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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

1,963 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1963
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: 1,963 | Reviews: 944 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Fartknocker


3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz poured into a pint glass. Batch code 9015.
A- Very dark with a minimal tan head
S- Very nice malted, nutty aroma
T- Fairly standard for a porter, nice malted taste, finishes with a slight burnt aftertaste
M- not a whole lot of carbonation
D- Pretty decent, just a good solid offering

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2009 01:02:31 | More by Fartknocker
Photo of agomega


3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle served in a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a black color with a huge light tan head. Tons of lacing left behind.

Smell: Smell is a little faint. What smell there is consists of roasted aromas and a faint hint of chocolate.

Taste: Some roasted flavors - but in general it is kind of like the smell - just not much there. Overall the flavor is fairly blah and kind of disappointing. It is almost a watery flavor - not really much bitterness or sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body.

Overall: Only a so-so porter. It could be that I just got a bad bottle. The date was 8/30/11 so it shouldn't be past its prime. However, for now I will be sticking with Founders Porter which I enjoyed much more.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2011 00:09:57 | More by agomega
Photo of dimenhetfield


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

I'm might go out on a limb and say that this is one of my favorite porters now. We can't get it down south, but I was able to snag a bottle while I was in Tampa. The aromas are malty with hints of nuts and dried fruits, such as dates and raisins. The taste is creamy with a nice balance in the carbonation. I'll definitely pick up another bottle

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2010 16:51:39 | More by dimenhetfield
Photo of JDFish


1.6/5  rDev -58.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Poured dark and smelled of rotting fruit, burnt coffee, and somehting sour and acidic. Smallish head that disappeared quickly. I manage to get a few sips in before it was dumped down the drain. This piss water is overwhelm with sourness and alcohol. Worst tasting beer I've ever had, zero drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2011 02:58:22 | More by JDFish
Photo of Cummins9110


3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into glass, also noticed the yeast cake in the bottle, didnt know they bottle conditioned.

A - Very Dark black with ruby highlights in light. offwhite head that leaves nice lacing.

S - smells of chocolate and carmel malts

T - Tastes complex, starts malty, then carmel with chocolate taste increasing from slight to full on by swallow time

M - thick

overal this is very good, thick and chocolatey, good for the cold season. very stout like (or are stouts port like?)

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2011 06:25:32 | More by Cummins9110
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 jmatthew


3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served up in a pint glass as black as could be with barely a trace of a head remaining after only a brief 10 foot journey from the tap. Smell is decent although faint, and offers roasted malts with some coffee. Taste is very smoky upfront, which dissolves into espresso, chocolate and nutty flavors with an overall mustiness that carries through to the end. Somewhat thin, but oily with a lasting roasted malt flavor. Nice smooth session type porter.

Serving type: on-tap

09-27-2006 16:39:01 | More by jmatthew
Photo of timmay41


3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a bottle touting batch #8941.

A: Body offers a deep, dark brown color with a thin, tawny brown or caramel head. One-finger deep with medium carbonation, and the head lingers throughout the pint nicely.

S: This beer's strongest attribute--rich, roasted malt character with sweet dark cherry notes. Really enjoyable.

T&M: A little thin & less robust on both taste and mouthfeel considering the nose, but it's slightly sweet and pleasing on the tongue. A straightforward approach to the style.

D: Very drinkable at about 5 and a half percent. I put it down rather quickly. But I was thinking of the Smuttynose Robust Porter and trying to figure out which I'd pick for a six pack purchase, and it's a toss up. Bell's is great and I appreciate this offering, but it's not iconic or a "must have."

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2009 04:25:09 | More by timmay41
Photo of BacklitAvenger


4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Jet black in normal light, this porter appears a dark ruby red when held to the light. It is mostly transparent even at the thickest part of the glass. The head is a finger of poorly-retained lace the color of an egg shell.

Aroma - Mostly dark caramel malt on the nose. There's a hint of earthiness as well but the aroma doesn't impress.

Taste - The taste is better than the aroma but is still not the most complex or just plain delicious as the benchmark porter in my opinion: GLBC Eddie Fitz. It's a slightly burnt caramel flavor for the most part, with a slight bitterness on the finish. Slight milk chocolate edges in at one point but it's mostly dark toffee. The beer is slightly sweet in relation to the bitterness level.

Mouthfeel - This is the best aspect of the beer. It is smooth like an oatmeal stout. There's about average carbonation to keep things lively, and the heavy-bodied beer is chewy with malty goodness.

