Fuller's ESB | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB
2,965 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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 2,965 |  Reviews: 1,367
Photo of Evocatus
4.36/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a dark red-orange amber color with a bubbly tan head that dwindled to a ring rather quickly. Continued bubbles throughout the drink. Aroma was a mix of butter and malts. Taste was similar to the aroma. Definitely a strong malty character to it, flavored with a buttery biscuit taste. It also had a slight kick to it as well. Well carbonated and great body. Wonderful taste and perfect amount of body, which means I could have one of these anytime.

 454 characters

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

Poured a reddish amber color with medium white head that mostly lasted with good lacing. Aroma was full with tones of malt and greenish hops. Medium body with smooth texture and soft carbonation. Flavor was medium with complex flavor and bitter finish of moderate duration. Good brew.

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Photo of tippebrewcrew2
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


L= 4.5 Beautiful orange body with a thin, white dispersing 1 finger head.

S= 4.0 It has a floral nose with a slight underlying grainy sweetness.

T= 3.0 Starts out with a light grainy sweetness then leads to a bit of caramel. You get medium hops at the finish but subside very quickly to a short finish.

F= 3.5 this beer feels a bit watery to me. Thin, light body and flavors. It is still enjoyable as a session beer though

D= 4.0 (session) I could drink a lot of these beers a session beer. There flavor is light but good and has a pretty low alcohol.

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

Pours a copper colour with a small amount of thick white head. Some lacing. Smells of biscuit and floral hop bitterness. The taste is of bread and caramel with a mild amount of hops. Some bitterness. Very smooth and drinkable.

I've had this on cask in London and preferred it, but it is still nice in the can.

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

A- Poured into a snifter... starts with a pretty weak head. What little head there was disappears quickly. Beer is a somewhat murky copper color with a fairly decent amount of activity

S- Not super aromatic... some malty bready notes

T- After a pretty weak start... a big win. Tastes great. A well combined malty caramel sweetness with a bitter somewhat bitey finish. Maybe a hint of coffee taste in there as well

M- Medium body with medium carbonation

D- Ill be back for more of this... I believe this will be put into my regular rotation


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

Pours a very clear copper with a moderately sized white head that falls back to a thin lid after some time.

Smells hay, bread and mildly of fruit cake, very english.

Tastes is full of the same fruitcake, more cake than fruit though, by fruit here I mean the typical english ale-esters, and they are well incorporated with a sturdy and semi-sweet bready malt. Finishes up with a fruity, quite sturdy bitterness, that lingers for a few seconds, pelasant.'

A quite crisp mouthfeel makes for a refreshing, yet warming and interesting drink.

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

Pours nicely with a copper color and decent head but the head does not last long. Well balanced bitterness to go with the maltiness. The hops give a slight citrusy flavor and aroma but are not overpowering. It is easy to drink and has low levels of carbonation.

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Photo of MrHassellYaHurd
4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours into a pint glass a very clear light copper with a thin white head that quickly dissipates into a bubbly film.

The smell of the brew is very sweet and malty. Caramel-like notes coupled with fruity aromas make this ESB pleasant on the nose.

The pronounced malt tastes, the delicious sweetness, and the "just right" bitterness round the tastes of this beer out just about perfectly. The aftertaste has tons of bready grains and a little hop flavor.

Medium-bodied with very little carbonation, this delicious beer is easily drinkable.

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Photo of backfat
3.55/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a clear copper with a very lively, dissipating white head. the smell is yummy, dominated by strong caramel malt. the taste is caramel, chocolate, and bitter. light and nice. a bit watery and short though. nothing really lingers on the palate. pretty good for the style still, but it's not admiral lord nelson.

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Photo of berley31
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured with a small, off-white head with minimal lasting power. Body is a dark copper color and brilliantly clear.

S: Aroma comes across as fairly fruity, I'm assuming from the higher amount of esters from the ESB yeast.

T: Quite a lot of malty sweetness, more than I was expecting. Some of the fruitiness from the aroma is present. Finishes slightly bitter and dry, but still fairly mild. Average duration.

M: Light-to-medium bodied, slightly creamy texture, with soft-to-average carbonation.

D: I've read that Fuller's ESB is actually quite different from other strong bitters, even though they kind of invented the style (?). I can see the difference, but it's still a solid beer.

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

Pours a clear amber-brown with a nice white head that has decent retention. The head is pretty creamy/frothy and leaves medium lacing behind. Smell is a nice caramel malt smell with a bit of laid back hops in the background. The malts are not overly caramel in aroma like some other beers I have had. There is also a bit of a nutty and bready characteristic to the smell. Taste is nice. The malts shine through very, very well, and they should. The caramel stays behind a bit and lets some fruity/citrus and earthy hops shine through. The bitterness is low and is expected to be in the misleadingly named style. The nutty and bready plays a minor role in the taste also. I think this beer has one of the best malt/hop balances ever, very nice. The caramel starts to take a front seat but never kills the beer. Mouthfeel is great for the flavor. The body is light-moderate and the carbs are moderately high. The only thing I would add here is a bit more creaminess and it would be perfect. I would love to session this beer. The price and taste make for a very highly drinkable beer. I am mad that my first bottle was old or just went bad during shipping. The fresh version of this beer is very good.

