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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
Ratings: 1,960 | Reviews: 944 | Show All Ratings:
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
Photo of stercomm


3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Bell's pint glass (sure the fact it was a Bell's pint glass added to the flavor :-) )

A- Very dark brown with a very thick, frothy 2 finger tan head. Great retention and lots of lacing.

S - Biscuits, chocolate and some hints of malt.

T - Very balanced, chocolate, brown bread, hints of hops, slight sweetness on the finished, very tasty.

M - Sense creaminess, mild bodied, mild carbonation

O - Another good brew from Bell's, very approachable, very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2013 21:42:32 | More by stercomm
Photo of GotWad629


3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a thick khaki head

A faint smell of chocolate, grain, sweet malt, and earthy hops - they all blend nicely together

The taste is similar - nothing is overpowering, everything balances out well together. Dark chocolate bitterness with earthy undertones. There's a spicy quality to it as well.

The body is light but has a good amount of carbonation to round out the mouthfeel; making it creamy and velvety.

A delicious sessionable porter. Really happy bells opened up distribution to NY.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2013 21:05:08 | More by GotWad629
Photo of Mojo


4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle -> Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass

A - pours up deep brown, almost black with a big two finger head (light tan colored) great retention and great lacing

S - very subtle nose with some chocolate, coffee, and bready notes

T - Very sweet and malty (maybe molasses)with a roasted nutty finish including coffee notes and some chocolate. Tasty!!

M - thick and chewy, average carbonation

O - This is a great offering from Bells. As good of a porter as Two-Hearted is an IPA.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2013 04:07:14 | More by Mojo
Photo of SportsandJorts


3.69/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: dark brown. opaque. thick foamy head. about two fingers. slowly fades away to a lacing over the whole beer

Smell: roasty malts, coffee and a touch of sweetness.

Taste: opens up with bitter coffee with a very light touch of creamer. roasty malts are there but hide in the background a bit

Mouthfeel: nice and lighter bodied and just a bit of creaminess. leaves a lingering bitterness

Overall: pretty good. i am not a big fan of the coffee taste in my beers but this one is pretty good. not sure i would drink it very often though

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2013 23:30:25 | More by SportsandJorts
Photo of arc3636


4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - deep brown with minimal white lace

S - sweet malty chocolate

T -sweet and bitter coffee and chocolate flavors stand out, could serve this after a meal as dessert

M - nice body and the flavor sticks in your mouth nicely, nice slightly bitter chocolate aftertaste

O - sweeter than i expected from a porter, reminds me more of a mild chocolate stout.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2013 00:04:40 | More by arc3636
Photo of fx20736

New York

4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bought a single bottle from Beers of the World on 11/22/13. Served cool in a Samuel Smith's Pint glass.

Appearance: black as anthracite coal with a thick tan head and nice lacing.

aroma: coffee, char, some chocolate and smoke.

mouthfeel: good.

taste: roast, coffee, a hint of smoke.

notes: maybe not Eddy Fitz but this is a damn good Porter. Looking forward to a taste test between Bell's, Founder's and Eddy.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2013 18:18:30 | More by fx20736
Photo of utopiajane

New York

3.69/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours black , perfectly opaque but at the bottom of the glass you can observe the clarity as you can see some very tiny bubbles that want to go to the top. Two fingers of tan foam that fell slowly and left streaky lace but not a lot of it. Nose is blackened malt with a natural sweetness that is not sugary. It has a leafy hop herbal and a vague fruit scent. There is some bold espresso but not really any chocolate. If there is it's a faint cocoa powder that isn't sweet. Smells like a nice dark bread. Almost no smoke or char at all. Taste follows the nose all the way. The malt is deep and endless.There is a lightness from hop character that adds lightness to the drink. Something a bit leafy and fruity. has a bit of chalky dryness in the middle and finishes with a bitter from blackened grain and a nice vague fruit sweetness to contrast. Gains a nutty quality as it warms that really adds to the flavor. The body of the beer is supple and creamy. Had some firm carbonation and reminded me of cola in the finish.

Very good porter from Bells.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2013 17:10:41 | More by utopiajane
Photo of FondueVoodoo

British Columbia (Canada)

3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Big thanks to MilwaukeeCrusher for bringing this beer up on his trip to Vancouver.

A: pours a jet black with espresso coloured head leaving plenty of lacing.

S: bitter cocoa powder and acrid coffee. Sweet malts in the background.

T: following the smell with bitter coffee and cocoa powder. Middle notes of sweet toasted malts and finishes with a lingering bitterness.

M: medium to light bodied with higher than expected carbonation.

O: a tasty and smooth porter that while light bodied packs a good amount of flavour.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2013 04:43:23 | More by FondueVoodoo
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.31/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Porter is black but far from opaque; loads of terra brown highlights show up in the light and even render peeks of clarity amidst the shadowy, dark complexion. Its thin but persistent head provides an embroidery of gauze-coloured lacing only a skilled seamstress could replicate.

Coffee grounds combine with enough vanilla extract and brownie flavour to make the aroma a little more sweet than roasty. It certainly has a good quantity of both; this smells vivid and delicious and is clearly a beer of the utmost craftsmanship and quality ingredients.

The first sip has enough chocolate and vanilla flavour to make me want to run out to the nearest ice cream shop. It simulates the gratification of a slice of dark caramel-chocolate cheesecake and side of Caffè Americano; it's a mocha flavour right off the menu at Starbucks.

All these rich, dessert-y flavours exist within the thinner, lighter framework of a porter and lack the smoke, burnt roast qualities, and weightiness of a stout. Make no mistake, however, this is about as full-bodied as porters come; this is hearty as a chunky steak and mushroom pie.

The truly dark, rich flavours are normally reserved for stouts but there's little that Bell's Porter doesn't provide. Whether you own a massive beer cellar or simply a bottle opener, this is a must-have beer to keep on-hand. Trade, plan a road trip to Michigan - do whatever it takes.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2013 23:51:35 | More by biegaman
Photo of yuenglingfan101


4.83/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A great beer from Bell's I put this along with a bottle of K-Zoo Stout in my chili. it gives it some flavor. Nice brownish to blackish beer with minimal head. smooth tasting and great overall feeling when drinking this beer. I cant complain too much about and awesome beer. so hears again to Bell's

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2013 16:18:27 | More by yuenglingfan101
Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 1,960 ratings.