Bell's Porter - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's PorterBell's Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

990 Reviews
THE BROS
87
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 990
Hads: 2,599
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 9.77%
Wants: 86
Gots: 263 | FT: 7
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

One of our many award-winning beers, Porter emphasizes the darker, roasted aspects of malt. Hints of dark chocolate and freshly roasted coffee provide the focus, while hops remain in the background. Not as full-bodied as a stout, Porter bridges the gap between malty brown ales and our more heavily roasted stouts.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bell's Porter Alström Bros
Reviews: 990 | Hads: 2,599
Photo of Stevedore
4.09/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, dated 9/17/2014. Poured into a Bell's snifter 10/23/2014.

A- Darker cola brown body, one finger offwhite head with fair retention time. Eventually drops into a medium density foam with a bubbly collar. Moderate lacing. Pretty much par for the course. [3.75]

S- Milk chocolate sweetness, bitter espresso, moderate roasted malt. Slight hint of smoke. Dark chocolate. [4]

F- Cold-brewed black coffee, roast malt character, milk chocolate sweetness near the finish that is ultimately bitter espresso mixed in with a surprising sweet lactose-like finish, making me think of cream. Nice complexity with some subtle touches to it. Very tasty. [4.25]

M- Medium bodied, silky smooth and creamy. Not particularly oily or resinous, but it does have a nice earthy finish that is dry and soothing. [4]

O- Very nice porter. The richness and sweetness on this one gives it a bit more of a "cream and one sugar" quality to the otherwise predominant coffee-forward roasted malt character. I enjoyed this one quite a bit. In my opinion, this stacks up quite well to the usual characters such as Edmund Fitzgerald, Smuttynose, Founders Porter, Black Butte. This seems like quite the underrated porter to me. [4]

Final score: 4.10 (1,229 characters)

Photo of digitalflood
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Pours pitch black. Strong frothy head reduces to khaki lacing. Scents of Breakfast Blend coffee and biscuits waft off. Good porter bitterness on the nose. Some acids courtesy of coffee, toasted barley, and a bit of smoked peet. Mid-palate it is coffee, some cocoa, and a lingering tartness. The back palate is all malt and biscuits with some lingering coffee notes. Fairly dry, but still very drinkable. Like a good cup of Arabica. Aftertaste is all coffee and toasted barley. 4 out of 5. Very good. Recommended. (512 characters)

Photo of PaulyB83
3.69/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 08/06/14

A- Dark brown not quite black, a bit on the lighter side of porters I've had. Light brown head.

S- Chocolate, light coffee, tiny bit of perceived vanilla.

T- Light roasted coffee, quite a bit of roasted acidity, missing some of the chocolate and sweetness from the aroma.

M- Medium normal porter feel.

O- A decent slightly above average porter. Not on the level of Edmund Fitzgerald or Founders Porter though. (435 characters)

Photo of ONUMello
3.84/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Dark brown color with a 1+ finger head
S: Toasted malt, coffee/cocoa but also a slightly metallic note that doesn't fit
T: Similar toasted malt/coffee/cocoa matching the nose; thankfully no metal though a touch simple
F: Medium-bodied yet full
O: I'm spoiled with GLBC's Ed Fitz being brewed just a few miles away as that's a high bar to beat as far as porters are concerned. This is a good beer and is a good example of the style, just not quite in the same league as Ed (511 characters)

Photo of humuloner22
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have drank a lot of beers from Bell's but for some reason I have never picked up the porter. Today I did and I am happy to say that I did. Maybe I am into porters right now, maybe they are my transition beer into the the darker nights ahead. But, one thing I do know is that I am really digging them right now. Especially this one. To me porters have a lot of the characteristics that stouts have, but without some of the harshness and too much of one thing like licorice or burned coffee. This one is no different.

Color: Deep dark mahogany almost impenetrable to light, but yet you see that little bit shining through. Head is very small, it settles to a very meager lacing pattern.

Aroma: This one was hard for me to decipher, it was a bit boozy on the nose, but Its only 5.6% so you know there can't be that much in there. Maybe come caramel and chocolate, but very light, not a lot of strong aromas on this one.

Taste: Here is where they get you, not boozy really, nice amount of bite, but you definitely detect chocolate notes and some hoppiness going on. But very faint, just enough bitterness to balance out the small amount of sweetness. Overall, this is a very nice beer, well balanced.

