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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

2,206 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,206
Reviews: 956
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 49
Gots: 110 | 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: 2,206 | Reviews: 956 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of Spica66


2.93/5  rDev -24.1%

A: Dark brown color, quickly disappating head. High carbonation.

S: Not very much nose at all to this beer. Even after it warmed up. Not like most Bell's beers.

T: Mild taste. Not "robust". Very strange. I have never had a Bell's beer seem so bland.

M: Watery, high carbonation. Felt like I was drinking a diet soda. Very disappointing!

D: This would be easy to drink, because there is not much to it at all.

This is the only beer from Bell's that I have ever had that did not meet expectations for the style.

06-08-2010 16:45:49 | More by Spica66
Photo of TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

2.35/5  rDev -39.1%

Poured in to a Duvel tulip. Batch #9537

A - Dark black in colour with one finger of fluffy light brown head.

S - Roasted malts with a strong licorice scent.

T - A bitter, somewhat sour licorice/anise taste dominates the palate, so much so that the roasted malts become very subdued and barely form the background of the beer. Faint roasted malts are present in the background but the licorice taste masks any specific notes of the malts. Way too much brewer's licorice for me.

M - light to medium body. moderate carbonation.

D - Didn't finish this one. This is the only Bell's beer I've had that I haven't liked and to say that I didn't like this one is an understatement. Very disappointing.

06-04-2010 02:36:43 | More by TheSevenDuffs
Photo of cbmatt


3.73/5  rDev -3.4%

i enjoyed this porter, although not my favorite porter, it did satisfy my want for one. smelled strongly of roasted malts and tasted of it. the taste tended to linger with me, which i liked. it poured a dark brown to black, with a decent head on it. it hit the spot when i was looking for a full beer. all and all a very satisfying beer.

05-26-2010 02:17:04 | More by cbmatt
Photo of alkemy


3.8/5  rDev -1.6%

Pour is very dark brown (mahogany and ruby when held up to lights) with about a finger of rich tan head. There also appears to be some yeast floating around in the glass. The smell is pretty vague. There's a light bitter chocolate and dark fruit smell. I had to really search for the chocolate. Taste is much better than the smell. There's a fig, raisin, and prune taste that I really dig. There's also cocoa. I've gotta admit, I'm really not tasting the coffee that others have referred to. However, I get a leaf tobacco (like Levi Garrett) that lingers after the finish.

05-18-2010 22:24:35 | More by alkemy
Photo of kjyost

Manitoba (Canada)

4.53/5  rDev +17.4%

Batch 9454 (packaged Nov 12 / 09)

Pours a nice dark brown with a head that sadly is not long lasting, nor is it lacing. Aromas of chocolate initially come off the beer with a bit of sweetness (toffee?) and then a light undertone of coffee. The taste initially is roast, roast, roast. At first I was going to call this almost Guiness-y in its flavours, but lighter in the mouth, which I guess a porter is in some ways... But as I drank it developed a very enjoyable coffee flavour that was well suited to the beer. A light nuttiness pervades the beer too. Very well placed between a brown ale and a stout. Covers the mouth nicely with good carbonation and exceedingly drinkable.

Worth finding again.

05-07-2010 21:09:14 | More by kjyost
Photo of arizcards


3.95/5  rDev +2.3%

Picked up a couple of bottles in late February from AJ's in Scottsdale for $1.79 each. Part of batch 9524 packaged on 12-29-09.

Beer poured a dark brown with a tan head that is leaving lacing behind. Nose is malty with a hint of coffee and floral hops. Taste is well balanced, slightly sweet malts with a hint of coffee balances nicely with a light hop finish. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied and fairly smooth. Overall drinkability is very good. This is a very sessionable beer that is not overly complex but yet has enough going on to keep your interest. Glad i had the chance to try!

05-02-2010 23:09:24 | More by arizcards
Photo of jwhawkins81


4/5  rDev +3.6%

Batch #9420 Bottled on 10/20/2009 tasted on 4/3/2010

Aroma - Coffee and a slight porter like aroma (sorry that wasn't a good description even by my standards)

Appearance - Slight reddish dark with a light tan head

Taste - Coffee with a light roasted malt flavor. As it warmed the coffee and roast flavors really came forward and this turned into a delicious porter.

Notes - This is probably tied right now with Fullers London Porter as my favorite porter.

