Fuller's ESB | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

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Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB
2,986 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:
Twice named World Champion Beer, Fuller’s ESB is one of the most decorated ales of its time. A winner born and brewed, it’s a strong, full-bodied ale that has delighted drinkers for decades with its smooth, mellow bitterness and superbly satisfying finish.

Added by kbub6f on 07-08-2001

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,986 |  Reviews: 1,371
Photo of Galathil
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Starts off with a thick, off-white head but it doesn't last for long. Has a real nice deep, amber/copper color.

Smell of hops stand out, but it also is fruity, a bit of caramel and peaches. It's possible to get a slight whiff of alcohol. It is medium to full-bodied with a slight carbonation that makes the beer crisp and a bit thin, but also quite refreshing. The carbonation goes well with the taste.

There's a noticeable presence of floral hops, maybe a bit much for my tastes. Easy to drink for a while, but I might get bored of this after a few. For an ESB this is a prime example though.

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

A: Deep reddish copper with a fairly thick off-white head that sticks around for awhile. Moderate amount of lacing.

N: Toasty malt with caramel and a light touch of hops.

T: Similar to the smell. Toasted malt and caramel up front with a balanced hop bitterness that lingers throughout. Light to moderate floral hop flavor. Definitely a malt-dominated brew.

M: Medium light body with moderate carbonation and a semi-dry finish.

D: Good drinkability. Nice balance of caramel malt and bitter hops. Keeps you coming back for more.

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Photo of MSchae1017
4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was tasted from the 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Th beer pours an orange-amber color with an off white one finger head that dissipates to practically nothing leaving no lace.

The aroma is a bit buttery along with bready malts and slightly floral hops.

The taste is up front up front with caramel and bready malts. This is followed by a bit of butteriness and hop bitterness. There is a bit of floral hops in there too. Caramel and fruitiness make this one really nice.

The beer displays a medium body along with very subtle and smooth carbonation.

Overall, a very nice easy drinking Ale. I probably wont grab it first as i often fall prey to highly hopped and high alcohol beers. I must make a point to go for this one more often and it is quite nice.

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

Has a deep copper color with a tan head that leaves plenty behind on the glass, but doesn't last terribly long. Odd. There's plenty of malt in the aroma with some peaches and raisins, but what's really present in the nose is alcohol. The same is true for the taste: while I was not disappointed in the strong malt content and the balanced hops hit, the alcohol overshadowed much of the flavor. For a 5.9% beer, I was surprised. Overall, this had the boozy feel of a Belgian quad, with a malty intensity that came close to matching that style. Not quite what I expected, but not bad. Frankly, I expected something a bit less dense. Still, since I bought two bottles, I'll have to give this one another swing soon.

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

Went to the British Beer Company Walpole, MA 2/07

Beer pours a deep, clear amber/copper color with a thick white head that dissipates quickly, leaving a thin white film on top, no lacing to speak of. Nose is of toasted malt, caramel, and yeast. Also slight note of alcohol is also evident, but barely. Tastes of sweet caramel and malt, with some fruity taste. Mouthfeel is surprisingly thin, but works with this beer. This brew is well-balanced overall and very drinkable. Certainly a beer for a session.

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

Pours a nice clear copper color from a 20oz bottle into an imperial pint glass with a small head that leaves some lacing on the glass as I drink it down.

Smell of sweetness, apple & pear like...

Mild bitterness along with the hints of apple & pear I detected from the smell. Finishing out somewhat malty. Nicely balanced - I like this.

Very smooth in the mouth, mild carbonation, creamy... This is seriously drinkable and my favorite English bitter of all I have tried. I could easily sip these all night.

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Photo of dakid618
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep mahogany brown with a finger of head. Smells strongly of raisins in my opinion. Taste is very malty and fruity. Not nearly as bitter as I expected. Medium mouthfeel that kind of coats the mouth. I could drink a few of these but would tire of it after more than 3. Not bad but definitely not a goto beer.

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Photo of joshuadlight
4.73/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I absolutely love this beer. I can hardly write a bad thing about it. Its a deep, almost red copper color with a controlled head that doesn't rise too high. The balance in the smell and the taste is what makes this a classic. It feels like even a novice could pick out the malts and the hops in here. It exemplifies all the right characteristics of an ESB and the drinkability tops the charts.
If you haven't had a taste of this great beer, do yourself a favor and pick a couple up. Trust me, you'll want more than one.

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Photo of ZorPrime
4.48/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours in a pint glass. The beer is amber color with a nice little head that vanish very quickly. Smell of caramelized malts. Very nice!! Not much hops in the smell. Taste is bitter but not over powered by the bitterness. I taste some caramelized malts too. Could drink this all night. Very good beer. One of my favorites when wanting to drink a bitter beer more than one per evening.

This is very refreshing.

Tasted: 28 january 2009.

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Photo of sunjayc
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from a hand-pump cask in Holborn...

Settles into the glass quite quickly, has a mild carbonation at first added naturally by the yeast.

A strong, deep amber color.

Tasting notes: a deep bodied full flavor, with caramel overtones and just a hint of fruit.

Moderately alcoholic (5%), but settles in nicely without too much fuss, easy drinking

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

Purchased yesterday at Sams Blue Light in Durham. One of those beers which I used to drink frequently but have gone away from. I remember when this beer was almost too hoppy for me. TImes have changed:
A:Clear coppery pour with a smallish white head which subsides quickly.
S: Straightforward hops in the aroma. A little butterscotch as well.
T: Decent malt/hop balance, nothing too much, but tasty. Butterscotch in the flavor as well.
M: Decent mouthfeel, crisp and refreshing.
D: Very easy to drink, I could session this if I had more than one of them.
Still a good beer, a nice change of pace from my usual hop bombs.

