Fuller's ESB | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

BA SCORE
91
outstanding
1,347 Reviews
Fuller's ESBFuller's ESB
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
England, United Kingdom
fullers.co.uk

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,347
Ratings:
2,897
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
11.08%
 
 
Wants:
147
Gots:
363
For Trade:
0
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,347 | Ratings: 2,897
Photo of beer488
3.37/5  rDev -17%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Dark amber color. No head, with low carbonation. Smells of malted barley with light fruit in the background. Mouth feel is medium, with a bitter entry. Finish is slightly bitter. Prefer london pride and london porter which are tastier imho.

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Photo of ajm5108
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lots of warm, biscuity malt aroma, with some oak vanilla and faint scotch peat as well. The flavor struck a little flat for me after that really powerful aroma. The sweetbread malt is present with some nutmeg and raisin, but it is really washed-out and lowkey. The hops come in for support but they provide just a medium bitter kick but not much flavor. Bottle was dated fresh so I don't think it was past its shelf life or anything. It is still very drinkable & there are no bad notes, but it is more muted than I hoped.

 525 characters

Photo of sejorules
4.49/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear copper color with an almost inexistent head. Few bubbles.
S: caramel and roasted malt, perhaps some plum that gets mixed with the sweetness from the caramel.
T: caramel, and specially lots of roasted malt, with medium bitterness in the end. It tastes sweet and roasty at the same time. Extremely nice. One little thing is that, despite being a more alcoholic beer (5.9°), you can't taste the alcohol whatsoever, which is also a very positive point.
F: medium to low carbonated, and clear. The taste is very well defined and full. Refreshing, but very strong at the same time.
O: Really nice beer. Would totally drink it again. Well balanced. One of my favorites

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Photo of Tom_Banjo
2.93/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

330 ml bottle purchased from City Swiggers and poured into a pint glass. Do not understand the hype this beer gets. To me it was like a partially flat American Amber Ale. Will not be going out of my way to have this again.

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Photo of breadwinner
2.81/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Absolutely wretched pint on cask at the Lamb and Flag in London. Given the rep of the establishment, I'm not inclined to think it was a poorly kept cask, but you never know. Either way, just a painfully sweet mess, as though someone took mixed equal parts generic cask ale with Southern sweet tea. Will have to give a bottle a go sometime, but this particular pint was surprisingly awful (esp given its reputation).

 415 characters

Photo of TH28
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

330ml bottle. 8/3/15 code date. Appearance: Reddish copper, clear, with a moderate white foam cap. Aroma: Fruity, candy like English yeast esters, with some biscuity, toffee malt notes. Taste: Sweet, biscuity malt, with some molasses. Moderate herbal hop bitterness. Hint of bread crust on the swallow. Mouthfeel: Medium body with light carbonation. Finish: Lingering bready, toasted crust flavors. Overall: Leans toward the malty side, sweeter than I expected. Bitterness is there, but reserved. Wonderful fruity yeast and malt aromas.

 536 characters

Photo of clager
3.1/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Bready/caramel flavor with minimal bitterness. Some tropical fruit flavor finish but predominant malt flavor throughout. Not bad, not great, what I would expect from an English bitter.

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Photo of Gajo74
4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark copper, good lacing and carbonation visible. Caramel sweet aroma, malts and dark fruit. Bready and malty sweet taste, alcohol and a slight alcohol and hops bitterness. Medium bodied, low carbonation, dry alcohol finish and very drinkable. This was my first experience with the English bitter style. I was impressed.

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Photo of Chris_Burton
4.26/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Fuller's have a reputation as one of the best traditional British breweries, and with good reason. This ESB has a lovely amber body with a finger of head. Smells of marmalade on toast. The flavour is rich, fruity, slightly woody and spicy, with enough hop presence to avoid an intense sweetness from the malt. Perfectly balanced, as a good ESB should be. Mouthfeel is smooth, fairly low carbonation but not flat, and fairly full.

It's easy to see why this beer is seem as the quintessential ESB. It's a fantastic example of the style, and highly recommended.

