1. Rating beers by attributes (look, smell, taste, feel, overall) is back! Read the latest update ...
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

Not Rated.
Bell's PorterBell's Porter

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

2,248 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,248
Reviews: 958
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 51
Gots: 119 | FT: 3
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bell's Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,248 | Reviews: 958 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mdfb79
3.78/5  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.

mdfb79, Jan 06, 2011
Photo of JDFish
1.6/5  rDev -58.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Poured dark and smelled of rotting fruit, burnt coffee, and somehting sour and acidic. Smallish head that disappeared quickly. I manage to get a few sips in before it was dumped down the drain. This piss water is overwhelm with sourness and alcohol. Worst tasting beer I've ever had, zero drinkability.

JDFish, Jan 03, 2011
Photo of BigMike
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The darkest brown you can get before black. Some ruby highlights around the edge. A thick creamy khaki colored head of two fingers.

S: lots of smokiness and bittersweet chocolate. Some black
licorice notes.

T: Same as the nose. Lots of smoky chocolate with roasted coffee on the finish.

M: medium, smooth, creamy.

Overall: A really good porter. Very drinkable with lots of flavor.

BigMike, Jan 03, 2011
Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

womencantsail, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of hangh
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice dark brown nearly black color with a thin tan head. Leaves a little bit of lacing and the head is pretty fine. Head's gone after about 3 minutes leaving a few islands on the surface. It's a shame because the first few sips were my favorite. Very strong chocolate/coffee smell, it's refreshing and lingers for a while. Taste is excellent. This is what I want when I get a porter. Sweet smoked chocolate and coffee malts give way to a quick bitter ending with a pleasant aftertaste. Nothing is overpowering and everything seems to be in a good balance. It's a lighter bodied porter with some mild carbonation but it is very good. If I'm in the mood for a porter, this is the first thing I'm looking for.

hangh, Dec 29, 2010
Photo of DannyDan
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a mahogany red to black body with an off white head that has good retention, good carbonation and excellent lacing to it. The smell is chocolate mixed with coffee, and some hops. The taste is a mild taste of chocolate at first, than the coffee kicks in followed by some hops and raisins. The aftertaste reminds me of chocolate covered raisins. The mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy, and even though I have only tasted four or five porters in my life and am fairly new to the style I'll admit that this is the smoothest and most drinkable one I've had so far.

DannyDan, Dec 27, 2010
Photo of BeerDawgs
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark brown. Minimal head in my glass, leaves just a slight lace.

S - Nice malt aroma with burnt coffee/chocolate smell

T - Mild at 1st, and then the malts and hops kick in at the end. Has a very good aftertaste. Very well balanced.

M - Medium carbonation. Smooth Smooth Smooth.

D - Rates high on drinkability. It is so smooth that you can easily drink several.

BeerDawgs, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of adamette
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Live review. Poured from the 12 oz. brown bottle that I purchased as a single at Save-On Tobacco & Beverage in Mentor, Ohio a few weeks ago for $1.68 into my Cooperstown Beverage Trail pint glass. Batch 9800.

A Light brown somewhat creamy head of about 1 cm over a dark body that glows a mahogany red in front of direct light. A basic look. 3.0

S Moderate to dark roast malt and an "amber" smell that I did not expect. The beer is not very aromatic. Several sniffs were needed to produce the first statement. 3.0

T Taste flows from the smell in that I can taste the disappointingly thin dark roast malt but also an "amber" taste that I did not expect. This lacks the depth and great taste of Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter which is available in nearly every store in my area. 2.0

M Too thin for me. The dark roast malt is too distant and the "amber" tastes seem to make it feel even more thin. I don't know about this one....I am firmly disappointed in it. 2.5

D Good with manageable ABV (5.6%) but the smell and taste are forgettable enough that I cannot see reaching for another one of these. 3.0

Notes: Just as much as I was impressed with the Java Stout (just reviewed it) I am disappointed with this one, far inferior to many, many other porters available to me (Not just the great Edmund Fitzgerald, but others too).

adamette, Dec 22, 2010
Photo of xtremejammn
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Nice deep, black body with a brownish hue. Not a fan of heads.

Smell: Smells bitter, a definite hop presence. An underlying scent of slightly sweet (baking) cocoa.

Taste: A slight bitterness with a definite roasted, dark malt presence.

