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

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Bell's PorterBell's Porter

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very good

990 Reviews
very good

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Reviews: 990
Hads: 2,598
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 9.77%
Wants: 86
Gots: 262 | 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
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Reviews: 990 | Hads: 2,598
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Straight from the Fridge into the Glass. The 12oz long neck brown bottle looked exactly like the one in the BA DB Picture. I’m struggling to work out what the picture of the Barley & Hops carrying dude has in relation to Porter though. No freshness date or strength listed.

Appearance: Oh yes, this one is a beauty. The 12oz bottle pours perfectly into my 16oz glass. A dark, almost black body that has dark brown fringes has a very classic Stout Porter look. This is reinforced by the marvelous smooth tan brown head. The perfect ½” thick head has a slightly uneven surface, yet it is always smooth looking, but has the occasional rock-pool. When the head started to disappear a quick swirl reinstated it. Superb!

Nose: Like a pot of freshly prepared roasted coffee that has had a lump of dark chocolate thrown into its frothy surface which slowly melts and releases a mix of aromas. Lovely warm smooth malt feel.

Taste: Dark roasted malts start the beer, the bitterness rises in the middle and unlike the nose, I find that the Coffee actually comes through in the finish. The ending reminded me of hand-made Coffee Crème Dark Chocolates my Mum used to buy specially at Xmas time when I lived in England. Rich and decadent, as well as being very moor-ish.

Mouthfeel: Astringent in the mouth, the bitterness from the roast malts add lots of body to the feel of this beer. A smooth and creamy textured feel that coats the mouth with a silky-like coffee bitterness.

Drinkability: This was very easy to separate from its Glass receptacle. It imbibes well, savoring the aftertaste alone is the only thing that slowed me down from polishing off the one 12 ouncer that I was lucky enough to have in a few minutes. Excellent.

Overall: A very enjoyable Porter, a smooth malty body, creamy feel with a decent coffee bitterness that entices the drinker back to the glass, and maybe another bottle (if only I had one!!!)

This was a good one.

Cheers to FeloniousM for having this Porter, well, Portered over to the West Coast. (2,057 characters)

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

12 oz bottle served at roughly cellar temp in a pint glass.

Appearance: Very dark black with hints of scarlet at the edge of the glass. Topped by a sizable tan head that eventually settles down to a small later of brown bubbles. Little bits of ephemeral lacing get left on the glass.

Smell: Strong smell of coffee backed by some chocolate aromas. Definitely one for the java lovers out there.

Taste: Bittersweet roasted coffee taste with some chocolatey overtones. Nummers.

Mouthfeel: Nice solid medium body. Adequately carbonated so it's not overly thick.

Drinkability: A rockin' porter by my estimate. Bell's makes some damn fine beers and I can't wait to try some more. Wish they distributed down here.

Thanks to feloniousmonk for the trade on this one. (774 characters)

Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fours up. A very nice porter that has a very dark brown to black body with hints of deep garnet around the fringes. The head comes up three fingers on the pour, deep tan to beige, with retention not so good as it fades to a wipsy layer rather quickly. Nice lacing from the residual layer.

The nose is full of coffee notes and buries the substantial roasted malt base in this essence. The flavor is mostly of coffee and roasted malts with a very strong sense of raisins and prunes added into the strong java flavor. The feel is light to medium with a very nice finish for a porter, actually rather crisp rather than smooth and coating. Very drinkable porter. (660 characters)

Photo of Morris729
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black ruby in color with a creamy tan head that fades into a good amount of lace. Nose is rather grainy with some additional notes of burnt coffee. Medium in body and fairly high in carbonation. Taste begins with some unsweetened dark chocolate followed by some fruity yeasts and a bit of sour coffee. Bitter finish. A decent porter but nothing special. Thanks to feloniousmonk for the sample! (399 characters)

Photo of far333
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Compliments of BA Brent, this one pours a deep dark brown, almost black, with a light brown thick head that rests on top of the liquid. I can see particles suspended through the glass. Smell is sweet like brown sugar, with hints of licorice, cocoa, and fig. Flavor is rich, but not overbearing. Coffee, tea, and raisins, finishing with cocoa. Bitter coffee and chocolate fades in from the finish. A few seconds later this turns into a caramel flavor. The flavor morphs as it rolls around the mouth. The finish stays with me. This is a truly awesome beer. (554 characters)

Photo of Realale
4.48/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Deep brownish black. Tight fine 1" mocha head settles to a thin complete cap leaving some lacing.

