overall I can totally see why this is a favorite, this is a very drinkable beer that i can easily see myself getting again and again.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Nice to see something so vaunted show up at the local TJ's, especially given their awesome pricing. This stuff pours a clear sunrise russet topped by a finger of dusty tan foam. The nose comprises toffee, grass, flowers, light orange peel, very light cocoa, very light mild coffee, minerals, and a touch of oak. The taste holds notes of biscuits, mandarin oranges, flowers, grass, buttery caramel, light wheat, light banana, very light chocolate powder, and that same light touch of oak. The body is a rather light medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a lightly smooth feel. Overall, a very nice ESB, clearly worthy of its reputation. Now to find some on cask...

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Photo of Sirwootalot
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a standard pint glass on nitro-tap at Brit's Pub in Minneapolis, MN.

Seeing this glass poured was absolutely stunning - it's roughly the same color as creamy peanut butter, and nearly as opaque. The snow-white head was nearly nonexistent, even immediately after the pour, and disappeared almost completely before the beer was finished.

The smell was almost overwhelmingly malty, with hints of fresh-baked bread and dry hops. As far as mouthfeel goes, this is quite easily the single best beer I've ever had in my entire life - it melts its way all the way down into your stomach, but without even the slightest hint of syrupiness. The popular Russian phrase for beer, "liquid bread", could hardly be a more apt description. There's nearly no carbonation whatsoever, so this goes down almost more like a glass of milk than an american adjunct. The flavor is near-overwhelming malty nirvana with notes of dry hops (surprisingly not all that bitter), peanuts, dried pear, and something not unlike unsweetened cookie dough. The finish is incredibly dry with hints of alcohol and a slight after-aroma of dried flowers, and makes you feel like you need more.

Overall, this is hands-down one of my favorite beers on earth, and I can't wait to have another. I first tried it from the bottle, which was quite good but just no comparison to the nitro-tap - the way it's meant to be served.

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Photo of Derranged
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a mug from a 500ml bottle. Reads best by 21 Aug 11.

A- Brownish-Amber tea like in color with medium size white head. Lots of retention on the glass.

S- Malty, nutty, floral hops with some raisins.

T- Some complexity there. Very nutty, with a peanut like flavor mixed in with bread, malts, some caramel and slightly bitter after taste.

M- High carbonation with medium feel.

O- Solid beer and I would buy again. Only thing is next time I'd want try one that is fresher.

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Photo of rvdoorn
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look: the beer pours a clear orange-copper color, with a nice fluffy light brown head.
Smell: Nutty malts, honey, caramel, grass and pepper hops.
Taste: Malts, caramel and honey with very dry bitter hops. Aftertaste is dry and bitter.
Mouthfeel: low-medium carbonation, medium body.
Overall: Nice brew, very similar to the London pride, only more hops.

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Photo of
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - clear copper with a finger of white head that dissipates to a sticky cap.

Smell - Caramel, buttered bread, and earthy British hops with undertone of stone fruit.

Taste - Caramel, butterscotch, plum, sharp hops near the end, and a bitter/sweet caramel hops finish.

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Photo of sixerofelixir
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle. Best before date clearly stated on back label.

Pours a very clear, deep amber. An off-white rings patches up the glass. Smell is a blend of rich fruitiness and rich, toasted molasses. A touch of straw keeps it grounded, yet complex. Taste is a lot of medium-colored fruit and something that I can only descibe as agave(!). Finishes dry. And bitter. Feel is the only thing left hanging in acrid/booze-land. A robust ESB for sure, Fullers scores again.

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Photo of airforbes1
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The weak head is offset by the bright, almost luminous copper color. Decent aroma, with a predominant smell of pear. No detection of hop bitterness.

The taste is remarkably smooth, with a hint of butteriness. Again, I get a pear a lot of pear, but this time just enough hops kick in at the end to prevent the beer from being too sweet.

What this beer lacks in complexity is compensated by its overall pleasantness. I ended up drinking this quicker than I expected just because it was so smooth.

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

I had this with dinner last night, enjoyed with some steamed cockles in ginger/cilantro broth.

The color is russet with good clarity and thin cap of beige with tight bead. The smell is very fruity and has a moderate amount of caramel from the malt. The yeast gives a nice ester which seems to blend with the slightly twiggy hop aroma. The feel is a good combination of the elements, they seem almost completely integrated with malt sweetness and yeast fruitiness The moderate carbonation is nice with some clean hop bitterness and semi-dry finish.

This is a pleasant strong pale with gentle yeast flavor which is mildly pear/apple tinged and slight herbal quality of the hops giving a nice balance to the sweetness of the malt which is slightly caramel in flavor. I like the semi toasted note which keeps the flavor form seeming sweet and the tinge of woodiness of the hops adds some contrast which is nice. The ale finishes more dry than anything with some yeast flavors lingering. I enjoy this beer a lot, it is a good example of the style and was complimentary to the food without overpowering the flavor of the shellfish I recommend this with dinner or on its own.

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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.

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: 1/3" white head which dissipated quickly over dark amber liquid with excellent clarity.

S: Malt, honey, yeast, very nice.

T: Bitter at the front, malty in the middle, with yeast and an almost peanut aftertaste. Very nice.

M: Thin with a low level of very fine carbonation. This is really the most lacking aspect of this particular beer.

O: Very enjoyable ESB. I would get this again.

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Photo of gabedivision
4.14/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11 oz bottle to a Guinness tumbler glass.

Pours a solid copper amber, completely crystal clear with very little carbonation and or head. Looks flat. Big caramel notes on the nose with hints of spice. Dark fruits, raisins, figs, big brown sugar characters. Sugary dark fruits on the tongue as well, mixed well with some cherries and maybe some vanilla. Creamy and smooth on the feel, low carbonation, extremely drinkable. This is a great beer, was very enjoyable.

