Fuller's ESB | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

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Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB
3,007 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: 3,007 |  Reviews: 1,376
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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Photo of projectflam86
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Nice amber color with a thin white head that offered just mild lacing.

S- Lots of hops and malt make up the nose. Maybe some sweet fruit citrus flavors.

T- Bitter hops dominate the initial taste with some sweet malt coming through in the end. I like the hoppy flavor but it dies off quickly.

M- Smooth and medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation.

D- Pretty nice brew and worth getting again.

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Photo of SpecialK088
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured from the bottle into a pint glass

A-Nice bronzy coppry color head goes away quickly but lingers just arounf the edges

S-Very floral, most noteably sweet friut mostly grape with some light hop notes with some grain

T-Taste is almost deleacate. Bitter fruit flavor with a crisp green apple like finish

M-Very smooth one of the smoothest I have ever drank, not overly complex but very good. pretty thin body but a great carbonation level.

D-Very easy to drink something to keep around for when the mood strikes or on a warm day.

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

poured into a pint glass with little head and a deep amber color that is crystal clear.

smell is a nice malty character and a yeasty nose. very little hops to speak of but it still smells damn fine!

Taste is smooth and malty sweet with a bit of caramely nuances. I get some figgy notes and a nutty finish.

mouth is so smooth and delicate with a medium to low carbonation. This beer drinks very easy and is one of the most delicate and enjoyable esb's I've ever had.

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Photo of bimish
4.77/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours with a thin, bubbly head that dissipates quickly. Minimal lacing. Clear, light organish-brown color.

S - Crisp, fruity, herby, malty aroma. Citrus and caramel notes apparent. Quite complex.

T - Delicious. Starts with nice, well-rounded caramel flavor, ends with more roasted, nutty malt flavors. Floral hops balance the malt nicely. Quite complex flavor for the relatively low ABV.

M - Medium to full body, very smooth. Light carbonation.

D - This is a great session beer. One of the true classics IMO.

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

A-Nice copper colour, the head is light tan in colour, foamy, but does not dissipate completely.

S-Quite fruity, citrusy, with a nice biscuit maltiness

T-Starts out fruity, followed by a rich biscuit malt base, then ending in a crisp hoppy bitter finish, which does not linger for too long.

M-Light-to-Medium bodied. Goes down very smooth; lovely drinkability.

D-Now, this is the pinnacle of the ESB style. I like it a lot, since I'm a big fan of bitters in general. Perfect for anyone who likes pale ales and bitters.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.11/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this one on cask at The Memphis Taproom as part of their "no repeat beer week" during Philly Beer Week. Served to me in a shaker glass and appeared a cloudy amber/brown color with a solid two fingers of fluffy ecru foam. Smells and tastes of bread and biscuits with a touch of caramel. Super smooth and fulfilling. A fantastic ESB that I would be happy to drink all day.

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Photo of Deuane
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Rich amber with a medium, creamy, off-white head. Head reduced a bit to a thin cap and left nice lacing.

S-A nice bready / biscuity aroma paired with light fruit notes of apple/pear.

T-Light fruit notes with a healthy biscuit malt base combine for the majority of the flavours. A sharp, spicy bitter bite in the finish makes it known that there are hops present.

M-Medium bodied but light in feel with a wonderful creamy smooth texture thanks to the cask delivery. Mild lasting residual flavours.

D-This beer on cask has got to be THE benchmark ESB. It is simple, yet delicious and quaffable beyond belief. When obtained fresh and on cask this is one of the great beers on the planet.

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Photo of ffejherb
4.31/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On cask at Memphis Tap Room on 3/8/09 during Philly Beer Week.

A - Clear amber/caramel-colored body with one finger of thick, creamy off-white head that settled to a quarter inch of retention and left plenty of decorative lacing around the glass.

S - Subtle fruity hops paired with an abundance of sweet caramel malt and bready notes. Not extremely aromatic, though.

T - Tasty balance of light fruity and Noble hops acting in concert with sweet caramel and bready malt goodness. It's as simple as that, folks.

