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

A: Pours a deep copper in color with a finger thick head that dissipates to nothing as you drink. No lacing around the edges of the glass, either. Carbonation levels looked to be high at first, but they settled down a bit after the pour.

S: Mmm. Tons of malted and caramelized malts come through on the first whiff; also some brown sugar, vanilla and bread. The hops shine through more towards the back, lending some bitterness to the aroma.

T: Much like in the smell, I feel that the malts dominate this one up front with a lovely roasted, caramel and brown sugar flavor mixed with a slight hint of molasses. This is followed by the hops which lend a dry, bitter pine flavor that really balances out the brew and keeps it honest. Finishes dry with a lingering flavor of toasted bread, caramelized brown sugar and some risudual hop bitterness.

M: This is a medium bodied brew with low-medium carbonation and a slightly syrupy, chewy feel to it that coats the tongue a bit. Smooth and easy to swallow, this one goes down nicely and is pretty gentle on the stomach.

O: Fuller's E.S.B. is often touted as a classic and quite deservedly so, in my opinion. This is a nicely balanced brew with a nice, full flavor with a solid mouthfeel and it's highly sessionable. This is without a doubt the defining beer in it's category, but it could certainly be better.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

$3.99 for a 1pt 0.9 oz bottle from BevCo. 5.9% ABV. Best before Aug 21,2011. Pours out to a clear deep copper, with a sligh chill haze, forming a nice spongy light yellow head with average retention and nice lacing. Mild to moderate carbonation. The aroma opens with caramel, followed by mild floral and herbal hops, some butterscotch, candied orange peel, and honey. The mouthfeel is smooth and soft with a medium body. The taste is a recap of the aroma...a nice balance of toasty and bready malts with butterscotch and caramel sitting on top of a well-balanced smooth bitterness which lingers gently into the aftertaste. Just a little touch of alcohol in the finish.

This is a really good beer. It's simple, balanced and true to style, and it's very easy to drink. I prefer the London Pride for a session beer, but this is a nice one too.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - crystal clear bronze, respectable head dissipated slowly leaving sticky lacing all around
S - rich caramel and maple, light leafy greens, and somewhat peppery
T - rich buttery toffee malt, maple syrup, brown sugar, leafy and earthy hops compliment the other rich flavours, delicious
M - medium body, smooth and rich with a lightly spicy feel lingering to compliment
O - this is very flavourful and balanced, more sweet than bitter compared to many other ESB's i've had, and it works extremely well, this would be a delight to session

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Photo of NordeastBrewer77
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a true classic. Poured an 11.2oz bottle into an English pint glass.

Poured a bright, clear golden orange with a 2ish finger head that settled to cap and lace after a few drinks.

Aroma is stellar. Caramel, fruit, buttered sourdough and a hint of minerals from that wonderfully hard London water.

Taste is amazing! A nice dry malt flavor up front, followed by a nice, refreshing, at times a bit sour hop bitterness. The faintest notion of earthy hop flavor shows up at the end, right before the drink finishes clean and dry.

Mouthfeel is great and satisfying for such an easy drinker. Not quite 'chewy', but you definitely know it's there. A bit high on the carbonation for an English ale, but I'm drinking the bottled version.

Overall, IMHO, this is one of the finer English premium bitters available here in the states. A regular in my fridge, and a very sessionable ale, even at 5.9%, can never have just one (or even two or three)

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Photo of flexabull
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I can't believe I haven't reviewed this classic. Maybe it's time to start grabbing some of these British Beers for drinking and reviewing.

Bottle best before 8/11/11

Pours a bright and clear copper color, with a very big white head.

Aromas are doughy, biscuit like, and with nice earthy hops.

Taste is malty up front, clean, with biscuit, bread dough and brewed tea sweetness. Finish is crisp with some mineral and earthy hop flavors.

Mouthfeel is excellent. Very smooth, soft, yet full, and not thin at all.

Overall, this is quite good. Dang, I forgot how tasty and drinkable these simple British Ales are. I'll have to grab a couple more the next time I go shopping.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from bottle into a Warsteiner mug. Poured yellow-orange with a two finger off-white head that subsided to one finger slowly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, banana, wheat, subtle sweet hop, and slight alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, wheat, banana, and subtle sweet hop. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty nice ESB. The flavor was very mild and enjoyable. Definitely didn't have the dropkick of hops that I'm used to and I was quite thankful for that fact. This really made this one easy drinking and would be friendly for all beer drinkers of any palate design. I actually picked up on a Belgian influence in this one which surprised me. An absolute must try brew that seems to have lasted the test of time.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Bronze-orange. Thin white head disappates to a slick across the top. No lacing.
S- Caramel, some butterscotch, not nearly as much hop bitterness as I expected. Well balanced aroma though.
T- If nothing else, it must be complemented on being a balanced beer. Caramel malt, some butterscotch, a touch metallic. More hop bitterness is perceived here.
M- Smooth and decent body to it.
O- Allegedly a classic. It's a good beer that I could drink plenty of and well balanced. There are some things about it that I am not such a fan of (almost no head, the metallic touch). That being said, I find it a decent beer.

