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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

2,451 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,451
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: 2,451 | Reviews: 981 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dmfrench
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A well-hopped, salty, yet creamy porter.

A: Dark mahogany with a fairly persistent one finger cream-colored head.

S: Burnt malt, bitter chocolate, and dark fruit. A bit of salt.

T: Up front is bitterness, of both hops and chocolate. The burnt flavors definitely take a back seat. There's also a certain creaminess, like a milk stout, binding the flavors together. It is also quite salty.

M: Pretty well balanced... a hair watery at times.

D: High, but the saltiness would eventually get to me.

Photo of stakem
3.39/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a mug just for giggles.

Deep dark brown color, redish around the edges. Pours with a nice 3/4 inch head that is slightly tanned. Has a bit of lacing. Initially this beer smells like yeast and I don't pick up much more from it in the scent department other than trace bits of coffee. (More chocolate/coffee scent comes through as you come close to finishing the beer.) Taste is kinda bland, very minor chocolate and coffee notes but I keep feeling like this beer seems to be watered down. Not much carbination, mouthfeel is ok but nothing exciting. It is well balanced and I gotta admit it is easy drinking but I am not as excited about it as I was the other products from Bells which is surprising because I am a big fan of porter.

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

Pours a nice thick brown liquid with some reddish notes around the edges. Small head fades fast, but leaves some lacing.

The smell and taste both seem just a bit too muted to me, all the notes are there, they just come and go too quietly. The roastiness, the dark jammy fruit, its all evident.

The mouthfeel is again, just a touch too thin...but drinkability is nice, goes down quite well.

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

Pours a dark, barely transparent Coca-Cola brown with a decent but not too persistent beige head. Aroma is smoky with hints of coffee yeast and unsweetened chocolate. Mouth-filling flavor is much like the aroma, mainly smoky with some malt and tones of coffee and chocolate, no sweetness. Texture is lively and smooth, leaving a refreshing and lip-smacking finish.

Photo of Smithj86
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Smoky, roasted aroma--enticing and intriguing. Black as Cheney's heart, with a thin head that quickly disappears, leaving lacey trails of foam composed of tiny bubbles. Deep, dark roasted flavor with a hint of smokiness. Contains espresso-like hints. Good mouth feel--turns to foam if sloshed in the palate. Slight, but rather pleasant, aftertaste. Very rich, flavorful porter. From bottle into glass.

I generally like porter, and this is one of the better ones I've had.

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

A: Into an imperial pint glass, it appears a very dark brown. The reddish amber around the edges shows it to be transparent, not translucent. The thick, foamy and head collapses to half its size quickly, but sticks around through some sipping.

S: The aroma is of roasting coffee, with sweet tea and hints of linen.

T: I taste cold coffee, cream, brown sugar, cola, some aromatic vanilla and linen, with a balanced dry/sweet aftertaste. The flavor is in step with the aroma, which I always enjoy.

M: The mouthfeel is light and sparkling, no trace of alcohol, and the finish is neither drying nor coating.

D: The light mouthfeel, balanced flavors, pleasant aftertaste, and sane ABV make this a beer of which I always have more than one glass.

Notes: This was my number one, if-I-can-drink-anything beer while I was in undergrad in mid-Michigan over ten years ago. Trying it now, I'm relieved that I had good taste back then.

Photo of wnh
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a deep, opaque chestnut brown with the slightest hint of ruby highlights. Fizzy tan head died quickly, but leaves a decent bubbly layer across the surface. There's a slight bit of lacing that sticks as the beer subsides, but not much.

Big toasted bread aromas up front, with a bit of dark fruit (raisins?) lurking in the background. As I take in a few more whiffs, the toasted bread gives way in part to roasted coffee beans and a touch of dark chocolate.

Taste follows the nose with the big toasted grain. Bitter dark chocolate notes are underneath, but I've got to search to find them. I'm really having a hard time nailing down what I'm tasting, but that's no fault of the beer; everything is in just the right proportions such that nothing really takes over. Long, lingering finish of bitter dark (baking?) chocolate.

Medium bodied, a touch on the light side, and smooth and creamy. Rich without being heavy or thick. Somewhat drying in the finish, and ever-so-slightly chalky, which works wonderfully with the flavors present. I've finished nearly half the beer just trying to nail down exactly what I'm experiencing, and I can't believe it's gone so quickly. Highly drinkable.

Photo of cjgator3
4.11/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

A- Poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark brownish black with a large creamy light tan head that possesses excellent retention and lacing qualities.

S- The aroma is dark roasted malts with hints of chocolate and coffee. A little fainter than expected, but still good.

