1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

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

Bell's PorterBell's Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

1,960 Ratings
THE BROS
87
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1960
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
Ratings: 1,960 | Reviews: 944 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of stercomm
stercomm

Ohio

3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Bell's pint glass (sure the fact it was a Bell's pint glass added to the flavor :-) )

A- Very dark brown with a very thick, frothy 2 finger tan head. Great retention and lots of lacing.

S - Biscuits, chocolate and some hints of malt.

T - Very balanced, chocolate, brown bread, hints of hops, slight sweetness on the finished, very tasty.

M - Sense creaminess, mild bodied, mild carbonation

O - Another good brew from Bell's, very approachable, very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2013 21:42:32 | More by stercomm
Photo of GotWad629
GotWad629

Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a thick khaki head

A faint smell of chocolate, grain, sweet malt, and earthy hops - they all blend nicely together

The taste is similar - nothing is overpowering, everything balances out well together. Dark chocolate bitterness with earthy undertones. There's a spicy quality to it as well.

The body is light but has a good amount of carbonation to round out the mouthfeel; making it creamy and velvety.

A delicious sessionable porter. Really happy bells opened up distribution to NY.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2013 21:05:08 | More by GotWad629
Photo of Mojo
Mojo

Alabama

4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle -> Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass

A - pours up deep brown, almost black with a big two finger head (light tan colored) great retention and great lacing

S - very subtle nose with some chocolate, coffee, and bready notes

T - Very sweet and malty (maybe molasses)with a roasted nutty finish including coffee notes and some chocolate. Tasty!!

M - thick and chewy, average carbonation

O - This is a great offering from Bells. As good of a porter as Two-Hearted is an IPA.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2013 04:07:14 | More by Mojo
Photo of SportsandJorts
SportsandJorts

Michigan

3.69/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: dark brown. opaque. thick foamy head. about two fingers. slowly fades away to a lacing over the whole beer

Smell: roasty malts, coffee and a touch of sweetness.

Taste: opens up with bitter coffee with a very light touch of creamer. roasty malts are there but hide in the background a bit

Mouthfeel: nice and lighter bodied and just a bit of creaminess. leaves a lingering bitterness

Overall: pretty good. i am not a big fan of the coffee taste in my beers but this one is pretty good. not sure i would drink it very often though

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2013 23:30:25 | More by SportsandJorts
Photo of arc3636
arc3636

Kansas

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 fx20736
fx20736

New York

4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bought a single bottle from Beers of the World on 11/22/13. Served cool in a Samuel Smith's Pint glass.

Appearance: black as anthracite coal with a thick tan head and nice lacing.

aroma: coffee, char, some chocolate and smoke.

mouthfeel: good.

taste: roast, coffee, a hint of smoke.

notes: maybe not Eddy Fitz but this is a damn good Porter. Looking forward to a taste test between Bell's, Founder's and Eddy.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2013 18:18:30 | More by fx20736
Photo of utopiajane
utopiajane

New York

3.69/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours black , perfectly opaque but at the bottom of the glass you can observe the clarity as you can see some very tiny bubbles that want to go to the top. Two fingers of tan foam that fell slowly and left streaky lace but not a lot of it. Nose is blackened malt with a natural sweetness that is not sugary. It has a leafy hop herbal and a vague fruit scent. There is some bold espresso but not really any chocolate. If there is it's a faint cocoa powder that isn't sweet. Smells like a nice dark bread. Almost no smoke or char at all. Taste follows the nose all the way. The malt is deep and endless.There is a lightness from hop character that adds lightness to the drink. Something a bit leafy and fruity. has a bit of chalky dryness in the middle and finishes with a bitter from blackened grain and a nice vague fruit sweetness to contrast. Gains a nutty quality as it warms that really adds to the flavor. The body of the beer is supple and creamy. Had some firm carbonation and reminded me of cola in the finish.

Very good porter from Bells.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2013 17:10:41 | More by utopiajane
Photo of FondueVoodoo
FondueVoodoo

British Columbia (Canada)

3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Big thanks to MilwaukeeCrusher for bringing this beer up on his trip to Vancouver.

A: pours a jet black with espresso coloured head leaving plenty of lacing.

S: bitter cocoa powder and acrid coffee. Sweet malts in the background.

