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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

997 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 997
Hads: 2,643
Avg: 3.88
pDev: 16.75%
Wants: 89
Gots: 286 | 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.
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Reviews: 997 | Hads: 2,643
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vanilla and wine Aroma and taste like a bit of wine. Top porter. Tan foam on black. Malty with Coffee bean, buttery chocolate and hickory, and carbonation. Creamy with yeast and caramel, a winning pleasure. Spicy aftertaste. Markled it down a bit on tasting May 2005.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.99/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Packaged 1/29/15.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, toasted sesame seed, earth, char, and cocoa powder aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa powder, char, earth, and slight burnt toast flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that has a nice balance of roast, char, and cocoa characteristics all around.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of acurtis
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bell's Porter 12oz poured into nonic pint. Pours very dark with small head. Aroma of smokey chocolate, malt, coffee and hops. Smooth mouthfeel, Balanced flavor of malt, hops, cocoa and coffee with a touch of smoke. Exceptionally easy to drink porter, up there and comparable to GLEFP in flavor and mouthfeel.

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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 metter98
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is close to near black in color. It poured with a half finger high beige head that has good retention properties and never completely faded away.
S: There are aromas of roasted malts in the nose along with some notes of coffee.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and is quite complex with flavors of roasted malts, notes of chocolate and hints of cocoa and coffee. The finish has some bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is very easy to drink and goes down smoothly.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

G: Poured into a Bell's pint glass. Batch # 8941.

A: Pours a lightish cola color out of the glass with a single finger head that is a dark cream and fairly-highly carbonated. The beer is a very dark brown and pretty much opaque in the glass. Good lacing.

S: Malt and a hint of chocolate--nothing really overpowering.

T: Dark malts and a little bit of hops. Some dark chocolate flavors.

M: Medium body with carbonation that hits the tip of my tongue. Slightly creamy and goes down smooth.

D: Fairly drinkable. Sort of a heavy mouthfeel to drink a lot of, but not bad for a porter in that department.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.91/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This porter pours out with a nice black color, the head was thin and a light shade of brown. The smell of the beer was of roasted malts and some old wood. The taste was interesting, had a flavor in the aftertaste that I can't really describe. Other than that it was chocolatey and earthy. The mouthfeel was smooth and had a lighter body to it. Overall it's a really nice simle porter.

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Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark chocolate brown with a beige head that displays good retention and some shards of lace

Smell: Alternating wafts of dark bread, chocolate and roast

Taste: Starts out with a bread and chocolate flavor that grows increasingly chocolatey by mid-palate; after the swallow, the chocolate is joined by hints of coffee bitterness through to the finish; some vanilla sweetness in there, too, but the aftertaste is rather roasty

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A nice middle of the road porter, with good chocolate flavor and a commendable balance of sweet and roasty flavors

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The 'tap' version of the beer offers a better experience than from the bottle. The beer is typically colored with a deep walnut hue and nearly opaque. Well headed and modestly carbonated gives visual weight and stability to the brew. Faint aromas of coffee, chocolate, toasted malts, and heavy cream. The flavors of malt sweetness pronounce early, but are quickly tempered by bold columbian coffee notes and acidity, fresh bitter hops, walnuts, cocoa, and milk sugars. Creamy textured and silky smooth, not relying on carbonation to lighten the feel. Finishes with a simple coffee and milk aftertaste that lingers into a slight bitterness. As nicely flavored as I had remembered, but better bodied from the tap.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.23/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Hogtownharry: Poured a pitch black porter with a medium foamy head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of roasted malt with some very subtle coffee notes is interesting but a bit weak. Taste is a mix between bitter roasted malt with some subtle sweet chocolate note. Body is a bit thin IMHO. Definitely not the best offer from this otherwise fine brewer.

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Photo of emerge077
4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A timeless classic, and staple of any Midwest beer bar worth their salt.

Sooty black with mahogany edges. Several fingers width of tan foam with a vigorous pour, that slowly recede and coat the glass with intricate lacing. Retention is great, the foam remains unbroken the entire time.

Roasty black patent malt, coffee notes, and a mild bready malt sweetness.

Supple feel, signature roast with coffee and bakers chocolate notes. Little to no bitterness, creamy and smooth body with mellow carbonation. Lingering flavor of dry roast in the aftertaste. Extremely drinkable, flavorful and well-rounded. Many so-called extreme beers pale in comparison to this classic Porter.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Close-to-opaque mahogany brown with lighter brown highlights at the bottom edge of the glass. It looks a good deal more substantial than most porters, a definite plus. The toasted tan head is fairly large, lasts a while and leaves broken sheets of lace on the glass. The nose is of roasted black malt with chocolate and hops. So far, so good.

This is a very good porter. The flavor, like the aroma, is considerably roasted malty with a lovely bittersweet chocolatiness. Coffee peeks through in the second half of the mouthful, but is still subservient to chocolate.

