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Bell's Big Porch Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Big Porch AleBell's Big Porch Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

65 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 65
Reviews: 39
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 12.05%
Wants: 10
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-01-2007

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 65 | Reviews: 39
Reviews by illidurit:
Photo of illidurit
3.47/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to cpferris for this one. Opaque hazy muddy gold with a beige 1 finger head. The foam dies off quickly leaving little lace. Aroma is caramel malt with overripe peach. Flavor is much the same, with a firm caramel maltiness, peachy fruitiness, and an additional hoppy finish that's a bit piney with medium bitterness. A little bit bland honestly. Medium thin body with lots of carbonation.

More User Reviews:
Photo of orbitalr0x
3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle pours into my glass a hazy amber after I accidentally pour a good bit of yeast in. Creamy half inch of bone white head sticks to the top of the brew. Steady active carbonation. Aromas of sweet caramel and lightly toasted grain with floral hops.

First sip brings a sweet caramelly maltiness. Lightly toasted and a bit nutty with a nice floral hop bite to it as well. Flows down crisp and clean with a grainy touch. Finishes with a bit of bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and easy to drink. Smooth and creamy I could have a few in an evening, but then I'd want to move on to a different flavor. A tasty amber ale through and through. As far as I know this is the Amber Ale repackaged and it's just as good as Bell's Amber has always been.

Photo of Jorge
4.18/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Rich, cloudy brown; light tan head, which quickly dissipates.

Aroma: Pleasant, slightly funky nose; a blend of hops and malts.

Taste: Mellow, slight hoppiness, chocolately malts, slightly acidic aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Slightly medicine bitterness if you let is rest on the tongue.

Drinkability: Extremely drinkable, a delicious brown ale. More distinctive than the Bell's Best Brown.

Photo of Kegatron
3.35/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Big thanks to Chad Ferris for this extra!

Pours a dark, murky amber with of yeasty floaters in it and a finger or so of creamy off-white head. Retains with a thin layer across the top that leaves some light lacing. The aroma is actually a bit subdued. I'm getting some bready smelling malts with a touch of sweetness, as well as some light citrus and floral accents.

The taste is a mix of toasted and caramel malts with a tinge of citrus character making its presence known as well. I'm also picking up a bit of a light hop profile in the backend. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a tad too much prickly carbonation for an overall softer flavor profile.

Decent Amber. I'm not sure what was up with the yeast and subdued aroma. Old bottle maybe? Still drinkable though, as I had no problem polishing off the bottle.

Photo of PeatReek
3.44/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A solo bottle brought across the country when my parents visited for graduation - I have great parents. Pours a nice clear light amber color with a nice tight whitish-tan head puffing over the top of the glass. Smells sweet and intensely floral-hoppy. The first sip is a little bit cloyingly sweet, followed by an American hop flavor that is somewhat more subdued than I had anticipated from the aroma. The prominent bitterness cuts well against the sweetness, however.

Towards the middle of the glass, some nice malty caramel overtones are starting to come through, maybe some Maerzen flavors even. Unfortunately, so is the "dirtiness" of the hop character, and somehow these flavors don't really balance each other out. Overall, it's a sight better than most amber ales out there, but not truly phenomenal. As to sessionability, I'd probably switch after just 1 or 2.

(Batch 7872... Bell's website has never heard of it. Ha!)

Photo of mikesgroove
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pour was pretty good with a nice medium amber color with nice clarity to it and a small white head on top. Aroma of nice carmael malts and a dose of piney hops. Warming really brought out the sweet notes here, very solid. Nice medium body and very well carbonated. Strong caramel and bready malt undertones were very prominant with hops an afterthought but strong enough to really shine through in the finish.

Photo of oline73
3.23/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a goblet at the Grand Hotel.

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with just over a finger of fluffy off white head. The head fades quickly leaving hardly anything behind.

Smell: Sweet caramel malt, mildly fruity. Pretty simple.

Taste: Quite malty, bready and mildly sweet. There is a slight bitterness in the finish as well.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, tingly carbonation, and a hint of dryness in the finish.

Overall: Just an average amber ale. Nothing unpleasant, but not a whole lot of complexity either.

Photo of Donnelj
4.16/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very nice amber. I wish I could get this at the store.

Plots a very nice color with excellent pearly white head. Head does not retain well but nice lacing is present.