T- The taste like the aroma is dominated by the roasted malt with some bittersweet chocolate and roasted coffee flavors. The taste starts out sweet and finishes with an mild lingering bitterness that slowly increases. Very tasty!

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, this is a very tasty that I would definitely purchase again when I am in the mood for a Porter. Recommended!

Photo of mjl21
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade...thanks Josh! 12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. Part of batch 8885 and was packaged on 12/9/08. Comes in at 5.6%.

A-Pours a dark brown that shows off some reddish color when put up to the light. Has a one finger tan head that breaks down into a layer of film surrounded by some bubbles. Nice lacing is left.

S-The roast malt is dominant. There is also some sweet chocolate and a little coffee as it warms.

T-The sweet malt and roast malt play very well off of each other. The sweetness reminds me a lot of chocolate milk. It finishes with a mild roast flavor and a tad bit of hop bitterness.

M-Medium bodied and has a nice crisp level of carbonation.

D-Went down extremely fast. Abv is low enough to make this very sessionable.

Still have yet to have a bad beer from Bell's. I thought this blew away the Edmund Fitz and has now become one of my favorite porters. Great beer.

Photo of natasharai
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured with a light tan creamy foamy head that dissipated quickly to a thin layer leaving almost no lacing on my glass. The beer is Very dark brown, only letting light in around the edges.

Smell: Strong roasted malt, a lot of chocolate, some coffee aromas, and a woody smell.

Taste: Roasted malt, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, hint of sweet caramel, small cherry/berry sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium/light body, a lot of carbonation fizz, a little watery for a porter, leaves mouth with a slight roasted dry feel.

Overall: Great drinkability, delicious flavors but the mouthfeel doesn't match. Easy to drink because of the lighter mouthfeel but does not satisfy like a thicker/creamier porter does.

Photo of midnite2sixman
4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my sam adam's beer glass with a perfect head rising above the surface of a dark beer, strongly resembling coca-cola in the glass: dark, but with a hint of redness when held up to a light.

Roasted coffee on the nose, hints of bitter chocolate and toasted marshmallows.

Taste is very balanced, smokey hints of coffee and roasted malts abound, backed up by a light hop taste.

Mouthfeel is medium body, with a nice smooth finish and a lingering smoky malt taste.

Quite a good example of a porter. I support this one entirely!

Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick consistency. There was a quarter inch of long-lasting head and some good lacing.

S: Aroma consisted of malt, coffee and a smoky quality.

T: Tasted of malt, chocolate, coffee, a toasty element, along with the smokiness of the aroma. A solid taste.

M: A good amount of carbonation and a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: This is a well-made, drinkable porter. Very solidly constructed and easy to drink.

Photo of drpimento
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

mmm, yummmm, good porter. Poured with a tan, foamy, frothy, creamy, textured head that really lasts and a little lace. Color is a very dark mahogoney with cherry highlights. Aroma is chocolate, coffee, malt, a little toastiness, and a hint of dark ripe fruit such as dates or prunes. Flavor's about the same. Great body; nice and creamy not too much so. Very good finish. Session beer for sure.

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

Appearance: Dark brown - little to no head

Smell: Tobacco, chocolate, coffee

Taste: Coffee, Chocolate, Tobacco - faint vanilla - would be great aged in whiskey barrels.

Mouthfeel: Thin effervescence - smooth - warm

Drinkability: sipper- a beginners porter. Meant to savor. Nice when it warms up a little bit.

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

poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

A: black. decent tannish colored head.

S: roasted grains, dark-roasted coffee, and almost a burnt aroma.

T: good blend of roasted coffee and grains. the malt sweetness is balanced well by the hops. its the roasted flavors that stand out

MF: medium bodied, medium carbonation

Drinkability: very good porter, but not surprise coming from Bell's.

Photo of taylorhamrick
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a dark red color, with some dark brown, almost looks black in the glass with some dark ruby highlights. There's a cm thick head with loose bubbles that fell down into a little ring and left just a little bit of lacing. Looks just like most other porters. The smell is about what I would expect as well. Some coffee, dark chocolate, just a little bit of cola like sweetness. Nothing intense or too incredible. This doesn't set itself apart in the smell. But the taste is what amazes me. I mean, everything that a porter should be, this is. And there's not a thing to upset me here. There's immediately a dark chocolate bite, with a bit of a syrupy caramel taste underneath. Then the coffee notes hit, and burst with the carbonation, very pleasant. There's almost a creaminess to it, which is enhanced while there's still a head. I really like this in the taste department. I mean, just perfect for a porter. The mouthfeel is nice. Fairly low carbonation, right in line with what I want. Not a stand out, though its hard to stand out in this style I think. Of course this was a perfectly enjoyable drink. I mean, I would recommend it as a top-notch porter. If you see it, remember that it isn't an imperial anything, but it's a perfectly lovable beer. I will probably buy more in the future.

Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
3.41/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep brown to black color with a sparse mocha
head and slight lacing.

S: Lacks a distinct aroma

T: Nice malt with subtle hints of coffe and
chocolate. A little nutty but nothing very
distinct or interesting.

M: A bit watery and under carbonated

D: A descent porter but not nearly as good as I
expect a Bell's brew to be. I suppose that I
may have reviewed this one a little more
leniently if I hadn't been expecting so much.

Photo of bsp77
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Exceedingly dark reddish-brown, essentially black. Some head and lacing.

Smell: Slightly sweet caramel and chocolate malts. Some roasty character. Smell is pretty subdued overall.

Taste: Semi-sweet roasted malt upfront, with drier roasted bitterness at end. Some coffee throughout. Little one dimensional but certainly tastes good.

Feel: Low to medium carbonation. Medium body and fairly smooth, but seems somewhat thin.

Drinkability: Middle of the road Porter. Drinkable enough. Like their Kalamazoo Stout, but with some of its unique character stripped away.

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

black-cherry body when held up to the light....thin head....faded immediately....very limited lacing

chocolate smell and taste...flavors didn't stick around very long

a little over carbonated for a porter....seemed too drinkable, which in some eyes is a good thing, but i like a porter with a little more body to it

i got this as part of a mixed Bell's case, so i have 5 more of these to drink....not that i won't drink them, but i may over look it for another option in my fridge

Photo of aggiearcher13
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Watching a little hockey and having a nice porter, it sure beats writing a thesis any day... But this is about the beer.

Poured into an imperial pint glass.

A: Pours a nice dark ruby-brown, can see through it when held up to the light. About a half inch of head, fades after a minute or two but leaves a little lacing on the glass and some whispy traces on the top of the beer.

S: Very malty, a little bit of a roasty-coffee like aroma, but it's very faint.

T: Malty, I love it. Just a faint roastiness, not bitter at all. Some faint coffee and chocolate notes. Some hops in the background. And of course that Bell's yeast strain that leaves it a little sweet on the finish.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation. Very smooth and creamy.

D: Pretty high, this is a darn good and easy drinking beer.

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

A - dark porter with small tan head, leaves a little bit of lace

S - caramel, chocolate, roasted malts, and molasses

T - same as smell, along with being sweet and creamy. heavy on the roasted malts

M/D - quite thin, very drinkable. Its a decent beer

Photo of Shaw
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours as black as a stout with a foamy and sticky light tan head.

I'm smelling coffee, molasses, chocolate and caramel.

The aroma carries over into the taste, with nice roasted malt flavors mixing with hints of sweetness.

The body is glassy and smooth and lightly creamy.

Another good beer from Bell's. Like I have written before, I'm not sure you can really mess up a porter.

Photo of hardy008
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a dark brown, almost black color with a tan 2 finger foamy head with nice retention.

Smell - Roasted malt.

Taste - Roasted malt and coffee.

Mouthfeel - somewhat lightbodied with a bit of a burnt coffee feel.

Drinkability - A decent porter, drinkable.

Photo of timmay41
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a bottle touting batch #8941.

A: Body offers a deep, dark brown color with a thin, tawny brown or caramel head. One-finger deep with medium carbonation, and the head lingers throughout the pint nicely.

S: This beer's strongest attribute--rich, roasted malt character with sweet dark cherry notes. Really enjoyable.

T&M: A little thin & less robust on both taste and mouthfeel considering the nose, but it's slightly sweet and pleasing on the tongue. A straightforward approach to the style.

D: Very drinkable at about 5 and a half percent. I put it down rather quickly. But I was thinking of the Smuttynose Robust Porter and trying to figure out which I'd pick for a six pack purchase, and it's a toss up. Bell's is great and I appreciate this offering, but it's not iconic or a "must have."

Photo of MetalHopHead6
3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bell's Porter is good but forgettable.

For the short time it stayed with me, it was enjoyable, with a slightly chocolately smell and taste; however, literally and figuratively, it left nothing behind. Nothing on the glass (the meager head faded almost immediately and the glass was left laceless and clean), nothing on the tongue (the flavor was good, but it didn't linger in the mouth), and nothing in the imagination.

Most disturbingly, it was too carbonated, and, oddly enough, too refreshing and drinkable for a Porter.

Each beer I drink transports me somewhere, and with a Porter, I expect that place to be dark and heavy. Bell's Porter invoked, in me, a brightly lit grocery store soda aisle.

Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 2,451 ratings.