Name: Fuller’s ESB
Brewery: Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
Country of Origin: England
City & State: Chiswick, London, United Kingdom (England)
Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Alcohol Content (ABV): 5.5% (5.9% in bottle)
First Brewed: 1969
Deep bronze in color. With a rich hop nose, Fuller’s ESB has a complex taste that is dominated by a tangy marmalade note and other sugar-rich citrus flavors. This is softened by the slightest hint of sweet fudge. Full in alcohol and it warms the tongue.
Here is another beer from Fuller’s. As soon as I grabbed this bottle from the fridge, I was back in the taxi riding to the hotel… and there it is. The brewery! They mention, in the What They Said, about the street being busy. Yep. It was busy. Weird seeing a brewery there, but it was cool to see it as we drove by. Next time we are in London we will have to tour the brewery and see what their tasting room is like.
I am not typically a big fan of this style, but was excited to read “fudge” in the tasting notes. Maybe this one will do the style justice. It has won some awards, so it can’t be that bad!
In the Glass: It is quite impressive in the glass, and has a certain thickness to it. The lace is decent, but falls off the glass fast. Loads of bubbles rush to the top as I swirl this around in the glass. Like I said, I am not usually a fan of this style. Let’s hope I change my mind here!
Nose: There is a lot of malt up front, but then you finish with a balanced aroma that reminds me of a pale ale. Imagine a barrel of hops and then a gallon malt poured on top. That is what I am smelling. It is very balanced, and has me begging to drink. Let’s see what she tastes like.
Flavor: That is NOT what I remember about an ESB. I asked someone on Google+ what ESB stands for. He said, “equals seven beers”. I like that! But the flavor is nice, and the beer is surprisingly easy to drink. It’s not thick, like I mentioned. But it does have a nice mouthfeel. Speaking of the mouthfeel…
Mouthfeel: It’s creamy. Not thick, but creamy. There isn’t much flavor as it slides across your tongue, but you it feels like a pillow is dancing across your palate. Speaking of the flavor, it starts hoppy then really balances out as you swallow. I am quite impressed with the overall experience here.
Aftertaste: There isn’t much of an aftertaste. I am sure this beer would taste better warm, and maybe even benefit from being served on cask. But this is 1001 bottles… not 1001 draft beers! Maybe that should be our next project. Anyway, this beer is really nice, easy to drink, has a nice hoppy flavor at the start, and finishes with a malty flavor leaving a “clean” mouthfeel. For a beer coming all the way from the UK, I am impressed with the production. Good work, Fuller’s!
Fuller’s ESB – The bottle says: “Fuller’s ESB is the famous winner of many awards around the world; bursting with powerful, sustained malt and hop flavors, it is the world’s original and the one by which others are judged! The Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, London, has been brewing fine ales since 1654. The Fuller, Smith & Turner partnership, dating back to 1845, brews an excellent range of award-winning ales, many of which are available in the USA, including London Pride pale ale and the world’s original ESB. I hope you will enjoy trying all our fine ales.”
It is really difficult to start out all of these reviews with something clever. Today I just can’t come up with anything. I know you don’t really care, probably, but guess what we are doing tonight? Going to see Lady Gaga! So that is what is on my mind. Yeah, sorry. Anyway…
Let’s start with what the beer looks like in the glass. It’s pretty thick, and I can’t hardly see through it at all. It’s kind of a dark burnt orange color. It also doesn’t have a lot of bubbles or very much head, so I would imagine it’s probably not very carbonated. It smells kind of citrusy, but also kind of spicy. The smell of it honestly makes me think of a new beer I discovered this weekend, Lost Coast’s Tangerine Wheat. That beer tastes like orange soda. I doubt that this beer does, but it kind of smells a little bit like it, anyway!
Hmm… honestly, for whatever reason, this beer does remind me a little bit of the Tangerine Wheat. It is, however, more bitter. Which is to be expected from an ESB (extra special bitter), obviously. I really like the taste. It’s not as thick of a mouthfeel as it looks. It’s just got this nice, smooth taste of citrus and spices with some bitterness at the end. I think it’s one I might pick up again sometime – I like it.