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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

1,010 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,010
Hads: 2,681
Avg: 3.88
pDev: 17.01%
Wants: 93
Gots: 310 | 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: 1,010 | Hads: 2,681
Photo of thebarnesbomb
3.67/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fortunately for me, this was given to me by my friend as my first Porter. I was very impressed with a bold and unfiltered flavor.

Appearance- Unfortunately it was straight from the bottle, which I will have to try again in its proper pint glass form. I would imagine a dark, almost opaque color

Smell- It has a strong smell of coffee, black. A heavy, unfiltered aroma, almost intimidating

Taste- The taste was a strong follow up of the smell. The strong coffee taste was most easily detected, along with a bitterness of hops and not much carbonation, so the flavor is strong. Perhaps a little creamy. Aftertaste is bitter coffee, a good aftertaste

Mouthfeel- very thick in the mouth, allows you to really get a feel for the flavors in this beer

Drinkability- Because everything about this beer is so strong, almost overpowering, it is difficult to have a high drinkability rating. More than two of these would be next to impossible I would say, one is just enough to take in and enjoy its bold flavor.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An excellent, excellent porter. I can only imagine how this is fresh from the tap. Poured a very dark brown in color. Light only breaks through after an epic struggle. Big foamy head that was slightly tinged brown. Nose is malty with some great hints of charcoal.

Very full and warming flavor. Perfect at room temperature. Great winter beer. Little bits of sulfur wrapped loosely around heavily toasted malts. Little bit of dark chocolate. Anotehr flavor that reminds me of roasted marshmallows. Slight hop bitterness that at first was not very apparent but came out the more I drank--a very subtle pine. Full feel and very smooth. Tough to put this beer down.

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Photo of Jredner
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Roasted coffee/malt/chocolate dominate the aroma. Deep black with a thumb thick, lasting, mocha head. Flavor is dominated by the dark malt then you get some coffee, chocolate and even mild molasses notes. A fantastic tasting porter that stands up to the best Porters in the world.

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Photo of bearrunner44
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Pitch black color. You can make out some ruby tones if you hold it up to a bright enough light, but it's pretty opaque. Moderate head; light tan in color, and it dissipates quickly.

Smell- Smoky, wheaty aroma. Hints of molasses.

Taste- Burnt, grainy taste. Carbonation matches up well with the beer's thickness. Very slight, raisin-like sweetness in the finish. Eventually finishes pretty dry.

Verdict- Not a bad porter. It didn't blow me away, but it's a flavorful and pleasing beer.

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Photo of danielocean03
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a Guiness-like black into a pint glass with full foamy, two finger head that is tan in color. Twelve ounce bottle marked batch #7156. Smells of roasted coffee, grains, a little grassy, dark chocolate bitter sting in the nose. Taste is very much the same, hoppier than expected yet well balanced. Light on the tongue, moderate carbonation, finished slightly bitter at the end. Nice porter, I've had better examples of this style but still well executed brew nonetheless.

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Photo of dciskey
3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 7156, bottled 11/23/05. Pours dark brown/light black with an off-white head that looks a little fizzier than maybe it should. Not much lacing as I drink.

Smell is roasted malts, powdery chocolate, and a touch of hops. Taste is roasted malts, then a touch of carmel sweetness, followed by chocolate that reminds me of brownie mix, and then a tiny kiss of hops. Smoky chocolate lingers on the palate. I love exhaling through my nose after taking a taste of this beer; the flavors just continue on and on.

Moutfeel is a bit thin/fizzy. I almost feel like the carbonation is getting in the way of the taste. I've had this beer on tap before and there was just more flavor all around. Still, quite a drinkable porter (though Bell's website says 6% ABV, not 5.25). One of my favorites of the style.

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Photo of mentor
4.24/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from Beer Depot in Ann Arbor. Pours a 1.5 finger brown head that's creamy thick. The beer itself is pitch black with brown edgings when held to light. Smells chocolate with some black patent and a grassy dry coffee. Tastes wet sweet fighting a dry roast. Noticable chocolate is complimented by and compliments the malt sweet. A strong, but not over-bearing cherry sour from black malt pulls the beer in an interesting direction. Well done. Woody or cotton-like hop feel with a Fuggles flavor. Nice lacing on the inside of the glass. Md body and a bit too sharply carbonated. After swirling to release carb, the beer became much drier and the coffee flavor was augmented.

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Photo of beerceller99
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle, Batch # 6844. Black color with a light tan head. Nice roasted grain, nutty smell. Medium bodied with a smooth mouthfeel. Flavor is not a surprize with roasted grains and chocolate malts. Has a light bitterness to finish.
A solid, robust Porter here.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Poured a one finger head, but the dark, dark brown hue appealed to my dark nature. To dark to see any lace.