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Photo of nickthegun12
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pretty good beer....for being a year out of date!

the color is dark brown....with a fast fading head...and little lacing

smells like sorghum molasses....sweetness comes to the nose...with nice english hops in the background

taste very smooth a palatable the malt comes to the taste...as well as the earthy hops....almost has a tea sort of taste...

the feel is nice and true to style....not very carbonated...

overall this is a very nice ale....very true to style but then again this must be the standard

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

Poured out of a bottle into a pint glass. Somewhat of a timid look coming out of the bottle, but a nice white head against the light caramel colored beer. Very little carbonation, but the mouthfeel is tremendous with a well rounded and intense bitter finish across the tounge.
Very drinkable without compromising taste. Excellent balance between satisfying without being too much to have another...and another. Classic ESB profile
Take home scale is a case on hand at all times.

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Photo of jerryjeff
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Very nice, floral here with maybe a bit of citrus.

Lighter side of carbonation, a bit of bitterness during and after the finish. Slightly heavier than water and maybe a mild creaminess on the palette.

Pours to translucent copper/amber color in an imperial pint glass which can easily see through. Not much of a head and only slight remnant barely into the beer.

Get a bit of initial malt, but largely hop driven here. Nice bitterness on the finish, but not too overpowering with english hops.

Quite, could be a sessionable beer easily and has 5.9% abv.

I really like it and will hopefully have more as time progresses. Not quite as much my favorite for Pale Ale/ESB is why not higher but really good...

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Photo of thepeter
3.58/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear Copper with a short head that is creamy. Smells of fruit, bread, toffee (a bit) and some hops. It tastes a very nicely balanced beer. Some fruit and citrus hops getting along quite nicely and a bit of that citrusy hops bitterness lingering at the end. Very smooth which may (DEF) have something to do with drinking it off the Cask. Overall a great standard British Bitter. I get this ove rthe Pride most of the time but think there are plenty of the style around that are just as good or better.

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

A - Pours a crystal clear copper colour, finger of light fluffy head with some retention and sporadic lacing.

S - Classic ESB with the musty caramel hops and a bit of a paper mache scent to it. Buttered bread notes on the finish.

T - Musty caramel hops and malts, though slightly metallic with a grassiness also present. The bitterness is nicely present as well and the finish is doughy.

M - Medium bodied ale that goes down smooth and finishes with a touch of dryness.

O - Overall, if you're in search of a sample of a proper ESB, this is something you should seek out. A crisp ESB with the proper malt and hop characteristics to please even the toughest critic.

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Photo of chinchill
3.58/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle about 5 months past date. Frothed up past lip upon opening, and a light pour into a pint glass only permitted about 1/3 of the bottle before the glass was full to the rim with a foamy head. Light tan head dies down soon enough.

S - rather strong aroma, mainly malt but also detectable hops and some fruitiness and hints of alcohol and bread dough.

T - Rich toasted malt flavor, with a malty and bitter, but not hoppy, finish.

M - Medium body; unusually smooth.

O - Disappoints as the sometimes "gold standard" for ESB.

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Photo of Brunite
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A nice clear golden/copper color. An off-white head that settles but leaves a cap with little lacing.

S: Malty biscuit with some slight hoppiness. A small amount of fruitiness.

T: Wow! I like this one. The balance is perfect. A nice malt backbone that is bready....not sweet. Might be picking up a bit of mineral taste from the water as I did with Fullers LP. And the hops are just enough to balance. There is a residual sweetness on the very back end as it warms a bit. No real bitterness....as there should not be. Complex...yet simple.

M: Medium. Looks are deceiving for such a clear beer. This has some body. Almost chewy. A quick swirl brings out a little more head which adds a creaminess to the feel.

O: Love this beer. Easy to see why it is the standard for this style. Perfect balance here. Taste is excellent. Paired this against a bowl of spicy chili and it held it's own. I will be adding this to the rotation.

Updated: 8/3/11

Still amazingly good.Their is no reason not to have this one on hand.

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Photo of hotzenklotz
3.76/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish-copper beer with white head. Hardly any smell, although some hoppy citrus notes at the very beginning.
The beer itself is very balanced, maybe leaning a little towards the bitter side.
Malt flavours are upfront and the bitterness kicks in after a few sips. Charamel notes and light citrus aromas.
Very smooth altoghether. Nice beer to drink.

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Photo of beergod1
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, Mahogany color with a pretty big head that leaves nice lacing. Aroma is pale and English malt with a tiny bit of caramel and hop. Taste is smooth and creamy and mainly of malt but with a bitter hop finish after a few sips. Wow this stuff is smooth, very easy to drink. I haven't had one of these in about 8 yrs. And this is still a fine brew.

