Fuller's ESB | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB
Liked This Beer
4.06 w/ 2,959 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: 2,959 |  Reviews: 1,366
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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Photo of keithmurray
4.16/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a tulip

beer appears a rich copper color with white frothy head

smell - floral elements to the smell, green apples, pears

taste - citrus, green apples, pears, biscuits, crackers, malts

mouthfeel - slightly sweet upfront, but good balance, malt backbone, slightly bitter finish, good carbonation, medium bodied

Drinkability - this is a beverage that I would be happy to revisit as this is an excellent representer of the style

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

I poured a 16.9 oz bottle into a tall glass mug...

The beer was a dark copper/ dark burnt orange color with a thin cream colored head that left some nice lacing. It smells og tangy orange with some roasted toffee undertones. When I took a sip, lemon hit the back of the tongue, the tanginess bites at the mouth. Then some roasted malt sweeps through, it's just a bit sweet. It finishes nice and bitter. The beer is low carbonated, and full bodied, at first it juicy but has a snice long bitter finish. This is a great beer and I'm glad I finally tried it.

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

Amber brown appearance with thick head that sticks around for awhile. Smell is of caramel, bread and malt.

Taste is has a strong hint of caramel, brown sugar and malt. Picked up bread and herbal/medicinal finish to it. Excellent combination of tastes. Light bodied with low but decent carbonation, easy to drink. Has a lingering malt aftertaste.

Overall, this is an impressive beer. Have I mentioned that the taste is excellent yet? A bit pricey for a single bottle, but would definatly recommend.

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Photo of ramseye4
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A=Minimal head, medium amber color, minimal lacing.
S=Lots of caramel, bready malt, a bit of sweet molasses
T=Lot of sweet molasses and caramel. Faint candied fruit, bready. Alcohol nowhere to be found. Very, very solid.
M=Medium to heavier body, lightly and pleasantly carbonated.
D=I could slowly sip on these for hours on end.

Great beer overall

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

Appearance: This beer is reddish brown with a light frothy head. There is no lacing but some of the head lines the rim. It is well filtered and flat with no carbonation. This looks very easy to drink.

Smell: Very aromatic. Very pleasant. Reminiscent of a white wine. There is an interplay of white grapes and sour apples. There is a mild liquor smell, but not an unpleasant one. This beer is mild. It's very approachable. The malts are roasted caramel.

Taste: Dry in texture. Very crisp. I get a little bit of a buttery taste. The fruity hints come through but not as much as in the smell which is nice because this really goes down look a good solid beer. This is definitely what a bitter should be. I prefer this over any of the American craft ESB's I have had. This beer has other characteristics too. Black tea with some sugar. Fullers ESB is quintessentially English.

Mouthfeel: It's light. It has some good swish too it. It is best when drank. This is not a beer to savor slowly but to enjoy liberally. I see no harm than could come from putting back a few proper English pints of this good ol' ESB. Sure it has a slightly high ABV. But it's not daunting like an IPA can sometimes be.

Drinkability: A solid beer. This could be a regular go to beer. It would be a very refreshing after dinner beer.

 1,308 characters

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

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer is a slightly hazed, orange-amber coloring with a airy, white, loose one half inch head. The aromas from the beer noted while pouring were caramel, toffee, a slight sour tone, and some hops. The caramel malt flavor is first on the tongue, with a subtle hoppy background to help balance it. Some toasted flavor characters, also. The beer is slick and smooth in mouth, with a crisp and light finish. The bitterness from the hops disappears once the beer clears your mouth, and you are left with a balance of sweet and sour on the aftertaste, which is extremely pleasant. This is one easy brew to consume. Goes well with anything from grilled meat dinners to pizza.

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Photo of Sigmund
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the best bitters around. Rerate: Cask conditioned at the Blackbird, Earls Court, London. Copper coloured, no head, minimal carbonation. Moderate aroma with malts and fruit. Initial mellow flavour, then a dominant but pleasant hoppiness throughout. Very pleasant to drink.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Braveheart Pub in Hellertown. Poured into a shaker pint...oh well.

The body is a crisp, clean, and clear brown with ruby hues. There is a thin layer of head that forms right out of the tap, and it is retained reasonably well. It leaves some delicate and slight lacing around the back and sides of the glass, as I look at it.

