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

2,146 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,146
Reviews: 953
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 50
Gots: 97 | 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: 2,146 | Reviews: 953 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wingman14


4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a brown tints and a small dark tan head that faded quickly. Smells like roasted malts with deep rich notes, with some sweet tones. This one was very inviting. Taste is very full and roasted, slight burnt flavor, but mostly malts. Mouthfeel is a thicker medium, not as thick as some, with a good balance of flavors and carbonation. This is a very drinkable porter, nothing that stands out, but a great brew. I highly suggest this beer. Another great bells beer. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2007 03:09:29 | More by wingman14
Photo of RBorsato


4.68/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black with a decent light brown head and good carbonation which allows the head to come back to life when swirled. Dark chocolate and roasted malt aromas. Similar flavors... nice and robust. Medium-light bodied with a strong dry roasty finish.

Delicious Robust Porter !

Per Bell's website:
OG: 1.055
ABV: 5.6%

Batch #7739 ('6288' lasered on bottom)
Tasted: 01/01/07

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2007 19:26:51 | More by RBorsato
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a five finger brown head that fades to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Nearly black, faint hints of mahogany color. Light-medium carbonation and heavy bodied. Slight baker's chocolate nose. Starts balanced, flavor is baker's chocolate. $1.49 for a 12oz bottle from Chalet Party Goshen, In. Batch #7156.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2006 23:51:17 | More by jdhilt
Photo of timtheenchanta

South Carolina

3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

08.05.05 bottle from batch 7008 making this beer a year four months and 10 days old. I hope it's held up at just six percent...

Opaque brown... pretty much black. There's a couple of thin rays of red shining through the extremities. One finger head after an aggressive pour. Some webby lacing that disappears after ten or fifteen minutes.

Bitter chocolate nose and a slight nuttiness. It's a nice toasty aroma.

Smooth milky roasted coffee taste that's dry and nutty in the finish.

Good beer that's held up surprisingly well but lacks overall complexity. Many thanks to BeerBeing for this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2006 04:47:35 | More by timtheenchanta
Photo of mmmbeer


3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz., batch 7693 - packaged on 10/16. It pours smoothly into the mug to reveal an unfiltered black, almost thick body with a 2 finger coffee-with-cream head that leaves nice lacing. It smells of dark and lightly sweet malts with chocolate and roasted/earthy notes. The flavor is the same, but adds piney and lightly citric hops, oats?, lactose?, and a minerally quality on top of a medium, fairly carbonated, yet creamy smooth body that easily glides down the gullet. Overall a quality porter.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2006 23:00:04 | More by mmmbeer
Photo of Cresant


3.08/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this undated 12 oz. brown bottle into a nonic. Body was an opaque black/brown/purple. Head was two fingers of off-white/tan foam.

Smell was a slight ash. Faint metallic. Roasty malts.

Taste was sweet and tart. Toasted malts. Rich flavors. A slight coffee-like bitterness.

Mouthfeel was smooth with a thin to medium body. Appropriate for the style. A pleasant beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2006 19:01:04 | More by Cresant
Photo of maundythirsty


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

A fairly sharp looking translucent dark brown that goes clear mahogany where the light pokes through. Lots of little motes floating around in there. Nice cream-colored and reasonably deep head that produces a little lacing. Smells pretty musty, with toasted malt and yeast.

A good touch of coffee in the taste, with more toasty malt flavor and a little bittersweet chocolate. The bitterness comes across very musty and earthy, as in the smell. Pretty darn smooth beer, with a mouthfeel that seems substantial without being too heavy.

A heckuva nice porter. Right up there with the best of them.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2006 22:06:03 | More by maundythirsty
Photo of scherbs


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

This beer pours a deep, almost espresso-like brown with a decent, frothy head. The smell of this brew is unremarkable, but one can pick up a bit of roasted malt and some yeast. As for drinking, this beer is pleasantly light for a porter leading to it being very drinkable. At the same time, however, it does not seem to quite live up to the advertising of its appearance. As dark as it looks, this beer does not have quite as complex nor as deep a flavor as I would expect. This flaw is remedied if one allows the beer time to warm a bit as I feel that this makes the beer a bit sweeter and allow some of its 'maltiness' to come out. Initially, I thought this to be a rather unremarkable porter--but on second (and third) thought, I guess it deserves an upgrade--to a very solid offering from a fine brewer.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2006 02:41:56 | More by scherbs
Photo of dogfooddog


