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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

2,252 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,252
Reviews: 958
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 52
Gots: 121 | 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: 2,252 | Reviews: 958 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of becktone
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This porter looks exquisite once it is decanted into a glass. The dark brown, red-copper contrasts very nicely with the light brown head. The head is about the height of my middle finger, stable/good retention, and is creamy in appearance. Lacing is very very sexy. Leaves a solid wall of lacing, wow very good looking.

To the nose this beer is full of dark malt aroma. Most easily identifiable in this beer's aroma is the roasted grain aroma, also in the foreground of this beer is a chocolate or black grain aroma. Everything one could expect from an American Porter is in the aroma of this beer. No hop aroma as expected. The smells eminating from the beer are fairly weak, and it would be much easier to positively identify them(instead of taking well educated guesses based upon what I can barely smell) were they stronger. The aroma is good, but it would be even better were it more potent.

What is absent from the aroma is made up for in the taste. The beer is malty sweet and is nicely balanced with hops, though there are no immediately noticable flavor hops. The profile of this beer can be described as chocolately, and coffee with a bit of roasted grain bitterness. What really makes this one interesting is the aftertaste of this beer. It is a noticable coffee taste to begin with, as time goes by roast grain bitterness and hop flavor can be detected. These two other flavors seem to melt into being and blend very well with the prevailing coffee flavor. Very nice indeed.

On the palate this beer is a nice medium heavy beer. The carbonation is in check, does not get in the way of the beer's flavor. Would've been really great if the creaminess of the head was reflected more in the overall mouthfeel of the brew. As to the drinkability, I will definitely be buying this porter again. It is a great porter, and represents the style very well and quite accurately.

becktone, Nov 08, 2006
Photo of foureyedgeek
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 7611 12 oz into pint glass.

Thick, rich and dark black pour leaves a dark brown head which laces nicely after it falls.

Smells of roasty coffee, dark chocolate and hints of vanilla.

Taste is a creamy blend of malty sweetness, dark chocolate again, plus some delicious coffees. Just a slight bit of hops crispness to finish.

Mouthfeel is creamy, not heavy and this could become a great Fall session beer.

foureyedgeek, Nov 07, 2006
Photo of dirtylou
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

batch 7393

appearance: pours into an imperial pint glass...very dark body, bordering on char black...creamy tan-beige foam head with light retention and nice creamy lacing...nice presentation from bells, per the usual

smell: light creamy roasted aroma, sweet milk chocolate aroma, roasted malt, pretty nice burst of hops underneath it all

sweet: I dig this porter...its super smooth and creamy, delicate sweet milk chocolate, strong roasted malt, smoke, char, licorice, moderate dark fruit sweetness, a touch nutty, some booze in the followthrough

mouthfeel: great, very creamy and smooth, well balanced

drinkability: good

dirtylou, Nov 02, 2006
Photo of tgbljb
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a very deep brown, virtually black color with tannish creamy head.
Smell is lighter than iI expected, with light notes of roasted malt, and a bit of a metallic smell.
Taste shows strong notes of chcolate, coffee, burnt and roasted malt, and ends with a profound dry bitterness, almost too much.
An OK beer, but there are much more enjoyable samples of the style available.

tgbljb, Oct 30, 2006
Photo of JoeyHotrod
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

4.5's across the board on this beauty.

Quite well made and among my favorite Porters, Bell's version of the style is a true love affair.

The beer pours to a nice deep black color and a head that's quite evident. The sort of look that makes non beer advocates cower in fear.

The smell is sweet malt, with a little bit of hop sneaking in as well. It's no doubt a very nice smelling beer and it's scent, matches the equally solid look to a tee.

The taste is all over the spectrum, but great in each and every way.

Roasted malt... chocolate... coffee.. even an ever so slight hop bitterness adds to the complexity.

In my humble opinion, this is about as drinkable a porter as one is apt to find. Could easily see myself drinking a few bottles with ease.

Bell's with another winner, not a surprise in my book, as they are quite possibly my favorite of all American Breweries.

JoeyHotrod, Oct 28, 2006
Photo of rabsten
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass, dark brown with a red tint. Thin head with some lacing. Glows red when put in front of a candle. Nice.

Toasted coffee-like malt in the nose with some alcohol notes.

