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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

1,008 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,008
Hads: 2,676
Avg: 3.88
pDev: 16.75%
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: 1,008 | Hads: 2,676
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 russpowell
3.82/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cheers to BARLEYWINO for this delight

Pours chestnut with some mahogany & purple tints, plus 2+ fingers of tan colored head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Toasted malt & some coffee notes

T: A little bit of chocolate, dryness & hints of coffee grinds up front. Hints of iron & slight smokeyness as this warms. Finishes with some mocha & dryness

MF: Medium-bodied with low carbonation & oilyness

Drinks good, but given how stellar most of Bell's beers are, I'm a bit disappointed, a solid porter

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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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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, bottled 9/6/2012. Pours lightly hazy very dark reddish brown color with a nice 1-2 finger dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of big chocolate, caramel, roasted malt, toffee, coffee beans, toast, light dark fruit, cream, and herbal hops. Very nice aromas with good strength and balance. Taste of milk chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, toffee, toast, light coffee, earth, and herbal hops. Lingering notes of milk chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, toffee, and herbal hops on the finish for a bit. Nice balance and robustness of flavors; zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy, slick, and smooth mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with nearly zero warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very nice porter. Nice balance of nicely robust roasted flavors; very smooth to drink. Very enjoyable and sessionable porter.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a deep ruby brown chestnut when held up to the light appears with a magnifiant fluffy tan head leaving a big sturdy collar of lacing. Aroma: Not overly sweet but the deep roasted malted barley is robust filled with chocolate and coffee tones, nice and creamy edge. Taste: Flavor is slightly grainy with the dark roasts leaving bitterness in the finish a bit dry as well, ties flavors together solid porter from front to back dead on. Mouthfeel: Creamy texture paints the palate coats it done with a sweet rising moccha cream tone, very nice brew full body wonderful. Drinkability: The best sipping porter none go down easier than this one just so good and flavorful clean well crafted I have much thanks for aaronh for hunting this jewel down for me.

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Photo of chinchill
3.84/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown and nearly opaque in my snifter despite being clear. The sudsy tan head is mildly disappointing at first, but largely redeems itself with some retention and lacing.
The aroma is very promising, with a bit of caramel sweetness, and more subtle notes of roasted malt, chocolate and coffee. The roasted malt comes to the fore in tasting, especially mid-taste onwards. Some dark chocolate, sweet caramel and a bit of a spicy hop flavor too.

M: Medium body; very smooth; would be creamy were it not for the lively, moderate carbonation.

O: Not exotic or extreme (and it shouldn't be) but a quite good porter in all aspects.

{12 oz bottle produced essentially the same impression and ratings - March 2013 & again August 2013}

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Photo of mdfb79
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a very dark brown color with two inches of tan head and moderate carbonation evident. No lacing or real retention.

s - Smells of chocolate, roasted malts, light coffee, vanilla, and light dark fruits. Pretty nice.

t - Tastes of coffee, roasted malts, chocolate and very light vanilla. A step down from the nose, but still good.

m - Medium to full body and moderate carbonation. Very smooth and creamy.

d - A nice porter. I liked the smell a lot and the taste was still pretty good. I wish the taste had less coffee as that slightly dominated the other tastes, but would certainly have again.

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

Nearly black in color, with a full, dark tan head. Aroma is rich and roasty, toasty, even slightly burnt. Dark chocolate comes out on top, with hints of nuts and spices. Full-bodied, good texture, with loads of tingly hops. A fine rendition of the style.

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Photo of jwc215
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a thick off-white head that descends to a thin, lasting cover. Rings of lacing stick to the glass.

The smell is of charcoal smokiness and dark fruits.

The taste is of dakr malt - chocolate and coffee. Dark fruits give it a nice balancing support. Smoky and earthy characteristics come into play. Candy-sweet finish.

The body is medium - on-target for style.

A truly "sessionable" porter. Nicely balanced - A good example of an American Porter!

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

A: Pours an opaque very dark brown (almost black) in color with some very dark amber and garnet red highlights as well as light to moderate amounts of carbonation at the surface. The beer has a two finger tall creamy tan head that slowly reduces to a large thick patch, a thin film covering the rest of the surface of the beer, and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light aromas of roasted malts with some very light hints of coffee and dark chocolate.

T: Similar to the smell, this beer has a light flavor of roasted malts upfront with some notes of coffee and dark bittersweet chocolate that become more apparent as the beer warms up. Very light notes of bitterness that fades but not too quickly.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly creamy and smooth.

O: With the lighter body/mouthfeel, this is a very easy to drink beer and would be a nice late fall/early winter session beer.

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

On draft at Churchkey, served in a snifter. Beer is dark brown / black with a thin tan head of small bubbles, some lacing, low retention.

Aroma is mildly sweet with a little roast, smells good.

Beer is medium to light in body, a little sweet / chocolaty on the front with a mild maltness, thins out toward the back, mildly roasty / bitter. I enjoyed it.

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Photo of mothman
3.34/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Sam Adams Sensory Glass. Batch 8726.

Color is a dark coffee brown. Tan head, that leaves little lace.

The aroma is a little off on this beer. Smells like burnt coffee, that is really old. The taste however is much better. Taste is of toasted malts. Coffee and carmel flavor as well.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, with a hint of bitterness at the end.

Overall, the smell was a big turn away from this beer. The taste was normal, but I couldn't get over the smell. I would try it, just to compare to other porters, but wouldn't buy it again.

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Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 1,008 ratings.