4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

second bell's beer i have had, thanks to MABZ.

pours with a light tan head, nose is attractive dark roasted cocoa, some hoppiness in there too.

taste is balanced, the roasted malt mixing with some notable hops, overall sense of dark sweetness.

entirely too drinkable, and another very pleasant bell's product.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2006 02:09:37 | More by dogfooddog
Photo of Gueuzedude


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

Bottled July 2006, Sampled November 2006
Definitely an opaque, black colored brew. It is topped by a frothy, almost creamy consistency, initially two-finger thick, brownish leaning tan colored head. The aroma is quite burnt and roasted. It even has a note like burnt grain husks, in fact it is quite husky in its grain aromatics. Notes of chocolate cover malt balls add a bit of roundness to the harsher burnt notes, which actually are not all that harsh in this beer. Towards the end it picks up a note that reminds me of the acidity in a sweetened espresso.

The mouthfeel on this is quite light up front, after the beer has left my mouth it takes on a touch of fullness. It actually leaves a chocolate like mouth coating that has a touch of malt sweetness to it. There is some burnt grain acidity to this beer, but it seems just enough for the sweet chocolaty malt and the body to balance out. This beer is defined by the dominant roasted grain flavors, they even add bitterness to this beer (though some of the bitterness in this brew is certainly hop derived).

This is really quite the quaffable brew, especially as it warms a bit. As it warms the roast character becomes a bit more balanced by the sweeter chocolate like maltiness and a mouthfeel that picks up a bit more heft to it. Quite the enjoyable brew, definitely a good beer for this "Arizona chilly" evening.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2006 02:54:16 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of bjohnson


4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Received in a trade from hoppymeal. Thanks for the opportunity.

A: Pours a very dark brown, almost black, with an initial caramel colored film that dissipates quickly.
S: Roasted barley with a smooth milkyness to it--slight chocolate notes also present. Hops show themselves with a slight twang.
T/M: Roasted barley flavors with a dark fruity sweetness to them. Roasted barely and malt gives off nice accentuating flavors, but the smoothness of this beer is amazing---it leaves your mouth wanting another sip, stat. Hops give a little bit to the overall flavor, but those notes are reserved. Slight nuttiness and smokyness also prevades as it warms up. Medium to above average body.
D: Another good one from Bell's, but I think this could be a tad better. Flavors could be more pronounced, but the mouth fell can't be beat. A good one to seek out though.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2006 01:45:43 | More by bjohnson
Photo of EvilKeith


4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bell’s Porter poured into the glass hazy brown in color with suspended fine particles of yeast and gentle streams of carbonation making their way to the surface. The head was a creamy finger of pale tan foam. The lacing was thick and left a nice coating along the glass.

The nose was roasted sweet malts, toasted grain, creamy chocolate and a subtle grassiness from the hops. The taste followed the scent pretty well with the chocolate coming across more as bittersweet cocoa. The roasted character was significant with a somewhat charred feel to it. Hop bitterness and a charcoal-like dryness were evident in the finish. Everything you could want from the style was there, and then some.

A moderately active carbonation encircled and excited the tongue. The body was medium with a creamy smooth mouthfeel. Drinkability is outstanding.

I found this to be an excellent American Porter, very well balanced with a rich roasted malty backbone. I now have another Bell’s beer to keep in the fridge at all times.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2006 16:03:43 | More by EvilKeith
Photo of pweis909


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

Aroma – I detected chocolate and hops. Underneath, I thought there was something metallic. Lately, I seemed to be detecting flavors and aromas that remind me of metal. Is that just me?

Appearance: Opaque, black, with rocky tawny foam that has medium lasting power and left a lacey ring as I drained my glass.

Taste: Well balanced porter, blending smoothly sweet malt with roasty coffee flavors, and a hop bitterness that is sufficient.

Mouthfeel is satisfyingly full, but not too heavy. Very drinkable porter.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2006 18:05:41 | More by pweis909
Photo of peabody


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

Pours out pretty dark with a slight reddish hue. Not much suds but nice lacing.
Smell is coffee and caramel and after swirling you get the fruity aroma of plum/raisin.
Taste is very much coffee with hints of caramel with just a little chocolate. No alcohol present in initial tasting.
Mouthfeel is clean with just a hint of the coffee bitterness lingering in the palate. Good texture. A lingering alcohol burn happens at the end.
I like dark beer and this is a good beer. I might just drink the whole 6-er tonight!

