1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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

2,161 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,161
Reviews: 954
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 50
Gots: 102 | 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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bell's Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,161 | Reviews: 954 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BamaBeerBuff

North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Black with dark brown edges when backlit. Mocha colored head is creamy and sticks around for a little while, though it doesn't lay down tons of lace. Still, a solid looking porter.

S: The aroma is bold and robust. Dark coffee, burnt chicory, chocolate, light vanilla, and a complement of citric hops all contribute to the smell. It approaches RIS or strong stout-like intensity.

T&M: Yay! Bell's knows what a porter is! I'm totally blown away. This is a top-notch brew. Light bodied and drinkable, but packing a wallop of flavor. Chocolate, some light coffee and chicory, small amounts of black malt, and citrus hop flavor swirl about in supreme balance. The finish is long, as the beer coats the mouth and tantalizes with lingering dark chocolate flavors. An excellent porter.

D: Supremely drinkable. This is EXACTLY what I think a porter should be. Packing much of the flavor punch of a stout in a more drinkable, lighter bodied beer. Bell's nailed it here. Anyone who considers himself a porter fan ought to eagerly seek this one out--it's top notch.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2009 02:46:24 | More by BamaBeerBuff
Photo of Spidey13


3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bell's Porter pours a very dark brown with pretty ruby highlights when held to the light. There is a big, fluffy, light tan head on top. The nose is a bit light, with roast and chocolate with a lot of raisin in there.

The flavor also has a lot of dark fruit. Very sweet and a bit chcolatey. A light bitterness shows up on the back but it quickly fades and leaves a sweet aftertaste with just a hint of malty astringency. Medium mouthfeel and carbonation.

Overall, an easy drinking porter.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2009 01:12:47 | More by Spidey13
Photo of Daniellobo

District of Columbia

3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A nice sturdy porter with a pleasing texture.

Presentation: 16 Oz draft serving. Menu offers a brief and fairly accurate description. Chalk board notes Alc. by Vol. (5.6%) Served in a pint shaker glass.

A - Deep brown color with some lighter ruby edges. Short foamy head (it has been served almost to the rim of the glass leaving little room for it) with some strokes of lace during its descent.

S - Faint roast aroma with a tad of chocolate and coffee.

T - Malty flavor with a dry roast note .

M - It´s a medium to full body and has minimal to no carbonation (Cask serving...) It offers an early smoothness with an interesting raspy texture towards its end.

D - A rather drinkable porter.

Notes: Nice offering on cask, feeling rather fresh and a bit raspy to the palate.

Serving type: cask

10-07-2009 15:15:49 | More by Daniellobo
Photo of brownbeer


3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours nearly black with some reddish hues and not much head.

S- Toasty malt, cookie, unsalted crackers. Distinct but not necessarily desireable.

T&M- Similar to the nose and some chocolate added with a nice full mouthfeel.

D- Very good, but just never quite did it for me.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2009 02:20:05 | More by brownbeer
Photo of erz316


3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 floz bottle with 9015 on the back, poured into sam smith pint glass.

A - dark brown colour for the body, a light tan for the one finger head. the body is completely clear, no turbidity whatsoever, as one can clearly make out a lightbulb when held up to it. the body, when illumiated, makes a dark cola mixed with ruby colour. the head retains decently and leaves a one cm layer across the top.

S - the nose is very delicate, if anything I can brarely get out a light sweetness, something like sweetened red bean paste. maybe there is a bit of roasted malts int the back, but other than that, all is pretty clean. yeah, that's definietly a red bean paste.

T - not bad at all, but nothing near as good as an english porter. the initial taste is roasted malts, and a touch of dark chocolate, and some light hops in the far background. that peculiar red bean taste also makes an appearance, I kind of like it. good malt profile at the back of the palate. the finish is malty, thats about it. the aftertaste is quite delicious; roasted malts, light chocolate, and a light touch of yeast come together to make a nice finish.

MF&D - the body is light and carbonated, perhaps a bit too light for my taste, but it is still very close to the style. the drinkability is fine, except that there is nothign particularly special about this beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2009 01:34:33 | More by erz316
Photo of BigJim5021


3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep and very dark brown (borderline black) with a nice tan head that settles into a permanent ring.

Aroma is darkly toasted malts and little else. One dimensional, but definitely not bad.

