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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

2,310 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,310
Reviews: 964
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 58
Gots: 138 | FT: 5
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: 2,310 | Reviews: 964 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheKingofWichita
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark black with a thin tan head and a ring of lacing. Smells of chocolate malts and coffee. Really sweet. Tastes of chocolate malts, coffee, toffee, caramel, and enough hops to mellow out any sweetness. Mouthfeel is really nice and drinkability is really good. A really good offering from Bell's.

TheKingofWichita, Oct 20, 2010
Photo of beerhan
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours jet black with minimal cocoa powder head. Smells very much like dark chocolate roast with a hint of coffee. Taste is rather the same but the coffee is more prominent. This is a very light porter but still just feels so thick. Little hard to get down without feeling full but a goody for the cold winter months.

beerhan, Oct 19, 2010
Photo of weizenbob
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint tumbler. A small amount of active carbonation creates a thin layer of bubbles at the top of the glass with no real head to speak of. The color is a deep caramel hue. The bubbles quickly dissipate forming a thin ring around the top of the glass.

The first whiff reeks of chocolaty caramel maltiness (in a really pleasant way). Closer meditation on the scent reveals some fruitiness hiding behind all of that roasted malt. The scent of this porter is very inviting.

Savoring the first sip, I initially noticed a malty bite, which dissolves into a smoky finish. The smoke lingers for a short while, leaving in its place an earthy aftertaste. A mild bitterness persists.

Perhaps I served this one a bit too chilled because as I took my time relishing in each sip, the brew managed to warm a few degrees. Once it warmed up a bit, the flavors really came alive. The mouthfeel transformed from a something pretty thin and unremarkable to something really smooth. Carbonation is mild and the overall feel is light, yet warm.

As I got to the end of this one I noticed some sediment had settled on the bottom of the glass. No matter though; this was a tasty porter, and I'd gladly come back to it. Mmmmm.

weizenbob, Oct 15, 2010
Photo of alleykatking
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a deep brown color with some ruby highlights. Half finger beige head shows light retention. Spotty lacing on the sides of the glass. Whisps of foam left on the top of the beer.

S- Light roasted malts try to cover up a lot of caramel malts. Some light darker fruits as well. Nothing much else.

T- Roasted malts come in the front with a lot of caramel malts. Some light coco in there but still a lot of roasted malts come back into play. Not much else in the porter which is kind of sad.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is low for the style. Light caramel malts left on the palate with some roasted flavors in the aftertaste. Balanced a little but the caramel malts bring a weird kind of sweetness. Alcohol is not very drying on the palate. Clean flavor throughout.

D- This beer is good but not what I'm looking for in a porter. Bell's tends to make a good beer but this one is a little bit of miss if you ask me. Oh well...can't do everything right all the time.

alleykatking, Oct 06, 2010
Photo of micromaniac129
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bell's porter is deep deep brown with some rubby high lights. When poured it produces about one inch of desent head fading to a wisp ring .
Aroma is rich with roasted malt slightly sweet. Hops are present but not much.
Smooth and rich roasted, slightly burnt malt taste is present. Hops are there just for balance purposes and are not a major player.
Has a rich full taste but I would like to taste some of the flavors we come to associate with a rich and complex malt bill.
Variety and difference is just as good.
A well made beer I can enjoy time and time again
Drink well my friends

micromaniac129, Oct 02, 2010
Photo of BlackBearForge
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark blackish brown tinged maroon around the edges with a nice off white head and a circle of oily lacing.

The aroma has a lot of deeply roasted malts with a touch of chocolate and burnt coffee.

The flavor has the deeply roasted malts, perhaps even a touch of roasted barley as well. Dark chocolate and and a touch of coffee round out the bitter dark roast flavors.

The mouthfeel is lightly medium, smooth and a tad chalky. Carbonation is appropriately low.

Bells has brewed an excellent porter, very drinkable!

BlackBearForge, Oct 01, 2010
Photo of cbutova
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Black as any porter. A light cream cap builds up with fair retention. Some spotty lace from a persistent ring.

S- High on the caramel malt and the raisins/dark fruit. Roast malt makes up the rest of the aroma.

T- Once again a good amount of caramel malt and then the roast malt and cocoa. Finishes with some hop flavor and even some vanilla.

MF- Nice and creamy. Carbonation is silky smooth and just stings the palate a tiny bit. A slight bitterness.

DB- A lot of caramel, the bottle is just a bit old. I will review this one again, just like the Java Stout. I guess I have bad luck with Bell's in Philadelphia. Still good stuff.

cbutova, Sep 30, 2010
Photo of TheFightfan1
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark brown with beautiful coca cola colored retention. Tremendous heading for a porter but didn't leave too many rings.

Smell is heavily roasted malts. Heavy coffee aroma with not much else.

Taste is the same as the nose.Heavy malts with a nice sweet kick to it. There is a decent bitter hop taste in the end to boot as well.

Mouth is full bodied.Great retention as it wanders the palate. Velevety texture and stays smooth all the way down the hatch.

TheFightfan1, Sep 29, 2010
Photo of silver0rlead
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

silver0rlead, Sep 27, 2010
Photo of TheHoppiest
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

TheHoppiest, Sep 24, 2010
Photo of champ103
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

champ103, Sep 23, 2010
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

BeerAdvocate, Sep 20, 2010
Photo of cetherid
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

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.

cetherid, Sep 16, 2010
Photo of JoEBoBpr
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

JoEBoBpr, Sep 13, 2010
Photo of damndirtyape
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

damndirtyape, Sep 11, 2010
Photo of Jeffo
3.3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Jeffo, Aug 26, 2010
Photo of vette2006c5r
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

vette2006c5r, Aug 21, 2010
Photo of AgentMunky
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

AgentMunky, Aug 18, 2010
Photo of BeefyMee
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 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.

BeefyMee, Aug 17, 2010
Photo of dasenebler
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

dasenebler, Aug 10, 2010
Photo of dimenhetfield
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

dimenhetfield, Aug 05, 2010
Photo of busternuggz
3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

busternuggz, Aug 05, 2010
Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

glid02, Aug 05, 2010
Photo of steve8robin
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

steve8robin, Jul 29, 2010
Photo of Lerxst
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Lerxst, Jul 23, 2010
Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 2,310 ratings.