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

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Bell's PorterBell's Porter

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very good

2,580 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,580
Reviews: 1,005
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.36%
Wants: 83
Gots: 250 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,580 | Reviews: 1,005
Photo of Brewfan
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my go-to FFF nonik glass.

Tan head that fades to a fine whisp of lace. Dark chocolate brown opaque body. Large clump of sediment settled in the bottom of my glass.
Huge chocolate nose. Very malty and sweet with a definite vanilla aroma. Minimal hop aroma. There's some there, but it's in the background.
Chocolate on the tongue as well. Malty with not much hoppyness at all. Slight carbonation, but not enough to prevent me from taking large mouthfulls of it. Rich and biscuity. Very nice Porter. This would go great with a grilled steak and caramelized onions. Time to start the grill.

Photo of thirtysixbelow
3.57/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

a - black color with 2 finger tan head. Good retention.

s - immediately there was a strong hop or yeast smell, that vanished quickly and was replaced by sweet cream, chocolate, and coffee. A small amount of hops stuck around.

t - a lot of chocolate and coffee in the taste as well. Sweet malt. Not really any hops to finish. Slightly dry.

m - smooth, creamy, decent carbonation

d - this tastes pretty good, but it almost borders a stout for me with it's lack of any real hops. A decent beer, but I wish it was just a little more.

Photo of LordofTime25
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours to an opaque dark brown with not much head with very thin, sticky lacing.

Can smell a light aroma of dark chocolate and coffee, a little nutty or roasty.

Can taste a roasted coffee, raisin, and a hint of dark chocolate.

Medium carbonation with a dry finish.

Very good beer and very drinkable.

Photo of airforbes1
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer has a promising head at first, but it quickly vanishes. The color is the typical black/very dark ruby typical for the style. I'm not getting too much on the nose...maybe some sweet malt.

The taste is pretty interesting. I'd say this is a pretty sweet beer, almost like a porter version of a milk stout. Or maybe I'd compare it to heavily roasted coffee with cream. The consistency is decent; maybe it's a bit thin or flat.

This beer has good flavors, but there's just something lacking. Maybe a stronger flavor profile? Maybe more carbonation? It's hard for me to say. I just feel like there are probably better porters out there.

Photo of markman
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Porter:

Nice classic porter look…mahogany brown with a nice head full of tiny bubbles, and a promise of fine lacing. Nice roasted mocha flavor, but kind of lackluster…no balls, and slightly acidic with a long burnt finish. Thinnish bodied…I’d like it a bit more creamy. That said, I could drink these all night long. Very quaffable this porter is. But not one I’d return to often given the other options for a session porter out there (read, Rogue, Smuttynose, Atlantic, Stone, Fuller’s, Otter Creek, etc, etc).

Big thanks to richdude for the sample.


Photo of srv33
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally got around to giving this brew a proper review. Pours a very dark brown, with a light brown head and alright lacing. Scent of caramel, roasted malt, and milk chocolate. Taste follows the nose very well - with additional notes of a lighter coffee and a hint of what seems like chicory. Really a fantastically balanced porter, and while there is nothing standout spectacular about this brew - in my opinion it is *the* baseline for what a porter should taste like, and that is definitely a remarkable accomplishment.

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

A - Pours nice rich opaque brown with garnet around the edges. Rich creamy head caps this beauty off.
S - First aroma is of roasted nuts, cocoa, a bit of tobacco.
T - Rich and roasty, a hint of milk chocolate, even a hint of fig.
M - Smooth and creamy.
O - Amazing beer, staple in my fridge. Everyone needs to try this.

Photo of rfdracing
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

One of my favorite Porters.

Photo of schoolcb
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz longneck

Aroma: Malty aroma characteristic of a dark bread. Appearance: Garnet and so dark you cannot determine clarity. A thin tan head dissapated quickly leaving a ring of fine bubbles in the glass. Flavor: As my eyes roll back in my head from the ecstacy of this top notch porter. Dark roasted malts contribute a nice roasted coffee and chocolate flavors to the malt backbone of this brew. Bitterness balances the malt well carrying through in the aftertaste. Finishes a bit sweet. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, and appropriately carbonated. Overall: Damn, even though I don't smoke, I need a cigarette. IMHO this is the best commercial example of a Robust Porter to be found anywhere.

