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

Not Rated.
Bell's PorterBell's Porter

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

2,227 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,227
Reviews: 957
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 51
Gots: 115 | 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
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Ratings: 2,227 | Reviews: 957 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of silver0rlead

North Carolina

4.15/5  rDev +7.5%

Batch 9889, bottled on 7/16 pours a very dark brown with a nice cola colored head that retains well and leaves nice lacing. The aroma is mostly roasty, with notes of espresso, molasses, burnt bread, licorice, dark chocolate, a bit of dark fruit, some slight floral hops and alcohol. The flavor is similarly roasty, with espresso and dark chocolate upfront, along with some blackstrap molasses, burnt bread, dark fruits, floral hops, and a touch of alcohol. The mouthfeel is smooth and appropriately light, and drinkability is very good. A pretty straightforward porter that isn't particularly complex but is executed impeccably.

09-27-2010 02:34:47 | More by silver0rlead
Photo of TheHoppiest


3.85/5  rDev -0.3%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a deep mahogany brown, with glints of tan and amber from the edges of the glass. An aggressive pour gives a solid two inch tan head that unevenly collapses.

Smell is quite malty; some toffee and coffee malt aromas, overlaying a barley-malt smell with hints of grass. A slight lemony smell as well at the end.

Taste is initial roasted coffee-cream, mild toffee and malt, finishing with a slight coffee bitter and even a nip of hop. Very smooth and easy.

Mouthfeel is smooth, slightly thin/watery in texture, but full-flavored.

Fairly drinkable, a decent porter, but not in the same league as Founder's or Great Lakes.

09-24-2010 00:52:26 | More by TheHoppiest
Photo of champ103


3.93/5  rDev +1.8%

A: Pours an opaque dark brown color. A small beige head rises to about a finger, then recedes in a second. Some sticky lace is left behind.
S: At first a little astringent. Though as this warms up it becomes much more enjoyable. Toasted malt and sweet toffee. Brown sugar and chocolate with a dry woody aroma lingering.
T: Very nice. Lots of chocolate and toasted malt up front. Some brown sugar. A great soft malty flavor.
M/D: A medium body that is a bit thin. Easy to drink. Very moreish.

A simple but enjoyable porter. A very nice year-round offering from Bell's. Recommended.

09-23-2010 21:50:53 | More by champ103
Photo of BeerAdvocate


4.22/5  rDev +9.3%

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Vol. II Issue X:

Quick to foam and settling down to massive chucks of lace on the glass, retention runs strong here. Opaque brown color. Smells of fresh dark bread, chicory and cocoa powder with a vague fruitiness and yeast tone in the background. Smooth and creamy with a nearly velvety medium body. Malt sweetness blankets the palate with suggestions of cocoa powder, sweetened light-roasted coffee and light brown sugar. Faint raisin fruitiness pairs up with the chalky yeast tone. Hops come across with an herbal/leafy, oily bitterness that is just enough to balance. Hint of nougat, rustic toasted bread and carob middle to end. Finishes semisweet with a long linger of toasted and mildly roasted grain.

So delicious, so drinkable. By far one of the top beers we have run into this year. Larry, come to Boston. We'll treat you extremely well. As for the lucky folks who can get this on a regular basis, we are more than envious.

09-20-2010 17:28:09 | More by BeerAdvocate
Photo of cetherid


3.43/5  rDev -11.1%

poured into a pint glass


extremely dark beer. pretty much black. A small fizzy tan head.


Roasted malts of course. A little chocolate and dark fruit, like raisins. A pleasant smell.


roasted malts. a little bitter chocolate in there. no much coffee flavor as others are saying. I could go for more flavor. it's definitely good, but most of the flavors are a little too light. seems like it would be a good intro to Porters.


medium bodied. a little thin. does have a bit of a creamy taste to it which is pleasant.


A decent porter. nothing to run out and buy asap. doubt i'll ever get it again, but i wouldn't turn it down if offered. one if perfectly fine.

