Fuller's ESB | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

1,349 Reviews
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,349 | Ratings: 2,905
Photo of Beginner2
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Listed in the "1001 Beers To Drink Before You Die," this one will have to wait for my review as I can't find my notes.
Reviewed in Roger Protz' "300 Beers To Try Before You Die!"

 178 characters

Photo of Thryptamine
3.94/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Medium amber look with decent head retention, slight carbonation and not too murky, some sweet notes in the smell, taste is an instant bitter that does not linger for too long in the palate, overall an enjoyable beer.

 217 characters

Photo of Cthulhusquid
4.89/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Orange-red body, 1 finger white head.

Smell: Stone fruits, orange, caramel, cream, and a mild nuttiness from the hops.

Taste: See above.

Feel: Medium bodied, medium-low carbonation, mild bitterness.

 207 characters

Photo of larryi86
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

11.2 oz bottle, best before 5/9/16, poured into pint

A- A clear caramel copper with a two finger white head.

S- Caramel malts, faint dark fruits, touch of roasted malts, mild floral hop character, nicely balanced.

T- Some malts, toasted malts, floral hops, touch of dark fruits, mild earthy/herbal flavors, pretty malt forward.

M- Smooth, medium to full body.

O- Up until now I've only had American ESB and I have to say this is different, far more malt focused and has a more complex malt character. Very enjoyable and easy to drink. Nice to see what an ESB should be.

 576 characters

Photo of EMH73
4.31/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear deep amber color with a one inch head and good lacing. Smells of malts and caramel. Taste is predominately malts with some caramel, spices and dark fruits (maybe raisins) and a hint of hops. Minimal bitterness despite the name. Lightly carbonated and medium bodied. An excellent beer.

 303 characters

Photo of puck1225
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On draft into a pint, and at the right temperature. Beautiful head and lacing, a golden clear color. The taste was malty, a bit sweet and mildly bitter. I have had other Fuller products in a bottle that did not impress. This was great.

 235 characters

Photo of caribou43
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

It is a nice ale and I love particulary the color red and orange, thin foam and white, average carbonation. The taste is well-balanced between hop, malt and you can smell the caramel.

 183 characters

Photo of twage04
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Low carbonation, pours a brownish/copper orange color, clear. Fruity, malty, very easy to drink. Not the deepest tapestry of flavors but what is there is balanced and delicious. Lots of toffee and a little sweet.

 212 characters

Photo of Harry_hp
4.14/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Quaffable. Soft mouth feel with a slightly spicy finish. Aroma - oranges, slightly sweet. Very tasty malty brew. Probably the best bottled bitter I've tasted.

 159 characters

Photo of TheStoutLord
4.67/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

L: Lacey head, dissipated pretty quickly. Beautiful copper tones and very clear, more so that I anticipated.

S: Pretty subtle smells. Very toasty and caramel-malted. It makes me think of fruit too, maybe raisins or plums or something. A kind of dried fruit. Its something interesting balance of sweet and bitter.

T: Crazy good. Malty and a little bitter, but not too bitter. Gentle hoppiness offset by the sweet/spiced"fruit" flavors. Huge flavor and pretty complex, but so drinkable. I feel like I get something different on every sip.

F: Good body. Strong start to finish. Pops on the tongue a little toward the end.

O: Just a great beer. Top of line. Rich flavors that will keep you coming back to this brew again and again.

 733 characters

Photo of BeerWithMike
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sampled earlier this afternoon on 1/16/16. Comes in a 330ml (11.2 ounce) nice looking bottle. Found it in the discount bin over at the Hy-Vee across the Missouri river in Council Bluffs for just $2.00. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to "BUD LIGHT-OMAHA" pint glass.

Brew pours a brownish-amber in color with a good 1+-finger creamy off-white head. A decent amount of lacing was seen when sipped that stuck to the sides of the glass after each sip. Aroma is of some darker fruits, earthy hops and yeast. Don't let the name of this brew fool you as it is NOT strong, bitter or hoppy at all. Will say that the taste is close to the aroma with maybe a hint of some spice in the mix as well. Goes down very easy with no bitterness at all. Crisp and clean. Close to full-bodied with perfect carbonation. Overall, really liked this one and is worth a try for sure.

 895 characters

Photo of Foyle
5/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into nonic glass.

Appearance: pours a 2" pillowy cream colored head that falls slowly with abundant lacing. Color is slightly hazy copper with moderate streaming carbonation.
Aroma: raisin and ripe fruit, bread dough and some earthy hops.
Mouthfeel: medium bodied, sticky, with a slightly damp finish.
Flavor: raisins, plums, a bit of toffee, bread crust with a nice fruity and earthy hop balance.
Overall: probably the best beer in the style category.

 480 characters

Photo of Brewfocker80
4.48/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Brown golden color with 2 finger head and a little lacing
S: Smells nutty and hoppy with some fruit smells
T: Nice smooth caramel, malty flavor
M: Full bodied and smooth, light carbonation
O: Outstanding beer. London has done itself proud with this beer. If I'm looking to drink a bitter this is a great one.

12oz bottle in a pint glass

 342 characters

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

Pours an amber color. Smell is of slightly sweet, toasty malts.
Taste starts with caramel malt followed by some dark fruit.
This is smooth and well balanced.

 159 characters

Photo of MacMalt
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into pint glass. It pours an attractive amber with a one-finger milk-white head and minimal lacing. It smells of biscuit, malt, yeast, and caramel. "Bitter" is really not a good style description as the primary taste is caramel and malt, with some light spices and hops. It's like drinking an english muffin with a caramel spread. It's really good! This beer has a pleasant mouthfeel: medium-bodied, moderately carbonated, and extremely drinkable at 5.90% ABV. Overall, this is a delightful English bitter. I enjoy caramel in beer and this one doesn't disappoint. It has a great reputation which is well-deserved. Jolly good!