Mouthfeel: Certainly bubbly but not too bubbly, nicely balanced.

Drinkability: The taste is strong but not overbearing, which blends well with the light carbonation. Very well done.

The bottom Line: A damn good porter. Please give it a try if it's available in your area. Have a good one.

xtremejammn, Dec 21, 2010
Photo of AwYeh
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours an opaque black/very dark brown, with a finger head that dissipates moderately quickly.
S: Great smoky smell; elements of salty meat and chocolate remind me of a bacon chocolate bar I had once.
T: Taste has elements of bitter dark chocolate and roasted malts.
M: Medium to heavy body, with moderate carbonation. Pleasant slightly bitter aftertaste accompanies light mouthcoat after swallowing.
D: Very drinkable; I could easily put a few of these away in a night.

AwYeh, Dec 20, 2010
Photo of TMoney2591
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

TMoney2591, Dec 12, 2010
Photo of herman77
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark chocolate brown with dark ruby red edges. Decent sized light tan head. Decent lacing.

S: Chocolate milk, a bit of coffee, roasty malts a bit of wood smoke too.

T: Bready and chocolatey malt. Becomes more chocolatey mid palate. Some roasted malt and a hint of wood and smoke is also present. Slightly sweet and roasted malt aftertaste.

M: Lighter body. A bit thin. Lower carbonation.

D: Good drinkability. A nice, straightforward porter.

herman77, Dec 12, 2010
Photo of acurtis
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

acurtis, Dec 10, 2010
Photo of crossovert
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle.

It pours a nice dark brown, black in the glass with a rightly foamed tan head that sticks very nicely It recedes with some nice lacing.

The smell is classic American porter in every sense of the style. There is a strong roastiness, a little kiss of hops, caramel, and chocolate.

The taste is very good, It could use a bit more body but the flavors are great. Tons of chocolate and roastiness dominate the profile but there is also some caramel and hops. The bitterness is at a great level in comparison to the sweetness, especially for the style. It is balanced and drinkable.

The guy below me has it right: not quite Edmund Fitz or Blake Butte but this one is one of the supeb examples of the style.

crossovert, Dec 09, 2010
Photo of rembrant
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

looks- Real dark,a finger of beige head that's more bubbly than frothy

aromas- Coffee,a little smoky,roasty malt,brown sugar,raisin and a slight brandy vapor.

Taste- A full,well roasted maltiness that never quite goes to dark coffee,but it teases it. Maybe a hint of licorice,dark fruit,and a hint of alcohol. The Alcohol is integrated in a good wall of flavors and isn't a negative.
Probably less deep/complex than Edmund Fitzgerald or Black Butte but ahead of most others. A very solid Porter.

Mouth- Sweet on the lips and rich in the mouth. Finish is a roasty-toasty bitter that's right for the type,never goes watery or sourish

Drinkable- More than you'd expect,I'd hav no objection to some more

rembrant, Dec 08, 2010
Photo of arboristfish
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a thick black color, with an off white head. You can sort of pick up an amber hue in it, but for the most part you cant see through it at all. The aroma is of smokey, roasted malt. The flavor is light and yet has a balanced delicate roasted flavor to it. The mouthfeel is thick and the taste is light. Overall a very good beer.

arboristfish, Dec 07, 2010
Photo of DCon
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought Beer from Lukas Liquor in a Mix-A-Six. (5th Beer of Night)

Appearance: Dark of course, nothing unlike any other porter

Smell: Can't smell much, no aroma

Taste: Coffee Stout Tasting

Mouthfeel: Raosted, Full-Bodied Beer that could have gone on my pancakes earlier today

Drinkability: Awesome for my group of friends but only for a demographic of series beer drinkers

DCon, Dec 07, 2010
Photo of airheadmtrcycle
2.75/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I'll be right upfront with my bias towards porters. It's one of my favorites styles. Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint. Almost black it's so dark with a tan head and nice lacing. Great looking pour!

Smells of dark roasted malts and perhaps something else. Not too aromatic, though. The taste is difficult to find. Strange, as I usually expect porters to have burnt and smokey flavors with perhaps some bitterness on the finish, particularly with American porters. It's generally a quite "in your face" kind of thing, not something you have to go searching for. I let it warm to finally find some smokey flavor hiding.