Overall: Once I decide on a regular beer I may go back to this one one day. Not really, I will never have a regular beer with all the options we have now, but this is a porter I would buy again. Its fairly easy to find where I live, and the price is totally reasonable for what you are getting. Bell's does it again! (1,523 characters)

Photo of CHickman
3.94/5  rDev +1.3%

Pours opaque dark brown and almost black looking color with a 1 finger foamy tan head that was full of tiny bubbles and faded average to slowly, leaving very good lacing.

Smells of roasted malt, coffee beans, vanilla, cocoa powder, charred wood and dry herbs like tea leaf or dry hops. Roasted notes dominate, with a sweetness like a roasted coffee with hazelnut cream in it. Quite pleasant to smell.

Tastes like it smells, with coffee beans, vanilla, caramel, roasted malt, cocoa powder, charred wood, peat moss, tea leaf, dry floral hops, milk chocolate, brown sugar and pepper or other very light spices. There were a lot of flavors that were similar and hard to define, but this was still a relatively complex brew.

Aftertaste is sweet and like a frozen coffee drink mixed with some doughy yeast. The mouthfeel is light and thin, with a lighter body, a smooth feel and a slightly bitter finish which trails off like a coffee. Overall pretty tasty and very easy to drink. (980 characters)

Photo of Kris450
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

I love a good porter and that's exactly what this is. Rich malty flavor that cascades in a caramel climax that is maybe a bit pronounced, But I like it nonetheless. Very drinkable and not overly heavy. Pours a dark opaque brown, not quite black, yet extremely dark. A very good beer for a night in, a fire, and a steak. (319 characters)

Photo of ClavisAurea
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Served in a St. Feuillien glass (short, wide mouthed winelike glass) at fridge temps

Appearance: Thick and very dark brown with a thin light tan head that goes away after a few seconds. No light gets through this one.

Nose: roasted malts, chocolate, burnt cream, dark roast coffee, oak, slight vanilla

Taste: Roasted malts, coffee, surprisingly thin mouthfeel and light body for such a rich smelling beer. Short finish with very slight hop bitterness at the end that lingers a few seconds refreshing the palate. (514 characters)

Photo of dave39
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another excellent beer by Bell's.

Coffee and chocolate notes are there, but not overpowering. Basically, I think this beer epitomizes most of Bell's offerings. Nothing Earth shattering, but very drinkable, tasty, and really nothing that is going to offend the beer drinker.

Although a different style, when I think of this beer I think of Stone's Levitation Ale, in the sense that both are a great interpretation of their respective style's, are very drinkable, and have nothing that is going to offend a drinker. Also, you can have several of these and not be passed out on the floor. (587 characters)

Photo of Roxie_B
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bell’s Porter
Serving: Bottle into a pint glass.
Appearance: Black and opaque with slight amber highlights when held to the light. Thin collar and a swirl of lacing.
Smell: Dark fruits, raisins, floral notes and bagels. Perhaps a hit of caramel.
Taste: Stone fruits, raisins, coffee and yes more raisin bagel. This is a delicious and awesome beer. As it warms up you I get more toasted bread and coffee.
Mouthfeel: Slightly lighter than some porters but still leaves a nice lingering finish without any stickiness.
Overall: Excellent. This can be a new go to for me. Would order again and would recommend to anyone! Fantastic. (628 characters)

Photo of Bowers-Brew
3.79/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Dark black with ~2" head when poured aggressive

S - Chocolate, oatmeal, cream, malt

T - Similar to smell. Good chocolate, malt, and cream flavors - no alcohol or hops present. Slight bitter aftertaste.

M - Somewhat thin considering head.

O - A good porter that could be even better if it had a little more complexity. (327 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.32/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown color. The head is a finger high, and mocha in shade. Retention isn't fantastic, I must say. A small ring of lacing is left on the glass.

S: This has a nice sweet tone - molasses, smoke, brown sugar, caramel, and chocolate come through nicely. There isn't a lot of roasted malt, though. Even more chocolate appears as it warms up.

T: At first, I'm getting a subtle roast that I missed from the nose. Brown sugar appears in the midtaste, and the finish is faintly hoppy. Touches of roast also appear on the back end after a while. Well-made, but a pretty standard example of the style.

M: The texture is a tad rough, but far from harsh. It doesn't strike me as being too sweet or too dry finishing. Carbonation is medium, not falling into the pratfall of fizziness some porters do.

O: This is a nice porter that brings a decent brown sugar note, it just isn't a *great* porter. I certainly wouldn't kick her out of bed, but I'd much rather fuck someone like Founders Porter instead. (1,046 characters)

Photo of fscottkey
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Notes: Born on 11/18/13 (current date 6/18/14).

