Fuller's ESB | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

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Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB
3,021 Ratings
Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB

Brewed by:
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
England, United Kingdom

Style: English 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

View: Beers
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Ratings: 3,021 |  Reviews: 1,381
Photo of Bighuge
3.03/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer's a clear copper with a very slight head. Carbonation is evident as a small quantity of bubbles surface. A small herbal aroma mixed with a slight perfume smell. You can tell this is an English brew. There's quite the stinging hop presence. Almost annoying, but not quite. Some decent malt tones, but nothing stands out to me with this one. It's not "extra special" in my opinion. It may be the original ESB, but certainly is not the best ESB (as Rogue's Brutal Bitter and Alesmith's Anvil ESB are much better.

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Photo of garymuchow
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really an attractive looking beer with nice clear red-gold-brown color and good full head. Aroma 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. I'd like to try this again, especially on tap if I can find it.

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Photo of jackndan
4.01/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fuller’s ESB: Had a great week, found and enjoyed several Fuller’s beer. ESB in Imperial Pint Brown Bottle. Big malt and big hop tastes, strong aromas, rich (huge) body. Bit of bitter (hops) bite at the end. Fuller’s brews very, very good beers. Very highly recommended.

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Photo of aracauna
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First beer that I've ever had that I could see someone describing it as having a chewy maltiness. Definite malt presence, but you don't really notice that until after a few sips as the bitterness hits you first and as you get used to it the malt starts rearing it's lovely head. Very nicely balanced despite the bitterness. It's interesting to see what the different hops do in beers. The hops in this beer offer little to the flavor of the beer except bitterness while in Victory's HopDevil they give it a very floral/perfumey smell and taste and in most APAs they lend a grapefruity taste.

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

Man, do I ever like this stuff. Nice clear amber color with an ample head. Smells great with its malty carmel aroma. When I tasted it the first thing I thought of was carmel apples. Very well balanced with a slight hop bitterness than carries into the aftertaste. Great beer! I highly recommend it.

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Photo of Reverand
4.65/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The entire line of Fullers beers are incredible, especially the ESB. This beer has wonderful balance between the aroma to the final taste. For me all other ESB beers fail to measure up to the Fullers.

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

Appealing both visually and olfactorily (is that a word?) with a pleasing earthy scent. Superb mouthfeel and wonderful, firm malt flavor that is hearty and rousing. Finish is perfectly balanced with a rounded bready dryness (Kent Goldings?), does not linger long on the palate. The metallic undertaste does get to me though, and it is the one stumbling block of this beer. Some may not mind it; I do. Perhaps it is a symptom of adjuncts. At any rate, this is otherwise a splendid beer; each sip is a slightly different experience and that is always the sign of a very good beer.

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Photo of marc77
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The head dissapates quickly into a thin layer that leaves a sparse web down the glass. Perfectly bronze in color exhibiting excellent clarity. Lots of fruity and bready esters hit the nose at first, but are then followed by a earthy Fuggles hop nose. As the beer warms, an almost licorice note can be perceived. The moderate carbonation seems to lighten the body at first, but as CO2 escapes the body seems to increase. The hop bitterness is quite mild and clean, serving to balance the very pleasant maltiness. Hop flavor is signature British, and is characterized by rustic, earthy, leafy, and slightly floral components. Quite complex. Toasted malt flavors round out the finish. This very well crafted and highly drinkable ESB is another quality Fullers beer. I'll place this just a notch below Youngs SLA and London Pride, since it's more subdued in yeast fruity esters, something I love in a bitter or English pale.

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Photo of canoehornpoint
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very complex beer. this is not just a bitter but a flavorful bitter. the flavor hops were a bit flowery, like saaz, i believe, but i know that fullers does not use saaz. this has a great lingering finish. the malt and hop balance is superb.

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Photo of BeerAngel
4.85/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one that grows on you! My first drink, I thought "pretty good beer". My second "pretty damn good beer". A friend introduced me to this beer and now I buy it. Now I love it. Very smooth! Makes you want to roll it around before you send it down the hatch. It has a nice head that leaves traces of it down the side of the glass all the way to the bottom. It has a brilliant medium amber color and clarity. The taste is almost buttery and is very smooth and creamy. The mouthfeel is by far the best I've had from any beer, period. This is the beer I claim as my "fallback" beer...and I mean that with the greatest of compliments.

