1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

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

Bell's PorterBell's Porter

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

1,955 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1955
Reviews: 943
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
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 1,955 | Reviews: 943 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Darkmagus82


3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served on firkin in a pint glass

Appearance – Served a deep brown colored brew with a tiny tan colored head. The head fades very fast to leave a moderate level of lacing on the glass.

Smell – The aroma was heaviest of a blend of roasted malt, coffee and dark chocolate. Mixed with these darker aromas is a light sweetness of caramel.

Taste – The taste begins with roasted malt and chocolate flavors. The chocolate is of a more milk chocolate like flavor in the beginning as there is some sweetness of caramel and vanilla upfront mixed. These sweeter flavors dry a bit as some coffee comes to the tongue to create a more dark chocolate flavor on the tongue. In the end some light earthy hop flavors come to the tongue and with the coffee flavors bitter the taste. In the end a dry and light bittered taste for a porter is left to linger on the tongue

Mouthfeel – Being a firkin pour the carbonation was rather light. The body of the beer was on the average to maybe slightly above average side in terms of its creaminess. The slightly thicker body and lower carbonation were quite nice for the roasted and sweeter flavors of the brew making for a rather nice drinking porter.

Overall - A good easy drinking brew.

Serving type: cask

01-31-2013 01:14:55 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of yeahnatenelson


3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Imbibed at Owen & Engine, Chicago, 07/28/2011.

Appearance -- Pours jet black with a whispy beige head. Nice hue, head is not terribly thrilling for a cask ale.

Smell -- Roast malt, cocoa, hint of coffee, and soft molasses sweetness. Somehow I expected more aroma from the cask.

Taste -- Well-roasted malt and coffee-like roast flavor, cocoa and molasses sweetness, roast malt char and mild earthy hops. Quite nice.

Mouthfeel -- Slightly thin and watery, more or less still. Not terrible.

Overall -- Overall, pretty good. I'd take the bottle over the cask on this one, but it was certainly worth trying.

Serving type: cask

07-31-2011 23:45:29 | More by yeahnatenelson
Photo of glid02


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

Cask at Young Augustine's in Atlanta.

Pours one shade from black with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of heavily roasted malts with good amounts of unsweetened chocolate and light amounts of roasted coffee.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Robust roasted malt flavors kick things off and are joined almost immediately by moderate amounts of unsweetened chocolate flavors and hints of char. Light amounts of sweeter toasted malt flavors make an appearance before fading into a solidly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with surprisingly active yet grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass quickly and could have another.

Overall I was a fan of this however I wish I'd caught it a bit later to see how it developed in the firkin. Either way, a solid porter that's worth a shot.

Serving type: cask

08-05-2010 00:35:13 | More by glid02
Photo of Hojaminbag


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

Bell's Porter has a dark body that is opaque and almost black. The head is creamy and brown. Great retention and some solid lacing. This beer looks like it belongs on a hand pump.

The aroma has chocolate, roasted malt, and sourness.

The strongest flavor in Bell's Porter is a definite sourness. Something tells me that in a bottle or on-tap this sourness is either minimal or non-existent. On cask, however, the live yeast and the warm temperature take over to make the sourness fairly pronounced. The sourness mixes with a good amount of chocolate and a noticeable roasted quality. A touch of fruit reminiscent of cherry is in there also.

Good mouthfeel for a cask beer. Moderate to full with a good creamy feel.

As far as look and feel, Bell's porter is one of the better offering that I have had on cask. The flavor is also pretty good, although the sourness is a little bit surprising.

Serving type: cask

06-23-2010 12:59:14 | More by Hojaminbag
Photo of Avagadro

New Jersey

3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: deep brown and borderline opaque, this brew is void of head, just as the English often like it.

S: bouquet is a tad faint due to the lack of carbonation to lift out the aromatics. Roast, butter, and caramel all make an appearance.

T: roasty, nutty, and just a touch
of butter. This is a very traditional porter.

M: full mouthfeel developed in the cask. Creamy and smooth without the carbonation to disrupt it.

D: a great brew to have on cask. I highly recommend the experience.

Serving type: cask

06-18-2010 19:18:24 | More by Avagadro
Photo of boatshoes


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

Had this on cask at Brews Cafe on my most recent visit. Had this in the bottle and on regular tap before but couldn't pass it up off of cask.

Appearance- Pours a just short of opaque black out of the cask with about a quarter finger of bubbly brown head that dies back really quickly to a thin ring around the edge.

