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

Bell's PorterBell's Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,958 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1958
Reviews: 944
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.62%

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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Mitchster on 02-06-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,958 | Reviews: 944 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of DAllspaw


4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fairly dark pour, with hint of ruby when held to the light. Light mocha head that sticks to glass with small bubbles and pools in middle of glass after head dissipates.

Smells more caramel than most porters, reminiscent of robert the bruce, with some smokiness as well.

Coffee and slightly bitter chocolate in the taste, nothing even close to burnt, nice roast character. Ends a little bitter with some tannins coating the mouth a bit.

Not as aggressive as other porters, but very substantial nonetheless, and very solid, a great regular drinking porter (better than SN, not quite on part with GLBC or Founders).

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2011 03:23:32 | More by DAllspaw
Photo of rundocrun


4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours very dark brown--almost black. Very few highlights, even when held to the light. Looks more like a stout to me! Has a finger of dark tan head with tight bubbles and decent retention. No lacing.

S - Lots of caramel and rich, smooth coffee. Hints of toasted bread and very mild fruity esters.

T - Sweet and silky up front. I'm immediately hit with a smooth, voluminous malt body and a sharper roasted espresso flavor. A subtle and pleasing tang hits the sides of my tongue as the espresso bitterness continues and melds with very earthy hop flavors. The smooth, toasty malt predominates through the finish and mixes nicely with notes of bitter cocoa.

M - Perfect for a porter. I'd say this is somewhere between thin and medium-bodied, but leaning toward the latter. Carbonation is present, but only a minor player--lending to the overall smoothness of the beer. The finish is velvety smooth and sweet making for one damn-quaffable brew.

Overall-Excellent, excellent porter. This will be joining my regular lineup for sure.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2011 03:26:41 | More by rundocrun
Photo of feloniousmonk


4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2003 17:22:19 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of ken3c


4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It seems like a great adventure when I pop the cap of a beer I think I'll like and there is fog in the neck of the glass.

Very dark brown with a tan head that shrinks down to a thin layer of foam. The empty glass has light lacing all along the back of the glass.

Coffee, nutty, and maybe fruity and chocolate aromas. Very complex.

Very little sweetness, quite tart like a grapefruit, then bitter like coffee and cocoa with a hint of hops. Very dry finish.

Full-bodied. Medium carbonation. slight sense of warming.

This beer didn't disappoint me. The longer I drank the more I liked.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2004 05:21:41 | More by ken3c
Photo of Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2005 17:57:32 | More by Viggo
Photo of EvilKeith


4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bell’s Porter poured into the glass hazy brown in color with suspended fine particles of yeast and gentle streams of carbonation making their way to the surface. The head was a creamy finger of pale tan foam. The lacing was thick and left a nice coating along the glass.

The nose was roasted sweet malts, toasted grain, creamy chocolate and a subtle grassiness from the hops. The taste followed the scent pretty well with the chocolate coming across more as bittersweet cocoa. The roasted character was significant with a somewhat charred feel to it. Hop bitterness and a charcoal-like dryness were evident in the finish. Everything you could want from the style was there, and then some.

A moderately active carbonation encircled and excited the tongue. The body was medium with a creamy smooth mouthfeel. Drinkability is outstanding.

I found this to be an excellent American Porter, very well balanced with a rich roasted malty backbone. I now have another Bell’s beer to keep in the fridge at all times.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2006 16:03:43 | More by EvilKeith
Photo of wingman14


4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a brown tints and a small dark tan head that faded quickly. Smells like roasted malts with deep rich notes, with some sweet tones. This one was very inviting. Taste is very full and roasted, slight burnt flavor, but mostly malts. Mouthfeel is a thicker medium, not as thick as some, with a good balance of flavors and carbonation. This is a very drinkable porter, nothing that stands out, but a great brew. I highly suggest this beer. Another great bells beer. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2007 03:09:29 | More by wingman14
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from JAYW, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark brown color with a short foamy off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a very thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is very creamy and full of roasted coffee along with nuts, a touch of dark fruit and some hops.

