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

Bell's PorterBell's Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,960 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1960
Reviews: 944
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.62%

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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Mitchster on 02-06-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,960 | Reviews: 944 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BurdockBoy


3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a pint glass. I got this on a trade and it's been sitting in the refrigerator a couple weeks. I was craving breakfast burritos for dinner and this was a nice addition.
A: dark cola color with a lovely khaki head with nice lacing. Ok retention.
S: not a whole lot there for a porter. But a little toastiness.
T: the way a porter should taste. That is all.
M: a little more carbonation than I would like. Medium body.
O: I really enjoyed this. Not a lot of complexity, but very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2014 01:44:56 | More by BurdockBoy
Photo of DoubleJ


3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It's a rare Bell's kind of night in California. If I wanted to go all-out, I could eat some Taco Bell with the beer, however there's no way that my stomach will allow that. Just the beer tonight, and that's fine. Let's add Bell's Porter to the line. Another 12 ounce bottle, and another on to the beer:

More than half an inch of semi-soapy foam sits on top a beer that's cola black with reddish hues. Retention is modest, leaving a few spots of lace around the glass. It smells like something else was added to this porter....a big crate of milk perhaps? The aroma is milk sweet and still features an edge of roasted malt.

Respectable taste. It starts with a little roast, then comes in a mocha-like sweetness, a milk sweet accent, and a spot of grassy hops. The beer is lighter-medium bodied, has a lightly roasted aftertaste, and does go down easy.

In the world of porters, Bell's sits a tick above average. It may not sound like much to some, but because I adore porters more than many other styles, I wouldn't shy away to "porter" myself another bottle!

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2014 05:49:17 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of lochef81


3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This porter pours a deep almost black brown color with a handsome and lasting tan head and decent lacing. The nose is unremarkable with notes of coffee and roasted malt. It is light in aroma as well as in taste. The flavor follows the nose with a surprising amount of alcohol flavor given the low abv. The body is light to medium with a bit if a dry chew on the tail. This is a good porter but when you have offerings like Founders and Edmund Fitzgerald porters, why settle for good?

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2014 04:27:10 | More by lochef81
Photo of byronic

Ontario (Canada)

3.64/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a very nice dark brown with a thin lacing of head which dissipates in a short span of time.

Couldn't identify any specific smell as this specific pour wasn't very fragrent.

Very mild taste of roasted malts with a carbonated mouth feel.

A very nice but simple sessionable Porter.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2014 23:04:39 | More by byronic
Photo of Gmann

New York

3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very deep brown color with a fluffy toasted khaki colored head that settles into a puffy cap.

The aroma is of caramel and nutty bread. Some light wood and brown sugar. It is a nice aroma but it is a bit faint.

The taste is of a nutty pumpernickel malt. Caramel and honey provide some sweet notes. An earthy wet bark flavor. Quite smooth. Slight lemony note in the end. Very nice flavors.

Moderate feel with prickly carbonation. Well balanced on the palate and very drinkable.

A nice hearty porter. Ranks up there with Founders.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2014 23:51:43 | More by Gmann
Photo of polloenfuego

Ontario (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass.

Pours a deep brown with a thumb of head that is steadfast as you drink. Nice lacing develops as a result and the beer looks good. The aroma is mostly roasts and coffee with some chocolate. Taste continues the aroma, but the chocolate is more prominent. There is a sweetness that comes through as well. Feel is light with medium carbonation.

Not a bad Porter, a good after work brew. So far Bell's is three for three for me and I have more to go...

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2014 21:37:00 | More by polloenfuego
Photo of alphagnome


4.26/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep brown, borderline black body with a finger-thick beige head. Good retention & lacing.

Rich chocolate malts and coffee are dominant with light nuttiness and sweet caramel notes.

Follows the nose brilliantly. Simple coffee bitterness hits right up front with tasty chocolate sweetness balancing things out shortly thereafter. Nutty aftertaste and a hint of molasses.

Smooth and crisp. On the lighter side of medium-bodied. Extra light carbonation. Semi-dry finish.

Fantastic porter. Smooth, delicious, and easy to drink. Well worth your money.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2014 21:05:37 | More by alphagnome
Photo of ZagZagg


3.89/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into goblet glass

A: Two finger effervescent head with some audible snap crackle and pop. Head has moderate retention and a kaki color that leaves some webby lacing marking its former self. The brew itself is mean and black, like the abyss. Little froth appears to have a solid body.

