A properly balanced beer that begs to be served on cask. Floral at the start, with baked fruit in the middle and a persistent but restrained bitterness.
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
ESBs are essentially more aggressive and more balanced Bitters, both in alcohol and hop character, but nothing overpowering. Color range will be similar, though leaning towards the darker end of the scale; dark golds to copper. Low carbonation. Malts tend to be more pronounced, often toasty and fruity, with maybe some notes diacetyl. And despite "bitter" being in its name, ESBs are not really all that bitter. They key to an ESB is balance.
A robust 5.5% alcohol by volume in cask (5.9% alcohol by volume in bottles and kegs), it is brewed from Pale Ale and Crystal malts and from Target, Challenger, Northdown and Goldings hops.
The US Beverage Tasting Institute named Fuller’s ESB “World Champion Bitter” in 1997 and 1998. ESB received the Gold Medal in the Premium Ales category at the 2003 International Beer Competition and a Silver medal in the same event in 2004. In addition, ESB won another Silver in the Strong Bitter category at the 2002 Great British Beer Festival. And no beer has won more CAMRA awards, including Best Strong Ale in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987 and 1991, and Champion Beer of Britain in 1978, 1981 and 1985.