Starts with the coffee malt, then moves into a dry caramel finish (if that's possible).

Thin mouthfeel is the only donwside to this beer. It's still very drinkable, though.

This is a fine, easy drinking porter. If any brewery does dark ales better, please tell me. Another winner from Bell's

rabsten, Oct 26, 2006
Photo of neonbrown82
4.97/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 7662, bottled Sept. 19 and consumed Oct. 26

Wow. I was blown away by this beer. An instant favorite. One of the best porters I've had.

The beer pours to a nice black color, completely opaque with a two-finger head. Retention isn't the best, and lacing is minimal, but it looks really nice in a nonic pint.

The smell is great. Lots of black malt and chocolate malt with a hint of smoke. Smells very chocolatey and robust.

The taste is exceptional as well. Very chocolatey with lots of black patent malt. Even though it is on the robust coffee roast side, it still has a very nice sour mash porter flavor. A little bit of a hop bitterness lingers in the finish, though it is not prominent in the flavor.

The body is medium to full. Has a fairly crisp carbonation. A bit creamy. Great lingering finish. This is easily a new session beer for me.

neonbrown82, Oct 26, 2006
Photo of alexgash
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark cola brown inkiness. Soft, fluffy, stable head of light cocoa brown. Wet cordwood, campfire, roasted brown sugar, tobacco, chocolate liqueur. Light roasted bitterness up front. Peaty, baking chocolate sweet middle gives way to roasted tobacco hop bitterness. Finish shows flashes of malt sweetness. Medium-bodied with a creamy, yet lively feel. Not my favorite Bell’s brand, but solid.

alexgash, Oct 25, 2006
Photo of phisig137
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown, with a one finger head and little retention. mahagony highlights around the edges, and no lacing.

Aroma is chock full of chocolate, toasted grains, and toffee malt notes.

Flavor is quite toasty, with a slightly dry finish. Chocolate notes are present too. No hops or alcohol detected. Mouthfeel is a little thin, but drinkability is excellent.

A great beer all around, but doesn't have a huge "wow" factor. I've enjoyed everything that I've had from bell's so far. Can't wait to try some more of them.

phisig137, Oct 24, 2006
Photo of akorsak
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The porter is black as oil with a small head and spots of lacing. As you sip the beer, hints of coffee-colored deep brown/black emerges.

S: The aroma is a chocolatey roasted malt aroma with a slight stale sour tartness.

T: The taste is chocolate and toffee sweetness with a very subtle tartness that, to me, epitomizes a good porter. The roasted malt finish is dry and provides a pleasing chocolate aftertaste.

M: The ale sits very well on the palate with a nice aftertaste.

D: The porter is very drinkable, an enjoyable darker brew for the fall season.

akorsak, Oct 23, 2006
Photo of Phatz
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I admit, I have a soft spot for roasty Porters. mmm. I love ‘em, Bell's included. I let this one warm a while first and then enjoyed every last drop.

Appearance: Pours an almost opaque almost black color with a light brown creamy head and blotches of sticky lacing.

Smell: Dark roasty malts, chocolate and molasses and dark fruits.

Taste: Dark chocolate, burnt butterscotch, a hint of berry and a Maduro tobacco leaf stirred into the mix; start off the rich but well blended flavors of this tasty porter. Further into it more coffee and mocha appear and the finish is simply lip smacking, and beckons for the next sip.

Mouthfeel: Creamy smooth medium body beer that is astringent around the edges but almost chewy milky in the slick center.

Drinkability: I love this beer. The balance of bitter sweet and astringent and slick and the creamy smooth texture all add up to one thing. A *very* drinkable brew!!!

Hope this is helpful.

Phatz, Oct 22, 2006
Photo of beermanbrian
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep brown color with a tan head. Very active carbonation bubbles give it a cola appearance. Smell of burnt toasted malt and chocolate. Also some earthy hop notes. Taste is nice, with a good chocolate sweetness followed by some finishing bitterness and that typical porter smokey taste. Mouthfeel comes off a little thin, but i think this is due to the high carbonation level, it's very bubbly on the tongue. I enjoyed this one.

beermanbrian, Oct 22, 2006
Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark chocolate brown with a beige head that displays good retention and some shards of lace

Smell: Alternating wafts of dark bread, chocolate and roast

Taste: Starts out with a bread and chocolate flavor that grows increasingly chocolatey by mid-palate; after the swallow, the chocolate is joined by hints of coffee bitterness through to the finish; some vanilla sweetness in there, too, but the aftertaste is rather roasty

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A nice middle of the road porter, with good chocolate flavor and a commendable balance of sweet and roasty flavors

brentk56, Oct 21, 2006
Photo of terrabyte
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a very black with a hint of ruby at the thinner ends. Had a with medium off white head.