Smell is not much to talk about. Slight grassy aroma but very slight.

Taste is quite pleasant. It's a mild beer with slight hoppiness. Finish is crisp and refreshing. great session beer!

Mouth feel is nice but a little thin feeling.

Overall a very good product by Bells!

Photo of GbVDave
4.1/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 20oz imperial pint. Thanks to HeatherAnn fo the assist!

2008 Batch # 8470

A: Pours a lovely & hazy looking tarnished copper color with a creamy, off-white, 1 1/2 finger head that recedes quickly to a swirly skim and thick & bubbly ring. Sticky sheets of lace.

S: Nice aromas of citrus and gradually a little pine bough. Toasted malt, biscuit-y yeast, and an earthy herbal hop finally emerges around mid-glass.

T: Dry, toasted malt and dry, peppery hops counter the citrus/pine flavors as well as the nutty yeastyness. Great toasted malt and roasted nut in the finish.

M: Opens pretty dry and astringent and quickly becomes juicy and oily in the middle. During the finish a peppery/herbal quality takes hold and keeps things interesting.

D: Excellent drinkability. I really liked the nutty flavors that came out as its' temperature rose. Another great summer beer!

Photo of soupyman10
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got these ones randomly on a back shelf at a MI Meijer (still doesn't make much sense to me, but little about that store does). Pours a crystal clear amber color with two inches of fluffy head on top that leaves solid lacing and takes its time dissolving. Nose is strong on malt, with a touch of grain in there too and some mild hops at the end. Taste is fairly similar; sweet caramel malt up front, with a good bit of grain in the middle and some mild hops in the short aftertaste. Feel is average, good carbonation and medium body. Although some people are arguing that Bell's seems to have just rebottled their Amber as the Big Porch, I definitely noticed a subtle, grainy difference between the two - and I come down on the Amber side of the fence. Nonetheless, this one's just fine for a drinkable beer on most occasions.

Photo of youngblood
3.7/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours coppery brown into a glass. Head retention is descent, about a minute or so. In the nose, you can sense the expected caramel sweetness of the malts, while a small bit of hops balance it out nicely.
Taste follows the nose closely with the main focus being on the malts. It is very well structured with a smooth texture to the ale.
Overall, it's a good amber.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.06/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle purchased at the Bell's retail shop. Served in a snifter.

Pours a very light copper color with a good white head and plenty of lacing on the way down. The nose has a bit of bread plus a touch of cream-like yeast. Bready throughout. Very much so. The taste is mildly malty; again, there is a bit of light sweetness and a very mild earthy character plus gobs of bread. There is a light tannic grainy bitterness there as well. I'd waited awhile to try this one and it was quite disappointing. Too bad.

Photo of BrewMichigan
4.13/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought this one at Meijer. Doesn't seem too exclusive if I can get it in Flint, anyways...

A - A hazy amber color.
S - Not a whole lot of aroma, slight hop smell.
T - Much more malty than hoppy. Has a slight english character to it but not fruity. More biscuit flavor than other American Ambers but very clean finish.
M - Good mouthfeel, not too slick, not to astringent.
D - I could do a couple of these on the "Big Porch" on Mackinaw.

Overall a very solid beer but nothing to write home about. This could be very good on a hot day at the lake.

Photo of BeaBeerWife
4.5/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

outstanding amber, as it has always been, under it's traditional name Bell's Amber. The original founder of this recipe is quite talented and I look forward to enjoying his new line-up of brews at Muskegon Brewing & Distilling, Michigan... (once it opens) hopefully later this year!!!

I've got the 2008 edition, right on the label. I also have some of last years left over, of which they did not put the year on the label.

PS - do a taste test of this brew with Bell's Amber!

:)

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy orange-ish/ brown color, with an off white head. In the aroma, pils/ saaz hops, and a small roasty malt. In the taste, roasty malt, dry caramel, coffee, and pilsner notes. A bitter and medium mouthfeel, and a dry roasty aftertaste. Interesting, tastes like a cross between a pils and a brown ale.

Photo of robbyc1
2.99/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

thanks to pimp? one of my traders for this bottle, 12 oz, code tells me that it was bottled on March 27, 2007. No worse for ware after one year.

Nice white head on top of a mild orange color, could not see through it, slight haze.

No nose to speak, the flavor is meh, as the kids say, ok but slight hops, slight malt, easy to drink but not much flavor, maybe it is a bit old, but seem fine.

