Fuller's ESB | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

2,927 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: 2,927 |  Reviews: 1,357
Photo of Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Brownish copper with a decent white head. Pretty good lacing.

S: Tasted malt with a bit of caramel going on.

T: Medium malt with some sweetness to go along with a bit of bitterness. Something in the full package just doesn't fit perfectly for me.

M: Medium body and fairly smooth.

D: Pretty drinkable, although something is missing. All around, a quite good, readily-available beer.

 389 characters

Photo of brendan13
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark orange/copper colour with a centimetre or so of fluffy head white that falls away fairly quickly. Mininmal lacing.
S - Caramel malt aroma up front with some fruit & floral hop notes, some fruity esters & a bit of a nutty hint.
T - Taste is much like the smell; caramel maltiness with some slight dark fruit notes perhaps also derived from the malt. Also some toasty and buttery touches. A light fruity and floral hop presence.
M - Light to medium bodied, carbonation on the low side of medium. Slight bitterness in the finish with a lingering sweet caramel taste.
D - I can't believe I haven't reviewed this before now. I drink this quite often. A classic indeed.

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Photo of Viggo
3.65/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml can from LCBO.

Pours a crystal clear coppery orange, some ruby highlights, thin off white head forms, quickly settles to a thin collar, no real lacing, looks alright. Smell is sweet and nutty, some caramelized malts, grain, light fruit, nice rich biscuity malt/toast, almost an oxidized aroma, not bad. Taste is similar, lots of malt, some caramel and brown sugar sweetness, biscuit, raisins, nuts, lightly fruity in the finish, light bitterness. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with low carbonation. Decent ESB but I've had/made better. Nice to have this in cans though.

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Photo of Jlaw12
4.75/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I just recently had my first Fuller's ESB and I loved it. A very good looking beer with an outstanding taste and great smell. My brother and I tried to replicate it and we were nowhere close to it, but i really enjoyed my first Fuller's ESB and hopefully many more to come.

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Photo of mizzourah
3.82/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured a golden brown color, almost caramel. The head was off white and barely there, but I attribute that to a bad pour and class that probably wasn't cleaned great.

S- It was fairly mild but sweet, somewhat buttery.

T- I notice definite malts upfront and it's fairly sweet. There are some woody, earthy tones and the finish is bitter with the hops showing up. It also seemed like there was some bread flavors in the aftertaste.

M- It has a thick, coating mouthfeel.

D- It is well balanced between the sweetness and bitterness. It went down smoothly. This would be an enjoyable brew while watching some football. And by football I mean soccer.

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Photo of Dulliwhig
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - orangish red with a thick head that disappears quickly and leaves a ring around the glass with a small island floating in the middle.

S - sweet fruitiness, toasty butter.

T - the frutiness and mild sweetness is up front, the conclusion is a mild bitterness - the balance is phenomenal.

M - smooth and coating, medium bodied and creamy - the kind of beer you want to swirl around in your mouth.

D - I could see myself drinking about twenty of these, then blacking out on the way to a match on a rainy day between Man United and Chelsea.

I have had many other ESB's before sampling the original. I am really glad to have tried this to see the standard as a reference point for the style. This is going to be a beer that I come back to many times...

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Photo of Monsteruss
3.24/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The foam was wheat in color. The smell malty and nutty with nice fruity overtones. The color was a orange brown and hint of red in the light. The taste was fruity, nutty, malty, crisp, a hint of lemon and a little bitter. Mouthfeel - smooth and light. Drinkability was good.

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Photo of phantomwyse
4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pure copper color. Eh, maybe a touch of amber in there. Slim fizzy head.

S:Lots of caramel and toffee aromas, honey sweetness.

T: Caramel, toffee, clover honey, slight metallic twang, iron perhaps. There's a trace of herbal hops and maybe even a little standard hop bitterness.

M: Medium bodied, just a tad silky, ends tingly but still coated.

D: Understated tasty. The sweetness might gnaw on me after a while.

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

Happy to see this at the LCBO closer to my school and picked it up as soon as I saw it being a fan of Fullers. Part of my mid-way exam celebration.
Pours a very inviting mahogany with a two finger foamy white head that has decent retention. Minimal lacing and very little carbonation visible.
Buttery malt up front in the nose followed by some very nice plum and raison. Slight hop presence. Man does this ever smell good.
Biscuity and buttery malt paired with sticky raison. Effortlessly transfers to dry, but not overpowering hops.
Mouthfeel is excellent. Smooth and ridiculously well balanced. Drinkability is almost incomparable to anything Ive ever had. The higher ABV is completely masked by the chewy raison and sweet malts.