S: Roasted chocolate malt, but also quite bitter, lots of coffee and bakers chocolate. The malt is very interesting, somewhat bready but also ever so smoky. There’s a nuttiness present too, playing off of the malt profile.

T: Hmm, malty, chocolaty, roasted, well-blended combination of coffee bitters and some caramel, scotch, and malt derived un-metabolized sugars. Hops take the backseat here and hide within the roasted coffee, which is offset by the malt and bready flavors. I don’t want to say this is two-dimensional because it is very well balanced, but nothing is really grabbing my attention either.

M: I just wish it were bigger. This is medium bodied, but I want it to be fuller. Light carbonation that’s pleasant. Not too much aftertaste, sorta sweet, somewhat dry.

O: A pleasant porter, for sure. Has the elements you look for in a porter, but it’s just that. It’s like the foundation for a superior beer without pushing the envelope and taking to that next level. Probably a good beer to start with if you’re trying to get into the style or stouts. That jaw dropping pizzazz is just missing.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2014 01:17:25 | More by ZagZagg
Photo of jhartley


4.11/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 02/06/14
Pours a dark brown body with some reddishness (is that a word ) to the edges. A nice frothy tan head that leaves nice lacing and sticks around until the end.
Smells of a smoky roastiness with brewed coffee and little cocoa.
The roasted malts really come through and there is some smokiness that leads right into a slightly sweet chocolate.
A great porter from a great brewery and one I would definitely be drinking again in the future. A great representation that isn't an over-the-top hopped version either. Pairs great with a sweet chocolate dessert after a meal or on it's own.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2014 23:50:15 | More by jhartley
Photo of dar482

New York

3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The beer comes in a Coca Cola dark brown.

The aroma has a fresh lightly roasted coffee, milk chocolate, some medium roasted malt. A hint of dark fruit as well.

The flavor follows with watered down black coffee, cocoa, a semi sweet chocolate, a gentle fruit character from the yeast.

The body is light plus.

A very good attempt at the style. A bit simple for me, but definitely fantastic for pairing with food.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2014 05:07:38 | More by dar482
Photo of JerzDevl2000

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up recently at Top Hops in New York, thrilled that Bell's is finally available in this neck of the woods. Never had this before and was hoping that this would live up to the Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, which I had not that long ago. Without a doubt, this fell a bit short of it but was still an immensely drinkable beer that went down as easily as any dark brew that I've had in quite some time. It just didn't have the full, roasted aspect that I've come to expect from a beer of this style.

Good pour to this, as this beer had a full, chocolate hue and a tan head that filled up the remainder of my pint glass. Lots of lacing to be seen down the sides as I worked my way through as well, with several rings becoming apparent after the first few sips. Not a strong aroma to this but there was some milk chocolate that came across nicely. That was present in the taste too, as well as some oatmeal and caramel. Nice mouthfeel to this as this was quite silky and smooth but not roasted like other Porters I've had. There was a hint of cream in the back to go with the oats, which gave me just a bit to "chew on" before I had my next taste of this.

This was about as close to a session Porter that I ever had and if there was another bottle, I would be having it right now. While not as great as the leaders in this category, this would be a great beer for anyone who never had one of these before. It almost reminded me of a Lactose or Oatmeal Stout without the booze or overpowering chocolate and cocoa flavors. By itself, this was a pleasant surprise that fits in nicely with the other offerings from Bell's that I've enjoyed.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2014 22:29:51 | More by JerzDevl2000
Photo of ChrisL24481

New Hampshire

4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance - Thin tan head that quickly dissipates into a thin ring. Carbonation consistently climbs the walls of the glass. Its black even when held up to the light.

Aroma - Smells of chocolate and roasted coffee.

Taste - Much more here than the smell. Milk chocolate, roasted coffee, dark roasted malts. A bit ashy.

Mouthfeel - Very carbonated. Smooth on the tongue, medium body. Sticky on the finish.

Overall - A good porter; body is bit thin and the aroma is not on the same level as the taste. A solid brew overall.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2014 20:42:21 | More by ChrisL24481
Photo of barczar


3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours an opaque deep brown with a frothy beige head that lingers as a thin layer of foam.

Nutty, toasted malt dominates the aroma, with notes of chocolate and light roast adding complexity. There's a hint of tar and dark fruit at the finish.