T: The taste is very well-balanced, with flavors of coffee, nuts, smoky malt, dark fruit and a good amount of hops for a beer of this style, all complimenting each other. The coffee flavor stands out but not too much. It’s also not overly sweet like some porters can be. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down very easily, not very filling, good representation of style and one of the best American Porters that I’ve had. If I’m in a porter kind of mood, I could see myself drinking quite a few of these, if only Bell’s were available here.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2007 03:52:16 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of cameraman


4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A dark brown color with a reddish hue along the sides of the glass, with a beige colored head. The head is a quatrer inch high and it stays there for some time. A roasted malt aroma with touches of chocolate and coffee, with a touch of molasses at the end. The chocolate, coffee, and roasted flavors dominate the taste, then a strong bitterness with some grass and pine flavors, but mostly a lactic bitter flavor. A slightly watery feel that grows to more medium bodied feel. The finish is dry to the point you pucker your lips. This by far one of the best porters I have ever had, the classic color and rosty aroma. A flavor that leaves you wanting more and a feel that cleans the palate. The sad part, is the empty glass.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2010 04:46:03 | More by cameraman
Photo of DrewV

New York

4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle (date code 10160 = December 2010) at around 50 degrees F into a snifter.

A: Typical pitch black liquid with a 2-finger mocha head. Lacing clings all over the glass. Nice looking beer.

S: Chocolate malt, roasty goodness. A bit of a sweet/milk stout aroma going on here. A different aroma than I'm accustomed to with porters, but I think I like it.

T: Sweet chocolate roasted coffee with heavy cream. I'm not getting any hop balance, but it must be there somewhere because I'm not overwhelmed by sweetness. Flavors are dark -- again, a bit darker than I'm used to with other porters I've had. Almost a creamy oaty flavor hidden in there as well. Just a really sweet, complex flavor profile. Awesome.

M: Creamiest porter I've ever had. Not the typical thin, watery mouthfeel I've detected in most other porters. Smooth carbonation, oily mouthfeel with a lingering roast aftertaste. Yummy! And did I say creamy? Smooth as silk. Highest marks here.

O: A different take on a porter, more akin to a stout. I love the creaminess and dark roast aromas/flavors. Definitely something I'd go out of my way to get again. A solid "A" brew. I think I prefer this to Bell's Kalamazoo Stout, at least out of the bottle. This rivals my all-time favorite Edmund Fitzgerald. I'll have to put them up head-to-head someday to see which one comes out the winner. But it'll be a damn close call.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2011 02:22:42 | More by DrewV
Photo of littlelorib


4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Again, a recommendation for a porter from the sales clerk was this porter from Bell's.

Nearly black in appearance with a tan head of less than an inch. The slowly dissipating head left lacing on the glass and surface of the beer.

My mouth started salivating at the smell. Hints of coffee and chocolate along with a floral scent and i'm already expecting a balanced beer.

Chocolate at the front of the taste with some coffee bitterness following. I'm in heaven. Mouth feel showed a medium body.

Overall a very good beer. Not too alcoholic and very pleasant. I'm already looking forward to my next one.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2011 00:17:05 | More by littlelorib
Photo of mattcrill


4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours dark chocolate to black with a puffy tan head on the top. No light gets through this monster. Can't see any carbonation at all. Looks beautiful in my pint glass...

Smell: Out of control! I get dark chocolate, vanilla, oak, roasted marshmallows. All sorts of roasty goodness spilling out of this glass.

Taste: Follows smell. The chocolate, roasted malts, and vanilla is dialed in. I get hints of chocolate sweetness and coffee bitterness that lobby for control of my palate. This is a beautifully complex porter.

Mouthfeel: A touch to thin for me but definitely true to style. Carbonation keeps it interesting and a touch of a bitter coffee finish coats the tongue.

