Fuller's ESB | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

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Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB
2,999 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: 2,999 |  Reviews: 1,375
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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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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Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
Beer rating: 4.06 out of 5 with 2,999 ratings