Nose is chocolate malt, with a touch of roast barley/burnt coffee. Bit of earthy hop emerges with time.

Midweight in the mouth, where the chocolate malt again predominates. There is a nice underlying base of other malts, though, and the beer is incredibly well-balanced. Rich and long, but the fine bottle carbonation, and a nice acidity keep it moving nicely along. Great porter! Purchased at the brewery's General Store on July 3, 2003. (542 characters)

Photo of Kongquistador
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer came recommended, so I feel obliged to give it a careful consideration. Beer was also sampled slightly warm, while I fiddled around with my computer. Nice firm yeast deposit on the bottom of the bottle.

Poured a deep brown, almost black, and lightening up around the edges a little. Poured with a tan-gray head of moderate size, not much thickness on the head, which is a little suprising, given that it isn't huge on the alcohol. Head fades to an expansive tan, but thin, lace. Smell is coffee and chocolate, just as one might expect. The coffee is powerful, with the chocolate following in more subtle and refined fashion. No hint of alcohol to be found, and only a faint hop note, if there can even be said to be one.

Taste is a delicious malty chocolate, with a nice background coffee note, and a mild hoppy finish. Quite sweet, as one might expect from a porter with this profile. Coffee becomes more noticable as one allows the beer to dance around the mouth a little, but it is quite enjoyable, even for a flavor I don't normally want a huge amount of in a beer. Sometimes a slightly sour finish, but generally excellent flavor, perhaps lacking a little complexity, but not hiding its character.

Like other reviewers, I have to note that this was more highly carbonated than I had expected, but it is still drinkable. The mouthfeel isn't smooth enough to merit an excellent rating, but the flavors do have a nice way of moving around the palate. Drinkable, but a little bit too carbonated. Still, the lower alcohol makes this a manageable porter for an evening when beer, not alcohol, is called for. Overall a driankable brew, and one which I plan to return to. (1,689 characters)

Photo of xgrigorix
4.28/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Twelve ounce brown bottle - no freshness date.
Pours dark brown, almost black, with reddish highlights when held to the light. Creamy looking light tan head leaves nice lace.
Nose is dark roast coffee with subdued hop aromas.
Medium full bodied, hearty & robust.
More coffe, with sublte chocolate, complex roast, and a hint of plums. Finishes long and smooth with a nice bittersweet flavor and a touch of citrusy hops. Well rounded & balanced. (447 characters)

Photo of aaronh
4.48/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep mahogany beer pours with a thick, long lasting cappuchino colored head. Leaves some of the most even lacing I've seen in a while (is it beacuse I drank it so fast? Hmmm.....) Coffee, chocolate, and vanilla notes make this smell more like a great cup of hot chocolate than a beer. Very nice sweetness to the aroma. The taste is choclately, with a sweet cream flavor as well that gradually fades into coffee flavors and nice burnt and roasted notes. Decent bitterness on the finish. It's like a hop-laden mocha-java malted milkshake. Smooth mouthfeel lends to this overall feeling, and boosts the drinkability. Lingering coffee aftertaste is very good. This is a great beer. Everytime I'm about ready to give up on K'zoo, one of my last bottles is something like this. This is another I will buy again. (805 characters)

Photo of Sixpack595
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice opaque black, with a chunky tan head that lasts longer than an argument with my ex. Chocolate and coffee flavors dominate while the aroma brings in subtle spices and just the slightest hint of fruit. Nice slick body leaving a crisp bitter aftertaste. This is a very nice porter, and will get a ton fridge traffic. (326 characters)