04-25-2010 16:21:09 | More by jwhawkins81
Photo of AllFineThings


3.73/5  rDev -3.4%

One of the better porters, pours dark to very dark ruby red with a head that will not dissipate.

tastes very good like chocolate and coffee-Duh!

If it were quite a bit heavier than it would be my top beer, but just gets beat out.

You can drink these all day!

04-12-2010 19:24:58 | More by AllFineThings
Photo of mvanaskie13


3.85/5  rDev -0.3%

Getting through my Bell's variety pack...

Poured into standard pint glass, dark/black in color with nice 1/2" thick creamy tan head. Nice clinging of the head, and noticed flecks of sediment floating through, nice.

Smell is not exceptional, but as expected gets better as it warms, with hints of roasted coffee and chocalate malt.

Taste is an earthy sweet malt with mild bit of hops, solid.

Mouthfeel is ok, nice light feel with lingering flavors of roasted malt.

Porters can be solid drinking, session beers and this one does not dissapoint.

04-10-2010 20:02:44 | More by mvanaskie13
Photo of BigDoug


3.78/5  rDev -2.1%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours dark brown almost black color with a tan head. Big bubbles and decent head that dissipates immediately. No lace to speak of.

Smell is mediocre. Pleasant smelling but nothing to brag about. Slight weak chocolate aroma with a faint coffee aroma. Very mild aroma. Not "robust" at all as it claims. Not a bad smell though.

Taste is very mild. Not robust whatsoever. Not very malty at all. Has a nice black coffee aftertaste with maybe a little black unsweetened chocolate taste as well.

Mouthfeel is the biggest downfall of this beer. Very very thin and SUPER overcarbonated. It was almost like a Pepsi cola mouthfeel. Very surprised of the mouthfeel. Not what I was expecting at all.

Drinkability is good cuz it's so light and doesn't feel like a 5.6% ABV beer. It's like a light version of a porter. I could drink a ton of these. About the only decent part of this beer.

My conclusion...I love Bell's beer. But this one kinda let me down. OK, it straight up let me down big time. I like a good porter but this didn't deliver for me. I'm a big time hophead and I'll tell you what, their Hopslam and Two Hearted Ale are amazing. I'll stick to those since this obviously wasn't even on that level at all.

04-06-2010 18:27:12 | More by BigDoug
Photo of magnj

New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev -6%

Got a big sample of Bell's on a trade, starting with this one because I already had a few at the Brewpub tonight.

A - Opaque brown but not really dark, just real murky. 2+ finger head on average pour dropped quickly leaving a bit of lacing and a thin head.

S - Musty chocolate and coffee, typical of the style. No hops from what I can tell, pretty standard but plenty there.

T - Tastes like it smells. Mostly chocolate with coffee for support. A little thin and small for my liking, more like a big brown ale but the porter category is kind of broad.

M/D - Thin mouthfeel especially toward the end, flavor lingers a bit. Very easy to drink, tasty, overall nice brew.

04-03-2010 01:36:13 | More by magnj
Photo of buschbeer


3.95/5  rDev +2.3%

I poured into a pint glass to an inch of tan head. It is dark brown in color. The smell is roasted malt and chocolate. The taste is the same. The taste is subtle but nice. The mouthfeel is a bit thin. Overall, it is a pretty good beer. I wish it was a bit more viscous.


03-30-2010 22:54:23 | More by buschbeer
Photo of billab914


4/5  rDev +3.6%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Stone RIS glass. Poured black in color with a half inch of creamy tan head covering the beer. The head faded away after a few minutes but left some very good lacing on the glass.

The aroma has some good roasted malts to it with a slightly sweet chocolate and caramel smell to it. The taste is similar to the nose in that I get mostly roasted malts with some chocolate and caramel sweetness. it has some bitterness to it that helps it from becoming too sweet. A very good straight forward porter.

Mouthfeel is on the thicker side with below average carbonation. Drinkability is very good, it's a very well made and good tasting porter. Overall it's nothing fancy, just a very good all around porter.

03-28-2010 22:17:00 | More by billab914
Photo of elgiacomo


3.48/5  rDev -9.8%

12oz bottle, batch 9125, bottled May 5, 2009. Older than I thought.

Pours dark brown, black in the glass with a thin to medium body. An aggressive pour coerces a good beige head, holds a small cap and foamy ring, leaves a few isolated spots of lacing.

