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Bell's Porter - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's PorterBell's Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,009 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,009
Hads: 2,679
Avg: 3.88
pDev: 17.01%
Wants: 93
Gots: 307 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Mitchster on 02-06-2002

One of our many award-winning beers, Porter emphasizes the darker, roasted aspects of malt. Hints of dark chocolate and freshly roasted coffee provide the focus, while hops remain in the background. Not as full-bodied as a stout, Porter bridges the gap between malty brown ales and our more heavily roasted stouts.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,009 | Hads: 2,679
Photo of PhxHorn
1.6/5  rDev -58.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Just bought this at Sun Devil in Mesa, AZ, on their new display out front. Too bad this is such a horrific beer. Pours a thinnish brown with minimal head. Smells of smoke and burnt coffee. Tastes of coffee, but with a horrible sour taste. I was able to take about three swallows before this went down the drain. What a disaster of a beer.

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Photo of JDFish
1.68/5  rDev -56.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Poured dark and smelled of rotting fruit, burnt coffee, and somehting sour and acidic. Smallish head that disappeared quickly. I manage to get a few sips in before it was dumped down the drain. This piss water is overwhelm with sourness and alcohol. Worst tasting beer I've ever had, zero drinkability.

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Photo of uccle81
1.91/5  rDev -50.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 1.75

Thick and syrupy. Tasted like burned caramel and grain alcohol. I like some of Bell's products, but this was rough. I opened the first bottle, tried it and then poured it out assuming that it was skunked. Tried the remaining 5. Same result. Other than the nasty Michelob Amber Bock, this is the ONLY beer I've ever poured down the drain. Sorry Bell's, I may buy a single one day to give it another shot.

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Photo of biglite351
2.36/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A - a little more light showing through than I expected. The foam vanished a bit quickly.

S - very mild and rather disappointing.

T - starts well but there quickly is a flavor that I am not too high on. I do not know how to describe it though.

M - thin and tingled like a pop.

D - way doin on the list. I will probably not buy another.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
2.4/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured in to a Duvel tulip. Batch #9537

A - Dark black in colour with one finger of fluffy light brown head.

S - Roasted malts with a strong licorice scent.

T - A bitter, somewhat sour licorice/anise taste dominates the palate, so much so that the roasted malts become very subdued and barely form the background of the beer. Faint roasted malts are present in the background but the licorice taste masks any specific notes of the malts. Way too much brewer's licorice for me.

M - light to medium body. moderate carbonation.

D - Didn't finish this one. This is the only Bell's beer I've had that I haven't liked and to say that I didn't like this one is an understatement. Very disappointing.

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Photo of oregonskibum
2.44/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.
A: Pours a nice dark brown color with a hint of really dark amber. Very fizzy light tan head.

S: Pineapple? Yes, that's it. Not sure what's up, but there's a strong tropical thing going on here. Typical roasty malts as well, but hard to get past the odd smell.

T: Similar to smell, although the roasted malts with light coffee flavor is more prominent. I still get a slight sour taste though. A little bitterness on the finish, but fairly unremarkable.

M: Really light with high carbonation.

D: Not terribly impressed. Not sure if this beer is starting to go off or not. Seems fairly light and unsophisticated with an odd (off?) flavor of pineapple. Seems to have potential and may try to give it another chance, but there are much better porters out there.

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Photo of AleYes
2.48/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured nice and dark. Light on taste, a bit watery. Not much complexity, hints of coffee and cocoa, thin head and mouthfeel. Slightly hoppy aftertaste. Cold to warm not much different. Not a bad beer, if it were a lager, but not worth drinking unless you had the choice between this and Bud.

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Photo of adamette
2.55/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Live review. Poured from the 12 oz. brown bottle that I purchased as a single at Save-On Tobacco & Beverage in Mentor, Ohio a few weeks ago for $1.68 into my Cooperstown Beverage Trail pint glass. Batch 9800.

A Light brown somewhat creamy head of about 1 cm over a dark body that glows a mahogany red in front of direct light. A basic look. 3.0

S Moderate to dark roast malt and an "amber" smell that I did not expect. The beer is not very aromatic. Several sniffs were needed to produce the first statement. 3.0

T Taste flows from the smell in that I can taste the disappointingly thin dark roast malt but also an "amber" taste that I did not expect. This lacks the depth and great taste of Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter which is available in nearly every store in my area. 2.0

M Too thin for me. The dark roast malt is too distant and the "amber" tastes seem to make it feel even more thin. I don't know about this one....I am firmly disappointed in it. 2.5

D Good with manageable ABV (5.6%) but the smell and taste are forgettable enough that I cannot see reaching for another one of these. 3.0

Notes: Just as much as I was impressed with the Java Stout (just reviewed it) I am disappointed with this one, far inferior to many, many other porters available to me (Not just the great Edmund Fitzgerald, but others too).