T: following the smell with bitter coffee and cocoa powder. Middle notes of sweet toasted malts and finishes with a lingering bitterness.

M: medium to light bodied with higher than expected carbonation.

O: a tasty and smooth porter that while light bodied packs a good amount of flavour.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2013 04:43:23 | More by FondueVoodoo
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.31/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Porter is black but far from opaque; loads of terra brown highlights show up in the light and even render peeks of clarity amidst the shadowy, dark complexion. Its thin but persistent head provides an embroidery of gauze-coloured lacing only a skilled seamstress could replicate.

Coffee grounds combine with enough vanilla extract and brownie flavour to make the aroma a little more sweet than roasty. It certainly has a good quantity of both; this smells vivid and delicious and is clearly a beer of the utmost craftsmanship and quality ingredients.

The first sip has enough chocolate and vanilla flavour to make me want to run out to the nearest ice cream shop. It simulates the gratification of a slice of dark caramel-chocolate cheesecake and side of Caffè Americano; it's a mocha flavour right off the menu at Starbucks.

All these rich, dessert-y flavours exist within the thinner, lighter framework of a porter and lack the smoke, burnt roast qualities, and weightiness of a stout. Make no mistake, however, this is about as full-bodied as porters come; this is hearty as a chunky steak and mushroom pie.

The truly dark, rich flavours are normally reserved for stouts but there's little that Bell's Porter doesn't provide. Whether you own a massive beer cellar or simply a bottle opener, this is a must-have beer to keep on-hand. Trade, plan a road trip to Michigan - do whatever it takes.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2013 23:51:35 | More by biegaman
Photo of yuenglingfan101
yuenglingfan101

Indiana

4.83/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A great beer from Bell's I put this along with a bottle of K-Zoo Stout in my chili. it gives it some flavor. Nice brownish to blackish beer with minimal head. smooth tasting and great overall feeling when drinking this beer. I cant complain too much about and awesome beer. so hears again to Bell's

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2013 16:18:27 | More by yuenglingfan101
Photo of cavedave
cavedave

New York

4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Darkest brown pour, topped briefly by a fine bubbly tan finger of foam, ends as a nice skim cap, with lacicles sliding down the glass.

Good roast to the nose, nice coffee and chocolate promise in that aroma. burnt sugar, dark caramel, and biscuity bread in there as well. Nice.

Love a bright porter and this one is bright and more. Really roasty goodness, not at all acrid, just as the nose, followed by bright coffee, chocolate, just enough burnt sweet to keep it intense. It ends with some hoppy (I think?) bitter coming in, almost herbal as it warms, and lingering with the other flavors wonderfully.

Perfect mouth, the best feature, just right low carb., just right viscosity to showcase the flavors, excellent finish that stays clean as warm as my glass becomes.

What can you say? Thank you Larry Bell for getting over your NY "thing", this porter is a real treat. Yumm.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2013 21:45:15 | More by cavedave
Photo of Kendo
Kendo

New York

3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled-on-date of 10/7/13; consumed on 11/7/13, so this is quite fresh.

A: Poured into a pint glass. Body is black with a half-finger of tan head and ruby/mahogany highlights on the edges when backlit.

S: Very roasty, but also with some coffee and dark chocolate. Good porter nose.

T: Modest roast, roasted coffee beans and ash. Touch of chocolate. Finishes with a nice lingering roasty, charcoal-like bitterness.

M: Thinnish in feel, with slightly over-active carbonation.

O: Good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2013 04:09:11 | More by Kendo
Photo of tmm313
tmm313

Georgia

4.01/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Opaque dark brown, basically black. Quickly dissipating 1 finger head. Really good lacing.

Smell: Dark chocolate, coffee, caramel, raisin, slight char with just a touch of hops.

Taste: Big roasted malts lead off, followed by semi-sweet dark chocolate, coffee and char. Finish is almost like a coke that has lost its carbonation, big char, and some bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, medium body with mild carbonation. Slight lingering bitterness.

Overall: This is a pretty good Porter. I've had better and worse. It was actually one of my early gateway Porters, so I've got to give it props for that.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2013 13:26:48 | More by tmm313
Photo of Fcolle2
Fcolle2

Illinois

3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown nearly blac in color. Almost no light makes it through and there is a one and a half finger light tan head that has good retention.