Overall, one of the best beers Ive had to date. The balance between the buttery sweet malts and the dry subtle hops is unparalleled. Without doubt, the best Fullers brew Ive had the pleasure of drinking. Cant wait to crack open the vintage ale Ive got sitting down in my cellar. Next time I see this bad boy, Im buying in mass quantaties. Being one of my first ESB's, Im almost scared to buy another thinking that it wont compare to this. Highly recommended.

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

Pours a copper color with very little head, and some lacing. The smell is very buttery and malty. I was very surprised. I expected much more bitterness considering the style, but there is very little bitterness, and very little taste of hops. The flavor is of fruit... maybe plum? And it has a buttery flavor. There is a hint of bitter behind the flavor, and the aftertaste is somewhat bitter, but It definitely is not the bitterness I expected. The mouth is quite nice. There is little carbonation, but still there is a tart feeling to this beer. It's quite drinkable, though with the 6% and the size of the bottle, one is enough for me. It's all around an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of EatsTacos
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours amber red with a clumpy thin head that laces the glass and will puff back up again with a few swirls

Aroma: Inviting nose of fruity hops and sweet caramel malt. I would imagine that the nose improves with freshness.

taste: Subtlety is really an art. This beer is contemplative and complex without hitting you over the head with the flavours. Buttery, creamy malt perfectly matched with a fruity hop character. Peaches, banana, some light sweet cirtus. Finish is bitter and slightly dry.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and buttery come to mind. Medium bodied with a soft carbonation. Classic Fuller's mouthfeel.

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Photo of MeisterBurger
4.63/5  rDev +14%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a medium-deep amber with an ample, foamy, sticky head. Nice cling. Fantastic head retention to the last sip.

Smells of sweet peach and hops. The smell is incredibly inviting.

The taste follows the aroma with well balanced fruitiness and bitterness. It's enjoyably bitter, definitely grassy, with a solid caramel malt backbone. The hops are earthy and piney, a little spicy maybe. The malt is sweet and toffee like--definitely some crystal malt is coming into play here. It's full flavoured and did I mention, well balanced?

Nice warm and creamy, chewy mouthfeel with a lingering finish that I was sad to see go.

One of the nicest versions of one of my favourite styles of beer. It's almost TOO drinkable.

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

Pours a dark, hazy, opaque, coppery brown with a decent fine-bubbled beige head. Aroma is spicy, slightly smoky, slightly hoppy, with a strong undertone of lemon, calling for at least a taste. Sharp, zingy flavor is fairly bitter but not fiercely so, and has undertones of lemon, cloves and yeast. Texture is full and glass-smooth, edgy and lively.

 348 characters

Photo of morimech
4.59/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Spent some time looking for a fresh bottle. Finally found one with a few months until the Best Before date. Pours a clear amber color with a small white head that settles to a thin cap. Moderate amount of sticky lacing is left on the glass. Sublime ale aroma. Carmelized malt at first with some mineral qualities until the wonderful floral and herbal hop aroma takes over. I love the aroma of English hops. The flavor does not disapoint either. Herbal hop flavor from the get go but there is a solid malt backbone that lends a sweetness throughout. Even some fruity esters near the end. Definate bitter finish. Nice carbonation that compliments the body. The texture is not perfect but very good for a session beer. I think this is as good as it gets for an ESB. I will find more fresh bottles and enjoying this again soon.

 823 characters

Photo of robbyc1
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A classic ESB, the orange cloudy look with a decent head tells you it's real.

A sweetish nose of maltiness with a slight bitterness to match.

The taste follows the nose, very inviting sweetness, but nice balanced. A full heaviness in the mouth, soothing, nice.

A nice drinker and a bit strong for a session beer but one to savor.

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Photo of skeetermoses
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Great selection for this one. Nice hearty beer. Overall my impression was pretty much a good stew beer or nice cold weather meal beer. fairly decent as far as taste goes I really could go for another one, bought this in a sampler pack at the local beer shop. Overall this is definately one I will be getting again.

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Photo of JonMich13
3.72/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first experience with the ESB style.

A = Pretty copper amber color. Little head on my pour that disappeared quickly. Little lacing.

S = Lovely smell. Has a earthy hop tone mixed with a buttery caramel honey

T = Taste was surprisingly mild and malt dominated. Given the name of the style, was expecting more of a hop bitter finish. Really a mild flavor that is more indicative of its caramel malt nose. Was expecting more "kick".

M = Would've like more carbonation to make for the mildness of the flavor. Medium body.

D = Drinkable in the sense that it's a pleasant mild flavor, unexpectedly low bitterness, low carbonation and ABV.

Overall, a pleasant brew that I wouldn't mind drinking. But certainly not spectacular.

