Fuller's ESB | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

2,947 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: 2,947 |  Reviews: 1,362
Photo of mulder1010
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500 ML poured into a Great Divide glass

A-- Poured a dark carmel color, with a one finger white brown head. No carbonation to speak of and no real lacing on the glass.

S-- A malty biscuit taste, little bit of citrus type hops but the malt is more dominant. A bit of carmel to have a sweet side to this as well.

T-- Malt, carmel and a little bit of hops to this and pretty straight forward. Does have a bit of a watery taste but not that serious an issue. Does get better warmer but the watery taste is still there.

M-- Finishes dry with a little bit of sweetness. Light bodied and very little carbonation. Has a creamy feel in the mouth as well.

D-- Not bad, but not mindblowing either. Maybe I like other ESB's more. Very drinkable and quite sessionable. Balance is excellent. In some ways feels and tastes lighter than the 5.9% listed. Good beer worth sipping an enjoying. High marks for drinkability and mouthfeel. Smell kind of lacks but not arguing.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours copper brown with a one-finger off-white head. The aroma is caramel and toffee with some earthy hops. The flavor is caramel malt with some spicy, earthy hops. There is also some fruit character. The beer ends with a sweet, nutty finish. Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation.

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Photo of WeedKing4
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at a local pub. Pours a clear red with a little bit of foam at the top of the pint glass. This isn't a bad beer, but not a great one either. I wouldn't call this a strong bitter beer either, but it served its purpose as a session beer when there was no other options. So I was a little suprised with that, thought it would have been more of a struggle to put these down.

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

A - Pours a nice copper brown with about a finger and a half of nice ecru head.

S - A nice amount of pale and caramel malt, not too much hops detectable.

T - A nice maltiness to it with some hop bitterness following up. Some figs and raisins in here too.

M - A nice effervescence and creaminess to it. Medium bodied, a bit slick.

D - I'm somewhat new to the style, but from what I've had this outshines all the rest.

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Photo of BeerisfoodLLC
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass:

A - Amber in color, pours clear with a light head that dissipates with light lacing.

S - Light scent of hops. Mild scents.

T - Bitter hops highlight this brew. Very smooth & well balanced. On the mild side for an ESB.

M - Creamy smooth. A pleasure to sip.

D - Great beer to have several of. I enjoyed this one.

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Photo of decimator
3.36/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml can poured in a pint glass.

A - Pours a clear amber colour with a 1cm head that quickly reduces to a thin bubbly cap. Some decent lacing as the brew goes down.

S - Caramel and hops. I'm also picking up a hint of herbs or spices in the background. Overall it's a bit mild.

T - Light caramel toffee sweetness upfront with a bitter bite in the finish. Balanced and inoffensive but it doesn't stand out for me.

M - Creamy and smooth. It really feels good in the mouth and on the way down.

D - It's good mouthfeel and inoffensive flavour make this one easy to drink.

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

Amber-colored body with a big two-finger, cream colored head. A nice amount of lace and good head retention. The aroma is decent but could be better. Most of what I get is caramel and a faint, earthy hop. Both of those aromas are there in the flavor with a big burst of caramel/toffee type malt flavors. The hops show through with an earthiness and a twist of an off-bitter citrus. Nice creamy mouthfeel that goes down smooth and adds a bit of warmth. Overall it's not bad, but not the best around. If you like sweet caramel malt flavors and earthy hops this might be the one for you. Otherwise you can probably find a better beer for the cost.

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Photo of bump8628
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with a best before date clearly marked.

Poured into a snifter its a beautiful honeyed amber color with that classic Fuller's loose head that starts nice and thick and then recedes to a big-bubbled lace.

Aroma is a bit like spice cake with subtle spicy and fruity hops just underneath some sweet toffee and biscuit maltiness.

The aroma only hints at the complexity in the taste. Still a bit like spice cake, but with a nice earthy, almost musty, woodiness. Big caramel with a sourdough twang and just enough hop bitterness and an earthy/herbal hop flavor to balance. Light fruitiness from the yeast and a mineral edge adds another stroke to the complexity. Finishes just slightly on the sweet side.

Soft and elegant in the mouth with delicate carbonation.

Really a beautiful malt accented real ale. A classic.

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Photo of Cheech22
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A fantastic heavy, malty ale, possessing plenty of that "bitter" character that makes real English pale ales so special (I think the flavor comes from the type of yeast that is used, but homebrewers can feel free to correct me on that if I'm wrong). I especially like the extra alcoholic punch Fullers added to this particular beer.

The downside? It's very expensive, running at about 12 bucks a six-pack. That's absurd for a pale ale, even for an import.