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

This beer has a very nice chocolate and coffee aroma. It poured a nice head that lasted a very long time and was filled with small to medium bubbles. It has a strong coffee taste with a mild after bite. It went down very smoothly. It has a dark black all but opaque at the bottom of the glass color. (299 characters)

Photo of granger10
3.74/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

The beer smells very sweet and I was looking forward to consuming it. The initial taste was of coffee, strong roasted coffee along with some chocolate tones and even a little caramel. However it loses balance with excessive yeastiness. Mouthfeel suffers because of this and as a result the whole beer suffers. Still a good beer to have when planning to drink a lot. (365 characters)

Photo of BigHead
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out into a dark brown brew with a thin, thin head. Mmmm..I smell dark coffee grounds (lots of em), dark roasted malt and of course, a hint of cocoa. Roasted malts dominate, with burnt flavors coming through and hints of smoke and charcoal. Leaves kind of an oatish feel at the back. It has a fizzy texture on the tongue, which is different. (346 characters)

Photo of Indybeer
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 zo bottle. Pours a deep dark brown, with a good head the slowly receded leaving some fine lace on the glass. Aroma of roasted malt, and coffee. Real smooth mouthfeel, nice and creamy, with just the right amount of bitterness in the finish. I've not found many porters that I like and this is one of them. (307 characters)

Photo of Brent
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a really nice example of the robust porter style. Tons of roasty, chocolately coffee flavors, hedged against a well balanced dose of hops to keep everything in perspective. Finishes slightly tart to clean the palate. In general, I think the robust porter style is a tough one, because it is easy to wind up with a weak but over-hopped stout. Here, Bell's has hit upon a very nice balance. (396 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brown-ruby color with nice big creamy head,very appetizing smell of rich chocolate and deeply roasted malt.Taste was of dark roast coffee and bitter chocolate with some lingering earthiness.Very smooth and velvety and pretty easy to drink a real nice porter from my favorite brewer. (296 characters)

Photo of tavernjef
4.47/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color is a dark opaque brown, nearly black, light but deep glowing brown highlights up to the light, a strong pour produced a thin, small tannish head of tight creamy foam, faded fast, some patchy lacing sticks every now and then. Smell is one complexing delicate nose of sourness of fruits, much like lemon-lime and oranges mixed but dulled and kinda dark, very calm, but I can definately detect a sour-like quality. Somewhat like super fresh sourdough bread yeast. I love it, whatever it is. That destinct Bell's quality. Aroma continues into some deeply roasted malts with cocoa hints and hop notes with a very slight coffeeish note as well. The taste is more complexing madness that starts mildly tangy, somewhat dullish fruit and hops, reminded me of mandorine oranges and of oriental salads with sesame, vinegar & soy sauces, but very good and not to sour at all. This is one pleasantly interesting porter. Flavors continue into some slight light and tangy smoothness of roasted malts, subtle in layers, and a really good mix of earthy tangy dryness thats a bit tingly and all in all very luscious and interestingly yummy. The more I drank it the more I absolutley fell in love with it. Feel is a smooth medium body with subtle layers of tangy dryness, damn nice. There seems to be more going on here then I can put a good finger on, but this will be a top pick to keep around at all times. My fridge is almost all Bell's now, its crazy I tell ya, crazy, send help. (1,471 characters)

Photo of Riggo
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Color on this one is a deep, dark, opaque brown. A hard pours delivers a creamy, foamy head that resembles a yeasty bread starter. Great lacing. Smell of cocoa powder, must, and chocolate cake batter. Flavor is roasty but with a tart (lemon?) hop element. Chocolately and well-balanced. Medium-length finish is fruity and sour, with a slight bitterness. Mouthfeel was a little too carbonated and spritzy for my tastes, and perhaps a bit thin. This spritzyness combined with the slight sour sharpness made this one less drinkable that it might have been.

