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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

2,276 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,276
Reviews: 960
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 58
Gots: 125 | 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: 2,276 | Reviews: 960 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JDV
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of gregis
Pours black with a good tan head. Smell is somooth roasty malt, cream, nuts, and some smokiness as it warms. Taste is creamy, nutty, and smooth roast which starts milder, and takes center stage as it warms as well. A great porter in all. Thanks Greg!

JDV, Mar 01, 2008
Photo of jpkoch1962
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice middle of the road porter. Poured a dark ruby red with a thick long lasting brown head. The aroma was faint with whiffs of roasted coffee and malt. The body was firm, with decent warmth from the alcohol. From start to finish, the taste was smooth, creamy with enough malts, roasted coffee, and toffee balanced by a moderatly dry finish. Could have used some English Goldings and Fuggles; otherwise a nice session beer.

jpkoch1962, Feb 29, 2008
Photo of bashiba
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep black with light tan highlights, a nice creamy dark tan head that was very sticky but a bit short lived.

The smell had a light bit of cocoa and vanilla.

the taste had a very light and balanced flavor with hints of chocolate, vanilla, milk, coffee, and a burnt grains. Finishes ever so slightly bitter and smokey.

Mouthfeel was light and creamy with a bit of crisp carbonation.

A very easy to drink solid American porter.

bashiba, Feb 29, 2008
Photo of Beerbuddha
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a dark brown with a huge, very foamy off white head. The aroma was dominated by chocolate and coffee. The taste was of coffee with hints of chocolate. The mouthfeel was medium body with medium carbonation. Overall another damn great beer from Bells.

Beerbuddha, Feb 20, 2008
Photo of MrIncognito
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another one had on tap at Tuskies in Leesburg, VA.

Pours a dark brown, almost black. Some light comes through.

I smell chocolate with some alcohol and dark fruits.

I taste chocolate. That's pretty much what takes over this beer. Maybe some dark fruit, like prune, comes thru. But I really, really taste cocoa.

Nice mouthfeel. Light carbonation.

This beer is good, but not great. It would go great with a tiramisu or other dessert. The beer itself is, in fact, a dessert.

MrIncognito, Feb 19, 2008
Photo of asabreed
3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: A good and billowing head at first, taking a while to calm down, with not a lot of retention, though the color is nearly opaque, and a deep brown with hints of dark amber coming through.

Smell: Good aroma of roasted and slightly burnt malts, bitter coffee, and dark chocolate, with some cream and burnt brown sugar.

Taste: Initially reminds me of the Double Cream Stout, which may have the same base malts and water or whatever else is causing this. And I did have a bad experience with the aforementioned brew. I think, for one, and this was a few years ago, I got an old case, and one that wasn't refrigerated, but I thought it was my palate and not the beer. And then I tried to cellar them for months and they got worse. So don't cellar a milk stout, which is a rookie mistake I imagine, and I was a rookie then. At any rate, the taste is pretty much what comes through in the nose for me, though everything is toned down, a bit watery, and pretty boring. It's balanced enough, and drinkable enough, but you get the dark chocolate, burnt characteristics, bitter coffee, and a finish with slight curbing citrus and roasted flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied though a bit too slick and watery for my liking.

Drinkability: I just think a mediocre porter is so easy to do these days from so many breweries, and it bothers me when I get one -- like a style of, say, a Pilsner or a Brown Ale -- that keeps going along the same lines. I'm not saying it needs to be insanely extravagant, but porters (and not Baltic style) are just being overdone with mediocrity these days, if you'll excuse the semi-oxymoron. Don't get me wrong: I enjoyed this, but I don't know if I could tell the difference between this and hundreds out there. Again, Bell's is hit or miss with me, and this is somewhere in between, but there are much better examples with more flavor and balance and nuance and complexity out there to try.

asabreed, Feb 19, 2008
Photo of IgnatiusReilly
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap to pint glass at Eccentric Café, Bell's Brewery.

Color is pitch black with a thin tan head that dissipates quickly. Burnt aroma, bready, hint of fruit and raisin. Tastes dry, roasted coffee and some underlying fruity sweet tones, toffee. Not too hoppy, but there is definitely enough hops to provide decent balance. Finishes dry as well. Oily and slick going down, fair amount of carbonation. Very drinkable, I enjoyed this porter.

IgnatiusReilly, Feb 13, 2008
Photo of SIRIUS2
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very deep dark brown but light will pass through showing off nice clarity. Pouring from 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass produced little to no discernible head bit did produce a nice ring of light brown bubbles. Lacing was light.

S: Light hints of toffee and perhaps chocolate

T: Malty hit at first but balances nicely with the hops. Clean quick finish of light hops. Not much linger at all.

M&D: On just the lighter side of heavy; sits on the tongue nicely and goes down smooth.

I think I have found another favorite porter. I popped this one before I sat down for dinner with some pasta and wasn't sure how well it would go with the Alfredo sauce. I was so impressed with the flavor that it almost didn't make it to the table with me. Ultimately it was great with the pasta as well. Recommended!