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Photo of fullsweep
3.12/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500 mL brown bottle poured into a glass.

A: deep copper/brown colour with a lot of foamy, off-white head; minimal lacing.

S: rich and sweet, very malty, some dark fruit esters.

T: sweet and almost syrupy; also getting some alcohol in the tastes, reminds me slightly of a barleywine, but much sweeter.

M: sticky, syrupy, rich.

D: although more typical for an ESB, the higher ABV (as compared to other English styles) makes this less appealing, however I certainly wouldn't turn one down!

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Photo of mempath
4.8/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

beautiful reddish-copper with nice off-white head that remains awhile and sticks to the sides of the glass in a nice lacey band.

nice sweet malty hoppy nose with notes of caramel, maybe orange. and maple syrup. reminded of the steely nature of a classic english pale ale but stronger (malt-wise).

ah, yes, this is simply a treat. so much going on, truly balanced as an ESB should be. caramel, malts, hoppy spikes, even a sour dough sense. it actually is 'bitter' but in a way that serves the whole. and it's not so much the hops. mouthfeel is in sync with this, nice and smooth. too much carbonation would hide the already bristling bitter sense. amazingly delicious and refreshing. an all year round ale for sure. very drinkable and sessionable. and highly recommended. will have to revisit SNevada's spring version and other takes on this style.

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Photo of RedSpecial1
4.31/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours out a clear copper color with a huge foamy head. As the head slowly recedes a fair bit of lacing is left behind.

I mostly smell caramel and malt (probably part of the caramel as well), something else is in there too, but I can't quite nail it down.

It tastes very good. I haven't had many bitters style, but this one's pretty good to me. It tastes smooth, almost buttery, with that caramel that I smelled, as well as those smooth tasting malts. At the end there's just a little bitter hoppiness, but not enough to be unpleasant.

The mouthfeel of this beer is surprisingly smooth, and I would definitely be OK drinking this for an evening. Overall, a very enjoyable beer.

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

I grabbed a bottle of this today. Best by 14 April 2010.

In my Sam Smith pint glass, this ESB sits a brilliant copper with gorgeous clarity and a dense, off-white head with great retention. As the head recedes to a disk, it leaves some lacework. Attractive stuff, this!

The nose is delicate, nuanced and quite complex. The malt is quite assertive, a blend of caramel, butterscotch, a little toffee and a rich, fruity bread-like character. Hops are rather low, lending a little leafy character. Excellent stuff.

The flavors on the palate are quite mindblowing in their delicacy. Opening with a blend of slightly burnt toast, caramel and butterscotch, there is also a firm hop bitterness, providing a backbone for all the malt flavors to play off. Bitterness is herbal and earthy, and there's also a touch of leafy hop character. Drying and mildly bitter on the finish, there's a melange of flavors, a touch of sugar, caramel and butterscotch to go with the hops. Closer to medium in body than light, this beer is moderately carbonated and has a mildly creamy mouthfeel. Thoroughly drinkable, I'm almost done with this in 10 minutes. I need to track this down on cask.

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

A: Pours a crystal clear, nutty-golden, a shade darker than London Pride, with a more substantial head than LP as well--this one having a 3/4" head of butter coloured head.

S: An earthy bitterness from the English hops is the bones of this beer. Very punguent, yet clean and crisp smelling.

T: Much like the smell. Spicy, earthy hops, with a light malt backing. Fruity yeast, lingering hop bitterness and light malts. Biscuit.

M: Thin body with medium carbonation.

D: Seems like a hopped up version of London Pride (which I suppose is to be expected).

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Photo of scootny
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A lovely light tan head with lacing all around sits atop a brilliantly clear copper fluid. A light aroma featuring caramel, earthy and floral hops sandwich yeasty fruit esters and breads. Taste is superbly malty with a light floral hop finish. Sooo balanced. A light dryness that flows into more earthy and lightly herbal hoppiness. Feel is perfectly carbonated with a crispness that cuts though medium weight. Dry and quenching. superb drinkability. Not a trace of alcohol. I was shocked to see the abv as I started my review. Still goes down like a session ale. This is a beer for all seasons

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

A: Light amber with off tan head that dissipates into a small pool, some lacing remains.

S: Caramel and malt.

T: Malty up front with a caramel sweetness, little bit of hop bite at the end.

M: Smooth, not that carbonated, creamy.

D: Good taste, low ABV, win-win.

I was honestly expecting more of this beer after all these reviews. I do enjoy ESB's, I enjoyed Southern Tier's very much. But, to me, this one did not live up to the hype.

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Photo of jneiswender
4.31/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a pint glass of this from the bottle.