I could easily mistake this for a coffee-based porter. Really rich and robust malt profile. Very tasty and slightly sweet.

The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth.

Drinkability is high. This is a really well put together porter. I shouldn't be surprised, as Bell's is one of my favorite breweries. I'm gonna be buying more of this as the weather turns cold.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2009 06:20:25 | More by BigJim5021
Photo of cnjohn19

North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

love this brewery...another good beer from bells for me...

great pour of a almost black color...nice tan colored head which sticks around for a while and comes back in between drinks...smell is lacking for what i'd like in a porter but you get roasted chocolate malts and just a bit of caramel and wheat...

but damn delicious to the taste buds...extremely balanced with a roasty aftertaste...some porters i've had have a metallic aftertaste but this does not which i appreciate...

a little too crisp on the finish for me, but overall a drinkable brew for a dark porter...will def. enjoy again and would like to have this on tap...i think i'll go up to tylers or city beverage here in durham to see if its flowing this weekend...


Serving type: bottle

09-24-2009 02:01:00 | More by cnjohn19
Photo of dmamiano

West Virginia

3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours deep, dark. dark ruby only when held to the light...one finger head fading fast but leaving trace lacing on the glass.
roasty, slightly burnt caramel in the nose..underlying faint siciness.
milky, creamy..rather mild in the taste.
finishes with a bitter edge that tickles tha back edges of the tongue.
I am liking this one

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2009 00:40:38 | More by dmamiano
Photo of JohnQVegas


4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into Sam Adams lager glass, big thanks to Jeff (mnjeff) for the bottle! One of my favorite styles from one of my favorite breweries - I have high hopes for this one. This particular one was bottled on Dec. 9, 2008 according to the batch indicator - it's aged very nicely if you ask me.

Pours black, dark ruby brown around the very edges, with a dense one finger tan head on top that has great retention - just doesn't want to go away. Great stickage.

Nose is very roasty, a slight edge of acidity, dry, a bit smoky even.

Taste is nice - a nice dry, roasty body, bit smoky, with a dense, super-dark chocolate richness that isn't as apparent in the nose. Certainly a nice acidity in there as well to provide just a bit of bite. Immensely satisfying beer on this fall day.

Mouthfeel is creamy, nicely carbonated with a medium-full body.

Drinkability is fantastic - packed with flavor, yet with a relatively modest abv. Bells never fails to impress me.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2009 16:56:29 | More by JohnQVegas
Photo of BedetheVenerable


4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz brown pop top bottle with simple but attractive label; no best-by date, though there is a code on the back you can use online to check the beer's date if you want

Appearance: Dark brown beer with some ruby highlights when held up to the light; nice creamy light tan cap which sticks around nicely

Smell: Lots of milk chocolate, sweet caramel, and dark malts...very mild but fairly rich aromas

Taste: Sweet roasted barley, chocolate, a touch of burnt marshmallow (which is quite nice), and a touch of juicy dark fruit...the touch of bitterness that is here seems to be from the burnt grains, and hops stay well in the background...overall pretty darn good

Mouthfeel: On the light side of medium bodied

Drinkability: High

Conclusion: Really nice American porter; this is decently complex, nicely balanced, and supremely quaffable...this would probably be a strong A- beer, but the price (at around 9-10 bucks a sixer) is a bit on the high side for a session-style porter.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2009 02:18:43 | More by BedetheVenerable
Photo of Thur123


3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pours an almost black ruby color with little tan head that fades quickly. Smells like toasted malts and somewhat dry as well, there is also the presence of grains, a bit of a grassy smell.

Glug glug glug

This porter hits first with a slight hop bitterness that's faint and is soon overpowered by the malt character, which contains a light citrus fruitiness in addition. This leaves a slightly sweet taste on the tongue after it's done. The mouth feel is a little then but actually works well with the flavor. This isn't bad, but I have trouble with this knowing there are stouts around. It's not bad but I still have not fallen in love with this style.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2009 20:18:47 | More by Thur123
Photo of dismal


