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: 1,363
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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Photo of WHROO
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark orange/brown, nice 1 finger head, sudsy top of foam....quite clear (only a touch hazy), with medium (very slow moving) carbonation. Head does drop to a blotchy film...Good lacing
S: Sweet caramel malts, fruity (little dark), Nutty & bready, with a bit of molasses
T: Tasty sweet caramel malts (good english ale), little biscuit & bready, some gently citrus hops with a bewt bitter finish, lingers a little. Touch dry too.
M: A cleansing crisp bitter finish leaves the mouth feeling refreshed...not too heavy or syrupy considering the flavour is packed.
D: This is an interesting palate pleaser...quite complex & not too biased on either the sweet or bitter - complements each other nicely.
Thorougly enjoyed this drop...delish!!!!

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Photo of birchstick
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - amber in color with and poured with a very minimal head
S - smelled very sweet - caramel malts, hops and citrus
T - taste followed the nose - very sweet, caramel malt; a little bready; with a kick of hops at the end and finishes with a light bitterness
M - full and smooth; right amount of carbonation
D - I was expecting something different, perhaps not for it to be so sweet. This is a very delicious beer and will have to stumble down the block soon and get it on tap.

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Photo of BierFan
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle into a tumbler glass.

Appearance: Dark coppery orange/red in color. Small head and good carbonation.

Smell: Smooth and malty aroma. Almost smells like a watered down barleywine.

Taste: I don't know if I would call this beer a bitter. Smooth and malty with some apple flavor. I think that the apple flavor is supposed to be a defect in beer, but I like it.

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Photo of kosmoraios
3.45/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper color with an insubstantial white soda-fizz head. Aroma is of light caramel from the malts and some orange/citrus.

Caramel malts and light toasted sourdough bread over herbal bitter hops, well balanced and a little on the sweet side. Carbonated and a tad oily in the mouth, a pleasant astringent aftertaste. A good, albeit mediocre, ESB. Sessionable nonetheless.

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Photo of bwb0402
4.66/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A personal favorite of mine. This is the beer that got me hooked on craft brew and is truly the standard for this particular style. I usually pour 1.5 fuller's (12 oz bottles) into an English pint and sit back and enjoy. The flavor is complex with mellow English hops, some earth tones, and a slight toffee flavor all play into the mix. Overall, the drinkability is excellent and the mouth feel is smooth and enjoyable. Its even better when served on tap. Highly recommended.

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

Surprisingly sweet onset, pleasingly bitter finish. Crisp without being hoppy. Light carbonation, but not flat. It's pretty in a pint glass.

I bought it because I was told it is the one true ESB. I don't have a lot of ESB under my belt, but I like it better than Red Hook's. It's a good beer.

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

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Clear, darkish amber. 1-2 fingers of head rise with decent retention and some lacing.

S - Lots of sweet caramel malt with a fruity overtone. Just a hint of floral and grassy hops are present in the background.

T - Moderate caramel and bread-like sweetness are present early to mid-palate, and then bitterness grows. Mostly an earthy and grassy flavor is evident with some alcohol showing up in the finish.

M - Nice and smooth, medium bodied, with moderate carbonation.

D - An easy drinking beer for sure. The style is not one of my favorites but for the most part this beer strikes a good balance, though leans towards the bitter side, as it should. To be a fairly mild ale, the alcohol hit in the finish is a little unexpected and definitely detracts.

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

on tap poured into a pub glass at Garrett Ripley's in Chicago. pours a rich chestnut amber coor with a single finger of creamy, off white head that is quite dense and lasts for a few minutes. excellent retention and solid lacings.

aroma is of rich caramel malts, toffee, and a touch of carmelized sugar with a base of earthy hops. nicely concentrated, and well balanced in the nose.

tate is rich and creamy, with caramel malts mainly, and notes of toffee and an earthy base. light notes of caramel and a touch of toasted malt in the aftertaste. masterfully balanced on the palate.

mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy with a slick texture and a wonderfully rich and warming quality.

drinkability is excellent. this is a supurbly smooth and easy drinking ESB, with a rich and well balanced profile. aftertaste is rich and creamy. a brilliant ESB. cheers!

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

I poured this one from a 12oz brown Euro-style bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A= This ale poured a clear caramel color with slight coppery highlights. The snow white fluffy head poured 1" and slowly dropped to a skim. Just a bit of sticky lace down the glass.

S= I found caramel malts, sweetness, earthy hops, and a faint whiff of alcohol.

T= Flavors of sweet and caramelly malts dominate with a slight fruitiness and solid earthy hop character present as well. Alcohol does not present itself until the very end.

MF= Medium bodied and supremely smooth. Light carbonation level.

D= This first and still the benchmark for the style. I love this beer and think of this as the ultimate English session ale.