09-16-2010 01:53:42 | More by cetherid
Photo of JoEBoBpr


3.9/5  rDev +1%

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a very nice and appealing brown color with a great 1 inch tan head. The head is quite dense but recedes quite quickly down to a thin mat.

S - Nice smooth sweat cocoa powder aroma. Very delicious. slight roasted malts that are quite inviting. Some smooth aromas.

T - Great smooth roasted malt flavors. Slight coffee with great chocolate sweetness. There is some slight spice and vanilla as well in the flavor. There is a slight bitter and dry finish at the end from the grassy hops. Overall a quite malty and toasty beer.

M & D - Nice and carbonated. Smooth and delicious with good ABV.

09-13-2010 01:37:16 | More by JoEBoBpr
Photo of damndirtyape


3.58/5  rDev -7.3%

Single bottle (batch 9889) poured into a shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Very dark beer - black on the table, and when held up to the light there are some hints of cola brown coming through. The head isn't very persistent - a thin tan foam across the top. Some occasional islands of lacing here and there.

Smell: When cold, there are some dark fruit, coffee, and chocolate smells, but as it warms up, it becomes stronger in bitter coffee smells but they're not strong as it warms up.

Taste: Roasted malts with a bitter coffee-like finish. When the beer is cold the coffee taste is espresso-like, but it takes on more of a coffee that's been a little too long on the burner as it warms up. There is a hint of hops at the end too along with that bitterness, but it's faint. I personally like coffee bitterness, but I thought the espresso flavor was better when the beer was first poured and cold.

Mouthfeel: Plenty of carbonation - quite spicy on the tongue. Thick and a bit chewy.

Drinkability: It's a nice beer for sipping or with a meal (complimented a grilled ham and cheese nicely). I have other favorite porters though...but still this one I think would be good with other meals and I may need to consider it again.

09-11-2010 22:15:57 | More by damndirtyape
Photo of Jeffo


3.3/5  rDev -14.5%

Mom and dad brought this back from Pennsylvania on their recent trip. Thanks guys!

From a bottle into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: Pours dark brown and sits a very dark brown in the glass. Relatively clear. Pour yields a one finger, off-white head that quickly fades to a wisp and ring. A ring remains until the end but leaves no real lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Roasted and caramel malt, with hints of raisins, brown sugar, and touches of chocolate. Nice nose for the style.

TASTE: Some roasted and dark malts and minute caramel notes. A touch of chocolate, but relatively minute flavors. A clean finish, with minimal aftertaste. Mostly dark malts and caramel flavors. Good stuff, though a little muted.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes somewhat dry on the palate. Nice feel for the style.

OVERALL: Enjoyable and definitely drinkable, but pretty average for the style. One I'd have a few of at the pub, but nothing overly snazzy. A solid beer from a solid brewery. Thanks again for bringing this one home guys.

08-26-2010 10:15:28 | More by Jeffo
Photo of vette2006c5r

South Dakota

3.93/5  rDev +1.8%

Bells porter poured a very dark brown with a large tan head. It smells a bit smoked and heavy. It tasted a bit smoked a bit harsh, really couldnt detect any flavors outside the porter taste. The flavor is a bit harsh and a bit watery, but not too much. Not too difficult to drink. Overall a pretty good no nonsense beer.

08-21-2010 05:06:35 | More by vette2006c5r
Photo of AgentMunky


3.7/5  rDev -4.1%

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A: At first glance a medium-dark brown, when held up to the light, this beer looks blood red. No head to speak of, nor visible carbonation. A promising porter.

S: A tantalising, tangled smell of malt. I have difficulty determining smells beyond the obvious roasted malts. There is a dry nuttiness and traces of sweet malt.

T: Tasty, but slightly disappointing. The body is light, with a bit of blandness smoothing over all the interesting flavours -- coffee, roasted almond or pecan, a subdued caramel sweetness, and maybe even a hint of anise (though this could be my imagination). Carbonation is present throughout, and the aftertaste is a smooth balance of wet and dry, lingering, with a touch of coffee ground bitterness.

M: Mostly watery, with carbonation and mild texturing effect from the dark malts.