Smell has some great chocolate malt and some good cracker like malt aromas. There is also a nice herbal floral sweetness that balances the malt nicely.

Taste is good. Some more chocolate malt is forward before a stronger roasted malt that is very slightly smokey comes in midway through the sip. Finishs with a very nice light herbal hop flavor.

Mouthfeel is good medium body and moderate carbonation leaves this highly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2013 04:31:15 | More by Fcolle2
Photo of BradMacMullin
BradMacMullin

Massachusetts

4.49/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle again from my friend Chris T who needs to give me beer to stay a friend. Pours a very dark lacy beer with a small head. Smell is dominated by toasted malts and the taste follows as planned. Very well balanced beer that tastes great. Very solid porter ...I see why Bells is so well regarded

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2013 02:00:28 | More by BradMacMullin
Photo of BigMarty1980
BigMarty1980

Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours out almost as dark as a black lager

S- Rich aroma of roasted malt.

T-Notes of chocolate & coffee

M- Moderate body.

O-Not the best Porter I've ever had but it makes my Top 5. If you have a chance to have 1, do it. Would be a delicious companion to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2013 00:28:58 | More by BigMarty1980
Photo of CloudStrife
CloudStrife

New York

3.89/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Packaged on 10/07/13.

A: Pours a clear dark brown appearing black in the glass. An off white, slightly tanned head sits on top. Nice lacing on the sides.

S: Roasted malts are dominant on the aroma. Some good chocolate and coffee going on as well.

T: As anticipated from the aroma and style this is brew has a strong roasted malt flavor. There is a pretty sizable hopping in the backend that adds some balance. Aftertaste is more malt, chocolate and coffee.

M: Medium to full body with mild carbonation. Smooth and creamy feel to it, as with most porters its a tad thin but that keeps it easy drinking.

Overall a solid porter that I wouldnt turn down. Impressed with the freshness of this bottle. As with anything Bells its worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2013 19:15:09 | More by CloudStrife
Photo of dorianmarley
dorianmarley

Ohio

4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Dark, cola-brown with a light, off-white head and nice lacing.

Nose is savory. It is nutty and roasted. Salted almonds, cola, and chicory. A very appetizing smell.

Flavor is nutty, almost salty. Not overly dry like many porters. Coca-cola sweetness with a light biscuit finish.

Mouthfeel is clean and refreshing. Plenty of carbonation that makes it very balanced for a porter.

Overall, this is a well-balanced, well-executed porter that is roasted, but never gimmicky.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2013 02:29:04 | More by dorianmarley
Photo of mfnmbvp
mfnmbvp

Illinois

3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, with bottled on date of 06/03/2013 printed on the label. A beer from Bell's that I haven't had before. Expectations are high since I enjoy Bell's beers and I tend to enjoy porters.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter glass.

A - Pours a dark cola brown colored body; opaque in the glass. One finger of tan head disappears quickly to a ring.

S - Big dark roasted malts, iced coffee, coffee beans, touch of hazelnut, and some bold smoke / char. Not terribly amazing, but hits it's mark indefinitely.

T - Taste is big rich and robust, just as the label describes. Deep roasted malt character, dark chocolate, cold black coffee, and some char on the finish.

M - Feel is of bitter chocolate & coffee bean roast, with a dry nutty finish. Ideal carbonation for the style.

Overall, a solid porter from Bell's. Not exactly straying from the path or breaking any new remarkable ground, but what a classic, well-brewed Michigan porter should taste like. Bell's rarely ceases to please me, and it's a shame that I overlook their beers as often as I do.

Bell's Porter ---4/5.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2013 16:45:28 | More by mfnmbvp
Photo of magictacosinus
magictacosinus

California

2.99/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Poured into a shaker pint glass from a 12oz bottle. Bottling date is printed as "06/03/13."

Darkened in color, with nothing but reddish and brown tones circling the edges of the glass. An off-brown, 2-finger large head tops the glass, but soon dissipates to a modest ring overall. Can't tell if there's much carbonation on this, but it seems relatively balanced. Definitely not showy, but stands as a well made porter, if only a bit average in appearance.

The aroma consists of a predominant roasted barley character, with notes of coffee, dark chocolate, and dried dark fruits. Definitely not as complex as you might think, but not offensive by any means. The roasted character is very upfront, with earthy notes and floral flavors from the hops, and bittered coffee and chocolate flavor still follows, albeit a bit subtle. Not much else, but seems like a standard porter flavor with me - not as refined, nevertheless.

