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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

2,414 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,414
Reviews: 974
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 63
Gots: 170 | FT: 5
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: 2,414 | Reviews: 974 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of chilly460
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Very dark brown with red tones. Great tan head that barely dissipated.

S - Malty, with very strong coffee and some dark berry

T - I really enjoyed this one. Malt background, but just a very smooth and even coffee taste, followed by some raisin and dark berry. No hops that I could detect.

M - Again, very nice. Nice thickness, smooth almost chewy feel.

D - Very good, but a "heavy" enough beer that I wouldn't exactly call it a session beer.

Overall, I really liked this porter, very warm flavor.

Photo of RickS95
4.6/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a good looking beer, though I'm fond of dark beers. Thin, fluffy, tan head on top of a black syrupy beer.

Nose is overwhelmed by roasted malt, with hints of coffee in the background.

Gives you a creamy, smooth feel in the mouth. Thing lacing circles the glass.

Has an Earthy, roasty flavor, the malt dominates, but hints of bittersweet come through in the background. The sweet malt balances nicely with the bitter giving a very smooth finish.

This beer looks good, smells good and is smooth from the moment you pop the top til after you swallow. Not highly alcoholic (5.6%), this is a beer you don't mind drinking a lot of on a winter night.

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

Medium brown with chestnut edges, and a nice thick tan head. Looking good in this Sammy Smith's pint glass. Lacing is prominent.

Aroma of roasted dark malts, maybe a hint of vanilla, some hop bitterness as well. The taste is very creamy, roasted malt, coffee and some vanilla. Turns only slightly bitter in the end, fades somewhat quickly. Nice.

Good medium bodied porter, creamy and smooth while giving you a bit of a carbonation burn. All around good drinkable porter. I am impressed.

Photo of JamesS
4.55/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an excellent dark brown/black color, with some great initial, tan head, that diminishes to a still nice thin head, with some very nice lacing to it. Great scent, semi-sweet, but a huge amount of burnt grains and a smidge of chocolate. Excellent taste, as well, nice and thick, great burnt grains without going overboard. It goes down very, very smoothly. This was a great porter.

Photo of nickynick
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bells Porter poured a nice dark brown with a very nice tan head, good lacing as well. The smell was oddly faint. I could only barely smell hints of coffee, and hops. The taste of this porter was very full however, not like the nose at all. It was full of roasted coffee, and bittersweet chocolate. Mouthfeel was good. Also this had very nice drinkability. This was a very nice porter. I will buy this beer again.

Photo of tkarsies
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served on cask in a nonic glass at The Pub in Columbus, OH.

I had not tried this Bell's offering before but was excited to see it available on cask. Appearance was what I would expect from a porter--nearly black with ruby hues and a creamy 1 inch head on top.
Smell was a little weaker than I would like but roasted aromas were present.
Taste was excellent with a rich roasted flavor with coffee and hints of chocolate followed by a little of the bite (sourness?) that I have noted in many porters. Slight sweetness. Minimal hop presence here.
The mouthfeel was a highlight of this beer. On cask, it was smooth, rich, creamy. I have not had this on-tap or bottled so I can't compare.
Drinkability was very good. The alcohol was not noticeable at all. Overall, this was a treat to drink. On cask, I would put it up with some of my favorite English porters (Sam Smith's and Fullers). Will definitely have to revisit this in bottled form when I get the chance.

Photo of twiggamortis420
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dak brown color with amber highlights around the edges. Fluffy tan head fades to a sheen at a surprisingly rapid pace.

Smells like fresh floral hops, roasty dark malts and biscuits. Nose is very fresh and pleasant.

Mmmmm, another winner from Bell's. I've yet to have a lackluster effort from them. This beer is roasty, toasty and fresh tasting. Nothing to complain about here...now go get ya a sixer of it. Has an English feel to it and is nutty, but not over the top. Smooth and tasty.

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

A. Probably the darkest black I've seen in a porter. Doesn't come close to the blackest stouts, but it's an impenetrable black with brown at the edges. Nice, light-tannish creamy head that doesn't stick much but leaves some very nice rings of lace.

S. This beer has quite the nice nose. The taste is represented nicely, with a bit of roastiness and a very nice twinge of bittersweetness that comes through in the taste. However, the smell seems more complex with a lot of subtleties that the flavor doesn't quite match.

T. The taste, for me, is just good. It's almost a bit too simple for me. The roasted flavors are more in the realm of the "charcoal" side, which can be good (see Avery Out of Bounds Stout), but here they dominate a bit too much. The bittersweet flavors from the malt is really the other "side" to this beer, it's pretty two-dimensional. And the finish is a bit grainy and bready for my tastes.