D: Very drinkable. A good porter, though it could be a little more assertive. If you're going for a Bell's dark beer, I would recommend the Kalamazoo Stout or the exceptional Expedition Stout instead, but the Porter is never a poor choice.

08-18-2010 01:08:22 | More by AgentMunky
Photo of BeefyMee


3.38/5  rDev -12.4%

Opaquely dark brown at first glance. Deep ruby hue when held up to light. Smells moderately roasty and watery in an odd way. Some toffee and dark chocolate notes round things out. Still kind of watery in the taste. The roasted malt flavor is ratcheted up. Bittersweet chocolate comes through in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is lacking anything interesting. A very easy drinking porter overall.

08-17-2010 00:29:12 | More by BeefyMee
Photo of dasenebler


3.88/5  rDev +0.5%

A hard pour produces a modest tan head sitting atop a very dark, near-opaque garnet elixir.

The aroma is subtle, with notes of roasted malt, fig and peat.

Flavor is very nice. It's packed full of roasted malt goodness, with a dry, peaty finish a la English Porters and Stouts. There are notes of brown sugar and molasses as well. Not a whole lot of hop bitterness or flavor, possibly a hint of tangy citrus, but mainly roasted dryness and bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium-light, but pleasant smooth and a bit milky. Goes down very, very easily.

An extremely drinkable and session-worthy porter that does not skimp on the flavor.

08-10-2010 00:56:35 | More by dasenebler
Photo of dimenhetfield


3.85/5  rDev -0.3%

I'm might go out on a limb and say that this is one of my favorite porters now. We can't get it down south, but I was able to snag a bottle while I was in Tampa. The aromas are malty with hints of nuts and dried fruits, such as dates and raisins. The taste is creamy with a nice balance in the carbonation. I'll definitely pick up another bottle

08-05-2010 16:51:39 | More by dimenhetfield
Photo of busternuggz


3.28/5  rDev -15%

There were 666 reviews of this beer so I had to review it to save us all from Satan. You're welcome.
Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Nearly opaque dark brown with a thin tan head.
Nice chocolaty scent somewhere between brownies and cocoa beans and a sort of general sweet creamy maltiness. Pretty faint overall though.
Drier taste than expected, subtle cocoa and a wee touch of toffee or caramel on the end, pretty nice roasty/bitter finish. Aftertaste gets a bit too bitter before it fades.
A little too carbonated for a porter I think. Comes on kind of fizzy, then there's a creamy texture sweet spot before it ends a little thin. Gets creamier as it warms up some.
The bitter aftertaste lowers the drinkability for me, but it's smooth enough.
A fairly average porter, not very rich or remarkable. Smells pretty nice, that's probably the best part.

08-05-2010 02:17:11 | More by busternuggz
Photo of glid02


4/5  rDev +3.6%

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.

08-05-2010 00:35:13 | More by glid02
Photo of steve8robin


3.6/5  rDev -6.7%

Tried this on a trip to IA. 12oz bottle...

A: Deep dark translucent black with a very tiny off-white head that quickly fades to a lace atop the brew. Decent.

S: Smells roasty with a good balance of malts to help settle down the roast. Licorice and molasses in the middle with some dark chocolate and espresso on the backend. Good.

T: Watery roastiness upfront. A blend of watered down burn coffee bean and chocolate blended with hints of licorice and molasses. Decent.

M: Leaves kind of a metallic roasty taste on the palate. Very light here than what it should be. Decent.

D: Go down easy. Good.

All in all, this is a decent brew. Nothing to write home about, but decent. Maybe worth one try if you have access, but not worth hunting or going out of your way for. Many better in the style.

07-29-2010 03:25:31 | More by steve8robin
Photo of Lerxst


3.58/5  rDev -7.3%

Excited to see this on the shelves locally for the first time. I'm a big fan of Bell's and I love porters, so lets give this a shot!

A-Pours a dark brown with a fluffy one finger beige head that has decent retention and left a bit of lacing.

S-Fairly prominent coffee notes, roasted malt, cocoa powder.