There's also a restrained hoppiness that isn't up-front enough to gum up the works for the malt lovers. The finish is long and increasingly bitter, especially as the beer warms. Firm, not quite full body with a slightly too lively carbonation. Good mouthfeel overall; I'll let the minor degree of fizziness slide since it doesn't last for the entire bottle.

Bell's Porter is a quality, quaffable version that lovers of the style should seek out. I acquired this bottle from deejaydan and wish now that it had been multiple bottles.

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Photo of zeff80
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, dark brown color with a small, foamy, caramel-colored head. It left small thin traces of lace.

S - It smelled of roasted malt, dark chocolate, dried fruit (cherry), and toffee. Also, some light floral notes.

T - This is a nicely balanced porter with a bittersweet blend of hops and caramel roasted maltiness. Some chocolate flavors add to the complexity of this beer.

M - It was soft and smooth. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very nice porter. Yet another fine offering from Bell's.

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Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brown-ruby color with nice big creamy head,very appetizing smell of rich chocolate and deeply roasted malt.Taste was of dark roast coffee and bitter chocolate with some lingering earthiness.Very smooth and velvety and pretty easy to drink a real nice porter from my favorite brewer.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served right out of the fridge and poured into a pint glass

A - Poured a very nice hazelnut brown color with a very nice and somewhat hazy consistency to it. Enough light was coming through though so as not to give it the impression of being too dark and you could definitely make out the carbonation chains reaching up toward the surface. A very nice tan colored head of approximately three fingers in height formed almost immediately across the top of it, and where it met the cloudy dark liquid below it, some nice cascading bubbles gave it a nice effect and let you know there was some thickness to it. Very nice retention as the head stuck around for a good few moments before resting and coming down to about an inch and staying that way throughout the session. There was very nice side glass lace as well, which contributed nicely to the overall appearance.

S - The aroma was very nice and more then adequately strong in that you could easily pick up the different aromas and make out some subtleties in the profile. There was a strong smoky aroma going on here, which I was not expecting, but blended in very nicely with the rich malty profile on this one. Very nice deep earthy smells, caramel, and sugar with some grain making it very nice. There was a slight grass like hoppiness to it as well, there gave it a little bright spot in an otherwise dark smell. There was the slightest bit of dark chocolate present towards the end of the session as well, once it had warmed, that seemed to be a little bitter.

T - The flavor was very nice, and followed along well with the aroma, making this one more of a smoked porter then a sweet one. There was definitely that smoked flavor that translated over to it and gave it a good little bit extra that made it a bit different then normal. The base was a rich mixture of earthy malts, lots of grains and chocolate like flavors mingling around and mixed in very well with a touch of caramel sugar that sweetened it up a little. Perhaps a touch of roasted coffee in there, more likely though this was more of the smoke coming through. The finish was typical for a good porter with a strong hoppy bitter finish that drew out the flavor and made it a little longer lasting then I thought it would have been.

M - Very nice medium bodied porter, to be honest at times it bordered on being a little bit more, but had a bit of a lightness to it, which was good, as you want a porter to be a porter. Very smooth and creamy with the finish giving it a bit of a crisp edge that served to have it be more refreshing than a thick filling porter would be. Very nice and quite classic for the style, nothing really bad you could say about this here.

D - Really a very nice and quite high quality session beer. This one worked quite well as a nightcap to, which was the way I actually enjoyed it. I wanted something a bit lighter as it was already late, so I decided to go with this one, and it was a good choice, as the flavors were rich enough to stand on their own, but also this was definitely sessionable in a different environment.

Overall this was am excellent porter, and something that is quite useful as a staple or standby beer for everyday use in the fridge. I could easily have had another and thought it came off quite fresh. Another quality offering from Bell's regular lineup. I would recommend giving this one a try.

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Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jason for this nice extra.

A: The pour is a very dark brown with a bit of reddish notes and a thin khaki head.

S: There's quite a bit of sweetness to the nose. I get caramel and sweet chocolate. The roasted malt and coffee notes are a bit more subdued.

T: As much as the roast is in the background on the nose, it's surprisingly strong and "featured" on the palate. Lots of roasted malt flavor with a nice bitter chocolate compliment. Some slight caramel sweetness and a bit of an earthy hop flavor.

M: The body is medium with a smooth and almost creamy feel on the tongue. The carbonation is moderate.

D: Not quite an amazing porter, but quite good. Solid in all aspects.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark brown body with a small, creamy off-white head.

Smell: Roasty aroma with notes of oven-cooked fruits, coffee, chocolate, and yes, even cola.

Taste: Roasted malt flavor with plenty of coffee and bittersweet chocolate. Dash of cola. Light fruitiness, though not as much as the aroma led me to believe. Roasty, earthy bitterness holds on till the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: So yeah, good stuff.

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Photo of oline73
3.57/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours very dark brown with some red coming through when light hits the edges. There is a half finger of tan head that goes away quickly.

Smell: Roasty with hints of coffee and some dark chocolate. There is a very mild malty sweetness in there as well.

