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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

2,413 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,413
Reviews: 974
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 63
Gots: 171 | 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: 2,413 | Reviews: 974 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Mora2000
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to RBlaszak for sending this bottle as an extra.

The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. There are some red highlights at the bottom of the beer. The aroma is classic porter. I get a lot of roasted malt as well as some chocolate and coffee.

The flavor is great. I get roasted malt with a lot of milk and dark chocolate. There is also some coffee, but it is hidden behind the other flavors. There is some bitterness from the malt.

Medium to thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of StoutHunter
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got a 6 pack of this since this is the time of year I tend to drink a lot of porters and stouts, and this porter never disappoints. Poured from a 12oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A- This beer pours a very dark brown borderline black, the edges are ruby red when held to the light. It had one fingers worth of head that left plenty of lacing.

S- Smells very similar to fresh rye bread with a little bit of bitter and sweet chocolate.

T- Chocolate, roasted malts and a slight hint of coffee dominated the taste of this brew, with all the flavors balanced perfectly.

M- Nice and smooth, medium bodied, and good carbonation.

D- For a porter this is very drinkable, I have no problem drinking three and sometimes I want more then that.

Overall I love this porter and it's easily the best American Porter i have had. This beer will always have a spot in my fridge. A top notch beer from a top notch brewer.

Photo of wvsabbath
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark black/tan, nice creamy 1 inch head

Smell - Basic porter smells, chocolate, coffee, malts, brown sugar and spices

Taste - Very mild porter, Nothing is overly strong. Mild coffee flavor starts off with chocolate undertones and sugar. The malts are mild and smooth. Really easy beer to enjoy

Mouthfeel - Smooth and mild, the taste isnt overpowering at all. You can drink this without worring that you cant taste anything else. Just enough sweetness to tickle the tounge. Not much aftertaste.

Drinkabilty - Very high, this is a good starter porter. Very easy to drink 3-5 of these with lower alcohol and its mildness. Theres better porters out this with more kick and flavors, but this is overall solid.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 2,413 ratings.