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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

2,261 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,261
Reviews: 959
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 54
Gots: 122 | 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
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Ratings: 2,261 | Reviews: 959 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NCSUdo
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, batch 8209

A: Deep brown/black under a nice brown head. Some spots of lace and some retention.

S: Smells of raw nuts, raw and roasted malt, chocolate and some sweetness.

T: A cola like sweetness with roasted malt, a very light coffee with heavy cream, hints of chocolate and a mild bitter finish. Not a whole lot going on, but what is here is very well balanced.

M/D: Full bodied, carbonation is high but not harsh. Drinkability is good, a very fine porter.

NCSUdo, Jan 27, 2008
Photo of morimech
4.6/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

It pours a very dark brown but the head is disapointing with poor retention. But things improve.

The smell is smokey and slightly sour. Good but nothing earth shattering to make it stand out. The taste is spot on perfect for a porter. Roasted malt goodness with just a hint of smokiness. Finishes slightly bitter. It has a crisp bite from the carbonation which is a little high for a porter. Light/medium bodied and very drinkable. I will definately seek this out for future consumption.

morimech, Jan 26, 2008
Photo of charlesw
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So, yeah. You might have noticed that I wasn't thrilled with the amber. Sorry. It wasn't that good. Really.

This... This, however, is a beer. A beer among beers. Not crazy and hoppy and knock you dead. No. A beer. A finely crafted one. So smooth and easy... Balanced. Way balanced. And easy. And smooth. No overwhelming chocolate (although there are hints...), no overwhelming coffee. No overwhelming anything. 'Cause, well, it's balanced. Like, hello.

So, if it's so freaking great how come it didn't get top scores from me? Hmm. Well, I don't recall, much, the smell so I can't honestly say that it had an awesome one. I suppose I can up the mouthfeel, though. There, done.

charlesw, Jan 24, 2008
Photo of sauron681
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark goldish red color. Decent head that does not dissapear to quick. Good sticky lacing. Lots of carbonation, I could actually hear the CO2 popping at the surface-sounded like rice krispies. Very creamy looking as well.
Slightly sweet aroma with a hint of smokiness.

Taste was of sweet malt and lemony. Finishes a tad bitter with a citric overtone. Medium light feeling in the mouth, harsh carbonation on the tongue. Overall a good porter that would be hard to improve upon, but could. I could drink this on a regular basis

sauron681, Jan 23, 2008
Photo of olimax
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Rich dark brown. Translucent only around the edges when held up to light.

Smell: Smokey

Taste: Starts off very smokey followed by a bitter taste and finishes with a bitter coffee flavor.

Mouthfeel: It feels a bit thinner and more carbonated than I expected.

Drinkability: One at a time is enough but I will definitely drink again.

olimax, Jan 19, 2008
Photo of Traquairlover
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12-oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A = Dark mahogany with an added reddish tint, formed a good light brown head consisting of small and medium bubbles. Head dissipated relatively quickly and left medium lacing.

S = Coffee, light scent of bitter hops, roasted malt. Smells like one expects a porter to smell but a little too subtle for me.

T = Good balance between a sweet roasted malt flavor and a bitter coffee flavor, The finish is all bitter though. Not quite as balanced as I look for in a porter, the hops are just a little too strong and the sweetness of the malt is lost a little too quickly, possibly due to a light mouthfeel than optimal.

M = Lighter bodied than expected, mouthcoating is affected, giving it a slightly too watery feel (as a relative matter for the style, this is much meatier than light lagers for instance). Carbonation is good.

D = This is a drinkable beer if it's what you have on hand, but I was slightly underwhelmed. I would probably pick another porter if I were really setting out to have a nice porter, but this is a nice tasty beer that can definitely be enjoyed any time it is offered.

Traquairlover, Jan 12, 2008
Photo of CDBeerDisappear
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Opaque black with no backlit highlights. Had an initial half inch head that quickly dissipated to a thin layer with foamy islands. Some lacing and a nice ring around the glass. Aroma is very beefy, smells like a beef jerky along with coffee. Taste is more towards the coffee side, definitely dry and bitter. Mouth feel is full with prickly carbonation, has a dry finish. Probably a good beer with food, next time I drink it, it will be while I am eating something.

CDBeerDisappear, Jan 10, 2008
Photo of daliandragon
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bell's pours a deer, rich, thick, very dark brown with very little light at all to spare color with a finger of dark tan head. The head dies rather fast but otherwise this looks like a proper pporter. Nose is understated but still features healthy doses of coffee malt with sweetness in the distance.

A velvety mix of chocolate and coffee tones are predominant in the sip but the finish is surprisingly clean. Hopping is evident but not decisive. Mouthfeel is smooth and properly heavy. Very easy to quaff although several in a row might be too rich. Definitely recommended.

daliandragon, Jan 07, 2008
Photo of Hatch
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz pry-off brown bottle, batch number on bottom of bottle in place of a freshness date.