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Photo of jkrich
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz brown bottle with best by date stamped on rear label.

The ale poured a clear, deep copper with slightly off-white head which quickly dissipated leaving attractive lacing on the pint glass.

A very distinctive aroma of spicy malts, alcohol and a wine-like aroma. Quite english in style.

A slight butterscotch taste on the tongue with a slight tangy flavor on the end of the tongue. As with most english ales, the hops are flavorful but refined.

Very refreshing medium bodied mouthfeel with a favorable sweetness that coats the tongue; not overly carbonated.

This is a truly quaffable ESB even at nearly 6.0 ABV. I don't drink this one nearly enough; it is quite expensive, but it is worth seeking out. It is at its very best on tap which brings out all of its complexities.

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

Ordered a 12oz bottle of this at Spike's tonight.

Appearance: Clear reddish copper body with thin, creamy white head that retains very well.

Smell: Pine, herbs and caramel.

Taste: Pine, bread, herbs and spices. Nice balance with a good amount of bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and creamy with good mouth coating and a bitter, dry finish. Medium to light in body. Good consistency. Yum.

Drinkability: Well, I'm no E.S.B. connoisseur, but this was a very good

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

A: A clear copper color with a modest, creamy off-white head with solid retention and lacing.

S: Toasty caramel malts and some sugar. Some herbal hop aroma and alcohol. Appealing fruity esters.

T: Nice toasted caramel and toffee flavors up front. Herbal and floral hops provide a moderate bitterness that rides into the finish with a considerable consistency. Fruity flavors, some mineral character, and a bit of brewed tea.

M: Medium bodied, crisp, and quite clean. Moderate carbonation.

D: This is so, so well balanced. Quite different from your standard American craft beer that tends to be dominated by a specific characteristic. This is as close to an ideally well-balanced beer I've had.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.83/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

500ml brown bottle from Barb's Beer Emporium in Concord. Pours a translucent copper body with a good inch of off-white head that leaves some good lacing. Caramel and toffee share the aroma with some herbal and floral hops. Caramel, toffee, nut, chocolate, and coffee all jump out initially, with a good amount of herbal, floral grassy hops with just the slightest hints of licorice, banana, and butterscotch. Medium to full in body with moderate carbonation. Super drinkable. One of the best - if not the best - ESB I have ever had. Flavor is so complex and yet complimentary and balanced. I can find almost nothing wrong with this beer - phenomenal.

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Photo of hosehead83
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into pint glass--A hazy dark/golden amber with a white two inch head

Aroma of malts with underlying mineral scent

Taste- Definitely malty with a slight hop "tang" with a mineral aftertaste and barely-there bitterness in the finish, offsetting the sweet maltiness

Overall, this is in the English tradition of a seemingly simple ale with many subtle flavors; nothing overpowering or in your face- just a very pleasant standard bearer of the style-quiet and reserved, nicely balanced and drinkable

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Photo of puboflyons
4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the 1 pt. 9 fl. oz. bottle with a date of 03/Dec/07-307. Sampled in Jan 09. Beautiful mahogany-ruby pour with foamy beige head and excellent clarity. Sweet aroma of malts and hops. Sensational well-balanced hoppy-mal;ty-bitter flavor. This is the English Strong Bitter that everyone strives be like.

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

Deep red to copper color, very fine foam of moderate thickness, few visible bubbles, quite clear and trim. Caramel to butterscotch infused nose, malty with the hop scents darting in and out, tea leaf, red pit fruit, at times roasted but not in a chocolaty way, underneath the sweetness lies some mineral water scents. Medium to full-bodied, level of carbonation matches the weight and allows the beer to pause in the mouth for consideration. Here, there's more of a dry chocolate powder and malt thing going on than sweeter caramel. Maybe raw coffee beans. Fruitcake kind of flavoring, neither fully candied nor fresh, the fruit does feel formed. Presence extends from tongue to mouth roof. More hops present as mouth residue. But wouldn't necessarily call it bitter.

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Photo of JonathanL7890
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After a vigorous pour into a pint glass a 2 finger head presented itself.
Apperarnce: light to medium amber -- very clear.
Aroma: spicy hops , caramel malt, raisins, floral.
Taste: a small amount of bitterness. Caramel, butterscotch, dried fruit, a bit dry on the palate. very excellent.
Moutfeel: solid for a 5.9 ABV beer.
drinkability: Pretty good -- I don't know where this beer went. -- Oh yeah, it's in my tummy ready for another.
A delicious beer and the best example of the style.

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

Poured from a bottle with a light white head. Brew's a very nice dark but clear golden hue. Smells like rich caramel and british malts. I love the taste of this beer. Not too sweet but deep, malty, and inviting. Crisp and hoppy in all the right places on the palate. One of my favorite ESBs and a great example of the style.

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Photo of GJ40
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Sampled from a 1 pint 0.9 oz bottle in a standard pint glass. Purchased at at Yankee Spirits in Swansea, MA. Label said best by 5/18/09 so it was pretty fresh.

A - A deep golden, almost amber color with perfect clarity and a moderate white head that dissipates quickly.

S - Doughy and bready with a touch of hop aroma.

T - Toasted malt with a slight hop flavor and mild hop bitterness. So simple yet so perfect. I love hop bombs the most but you can't go wrong with a solid English ESB. Well done Fullers!

M - Good consistency and moderate carbonation. The bottle is certainly more carbonated than a cask pull but it's still very enjoyable.

D - Reminds me of visits to the Churchill Arms. It doesn't get any more drinkable than this.

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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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Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
Beer rating: 4.06 out of 5 with 2,986 ratings