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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

1,009 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,009
Hads: 2,680
Avg: 3.88
pDev: 17.01%
Wants: 93
Gots: 309 | 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: 1,009 | Hads: 2,680
Photo of BeerResearcher
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle. No date, but the numbers 6211 are stamped on the back label.
It pours dark black coffee color with a thin tannish head (even after a hard pour). There’s just a bit of trailing lace.
The aroma is mostly of dark cocoa and coffee with a smoky malt background.
There's a good amount of dark bitter chocolate and toasted malt flavors. Tastes of coffee and crème brulee crust follow.
Citrus bitterness and a metallic bite are partially concealed within the smokiness of the beverage. Although a mild sweetness begins to gain ground as it warms, it finishes fairly dry and clean.
Thanks Feloniousmonk!

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.57/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Slightly translucent maroon color, creamy tan head. Smells more like a dunkel, dominated by roasted malt. Taste is of coffee, malt, and black licorice. Nice hops finish, but it enhances, not dominates the flavor. Full mouthfeel, perfect amount of carbonation. Very smooth, extremely drinkable.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown in color, thin, yet rocky off-tan head. Roasted coffee beans, fresh bread, some hops are also there on the nose. Slick and creamy off the bat, robust per the label, sweet chocolate and toffee notes. Very rich, right on target as medium bodied. A slight hoppy note sneaks in; some charcoal and coffee beans to boot! A roasted/burnt malt based body, backed with some delicious flavorings, quite impressive, highly drinkable, should define what a porter is!

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Photo of merlin48
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark and opaque color, with a towering, three finger, beige head. Head retains well, and leaves some impressive, sheets of lace on the side of the glass. Aroma is interesting, with a distinct, nutty bouqet that seems to be hazelnut, that weaves through the typical dark chocolate and overroasted coffee smell. Mouthfeel is rich and creamy, medium carbonation, and a modest hops sting on the tongue. Taste has the same nutty background as the nose, but seems more chestnut. Plenty of cocoa and burnt coffee, as well, and a hops bitterness that seems fruity, at times. Finish is slightly bitter, with a bittersweet chocolate aftertaste.
This is a well rounded Porter, excellent in all respects.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A dark black brew, that is nearly opaque. The head is a tan/beige colour and it stays around big time leaving waves of brown lace on my pint glass. The aromas are excellent! Coffee, chocolate, big time caramel malts, and more! The taste follows suit with a lovely smooth mix of hops and malts up front, lovely coffee notes and caramel in the middle, and a smooth as hell maltball finish. The mouthfeel is creamy, smooth, and just right, and the drinkability is great as well! Another winner from Bell's!

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Photo of yankeeheel
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a lovely dark chocolate brown with an equally nice three finger light tan head. Smells of dark and toasted malt with a hint of licorice. Taste pretty decent. lots of the usual light coffee and caramel/dark malt flavor, with a little bit of toffee and spice. Perhaps just a little too carbonated and hopped to be a great porter, but it's a nice little session brew.

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Photo of stewart124
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A deep brown color topped of with a fluffy tan head that almost overflowed my glass. My mouth is watering just looking at this beer. Very nutty smell with a fine roasted malt aroma and hints of coffee. The taste is delicious with a good balance of coffee, nut, and roasted malts. You can really taste the mocha and coffee beans. A very good porter that I'll be buying again and again.

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Photo of frank4sail
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep dark opeque purple look. pale/tan head. Sweet chocolate malted milkshake smell. Good sticky lacing and retention. Dry coffee dominates the taste with a little bitterness and burnt malt in the finish. A little light and thin on the mouth as well. Brew is ok, but I could not drink many of these on a row..

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Photo of beergeek279
4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 12 oz. bottle. The color is a very dark brown, with a bit of beige head. The smell is a nice, sweet malt. The taste is a dry coffeeish malt, with a good bitterness. Mouthfeel is very smooth. Drinkability-wise, a great session beer.

Now, this is what I've come to expect from Bell's. A delicious porter, and absolutely one I'm going to have again!

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Photo of nomad
3.61/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark as normal, with impressive lacing and an unusual light colored head. It left a maze of a stain. Smelled of nutty coffee and big, smooth, and deceiving dark malts. Tasted of smooth dark malts and solid roasty character, but in a thin way. For the most part I'd call it husky and bordering on coffee flavors. It had just enough hops to create bitterness but not enough to eclipse the already rough malt character, but instead compliment it. A nice porter.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown, midnight color with hints of tan in small, thin off -white head. Low carbontion just right for style.
Smell of chocolate, toffe, nuts and maybe caramel.
Taste - roasted malt prevalent, slight chocolate hints on front note, finishes with a pleasant bitte coffee taste.
Strong tasting porter, almost a stout profile to me.

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Photo of clvand0
3.72/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown color with about one finger of tan head and leaves a small amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma is of burned malts and also has a dark coffee smell as well. Fairly average aroma for a porter. The main part of the flavor is the roasted malt and coffee. The flavor was not as strong as expected. There was also a hint of chocolate. The mouthfeel was pretty good, and it is easily drinkable.

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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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Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 1,009 ratings.