The nose is initially filled with caramel and bready malt aromas, followed by some grassy and earthy hoppiness. Only a touch of what might be seen as bitterness, but hardly, at that. The taste is similar. Only a hint of bitterness, but full of caramel, toasty, and biscuit malt flavors. There is a touch of warm ethanol that is accompanied by an earthy finish.

Light, easy to drink, and enjoyable, it isn't my favorite version of the style, though I imagine many would disagree with me. In a lineup of the usual draft suspects and Yuengling lager, I would spring for this again, though. No doubt in my mind.

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

Poured from a bottle into a duvel tulip

A-Deep copper color, when held to the light there was the presence of some orange and dark gold, the 1 & 1/2" off-white head that sat on top lasted for an average amount of time and then created some decent lacing.

S-Malty, yeasty and caramel

T-Wow, this is a great beer, I haven't had many ESBs but if this is indicative of the style, they're quickly going to become one of my favorites. Not a too heavy bitter (I was hoping for a bit more) taste, along with malt, caramel, brown sugar, and dark fruits

M-Medium body, with great carbonation

D-Very drinkable, I'm looking for a pub in the orlando region that would have it on cask!

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Photo of xodin
4.19/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Slightly cloudy copper appearance. Wonderful caramel smell. Full and rich flavor, with sweet caramel and molasses highlights, plus some fruit notes peeking through. Very drinkable, in fact, just by sampling I've nearly emptied my glass. One of the best of the Fuller collection, perhaps second only to their Vintage Ale. Though I should also note, that I've noticed a bit of variation in this brew, and it may be worthy to experiment with different serving types, temperatures, and glasses.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear amber-orange with a thin beige head. Aroma- pine hop, lemon, caramel, light grain. Taste is a great balance of earthy malt and floral hops. Thicker texture than usual for an ESB. Great balance, juicy malt lingers with pine resin and sweet citrus.

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

Poured from a 11.2 ounce bottle into a nonic pint glass. Best before August 29, 2011 printed on label.

Appearance: Pours a clear copper color with orange highlights and a 3 finger fluffy off-white head. Excellent lacing.

Smell: Caramel malt with hints of apple cider and citrus and just a touch of floral hops.

Taste: Pale malt up front followed by a little bit of bitter citrus in the middle and ending with caramel and bready malt at the finish. Aftertaste is a mixture of sweet malts and mild bitterness. This is not an overly bitter beer despite the ESB name.

Mouthfeel: Light-to-medium-bodied with a decent amount of prickly carbonation. Somewhat watery feel.

Drinkability: Very good drinkability. Goes down very easy.

Overall: Very good beer overall. This is my first ESB and I'm definitely happy I started with Fuller's. I'd recommend checking this beer out.

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Photo of anakar
2.86/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is an overpriced beer from an overhyped brewer to my taste.

App - It poured beautifuly into my glass, a bronze-ish foggy beer with a small head.

Smell - it was nothing exceptional, just a good beer smell - no flavor or anything

Taste - well, here's where it loses it. For a
beer that says "Extra Special Bitter" all I can say is that it wasn't bitter - it was mild. It wasn't special, I can get a stronger, more bitter, tastier one for a cheaper price, and there was nothing extra about it.

Mouth - It seems to lack ditinction, the feel goes away as soon as you swallow

Drink - See Mouth

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Photo of zhanson88
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Fuller's ESB pours a pure, clear copper color with about a finger of white head, which reduces to a thin film. Lacing is decent.

Smell: Biscuity malts, maybe slight caramel and toffee, and herbal bitterness.

Taste: Biscuity malts up front, with slight caramel and toffee in the middle and herbal bitterness on the back end. I really like this beer. Very subtle, but with some nice flavors that complement well.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Light bodied with quite a bit of fine carbonation. It drinks pretty smoothly. Overall, this is a pretty solid beer. The flavors are subtle but still come together nicely.

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Photo of pioppo
4.41/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Spectacular how this beer appears!! An intense copper and a fine, clear beige foam not much persistent.

S - Little aroma of herbal-hop. Predominant are the smells of malt (caramel and in part roasted). Also a touch of ehtylic and a sensation of stale and powdery.

T - Sweetness of malt hide bitter and alcohol. Some flavour of candy and figs. Medicinal come out in a second moment.

M - A sweet beer with a good body that wisely uses malts for an incredible smoothness in mouth!!

D - 50cl it's only the beginning for this Strong Bitter (perhaps an English Pale Ale despite what the maker says..)!!

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Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
Beer rating: 83.5% out of 100 with 2,959 ratings
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