A: (Aggressive pour into nonic pint). Produced a 3 finger head of nice thick pillowy bubbles. The head is slow to recede. The head is a top a dark black brew.

S: Coffee, chocolate and roasted malts.

T: Very sweet on the front of the tongue - it kind of surprised me. The mid palate has more of the roast characteristic and the finish is also roasty - but balanced with the sweetness.

M: Really nice mouthfeel. Smooth and almost creamy going down.

O: This exceeded my expectations. I have had a few lackluster beers in a row and I am in a slump so I expected more of the same. This was really good and all of the aspects work well together - the taste and the mouthfeel really make this one a notable porter. I would not have been surprised if this was a milk stout with the sweet characteristics. This one is 7 months old - I'd like to try a newer one for comparison. (922 characters)

Photo of slusk
3.72/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a dark almost black with a short lived tan head. Good lacing.

S: Coffee and a bit of cocoa up front, a bit of brown bread and musty hop aroma that is reminiscent of olive, not an off-putting aroma however... quite nice. The nose shifts to the coffee side as it warms.

T: Sweet coffee, toffee and cocoa with some black bread crust. Somewhat bright and distinct malt flavors with a light smoky underpinning. A bit nutty but surprisingly finishes somewhat semi-dry. Alcohol is well hidden.

M: Medium full body, leaning a bit to the creamy, coating side. I little astringency in the finish. Low carbonation.

O: This is a nice porter. It's starts sweet but doesn't finish quite as sweet, the dark roasted malts seem to add to the semidry finish. A nice porter overall, but there's a nit of mustiness that seems to detract from this brew for me. Overall, a great example of the style that may appeal to some, just not one of my favorites, (947 characters)

Photo of larryarms847
3.89/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slick dark chocolate brown with a solid light brown finger of foam.

Subtle but tempting aroma of freshly brewed coffee, chocolate, and some nutty notes.

Heavy chocolate, chocolate, and roast notes with some earthy hop presence and a grainy cereal sweetness.

Heavy-bodied, light carbonation, slick, a bit thin for my taste, but definitely true to style.

Overall, this is a very solid brew and true to style. Has some downsides, but has enough to stay interesting and worthwhile. (489 characters)

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.82/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Lagunitas mason jar
From: Bine & Vine Bottleshop in Normal Heights (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $2.19
Purchased: June 6, 2014
Consumed: June 6, 2014
Misc.: Packaged on April 3, 2014

Poured an almost pitch black color with two fingers of khaki-tan head, which settled along nicely on the top. Very good amount of spiderweb, layered lacing along the sides of the glass. Fantastic retention on the top of the glass all the way down.

Smelled caramel espresso malts. Also toffee, roasty nuts, buttery malts, dark chocolate, caramel fudge and faint coffee beans.

Tasted dark chocolate, crayon, smoky fire, almost ashtray, bitter coffee notes, roasty nutty malts, slight butter malts and a bit of burnt toast.

Medium body. Creamy texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth finish.

A pretty good porter overall. Not my favorite, but probably better than most. I’d have it again. (902 characters)

Photo of EvoRich
4.11/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look: Very deep, dark brown in color. Pours with moderate head which doesn't stick around too long. Some light shines through.

Smell: Smells of roasted nuts, peanut butter, milk chocolate, marshmallows. Very sweet scent from this porter. Very nice.

Taste: Peanuts, a small hint of chocolate. Roasty, nutty flavor. Very nice. Not as sweet as the smell, but just enough sweet to balance the hop bitterness. Very good!

Feel: High in carbonation, medium bodied. I'd prefer a tad less carbonation and a bit of a heavier feel. Pretty good nonetheless.

Overall: Very pleased with this brew. Almost reminds me of milk stout, but lighter. Pretty good stuff! (654 characters)

Photo of Henrich
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an almost opaque black, but with small glints of ruby, when you try to find it. Heat is a satisfying beige with larger bubbles than I would like. Foam predictably has little staying power and fads into a thin dusting over the top.
Smell: Malty roastiness mixed with a slight sweetness, but you have to try hard to pick out any distinct smell.
Taste: Exceptional taste. Malty sweetness quickly yields to intense dark chocolate taste, followed by a slight lingering bitterness. Surprising after the disappointingly lackluster smell.
Mouth-Feel: No real complaints. Delivers the taste well. Little carbonation, but you still know it's there.
Overall: Excellent offering. I have reviewed other porters quite harshly, but it was difficult to say a bad word against this one. Not cloying like many porters; complex and delicious. (841 characters)