Drinkability - Pretty high. The middle of the range alcohol level and the silky body make this sure to please during a drinking session. The light taste leaves me considerably less than enamored, but those that prefer a less flavorful black beer may have found their new drinking mate.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2009 00:05:49 | More by BacklitAvenger
Photo of Illini5596


3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not a bad stout, definitely not my favorite but it shows a lot of promise, good initial taste moving to something a bit too sour for me, but still very drinkable. I imagine this is much better on tap. An almost bitter finish. Not bad for quenching my thirst, but I can think of better stouts that are just as available. Overall a nice try, but not my cup of tea.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2006 18:13:07 | More by Illini5596
Photo of getch


3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

a-nice dark brown color, very little head for a porter

s light-chocolate smell, nothing to robust

t-good tast, little chocolate after taste, some hints of carmel

m-nothing exciting, thick and smooth

d-could drink a couple of these, i will def. get this beer again and will be looking for it on taps.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2007 02:07:51 | More by getch
Photo of MillySox


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

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass at about 50 degrees. Dark solid brown with a slightly tan head, that was thick. The aroma was malty and slightly sweet with coffee tones.

The initial taste matches the aroma with complex blend of coffee, vanilla, slightly burnt maltiness. Medium gravity and smooth. The aftertast leaves a little to savor or comes up a little flat.

Overall a decent an good example of american porter.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2009 02:51:44 | More by MillySox
Photo of xtremejammn


4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Nice deep, black body with a brownish hue. Not a fan of heads.

Smell: Smells bitter, a definite hop presence. An underlying scent of slightly sweet (baking) cocoa.

Taste: A slight bitterness with a definite roasted, dark malt presence.

Mouthfeel: Certainly bubbly but not too bubbly, nicely balanced.

Drinkability: The taste is strong but not overbearing, which blends well with the light carbonation. Very well done.

The bottom Line: A damn good porter. Please give it a try if it's available in your area. Have a good one.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2010 04:20:10 | More by xtremejammn
Photo of IvoryFoxhole


4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass. Brewed in May, 2012.

A) Pour results in 2 finger light tan head. Slow dissolve to slight cap and a little bit of lacing. Beer is a dark brown.

S) Roasted malts, roasted coffee, maybe a little bit of chocolate.

T) Roasted malts, some chocolate, some hops come in at the end.

M) Moderate to full, medium carbonate which causes a dry finish.

O) Solid porter, quite enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2012 22:12:51 | More by IvoryFoxhole
Photo of indy169


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

Bell's is making some of the finest beers around and their Porter is no exception.
From first smell, this Porter makes a statement and claims its ground. Rich and nutty, with a hint of cocoa and very little noticable alcohol on the nose. The color is deep, dark and thick. Lacing holds nicely. Think a bit thinner than Guinness.
Mouthfeel is initially slightly zesty, then dissapates into the character promised in the nose. Very tasty, and lingers quite well in the mouth. Smooth and solid. This is my new standard for American Porters. Thank you Bell's. I wouldn't change much with this one & yes, I'll take another.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2006 20:29:41 | More by indy169
Photo of Thedaver4220


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

Pours an almost black with a small tan head. It smells of roasted coffee with hints of chocolate. Smooth brew and very easy drinking with roasted chocolate after taste that doesn't linger in your mouth. Very nice porter all in all. I like Bells and this lived up to my expectations.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2011 06:28:00 | More by Thedaver4220
Photo of chuckm


4.53/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is one of the better American porters I have run into with a solid and flavorful presence. More of a dark brown than a black and the flavor also seems to be a little understated. Still a very fine porter and worth seeking out or pairing with food.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2007 02:59:22 | More by chuckm
Photo of xfactor9600


2.63/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: A dark brown with a light tan head. So far so good.

S: an "off" coffee aroma.

T: Carmel mixed with malts and what tasted like bad coffee. I suspect I had a bad batch.

M: Creamy

D: Perhaps I was expecting something different or I had a bad batch. But the taste was not what I expected. I may try again just to see if I have a better experience.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2008 01:52:11 | More by xfactor9600
Photo of CoSMoSYS


3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep chocolate brown with a reddish hue when and where the light hits it. Along with it comes a huge creamy tan head that dissipates somewhat but stays the entire life of the beer. Lacing is very evident.