 643 characters

Photo of donspublic
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from tap into a shaker, 1 finger cream colored tight creamy head, epic lacing. Clear dark amber in the glass. Smells of biscuit, earthy hops. Taste is initially malt sweetness, followed up by floral hoppiness and ending with mild bitterness. Great mouthfeel, great beer

 279 characters

Photo of Craigory
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep copper body with excellent clarity and creamy, off-white head with good retention. Aroma features resiny and fruity hops, with lightly toasty and caramel malt. The flavor features complex fruity malt flavors; the overall impression is of biscuits lightly buttered and plentifully spread with marmalade. Just enough hop bitterness to balance and add a medium-dry finish. Reminiscent of a mini-Vintage Ale, but drinkable by the imperial pint.

 453 characters

Photo of OlaB
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: clear copper color,with a small head that disapears quite fast ,carbonation seems pretty high
S: Malt,yeast,caramel,dark fruits is the first that comes to my mind
T:Sweet malts, caramel ,herbs and spices
F:well rounded, bitterness are quite comfotable, very refreshing
O: It was my my first encounter with this brew , and i was very positive suprised, i enjoyed this beer a lot and i look foward to try the other beer styles have from this brewery

 451 characters

Photo of Spike
4.26/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From a 500ml bottle into a pint glass.

Pours crystal clear. Beautiful amber colour shines when it catches the light. The white head reduces to a thin, patchy cap very quickly. Ring of lacing. Handfuls of tiny escaping bubbles provide additional interest.

Plenty of malts. Some toasted notes present. Damson jam.

Good balance between sweet malt and bitter hops, finishing on the side of the malt. Caramel, hardwood. Nicely spicy.

Rich mouthfeel. Oily. Some alcohol. A little spritz. Sweet finish.

Great example of a strong bitter. Maybe the classic example of this style. Most often drunk on tap but, in this case, the bottled version was extremely satisfying. Very enjoyable. Supremely drinkable.

 701 characters

Photo of hophead723
4.82/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I grabbed this one, with high expectations. I'm already liking this brewery.

Look: Golden mahogany in color, with a sticky off-white head. Nice lacing down the glass

Smell: It smells like orange marmalade and toasted biscuits. There's also a leading hue of orange blossom honey and fruity ale yeast. The aroma shouts quality.

Taste: The taste and aroma are similar with a predominant unique and delicious orange marmalade base of sweetness that is complemented quickly by a toasted english muffin backbone of malts. This can only have come from Great Britain!

Feel: Incredibly smooth with a delicate bitterness that lingers on the palate to give a perfect finish.

Overall: Top notch delicious beer! Absolutely world-class!

 728 characters

Photo of MarkQ617
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at Ramsi's. The appearance is almost exactly what you want from an esb, a nice opaque light brown color. Flavor and aroma were however a bot weak in my mind - the bitter bready hoppiness youd want is there, its just not nearly strong enough. Mouthfeel was totally decent, fairly smooth. Maybe a bit overrated.

 327 characters

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

The Fullers ESB poured a nice amber clear with thin white head that did not lace. The scent had nice English style hop presence. The taste was a nice balance of hops and malt....with it finishing with just enough bitterness to confirm that you're drinking an ESB. The mouthfeel was medium in body with subtle carbonation. Overall.....good beer.

 347 characters

Photo of ARoman
2.98/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

On cask, poured into a nonic. The aroma is lightly waxy, a bit leathery, with caramel notes. The beer is an oily amber color with a white soap head that has light retention and lace. The taste is a medium bitter followed by a medium sweet. The oily and slick texture is flat. The light body has flavors of salted caramel, musty leather, a light, mellow citrus / marmalade and a light bread crust. The finish is grainy with an aftertaste that's lingering, primarily waxy, with notes of caramel and grain.

 503 characters

Photo of Raime
3.52/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fullers ESB.

Looked this bottle over a few dozen times at my local craft shop and decided it was finally time to give it a shot. Haven't had much of this style but from the few I can remember I'm not expecting too much out of it.

Look - Pours a see through clear amber with a two and a half finger slightly off white head that retains exceptionally and drops down slowly leaving tons of sticky mountain ranges of lacing. Carbonation appears to be pretty high with this beer. The lacing remains like an acid tripped out night looking at the moving clouds. This is one beautiful brew 5.

Smell - Burnt and toasty malts make up a big heft of the nose with a touch of hops out know will be bitter. Nose truly isn't all that impressive as the scents quickly slip away. 3.

Taste - Upon the drink initially meeting the mouth you get the taste of cardboard which rapidly disappears as the brew hits the palate. Hops are a bit onion like ( yep onions, sue me ) at first but the malts take over in toasted varieties as you swallow. 3.5.

Feel - Mouthfeel is pretty well rounded for the lower ABV with heavy though seemingly dying carbonation. Also highly creamy due to the well retained head. Malts take on almost a chestnut esque flavor as the beer sits. 4.

Overall - Overall it isn't spectacular but I could happily drink this sessionably. The onion ordeal is a touch off putting for me but there was a great malty backbone to make up for it in the flavor department. 3.5..

 1,469 characters

Photo of maedhros09
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Light Amber-gold with a bit of lingering head throughout
Smell: malty sweet caramel
Taste: sweet caramel malt with some fruity acidity and a light herbal bitterness
Feel: medium body, smooth carbonation

Overall: A great hearty session ale, with a focus on the particularly English caramelly malt character. Its hallmark is an impeccable balance that makes it very flavorful yet quaffable too. I remembered liking this one but this time I could appreciate how perfectly crafted it is. Justly reputed as the definitive ESB

 532 characters

Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
4.06 out of 5 based on 2,905 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.