Photo of mjd83goblue
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, Batch 7316, 6er for $8.99

A: As it pours from the bottle, its a chocolately brown, but by the time its in the glass, its pretty much black. About 1/2" head that fades into a ring that stays. Beautiful.

S: Lots of chocolate, some dark roasted malt, and maybe a little coffee.

T: Damn good porter. Rich and chocolately. Some bittering hops at the end along with a butter/toffee taste at the end.

M: Nice, creamy, and thick.

D: Very drinkable beer

This and GLBC's Edmund are my favorite porters. Another great beer from Bell's.

Photo of kellyst
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Large, dark tan head. Black, opaque.

S: Fruity aromas, coffee and chocolate on the nose.

T: Very balanced and drinkable. Dark grain, roasted biscuit, and light chocolate flavors. Bitterness balances well, and keeps it dry and not cloyingly sweet. A nice drinking beer on a cold night.

D: Medium. Good drinkability for a porter.

Photo of cnjohn19
3.69/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

love this brewery...another good beer from bells for me...

great pour of a almost black color...nice tan colored head which sticks around for a while and comes back in between drinks...smell is lacking for what i'd like in a porter but you get roasted chocolate malts and just a bit of caramel and wheat...

but damn delicious to the taste buds...extremely balanced with a roasty aftertaste...some porters i've had have a metallic aftertaste but this does not which i appreciate...

a little too crisp on the finish for me, but overall a drinkable brew for a dark porter...will def. enjoy again and would like to have this on tap...i think i'll go up to tylers or city beverage here in durham to see if its flowing this weekend...


Photo of thedrewski86
3.59/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured this into a pint glass. Not a lot of head; about 1/4" of tan foam. No lacing. The smell is sweet and smoky. The taste is typical porter with a smoky kick. I would normally like that a lot more but I was a little under-whelmed with this beer. It feels a lot like a stout. Nice malt character though with some biscuit notes. Very little carbonation, kinda makes you think of a flat coke. I don't want to be too negative about this beer though, I would drink it a lot if I had it around all the time. It still has a pleasant flavor and drinkability is good.

Photo of brown2cu
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a seemingly black but when light passes through it, hints of ruby are present. There was initially a half finger of head but it quickly dissipated into a ring that sticks around; no lacing.

S: The nose is primarily chocolate not a lot of complexity.

T: Again, primarily chocolate. There is a pleasent hop bitterness that balances out the profile.

M: perfect balance! nice and smoothe

O: Really solid example of a porter. Nothing over the top but a wonderful brew nonetheless.

Photo of Kris450
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

I love a good porter and that's exactly what this is. Rich malty flavor that cascades in a caramel climax that is maybe a bit pronounced, But I like it nonetheless. Very drinkable and not overly heavy. Pours a dark opaque brown, not quite black, yet extremely dark. A very good beer for a night in, a fire, and a steak.

Photo of moonboogie_n8
3.54/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Not at all what I was expecting, one of the few bells brews (in a bottle) that I had yet to try. I've enjoyed most styles from Bells; Two hearted, KZoo Stout, the top players.
this one was a little disappointing for a porter, thin but smooth, weak flavor but drinkable.
This isn't the worst porter I've had, but it's down there.
pours dark brown with a fizzy light tan head that leaves quickly with very little lacing.
coffee & some caramel, smokey, a little chocolate on the back but weak flavors. aftertaste is pleasant though.
maybe that will be good for some but not enough taste or body for me. may pass on this one again & go for Anchor or Smuttynose next porter.

Photo of adams82
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 7766, packaged December 13th, 2006.

Pours a deep, dark, translucent ruby-black (if there is such a color). Minimal off white head on the pour, but some nice lacing is left behind.