The most disappointing quality is the mouthfeel. Way too thin for the style. Makes me want to go get something more robust to finish the night with. Funny thing is I can feel it weighing on my belly. That's the opposite of what I'm looking for in an ale.

Overall, a real disappointment.

airheadmtrcycle, Dec 06, 2010
Photo of Thanby
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice chocolate appearance, typical of porters. Wonderful mild chocolate nose, coffee undertones. Milder taste, not overwhelmingly bitter like many porters, the coffee flavor sets in late as it warms a little. Light body for a porter, lingering coffee malt. Simple and tasty, bitter but mild.

Thanby, Dec 05, 2010
Photo of JizackFH
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - This pours a nice deep brown color, and has a average size light tan head. The head left nice lacing as it fell.

S - Smells of roasted malts, coffee, toffee, dark fruit, and a hint of hops.

T - The first tastes I am getting are roasted malts and coffee. There are also flavors of bittersweet chocolate, bitter hops, molasses, caramel, and a little hint of smoke.

M - This has a medium body and medium carbonation. There is also a smooth and creamy quality to it.

D - The drinkability is good. It goes down easy, and leaves you wanting more. This is a good porter, it is better than quite a few I have had in the past. I would pick it up again.

JizackFH, Dec 03, 2010
Photo of cameraman
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A dark brown color with a reddish hue along the sides of the glass, with a beige colored head. The head is a quatrer inch high and it stays there for some time. A roasted malt aroma with touches of chocolate and coffee, with a touch of molasses at the end. The chocolate, coffee, and roasted flavors dominate the taste, then a strong bitterness with some grass and pine flavors, but mostly a lactic bitter flavor. A slightly watery feel that grows to more medium bodied feel. The finish is dry to the point you pucker your lips. This by far one of the best porters I have ever had, the classic color and rosty aroma. A flavor that leaves you wanting more and a feel that cleans the palate. The sad part, is the empty glass.

cameraman, Dec 03, 2010
Photo of aepb1
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark, deep brown body with a light tan head

S- Porter! Chocolate, coffee and fullness

T- Chocolate and coffee here with a sugary sweet body. Finishes with a nice roasted taste.

M- Smooth and creamy with a medium body and good carbonation

D- Not the best porter I've had, but it certainly is easy to drink and the availability make this great!

aepb1, Nov 28, 2010
Photo of JunkYardJake
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into pint glass.
Tis the season for some good porters! First time having this brew and it did not disappoint. Lots of sweet and roasted flavors flood the palate. Coffee, vanilla, chocolate, caramel and a little molasses. Finishes pretty clean with a slight hop bitterness. Aroma follows suite with roasted coffee beans, dark chocolate and caramel. Deep dark brown with a little amber on the edge. Medium body with a little creaminess to it. Very solid porter for the upcoming winter months. Another top notch brew from Bells.

JunkYardJake, Nov 20, 2010
Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Black and coffee like in color with maybe just a tinge of red. Rising bubbles can be seen in fine sheets along the edges of the glass. Didn't produce much head, but the lacing was nice.

Smells of dark roasted malts and coffee with not much hops. A touch of Texas rivers. Pleasant, but not spectacular.

Taste does not disappoint. Roasted caramel malts, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, molasses all come around.

Feels a bit thin for a porter, but has a pleasant aftertaste and goes down easy.

Despite being pretty decent overall, it drinks below average. Unlikely that I'll revisit this beer after the sixer is gone.

AlCaponeJunior, Nov 19, 2010
Photo of BuckeyeSlim
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a New Belgium snifter.

A - 2 finger dense foam ecru head that dissipates at a moderate pace. Dark chocolate brown and almost solidly opaque.

S - Roasted malts and coffee beans with alcohol poking through.

T - Well-roasted malts with an almost burnt caramel taste to them. Lots of 75%+ dark chocolate mixed in. Very well-balanced hops on the finish lets the dark chocolate stick around in the finish.

M - Creamy with good carbonation. Nice structure. Finished surprising clean with little residual sweetness.

D - Perhaps a tad too roasted for a porter. Would like to see more caramel to compliment the roast and the bitterness in the dark chocolate. Still, a delicious brew that drinks well, especially on a chilly night.

BuckeyeSlim, Nov 16, 2010
Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 2,248 ratings.