The flavor is awash with an astringent, biscuit-y roasted bitterness, as well as faded notes of old coffee beans and old chocolate. Tastes rather stale than vibrant and warm overall. There's a bit of dried fruitiness, but it's too subtle to make out any flavors overall at the finish. A little bit of brown sugar and spice linger as well, but the entire flavor profile is dominated by roasted barley and light coffee. Not very creamy or chewy, and slightly watery at the finish, which gives the impression of old chilled brewed coffee. This gets a little better as it warms up, but it's not very refreshing or comforting - I'd imagine it would be better on tap.

Another disappointment with Bell's - knowing what these guys can do, I realize this is a more crowd-pleasing, less diverse offering. Mind you, I love the taste of basic American porters, but this one feels too one-dimensional in the long run. Worth a try for Bell's completionists.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2013 03:08:44 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of 57md
57md

Pennsylvania

4.01/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a finger of beige head that dissipates rather quickly. The nose is roasty. The flavor profile is nicely roasty as well. The finish has the definite qualities of roasted bitterness.

There are many porters out there that include a host of add-ons (coffee, cherries, vanilla, etc.) but neglect to include the classic porter qualities. This is a no-frills porter that stays true to style and delivers basic roasted goodness.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2013 19:55:26 | More by 57md
Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
BurgeoningBrewhead

Pennsylvania

3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into nonic pint glass; pitch black with a foamy tan head that fades quickly but leaves a good amount of lacing. Smell is roasted malt with hints of coffee. Taste is smooth roasted malt, moving into bitter chocolate and coffee with fuzzy carbonation and a clean, slightly watery mouthfeel. Nothing amazing, but a good standard porter.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2013 22:12:47 | More by BurgeoningBrewhead
Photo of icehawk
icehawk

South Carolina

3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (bottled 6/13)

Appearance: Pitch black with off-white head

Aroma: Chocolate, coffee, sweet malts

Taste: Bitter-sweet chocolate, cocoa, hints of smoke

Palate: Fairly heavy mouthfeel, slight carbonation, bitter cocoa finish.

Overall: Really enjoyable porter. Nothing crazy, just a solid, easy drinking beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2013 18:03:17 | More by icehawk
Photo of Beric
Beric

Indiana

4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving: Bottle into tulip
Served: 27 Jul 2013
Bottle date: packaged 6/03/13

Appearance: Absolutely pitch black- no light is getting through this one when held up directly towards a light source. The beer pours with a great two finger light-brown head that eventually dissipates to a light sheen of brown bubbles over the top of the beer. Great lacing down the sides of the glass.

Smell: BItter and roasty. Hints of dark chocolate and coffee.

Taste: A magnificent blend of roasted malt and bitterness. The porter finishes pretty dry, which really compliments the overall bitterness from the dark, roasted malt. I think that the roasted malt comes out more in this beer than any hints of coffee or chocolate.

Mouthfeel: This is my first porter, and I know that they are supposed to be like a stout but dialed back a bit. I definitely am wishing that these flavors would come out in a slightly fuller-feeling beer. The beer does taste a little thin, given its flavor profile that is normally associated with thicker feeling beers. That being said, it is a nice change from the stout style- it feels just a little lighter (almost like how a Guinness can sometimes feel watery) but really packs a strong flavor punch.

Overall: An incredible beer by Bell's that I would definitely drink again. Comparable to their Kalamazoo Stout, but with less complexity. A great beer for cool evenings- I could definitely see this as an early-fall beer where one is not yet ready to hit up the boozy imperial stouts or anything, but desires that warming roastiness.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2013 23:18:36 | More by Beric
Photo of dakotaben
dakotaben

North Dakota

4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - 27-29 on the color sclale with a one finger, persistent head. Strong lacing as I drink

S - Light malt sweetness - slight hazelnut flavor

T - Nutty clove flavor with tones of coffee

M - Medium body with a longlasting finish

O - I typically enjoy bells and this is no different. I am also new to porters, but this seemed to have a nice, well balanced profile that was not overpowering. I liked it quite a bit.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2013 00:34:01 | More by dakotaben
Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 1,960 ratings.