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2006 02:31:31 | More by peabody
Photo of mjc410


3.05/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

The pour into my Fuller's nonic raises a respectable two finger head with thick, sudsy lacing, that doesn't stick to the glass very well. Head retention is alright - a thick glass ring is left over. The body is a very rich and deep brown that only lets light through when backlit. The nose is rich and roasted, with a touch of caramelized sweetness, along with an odd dusty smell. The taste is incredibly roasted, but doesn't quite cross the boundary into tasting like chocolate or coffee. Starts briefly sweet, hits at a very acidic bitterness, and moves into a lingering dry bitterness. Not much depth. The mouth is medium, with low carbonation. Again, lacking complexity, and too intense in the flavors it does have. I won't be reaching for this again.

Thanks to malthead for this one!

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2006 23:44:33 | More by mjc410
Photo of headhopper


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

A - Pours dark with a decent amount of head, which is nice and creamy looking. When the glass is put into light it shines through, brown, and amber can be seen.

S - Bitter sweet chocolate, sour mash, green olives, and roasted coffee beans.

T - Bitter coffee and dark chocolate with a sour mash after taste. Tastes much better warmer. The flavors really mend together nicely. A lot like the smell.

M - A bit thin, but has a nice creamy feel. Not cloying and goes down easy. Nice amount of carbonation. Keeps it refreshing tasting.

D -This is a very good porter. Sometimes If I am not in the mood for a porter it can come off a bit too smoky ,but other then that, very easy drinking and tasty.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2006 18:53:10 | More by headhopper
Photo of hero27


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

12 oz bottle.

Very dark, murky brown. Creamy tan head sits atop the brew and leaves plenty of lacing behind it.
Plenty of dark chocolate in the aroma, and a prominent deep roasted/burnt malt presence.
Dark roasted malts with a heavy dosage of chocolate and nuts. Great use of hops to balance the sweetness out.
Medium mouthfeel could be a bit thicker but i'm not complaining...still carries the flavors very well and slides down without any effort.
A very good porter, and spot-on to the style to boot. A solid beer all-around and one well worth picking up.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2006 05:32:42 | More by hero27
Photo of KevBrews


4.93/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is one of my all-time favorites.

A: When poured into my imperial pint glass, nearly 2 inches of creamy, tan head crowned this black, opaque brew.

S: Roasty, with chocolate malt and hints of raisin.

T: Roast upfront, but sharpness is not overpowering. Coffee and chocolate flavors throughout; slickness on tongue. Moderate bitterness with a dry finish.

M: Creamy, full.

D: Very drinkable--this is my favorite example of the style and my favorite Bell's beer thus far. Equally good in the bottle or on tap. A well-balanced beer with lots of complex flavors.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2006 17:33:04 | More by KevBrews
Photo of psinderson


2.98/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Very dark, almost black. Thin light-caramel colored head with no distinct lacing. There are little floaters swirling around. Could be yeast remnants, but I'm unsure if Bell's bottle conditions.

Smell: Definitive chocolate aroma with a roasty background.

Taste: The chocolatey aroma did not carry over much to the taste. Mostly roasted grain and hop bitterness with a strange acidic "twang" that I didn't really like. There's a bit of coffee flavor aftertaste with maybe a hint of choclate. I like the roastiness, but was expecting more chocolate flavors and some greater complexity of flavors.

Mouthfeel: A good medium, but maybe a little thinner than expected. The acidic taste hurts the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: If it wasn't for the acid taste, this would go down better.

I'm beginning to wonder if the floaters have anything to do with the acid taste. Perhaps infection?

EDIT: After having read the other reviews, I really think my bottle was not fresh. I hope to review this again at some point.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2006 21:47:29 | More by psinderson
Photo of becktone


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

This porter looks exquisite once it is decanted into a glass. The dark brown, red-copper contrasts very nicely with the light brown head. The head is about the height of my middle finger, stable/good retention, and is creamy in appearance. Lacing is very very sexy. Leaves a solid wall of lacing, wow very good looking.