 559 characters

Photo of PorterPro125
4.75/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Serving Type: 500 mL Can

A- Clear and clean amber topped by a silky white 1 1/2 finger head that doesn't seem to want to disappear! Light lacing on the glass.

S- Creamy orange with a great backbone of sweet malt. Earthy bitterness from the hops balances things out to perfection.

T- Same as aroma. Extremely pleasing.

M- Creamy but not overly thick mouthfeel and medium high carbonation. Perfect for a bitter.

O- Absolute classic of a beer. In my opinion (and in the opinion of many others), this is the beer by which all other ESB's are put up against.

 563 characters

Photo of tillmac62
4.59/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

BBD 8/3/15. Pours a clear amber with a slight garnet cast. World class head volume, lacing and retention.

Rich world class complex nose of citrus hops (orange), herbal hops (coupled with an airy spice note), huge caramel malt and the classic mineral water. As it warms, a touch of diacetyl (butter) is noticed.

Medium bodied with a silky smooth texture that approaches creamy. Soft, but perfect, carbonation that releases an effervescent undercurrent from the middle on.

The flavor profile is world class and is the standard to which others are judged. It is intense, complex and balanced to perfection. Some ESB's take the bitterness too far, this one takes it to perfection. It begins with a wave of sweet citrus (mostly orange), but no hint of rind. Then the other hop aspects (earthy, with only a hint of being dank) appear. Underneath is a rich malt base of caramel and light crystal that balances to perfection. The middle is mildly bitter, but he bitterness is smooth and retains it's varied flavor components along with a hint of toffee. The finish is where the classic mineral aspects of the water shine and add the final layer of complexity. The finish is a slow fade of mineral sweetness with just a touch of bitterness. Sometimes the original is the best version. Such is the case, here, with the ESB style.

 1,337 characters

Photo of captaincoffee
4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pretty classic English brew here. Copper with medium head. Nose is muted, but has a good English hop presence. Flavor is fruity and bready, although I would have liked a bit more substantial mouthfeel. A classic ESB. A beer you find yourself drinking much faster than you planned to.

 288 characters

Photo of Mike_Aguirre
4.91/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Awesome beer, I loved it. Complex, strong, not too bitter, not too sweet, perfect balance. Smells malty and has notes of noble hops in the aroma. Taste improves as it warms up .

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.84/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

really interesting to have this one side by side with the one from breckenridge here in colorado. they are so different, but yet so similar, and as the label says, this is indeed the esb by which all others are measured. honestly i like this one a little less. its not quite as rich in the malt build, this is a maris heavy version, and although its awesome beer, it doesnt quite have the grain depth as the breck one does. that said, i like the yeast better here, its more traditional and it speaks louder in the overall reverberation of the beer. that is to say its more flavorful, and it takes me to england the way the breck one never could. its also well balanced with a healthy hopping for the style, much more bitter and bright in the hops than others, with just the right amount of caramelization to balance it in the boil. carbonation is also high for an enlgish pub ale type, it feels so much more alive than some of the crusty old ales of england old. i like this a whole lot, and when its fresh, it truly does set the standard for the style coming out of europe. also, definitely one of, if not my single favorite of the fullers beers.

 1,147 characters

Photo of DypsoBubble
3.82/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours from the bottle a copper colour. Head dissipates quickly with a few bubbles raising to the surface after the initial pour.

Smells of hops, lemon and caramel.

Tastes of apples, lemon and sherbet with a caramel base. Low carbonation and being pretty strong, is almost wine like with a touch of sharp acidity.

A lighter mouth-feel than I expected and does not cling. Hoppy after-taste.

Overall
Light, tasty and refreshing and yet pretty high in alcohol.

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Photo of drmeto
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

L:
-clear copper with almost no head
-low carbonation visible
S:
Huge toffee,grassy,plums,raisins
T:
-caramel,big sticky toffeeplums,raisins,slightly nutty,slightly toasty finish
-medium grassy hop bitterniss
F:
medium-high carbonation,medium-full body
O:
Really nice brew

 272 characters

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

I'm unsure really what a 'bitter' is. I do know, however, that this one is damn tasty.

