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

Not Rated.
Bell's PorterBell's Porter

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very good

2,497 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,497
Reviews: 989
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 72
Gots: 206 | 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

One of our many award-winning beers, Porter emphasizes the darker, roasted aspects of malt. Hints of dark chocolate and freshly roasted coffee provide the focus, while hops remain in the background. Not as full-bodied as a stout, Porter bridges the gap between malty brown ales and our more heavily roasted stouts.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,497 | Reviews: 989 | Display Reviews Only:
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From bottle to pint glass. Batch #9420.

A: Large light brown creamy and frothy head with a pour straight down the middle of my glass. 3 fingers and lasting. Opaque dark brown body as deep as a lacquer coat. Sheets of lacing quickly slide back down into the glass.

S & T: Heavy malt character dominated by molasses, chocolate and bread. Roasted bordering on burnt. Hops are present but so far in the background that I struggled with the specifics. Average yeast content: leather, leafy and musty. Smoky, woody, saw dust flavors, along with tar, reduced soy sauce, burnt brown sugar and maple syrup. Very concentrated flavor. Lightly sweet. Noticeable scent of bandage.

M: Medium body, thinner than expected and somehow still creamy. The carbonation is average. Long flavor duration with a semi bitter finish. I recommend a less aggressive pour as I believe mine took a little essence out of the effervescence.

D: What can I say? Bell's doesn't make a beer that isn't highly drinkable. For the porter lovers though.

Photo of ChadQuest
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown with light through the edges , decent head and little lacing. faint smell with some roast qualities and sweet malt. Roasted malt is the most prominent flavor, that fades into a caramel sweetness with some coffee notes. Thinner mouthfeel with a nice amount of carbination, easy to drink.

Photo of DocSkalski
4.41/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Nice dark brown/red color without any cloudiness, almost the perfect amount of head (light tan in color, a little thin), and transmits a very small amount of light... exactly what a good porter should be.

S: The smell is fantastic, once you find it. A very light aroma of sweetness and roasted malt. Would appreciate a bit more pungency.

T: This beer lives to satisfy. An almost sweet start, slightly tart. Very nice balance of caramel flavor, dark malt and love in the middle (i'm not sure what the "love" is, so i just call it that), let it sit here for a while. Finish is a slightly bitter coffee and hops blend, just right.

M: With a nice bright entrance it smooths out perfectly withe a little bit of fiz and ends perfectly silky, making it a drink to remember.

D: Be careful, it goes down easy. With an excellent taste and wonderful texture you might even forget that beer is the wonderful beverage in your hand, but if you take your time drinking this one it will provide the gustatory pleasure many connoisseurs looks for in a beer.

Photo of MbpBugeye
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap down at a local bar called Old Mohawk in German Village.

A- Nice thick head. Its a cake of tan foam. It leaves pretty nice lacing. This is a pretty dark porter, not much light will get through this one. In the spots that is does a rich garnet red is visible.

S- The smell is pretty faint here. Typical porter stuff too. Chocolate, roasted and caramel malts.

T- Good solid porter. Nothing unexpected, nothing undesirable. Just a basic, classic porter. Mild chocolate, roasted malt and faint coffee.

M- Medium body, medium carbonation.

D- Really sessionable.

Photo of schanker21
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Very very dark. Almost no light comes through this at all. Frothy tan head dissipates very slowly.

S- Subdued. Chocolate, roasted malts.

T- Roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, lactic acid. The smell betrays this. It's pretty complex and well-balanced.

M/D- Pretty good. Not a stellar porter by any means, but definitely very sessionable. Would buy again.

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

Poured into a standard pint glass. A vigorous pour produces a good finger's worth of beige colored head. Not opaque, with some garnet highlights at the sides of the glass. Head is not long lasting, but some very nice lacing is left behind.

Nose is very faint. I'm getting mostly the "roast" barley smell, with some malty sweetness.

Taste is pretty classic for a brown porter; lots of roasty flavors, and a touch of coffee. A little bit of biscuity sweetness is there as well. Mouthfeel is good, with good carbonation. I'd put the mouthfeel at a solid medium .. or a tad more. Impressive lacing all down the glass. Drinkability is high, especially if you are a porter fan (our first President certainly was!).

Good solid porter which you should try, especially if you are a fan of the style.

Na Zdravje!

Photo of KI9A
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Cola-black, decent, fluffy head.

S: Roasty malts

T: malty sweetness, semi-dark chocolate, some light coffee.

M: Medium + body, very creamy feeling in the mouth...very nice!

D: 1st bottle didn't last too long. After the initial tasting, the rest was quaffed like a light pils, on a hot summer day! Great beer..

Photo of mikebiewer
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Super dark, but I was able to get some highlights of ruby in the sunlight. The head wasn't all that impressive, but I served the beer really chilled and that has a way of killing head. What head I did have had a cocoa like appearance.


Malty with a tinge of hop aroma.


Hoppier than I thought it was going to be with a bit of a dry finish. Bit of roastiness and coffee flavor to boot.


I would say this one is closer to a high medium to heavy body. It swishes around the mouth nicely and leaves a little coating behind.