3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the bottle to a pint glass, pours a very dark brown almost black hardly any head at all and it quickly vanishes. Little to no lacing down the glass. Roasty aroma, hints of chocolate and coffee sneaking through. Kind of sweet overall, a hint of caramel. Taste is very roasted. A hint of chocolate comes through followed by coffee. The aftertaste is dominated by coffee with a small hint of chocolate. No thickness here in the mouthfeel, it's fairly medium bodied. Not a high ABV so it's not noticeable. I do like porters though I'm not huge into them as I'd rather have a nice stout but this one is good. Easily drinkable and pretty good tasting.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2009 00:18:34 | More by dismal
Photo of Fartknocker


3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz poured into a pint glass. Batch code 9015.
A- Very dark with a minimal tan head
S- Very nice malted, nutty aroma
T- Fairly standard for a porter, nice malted taste, finishes with a slight burnt aftertaste
M- not a whole lot of carbonation
D- Pretty decent, just a good solid offering

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2009 01:02:31 | More by Fartknocker
Photo of washburnkid

New York

4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: One finger frothy beige head over a really dark brew that only lets light through at mahogany and caramel edges. Frothy ring of retention and spotty lacing.
S: Rich malts with very mellow coffee and chocolate malts. Love the subtlety of the dark chocolate. There's a spicy or herbal note in the back of the aroma that I'm not digging quite yet...
T: Good balance between the roasted coffee and chocolate malt and the citrus twang. Roast borders on burnt. Bitter berry esters pull through, providing an interesting layer. I don't get the herbal note in the flavors that I sensed in the nose, so that's good.
M: Medium body with higher carbonation, which definitely brings the citrus bite out a bit more.
D: This is a good tasting, smooth porter. Glad I picked up a 6er.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2009 14:35:41 | More by washburnkid
Photo of beertunes


3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Received as a gift after a friends recent trip to visit family. Thank you, Mara!

Batch # 9188. Poured from bottle into straight pint glass. Poured a very dark brown, just slightly translucent, with a half inch of deep tan head that quickly dissipated, leaving minimal lacing.

A strong roasty aroma hits the nose, more of a stout aroma than a porter aroma in my view, with a slight caramel scent underneath. The flavors seem to lean towards the stout side of the scale as well. The roast is dominant, with just a bit of a sweet finish.

The body was a little thin for the style. The beer flowed easily over the tongue, and drinking several would be an easy thing to do.

Overall, a nice example of the style and were it available to me, it would be in my regular rotation.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2009 20:08:01 | More by beertunes
Photo of BacklitAvenger


4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Jet black in normal light, this porter appears a dark ruby red when held to the light. It is mostly transparent even at the thickest part of the glass. The head is a finger of poorly-retained lace the color of an egg shell.

Aroma - Mostly dark caramel malt on the nose. There's a hint of earthiness as well but the aroma doesn't impress.

Taste - The taste is better than the aroma but is still not the most complex or just plain delicious as the benchmark porter in my opinion: GLBC Eddie Fitz. It's a slightly burnt caramel flavor for the most part, with a slight bitterness on the finish. Slight milk chocolate edges in at one point but it's mostly dark toffee. The beer is slightly sweet in relation to the bitterness level.

Mouthfeel - This is the best aspect of the beer. It is smooth like an oatmeal stout. There's about average carbonation to keep things lively, and the heavy-bodied beer is chewy with malty goodness.

Drinkability - Pretty high. The middle of the range alcohol level and the silky body make this sure to please during a drinking session. The light taste leaves me considerably less than enamored, but those that prefer a less flavorful black beer may have found their new drinking mate.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2009 00:05:49 | More by BacklitAvenger
Photo of scottyshades


4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a rich mahogany color that produces a small head that retains decently, but quickly fizzles down to leave a little white foam around the glass. Lacing is decent.

S: Toasted malts, coffee, caramel, chocolate, lactose, and some slight hop bittering notes. Nice nose...nice and easy

T: Very similar to the nose, however the hops make more of an impact in the flavor profile. Toasted malts, chocolate, caramel, molasses, coffee, and some nice hop presence

MF/D: Nice carbonation, medium body, easy to drink, and a long malty finish

Nice and solid

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2009 23:15:38 | More by scottyshades
Photo of tatoodkelt


3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Consumed 8/19/2009- from notes.

Brown 12oz bottle poured into a shaker glass.

A- Very dark brown bordering on black with a creamy two finger tan head that eventually settled to a thin skim that lasted the whole glass. Looked great.

S- Smelled very rich. Roasted malt, a little coffee and something else that I'm thinking is the nuts others have mentioned.