Drinkability: I could easily see myself going through a ton of these. This immediately jumps to the top of my list of porters and only stands behind Edmund Fitzgerald as far as I'm concerned. KBC got this one dead on...nice job.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2005 00:28:22 | More by mattcrill
Photo of Shovelbum


4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
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.

Serving type: cask

10-20-2005 20:52:14 | More by Shovelbum
Photo of flowerysong


4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Opaque black with a long-lasting light brown head.

Smell: Rich roasted malt, yeast, and cocoa.

Taste: Sweet roasted malt in the beginning, bitter chocolate and coffee notes in the middle, and some floral hops. Long finish shows some chicory characteristics.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy medium body, medium carbonation, mild drying astringency in the finish.

Drinkability: Great; excellent example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2007 05:12:21 | More by flowerysong
Photo of Stygr


4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I love this beer. It is an invigorating mouth cleanser in a long night of drinking darker danker beers.

This beer has the perfect balance of body, color, aroma, mouthfeel, and especially drinkability. Leaves the mouth begging for another, and another, and another.

Nice deep amber tinged brownish hue, almost the exact same color of the bottle it comes in. full finger an more on a normal pour.

It even sounds great when it hits the glass, or maybe I'm just over anxious for another.

Smells of roast toffee, vanilla. The greatest smoked nutty-ness of a finish.

Aftertaste/mouthfeel leave my mouth feeling revitalized, clean, eager for another.

Climbing my porter list more and more every time I drink it.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2009 20:23:14 | More by Stygr
Photo of DocSkalski


4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Nice dark brown/red color without any cloudiness, almost the perfect amount of head (light tan in color, a little thin), and transmits a very small amount of light... exactly what a good porter should be.

S: The smell is fantastic, once you find it. A very light aroma of sweetness and roasted malt. Would appreciate a bit more pungency.

T: This beer lives to satisfy. An almost sweet start, slightly tart. Very nice balance of caramel flavor, dark malt and love in the middle (i'm not sure what the "love" is, so i just call it that), let it sit here for a while. Finish is a slightly bitter coffee and hops blend, just right.

M: With a nice bright entrance it smooths out perfectly withe a little bit of fiz and ends perfectly silky, making it a drink to remember.

D: Be careful, it goes down easy. With an excellent taste and wonderful texture you might even forget that beer is the wonderful beverage in your hand, but if you take your time drinking this one it will provide the gustatory pleasure many connoisseurs looks for in a beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2010 02:11:28 | More by DocSkalski
Photo of arc3636


4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - deep brown with minimal white lace

S - sweet malty chocolate

T -sweet and bitter coffee and chocolate flavors stand out, could serve this after a meal as dessert

M - nice body and the flavor sticks in your mouth nicely, nice slightly bitter chocolate aftertaste

O - sweeter than i expected from a porter, reminds me more of a mild chocolate stout.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2013 00:04:40 | More by arc3636
Photo of Fieldzy27


4.46/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter

A-Inferior stouts should fear the darkness of this porter, I have seen some lackluster offerings that would give their first born to have an SRM like this. To be expected from one of the most consistent brewers in the biz. the head is kaki colored and was comprised of a combination of small and large bubbles. As it deflates big bubbles hang around and lace starts clinging to the glass. In a perfect world I would like the head to hang longer and have a little more color but this doesn't hurt the score. No sediment or haze .

S-hints of light roasted coffee and some nuttiness, the aroma isn't huge but its present. in all honesty after the look of it being so good I expected more but there is nothing wrong with it. I assume the taste will redeem it.

T-a great porter, falls more into the english side I feel as it does not have a massive amount of complexity or hop character although it is black and not brown. Black coffee is first to strike followed by roasted pecans. A slight amount of astringency is noticeable and hints of dark roasted malt are scattered throughout. Not a ton going on here but it was clearly crafted with care. No discernible alcohol and also no real hop character accept for a flash on the finnish that takes effort to find. So minuscule that they cant be identified. A well rounded and balanced porter.

M- This beer is full and smooth. Doesn't coat the mouth or leave any astringent hints lingering. Built to session I feel. Nothing to argue with here.