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

Deep gold colored beer with a slowly fading head.Aroma is mainly fruity.Taste is fruity jam,toast and a hint of caramel.Tasty and smooth goes down like cool spring water.Overall a pretty damn good beer.I would recommend and I can see myself purchasing this again sometime in the short future.

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

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Light amber/orange clear body under a minimal off-white head. Not particularly sticky in terms of lacing. This beer might be worth drinking just for the ornamental and solid bottle it comes in. I don't give points for packaging very often, but this bottle is so cool I will make and exception.

S: Lightly toasted malts, caramel, some light fruity notes, some low profile hops.

T: Lightly toasted malts and a nice balance with lightly bitter hops. This beer tastes initially like a lighter American amber, but give it time and it will show you a different tone of malt and hop balance, with an undercurrent of toasty dry sugars that are not too sweet, and brown fruit flavors that balance nicely.

M&D: Medium bodied and lightly carbonated. Coats the mouth in a pleasing way. Feels comforting because it is so soft. Excellent drinkability.

Overall: Tastes and feels like a supreme session beer, but at 5.9 ABV it is a little high for comfort drinking. This shows Fuller's skill in hiding the alcohol. A very good ESB.

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Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fuller's ESB pour into German Becker glass... Had to use two ll.2 oz. glasses to fill the 20oz glass so I went all the way on this one.

A- Beer pours a amber red color fluid that produces a nice one inch head that falls slowly to an excellent froth leaving patchy lacing relentlessly sticking to the glass.

S- Scents of metal upfront... iron? Then a soft but fresh smell of bitter citrus and carmel malts come out.

T-M- The taste for an English Bitter is dead on. Tangy hops dominate the palate with the mix of citrus, grassy noles, mild hop oil and a bitchin' bitter bite following. Not to bitter, but a bite that leaves you begging for more... on top of that saying "please". Finishes with a pronounced malt backbone of caramel and burnt barley. Mouthfeel is excellent due to the complexity of the beer smooth, slightly creamy and refreshing on the buds.

D- This beer is empressively drinkable with little to deter you from drinking pint after pint in a pub... cheers!

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

A - Nice slightly deep amber, orange color. Average sized off-white foamy and creamy head. Good lacing left over.

S - Good amount of caramel and toffee malt. Some honey and golden fruit.

T - Good amount of sweet caramel malt along with some sugar/honey and golden fruit. This is balanced out with a bit of earthy and citrus hops. A little bit of bitterness from the hops as well.

M - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Very smooth and just slightly drying.

D - Very good. Goes down easy and the flavors aren't too extreme but build up and are good and balanced.

Notes: Very drinkable beer, and a very good example of English beer.

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Photo of feelmefoam
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, rust color with moderate amounts of carbonation running up into a finger of white head that doesn't have great retention. Not a lot of lacing, either. Good color, not a good head.

For being an ESB, it really isn't as bitter as I'd like. Still, it is tasty and has quite a bit of toasty caramel malt that works well with the light fruitiness that was present in the nose as well as the herbal, slightly bitter hops that show up on the back-half of each sip.

Nice dead-on medium body with a moderate amount of carbonation that makes it a smooth experience to drink.

Overall, I want this to be a bit more bitter, but it is flavorful and smooth, so maybe I'm just nitpicking. It's drinkable in that it's under 6% and pretty tasty, but I'm still kind of disappointed that it wasn't as bitter, so that takes some points away. Still, worth a try I think, if not just to get your take on perhaps the most-hyped ESB.

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Photo of aaron12
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this is a very pretty beer in my glass, a nice honey-hue copper in the light, thick white head.
buttery british malts, honey, smells like a warm spring day..., whatever that means.
very, very smooth. well balanced. the brits do a good job at that, mixing the malt and hops just right, it's almost too well balanced, i'm used to more bite. it finishes a little sweet for me. this is a tasty beer though.
mouthfeel is butter smooth,
and it's down like sugar water.

 462 characters

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into the Sam Adams pint glass from a 500ml bottle.

A - Pours a nice very dark copper color with some amber reddish hints. Very nice 1 inch head that is white and chunky. Very active carbonation.

S - Piney bitter hops with some mild citric character. Floral and grassy held up by a very strong yet subtle malt backbone. Some sweetness and bread character a the the back end. The nose is extremely well balanced.

T - Starts of with a nice bitter character with some mild grassy pine hint then is overtaken by the sweet malt. Grains and bread notes can be tasted throughout. Very well balanced between the sweetness and the bitterness. Nice buttery falvor with the grains.

M & D - Light with lower CO2 but good refreshing crispness overall. Great beer. Fullers always delivers.

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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.

 280 characters

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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Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
Beer rating: 4.06 out of 5 with 2,965 ratings
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