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 Reaper16
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

served from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass

Pours a rich light-brown, like iced tea. The smooth, small-bubbled, white head vanishes quickly leaving behind nice lacing.

Lots of maltiness in the nose with some earthy hops. Perhaps a trace of banana? Not a lot going on.

Nice bitterness on the start of the drink and on the finish. Good malty flavors, but not too sweet. Some indeterminate spice component matches well with the hop profile. Very crisp and refreshing.

This beer feels great to drink. It's very refreshing and the mouthfeel seems spot-on. A great session beer, as ESBs should be. This is a beer you can rely on.

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Photo of mrbosworth
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a bright white head and a golden rust color. Not much of a scent here, but banana caramel and malt characters emerge after some inspection. So smooth. Great malt character that is complex but extremely drinkable cut with delicate hop flavor. This beer takes excerpts from brown ales, english milds and belgian doubles which culminates into a favorite flavor combination.

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Photo of thekanna
3.89/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle with freshness date 10 Aug 09.

Appearance: Pours the color of clear corn syrup, with no head.

Smell: This one is pretty complex. Yeast is dominant, but also has hints of everything that makes a good doppelbock: caramel, molasses, cloves (and other spices), citrus fruits.

Taste: Tiny, effervescent bubbles at the start tingle the tongue. Slightly bready; no, more malty. Hop bitterness is prominent: swells from imperceptibility to full blown bitterness, then subsides and leaves an bitter aftertaste reminiscent of sour grapefruit.

Overall: Not bad; if the alcohol content was a bit lower, this would be a good session beer.

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

pours chestnut brown with a slim head that settles to a thin ring. Smells biscuity and malty with a light minerality on the finish. Classic ESB flavors of light biscuity malt, some earthy hops, and a bit of light spiciness. very satisfying and with along finish thats hard tio beat for the style. Slightly chewy in the mouth, but not too much. balanced by a smooth maltiness and a light spicy/earthy hoppiness. Extremely drinkable, a classic.

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

This beer poured a slightly cloudy copper color with a nice white head that stayed for some time. Aroma was of carmelized sugar, fruit, and a bit of hops. Flavor is very much like the aroma with a caramel maltiness and more hop bitterness coming through. Mouthfeel is very good. Drinkability is very high on this one.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
3/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 3/25/2006 (16.9oz bottle):

Pours an opaque amber brown, reddish colored body, with a medium sized head, that is diminishing, with fine bubbles, off-white in color. Has an aroma of hops, and malts. A bitter taste, some sweetness, and some maltiness.

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

An excellent beer, big and bold in the hops and malt department with a large dollop of toffee sweetness. One thing I noticed in particular was the smoothness of the beer, which makes it more of a beer for taking your time over, especially in the middle of a rainy afternoon watching the rugby.

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

had on tap at the local Tully's
Arrived a nice light brown with not much more than a very light tan film like head
Smelled of mostly malt a bit nutty very nice
Taste was a lot of malt a good nuttiness and a sweet light hoppiness
had a very good feel in the mouth left a bit of tinge of bitterness afterwards
was very good with dinner and had we not be headed elsewhere I definitely would have had another 23oz.

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Photo of Spidey13
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fuller's ESB pours a clear, nice dark copper color with a fluffy, light tan head. Lots of sweet caramel notes on the nose, along with grassy and piney hops and a hint of citrus.

Sweet caramel notes hit the tongue first with some fruitiness to it. A very smooth bitternes shows up on the back. The mouthfeel is nice and medium/full with a bit of slickness and low carbonation.

Overall, this is a good drinking beer, but is not quite as good as I remember it on tap.

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Photo of yesyouam
4.16/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fuller's ESB is a crystal-clear solid amber ale, atop which sits a rich, frothy, cream-colored head that leaves excellent lacing. The aroma is of toasted malt and fibrous, herbal hops are abound. In the mouth, it's medium bodied and soft, perhaps a bit acidic. The flavor exhibits great balance. The hops are strong and bitter like rosemary. There is ample body to support that. The bitter finish is dry and doesn't quench any thirst. A, heck, _the_ definitive ESB.
(rated Jul 24, 2007)

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Photo of magictrokini
3.49/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Very good beer. Not unnecessarily bitter like some ESB's. Pours clear mahogany with a great, thick off-white head. Crisp, sweet caramel malt and fuggels aroma. Somewhat fruity, but mostly strong malt taste with enough hops to give it a bite. Strong hop finish.

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Photo of ThirstyBird
4.26/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a pint bottle into an imperial pint glass

A - Pours brown with a light reddish highlight. two finger head that falls away very slowly to a thin coat. Nice lacing.
S - Malty, some hops and fruit.
T - Toasted malt, sweet up front with a slight bitter aftertaste. I get some cherries as it warms.
M/F - Medium body, mild carbonation. Silky.
D - Wonderful ESB. The standard for me.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 3/6/08. Bottle. Pours a golden orange with a small creamy head. Aroma of light fruits (apple, pear, pineapple), as the beer warms, aroma of darker fruits like prune, raisin, fig. It seems as though I am about to drink a Belgian ale...taste of some dark fruits and light flowery hops. Excellent beer and so smooth to drink. This was my first ESB and I can't wait to try more examples of the style.
9/4/7/4/15 (3.9/5)

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Photo of corby112
3.36/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving type: bottle.

Pours a golden amber color with a very thin head that quickly dissapates with slight lacing. Nice floral hop aroma with slight maltiness.. Very quaffable, smooth and crisp tasting golden ale with a nice dry hoppy finish. Nicely balanced interpretation of the style with just enough maltiness to contrast citrus hop biterness.