Photo of hopsputin
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

a: a nice rich black color with some deep purple notes mixed in. 2 finger tan frothy head that evens out

s: sweet caramel and roasted malts. a hint of chocolate powder and sweet figs. end of the aroma has real nice creamy & nutty notes. a really smooth smelling porter. the cream really equalizes the roasted malts

t: sweet caramel & fig right away give way to those toasted malts and the slight bitterness that comes along with them. theres a hint of chocolate at the very end of the tongue, as well as that fig i picked up in the nose. slightly creamy taste as well which, as in the aroma, helps to smooth everything out

m: a little thin - but this is a porter, and i think it fits nicely. slightly watery - but again works well and makes it drinkable. not much carbonation to speak of

o: its an enjoyable brew. i can see the mouthfeel being a little light for some people, but then you can just go grab a stout. there is nothing outstanding in here, but i think thats because its balanced so well. that being said, its not the best porter i've ever had. a nice drinker and fair representation of the style (1,113 characters)

Photo of Radome
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Color is an extremely dark brown, almost black. It doesn't let light through when held up to a bulb. The head is a dark beige/gray color. It piles up fluffily, looking very much like a fermenting beer's yeast cap at full krausen. Eventually it drops to a thin sheet, along with thick, sticky lacing.

S - The aroma is dominated by cracked grain and roast, coffee-like notes. Very clean. No obvious hops or yeast characteristics.

T - Strong roasted malt flavor dominates. Not much else can show through. The roasted flavor does not come across as harsh, despite its strength.

M - Medium to heavy body. Low, prickly carbonation. There is a silky texture that may indicate oatmeal is in the grain bill. Low hops bitterness in the background. No alcohol burn.

O - This is a well-made porter. It is not very layered or complex, but is very enjoyable. (902 characters)

Photo of AmyfaceNYC
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Dark (as a porter should be) without much head to speak of. Tastes of coffee. Noticeable carbonation, rather light and thin mouthfeel. Toasty/malty flavors (as a porter should be). I love me some dark beer, and this is a great easy drinker, but as others have noted there is not a ton going on here. More of a session porter than anything else (not that there's anything wrong with that). (388 characters)

Photo of BurdockBoy
3.86/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a pint glass. I got this on a trade and it's been sitting in the refrigerator a couple weeks. I was craving breakfast burritos for dinner and this was a nice addition.
A: dark cola color with a lovely khaki head with nice lacing. Ok retention.
S: not a whole lot there for a porter. But a little toastiness.
T: the way a porter should taste. That is all.
M: a little more carbonation than I would like. Medium body.
O: I really enjoyed this. Not a lot of complexity, but very drinkable. (516 characters)

Photo of DoubleJ
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It's a rare Bell's kind of night in California. If I wanted to go all-out, I could eat some Taco Bell with the beer, however there's no way that my stomach will allow that. Just the beer tonight, and that's fine. Let's add Bell's Porter to the line. Another 12 ounce bottle, and another on to the beer:

More than half an inch of semi-soapy foam sits on top a beer that's cola black with reddish hues. Retention is modest, leaving a few spots of lace around the glass. It smells like something else was added to this porter....a big crate of milk perhaps? The aroma is milk sweet and still features an edge of roasted malt.

Respectable taste. It starts with a little roast, then comes in a mocha-like sweetness, a milk sweet accent, and a spot of grassy hops. The beer is lighter-medium bodied, has a lightly roasted aftertaste, and does go down easy.

In the world of porters, Bell's sits a tick above average. It may not sound like much to some, but because I adore porters more than many other styles, I wouldn't shy away to "porter" myself another bottle! (1,062 characters)

Photo of lochef81
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This porter pours a deep almost black brown color with a handsome and lasting tan head and decent lacing. The nose is unremarkable with notes of coffee and roasted malt. It is light in aroma as well as in taste. The flavor follows the nose with a surprising amount of alcohol flavor given the low abv. The body is light to medium with a bit if a dry chew on the tail. This is a good porter but when you have offerings like Founders and Edmund Fitzgerald porters, why settle for good? (483 characters)

Photo of byronic
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a very nice dark brown with a thin lacing of head which dissipates in a short span of time.

Couldn't identify any specific smell as this specific pour wasn't very fragrent.

Very mild taste of roasted malts with a carbonated mouth feel.

A very nice but simple sessionable Porter. (289 characters)

Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 990 ratings.