Taste: Roast up front, a nice amount of bitterness. Mild malt sweetness with some hops showing up in the finish to mingle with the roast.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with intensely tingly carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

Overall: This is a solid porter. I'm not sure I'll pick this one up again, but I might.

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Photo of nickfl
4.09/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Black with some ruby color around the edges and a very large and tenacious dirty cream colored head that leaves very good lace behind.

S - Roasty malt and a little bit of yeast. Not much else to speak of.

T - Full, almost smokey roast malt and a bit of nutty flavor. Quite pleasant, round malt flavor with only some bitterness perceptable in the finish.

M - Medium body with moderately high carbonation.

D - This is a highly drinkable beer. The flavors are light but present enough to keep you interested and the midrange body and higher carbonation help it to go down easy. I am impressed that they have hit the porter style so solidly and I must say that this is a beer that I could drink all night long.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Hopefully this brew won't have too bitter a taste thanks to my Bears really getting their asses handed back to them against the Pats. It pours a deep ruby brown topped by a short finger of ecru foam. The nose comprises light roasted malts, a very light hickory smoke, brown sugar, light molasses, and a good helping of black pepper. The taste goes a bit heavier on the pepper and smoke (less of the latter) and adds some mild greens, but, beyond that, everything from the nose returns on the tongue. The body is a lithe medium, with a moderate carbonation and a fairly dry finish. Overall, a very nice porter, but a bit too dry and fizzy for me to really get into it. other than that, though, it's pretty solid.

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Photo of jlindros
3.96/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another review coming from Noslenwerd.

A: Big frothy 1 finger thick rich head with darker color. The color of the beer is very dark brown with almost no light escaping.

N: Nose has some dark malts, some light roast, light chocolate, a nice porter roasty aroma. Some very light spicy hops. It's almost the epitome of a good porter but on the lighter side.

T: Starts with some dark malts, roasted characters quite a bit. Adds slight chocolate and more lush malts. Slightly sweet. It has some bitter stout like flavors from charred malts. Slight creaminess. Rich and more flavorful than I expected from the nose. It's almost a juicy malt flavor.

M: Semi thick, luscious, creamy, decent carbonation.

F: FInishes a little drier but still slightly sweet, it has a nice earthy spicy bitter feel on the finish, and almost that clean mouth feel you get from higher abv beers. The lingering bitter stouty roasted flavor remains for a bit.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.42/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from JAYW, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark brown color with a short foamy off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a very thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is very creamy and full of roasted coffee along with nuts, a touch of dark fruit and some hops.

T: The taste is very well-balanced, with flavors of coffee, nuts, smoky malt, dark fruit and a good amount of hops for a beer of this style, all complimenting each other. The coffee flavor stands out but not too much. It’s also not overly sweet like some porters can be. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down very easily, not very filling, good representation of style and one of the best American Porters that I’ve had. If I’m in a porter kind of mood, I could see myself drinking quite a few of these, if only Bell’s were available here.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted in a Bass trademark ale glass
A - Opaqe deep brown no light pervades this dark ale. A Pale tan head quickly recedes leaving a thin lace behind.

S - Scents of Roasted coffe with cream and nuts. Crisp fruit aroma and roasted grain lingers in the background.

T - Crisp smooth flavor of brown malts. Creamy and nutty toffee and slightly vegetal flavor emerges . Minimal hop taste stealthily hides in the midst. Woody dryness as it warms and almost burn bean essence plays with the tongue as the creamy caramel sweetness relaxes.

M - Moderately full, chewy sweetness dominates with active carbonation and creamy edges.

D - Very good in the drinkability category and represents the style well. It is a sweet beer, so multiple tastings seems difficult. The flavor is pleasant and is good to return to on occasion for a sweet dark treat.

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Photo of Jason
3.53/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to UncleJimbo for this sample!

Presentation: 12 oz brown bottle with a batch code on the back label … this means nothing to me as far as freshness.

Appearance: Thick frothy head forms as soon as I poured, not a gusher but there is a good amount of carbonation here. Black, black and black.

Smell: Fruity, malty with a roasted … almost burnt biscuit aroma. Mild buttery diacetyl in the back.

Taste & Mouth Feel: Semi-smooth with a creamy medium body. Mildly acrid burnt snap up front, lots of burnt husk flavor … not astringent but it has a bite. Solid yet balancing hop bitterness plays with the dry malt character. Finishes with a drying burnt chicory flavor.

Drinkability & Notes: Just an easy drinking middle of the road porter that has a good amount of flavor pack in it.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours extremely dark - just one step below opaque. Big tan head off a very firm pour, but it falls fast. Mildly roasted nose. Touch of a sweet tone. Malt tones are there for sure. Flavor is pretty thick with roasted tones and minimal coffee with a lot of malts of course. Feel has a lot of carbonation really going at the tongue and the liquid is thick enough. A nice, hearty porter. Definitely worth trying.

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Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 997 ratings.