A nice roasted malt smell with a sweetness of dark fruit. Very little whiff of chocolate and coffee.

The flavor starts out very strong with roasted malts and a hint of nuttiness. A bite from the carbonation occurs from the middle. Then it tapers off with a hint of chocolate and coffee. The aftertaste lingers with an enjoyable earthy, mild coffee bitterness.

A bit overcarbonated, but unique. Very smooth. There is a bit of cola thinness/carbonation that I can't get out of my mind.

Very drinkable. Strong flavors throughout without being heavy at all. Even light. Carbonation probably helps with that, although my only disappointment.

terrabyte, Oct 16, 2006
Photo of Applesauce1
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I got the Bell's Porter at the Pit Stop in Nelsonville, OH. There was no freshness date on the bottle (some little code # 7267).

Appearance: Dark, pretty much black with a small off-white head, not much head retention
Smell: coffee, nuts, and a little bit of chocolate
Taste: coffee is dominant, but some chocolate, no hops present, a little watery for a Bell's
Mouthfeel: medium bodied, a little to much carbonation (possibly bad pouring on my part)
Drinkability: decent, i could have another one later on tonight

Overall, a decent beer, but I was expecting something more from Bell's.

Applesauce1, Oct 07, 2006
Photo of pvsob
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - A deep brown/black color with ruby highlights around the edges. Had a small mocha colored head that faded quickly and left little to no lacing.

Smell - Big roasted malt aroma with hints of dark fruits, (raisins, dates), chocolate, and some coffee.

Taste - Nice burnt malt bitterness is present from start to finish with small hints of coffee and chocolate rearing their heads throughout the tasting experience.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel with some carbonation.

Overall - This was a good American Porter. Nicely balanced and has morning to night drinkability potential. Maybe not the best that's out there, but worth a try if you run across it.

pvsob, Oct 05, 2006
Photo of TechMyst
3.05/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

CONTAINER TYPE: bottle - conditioned
FRESH: packaged 9-24; consumed 10-3
COST: $7.99 / 6 pack
HEAD: none
LACE: small spots slide quickly down side of glass
TRANSMITTED- black w/ orange tint
AROMA: dark malts
MOUTHFEEL: thin; foamy/fizzy
PALATE: slick; tinny
TASTE: cola; slightly bitter aftertaste
COMMENTS: too much conditioning bite (suprising b/c it’s BC and low carbonation). very thin; little character. The trick here is at room temp it tastes no worse than cool; so due to its thin-ness and low carbonation slamming this is not a problem.

TechMyst, Oct 04, 2006
Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz glass to a pint glass. The liquid is a dark as night, Black. The carbonation is grate and the yeast flouting around are great as well. The head is smallish 1 thick finger, nice tan colorant great lacing.

The smell is also quite good, An initial odd scent the give way to full classic porter aromas, Coffee, chocolate and lots of dark fruit and some burnt bread.

The taste follows, Sweet burnt toast taste followed with dark fruit, coffee and espresso, Some chocolate notes a well.

The mouth feel is excellent smooth full body not watery like some porters, good carbonation and a descent bite.

The drinkability is great, nothing done wrong here. Thank you shbobdb for suppling this fine brew. Prosit, MK

MuenchenerKindl, Sep 30, 2006
Photo of Westsidethreat
3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours thinner than I was expecting. Perhaps I've been drinking too many stouts. Dark, clean with amber highlights when held to the light. Head is above average for sure, holding thick for quite some time.

S: Roasted barley, dried cocoa, light hops.

T: Begins on the sweet side, some smores with all three ingredients playing a part. Very minor cola twang hits the tip of the tongue before a gentle wash of lactose like sugar descends across the center of the tongue. Roasted grains move in and push about 3/4 of the sugar away from the palate take over. Finishes with reminiscent charcoal and mellow lactose.