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Photo of alysmith4
2.56/5  rDev -34%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Not terribly impressed with this beer. Found it on tap at a local restaurant. Thought the roasted malt tasted slightly burnt and somewhat dirty. There was a definite coffee and chocolate flavor coming through, and I could taste a little bit of cola as well. Not bad, but not exactly worth a try imo.

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Photo of GRG1313
2.6/5  rDev -33%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a dark brown/black with a thick firm light yellow/tan head.

Nose is assertive milked, semi-sweet coffee, roasted grain and rich sweet dark chocolate - very nice nose.

Mouthfeel is thin and watery and with no body.

Flavors are thin bitter grapefruit and thin bitter espresso but with a citrus character and acidity that detracts. Thin all around.

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Photo of voyageurs60
2.6/5  rDev -33%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

As part of a "Tap Takeover" by Bell's at the Harris Grill during Pittsburgh's Big Pour Week this porter was tapped. Visited the venue 1 week later and it was still on tap.

The pour was delivered to the table with 1/2" head in a shaker pint glass. Color was black as I would expect from a porter. Smell was a nice caramel. Taste was disappointing. No smokey, carmamel, coffee flavors at all. Very thin mouthfeel. Very little to no aftertaste.

Overall impression, a very forgettable beer. If this were my only choice against the big brewers, I would be drinking water instead.

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Photo of Marraybay
2.68/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Look: Black; one finger of head; noticeable lacing

Smell: Roasty coffee; smoke; booze; Some fruit.

Taste: Roasted coffee; Not overly bitter per se, but without any sweetness or any other flavors present, what bitterness there is becomes elevated. Bit of a bite in the finish.

Feel: Thin; fairly carbonated.

Overall: Meh....Had heard some good things about Bell, but not a fan of this offering; Pretty much one dimensional watered down coffee. Disappointing.

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Photo of xfactor9600
2.7/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: A dark brown with a light tan head. So far so good.

S: an "off" coffee aroma.

T: Carmel mixed with malts and what tasted like bad coffee. I suspect I had a bad batch.

M: Creamy

D: Perhaps I was expecting something different or I had a bad batch. But the taste was not what I expected. I may try again just to see if I have a better experience.

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Photo of airheadmtrcycle
2.79/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I'll be right upfront with my bias towards porters. It's one of my favorites styles. Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint. Almost black it's so dark with a tan head and nice lacing. Great looking pour!

Smells of dark roasted malts and perhaps something else. Not too aromatic, though. The taste is difficult to find. Strange, as I usually expect porters to have burnt and smokey flavors with perhaps some bitterness on the finish, particularly with American porters. It's generally a quite "in your face" kind of thing, not something you have to go searching for. I let it warm to finally find some smokey flavor hiding.

The most disappointing quality is the mouthfeel. Way too thin for the style. Makes me want to go get something more robust to finish the night with. Funny thing is I can feel it weighing on my belly. That's the opposite of what I'm looking for in an ale.

Overall, a real disappointment.

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Photo of coldmeat23
2.8/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

GLASS: Imperial Pint Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees

Pours dark brown. Fluffy two-finger head of tan foam. Decent retention and pretty good lacing.

Nice roasted maltiness. Some coffee, chocolate and nuttiness. Slight notes of vanilla and hazelnut.

Roasted barley. Light chocolate and coffee notes. Toasted hazelnut.

Not quite hearty enough for my preferences. Medium bodied and slightly waterey tasting. Carbonation is too sharp, defeating any creaminess that might have helped this one out.

Would make an easy session brew, if only by it's inoffensiveness and lack of anything 'special'. I suppose, if I wanted to drink alot of these, I probably could.
Not my fave release from Bell's.

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Photo of jwinship83
2.81/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- very dark brown with a head that is no more than a tiny bone white crown.

S- Not much here. very slight odor of lightly roasted malts, some chocolate, and maybe a bit of coffee.

T- roasted malt with a tiny coffee aftertaste and a little bit of chocolate. once again, not much here at all.

M- good carbonation and a light-medium body.