Smell- I get some mild roast and maybe even a little bit of the wood from the cask. Just a touch of bitter chocolate as well. Not as much going on here as in the bottle or regular tap version I feel.

Taste- Starts off with mild roast, a little bit of chocolate, and maybe even a tiny bit of coffee grounds. Definitely a little bit of creamy wood quality from the cask coming through as well but I feel that the flavor profile is a bit less complex that usual.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is nice and lightly creamy out of the cask with just enough carbonation. Drinkability is cut a little bit though due to the slightly weakened flavor profile.

Overall, I think I prefer this out of the bottle or off of a normal tap. As much as I like cask beer, I don't think it did a whole lot beneficial here.

Serving type: cask

06-17-2010 17:30:09 | More by boatshoes
Photo of mdwalsh


4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on cask at Stub and Herb's. Was very excited to see a beer I was familiar with on cask so I could compare.

A: Dark, translucent brown beer, very clear. Light Light tan head.

S: Mild sweet roast, no hops, pretty simple in a very good way.

T: Very roasty, not sweet at all. No hops again.

M: It's a little flat, which gives it a nice smoothness.

D: very little carbonation, which is really nice because the beer is good enough on its own.

Serving type: cask

12-14-2009 02:09:54 | More by mdwalsh
Photo of Daniellobo

District of Columbia

3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A nice sturdy porter with a pleasing texture.

Presentation: 16 Oz draft serving. Menu offers a brief and fairly accurate description. Chalk board notes Alc. by Vol. (5.6%) Served in a pint shaker glass.

A - Deep brown color with some lighter ruby edges. Short foamy head (it has been served almost to the rim of the glass leaving little room for it) with some strokes of lace during its descent.

S - Faint roast aroma with a tad of chocolate and coffee.

T - Malty flavor with a dry roast note .

M - It´s a medium to full body and has minimal to no carbonation (Cask serving...) It offers an early smoothness with an interesting raspy texture towards its end.

D - A rather drinkable porter.

Notes: Nice offering on cask, feeling rather fresh and a bit raspy to the palate.

Serving type: cask

10-07-2009 15:15:49 | More by Daniellobo
Photo of drgonzo3705


4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a black color with just a tinge of brown with a fluffy off white head.

S: Burnt smokey coffee mostly coming through slight underlying maltiness.

T: Buttery and smokey. Light malt sweetness.

M: Medium body with a light hoppiness and a little creamy.

D: Very good! Good flavors going on and not too much alcohol combined with the smoothness of the cask condition makes this very enjoyable.

Serving type: cask

03-28-2009 19:22:24 | More by drgonzo3705
Photo of tkarsies


4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served on cask in a nonic glass at The Pub in Columbus, OH.

I had not tried this Bell's offering before but was excited to see it available on cask. Appearance was what I would expect from a porter--nearly black with ruby hues and a creamy 1 inch head on top.
Smell was a little weaker than I would like but roasted aromas were present.
Taste was excellent with a rich roasted flavor with coffee and hints of chocolate followed by a little of the bite (sourness?) that I have noted in many porters. Slight sweetness. Minimal hop presence here.
The mouthfeel was a highlight of this beer. On cask, it was smooth, rich, creamy. I have not had this on-tap or bottled so I can't compare.
Drinkability was very good. The alcohol was not noticeable at all. Overall, this was a treat to drink. On cask, I would put it up with some of my favorite English porters (Sam Smith's and Fullers). Will definitely have to revisit this in bottled form when I get the chance.

Serving type: cask

03-01-2009 13:56:53 | More by tkarsies
Photo of nrbw23


4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a black color when held to the light not too much passes through expect on the edges. A nice foam like cream colored head that leaves pretty much no lacing.

S- Smells are a tiny bit weak compared to other porters but still not terrible by any means. Roasted malts, coffee and some chocolate.

T- As expected, roasted and chocolately along with a nice sweetness. Pretty much just as I'd expected.

M- This has to be just about perfect here.

D- A very solid brew and even more special on cask.

Serving type: cask

02-17-2009 09:34:49 | More by nrbw23
Photo of CHSLBrew


3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served in a pint glass.

A-Minimal head with no lacing. Black color. It seems like this beer wanted to be clear, because it showed some slight deep red hues on the edges when I held it to the light.

S-Minimal aromas. Some slight roasted coffee and toasted malt aroma.

T-Roasty, toasty malt with subtle coffee, also a slightly astringent bite. Agressively bitter with no hop aroma/flavor. Finishes moderate/very dry.

M-Low carbonation and a too thin mouthfeel for this style. I think this style is not the best when served on cask.