Pours pitch black with a light tan head a little more than one finger thick that dissipates rather quickly into some nice lacing. Along the edges you'll sometimes note some dark reddish-brown.

Smells of roasted dark malts, but not too strongly. Sweet tones are detectable along with hints of coffee. Once you finish, your glass will smell like you had just drank a cup of coffee. Not a very aromatic brew though.

Taste of dark malts, roasted, chocolate, coffee. Starts with a nice mild bite from the malt and finishes with a subtle hop bitterness. Aftertaste of roasted barley and coffee. This brew has a nice body to it that coats the palate with an almost oily feel. Alcohol is not detectable. A nice tasting porter; mild and easy to drink. This brew is pretty filling, so I wouldn't want to drink more than a couple of these in one sitting, but that goes for most porters and stouts.

Notes: A very good example of what a porter should be, and if you've never tried one, you can't go wrong here. It's not as complex as some other porters, but then again it's better than most others out there.

Hatch, Jan 04, 2008
Photo of jackorain
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown color, opaque almost black. Tan head with great retention and okay lace.

S-Charcoal, roasted barley and hint of coffee also a hint of choclate. Overall the aroma is not strong.

Really nice flavors from the nose are here but much stronger, the raosted quality and charcoal balances out chocolate and sweeted coffee with a touch of cream. There is slight twang on the finish that is not off putting. There is not alot of hop flavor here to write about.

I could definitely have several of these.

jackorain, Jan 04, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours extremely dark - just one step below opaque. Big tan head off a very firm pour, but it falls fast. Mildly roasted nose. Touch of a sweet tone. Malt tones are there for sure. Flavor is pretty thick with roasted tones and minimal coffee with a lot of malts of course. Feel has a lot of carbonation really going at the tongue and the liquid is thick enough. A nice, hearty porter. Definitely worth trying.

RblWthACoz, Dec 31, 2007
Photo of jeffmonarch
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - Nice dark brown with a light tan head that stays for a while.

S - A light scent of chocolate. This is all I can pick up.

T - It has a bittersweet chocolate taste with slight hints of coffee.

M - Light/medium bodied with good carbonation.

D - Good beer. This has a really smooth finish and is easy to drink.

jeffmonarch, Dec 28, 2007
Photo of NitroGen
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This tasting possible from a trade with NDPDuke, Thank you

P: 12 oz. brown longneck bottle. Pours a dark brown with reddish tints with a robust two fingers of light brown foam that very slowly reduces to a thick cover

S: Sweet dark brown sugar, chocolate and dark coffee without the cream.

T: Rush of bittersweet chocolate that is quickly followed by medium roasted coffee sans sweetener. Great aftertaste, as all of the flavors fight to dominate and win. I think the roasted coffee wins!

M: A brisk porter that has a nice taste and body without any cloying sweetness or thickness to interfere with the roasted grains.

D: My hat is off to the brew master as this is a real honest and well-balanced porter that is a great example of a great tasting profile. Since this is not sweet or heavy, I think that this could be an excellent choice for a session porter.

NitroGen, Dec 28, 2007
Photo of Hautacam
3.33/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very dark, very bubbly like a Coca Cola.... little off white head.
Smells yeasty , metallic with some toast and hint of dried fruit.
Tastes slightly sweet ...mostly toasted malt, a bit of metal, some caramel, citrus , dark fruits....like a cola ( as mentioned by others) and a hint of chalk. No alcohol detected. I'm not getting any coffee.
The mouthfeel was very light in body ; the carbonation high.
Pretty easy drinking...low ABV....not the greatest porter, but worth a try.

Hautacam, Dec 27, 2007
Photo of Murchmac
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this in a trade with tangfoot.

Was looking forward to having this beer for a while. Pours coffee black with little lacing around the rim of the glass.

Tastes gets deeper with every sip. little carbonation, got mouth coating, malts, coffee, chocolate, someone mentioned cola and they are absolutely right.

If you like porters or if you have access to these beers, try it.

Murchmac, Dec 27, 2007
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark brown body with a small, creamy off-white head.

Smell: Roasty aroma with notes of oven-cooked fruits, coffee, chocolate, and yes, even cola.

Taste: Roasted malt flavor with plenty of coffee and bittersweet chocolate. Dash of cola. Light fruitiness, though not as much as the aroma led me to believe. Roasty, earthy bitterness holds on till the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: So yeah, good stuff.

ChainGangGuy, Dec 27, 2007
Photo of yourefragile
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle with batch number on back

A: Very dark amber, nearly black color, not entirely opaque with a thin tan head that quickly dissipates to a ring around the edge. No significant lacing
S: Roasted malt, caramel, very pleasant but not that persistent
T/M: Medium bodied, creamy and moderate carbonation. Big roasted malt flavor with some light hop bitterness. Something is holding me back from really liking this, but I can't place it. Some hint of coffee in dry finish.
D: Very enjoyable porter, nothing fancy but nothing to keep me from coming back to this if I want a simple, good porter

yourefragile, Dec 18, 2007
Photo of tpd975
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Nice dark black color with a khaki head that builds fast and hangs around for a bit. No lacing noted

S: Nice roasted aromas with hints of milk chocolate and dark burnt coffee.