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

500mL bottle with best before date stamped on back label.

Pours brown-amber, clear, nice carbonation with 1 finger of head that has hangs around for a minute, then dissipates to a chunky patch on the surface of the beer.

Fruity on the nose, sweet, but also earthy. Some caramel notes and a peppery spice.

Smooth and medium-bodied, fruit and floral/earthy/grass with a nice caramel backbone. Finish is lightly spiced; clove or ginger, maybe. Carbonation is felt, but only slightly. Slightly dry and grainy in the mouth toward the finish. There's a fair bit going on here, with some diacetyl and mineral flavours adding to the blend as the beer warms.

Goes down easily, alcohol is hidden, so quite nice and drinkable.

There's a lot to like about this brew; from the solid English bottle to its taste, this is a beer I'm glad to have available.

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Photo of Bobo77
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Wanted to try this because my professor recommended it as an exceptional English Bitter. I haven't had much in the way of English beers with the exception of the usual suspects, ie: Smithwicks, Boddingtons, Sammy Smiths...

Pours a mellow golden honey color. Small amount of head with little retention.

A whiff of honey, some medicinal notes, and malt. Something sweet is in there, perhaps butterscotch.

I am blown away by the taste. This is good...no this is damn good! A rich silky honey sweetness with caramel malt and buttery toffee with just enough bitterness to keep it well away from becoming sticky. Hops show up in the aftertaste but are far from overpowering. Balance is what this beer is about, you will know what I mean if you try it. At 5.9% ABV this is not the most alcoholic of beers but there is a slight warmth of alcohol that I noticed after my first few sips.

I see why my professor raves about this one. Rich hearty flavor with just the right amount of bitterness...it is easy to see why the Brits hate our macro lager water, they get to drink this stuff everyday back home.

 1,097 characters

Photo of ajmoody76
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bought this at the local beer store. doing a fullers thing. good beers. poured into an imperial pint. dark amber with a thin white head. clarity is good. looks nice.

some fruit on the nose with caramel coming through. no off odors.

good malt taste. nice and sweet with a subtle hop presence. good balance. i guess this beer defines the style.

mid body with low carbonation. great beer. i will drink again.

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Photo of Pencible
3.31/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured a clear dark gold with an off-white head. It smelled like nutty malt and sweet yeast, with mild citrus hops. It tasted like nutty and caramel malt with earthy yeast and copper hops. It was somewhat thick with a bit of carbonation, and had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this had a much bigger taste than smell, which was a pretty good flavor, but it was generic and a bit dirty. It had pretty good body and was fairly easy to drink, but it was just not very rewarding, although it improved as it warmed.

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

On tap at Flying Saucer.

A - Pours amber with a rocky/creamy head. Some decent lacing.

S - More hoppy than I expected. Sort of reminds me on an american pale ale.

T - Again more hops than I expected but the flavor is nice and smooth with a good helping of malt also.

M - Not too heavy but also has some substance that I expect from a good import.

D - High. This is a well rounded beer that puts it all together in a smooth package.

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Photo of nasty15108
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 1pt .9oz bomber into a pint glass.

A - Amber/copper color. The pour produced a thick and creamy head of slightly off-white foam. Lots of lacing scattered around the glass.

S - Complex aroma. Earthy(herbal)and metallic with hints of fruit(apple & pear)and butterscotch. Floral notes also detected.

T - Malty with hints of caramel and butterscotch up front. Finishes dry with a slightl hop bitterness.

MF&D - Medium body with a creamy mouthfeel. An absolute classic.

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

I really enjoyed this beer but it did not have a strong enough flavor

A- slightly hazy orange/caramel color with a small but consistent creamy Dreamsicle-orange head.

S- Smell is hops and fruity yeast. Some grainy malt

T- Taste is good, but not what I was hoping for. Good balance, but I would prefer more hops in this beer. Ends up tasting semi-sweet with the fruity yeast and floral hops

M- Great creamy mouthfeel with great carbonation

D- Quite drinkable due to smooth, balanced characteristics

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Photo of stephens101
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a dark copper brew topped with a one-finger tan head. Very little lacing is left behind after it settles quickly. Smells of sweet malts, caramel, and molases. Tastes bitter and spicy up front with a good malt backbone to finish things. There's a bit of grain on the finish with a slightly sour essence thrown in for good measure. This brew is medium bodied, lightly carbonated and very drinkable.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.71/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured with a nice clear goldish color. Nose is rather light overall and largely malt without much hint of hops. Full malt flavor but hops stronger than I expected and maybe a little out of balance for my tastes. I do like the dry finish. Medium mouthfeel with some carbonation perceptible. Can note the alcohol in warming and a bit in taste too.

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Photo of nige4958
4.76/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is not a session beer! Drink 5 pints of this stuff and tell us how you feel. With a session beer, you should be able to drink 5-7 pints and have enough gas left for a nice whisky, without falling down.

Fuller's ESB is a world classic. This beer shows off Englander craftsmanship when it comes to the brewing arts. Beautifully balanced, with a luscious malt backdrop, immediately seduced by English hop varieties. Pure class in a glass.

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

A: Translucent copper with a small cream-colored head.
S: At first couldn't pick up much but some caramel, malt, and toffee came out. Reminds me a lot of KarmelKorn.
T: Tastes similar to the smell with a not-too-bitter hop finish.
M: Smooth and clean.
D: Great to drink; somewhat complex but easy to down.

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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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