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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

997 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 997
Hads: 2,641
Avg: 3.88
pDev: 16.75%
Wants: 89
Gots: 286 | 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: 997 | Hads: 2,641
Photo of Gusler
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an opaque brown with mahogany high lights, the head prodigious, frothy and a winsome light tan in color as it slowly fades the lace forms a thick curtain to seal off the glass. Nose is sweet malt, toasted grain, musky, the yeast quite evident, and a treat for the senses; start is ambrosial and rich in malt with the top middling in its feel. Finish as a pesky acidity with the hop pleasurable in their spiciness, quite dry, and a fine representative to the style, how I envy all the people who have Bell’s at their beckon call.

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Photo of ngandhi
3.87/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

YEAST! But more on that later.

Roasted malts and chocolate-covered fruit on the nose with coffee and toffee. Heavier than normal on the black patent (strict malt bittering, not hops), but tasty and evocative. Medium dark chocolate finish. High carbonation; fizzy.

Thin and lacking character, Bell's Porter is solid, but relatively unimpressive. Because body is controlled by mash temperatures and not quality of ingredients, I take it that the brewers very much intended this brew to be this way. The malts are deep, but basic, and dominated by the coffee/chocolate character so typical in porters and stouts. There are notes of burnt toast, perhaps a special roast or something; though helpful, it doesn't make the beer quite as complex as I'd hoped.

What Bell's Porter has going for it most is its yeast character. It's shot into the spotlight -- a tinge of fruitiness -- by the surprisingly thin body and shows how clean and elegant their private strain is. Everything at Bell's has a purpose.

Relax, relax.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The first of the Bell's lineup that I purchased at Kahn's in Indianapolis, I decided to ease my way into the large number of brews from Kalamazoo. Presented as pictured, Bell's Porter had a dark ruby color with lighter hued edges. A sturdy, creamy tan head perched on top and left a patchwork of lace down the glass.
The smell and taste were rather subdued. Both were predominantly of roasted dark malt with some coffee notes and light baker's chocolate. The finish was nicely bittered. The feel was creamy and smooth.
Bell's Porter was a pretty good intro to the beers from Kalamazoo Brewing Co. The aroma could have been a bit stronger but the taste made up for it. This would be a good beer to use as an introductory beer to get novices to try a darker colored brew.

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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
3.4/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I've enjoyed most of the beers I've had from this brewery (thanks, Al!) and Expedition and Two Hearted are two of the best beers I've ever had. This porter, however, comes across as relatively bland. Kind of reminds me of one of their regular stouts if it were watered down. Somewhat thin, in body and taste. Some roasted malt and coffee notes, but just too thin and flat to be a classic.

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Photo of budgood1
3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours out a deep murky brown colour. very lively and short lived tan fizzy head. very little lace. aroma consists of cola nuts and a choco and caramel mixture. bittersweet chocolate dominates the flavour profile...followed by a vanilla malt sweetness that could be best described as cookie dough. hop bitterness presents itself but does not interfere. balanced and quite delectable. medium mouthfeel and dry finish. really drinkable and delcious. really on spot for the style. i could drink a lot of these bottled treats!

cheers to feloniousmonk for the sample!

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Photo of IrishRedRock
3.77/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is a tasty brew, but to me does not seem to fit the style well. Poured a deep brown with no descernible head. Roasty aroma with plenty of burnt malts and coffee grounds. Flavor was quite bitter and dark, which was nice, but I felt that the beer was extremely thin. Hardly a robust porter at all, and I felt it could have been better balanced. Nice coffee flavors going on here, but could stand to be heartier.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a deep ruby brown chestnut when held up to the light appears with a magnifiant fluffy tan head leaving a big sturdy collar of lacing. Aroma: Not overly sweet but the deep roasted malted barley is robust filled with chocolate and coffee tones, nice and creamy edge. Taste: Flavor is slightly grainy with the dark roasts leaving bitterness in the finish a bit dry as well, ties flavors together solid porter from front to back dead on. Mouthfeel: Creamy texture paints the palate coats it done with a sweet rising moccha cream tone, very nice brew full body wonderful. Drinkability: The best sipping porter none go down easier than this one just so good and flavorful clean well crafted I have much thanks for aaronh for hunting this jewel down for me.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
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.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
4/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

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Photo of Morris729
3.53/5  rDev -9%
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!

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Photo of far333
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

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Photo of Realale
4.48/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

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Photo of Kongquistador
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

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Photo of xgrigorix
4.28/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

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Photo of aaronh
4.48/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

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Photo of Sixpack595
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

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Photo of TheDM
3.86/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of granger10
3.74/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

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Photo of BigHead
3.92/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of Indybeer
3.48/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

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Photo of Brent
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

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Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.47/5  rDev +15.2%
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.

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Photo of Riggo
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 997 ratings.