T: Nice malt taste right up front. Chocolate and charcoal dominate right from the start. Coffee makes an appearence at the end and kind of lingers for a bit.

M: Medium bodied with the right amount of carbonation.

D: Not too heavy, its pretty drinkable.

Overall: One of the better porters made. Big on taste and an easy drinker. I like almost all of Bell's brews and this one is no exception. While on my trip to DC I found tons of Bell's brews. My only regret was not trying each and every one that was in the store.

tpd975, Dec 02, 2007
Photo of mogul37
4.63/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this one into a pint glass. Very dark appearance with a head that sits well and doesn't settle too fast. Smoky aroma with traces of coffee. Excellent, full flavor that's as good as any available porter. Goes down very smooth with only a little carbonation.

mogul37, Nov 27, 2007
Photo of TheBierBand
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got a single of this at Jungle Jim's in Fairfield, OH (Northern suburb of Cincinnati).

Poured from the 12 oz brown bottle with freshness code: 8024 (packaged on June 21, 2007). The pour produced a nice 1" tan head that slowly settled down to a 1/4". The beer is ebony in color. Slight lacing is left on the glass.

The aroma is slight with hints of dark roasted malt.

The taste is mostly roasted malt and some burnt charcoal taste.

The mouthfeel: a little thin and not as robust as I would prefer. Carbonation is a little on the fizzy side... but not too bad.

Drinkability: Nothing objectionable about this.... good solid porter.

TheBierBand, Nov 27, 2007
Photo of adammills
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a full brown color with hints of copper in the edges. The beer props up a tan dense rocky head that lasts. The beer smells of roasted malt and crystal, very pleasing and a bit bready. Very drinkable, a nice smooth malt balanced beer. Not a lot of hop character, perhaps it could be a bit more bold in that department, but it is to my taste. Good beer, try it.

adammills, Nov 24, 2007
Photo of SMark
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer was served in a pint glass with the head greatly subsided and a very clean black color.

The aroma was reminiscent of roasted barley. This was an indication of things to come.

Coffee, chocolate and roasted barley came across the palate as expected. Very nice smooth taste.

Did not overwhelm but left a nice tactile sensation and seemed slightly sweet at times. Maybe some brown sugar.

I would drink this again and may try in the bottle if I can find.

SMark, Nov 18, 2007
Photo of PhageLab
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Porters are quickly becoming one of my favorite brews, so I figured it was time to try out Bell's rendition. Poured into a 16oz Widmer glass, I wanted some of the aromas to come out on this one.

A - Dark, deep brown fading up to a pitch black. Huge frothy head. Retention and lacing are both quite good. Looks impressive enough.

S - Weak point of the brew I must say. I can only pick up some smoke, a metallic sting, and some sour mash.

T - Much more flavorful than the aroma leads one to believe. Massive roasted caramel malt profile, toasted chicory, and some mild bitterness. That metallic tinge is also present, but actually works with the other flavors instead of against them.

M - Medium to full bodied with a near flawless level of carbonation. In the mouth it feels sticky and creamy, then it finishes completely dry. Amazing. A drink for warm nights and old times.

D - Very good on this one. The slight bite dims down halfway through and I could tell downing a sixer of this would not be difficult at all, in fact, it would probably be preferable. Cheers once again to Bell's, for another fine brew.

PhageLab, Nov 17, 2007
Photo of david131
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- One of the darkest porters I have ever seen. Almost pitch black with a little bit of light getting through on the edges- where a little bit of tiny floaters are visible. The head is a very light brown and has some pretty good retention.

S- A distinctive Bell's aroma, but mixes well with some sweet and roasty malt. Some coffee and chocolate are definitely noticeable.

T- Sweet and roasty at the same time. The coffee and chocolate in this is spectacular. Very enjoyable.

M- The carbonation seems to be a little high in this, giving it a somewhat spicy character. But when things settle down a bit, it's creamy and smooth.

D- Better than I remember. This is a solid porter and a good representation of Bell's solid year-round offerings.

david131, Nov 16, 2007
Photo of kirok1999
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice near black with just a little off white head. Smell is interesting, smoke, dark malt, slight fruits.
Taste is a little hollow compared to the smell. I expected a lot more. There's mild chocolate, slight wet cardboard, not very sweet with just a little fruit sweetness. Kind of thin in the mouth with a good amount of carbonation. It's an OK porter but I don't think I'd be interested in drinking many of them.

kirok1999, Nov 12, 2007
Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 2,261 ratings.