Flavor is chocolate dominant initially, becoming roasty and slightly bitter at the finish. Dark chocolate weaves throughout the profile. Nutty, toasted malt is fairly subtle in comparison.

Body is moderate, with carbonation slightly on the high side, and a touch of alcohol warmth.

Great balance between roast malt and chocolate. Very approachable porter. Bitterness and roast do not overwhelm. Lacks complexity compared to some.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2014 18:45:32 | More by barczar
Photo of deadchef


4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from bottle to 20oz pint glass...

a: dark, almost opaque brown-ruby color. 2 finger fluffy tan head. nice lacing down the glass.

s: rich, roasty, coffee, dark caramel and a touch of chocolate.

t: dark toast, char, espresso bean, dark chocolate. certainly malt forward as expected. basically no hop flavor but a little bitterness which might be construed with astringency. enough bitterness for the style though. touch of residual sweetness.

m: medium carbonation. full bodied. mouth coating.

o: big american porter. rich and flavorful. would go great with roasted meat or sweet chocolate cake or creme brulee. nice example of robust porter. i would have another.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2014 02:21:01 | More by deadchef
Photo of BierJager89


4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours black with a mocha ring of head.

S: Nice roasty coffee and dark chocolate in a very typical, though delicious-smelling nose.

T: Bittersweet dark chocolate, dark roast coffee. Very typical, though still tasty, porter.

M: Medium bodied with average carbonation.

O: This is a solid robust porter. Exactly what you want from such a beer. Definitely recommended, as are most of their beers.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2014 21:31:48 | More by BierJager89
Photo of Tsar_Riga


4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - A dark brew, slight shine of light through, but pretty opaque. Light head, not too big, but with some staying power. Lacing is present, but limited.

S - Mostly malty roasted goodness, with some suggestion of grains. A touch of bread. Hints of coffee and chocolate are muted. I found the nose did not communicate much complexity.

T - Real pleased here, because this brew comes across on several levels. The first salvo is mostly about the roasting and malts, but as we get into the middle, there is a backbone of grains, mostly coming across as wheat and oats. The flavors remind me of a good, multigrain dark wheat bread. The sweetness is managed by slight bitterness in the close, but we really have no sign of hops.

M - Smooth and easy, with some creaminess but not cloying.

O - A beer that reminds me why porters were among my first beer loves. I like that there is a distinct territory this beer is working that contrasts with the heavier chocolate and coffee notes of stouts. The grains are clear, clean notes, not just a muddled hint without clarity. Real craft being shown here. That it did this without dumping in the hops is itself of note.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2014 19:49:31 | More by Tsar_Riga
Photo of Fieldzy27


4.46/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter

A-Inferior stouts should fear the darkness of this porter, I have seen some lackluster offerings that would give their first born to have an SRM like this. To be expected from one of the most consistent brewers in the biz. the head is kaki colored and was comprised of a combination of small and large bubbles. As it deflates big bubbles hang around and lace starts clinging to the glass. In a perfect world I would like the head to hang longer and have a little more color but this doesn't hurt the score. No sediment or haze .

S-hints of light roasted coffee and some nuttiness, the aroma isn't huge but its present. in all honesty after the look of it being so good I expected more but there is nothing wrong with it. I assume the taste will redeem it.

T-a great porter, falls more into the english side I feel as it does not have a massive amount of complexity or hop character although it is black and not brown. Black coffee is first to strike followed by roasted pecans. A slight amount of astringency is noticeable and hints of dark roasted malt are scattered throughout. Not a ton going on here but it was clearly crafted with care. No discernible alcohol and also no real hop character accept for a flash on the finnish that takes effort to find. So minuscule that they cant be identified. A well rounded and balanced porter.

M- This beer is full and smooth. Doesn't coat the mouth or leave any astringent hints lingering. Built to session I feel. Nothing to argue with here.

O- A well crafted porter. Doesn't burn itself into the memory with excitement but I feel this is a good thing. Many times I have passed this up for bigger offerings but every time I return to it im never disappointed. A wonderful example to show someone a textbook porter.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2014 03:15:37 | More by Fieldzy27
Photo of motownfreak15


4.16/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bell's has yet to make an average beer; this is no exception. I loved the hoppiness displayed here, particularly for a porter. A wonderfuly aromatic beer that would go well with some thick food like oatmeal and sausage. I wouldn't have it with your morning orange juice, though.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2014 06:09:11 | More by motownfreak15
Photo of ali1987


4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a dark cola color with a single finger head... almost the color of a cup of Kona coffee.