Smells of some bittersweet black malts, hints of coffee and chocolate and a touch of hops. While not a bold aroma, it is very nice and pleasing to the nose.

The dark malts are evident throughout the tasting experience as bittersweet flavors revolve around subtle hints coffee and caramel with a nice hop finish.

This is pretty chewy for what I would consider to be a medium bodied beer. Maybe a bit much on the carbonation but otherwise good.

This is a nice porter that is fiarly drinkable. And while it's a sold offering, I think I would pass this up for something either more bold or sweeter, especially as winter rolls in.

Photo of Spiekerbox
3.56/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank on tap at Bell's Eccentric Cafe

A- Dark brown color with a soft tan head.

S- Toasted malts stand out with a slight sweetness in the background, no particular other scents that I can find

T- The toasted malts stand out, with a slight coffee and nutty flavor. Nothing too special but is a more of just a "plain" porter. That isn't a bad thing really though.

M- Medium body, neither crisp or creamy, medium carbonation, actually quite a middle ground of a mouthfeel

D- Not a bad beer, was one of the only ones on the list at Bell's that I had not drank before, and I was not disappointed that I tried it. Would not be my first choice of beer but overall it is another solid offering from one of the best breweries in the country.

Photo of jlh8643
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with a batch code on back. Poured into a pint glass.

A: almost black body but little to no head.
S: a touch of chocolate and roasted malts with a whiff of floral hops
T: a little acrid dark malt at the start with some hop bite but not
much else.
M: on the this side. Doesn't leave much in the way of an aftertaste.
D: I said good because I didn't find anything offensive or out of line
but not all that impressed or memorable.

Photo of Jettanbass9
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

purchased from my only source, The Foodery in Northern Libs.

A - dark dark tan, tight light tan head, ruby red highlights and suprising clarity.
S - sweet malty aroma crosses with roasted barley, coffee and dark chocolate.
T - Sweet chewy malt along with dark coffee, dark chocolate and roasted flavors. Clean yeast profile and barely noticable hop bitterness.
M - Coats the mouth, with a smooth, low carbonated feel. It literally slips right down.
D - Cases, kegs, bombers, bottles, whatever you got if this was around more it would be a staple. Goes down extremely easy, during the fall, winter or spring i would keep a six pack real close.

Photo of Bumpon10s
3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours black with no head and a sticky lace.

S - Very malty smell, licorice style nose.

T - Malts, and coffee. However, at that junction, it isn't complex, seemingly just malt, coffee and alcohol.

M - It is a bit unbalanced, things just don't blend well, and it doesn't do to well in the mouth.

D - At the 5.25% it is a bit redeeming, but not the best porter you'll have.

Photo of BigHead
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

Photo of Fieldzy27
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
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.

Photo of hrking
4.76/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I get this on draft every once in awhile..It is a staple in my beer diet. This is everything a porter should be and all other should be compared to the Bell's Porter when judging the taste of a porter.Hands down my favorite porter to date. Easy on the pallet and can easily be made into a session beer which I seldom do! Cheers and hats of to Bell's brewery for this exceptionally fine brew!

Photo of slusk
3.72/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a dark almost black with a short lived tan head. Good lacing.

S: Coffee and a bit of cocoa up front, a bit of brown bread and musty hop aroma that is reminiscent of olive, not an off-putting aroma however... quite nice. The nose shifts to the coffee side as it warms.

T: Sweet coffee, toffee and cocoa with some black bread crust. Somewhat bright and distinct malt flavors with a light smoky underpinning. A bit nutty but surprisingly finishes somewhat semi-dry. Alcohol is well hidden.

M: Medium full body, leaning a bit to the creamy, coating side. I little astringency in the finish. Low carbonation.

O: This is a nice porter. It's starts sweet but doesn't finish quite as sweet, the dark roasted malts seem to add to the semidry finish. A nice porter overall, but there's a nit of mustiness that seems to detract from this brew for me. Overall, a great example of the style that may appeal to some, just not one of my favorites,

Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 2,580 ratings.