An interesting porter in its combination of tartness and roasted, chocolately flavors, but ultimately didn't seem to come together harmoniously. (702 characters)

Photo of mickstepp
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Faced with a choice between my favorite Edmund Fitzgerald and the Bell's Porter (which I had not tried) I, like every good B.A. took the road less traveled. Opaque dark brown with a nice tawny head. Smells of coffee, bitter chocolate and hops. Nice lace action as I drink it. Good serviceable Porter. Nice and dry on the finish. Light and surprisingly drinkable. Not at all disapointing but alas, short of the Great Lakes standard. I certainly wouldn't refuse a pint but next time I'll go for the Fitzgerald. (508 characters)

Photo of darklager
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a very dark brown color with a nice creamy tan head that clings to the glass and leaves rings on the way down. The aroma of this beer immediately lets you know it is not your everyday porter. It has a strong roasted coffee smell to it. Initially the taste is a strong coffee flavor and finishes with a hoppy/chocolate flavor. After the first drink, I was blown away by this, and thought maybe it was too much coffee flavor for me; however, as I drank it, it kept tasting better and better. Saved a couple of bottles for the next day, and it tasted even better. Overall this is a strong flavored porter that just tastes better with every drink. (659 characters)

Photo of AudioGilz
4.47/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown, medium sized thick and tan head. Strong aromas of chocolate, coffee, a little hops as well. A very enjoyable mouthfeel, creamy and smooth with a perfect amount of carbonation. Strong flavors of roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, and some hops on the finish. No sourness detected here, just a very kick ass porter. (328 characters)

Photo of Mitchster
4.85/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

OG=1.055, 6.0% ABV.

This is the definitive porter to me. I just can't think of any ways to improve this beer. I have been drinking this for years and it is always reliable. Merely seeing the bottle art arouses my pavlovian glands.

Dark, dark amber with hints of ruby at the edges, forms a thick light tan head of small to medium sized bubbles with delicate lacing and mild to moderate carbonation. Aroma is very satisfying...oily dark roast coffee, cocoa, grains, chalk, sweet roasted malts, that special Kzoo character, and delicate hops. Mmmmm. Mouthfeel is bright and robust with a medium body. Taste starts with a spicy hop note, fades into dark coffee and semisweet chocolates, a lightly sour note peeks through, followed by some peppery alcohol. The finish is long with rich, roasted malt sweetness, grains, chalk, and a mild bittering hop finish. Complex yet infinitely drinkable.

Having it on tap raises the mouthfeel and drinkability from 4.5 to 5.0, making it "The Perfect Porter". (Take that Bert Grant!). Exceptional in every way. (1,051 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nearly black in color, with a full, dark tan head. Aroma is rich and roasty, toasty, even slightly burnt. Dark chocolate comes out on top, with hints of nuts and spices. Full-bodied, good texture, with loads of tingly hops. A fine rendition of the style. (254 characters)

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

Appearance: Pours very dark brown with a touch of garnet. My aggressive pour formed a massive head that retains it's size really well and covers the glass in lace.

Smell: Nose of chocolate, coffee, and a slight sour note. The aroma's quite different from any other porter...

Taste: Starts out with a strong coffee flavor, then fades into a complex mixture of chocolate, roasted grains, faint smokiness, and sourness. The hops show up late in this brew, towards the end. Very good flavor, though I could live without the sourness.

Mouthfeel: Medium thickness with a slightly oily mouthfeel. Finishes crisp and clean.

Drinkability: Pretty good. The sourness isn't all that welcome, but it's only a small part of the flavor profile. It's not as thick as most porters I like, but it's quite good. Combine that and the modest alcohol level, and you have a porter I could sip from all night...and it's even better on draft! (929 characters)

Photo of BeerBuilder
3.23/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deep brown in color with a light brown head. The aroma is sour with roast malt aromas, and chocolate notes. The flavor is a burnt roast malt, with chocolate and coffee flavors. The hop bitterness is present as well as bitterness from the roast grains. The finish is sweet and tart. The tartness I gather comes from the yeast used. Overall some good flavors and aromas, but the tartness kills this beer for me. (409 characters)

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