S: roasted malts & chocolate with some hints of coffee

T: The taste is similar to the smell but more complex... chocolate, coffee, caramel, & roasted malts.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Very smooth.

O: I really enjoyed this porter. I will definitely drink this again. :)

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2014 02:40:12 | More by ali1987
Photo of ThisLadyLovesBeer

New Hampshire

3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A = beautifully dark, like a cup of black Kona coffee. A semi-creamy head, not long lasting, but leaves lacing.
S = malty, coffee, rich
T = most delicious on the palate, malty-coffee, mild back taste of hops
M = smooth and drinkable

I really like this porter. I received two bottles as a gift, and see that it is not distributed in my home state of New Hampshire, so I will be keeping the second bottle to enjoy in another month or two (before the 6 month expiry)!

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2014 15:08:08 | More by ThisLadyLovesBeer
Photo of Omnium


3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle > Pint Glass

A - Brown black with a finger of off white fizzy head, no lacing.
S - Burnt caramel, coffee, dark chocolates, roasted malt, nutty.
T - Coffee, a little grapefruit, roated malt, bitter cocoa.
M - A little too carbonated, could use more of a silky texture, but not awful.
O - Decent average style of porter.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2014 23:50:29 | More by Omnium
Photo of Emnmarko


4.51/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark roasted, midnight amber. Small creamy head. Rich color.

S- Roasted chocolate malts, cocoa, hops behind all this but not reluctantly.

T- Dark roasted malts prevail first, with generous helpings of chocolate, cocoa and caramel. Then a like a blindside hit from behind the hop bitterness overpowers the malt attack only to smoothly join forces and conquer your thirst and desire for a quality beer. Or in other words, It's pretty damn good.

M- Smooth, creamy and not too heavy for what I consider to be a fall/winter selection. You can drink more than two without getting a full gut. So cheers!

O- Being new to the richer malty side of the spectrum I appreciate the hoppyness of this beer. It has definitely sparked my curiosity for the darker styles of my favorite beverage. Bells porter was enjoyed tremendously this evening and it will surely not be the last! well, not only because I have 5 more in the fridge...

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2014 02:15:28 | More by Emnmarko
Photo of tbeckett

Ontario (Canada)

3.11/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My Girlfriend brought this back from Florida for me. From notes.

A - Poured black with reddish edges and a half finger of beige head. Strong carbonation. Minimal spotty lace and retention.

S - Strong chocolate, mild coffee, mild roast.

T - Cola, some chocolate. Not overly complex.

M - Fairly strong carbonation, medium creamy body and some dryness to finish.

O/D - I wasn't exactly enamoured with this. OK, but certainly nothing to get excited about. Cola in the flavour profile wasn't pleasing and it just wasn't something you can really get into.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2014 01:06:37 | More by tbeckett
Photo of tviz33

New York

3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured form a 12 oz bottle in to a Duvel tulip.

A- Pretty standard one finger of off-white head on top off a dark brown body with some red around the edges.

S- The usual roasty porter notes but there's something else there that reminds me of dill pickle juice. It's not terribly off-putting but not necessarily enjoyable either.

T- Pretty solid taste, but a little too sour for my liking.

M- Medium feel and low to medium carbonation. Just right for the style.

O- Overall this beer was just alright. Nothing that wowed me

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2013 04:07:02 | More by tviz33
Photo of krausenman

North Carolina

3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - The beer poured a dark brown almost black color with a little light brown head. When held to the light the beer showed garnet and dark brown highlights and appeared to be clear.

S - The aroma smells like dark fruit (prune) and chocolate/cocoa powder. There is a slight alcohol aroma in the background that becomes noticeable as the beer warms.

T - As you taste the beer, the initial flavor is of dark fruit that is followed by a bittersweet chocolate. The porter finishes with a moderate balanced bitterness and roasted slightly acrid and tangy dark/roasted malt character. In the middle there is a sweet caramel taste that carried through the beer until it's swallowed.

M - The beer is light to medium bodied and has a pleasantly low level of carbonation.

O - Bell's porter was an enjoyable example of a Robust Porter. The beer leaned heavier towards the dark fruit and bittersweet chocolate character. Overall, it had a sessionable quality that was highlited by it's light to medium body that was showcased by a low level of carbontation.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2013 00:38:25 | More by krausenman
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Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 1,960 ratings.