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Photo of OysterMonkey
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Nice coppery color. Two fingers or so of foam subsided fairly quickly but nice lacing.

S- Very nice. Biscuity aroma with some subtle spicy or floral notes.

T- Very good. Full flavor of malty sweetness up front with a really nice hop bite on the back end.

M- Nice again. Creamy, but not heavy. Smooth.

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Photo of Thads324
4.66/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite styles, excited...

A : Pours a very clear copper, light amber color with a very thin white head that disappears almost immediately. Gotta love the english pint bottle, looks regal IMO.

S : smells like a lot of sweet biscuit and candi sugar. A nice toffee-esque aroma with little to no hop scent at all. Although unusual compared to US versions, it smells really enticing.

T : Very much like the smell, except there is hop here. It starts a bit sweet, with a caramel an mild toffee flavor. The sweetness becomes very subdued and yields to a long and very easy going hop flavor that is mild, musty, earthy and then ends with a really nice bite of hop. clean finish that leaves a tingle of hop.

M : seems to have a low carbonation level, but drinks very wet, clean and finishes easy. There is a nice linger of hop tinge on the tongue and lips.

One of the very finest beers I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying. I don't often buy imports since no beer travels well, but this stuff is unbelievable. I will be buying more of this, and enjoying it thoroughly. The aroma is very odd and very enjoyable. The taste is complex and balanced. Simply amazing.
The next time I am in the UK I will be all over this...

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Photo of scottfrie
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle into SA perfect pint glass. Best before 8/6/2011.
A: Pours a dark honey-copper with two fingers of fluffy off-white head that faded into a fuzzy film that laid down some good lacing.
S: Sweet notes of caramel malts, honey, roasted grains and a touch of earthy hops. Very bready smelling.
T: Follows the nose with a big, sweet, honey oat bread taste. The hops are spicy and round out the finish. The aftertaste is sweet with honey and caramel and just a touch of tobacco. Flavors are very balance, and there isn’t a trace of alcohol. Upon further reflection, this tastes a little like peanut brittle.
M: Chewy medium body with a good heft to it and a fairly slick and oily mouthfeel. Carbonation is full and creamy with just a hint of prickliness.
O: A very solid drinking beer which I imagine would be heaven on cask. I can see why this is so popular.

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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.

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Photo of calcio360jrd
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the beer that actually got me into import beers over 10 years ago. ESB is one of my fav styles of beer that many american breweries don't seem to do anymore. Pop open a bottle of this and you won't be disappointed. That wonderful smell of malt and hops gets me everytime. But overall, the best way to have this beer is on cash, which they do at the blue anchor in delray beach, fl. It comes out with a wonderful creamy head that lingers on the glass and leaves nice lacing. Still in my favs of all time this beer, it has a special place in my heart for bringing me into the beer world!

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Photo of NWer
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the 74th Street Ale House.
Appearance is red. Clear. Nice head. Poured into a tulip.
Served a little too cold for the style but blossomed nicely as it warmed.
Taste is balanced with smooth maltiness and a mild hop feel that balances out very nicely in conformance with the style but not overly bitter.
Will definitely keep an eye out for this beer in the future.
A very enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Roke87
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 mL can, chilled and poured into a pint glass

Appearance- Pours a clear dark amber colour with two fingers of fluffy off white head that takes a little while to reside down to bubbly head that never really goes away till finish, leaving minimal spots of lacing throughout the glass.

Smell- I’m getting lots of sweet fruity aromas coming from this one right away, also lots of caramel/toffee malt with a very mild hop presence in there as well, very bready with a touch of yeast.

Taste- Very similar to the smells although the bitter hops come through a lot more on the palate, nice sweet fruity flavours as well paired with the caramel/toffee bready malt; finishes a little bitter with a mild yeast touch in there as well.

Mouthfeel- Light to medium bodied this one has minimal carbonation that somehow forms a lasting bubbly head right till the end, very smooth and crisp going down.

Overall- Pleasantly surprised again by this one, not as bitter as I thought it would be but it is well balanced, I actually liked this one although the smell was a little better than the taste overall it was still a very quality brew, again thanks Fuller’s you have shown me that you really do actually make very good beers.

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Photo of StaveHooks
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear amber with red highlights. A foamy 1.5 finger of off-white head that provide loads of tightly knit lacing.

S - Rich caramel malt, hints of fruit.

T - Caramel malt, floral, toasted bread, some berry fruits, salty hops on the back end.

M - Medium bodied, smooth feel.

Rich and robust. This beer is packed with flavor and a very smooth drinker. One of my favorite ESB's.

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

Pours a nice crystal clear amber color with an eggshell colored short bubbly head and very little retention and lacing. Noticeable carbonation.

Caramel, caramel, and caramel malt. A touch of chocolate and light leather.

Obvious caramel flavor notes with a touch of light chocolate. A touch of pale malt and a slight bitter aftertaste.

Light to medium bodied. Medium carbonation. Very smooth.

Overall this beer is not very complex by any stretch. But it a very good, easy drinking, well balanced with good flavored beer. I remember the first time I had this beer about 10-11 years ago when I was first getting into craft beer. I absolutely loved this beer. Now, I wouldn't say it's my favorite. But just a very good go to beer to keep around for an everyday beer or for friends that aren't huge into beer.

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Photo of icecube
4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled poured into warm glass

A: beautiful nice amber color

S: big caramel malt with faint cedar hops aroma

T: great malty sweetness with balanced hop finish

M: medium/light bodied with smooth enjoyable finish

O: a great beer with a nice balance that you don't see very often. The malt and hops go very well together. One of my all time favorite beers.

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Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
4.06 out of 5 based on 2,949 ratings.
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