The smell of roasted toffee is very clear. Fresh bread. I also noticed a bit of dark chocolate too.

Very dark malty flavor. Roasted. I picked up on some raisin flavoring.

Medium bodied and very creamy. Smooth. Not very carbonated.

Very happy with this porter. Tastes what I think a good porter should taste like but I would have liked it a tiny bit more sweet. Bell's hasn't disappointed me yet!

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2008 16:12:46 | More by CoSMoSYS
Photo of AllFineThings


3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of the better porters, pours dark to very dark ruby red with a head that will not dissipate.

tastes very good like chocolate and coffee-Duh!

If it were quite a bit heavier than it would be my top beer, but just gets beat out.

You can drink these all day!

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2010 19:24:58 | More by AllFineThings
Photo of ZagZagg


3.89/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into goblet glass

A: Two finger effervescent head with some audible snap crackle and pop. Head has moderate retention and a kaki color that leaves some webby lacing marking its former self. The brew itself is mean and black, like the abyss. Little froth appears to have a solid body.

S: Roasted chocolate malt, but also quite bitter, lots of coffee and bakers chocolate. The malt is very interesting, somewhat bready but also ever so smoky. There’s a nuttiness present too, playing off of the malt profile.

T: Hmm, malty, chocolaty, roasted, well-blended combination of coffee bitters and some caramel, scotch, and malt derived un-metabolized sugars. Hops take the backseat here and hide within the roasted coffee, which is offset by the malt and bready flavors. I don’t want to say this is two-dimensional because it is very well balanced, but nothing is really grabbing my attention either.

M: I just wish it were bigger. This is medium bodied, but I want it to be fuller. Light carbonation that’s pleasant. Not too much aftertaste, sorta sweet, somewhat dry.

O: A pleasant porter, for sure. Has the elements you look for in a porter, but it’s just that. It’s like the foundation for a superior beer without pushing the envelope and taking to that next level. Probably a good beer to start with if you’re trying to get into the style or stouts. That jaw dropping pizzazz is just missing.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2014 01:17:25 | More by ZagZagg
Photo of websherpa


3.15/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark dark brown beer. No transperency in the middle but prune like color on all edges. Modest light tan head, almost off white. Mild lacing. All in all pretty typical. Nothing to jump and down about, but nothing alarming at this point.

Smell: What I'm getting is a beer that is just on the malty side of balanced. I'm smooth and sweet mixture of caramel chocolate and dark fruit malts. The hops answer with a muted citric element. What comes to mind is dried fruit in candy.

Taste: I'm not impressed with this beer. The nose had the volume set to 6 or 7 and I'm getting 2 or 3. There is nothing off putting about this beers flavor, it just doesn't really deliver anything either. I will say it tastes even better balanced than it smells although the individual notes seem to melt into more generic sweet vs. bitter elements. You can work at it and pick them out, put they lack the richness and clarity that was in the nose.

Mouthfeel: This beer is just too thin and bubbly for me. I feel like the huge carbonation on this beer just got in the way of the flavors that were there. All the flavors I was getting on the nose were chewy flavors and I think a thicker beer would have done them some justice. I wasn't looking for pea soup on this but more body would be appreciated.

Drinkability: This beer is best consumed after it's sat a while, not only to warm up but also to flatten out. The chocolate starts to come through more as both aspects coax the flavor out. The after taste on this is lacking and it's not a sipper by any means. The beer isn't bad but I won't be going out of my way to get any in the near future. I'm glad to have tried it. I'm glad to have tried it and got a different look at the porter.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2011 07:34:37 | More by websherpa
Photo of profzoom


3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was excited to try this beer, as it represents one of my favorite styles from one of my favorite breweries. Sadly, I was not very impressed. The appearance is quite nice - a deep, dark black that only lets the tiniest bit of golden brown shine through at the bottom of the glass when held up to a light. The head is rather thick and is a creamy, brownish ivory color. The aroma is the weakest aspect of this beer in my opinion. I don't get the complex roasted scent I normally pick up from a porter, but rather an almost unpleasant smell that reminds me somewhat of my least favorite Bell's concoction, the Third Coast Beer. The taste is definitely a step up from the smell, but still is not up to what I consider a really good porter. The hoppy, chocolately, roasted elements that make up a porter are all there, but seem a little hidden behind a rather boring watery base. I doubt I'll pick this one up again.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2004 03:46:10 | More by profzoom
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 GotWad629


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
Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 1,963 ratings.