SIRIUS2, Feb 12, 2008
Photo of dsigmon
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: pours murky brown with off white head that stands for a few sips and leaves little lacing on the glass

S: smells of roasted malts and some slight caramel, not a lot going on here

T: tates of come coffee and roasted malts with a closing hop biterness that rounds things off

M: nice oily mouthfeel, very smooth

D: not something i would pay for again, something with this porter didnt sit right with me. i have been a huge fan of bell's but this one let me down, maybe a bad bottle?

dsigmon, Feb 11, 2008
Photo of srrn
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep clear mahogony with a tan head, Nice lacing on the glass. Aroma is toasty malts. Taste is a nice smooth toast with coffee notes. Mouthfeel is very smooth. Aftertaste is nice bitter hops. A good solid porter. Bell's beers have been avalable around here a short while, some very solid offerings.

srrn, Feb 10, 2008
Photo of genog
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color with a foamy, capuccino type brown creme'. Slight lacing on the side of the glass. Smell is a toassty malt aroma with hints of cocoa and earthy hops. Taste is nice with plenty of malt and bittersweet chocolate. Hops come through for a nice compliment. Mouth feel is nice and smooth on this with a hint of a woody flavor. Very nice beer.

genog, Feb 09, 2008
Photo of ElGrecoVerde
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown color and thicker looking than most porters.

Aromas were toasty and semi sweet, with a lot of caramel and roasted coffee. A bit mild, however.

The taste did not disappoint. Flavors of toast and coffee were rampant in this beer. Caramel and bitter dark chocolates round out the flavor list.

Felt smooth as silk, with just enough carbonation to help it down. Really incredible feeling. Creamy, with no bad oily feel at all.

ElGrecoVerde, Feb 03, 2008
Photo of KingNoonan
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured a beautiful midnight black with a luscious tan inch and a half head. While the beer was being poured it gave a coarse fizzing sound, almost like pouring a soda into a glass, kind of bad news. At first the head had a very coarse texture with large bubbles, but as I began to drink, the head condensed into nice tight bubbles. The beer did not carry a very heavy scent to it, but I did smell almost candy sweet malts, biscuit and croissant aromas, matched with faint scents of coffee, dark chocolate, toffee, and the faintest scent of floral hops. The taste of the brew was incredibly sweet. At the forefront of the palate was a heavy sweet biscuit taste, the beer probably had a strong base of two-row malts. After letting the beer acquaint itself with my taste buds, strong flavors of black patent malts became prevalent, as well as a good dose of chocolate malts. These ingredients produced flavors of coffee, dark chocolate and faint hints of charred oak. The high point of this beer was definitely the body. The body of this porter was captivatingly smooth, like cashmere rolling across the tongue. Overall an excellent offering by Bells.

KingNoonan, Feb 01, 2008
Photo of AltBock
3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle with a mocha colored label that has a picture of a well dressed Thomas Edison running with a stock of barley in his left hand and a vine of hops in his right. Didn't his mom ever tell him that it's dangerous to run with beer ingredients in his hands? The back label has a brief description about the beer, US Government warning, barcode, refund values and a batch number of 7766. Their website didn't tell me what date it was bottled on. It just told me that it was a Bell's Porter.

Appearance: I just had to pour it into my Bell's Brewery pint glass. What came out of the bottle was a deep dark mahagony brown colored beer that had a few dark ruby red highlights along the edges. It started off nice with a thick 1 1/2 inch head of tan foam. It was just sad to see this nice head of foam fizzle away in a matter of only a few seconds. It did manage to leave behind a few bubbly tan colored islands, handful of tan rings, and a few spots of tan lace.

Smell: It had a plain and simple Porter aroma of roasted malts, roasted walnuts, a hint of sweet caramel, and a spatter of roasted hops at the end. It's funny, the beer had an aroma of roasted hops, while the bottle had the aroma of citrus hops. It's also funny that the bottle had the scent of butter popcorn, while the aroma had none of that.

Taste: The taste was just like the aroma, plain and simple. The taste had a plain and simple Porter taste of dark roasted malts, a hint of roasted coffee beans, a pinch of sweet caramel, and then it suddenly ended with a touch of roasted hops. There was also a smidge of milk chocolate in the taste, but that came and went as it pleased. I had no idea when to expect the milk chocolate to show up.

Mouthfeel: It was a light bodied beer with mild carboantion and a short lived aftertaste of dark roasted malts and roasted hops. This aftertaste disappeared as soon as it showed up.

Drinkability: There was nothing in this beer that made me feel that it was above being an average run of the mill Porter. Would I give it another try? I would like too, I really would. It would be nice to see if a second bottle would push this beer above average.

AltBock, Jan 31, 2008
Photo of Gehrig
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just delicious, easily one of the best I've had from Bell's. Pours a finger of tan froth atop a very dark body. Good aromas emerge--coffee, chocolate, good malt, nice all around. The taste brings all these together very well, combining with a splendid moutfeel to blend the somewhat roasted malts, well represented by all the flavors mentioned above. The carbonation is just right, providing an easy-going smoothness along with the occasional bite. One of the better porters I've had, and a real treat from Bell's. This, people, is good porter.

Gehrig, Jan 30, 2008
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
Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 2,276 ratings.