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Photo of eweneek83
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - stunning colour, deep copper orange, and brilliant clarity, low off white head leaves a sheet of lace.

S - low aromas, basic malt, english fruity esters

T - sweet malt, caramel, fruit, toast, nuts, bread, earthy hops with a bit of floral and even citrus, finish is not overly bitter, but dry and satisfying, lingering biscuit malt in the aftertaste.

M - smooth, medium-low body, low carbonation

D - A great example of an english bitter, but this is about the best there is in bottled form.

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

A: beautiful deep amber color, head that dissipates quickly and leaves light lacing

S: Nice bready and caramel scent

T: Nicely balanced with a delicious malty presence and great bitterness

M: A nice combination of smoothness and a carbonation bite at the finish

D: Very drinkable, flavorful without being heavy in the slightest. Would gladly drink this any time.

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

A: Poured a clear and beautiful deep marzen with an equally impessive 2 finger frothy dark beige head that displayed very good retention. The lacing was light as well the visible carbonation.

S: light cinnamon sticks, a light maltiness of dried caramel and fresh autumn leaves. There was a very woodsy scent to the aroma overall with a nice soft fresh flowering hopping.

T: The initial flavor had some dry sour malting, a woodsy flavor, with a soft flowery hopping. Warm apple skins, cinnamon, and worty notes also contribute to the flavor. The finish finds a dried malt with a bitter flowery hopping. Dry, bitter and everything you can ask of per style with a touch of warm apple cider alcohol and dried fruitiness rounding things out.

M: smooth, with a nice oily viscosity and a mediumfullness. A soft carbonation makes things gentle on the tongue while a dried caramel and flowery bitterness coats the tongue upon the swallow.

D: A well balanced bitterness and easy consumption makes this a very special bitter indeed. Good per style and worthy by all means.

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Photo of foles
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This has been sitting in the fridge waiting for the right moment. Gee wizz did it impress! Why I didn't have this on cask while living in London makes me kick myself (sigh).

Presents a lovely dark copper colour, with a fluffy white head. Smells of complex malts and earthy english hops. Engages the tongue with a sweet toffee, malty sweetness with an earthy subtle hoppiness. A surprisingly light lingering bitterness balances the malty rich palate. The ABV is well hidden.

My sample seemed particularly fresh - from the International Beer Shop, West Leederville.

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Photo of webmanspidey
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Pipers Pub on the south side of Pittsburgh.

Amber/Caramel color. Smells fruity and hoppy, but the taste is very well balanced.. sort of like a hesitant IPA. The balance makes this beer very drinkable and enjoyable. I'm sure this takes a lot of skill to perfect.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
1.8/5  rDev -55.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Bought a 16 oz single of this for $0.99

I wanted to like this, I really did. But, this was one of the worst tasting beers I've had. It smelled and looked alright, but the taste was so bitter and rough. I actually couldn't take more than a few sips and I had to pour it, I was actually gagging. I tried another bottle a few days later and got the same result. I hope I just bought some bad bottles because this seems like a well respected historic beer.

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Photo of markaberrant
3.94/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - stunning colour, deep copper orange, and brilliant clarity, low off white head leaves a sheet of lace.

S - low aromas, basic malt, english fruity esters

T - sweet malt, caramel, fruit, toast, nuts, bread, earthy hops with a bit of floral and even citrus, finish is not overly bitter, but dry and satisfying, lingering biscuit malt in the aftertaste.

M - smooth, medium-low body, low carbonation

D - I'm not crazy about english bitters, but this is about the best there is in bottled form.

Probably not the freshest example (BB Nov 20, 2008), which is likely why it doesn't have much of a nose on it.

I am a fan of Fuller's, but haven't had the ESB in at least 2 or 3 years. Bitters are really meant to be drank fresh and from a cask, but this is still a good beer. Malt and hops are well balanced, and both have a complex profile.

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Photo of Silenus89
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of the cool 12oz bottle to my pint glass.

A. Copper amber color. small white head that dissolves quickly

S. Pine, Oak, Some spicy aromas alittle cinnamon

T/MF. Malts, breads a very good bitterness that stays around. Medium body with good carbonation

D. This a excellent beer that really surprised me. Wonderful drinability i dont know if a 6 pack is enough.

Overall a very good beer that im most definitely having again

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep copper color with a 2 finger head that really sticks around nicely.

Mineral nose with tangy hop notes. A semi-sweet maltiness creeps in as well, kinda like rye bread.

Very flavorful, but yet a mild, gentle brew. Malty sweetness and minerals dominate the palate, while zesty hops add a dry finish. Has a very British feel to it.

Easy drinker with plenty of flavor and variety to keep you interested throughout. Did a mini-tasting with Redhook and Great Divide ESB and Fuller's is by far the best of that bunch.

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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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