T- Definitely a roasty brew. A little chocolate peeking through here and there.

M- Medium bodied and smooth. Thicker than I expected before I poured it.

D- Pretty easy to drink but not something I'd have more than one of in a sitting.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2009 12:04:44 | More by tatoodkelt
Photo of Anthony1


3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured into a snifter

poured very dark chocolate tone. had a thin tan head, creamy.

smells very coffee like. malty and rich and chocolate flavored. decently bittered, but could use a bit more sweets. some nice woody taste, all roasted. nice and creamy feel, and nice to drink.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2009 16:17:39 | More by Anthony1
Photo of AmberMan22


3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Bell's Porter pours a deep brown with a light tan head of near 2 fingers. It settled super fast, but I don't think I cleaned this glass out very well. The lacing provides incredible swooping sticky patterns.

The smell is a little too nutty for my tastes, I feel like the chocolate + coffee combo need to come out more.

This almost seems hoppier than porters usually are. The malty flavor is good though, chocolate and coffee dominating. There are hints of roasted nuts as well as a dash of caramel perhaps.

The mouthfeel is too carbonated, and more syrupy/fuller than I expect a porter to be. Theres nothing wrong with a good stout, but it becomes a problem when I want a porter.

Overall, a tasty beer. Not exactly sessionable as it's too strong and too thick, but having one on a cold winters night after shoveling would sound mighty good. I might even try it warm in that case...

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2009 01:41:36 | More by AmberMan22
Photo of Jayli


3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark brown with slight ruby highlights to it. One finger of tan head with decent retention, leaving nice sticky lacing on the glass. Nose is of major roasted malts with some muted coffee and chocolate in the background. Taste is driven by the roasted malts on this one, great roasted and toasted malts. Some bitter chocolate mingle with coffee flavoring but those are really just hints to the roasted malt flavoring. Medium body with moderate to high carbonation, somewhat creamy and a touch chewy. This is a beer one can sit with for a while.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2009 15:08:57 | More by Jayli
Photo of LordAdmNelson


4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- A nice dark ruby-mahogany-brown with about an inch of tan head. Good retention/lacing.

S- A fair amount of pale malt, along with some roasted malt, almond, hazelnut, and biscuity aromas.

T- Almost a bit subdued, IMO. A bit of pale malt gives way to some darker roasted tones. Leafy hops perk up on the finish, although only in support. Unlike many people on here, I'm not getting the chocolate flavor. Somewhat subdued as well, but a very enjoyable blend of flavors.

M- Light and somewhat creamy. Decent amount of carbonation to keep this moving.

D- What it lacks in robustness, it makes up for in drinkability. I would be a happy man to session these. A great porter to session with.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2009 20:33:42 | More by LordAdmNelson
Photo of carlborch


4.6/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful dark brown with 2 inch tan head formation. The pouring suggests a medium body, which is later confirmed. The head is persistent and settles in at 1.5 inches a flat, creamy top and plethora of micro-bubbles intermingled with larger cavities up to 1/8th inch. As you drink this ale the Belgian lace is well formed and decorative. The nose provides deep roasted notes. Hops are not evident. The porter has a medium body with a light cream texture. The suggestive chocolate and coffee notes join the maltyness, making the ale very nicely balanced. Carbonation is pleasant. The alcohol is moderate and not noticeable on the palate. Combined with delicious lingering this porter definitely invites repeat tastes. Another moreish ale! Light enough to be a restorative and a refresher, yet full enough of flavor to satisfy most any palate.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2009 17:22:54 | More by carlborch
Photo of gunnerman


3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass, pours a pitch black with a bit of fluff and lace. Smell is sweet malt and roasted oats with a bit of chocolate. Taste is just like nose with hints of burnt dark chocolate and a nice slite sour bitterness towards the finish. Overall a good porter but not a favorite of mine.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2009 22:44:49 | More by gunnerman
Photo of GordonQuid


4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

Dark brown with a 1 inch oatmeal head and thick ample lacing.

Smells of dark ripened fruit, chocolate and bisuit-cookies.

Taste is a medium bodied porter. Good chocolate and nutmeg notes, noble hops and a silky smooth finish.

I love the simplicity of this porter. It is a classic quality which makes it very drinkable and enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2009 16:45:38 | More by GordonQuid
Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 2,161 ratings.