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

Not Rated.
Bell's PorterBell's Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,450 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,450
Reviews: 981
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 70
Gots: 195 | FT: 4
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:
Beer added by: Mitchster on 02-06-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,450 | Reviews: 981 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Black and coffee like in color with maybe just a tinge of red. Rising bubbles can be seen in fine sheets along the edges of the glass. Didn't produce much head, but the lacing was nice.

Smells of dark roasted malts and coffee with not much hops. A touch of Texas rivers. Pleasant, but not spectacular.

Taste does not disappoint. Roasted caramel malts, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, molasses all come around.

Feels a bit thin for a porter, but has a pleasant aftertaste and goes down easy.

Despite being pretty decent overall, it drinks below average. Unlikely that I'll revisit this beer after the sixer is gone.

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a New Belgium snifter.

A - 2 finger dense foam ecru head that dissipates at a moderate pace. Dark chocolate brown and almost solidly opaque.

S - Roasted malts and coffee beans with alcohol poking through.

T - Well-roasted malts with an almost burnt caramel taste to them. Lots of 75%+ dark chocolate mixed in. Very well-balanced hops on the finish lets the dark chocolate stick around in the finish.

M - Creamy with good carbonation. Nice structure. Finished surprising clean with little residual sweetness.

D - Perhaps a tad too roasted for a porter. Would like to see more caramel to compliment the roast and the bitterness in the dark chocolate. Still, a delicious brew that drinks well, especially on a chilly night.

Photo of tubacharlie
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not a big head, but what I expect from a porter, and quickly renewed with each bend of the elbow. Dark brown with ruby red highlights, it has a pretty dense viscosity.

A little coffee and molasses in the aroma, but nothing overly pronounced. The taste is solid and robust with a dark roasted malt presence, no lack of assertion here. Creamy carbonation for a smooth delivery with a dark chocolate bitterness racing to finish with the hops.

Nice companion to my dinner of spicy Kowalski Hunters Brand Hot Sausage, with a Ghirardelli raspberry-stuffed dark chocolate for dessert.

Photo of Shrews629
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Exceptional black color with ruby highlights at a bare minimum around the edges. Decent tan head, which was more than adequate, but didn't quite have the retention I was hoping for. Still way above average in appearance.

Smell - Dark malt, coffee and a fragrance of fresh rye bread. Tad bit of a roasted walnut coming through in the nose also. Smells pretty good. A bit of chocolate to round out the smell.

Taste - Roasted coffee with chocolate smatterings to bring around a small amount of sweetness. The dry breadiness is an appealing taste. A fraction of alcohol warmth comes in during the aftertaste. Small amount of bitterness is welcome.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfell. Very dry, smooth and mostly creamy. Definitely covers the palate well.

Drinkability - I think this is a very, very solid Porter. I like it. Warming and inviting. Porters are quickly becoming a favorite type of brew of mine and this is one I will have to revert back to on occasion.

Photo of BeerImmediately
3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with just a film of a tan head over a deep burgundy/cola colored body. No real lacing to speak of.

Aromas of molasses, sweet toffee, and roasted malts.

Fairly effervescent on the palate, with flavors of molasses, roasted coffee beans, solid supply of bitter hops, and just a hint of bittersweet chocolate.

For all the roastiness and deep sweetness, this is actually fairly light on the palate - the high carbonation cuts through everything.

Drinkability is OK for the style, but not as smooth as some of the best.

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

A - Deep brown color with deep ruby hues. A bit above average size, foamy, sticky, fairly dense, off-white/light tan colored head. Average retention with a nice layer of lace left.

S - Roasted malt and coffee are very strong. Some bittersweet chocolate, roasted nut, hints of tart fruitiness, and a little grainy aroma.

T - Roasted malt and coffee provide a lot of the flavor. Earthy, roasted nut, and spicy flavors as well. A slight bitter finish and a little smoke. Slight tart dark fruit is present, but it provides less fruitiness and more tartness that is an undertone to the earthy/nutty flavors.