To the nose this beer is full of dark malt aroma. Most easily identifiable in this beer's aroma is the roasted grain aroma, also in the foreground of this beer is a chocolate or black grain aroma. Everything one could expect from an American Porter is in the aroma of this beer. No hop aroma as expected. The smells eminating from the beer are fairly weak, and it would be much easier to positively identify them(instead of taking well educated guesses based upon what I can barely smell) were they stronger. The aroma is good, but it would be even better were it more potent.

What is absent from the aroma is made up for in the taste. The beer is malty sweet and is nicely balanced with hops, though there are no immediately noticable flavor hops. The profile of this beer can be described as chocolately, and coffee with a bit of roasted grain bitterness. What really makes this one interesting is the aftertaste of this beer. It is a noticable coffee taste to begin with, as time goes by roast grain bitterness and hop flavor can be detected. These two other flavors seem to melt into being and blend very well with the prevailing coffee flavor. Very nice indeed.

On the palate this beer is a nice medium heavy beer. The carbonation is in check, does not get in the way of the beer's flavor. Would've been really great if the creaminess of the head was reflected more in the overall mouthfeel of the brew. As to the drinkability, I will definitely be buying this porter again. It is a great porter, and represents the style very well and quite accurately.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2006 20:31:13 | More by becktone
Photo of foureyedgeek


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

Batch 7611 12 oz into pint glass.

Thick, rich and dark black pour leaves a dark brown head which laces nicely after it falls.

Smells of roasty coffee, dark chocolate and hints of vanilla.

Taste is a creamy blend of malty sweetness, dark chocolate again, plus some delicious coffees. Just a slight bit of hops crispness to finish.

Mouthfeel is creamy, not heavy and this could become a great Fall session beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2006 22:24:01 | More by foureyedgeek
Photo of dirtylou


4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

batch 7393

appearance: pours into an imperial pint glass...very dark body, bordering on char black...creamy tan-beige foam head with light retention and nice creamy lacing...nice presentation from bells, per the usual

smell: light creamy roasted aroma, sweet milk chocolate aroma, roasted malt, pretty nice burst of hops underneath it all

sweet: I dig this porter...its super smooth and creamy, delicate sweet milk chocolate, strong roasted malt, smoke, char, licorice, moderate dark fruit sweetness, a touch nutty, some booze in the followthrough

mouthfeel: great, very creamy and smooth, well balanced

drinkability: good

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2006 03:08:50 | More by dirtylou
Photo of tgbljb


3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a very deep brown, virtually black color with tannish creamy head.
Smell is lighter than iI expected, with light notes of roasted malt, and a bit of a metallic smell.
Taste shows strong notes of chcolate, coffee, burnt and roasted malt, and ends with a profound dry bitterness, almost too much.
An OK beer, but there are much more enjoyable samples of the style available.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2006 23:48:00 | More by tgbljb
Photo of JoeyHotrod


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

4.5's across the board on this beauty.

Quite well made and among my favorite Porters, Bell's version of the style is a true love affair.

The beer pours to a nice deep black color and a head that's quite evident. The sort of look that makes non beer advocates cower in fear.

The smell is sweet malt, with a little bit of hop sneaking in as well. It's no doubt a very nice smelling beer and it's scent, matches the equally solid look to a tee.

The taste is all over the spectrum, but great in each and every way.

Roasted malt... chocolate... coffee.. even an ever so slight hop bitterness adds to the complexity.

In my humble opinion, this is about as drinkable a porter as one is apt to find. Could easily see myself drinking a few bottles with ease.

Bell's with another winner, not a surprise in my book, as they are quite possibly my favorite of all American Breweries.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2006 08:54:19 | More by JoeyHotrod
Photo of rabsten

West Virginia

4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass, dark brown with a red tint. Thin head with some lacing. Glows red when put in front of a candle. Nice.

Toasted coffee-like malt in the nose with some alcohol notes.

Starts with the coffee malt, then moves into a dry caramel finish (if that's possible).

Thin mouthfeel is the only donwside to this beer. It's still very drinkable, though.

This is a fine, easy drinking porter. If any brewery does dark ales better, please tell me. Another winner from Bell's

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2006 14:48:17 | More by rabsten
Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 2,146 ratings.