Probably couldn't make a night out of this, but definitely a great night cap brew.

I actually did a video review of this brew on my blog. If you'd like to see it follow the address.


Photo of DrDemento456
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got's the variety pack so let the review begin!

A - Nice and dark. Not really see through even through the light. Decent head
S - Wheat and roasted malts tickle the nose. As it warms a bit of caramel smell hits
T - From the other porters I had I expected this to be like charcoal but the roasted smokey taste is balanced well. Slight coffee.
M - A bit of a dry finish but thats to be expected in a porter
D - I got a sixer and I don't think it will make it to the end of the week.

Overall I haven't had many bell's beers but this beer makes me want to see what the company can offer. Well done!

Also I guessed the ABV was around 5 or 5.1 but was surprised to see a higher number! Smooth!

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

12 oz bottle into us pint

A: very dark, slightly translucent when put to the light, OK head with medium retention and fairly large bubbles, wish there was a bit more apparent body

S: Slightly toasty, not sweet and a bit of red licorice, expected heavier aroma

T: Tasted malt but not too burnt, very well balanced hops, slight carob aftertaste

M: slightly prickly from carbonation which was a nice surprise, still wishing for a bit more body for the color, well balanced on the finish, not too dry

D: i like this beer but wish the could have amped it up on the body to match the carbonation and the dark flavors for color, but it is a daily drinker to be sure, consistent

Photo of jakeyb
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very black with a velvety two-fingered head. Head dissipated almost immediately (within 2 minutes).

Smell: Citrus and chocolate, but not an overpowering smell.

Taste: High/tingly carbonation, more than expected for a porter. Surprising amount of grapefruit in the taste. Hop-heavy, with a slight bitter in the finish. Not much of an aftertaste except for the citrus, which pleasantly lingers on the front of the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, that really seems to sit on the front of the tongue.

Drinkability: Pretty easy to drink, and would be a great intro for those just getting into the world of dark beers, as the taste is reminiscent of an IPA with more of a nutty chocolate flavor. Not too complicated, but sometimes that's just what you need on a cold winter day in Michigan.

Photo of jlindros
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another review coming from Noslenwerd.

A: Big frothy 1 finger thick rich head with darker color. The color of the beer is very dark brown with almost no light escaping.

N: Nose has some dark malts, some light roast, light chocolate, a nice porter roasty aroma. Some very light spicy hops. It's almost the epitome of a good porter but on the lighter side.

T: Starts with some dark malts, roasted characters quite a bit. Adds slight chocolate and more lush malts. Slightly sweet. It has some bitter stout like flavors from charred malts. Slight creaminess. Rich and more flavorful than I expected from the nose. It's almost a juicy malt flavor.

M: Semi thick, luscious, creamy, decent carbonation.

F: FInishes a little drier but still slightly sweet, it has a nice earthy spicy bitter feel on the finish, and almost that clean mouth feel you get from higher abv beers. The lingering bitter stouty roasted flavor remains for a bit.

Photo of mooseisloose
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Starting desert and this beer looks like it will suit that quite well, so let's give it a whirl. Popping the top yields a smell of malted milk balls, heath bars and coffee. Delicious. Pouring the brew yields a coffee color with a creamy head. The taste of this brew is complex to say the least, it starts with the malted milk ball taste then launches into a slightly bitter coffee taste then finishes sweeter like milk chocolate with a unsweetened cocoa finale. Very delicious. Surprisingly the mouthfeel, for all this flavor, is kind of watery. That's not all bad as for all this flavor one can enjoy a few of these without bogging down. Good porter, not really something that would become a go to, but enjoyable.
3/2011 I went to it again, B+? It's damn good might be pushing A-?

Photo of Heavenisbeer
3.89/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

A: The pour is pretty dark and dense for a porter, in my opinion (maybe I just haven't had that many primos). The single-finger head dies down relatively quickly, leaving a nice, thin vanilla top-coating, which rests upon the chocolate bottom like a somewhat flat Guinness. Some subtle lacing that sticks well to the glass.

S: Mild. Upfront tinge of sugary coffee (cappuccino-esque) with a touch of hops on the backend. I catch a hint of raisins as well.

T: Taste mirrors the aroma of this one--malts are there, but not very pronounced. This is not to say that flavor is absent. Roasted coffee begins this one, and ends it as well, staying with you afterwards. I am unable to distinguish any other hues in this one (the other reviews can fill this in for me). The hops in the nose is missing in the flavor, as well.

M: Excellent feel--full, complete, but not too heavy, perfect for an American Porter. Coats the mouth beautifully. Sticks together well; no watery drop-off following the initial contact with the palate. A tad bit oily (not a bad thing in my opinion). The feel actually outshines the flavor.

D: This would make a great session porter. Smooth taste without a killer body. Three to four in a sitting would be no problem.

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

Pours nearly black with brown head. Roasty aromas are present on the nose. On the palate there's a smoky quality that pairs with the roasty flavors as well. Some malt sweetness is there too, perhaps some spent coffee grounds also. Surprisingly drinkable for such a roasty porter.