O- A well crafted porter. Doesn't burn itself into the memory with excitement but I feel this is a good thing. Many times I have passed this up for bigger offerings but every time I return to it im never disappointed. A wonderful example to show someone a textbook porter.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2014 03:15:37 | More by Fieldzy27
Photo of AudioGilz


4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2003 13:32:57 | More by AudioGilz
Photo of tavernjef


4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2003 20:23:26 | More by tavernjef
Photo of aaronh


4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2003 21:07:31 | More by aaronh
Photo of cdkrenz


4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Dark brown but yet transparent in the pour. It's topped with a medium brown head of two inches and a dark brown, nearly black body.

Smell - Dark roasted malt with a sweet chocolate scent to go along with it.

Taste - Smooth coffee taste to begin moving into a sublte and slightly sweet chocolate flavor. It finishes with a bitter hint but maintains a ripe coffee aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - The feel is extremely smooth. This is, in my opinion, the best characteristic of this fine brew.

~ I really think this porter is a knockout. I recommend anyone that likes a good full flavored but very sleek malty rich beer to give this Bell's a try. You won't regret it.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2008 01:30:07 | More by cdkrenz
Photo of cvfish


4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - This beer poured a dark brown color that produced a tan fluffy head which had good retention and laced the sides of the glass decently

S - The aromas produced by this beer were roasted malts, chocolate, and some hops

T - The taste of this beer is exactly how I like my Porters, roasted malts, chocolate, a bit of hops on the finish, simple and delicious

M - The mouthfeel of this beer had a medium body with a light amount of carbonation

D - This was one of my favorite Porters, the taste and the body was exactly how I like them, hopefully Bell's will see it in their heart to open up to our market

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2009 01:19:53 | More by cvfish
Photo of cosmicevan

New York

4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Pellinore1 from the N00B round 3 BIF.

a - popped the bottle and filled my captain lawrence tasting tulip. Poured a nice watery brown that settled into the glass black with a frothy finger of white bubbly head. Lacing was slippery and didn't cling to the glass much at all, but left mild traces.

s - as soon as I opened the bottle, the air filled with roasted malts. Upon closer inspection there was a nice chocolate malty porter smell. Really appetizing porter smell...balanced and everything is in the right place.

t - Really nice mix of chocolate and roasted malts. Very well done. For people who aren't big fans of the style I recommend trying this porter as it has a great balanced taste and great body.

m - has that classic porter tingle. Vibrant, good carbonation...not overly thin like most in the style.

o - This is a really nice porter. I find most to be a bit lackluster and lacking in body, but this one is vibrant and chocolatey with a great roasted malt. Bell's does it again. I'm a fan of porters and this one is near the top of the pack for the one's I've tried and it doesn't have any smoke or other gimmick to make the style more appealing...this is classic porter done right.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2011 04:28:59 | More by cosmicevan
Photo of Immortale25

North Carolina

4.48/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Says packaged on 4/28/11. Good thing I bought it before it became unfit for sale.

A- Carbonation is obviously still there. Pours a 1/2 inch light tan head that sulks down to a paper thin head with spattered bubbles on the surface. Eventually becomes just a flat black pond with a foam ring around it. Some light shines through but only when I hold it directly in front of the lamp.

S- Instant notes of milk chocolate along with some coffee and raisin. Also some vanilla and even white chocolate. Covering all the bases.

T- The taste is more straightforward with a sturdy malt start that dissolves into a smooth, sweet finish displaying more of those chocolate notes.

M- This is where the typical Porter goes awry for me: Either there's some metallic bitterness that's too intense for the thin feel a porter usually displays or it's just too thin and watery in the first place which causes me to ask for either a good brown or a good stout (because a porter is basically just in that grey area in between). Bell's however, is not only plenty hearty and robust, but it also is free of any metallic taste while, at the same time, boasting a well-done creamy feel.

O- Can this brewery actually be infallible?

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2011 02:18:36 | More by Immortale25
Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 1,958 ratings.