A-thin white head, yellowish brown very brilliant body

S-marmalade smell, sweet

T-marmalade, grainy, with just a little hop flavor for a finish

M-light to medium mouthfeel

D-another great representation of the style from Fullers and a great tasting, complex beer to boot.

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Photo of Thur123
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This brew pours a hazy amber color orange with a sparse amount of head and average carbonation. The smell is toffee and caramel with sweet gum and maybe a bit of rum flavoring. There's also a bit of hop grassiness throughout that adds an edge to the whole profile.

Glug glug glug

The flavor is all sweet hints of candy flavors with a strong sweetbread flavor. Slight hints of fruits, with toffee and caramel, it matches its scent well. The mouth feel of this truly stands out to me, the flavor maybe on the mild side, but it still feels very full and well crafted. The beer delivers the flavor in an awesome consistency. This is a good beer.

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Photo of mondegreen
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On Tap at The Globe in Athens

A: Golden Copper with a foamy dome of a head.

S: Malty caramel sweetness.

T: More sweetness. Caramel is predominate, maybe a little bread. Not picking up any hops whatsoever

M: Nice and smooth. I'm liking the feel of this one.

D: The sweetness kinda kills the drinkability for me (I find it wearing), but if I were in the mood for a sweet beer I could see myself downing this one with ease.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is definitely one of the best widely available beers, extremely sessionable, great with food, the whole nine...

A – Caramel / amber hue with thinner, but creamy head and tremendous lacing.

S – Butterscotch malt, biscuity butteriness, and a light, clean, earthy hop.

T – Buttery malt and tangy herbal and Cedar-ish hop, pretty simple, but very delicious.

M – Thin enough to keep the buttery caramel taste from spilling over into mouthfeel, nice carbonation to give a sharp hop bite.

D – The definition of poundable.

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

Ive been told that this ESB is a classic and after having had it, I can affirm that.

Color is a light brown heavy gold with nice luminosity and clarity. Aroma is malt heavy. Some caramel notes in there. Slightly sweet in aroma and flavor...there's a light and delicate contra presence of Fuggle or another mild hop. However, it comes a bit stronger through in flavor than aroma. Some greasy biscuit like flavor gives a full presence on the tongue. Entertaining but no means overwhelming.

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

500ml bottle poured into pint glass dec30 2009

A clear copper with a fingers worth of head that has decent retention and leaves some patches of lace

S lots of caramel and a little biscuit mix well with some mellow hops

T again some caramel/toffee go well with some bread and the hops, I may pick up on just a tad of nuttiness

M medium bodied with a crisp bite to it that works quite well for it

D very easy drinking beer quite enjoyable, I wish I had more then one

I haven't had this one in quite some time and I don't remember it being this tasty. that being said I'm thinking I will need to drink it again soon and perhaps the rest of Fullers lineup

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Photo of thegodfather2701
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Pours a beautiful amber color. The head was white and minimal due to an easy pour.

S-Caramel and toffee stand out the most.

T-Tastes delicious with a great balance of hops and malt. Much like the nose caramel dominates the flavor profile alongside some apple notes. It is incredibly smooth and easy drinking.

M-Creamy with the right amount of carbonation.

D-The drinkability is through the roof. It has a relatively low abv and it is so incredibly smooth you could sip and savor this all night long. I wish there was some place local that had this on tap I would drink it often.

Overall, exceptional ale. It is a session beer all the way that deserves its place as a classic ESB. I highly recommend this beer.

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

Poured a bottle of this beer into a Firestone pint glass.

A. This beer has a dark amber color. Very small head and minimal lacing.

S. Maltiness and some caramel. Not an overpowering smell. Very little hop aroma.

T. Delicious beer. Very balanced beer. Hops and malt blend well. Some nuttiness as well.

M. Bitter like it should be. Medium bodied. Very little carbonation. This beer is much better as it warms up.

D. One of my favorite session beers. It goes down easy.

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Photo of cameraman
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured an orange to amber color fading to a lighter shade towards the bottom of the
glass. A light tan head forms on top, about a quarter inch high, staying there and not moving from that height. The malt is striking at first scent, followed by a light grassy scent and the brief fragrance of citrus at the end. Bread and yeast burst from the glass at first taste, that is soon followed by a red grapefruit bitterness, that is very mild in strength. It finishes with grassy and tobacco flavors and those flavors linger for some time. The feel is a tad watery at the front, growing to medium bodied feel, it thickens even more as it reaches the back of the palate. This is an easy sipping English ale, a great session beer, that brings flavor, aroma and texture to the table. Plus, it goes really well with fish and chips.

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Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
4.06 out of 5 based on 2,947 ratings.
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