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Photo of Kartoffeln
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Bright, clear copper with a creamy, moderately-sized head. Dissipates to a ring with minimal lacing.

S: Sweet malts, a floral, slightly fruity hop aroma, and a bit of yeast.

T: Bursting with sweet malts and fruity overtones from the esters balanced by earthy, slightly peppery hops.

M: Mild carbonation and medium, slightly chewy body combine to make a very smooth and drinkable beer. There's plenty of hoppy, nutty bitterness in the lingering finish.

D: It might be a bit strong to session, but it's very well-balanced and the lasting finish almost begs a follow-up pint.

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

appearance; clear copper in color with a white head. Moderately dissipates to a thick film, leaving little lacing.

smell; some citrusy hops blend nicely with a sweet caramel malty aroma. Some burnt toffee dipped in butterscotch comes to mind.

taste; upfront sweet buttery malts come out. The sweetness tries to intensify but bitter hops start to take control, before gently tapering off to a caramal and nutty malt finish with hints of lemon seeds.

mouthfeel; powdery and medium bodied. Slightly chewy but some thin, slick feelings in the swallow.

drinkability; the balance is remarkable, making this quite smooth with a crisp but not overly dry finish. A true session beer without compromising flavor.

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

Pours a brillantly clear copper color with a low white head. The aroma is mostly sweet malt, with some yeast character and as it warms up more fruity esters. Hop bitterness is evident in flavor and balanced nicely with the fruity esters. A low alcohol flavor with light mineral notes toward the finish which is dry and lightly lingering. There are some nutty notes which are understated. I would love to try this out of a cask with slightly less carbonation. A very drinkable beer perfect for most food and most occasions.

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Photo of FeloniousDrunk
3.86/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A nice 2-finger head appeared over a cherry-brown colored, crystal clear beer. Poured into an Imperial Pint Glass. Decent lacing. Minimal effervescence.

S: The main aromas are of malt, maraschino cherries, tawny port, and brick.

T: Malty up-front with a nice in-mouth bitterness. Chocolate malt flavors hit first, with some hop characteristics coming in the aftertaste. It is nutty and woody in flavor; a rustic beer. A hint of vanilla on the swallow with the taste of sediment and wood hanging around.

M: Slightly creamy, but in a smooth, clear, and crisp way. Very clean tasting with a nice enough body that isn't over-pronounced.

D: Considering this beer is on the precipice of 6% abv, it could make a nice session beer. Very nice flavors that balance quite nicely in your mouth.

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Photo of THECPJ
3.6/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: copper orange with a 1 finger off white head

smell: caramel, sweet malts,

taste: caramel, malts,

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, smooth, clean finish

drinkability: this is an easy drinker. so smooth.



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Photo of stewart124
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was lucky enough to have this on cask at Dutch's last night in East Hyde Park.

Pours with very little head. Copper color.

Smells of toffee and light tobacco. Nice esters but very mellow.

Mildly fruity and mellow overall. Delicious esters blend well with just a pleasant amount of hops and a chewy mouthfeel. Room temperature really brings out the chewy caramel and light tobacco. Noble hops are fairly muted and the biscuit character stands out.

I am very happy that I got a chance to try this as a Real Ale. Simply delicious and I feel like I got a chance to step back in time.

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Photo of tapman
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1 finger head. Slightly off white foam that leaves a spotty lacing. Color is a moderate caramel with zero carbonation rising from the bottom.

Smells like grape Laffy Taffy. Some darker malts make their presence know through some raisin-like aromas and the hops are floral and sweet. A lot of extra maltose in this one.

Minty and spicy from the hops and rich and malty. Still has this grape flavor from the darker malts. Or is that some kind of byproduct? Very mineral-like as well (water?)

Feels a little under-carbonated, which translates to good for the style. If anything, over-carbonated for the style.

It's good, but so grape-like. Is this how most of the English ESBs are? I've had others that I liked, but if this is par for the style then I may not like ESBs as much as I thought I did.

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Photo of Avagadro
4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Fuller's ESB is pale copper in color, free of haze, and exhibits moderate lacing. Head retention could use a little work, but this beer definitely looks drinkable.

S: Where is the aroma? All I get is a touch of caramel.

T: Malty bread, toast, and caramel are accented beautifully by earthy/floral english hops.

M: Medium body, great chewy texture, and a touch of carbonation.

D: A delicious brew that is exceptionally drinkable.

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Photo of jonb5
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Half litre bottle. Dark ruby colour, it had a slight haze. The head goes fairly quickly. Grassy smell. Tasted hints of apple,some wheat. The bitterness is definatly there. Medium mouthfull. Would like more than one even if its too strong to be a session beer. An english classic.

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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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