M. Nice and smooth, creamier than most, but definitely not in the same smoothness category as Anchor Porter or Rogue Mocha Porter. This is a very dark, and quite creamy porter, but it is definitely not too heavy or too full-bodies.

D. Easy to put down....the carbonation is seemingly just right, but the flavor, for me, hurts the quaffability a bit bcause of the charcoal flavors. However, this is definitely an easy-drinker and surprisingly a sessionable porter. Overall, I kind of expected a bit more from Bell's Porter. A solid porter, but nothing special, I think. Everything about it is good, but nothing particularly stands out.

Photo of Brenden
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is very dark, closest to black of any beer I've seen. It pours a good, thick head with some nice lacing. Malts are strong as well as some toastiness in smell. I also detected a subtle fruitiness. There's about a medium to strong body with a smooth taste. A little bit of harshness at first sip that translates well to a burnt toastiness. Hops can be tasted pretty strongly and the finish is dry. Quite drinkable. I would recommend this as one to try.

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

12 oz bottle received from trade.

Pours dark brown with a tan head.
Excellent roasty smells with coffee essence as well.
Taste continues the roast and coffee. Then adds a nice smooth flavor that also brings out chocolate. Nice porter. Tasty dry finish.

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

Attractively solid head, dark cream in color, stays about one finger deep but stays there, abundant sticky lacing that you'll have to wash out later. The nose strikes an admirable balance between roast and sweetness, the coffee definitely "regular" with milk and two spoons of sugar, you get carob, hazelnut, milk chocolate powder, caramel hard candies, cherry, blackberry to black raisin fruit scents, touch of burnt oats, without you noticing completely fills your nostrils. It's medium-bodied, has a good deal of density which appears to have been accounted for by the highly active carbonation. Plenty of chicory bitterness to tussle with the chocolate, cappuccino, caramel flavors. More roast here, both flavor-wise and texturally. The hazelnut, Brazil nut, macadamia nuts lend an attractive thread throughout. The plum, cherry fruit muted here. Moderate corn and grain notes but never gets "hoppy" per se. Dry finish gets you licking your lips for another sip.

Photo of nrbw23
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a black color when held to the light not too much passes through expect on the edges. A nice foam like cream colored head that leaves pretty much no lacing.

S- Smells are a tiny bit weak compared to other porters but still not terrible by any means. Roasted malts, coffee and some chocolate.

T- As expected, roasted and chocolately along with a nice sweetness. Pretty much just as I'd expected.

M- This has to be just about perfect here.

D- A very solid brew and even more special on cask.

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

A - Pours very dark brown, almost black with a generous medium brown head that leaves plenty of lacing on the glass.

S - Roasted grains

T - Roasted grains, mild bitterness.

M - Thin to moderate, initial bitter bite.

D - Smooth beer. Very drinkable.

Photo of katan
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

undated 12 oz bottle, into a pint batch 8681

A - A hair darker than some of the other porters I've had. Little light getting through this black mass, even at the edges. Little head retention, but what is there is mocha in color.

S - The scent is on the lighter side. A small amount of chocolate backed up by a yeast background. Overall, a hard to discern smell.

T - Starts up with some chocolate flavors, with a small malt backbone. Mid-stream is fairly undefined, with some bitterness. Finishes with the chocolate bittersweet flavor - very appealing. Sweet. After taste is fairly subdued - a small amount of yeast taste. Overall this beer doesn't have one particular flavor that is strong, but they meld well.

M - Mostly a watery texture that is balanced with a fair amount of retained carbonation. Biting on the tongue. The aftertaste leaves a sweet oily film.

D - Only knock on drinkability is the aftertaste is starting to bother me. The flavors of the beer itself, plus the moderate abv, and the light set on the palette are all positives.

Photo of AdmiralDiaz
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into tulip glass. Pours a dark brown with small light brown head with a little retention and not much lacing.
Smell and taste are pretty standard, roasted malts along with some earth notes and a very small hint of chocolate.
Overall: very good session porter, not overpowering and highly drinkable, not the best I've had but by far not the worst.

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

Thanks to brentk56 for sending this brew along in his black booty package
Batch #8860 12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass produced a finger worth of head that settled to a thick lace on top of a black bodied brew. The lace slides down the glass as you drink the brew
Aromas of malty sweetness and some roastiness filled my head. The flavors are nice and balanced not to sweet not to bitter. This is a good porter, a really good feel in the mouth medium and creamy.

A very drinkable brew I could easily sit down to a couple of these , and if I saw it on tap I would go for it.

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

Batch number of 8833, which informs me that it was bottled on November 14th, 2008. Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Black with a little bit of light shining through when it's held to a light. Decent tan head.

Smell: Decent aroma. Ground coffee and bitterness. Very nice.