D-Very easy to drink, lending to the thin body. However, did not leave me wanting another.

Serving type: cask

11-02-2008 18:34:33 | More by CHSLBrew
Photo of PittBeerGirl


3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The first cask I've ever seen at Bocktown for Firkin night featuring Bell's porter. The brewer from Bell's was also present and it was cool to meet him.

This was a nice porter with the typical appearance but the head fades quickly...especially for a cask beer. This is a nice drinkable porter that's smell and flavors lean on the coffee side. Not very much roasted bitterness but just enough to give you that authentic feel. A nice light drinkable porter body. A really good representation of the typical porter without any crazy deviance from the style. I liked this one but I know that it wouldn't be as good in a bottle.

Serving type: cask

09-11-2008 01:24:52 | More by PittBeerGirl
Photo of simplexiton


4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As indicated I had this beer on cask at Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown, D.C.

Glass - straight walled pint glass

Appearance: Black, ruby highlights when held to light

Smell: Whoa roasty and chocolate really hits the nose in the best way. Restrained hops barely noticeable. The roastiness is really center stage here

Taste: As expected, roasted and chocolately upfront accompanied by a dark sweetness (almost prunes, but more molasses like) and hints of wood (not sure which kind) from the cask. Slight alcohol warming.

Mouthfeel: just about perfect. the carbonation was light, just enough to accent the malt heavy backbone. Slightly viscous but not syrupy at all. The temperature and carbonation amount really allowed each sip to coat the interior of my mouth.

Drinkability: The carbonation seemed to slip away as I finished the brew but I could definitely drink this as a session, especially on cask.

Having this beer in bottles was great but it was really special on cask, if you ever have a chance to get this on cask definitely do it.

Serving type: cask

08-15-2008 03:06:42 | More by simplexiton
Photo of pwoods


4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

20oz. imperial pint, pulled at the Dilly Deli. Review from notes.

A: Dark brown, opaque. Big frothy head, great retention and decent lacing.

S: Big roasty and milky notes. Some chocolate and a hint of sweet cola.

T/M: More from the nose with a nice, drying feel. Still milky with plenty of soft roast. Body is about medium with subtle carbonation.

D: Tasty on cask and easily sessionable.

Serving type: cask

08-13-2008 02:36:07 | More by pwoods
Photo of PhillyStyle


4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When it arrived in a pint glass, there was not much head left to it, maybe 1 finger. This was due to the server having to go else where (not the bar, where I was sitting) to draw it, but what remained of the head, was creamy, in texture and appearance. The beer had a very nice deep dark brown color to it.

I expected the taste to be a bit stronger than it actually was based upon the smell. I also expected it to be a bit thinker (appeared a bit watery), given it was cask strength, but it was very smooth and easy to drink with a good flavor to it.

Overall, this would be a beer that I order/purchase again.

Serving type: cask

04-09-2008 19:23:08 | More by PhillyStyle
Photo of lightindarkness


4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a firkin at Hot Shotz. Poured a deep dark mahogany brown with some light seeping through. A short head sinks to a ring around the glass leaving some decent lace. Nose is smoky, with burnt wood and some dark fruits. Hidden scent of sweeter caramel. Taste is nice, with smooth malt and a slightly crisp back end. Flavors of smoke, wood, and deep toasted malt. It sweetens a some in the middle then breaks up to a clean finish. Feel is smooth with a lighter medium body. Leaves a little oily feeling, but has a very clean finish. Lighter and slightly watery on cask. Very pleasant overall. It doesn't pack the body I usually enjoy in this style. Consumes very easily.

Serving type: cask

04-01-2008 06:26:18 | More by lightindarkness
Photo of Shovelbum


4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this off the hand-pull tap at Ashley’s in Ann Arbor, MI.

Robust, creamy, deep-tan head. The body was a black with ruby edges. Nice bands of stratigraphic lace. Light hop aroma, but overall very clean in the nose. Creamy, velvety smooth body with mild hop bitterness and notes of roasted coffee. Slightly sweet, but not overwhelming. Not syrupy, but definitely a medium to full body. Low carbonation of the hand-pull, accentuating the velvet mouthfeel.

The cask-conditioning and hand-pull may have had something to do with it, but this was an excellent porter. Smooth mouthfeel, great balance between the hops and roasted malts and tame sweetness, combine to make this one of the most ideal session porters that have passed my lips.

Serving type: cask

10-20-2005 20:52:14 | More by Shovelbum
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
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 1,955 ratings.