It's a caramel color, the smell is slightly copper. it's light on both hop and malt, but both are balanced nicely. It has a clean finish. The only thing I do not like is the lingering metallic taste on my tongue. But ,another sip fixes that. Good stuff.

 347 characters

Photo of pat61
4.66/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Brilliantly clear gold, 1” frothy head reduces to thick film, pencil lead to pencil eraser sized bubbles, ledges of lace.
S: moderate light fruit – grape, slight maltiness, moderately low hop and malt. No DMS, no diacetyl.
T: Moderate earthy hop flavor, noticeable hop bitterness well balanced by the malt. Rich well attenuated malt, not sweet. Suggests nuttiness and biscuit.
F: Medium full body, medium low carbonation
O: Drinkable higher strength session ale with well balanced hop, fruitiness and malt with the balance tilted slightly to the hop. Could drink all day.

 581 characters

Photo of coltonbrimhall
3.71/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

-looks like a IPA but the head dissipated
-smells is mostly a tart note
-taste is smooth but with a weird tart taste
-almost feels watered down for a beer with big complex flavors
- i was sadly not very impressed with this must just not be my style

 250 characters

Photo of teddibrewski
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I enjoyed this one, not sure if it outsanding. I had it from a bottle this time I will re-rate when I have it from the cask. In my experience british ale is a much better from the cask than the bottle.

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Photo of BowWowWowYippyYoIPA
2.94/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Best before July 24 2015

Look - Pours light amber with fluffy white head that dissipates fairly quickly. Medium bubble distribution. Head fades to absolutely nothing. 3 paws.

Smell - Huge aroma of apples, almost smells like a cider. That's about the only aroma I'm picking up, maybe a little bit of bitter hops. 2.75 paws.

Taste - Apple taste present as well, slightly bitter finish. 3 paws.

Feel - Medium feel, slightly wet, tingle on back of tongue. 3.5 paws.

Overall - Not sure if this is how the beer is supposed to taste, just tasted like unfiltered apple juice to me, which usually means acetaldehyde is present. Label says marmalade fruitiness, but again, nothing but apple for me. Since it's well before the best by date and was properly stored, I can't give it a good score. 2.75 paws.

 809 characters

Photo of Lomac4
3.54/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Not a huge ESB fan, I either like or love them. Fullers I love, it has a nice bready taste and goes down fast and easy just like an ESB should. Good beer for those nights when you know your going to be drinking a lot of beer. This beer has a shockingly good mouth feel to it. A smooth and crisp feel that is refreshing, it's hard not to say AHHHHH after a big gulp.

 366 characters

Photo of sjccmd
4.54/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear deep orangey amber. Small off-white head that fades quickly. Some lacing. Fairly low carbonation.

Rich malt in the aroma with significant fruity esters. Loads of caramel and toast. Some spicy and fruity hops, but those are in the background. A hint of diacetyl, but within appropriate range.

Caramel and apricot in the flavor. Finishing with toasty nutty malt. Medium bitterness and some fruity spicy English hop character. Sweet and fruity upfront finishing quite dry.

Rich and filling mouthfeel with low carbonation but not chewy. Dry bitter finish with malt lingering on the palate.

Rich and refreshing ESB. Definitely a classic example if that even needs to be stated.

 688 characters

Photo of car2052
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 oz. bottle to English nonic pint.

A: Clear copper with noticeable carbonation. Not much of a head.
S: Smells like a wine... nice grape and other dark fruits. Slight hint of banana and yeast. Malty.
T: Very malty. Toasty malts like the ones found in porters is balanced by a bitterness at the end of the palate. Nice.
M: Medium feel. Bitter aftertaste.
O: My first real ESB. Not bad, and pretty balanced.

 419 characters

Photo of Tucquan
3.81/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this on 2015-01-20 in Lancaster, PA at Quips Pub

Lots of malt favor With caramel and decent bitterness. A good ESB although a bit higher ABV than I prefer for the style.

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Fuller's ESB from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
4.06 out of 5 based on 2,897 ratings.
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