Taste: Great balance between bitterness and roasted coffee.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured dark brown with a nice sized tannish head. Nose of light chocolate, coffee, a little hops as well. Taste is sudbued. Nose is misleading. Roasted malts on taste with a dash of cocoa but thats about it. Not really impressed. it was good but not great. Thin mouthfeel and body. I expected more robust porter I suppose.

Photo of droomyster
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with a tiny brown head that turns to soap film in an instant. Smells of molasses and a nutty butteriness. Big flavor of roasted nuts and burnt tortillas with a bitter chocolate finish. Medium bodied, highly carbonated; very easy and pleasant to drink. Not the most sophisticated porter on the streets but certainly an enjoyable good one.

Photo of Amsterdam
3.15/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a bottle. The label reminded me of cheap hotel products and so there was that to overcome.

Good head and nice lacing.

The smell is light but nice with hints of hops.

The flavor is sharp forward with a pleasant burnt nutty flavor that ends with a flatness. For the alcohol content it has a lot of flavor, but it returns flat and without much complexity and a lingering bitter taste with hints of tobacco.

Photo of flexabull
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Tayner, thanks again!

Beer pours a dark brown color with a very faint off white head.

Aromas are of cocoa, brown sugar, some roasted malts, light coffee and cream.

Taste is light, easy mouthfeel, slightly sweet, with roasted malt flavors. Some chocolate, cream, and easy mineral hop bitterness. Finish is dry and short.

Mellow mouthfeel, pretty light, but not bad.

Drinkability is good. All is all, a solid porter, not a ton of flavors, but it's a nice beer to drink.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle that I brought back from my Indy trip. It had a batch number (8833 mid-Nov 08) on the back that you can type into the website to get dating info on. It was a deep black color with mahagony edges. No visible carbonation. Slow sliding lacing. It had an average tan head that quickly settled into a thin, broken top with a good collar.

The aroma was really good. Coffee, dark chocolate malt and roasted. I love the smell of porters and this one didn't disappoint. The taste was a bit of a letdown after the great aroma. I expected a strong flavor based on the aroma but it was a little weak and a bit watery. It wasn't bad. It just wasn't as good as I'd hoped. It had a good balance between the sweet malt and the bitter finish. Starts out smooth and then you get a nice bitter end. Easy drinking but it missing something that keeps it from top tier. Good session beer if flavor not your main goal. Also good BMC conversion beer.

Overall, a good but not great beer from a great brewery. Good I got to try it but with some many other great Am Porters out there, I probably wouldn't go out of my way to get this again (maybe once more just to make sure I had a good sample but pretty sure I did since I got it from the Hop Shop). Medium recommend.

Photo of pasdachuri
3.03/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Actually a bit of a let down when considering other offerings from Bells Brewery. Appearance was blacker than black, and smelled of chocolate accompanied by nut, roasted coffee, sweet dark malts, and some hop spice in the background. The taste missed all of the aroma however, and was dominated by coffee, but sort of a weak coffee. Truly a disappointing porter especially when delivered from a tried and true brewery like Bells.

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

12oz. bottle poured into nonic

Appearance: Dark brown with some transparency and a quarter inch white head with decent retention.

Smell: Lots of chocolate accompanied by nut, roasted coffee, sweet dark malts, and some hop spice in the background.

Taste: Perfectly balanced between sweet and bitter. First chocolate sweetness, then roasted coffee and brown sugar, and finally a subtle hop bite.

Mouthfeel: Light and smooth, very nice.

Drinkability: Low ABV and plenty of flavor makes this highly drinkable.

Overall: This is one of my favorite porters, it's just balanced so well.

Photo of Reaper16
2.85/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

served from a 12oz. bottle into a tulip glass

Pours what initially appears to be very dark for a porter, but a hold up to light reveals it to be the color of a weak pot of Folger's. The head was nearly white, making for a nice contrast. It was generous at first, but quickly diminished to nothing, leaving minimal lacing behind.

A lot of coffee in the nose, some chocolate. Roasted malt & a touch of hops. Nothing surprising or unusual.

This was a disappointing porter in the mouth. Coffee dominates the flavor profile, but it was the taste of old, weak coffee. That this taste was coming from a cold beer made for the very-unpleasant "cold coffee" taste that overrides the hops and general maltiness.

This beer felt pretty darn thin for my tastes, with little carbonation, which only served to highlight the weaknesses in the taste. I suppose that this would be a sessionable porter, but not for me.

Overall, this beer has me mixing my tenses in this review and I don' care enough to sort them out. I'm used to enjoying nearly every Bell's product I drink; it turns out the a brewery that I love making one of my very favorite beer styles wasn't the recipe for success that I thought it was going to be.

Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 2,414 ratings.