Photo of snaotheus
3.56/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours dark brown with a big frothy tan head, clumpy lacing. Smell is mild, chocolatey, slightly coffeeish.

Taste is also mild and chocolatey with a strong coffee aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is light but gritty. Drinkable, pleasant beer.

Photo of beerwolf77
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my imperial pint glass the beer is dark chocolate brown with blood red edges. The beige head is a full three inches and leaves a thick coating of around the glass. A nice cap remains.

The aroma is roast malt with light chocolate, hints of coffee and black earth finish. Smells rather inviting.

The flavor is a slight step down fro the nose. All the same characteristics are there just not as pronounced. Smoked malt with light coffee and chocolate. That's about it.

Medium to light body with light to no carbonation.

Overall a nice easy drinking porter. Nothing special but not every beer can be.

Photo of thedrewski86
3.59/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured this into a pint glass. Not a lot of head; about 1/4" of tan foam. No lacing. The smell is sweet and smoky. The taste is typical porter with a smoky kick. I would normally like that a lot more but I was a little under-whelmed with this beer. It feels a lot like a stout. Nice malt character though with some biscuit notes. Very little carbonation, kinda makes you think of a flat coke. I don't want to be too negative about this beer though, I would drink it a lot if I had it around all the time. It still has a pleasant flavor and drinkability is good.

Photo of mdwalsh
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on cask at Stub and Herb's. Was very excited to see a beer I was familiar with on cask so I could compare.

A: Dark, translucent brown beer, very clear. Light Light tan head.

S: Mild sweet roast, no hops, pretty simple in a very good way.

T: Very roasty, not sweet at all. No hops again.

M: It's a little flat, which gives it a nice smoothness.

D: very little carbonation, which is really nice because the beer is good enough on its own.

Photo of jkrich
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 12 oz. bottle into nonic: opaque, deep brown with a solid dark tan head.

Sweet, fruity aromas with surprisingly sharp hop odor.

Malty with semi-sweet chocolate flavors. There are hints of licorice which seems common with all the porters I have tried.

Thinner bodied than I expected from a Bell's offering. Moderately carbonated with a very smooth and silky mouthfeel.

Compared the Fuller's London porter I had last week, this one lacks the nuance and complexity of that product. However, this one is very flavorful and extremely quaffable; the ideal everyday porter.

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

Poured from a 12-oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a deep, dark brown with a two fingers of tan, foamy head. Lots of little carbonation running up the glass. Very nice lacing around the glass.

Smells of dark malts and chocolate, maybe a little coffee. NIce rich roasty flavor coming out as well.

Some earthy hops combined with a roasted maltiness, bittersweet chocolate, and some coffee flavors as the beer finishes.

A medium mouthfeel, very smooth, not a lot of carbonation. Overall a very drinkable beer with a lot of flavor; a pretty solid porter.

Photo of MisterDeeds
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a perfect pint glass, it shows a nice Nestle Quik looking head. Recededs quickly to a foamy ring. It appears almost solid black, but a hint of light can sneak through and show some brown almost reddish around the bottom.

Smells sweet and malty. Chocoaltey perhaps, with some dark roasted coffee as well. Very promising..

Taste: Not nearly as sweet as it smells. The dark roasted dominates this one, with a roasted bready kind of taste. Not too bitter, bit there are definitely some hops in here.

Feels thinner than it looks, but theres a nice silky lacing left behind. A little bit of carbonation fizz too.

Very drinkable and would be a cold weather favorite of mine if it were easier to find. Another job well done from the guys at Bell's. Why can't I get this in Massachusetts?

Photo of pzrhsau
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Nice dark brown color that gets a nice reddish tint in the light. Decent head with a moderate retention.
Smell: Very subtle aroma of roasted malt and coffee.
Taste: It has a very strong malt taste at first that finishes with a nice coffee aftertaste. I can also sense a little chocolate in there.
Drinkability and Mouthfeel: Lighter than i expected but still filling. The beer is very crisp and easy to drink on the whole.

Photo of thegodfather2701
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Poured from the tap into a chilled pint glass with no head to speak of. It is very dark like a porter should look.

S-Chocolate dominates the nose with just a touch of coffee.

T-Mostly chocolate in the flavor. No real coffee notes or burnt notes to speak of, but a touch of roasted nuts in the aftertaste. It finishes clean.

M-Thin, carbonated, and slightly watery.

D-Very drinkable porter due to its average abv. and thin body.

Overall, this is a decent porter. I was expecting a little more, but it finishes very clean, leaving no aftertaste so it could definitely be a session beer.

Photo of ibbjamin
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Paid $1.33 for a loose 12oz bottle from Festival Foods in Manitowoc, WI. Poured into a pint glass to review.

Light tan head of about an inch after a standard pour. Head is moderately frothy and dense. Opaque dark brown in color. Good lacing.

Robust aromas of roasted malts and fine coffee.

Coffee flavor dominates with medium roasted malts. Some nutty and brown sugar hints.

Medium body, clean mouthfeel. Smooth and very drinkable.

A solid American Porter great for everyday enjoyment.

Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 2,497 ratings.