Welcome to the Fuller's Online Shop - FREE Delivery on all orders OVER £50 to mainland UK addresses!

Past Masters 1981 ESB


Ninth in the series 

1981 ESB is the Ninth beer in our celebrated Past Masters series, which sees long-lost recipes revived from our famous brew books. 

We’ve brewed something extra special to celebrate the career of Fuller’s legendary brewer John Keeling, who retires in 2018. This full-bodied, fruity beer uses the Extra Special Bitter recipe from John’s first day at Fuller’s in January 1981. 
Every single afternoon since 1845, the Fuller’s brewing team has diligently written out the ingredients of the day’s brews - and the Past Masters series is a great example of why we do it. Better with age As a bottle conditioned beer, 1981 ESB contains sediment that allows the flavours to develop up until the moment the bottle is opened. This beer should, therefore, be stored upright in a dark place, and poured carefully when served for the best possible results

Our older Past Masters ranges are in extremely limited supply so we release just a few bottles a few times a year. If you would like to be notified when this product becomes available for sale, please subscribe to our notification service.

Alcohol is not for sale to people under the age of 18.


500ml Bottles

ABV 5.5%

3.7 units per bottle

Contains Malted Barley

  • People say ‘they don’t make ‘em like they used to’ - but at Fuller’s, we certainly do. Since 2010, we’ve been delving back into our age-old brewing books once a year, to faithfully recreate recipes from days gone by.

Every ‘Past Master’ we bring back is part of a limited run, with older versions already extremely rare. For that reason, the price of our Past Master's ales will increase as the number of remaining bottles reduces - and indeed, the price you see today may be higher tomorrow

While they are crafted to be enjoyed as soon as they reach you, they continue to condition well beyond their official ‘best before’ date due to the yeast that we include in the bottle.

This second fermentation results in a more complex character and a flavour profile that will change over time.

Taking delivery and storage

As part of any delivery process, the liquid and sediment in the bottle will have been disturbed during transit. It is important that you let the bottle stand on its base for at least 72 hours before opening it.

If you plan to store the bottles to enjoy in later years, you should store them upright to ensure any settling happens at the bottom of the bottle. It will also be ready to drink whenever you wish. Store your Vintage Ale in a cool, dry place where the temperature will not drop below 2oC or go above 25oC.

How to enjoy your Past Masters

We recommend that your Past Masters is served at cellar temperature (11-13oC) in a wide rimmed glass that allows you to enjoy the aromas as you sip it. The Fuller’s Connoisseur Glass has been designed for this, but a large wine glass is a suitable alternative.

Make sure that you’ve allowed the bottle to settle upright for at least 72 hours if it has been transported recently. Open the bottle and pour the beer slowly into a glass held at an angle. Slowly straighten the glass as you pour. To avoid sediment entering the glass, stop pouring before reaching the bottom of the bottle. If you prefer a smaller head on your beer, wet the inside of the glass before pouring.


  • Free UK Mainland delivery for orders over £50

All beer and cider is delivered via our courier service which costs £4.95 for 2-4 working day delivery to UK Mainland addresses. We are unable to ship these products outside of the UK.

All non-liquid or non-food items are available for delivery via Royal Mail in the UK and via courier to international locations. Please proceed to the checkout to calculate the cost of delivery for your order. For a complete list of countries we currently deliver to, please check our delivery page.

Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review Write a review

Category: Fuller's, gift, Past Masters

Related Items