M: Medium body, smooth mouthfeel. Carbonation actually feels thin for the copius amount of head still remaining.

D: Not a bad porter. Nothing really stand out but certainly enjoyable.

Westsidethreat, Sep 29, 2006
Photo of jmatthew
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served up in a pint glass as black as could be with barely a trace of a head remaining after only a brief 10 foot journey from the tap. Smell is decent although faint, and offers roasted malts with some coffee. Taste is very smoky upfront, which dissolves into espresso, chocolate and nutty flavors with an overall mustiness that carries through to the end. Somewhat thin, but oily with a lasting roasted malt flavor. Nice smooth session type porter.

jmatthew, Sep 27, 2006
Photo of wcudwight
4.53/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to Dertbert for all of the fine Bell's beers which is fast becoming my favorite brewer.
Pours black. Imperial Stout black. Thin head with lot's of carbonation that left rather quickly and the beer has spotty lacing.
Smell is smokey, chocolate and dark fruits.
This is a heavy, very robust and flavorful porter. Lot's of roasted malts. It has a wonderful rich black chocolate coffee flavor. One of the top two if not the most flavorful porter I've had. The excellent roasted flavor is topped off by a sweet fruity finish.
Mouthfeel is heavy for a porter or maybe the flavor gives it that impression.
I could sip on this beer all night and wish I had enough to do so.
This one gives Edmund Fitzgerald a run for it's money and may be better in my very humble opinion.

wcudwight, Sep 25, 2006
Photo of dfried
4.55/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pretty dark in color, but a fair amount of reddish mahogany through the bottom and edges. Caramel colored head drops quickly to a ring. The Aroma is rich and creamy, coco and malty like, some roasted coffee, and some good fresh hops as well. I was really impressed with the flavor of this beer so let me gush, the flavor was like a mint leaf on chocolate ice cream, only the mint was fresh floral hops and the chocolate ice cream was roasted barley malt. There are some good espresso notes in the background as well. I might have to go out on a limb and say this is my favorite porter I have ever had. Relativly smooth mouthfeel and oh so easy to drink. One of Bell's year round beers that gets over looked all too often.

dfried, Sep 23, 2006
Photo of pmcadamis
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Very classy bottle with an antique chap holding some hops and barley. This brew is dark brown bordering on black, and has only a small head that fades to a smokey haze in a minute or two. Soem nice wet lace is left on the glass.

This one smells deeply vinous with a barnyard aroma of musky hay. Also, a detect a hint of cheese strangely enough.

This one is very smooth, easy going, and refined. Tastes very outdoorsy and musky (a little like wet hay). Some mild chocolates with a big hop presence for a porter. There is a nice chalky roasty at the finish.

Not as full in the mouth as I would like, but nicely carbonated and very drinkable!

This one is an easy going easy drinker that could be very very sessionable.

pmcadamis, Sep 20, 2006
Photo of Gavage
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: arrived in a pint glass looking black as can be, with a 1" dark tan colored head. A spot or two of lace developed.

Smell: roasted tones and hints of chocolates.

Taste: roasted malts, dark chocolates, hint of espresso, and a mild bitterness. Solid and straight forward.

Mouthfeel: smooth with a hint of prickles at the start, very smooth at the finish. Medium bodied. Short aftertaste leaning towards the roasted tones.

Drinkability: this one goes down very easy for the style. Flavorful and this is considered a session porter in my book. Great on tap.

Gavage, Sep 15, 2006
Photo of NJpadreFan
3.2/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bell's- Porter

On tap at Isaac Newton's- Newtown, PA

Appearance- dark brown/ black with a 1 finger thick tan head.
Smell- roasted coffee beans and BBQ sauce?!
Taste- Smokey malt with a big BBQ sauce flavor. Sweet with hints of brown sugar and molasses.
Mouthfeel- Sweet at first but mellowing out and becoming a solid smokey slighty ashen flavored beer.

Overall- An OK porter that, for me, was all over the place. The look, taste, and feel were all inconsistant. Not bad though!! I'd definitely drink again!

NJpadreFan, Sep 01, 2006
Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 2,252 ratings.