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Photo of oberon
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the most satisfying beers I have ever had.Great rich color,great malty taste with good hop ending.Maybe the standard for an English ESB with it's fruity maltiness and subtle hops in the finish.A mellow sessionable beer that I need to try on cask.

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Photo of mophie
4.68/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An outstanding beer! The deep amber color defines what a bitter is supposed to look like. Slightly tangy, almost metallic smell. The initial taste is also a bit tangy and metallic, then gives way to a bready, slightly sweet finish. Just a touch of alcohol lingers. I love it. There is no other ESB, in my opinion.

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Photo of bmills1608
4.77/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I really love this beer. I thought their London Pride was great (it is) but this is even better. It is incredibly full flavored and mouthfilling, rich mouth coating flavors.

Solid amber with some dark copper highlites. Smell is predominately fruity with a touch of baked grain and a whiff of hop spice.

Another example of the greatness of this English Ale is this beer gets better and better the longer you take to drink it. Warming results in an explosion of flavors that stay hidden if too cold. A real malt presence through out with fruit and spice as a side-note.

I don't know what it is, but many of the English Ales have a great aftertaste (bready or dough-like perhaps) that seems to coat the mouth with flavor, I really like that. The only draw back is the price tag.

Probably my favorate beer period.

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Photo of inebrius
4.62/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My drinking buddy's fridge was perpetually filled with Bud only a few months ago, and now he swears by this stuff. A truly great beer appeals to the gourmet and novice alike. So well balanced I want to shout with joy! I like this beer.

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Photo of Jordan
4.94/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First, I have to say this is a landmark beer for me. There really isn't anything I've tasted quite like it. Very unique taste and aromas. Extremely complex on both the palate and nose.
Let me start with it's scent.. the smell of this beer is something very difficult to discribe. My best analogy would be this: a vibrant mixture of butterscotch, exotic herb essense, and pine. Odd? If you can imagine this combonation, I congratulate you.
Taste.. Many of the aromas make a flawless transition onto the palate. (you ever had that experience? sure you have.) There isn't an off balanced feature in this brew, including the hop/malt balance. If there was a perfect marriage between these contrasts, Fuller's ESB has succeded. Hints of citrus orange, grapefruit, lemon peel. Finishes slightly dry. Medium body. Prost!

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Photo of Jason
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz brown brown bottle with a best before date on the back label.

Appearance: Caramel copper in colour with a thin but fluffy bubbly lace that leaves several rings on the glass.

Smell: Caramelized sugars with a hint of toasted nearly metallic malt, some fruity esters give of a whiff of alcohol.

Taste: Medium body with a stream of smoothness that is textured to a t. Bit of fruitiness and esters on the mouth. Rich and sweet caramel maltiness with a big flavourful malty palate, finishing off with a steely crystal malt flavour (vague hint of carob) and a semi sharp hop bitterness.

Notes: A supreme ESB, and a superb beer overall. The cast and mold for all ESB's brewed across the world.

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

I really enjoy drinking this beer. I have never had a brew with a better malt to hop balance. Neither overpowers the other and both compliment each other quite nicely. A nice amber color in the glass with a slightly sweet aroma. This beer is just plain flavorful without any residual bitterness. This is beginning to be a staple in the beer 'fridge.

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Photo of ThreePistols
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Handsome copper color, small head. Sweet toasted malt aroma. Clean malty slighty sweet (cane sugar and cherrys?) alcohol taste. Sharp and sweet long dry aftertaste with an alcohol undertone. This is my first ESB that I have tried. I liked it and in my opinion is a very good beer.

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

This beer is top five material. Fruity, malty, bit of an alcohol nip, perfect hop balance. Nuff said. Just go and drink some of this perfect beer.

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Photo of BKotch
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The definitive extra special bitter. Sorry, but this is an English style and I have never found an American version that comes anywhere close. It does need to be fresh, though. A rush of distinctive flavors -- malty, nutty, but with a good hop bite. Extraordinarily well-balanced. London Pride on steroids, and one of my all-time favorite beers.

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

A very nice bitter, with a finish that is both sharp and sweet.

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Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
Beer rating: 4.06 out of 5 with 3,021 ratings