Smell- A hint of pepper amongst mostly roasted malts and a few nuances of smoke.

Taste- Lots of roasted malts at the beginning, some hops subdued hops in the midle, and wnded with hints of smoke.

Mouthfeel- a pretty smooth palate, slightly chewy though.

Drinkability- Another great sessions beer if you like the dark stuff.

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Photo of Vancer
3.45/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bell’s porter, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed in this one. Very average across the board;

Pour – dark brown, but a quickly dying head.
Aroma – almost none, just a hint of weak sour ale.
Taste – Dry powdery with hints of burnt toast Weak.
Mouth/Drink – Sharp and crisp, but very light bodied, almost watery. You can drink these, but I sure expected more.

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Photo of Shultzerdugen
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. brown bottle.

The color is nearly black and opaque with a healthy tan head. Decent lacing down the glass.

The nose has roasted coffee, chocolate powder, and a touch of buttery diacetyl.

Almost silky smooth with a mellow carbonation and a juicy malt body. A definite roastiness is apparent, but not as powerfully coffee/chocolate as I expected. A chocolate cake flavor, some caramel, and an underlying fruitiness all come out.

This is an easy drinking porter.

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Photo of bahumutx
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours very dark with small amber highlights. Has a small tan head.

Smell: Coffee and Roasted Malt and slight chocolate.

Taste: Starts slightly sweet. Ends with a roasted malt and coffee flavor. There are also flavors of chocolate and hops throughout. The hops are not overpowering and provide a nice balance to the malt.

Mouthfeel: Full Mouthfeel with the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. A good session porter.

This is the second time that I have reviewed this beer. The first time I reviewed it was from a bottle while I was in a bar. I thought this beer deserved a fair review. (The first review was one of my first on this site.)

Another solid beer from Bell’s Brewery, Inc. Keep up the great work!!

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Photo of blackie
4.38/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: The pour into my imperial pint glass creates a low, khaki head that recedes until a series of carbonation fed islands remain. The beer is a very dark brown in color, the only light that escapes come from the edges.

smell: The smell is a mixture of roasted aromas. Somewhat bittersweet with just the right amount of hop aroma. Some bitter chocolate, slight coffee. Solid.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is medium and the body on the lighter end of the medium range.

taste: A nice smoky flavor is the first thing I notice, and it is really good. Also some moderate coffee, an earth woodiness, and a balancing hop bitterness.

drinkability: A very good porter, and very drinkable.

The code 7098 printed on the back label indicates that my Bell's Porter was bottled on October 6, 2005. Received this bottle from CRJMellor as part of SS '05.

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Photo of CortexBomb
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is standard for a porter, very dark, not much light getting through. Not much head though, somewhat disappointing in that regard.Some lacing present though. Smell is strongly dominated by roasted malts.

Taste starts out nicely malted, even over malted with a strong chocolate backbone. Very sweet, certainly sweeter than Kazoo Stout, which is a milk stout for god's sake! Hops provide a mild kick on the back of the tongue, but are still at the mercy of the malts. There is also some coffeeish tones in this. Finish is dry, clean. Impressive porter, I like it.

Mouth, it offers bitter in the right places, and seems pretty creamy. Again, good. Drinkability is rock solid, very quaffable. Another solid year around offering by Bell's.

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Photo of markman
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Porter:

Nice classic porter look…mahogany brown with a nice head full of tiny bubbles, and a promise of fine lacing. Nice roasted mocha flavor, but kind of lackluster…no balls, and slightly acidic with a long burnt finish. Thinnish bodied…I’d like it a bit more creamy. That said, I could drink these all night long. Very quaffable this porter is. But not one I’d return to often given the other options for a session porter out there (read, Rogue, Smuttynose, Atlantic, Stone, Fuller’s, Otter Creek, etc, etc).

Big thanks to richdude for the sample.


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Photo of ypsifly
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz with the batch# 7129 bottled on 10-28-05 as per the Bell's website, poured into a pint glass.

Such a dark brown it borders on black. Two fingers of tan that shows strong retention.

Lots of roasted malt with toffee and a bit of milk chocolate. Just enough hop presence to round it out. Intricate lace effect.

The taste follows along the same lines but the hops are turned up a notch or two in the finish and the chocolate tastes a little darker than it smells. There's also a quick flash of sour, and the finish develops a woody flavor as it warms. Solid.

Full mouth that leaves just a trace of oil. A solid session porter.