 731 characters

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

500ml bottle. Had this many times on tap around town in the various English and Irish pubs. Time to get down to business.

This beer pours a medium golden amber hue, with two fingers of tightly foamy, somewhat bubbly off-white head, which leaves a random pattern of upshot speckled lace around the glass as things evenly abate.

It smells of biscuity, crackery pale malt, with a decent addition of caramel sweetness, some middling black pepper spiciness, over-steeped black tea, and a crisp, fresh hay, wild grass hoppiness. The taste is semi-sweet pale malt, an earthy citrus sweetness, further floral and grassy hops, and a subtle musty mineral essence - nothing worthy of overt concern, really.

The carbonation comes off as supportive, and mostly frothy, if in an understated sense, the body a decently rendered medium weight, with a muted floral, rather sedated hoppy finish.

This would (and indeed does, for me, at least) make quite a fine session ale, in those places where hoppy North American offerings aren't featured by design. Anyways, it's sure nice to enjoy this beyond early-day Euro Cup game times around these parts.

 1,135 characters

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

This pours a clear copper colour. A centimetre of beige head which drops. Some retention. Good lacing.

Some caramel/toffee aromas and a touch of alcohol. Reminds me of a good scotch.

The taste is dominated by caramel maltiness. A very assertively flavoured beer. Some warmth. Again the scotch comparisons come to mind. Some fruitiness in there.

Medium to full bodied. Rounds out in the mouth. Chewy. Extraordinary length. It just never stops.

 445 characters

Photo of CityBoy1986
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. The Best Before date is 6 March 2010.

The pour is copper with two fingers' off-white head. The head slowly receded and left nice lacing.

The nose was citrusy (grapefruit and apple) and grassy. There was some sweetness as well. The taste has more citrus, grassy flavours and sweetness whilst adding some caramel and nutty flavours. This is one balanced beer.

The mouthfeel is medium-bodied with low carbonation. Drinkability is good; I could have another.

This is a nice beer. I will give it a revisit every now and then.

 566 characters

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle, best before 01/10, served in a standard pint glass.

L - clear orange/amber color with an off-white head that stayed as a layer leaving thin sheets of lacing behind.

S - sweet malts and grassy hops in the aroma.

T - balance, balance, balance...
did I mention this is a very well balanced beer?

F - light/medium bodied with a silky feel.

D - an absolute pleasure to drink.

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Photo of efhart
4.97/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is a wonderful bitter from Fuller's. Named extra special bitter (ESB) it lives up to that naming, a strong somewhat bitter beer without lingering bitterness. I found it to be one of my favorite beers. The only beer of this style that might exceed it is a beer I believe is called six X in the UK. The mouth feel and drinkability are outstanding. Best on draft.

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

poued this out of a 330 ml bottle best before 09/jun/09 into my glass .the bottle does looks different from the picture on the BA page. it`s a blue label with the words "the worlds original" under the bold ESB .

A the color is a copper amber on the brownish side it`s alittle murky with a thin frothy head that quicky dissapates and leaves some foam on the sides of the glass .

S,this beer has got a good scent to it . first the fruit ,apples slight citrus now the malt flavor hits the nose some sugar sweetness the hops are there also.

T, medium body with a light sugar sweetness ,i got the citrus and hops but there not as up front as the malt over all this is a good beer even better then good.

M,the month feel is citrus and sweet,some creaminess . i got a little bit of that puckering of the month afterwards. not too,dry of a after taste either .

D this is a very good english ale ,tasty and goes down smooth one of my favorite from the fuller line up.i would recommend this beer to i friend any time.

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Photo of tigg924
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: clear, amber, small head, medium carbonation

Smell: grapefruit, hops, and pine dominate the nose

Taste: same as the smell, once the initial bitter hops shock the tongue, you taste a sweet malty finish

Mouthfeel: bitter and more bitter initialy. once my palate got adjusted, I tasted some slightly sweet tastes especially in the finish

Drinkability: This one grew on me. My first impression was very bitter, but its complexity came out after the first few sips. This is a sipper, but one that I will have again

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Photo of tosshin
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a : Golden amber color. Appears to be very clear. Pour resulted in an inch of dense white foam that is disipating slowly, leaving good lacing.

s : Sweet, fruity, malty smell. Also have a faint smell of freshly baked bread.

t : Tastes like Honey and fruit with a strong malt backbone. Slight bittering. Great taste, not too hard to pick out the flavors though.

m : Great feeling in my mouth. This is a full bodied beer.

d : Fair drinkability. I think that these might hit you pretty hard after 3 or 4.

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Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
4.06 out of 5 based on 2,927 ratings.
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