Fuller's ESB | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

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Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB
3,040 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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,040 |  Reviews: 1,384
Photo of Gusler
3.6/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The pour a deep amber too almost brown color, the head is massive, creamy with thick glutinous lace that clings to the glass. Nose is light malt, caramel, and a hint of citrus. Start is malt, lightly sweet, the top flimsy, and the finish pleasantly hopped, mildly acidic, with a long lasting malt dry aftertaste. Quite drinkable and well worth a sample, and a beer I sample often

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

Appearance: Nice white head on a dark amber beer.

Smell: A bit stronger of the same plum jam, caramel and toffee as in the London Pride.

Taste: The hop bitterness dominate over the malt in the taste at first. The aftertaste and alcohol then carries the maltier notes forth. Very flavorful and tasty!

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body with medium-low carbonation.

The ESB has a bit more sting than Fuller's London Pride which is nice, but it covers up some of the more subtle notes of the London Pride too. I simply love this beer.

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Photo of rastaman
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Better cask conditioned than from the bottle, but have had good samples on cask and have had bad ones, at its best, its quite resiny, bittersweet, with a bitter hop finish, medium to full bodied, quite good, but perhaps a touch overated.

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

This beer seemed to pour a little flat but still left a bit of head. Outstanding amber color. Excellent full, well bablanced flavor. For a person who is not big on English style beers, I was quite impressed with the taste of this one. For a company whose botle mentions that Fuller's ESB is the world's original ESB, they certainly have it done right.

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Photo of Jon
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours to a nice clear amber color with an off-white head that seemed to disappear rather quickly. I noticed that biscuity/malty aroma that others described. The taste is well-balanced between a mild hop flavor and some caramel malt flavor. The mouthfeel is nice and smooth with a little carbonation. It's easily drinkable, and I don't know who could resist a second offering of this. This is a classic ESB.

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

Pours with an off-white head, clear golden liquid with highlights of red. Nose is of very biscuity malt, clean too. Taste is a bit of butterscotch diacetyl, with great hoppy dryness taking it all the way to the finish which is pleasantly bitter and long. This original E.S.B. still stands above all others, I.M.O.

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Photo of Murph
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served a clear amber color with a tiny, creamy white head and minimal lacing. Great smooth biscuity malt aroma but not much else leaving the aroma with a little to be desired. The biscuity malt opens up the brew and carries it most of the way as their is a subtle hop bitterness that holds up the brew well. Very smooth but slightly overcarbonated, none the less this is one awesomely drinkable brew and one that I would love to try on cask.

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

Clear amber with thin, short lasting, off-white head. Smell was a nice hoppy bitterness with delicate malt undertones. The flavor was more of the same, which became less bitter as it warmed, more balanced. There was a nice degree of carbonation and long-lasting flavor. Good drinkability as I could drink a couple per night.

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Photo of psugrad98
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A rich and tasty ESB. Medium amber with thick lace and head. Aroma balanced between sweet carmel and floral hops. Taste is rich and complex with a sweet carmel malt sweetness. Almost a trace of what to me tastes like a tootsie roll. Strong hop presence backs up with full floral bite. Very drinkable and a my session brew for the other day.

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Photo of Wildman
3.38/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a nice copper amber color and formed a nice bubbley off white head that left some lace. It had an aroma of hops, malt and caramel. The flavor was a taste of hops, malt, caramel. Lighter than some of the other ESBs I have tried. A slightly bittersweet aftertaste to it. Not as sweet as some of the others, which I prefer.

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

Another picnic choice - 22 oz bottle. Had to be the best I had today. Amberish-red (making up words here), dry and hoppy from start to finish. And to me, the perfect refreshing and still dry taste. Not as hoppy as I would have expected but for today's outing it was perfect. Moving right up to the top of the list for a summer quaff. There was definitely no metallic taste that some others have mentioned.

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Photo of frank4sail
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rose in color with a white head. this breer lived up to the billing it got on this web site.. The nose is one of lots of hops in the kettle. Very fine lively bubbles fill the brew and your mouth. A very fine lace also follows as your actions and instincts take over and your will drink this beer quicker than usual.
On first taste you get a hint of malt followed by lively mouth and bitter smooth finish. The aftertaste is mellowed by a smooth coated tongue with hints of fruit. This is the standard english bitter.

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

It's copper with a trace of red and a healthy head. The smell is caramel with a little spice and a nice hop aroma. The flavor is well-balanced, with a strong malt flavor, notes of caramel and fruit, and a healthy hop kick. Fuller's is surprisingly easy going down. This is a fine beer.

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Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper color, with a firm foamy head that dies pretty quickly…leaves a nice ring of lace. On the nose is hops, and slight caramel aroma. Mouth feel is fairly smooth but a bit tingly. On the palate slightly sweet, bitterness, some fruitiness, earthy graininess, and caramel and roasted malt in the background. Very enjoyable brew, I like it a lot…very flavorful!

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Photo of Todd
3.96/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a semi-hazy copper beer with a foamy head that quickly settles to a thin ring lace with slight stick. Aroma is soft, but of coarse hops, but for the most part rather clean.

Medium in body, and smooth. Juicy, chewy mouthfeel. Mildly fruity. Lots of mineral flavours (from the water), followed by a woody, earthy, hop leaf, and coarse flavour and feel. Pear-like texture at times. Little sweetness, it's all body. Touch of roasted malt character in the background. Dry. Sharp bitter edge. Salty. Tingly. Herbal / spicy. Hops kick it all the way into the finish, and stick around long after the mouth party is over.

"The World's Original Extra Special Bitter" ... perhaps, but there's better interpretations of the style in my opinion. Still, the quintessential ESB and a beer everyone should try -- at the very least for the sturdy, impressive bottle.

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

Clear darker amber, approaching ruby. Head is big-bubbled and about 1/4 of an inch after a minute. Slightly spicy aroma, a little nutmeg. Nice medium mouthfeel and restrained carbonation. Flavors are pretty complex and range from allspice through traces of chocolate. Nice floral bittering. Really nice, but not overblown ESB -- may be my favorite. Fine brew, as if Fuller's would do anything else. Balance is great. Very subtle compared to many American renditions.

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

Another sentimental favorite, one of the first good beers I stumbled accross. Very appealing copper color, I thought the head left too quickly. Smell was nice and bitter, big hops. Just a very hop full bitter, as expected.(read the label) Easy to drink several at a time, and goes with chicken very well. I think the six pack bottles are little overpriced about $9-10 here. There is usually something different to try for a better price, but I think it is a very good beer.

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Photo of Jdiddy
3.09/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a great beer but unfortunately, it depends on when you have it. I have had it on tap and it was superb and then when I went back, it tasted and smelled of metal. I have a feeling it depends on the water used. If you get it when it's good, you're in for a good beer. Not too hoppy, good balance.

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

Very well balanced malt/hop tones. Mouthfeel was excellent. Thin head dissipated quickly. Pleasant copper color. This is a good beer, but rather pricey at $10 a six pack. I wouldn't go out of my way for this one. I don't know if this is the average price for this brew or not.

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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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Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
Beer rating: 4.06 out of 5 with 3,040 ratings