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Photo of benito
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of Bell's flagship brews, and quite a treat!

From a 12 ounce bottle with no date on it, this pours a light-swallowing ebony with hints of a lighter mahogany only at the edges and only after beind held to the light directly. Little head, but that may be because I've had this on the shelf for several months. Carbonation is evident on the pour along the edges of the pint glass, but any other signs are held hostage by the beautiful brown stuff.

The bouquet has a nice mix of licorice and chocolate. It heralds what will clearly be a sweet and hefty beverage. The taste has a deceptive, and nice, hoppiness to it to counterbalance the strength of the burnt chocolate and candy flavors. This lends itself to an aftertaste that mixes sweet and bitter, a tempting combination, particularly for a porter that is, simultaneously, light enough in body to entice me to keep drinking and heavy enough to make it clear that I'm drinking BEER.

All-around this is an excellent porter; highly recommended.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draught at BW3 of all places. Deep opaque brown with a medium tan head that lasts nicely. Good lacing too. The aroma is chocolatey and bready. Smooth and rich on the palate, and consists of chocolate, coffee and malt flavors. Lightly bitter coffee and hops in the finish. 3 tall glasses of this went down easy during the 2nd half of a football game, what more can you ask of a beer?

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4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours to a perfect stout black with a deep dark tan nougat colored head.

Nose carries a slightly smokey malt with a decent sest. That familar feel of bottle conditioning is deffinetly present.

Very smooth richness enters the mouth with a well balanced blend of malt and hops. Noticeable notes include toffee, coffee and a nice finish that is complimented by a mellow hop bitter feel. Mouthfeel is very clean. Very drinkable for any remote fan of porters. One of the best porters I've had.

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Photo of Shovelbum
4.43/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this off the hand-pull tap at Ashley’s in Ann Arbor, MI.

Robust, creamy, deep-tan head. The body was a black with ruby edges. Nice bands of stratigraphic lace. Light hop aroma, but overall very clean in the nose. Creamy, velvety smooth body with mild hop bitterness and notes of roasted coffee. Slightly sweet, but not overwhelming. Not syrupy, but definitely a medium to full body. Low carbonation of the hand-pull, accentuating the velvet mouthfeel.

The cask-conditioning and hand-pull may have had something to do with it, but this was an excellent porter. Smooth mouthfeel, great balance between the hops and roasted malts and tame sweetness, combine to make this one of the most ideal session porters that have passed my lips.

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Photo of jasongootjes
4.9/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very good beer. I had it from a 12 oz bottle. Poured very dark with an almost tan head. Excelent taste, great smell, and aftertaste was great. Had a dark roasted taste. I loved it. I would recomend this beer to anybody. I can't wait to drink it again.

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Photo of klewis
3.18/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a very dark brown with a tan, fizzy head that quickly subsides to a light ring around the glass.

S: Relatively weak aromas of chocalate and cappachino.

T: Flavors of chocalate-covered espresso beans highlighted with a modest earthiness. The flavor is nice, but as the smell, is somewhat light.

M: Highly carbonated and quite thin. Not impressed here.

D: This is a very non-obtrusive porter that goes down easy and might be a good introduction to darker (or perhaps more flavorful) beers for the uninitiated. For me, I'll go with Fuller's London or GL Edmund Fitz next time.

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Photo of Viggo
4.42/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear dark brown, some red highlights lurking on the edges, a pretty thick tan head, some nice lacing on the glass. Smell is chocolate, mocha, toffee, very roasty and rich. Taste is chocolate roast, coffee, clean and malty goodness, toffee and nice roast bitterness. Medium bodied, medium carbonation, very smooth and my favourite porter.

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Photo of whartontallboy
3.87/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a dark brown with a medium-sized brown head of big bubbles and light brown highlights. Head fades pretty quickly.

Aroma is coffee, baker's chocolate, roasted barley, and a light hoppiness.

Flavor follows the smell pretty closely, the coffee and roasted barley are on the front end and right in your face, but the dark chocolate comes through to balance it out. A tad sour in the finish, but nicely so. Mouthfeel is relatively chewy, probably on the big side of medium.

Overall: Nothing amazing or Earth-shattering, but a tasy, well-made porter. It's not my favorite in the style, but it's a solid choice.

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Photo of frazbri
4.74/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours black with ruby accents. The head was offwhite in color and short. Aroma was fruity with chocolate and cherry notes. Chocolate and cherry flavors emerged. Fairly thick body and modest carbonation.

This is a fantastic beer. The only negative aspect was the lack of head. Rich, malty and complex. This is a great american porter.

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Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 1,010 ratings.