Aroma is bitter smelling roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee. OK.

Flavor is roasted malt, a little chocolate and coffee, a tiny bit of hops, finishes kind of watery.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, low carbonation, slick, not very heavy.

Good, but a middle-of-the-pack porter overall.

03-28-2010 02:38:35 | More by elgiacomo
Photo of biglite351


2.38/5  rDev -38.3%

A - a little more light showing through than I expected. The foam vanished a bit quickly.

S - very mild and rather disappointing.

T - starts well but there quickly is a flavor that I am not too high on. I do not know how to describe it though.

M - thin and tingled like a pop.

D - way doin on the list. I will probably not buy another.

03-27-2010 21:05:43 | More by biglite351
Photo of semibaked


3.05/5  rDev -21%

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours almost black with a little light shining through. Thin amount of pretty light colored head, nothing too special.

S - Good smell of of sweetened coffee, but that is about it pretty one dimensional.

T - Slightly bitter hops and coffee come through, not sweet like the smell at all.

M - Some creaminess and smooth.

D - I love Bell's but this is not one of my favorites, it is just average overall, Bell's can do a lot better than this.

03-23-2010 20:57:41 | More by semibaked
Photo of Evocatus


3.45/5  rDev -10.6%

Pours like any other porter, dark coffee color body and a thick "khaki" head. Aroma was a little lighter that what I expected, but there were hints of cocoa and sweet roasted malts. Taste was a bit weak. I got more cocoa than roasted malts, but neither was robust. Decent carbonation, but a little too thin/watery. As a beer, very drinkable. But there are better porters out there.

03-18-2010 19:15:28 | More by Evocatus
Photo of oregonskibum


2.45/5  rDev -36.5%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.
A: Pours a nice dark brown color with a hint of really dark amber. Very fizzy light tan head.

S: Pineapple? Yes, that's it. Not sure what's up, but there's a strong tropical thing going on here. Typical roasty malts as well, but hard to get past the odd smell.

T: Similar to smell, although the roasted malts with light coffee flavor is more prominent. I still get a slight sour taste though. A little bitterness on the finish, but fairly unremarkable.

M: Really light with high carbonation.

D: Not terribly impressed. Not sure if this beer is starting to go off or not. Seems fairly light and unsophisticated with an odd (off?) flavor of pineapple. Seems to have potential and may try to give it another chance, but there are much better porters out there.

03-09-2010 04:11:20 | More by oregonskibum
Photo of mojo437


4.05/5  rDev +4.9%

You call yourself robust. But what porter isn't robust, isn't that...the whole idea?

You smell like root beer, candy and also dirt. Robust dirt.

You are smooth. Almost too smooth. Like James Bond. You may very well be hiding something from me. I drink more to find out.

You have a bubbly sting and a fine carbonation. You look like any old big brown porter: just as I like my men, caressing my mouth.

You linger on, I can't quite get rid of you, and I like it, yes I like it in my mouth. Wait a minute...yes, yes I like it in my mouth, the beer, in my mouth.

Then again, you are sort of like a dirty oak tree, cut up with a beer fueled chainsaw and fermented and delivered into this glass. And you're kind of mashy. I am not sure. You are alright.

I don't know if I love you. Which pretty much means I don't love you. I never found out what you were hiding from me. But I would screw you on an odd Tuesday night if you were the only one in the bar.

03-07-2010 01:46:12 | More by mojo437
Photo of jjanega08


3.15/5  rDev -18.4%

A= Been a while since I had a porter. Pours a deep brown/ black color with a nice off white but not quite mocha head that is a nice three fingers high and lasts throughout the drink leaving nice lacing on the glass.

S= Smells really nice and biscuty. Roasty is another nice word to use. A little chocolate smell in there as well.

T= Tastes just like the smell. A little lighter on the roast than a typical stout tastes and a little less buscuity than an brown ale. Little to no hop flavor in it and just solid taste for the style.

M= A little higher in carbonation and still a creamy finish to it.

D= Pretty good. While the porter is one of my favorite styles this one is pretty average. Not bad by any means but there are a lot of porters that I would rather have. Bell's never lets down and this is no exception but this porter is just too basic. Summit's Great Northern Porter is still my go to for the style.

03-07-2010 01:10:34 | More by jjanega08
Photo of GRG1313


2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

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.

03-04-2010 20:39:57 | More by GRG1313
Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 2,206 ratings.