T-Charred malt, a understated coffee/chicory combo-I thought this would be more prominent since it really stood out in the nose, a touch of dark chocolate and even slightly hoppy.

M-A bit thin with medium carbonation. Nothing exciting here. The weak point of this beer.

D-Its a light, easy drinking beer.

I have to say I'm a bit disappointed. Maybe my expectations were too high. But I'm a big fan of Hopslam, Expedition and Two Hearted so maybe Bell's fell victim to their own success here.

A decent porter, but nothing outstanding. There are many others I'd rather have.

07-23-2010 19:03:55 | More by Lerxst
Photo of Spiekerbox


3.58/5  rDev -7.3%

Drank on tap at Bell's Eccentric Cafe

A- Dark brown color with a soft tan head.

S- Toasted malts stand out with a slight sweetness in the background, no particular other scents that I can find

T- The toasted malts stand out, with a slight coffee and nutty flavor. Nothing too special but is a more of just a "plain" porter. That isn't a bad thing really though.

M- Medium body, neither crisp or creamy, medium carbonation, actually quite a middle ground of a mouthfeel

D- Not a bad beer, was one of the only ones on the list at Bell's that I had not drank before, and I was not disappointed that I tried it. Would not be my first choice of beer but overall it is another solid offering from one of the best breweries in the country.

07-23-2010 01:37:57 | More by Spiekerbox
Photo of JackieTH


3.48/5  rDev -9.8%

Admittedly not a big porter fan, but as I have become for better or worse a Bell's fan, I thought, why not?

As appearances go it's perfectly adequate, dark brown, not totally opaque. Mild head. Pours easy.

Yes it's sour on the palate, with some elements of roasted malt, a little bitterness, maybe subtle chocolate and even a hint of cherry cordial if I really stretch?

It's not bad. I wouldn't turn it down if somebody handed me a bottle, yet nor do I plan on returning to the store to buy more. So it's an average brew, this porter from Bell's is.

07-15-2010 14:29:38 | More by JackieTH
Photo of DovaliHops


4.05/5  rDev +4.9%

I'm so glad I get the opportunity give this beer a second try, since the first one I had was highly infected(very sour). Now, thanks to BucketBoy, I get to give this one a second go. Appearance is very dark but has a very dark amber color around the edges of the glass when held to light. Very nice inch and a half frothy, off-white head. Smell is very nice. A lot of coffee notes. There is also a bit of burnt smelling notes to this as well. I also get a bit of bittering hops. Immediately after sipping, I'm picking up coffee and sweet chocolate. Don't wanna say dark chocolate, because the taste isn't very bitter. Amazing mouthfeel...not too heavy, not too light (like a lot of other non-imperial porters I've had). There is some pretty nice lacing on this beer as well. Drinkability is very solid. Great beer!

07-02-2010 06:24:58 | More by DovaliHops
Photo of AgentZero


3.45/5  rDev -10.6%

A - A dark brown beer with a small tan head that faded away to nothing.

S - Sweet with some slightly roasted malts. A pretty normal porter smell. Slight cocoa.

T - Fairly mild porter with a pretty traditional taste. It's solid, not good, not great. Little nutty with some mildy roasted malts.

M - Creamy with mild carbonation and a fairly full body.

D - This is a solid, not-spectacular porter that doesn't do anything bad and is an enjoyable drink. It's not special, but a good beer that I can have a good time drinking.

06-26-2010 06:39:53 | More by AgentZero
Photo of Hojaminbag


3.68/5  rDev -4.7%

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.

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


3.63/5  rDev -6%

Pours dark brown with a bit of tan head and a little lacing.

Aroma is very sweet and malty. Flavor is similar but also has some hints of dark chocolate and some bitterness.

Very smooth and light in the mouth.

Not overly impressed by this one, but it is tasty enough and very drinkable.

06-21-2010 00:21:05 | More by thetomG
Photo of Avagadro

New Jersey

3.95/5  rDev +2.3%

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.

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


3.53/5  rDev -8.5%

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.

06-17-2010 17:30:09 | More by boatshoes
Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 2,227 ratings.