M - Super smooth and creamy texture that's not too thin or watery. Minimal bitterness on the palate, but not overly sweet either. Very nice cask mouthfeel overall.

D - This beer was made to be pulled from a handpump. The flavors really blossom here. I'd imagine Fuller's would have to be the benchmark ESB. This is the definition of a session beer. Simple, classic and delicious.

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Photo of roddwolff
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Very good english beer.

In the appearance have a coppery color with a finger of consistent and creamy foam.

In the smell are toast malts and grape; the taste is very good, bitter and strong, with essences of prunes.

In the mouthfeel there's only coffee, very good to accompany with blue cheese.

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

A - Poured a clear amber color with a thin off white head

S - Is mostly of malt some fruit scents

T - Follows the nose malty with a touch of fruit and caramel

M - This beer has a lighter body with medium carbonation to it

D - Very easy to drink it has a good taste that goes down smoothly I could drink a number of these in one sitting worth trying

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

Bottle - 11.2 oz, best buy 8.10.09

The beer poured a darker amber color than expected, kind of like an apple juice color, but clear and with a nice white head.

The beer gave off more of a malt aroma than anything else. Some hops, but only a hint really. Also maybe a floral hint with a bit of something sweet. Straight forward really, but very well done.

The taste of the beer was really good. A lot better than I had initially expected (as I did not check the BA rating before trying). A really nice malt flavor with only hints of what was detected in the aroma. To finish it off, a nice bitter aftertaste, but not to much so. A very nice finish.

The beer felt a little under-carbonated, but not really to the detriment of the beer. I would say that it had a medium body to it. Smooth, creamy and exceptionally easy to drink. Easily the best of the style that I have tried to date and possibly one of the best beers that I have tried to date, period. Excellent beer.

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Photo of Thanby
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is like a cider, clear and golden with little head. The nose is a little buttery, straw and wheat, some spices that I can't quite pick out. Mild flavor, buttery and smooth, the hops don't really sink in until the finish. Full, round flavor, easy to drink, and generally a pleasant brew.

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Photo of itcomesnpints
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at the Red Lion Pub in Houston with their immensely spicy Beef Vindaloo (made surprisingly bearable when accompanied with this brew).

Appearance looked flat. Thin layer of white foam over a clear gold body.

Smell of spicy, herbal hops and malty caramel.

Taste was sweet caramel malt with a distinctive hop bite.

Mouthfeel is light to medium. Notably smooth and silky mouthfeel.

I could easily sip this one the whole night. A perfect session brew for a British pub.

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Photo of zoso1967
3.71/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A = Dark amber with light carbonation. Head quickly dissipates.

S = Smells of toasted malt and grassy herbal hops.

T = Taste is very similar to aroma with a biscuity, slightly caramel malt flavor and floral, grassy hops. Nice sweetness in the aftertaste.

M = Very smooth and not too cloying considering the maltyness.

D = Very drinkable ESB.

Not the best ESB I have ever had, but a fine example of the style and a classic English beer.

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Photo of webbcreative
3.43/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Jan 30, 2009
hazy copper color. 3 finger head. Nice brew. smelled of hops, and a touch of malt. Taste a bit more maltly, but a nice bitterness to it. Bitterness doesnt stick around in my mouth, so its okay. Clean and crisp flavor, medium mouthfeel. its good, but i prefer the London Pride to this one.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

02/20/09- Purchased at Piazza's in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 16.9oz bottl with a best by date on the bottom of the back label. Poured into my Pizza Port 20oz glass.

Appearance- Bright deep golden colored pour. Quick evaporating 1/2 inch head and some light spotty and streaks of lace.

Smell- Basic scent of fairly fresh british hops and light toasted malt. Pretty straight forward.

Taste- Just like the scent. It is what it is. Leafy green tree like hops with some grapefruit rind as well. Toasted caramel malt rounds it out. Even balanced.

Mouthfeel- Average carbonation, minor hoppy aftertaste.

Drinkability- OK beer, nothing exceptional, but over a good drinking ESB.

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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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Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
Beer rating: 4.06 out of 5 with 3,007 ratings