D- I probably wont ever consider buying this again. i had alot higher hopes for bells and this one was pretty disappointing.

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Photo of GTSeabolt
2.83/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I like my porters heavy and dark and this was neither. It felt like a watered down version of a porter meets a brown ale that is having an identity crisis.

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Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
2.86/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a tulip

A: Pours a translucent dark brown and settles into a decently opaque black with a foamy tan head.

A: Aroma is light: faint roasted coffee, hints of chocolate, sweet malts, maybe even a touch of raisin.

T/M: Has a medium amount of carbonation and a light body. Flavors of mocha coffee mix with dark roasted malts and a slight bitterness similar to some nitrogen infused brews.

Not as full flavored as other, "better" porters, but decent nonetheless.

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Photo of Reaper16
2.87/5  rDev -26%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

served from a 12oz. bottle into a tulip glass

Pours what initially appears to be very dark for a porter, but a hold up to light reveals it to be the color of a weak pot of Folger's. The head was nearly white, making for a nice contrast. It was generous at first, but quickly diminished to nothing, leaving minimal lacing behind.

A lot of coffee in the nose, some chocolate. Roasted malt & a touch of hops. Nothing surprising or unusual.

This was a disappointing porter in the mouth. Coffee dominates the flavor profile, but it was the taste of old, weak coffee. That this taste was coming from a cold beer made for the very-unpleasant "cold coffee" taste that overrides the hops and general maltiness.

This beer felt pretty darn thin for my tastes, with little carbonation, which only served to highlight the weaknesses in the taste. I suppose that this would be a sessionable porter, but not for me.

Overall, this beer has me mixing my tenses in this review and I don' care enough to sort them out. I'm used to enjoying nearly every Bell's product I drink; it turns out the a brewery that I love making one of my very favorite beer styles wasn't the recipe for success that I thought it was going to be.

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Photo of jucifer1818
2.87/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Very very dark brown
Its lovely

Smell: not much smell at all....sadly. I expected more out of this beer

Taste: light caramel, light roasted barley, and just a little bi of coffee malt, with heavier hoppyness to roasty malts.

not too bad, but its not to my liking
I give this one a 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: way too watery for a porter. I give this one a 2.5/5

overall: idk, I didn't like this one much at all.

I expected a lot more from this brewery :(

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Photo of skrib09
2.9/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

poured out a coffee color with a rock-face like tan head. ok lacing.

smells roasty, i get some coffee flavors in there as well.

tastes more roasty than any porters or stouts i remember having recently. in the after taste i get some ground coffee grinds or coffee flavors. i get a "cold coffee" taste, maybe i should let the brew warm a little.

again with the coffee... a slight bitterness in the middle of my palate. a feeling of grainyness as well.

below average drinkability for me.

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Photo of Spica66
2.93/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown color, quickly disappating head. High carbonation.

S: Not very much nose at all to this beer. Even after it warmed up. Not like most Bell's beers.

T: Mild taste. Not "robust". Very strange. I have never had a Bell's beer seem so bland.

M: Watery, high carbonation. Felt like I was drinking a diet soda. Very disappointing!

D: This would be easy to drink, because there is not much to it at all.

This is the only beer from Bell's that I have ever had that did not meet expectations for the style.

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Photo of frankiepop
2.95/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I think this Porter violates the Porter rule, and that is a Porter comes with more smoothness and sweetness to the taste. This damn thing ends with some hoppy bitterness type flavor that just fails for me. Maybe its a coffee or hops to balance the products, but once again the Bell's company just doesn't meet my taste expectations. Thumbs down.

Would pair well with music from Earth Wind and Fire.

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Photo of RJBeverage
2.96/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This Bell's Porter was dark brown and had a tan head which went away. The smell was of roasted grains and tasted of toasted coffee beans and just toast. It wasn't a bad taste but not one I would do flips over. The mouthfeel was thin, much thinner than the taste or smell would suggest.

While I would drink this beer again, if it was the the only dark offering, there are many better porters that I would take gladly in it's place.

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Photo of AlexanderSelby
2.97/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looks kind of cloudy when held up to the light as the amber edges seem like they are struggling for air. Smells of coffee, chocolate, sweetness and...just about every other dark flavor. Taste is a touch muddy. Just like the nose, there are plenty of things going on at once that are seeming to fight for top spot. Roasty flavors up front get dominated later by buttered bread sweet tones, and in the middle the battle for nut or dark chocolate is raging.

Overall, I think this porter tries too hard.

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Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 1,009 ratings.