M - Medium body with a touch above average carbonation. Quite smooth and creamy.

D - Went down very easy and would happily drink another one. Plenty of flavor and a little complex with a number of flavors that make me coming back for more.

Notes: A solid porter. Plenty of roasted flavors, but also a strong nutty/earthy/spicy flavor. What I expect and enjoy in a porter is well presented in this beer. Definitely worth a try.

Photo of jrallen34
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into my Darkness glass...A boring pour low carbonation of a very light tan head with little retention or lacing. The beer is a dark brown not a ton to look at...The aroma explodes with flavor, tons of roasted coffee, a touch of vanilla and a little alcohol. Its pretty nice, but the coffee is a little too roasted, the aroma of burnt 2 day old coffee is a turn off...The taste loses the harshness of the coffee and displays as a light drinkable porter with a hint of roasted coffee.

Photo of RJBeverage
2.96/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This Bell's Porter was dark brown and had a tan head which went away. The smell was of roasted grains and tasted of toasted coffee beans and just toast. It wasn't a bad taste but not one I would do flips over. The mouthfeel was thin, much thinner than the taste or smell would suggest.

While I would drink this beer again, if it was the the only dark offering, there are many better porters that I would take gladly in it's place.

Photo of dpnelson1978
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into glass pint.

$9.99 / 6-pk.

A: Bright deep brown body topped with a finger and a half of creamy tan head that quickly dissipates leaving moderate lace and a thin bubbly cover.

S: Coffee, and deep roasted barley dominate the profile with very little hop aroma present. Straight forward, but to style, and pleasing overall.

T: Malt-centric with a very subdued sweetness throughout. Coffee and a hint of vanilla are most notable characteristics with just enough hops to balance. Light roasted aftertaste and just the slightest bitter lingers.

M: Light body with moderate to heavy carbonation. Noticeable carbonic bite that comes through crisp.

D: Very sessionable offering from a very sessionable style. There is nothing fancy or world changing about this beer, but it gets the job done.

O: Solid if not spectacular offering. Worth having around the house.

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

12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint. 5.6% ABV, Batch 9800 (June 8th, 2010).

A - Almost black in color, slivers of amber shine through with a good clarity. A low-level light khaki head has moderate retention with good lace left on the glass.

S - Strong roasted malts give off a chocolate coffee nose with cocoa hints. Very rich and full-smelling, it's almost a malt-bomb. No hop presence.

T - The strong roast carries through to the flavor but becomes much less sweet at the nose made it out to be. Coffee, cocoa dryness, bittersweet chocolate, and a very light touch of smokiness give it a decent flavor. Mild hop addition serves only to balance it out.

M - This is dry and acrid bitter porter with a low-level sweetness on the entry. A good medium-bodied feel with a light crispness to the finish.

D - I wouldn't be putting these down like mad, but it is a good beer. Flavorful but not too strong or big.

Photo of DanThomas
3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Classic porter. Black with some attractive dark cherry hues on the sides.

S- Again, nothing out of the ordinary, but the roasted notes are especially nice with this one. The smell reminds me of when I'm coffee roasting, probably about mid-roast, so there's some earthy spiciness and sweetness.

T- Initially good but ultimately disappointing. It starts off with a good light-roasted coffee flavor, nothing burnt which is nice, and then...just falls flat on its face. The roast flavor quickly turns into bland sweetness.

M- Carbonation is hardly present, which is fine, but for mouthfeel I'm deducting a lot of points for the finish.

D- Yeah, it's decent and I could drink more, but for my money I'd place this back on the shelf and pick up an Eddy Fitz.

Photo of Blanco
3.51/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

dark brown color with off white/tan head. roasted malt in the smell and not much else. taste is more of the same, with light toffee/caramel notes. mouthfeel is thick and creamy. drinkable and good, yet unremarkable porter. Nice "lighter" option to a big RIS.

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
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
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
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
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
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
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
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
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
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
3.41/5  rDev -11.7%
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
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
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
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
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
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 2,450 ratings.