Decent mouthfeel, fuzzy, nice and decent but not my favorite of this type, just solid.

Photo of projectflam86
4.03/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This stuff is super fresh. Picked it up at Bell's on July 22 and the bottled on date is July 20!

A- Pours a light copper red color with a thick foam head that leaves great lacing.

S- Some nice caramel malt aromas and light fruits come through in the nose.

T- Plenty of clean grain flavors with toasted malt and caramel coming through. A bit of floral hops make themselves noticeable with a light bitterness that helps to balance the sweetness. A bit pedestrian in flavor maybe but still quite good.

M- Light bodied with nice carbonation. Crisp with very well hidden alcohol.

O- Overall this was a very solid brew. I would pick this up often for grill outs during the summer as a substitute for Boston Lager and Elliot Ness.

Photo of goodbyeohio
3.52/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

nightcap.. of sorts.

hazy amber with inches of pillowy foam. buttery malt nose which oozes grapey scotch ale vibes... not sure why. first sip solidifies the malt handle on an overall flavor, and further sips bring out the sugar-stewed apple, overripe fig, grape jelly and grainy stuck-mash sweetness. this beer tastes very fresh, and extremely unbalanced. drinkable? hell yes. would i drink more than.. say.. two? no. why? because the beer itself reeks too strongly of raw ingredients.. serious fresh ingredient chops that don't long for quelling. reasonable beer, just nothing like what the idea advertises and nothing like what i wanted to drink. o well.

Photo of Sixpoint
2.95/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I normally like Bell's beers, but this one was off the mark. Not that it was offensive in any way, but it was no two-hearted ale!

for real though, what is? ;-)

The reality is, for not trying to impress, this beer left me unimpressed. There was a stale hop bite that seemed more like a lazy jumping-jack calisthenic, rather than the let's-do-some-bikram-yoga hop blast in your face two-hearted ale.

there I go again on two-hearted.

which beer am I reviewing, anyway?

bad boy

Photo of BeerAndBourbon
2.79/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I'm not sure of the age of this brew or what the status is on distribution, but here it goes.

A. Pours amber with a small thin head.

S. Honey with some oxidation; similar to David Bell is 21.

T. Very little flavor with a touch of honey.

M. Thin body.

D. One and done.

Photo of Dalem
3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

As a Michigander with an interest towards tasty suds anytime a new Bell's brand hit's the shelves my local beer monger will find me getting out my wallet for a six or two. This season they introduced Big Porch Ale to the general public. It is named in tribute to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island who are selling it as their house brand.
What you get in this amber is a very inviting, very crisp and leafy summer (the season Mackinac is known for by most people) scent, bold upfront taste of a bold hops and a bit of caramel & cream and a slight bitter in the aftertaste that reminds ya that you are drinking a Bell's but not lingering long to wear out it's welcome. I just finished up some yardwork a bit ago, went and sat on my own porch and opened one of these. It's hearty enough to get ya with it's own little kick but clean enough to hit the spot. I used to think I wasn't much of an amber fan (thought's of Killian's still dancing though my head maybe...Never liked the stuff) but I've been finding myself enjoy certain one's here and there lately. I've heard that Big Porch is just Bell's regular Amber with a different label. Ya know what though. I don't feel duped though really. It cost me the same price as any of their other ones they make (well...save for their Hop Slam and Hell Hath No Fury of course) and it's nice to know, in a way, that after this seasonal run is gone I can still go pick it up in it's regular clothes (provided it is exactly the same. Out of all the Bell's I've tried I don't believe I have ever picked up their amber...but I think that goes back to what I was saying about bad Killian memories.)

Photo of Slynger
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found in a Michigan buddy's fridge while visiting, and he was gracious enough to donate it to my cause.

Big Porch pours a slightly hazy bright orangey-copper color, with a fine cap of creamy off-white color.

It's lightly peachy and caramel sweet with some lightly toasted biscuits, and floral and spicy hops. The medium body has a nice, soft, creaminess to it.

While it's nothing amazing, it is a pretty tasty, very sessionable, amber. Definitely glad I was able to try it.

Photo of lackenhauser
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fairly standard amber to reddish color. Moderate aroma of malt and hops. Slight sulfury aroma. Malty enough flavor with the usual dose of hops. pretty standard US amber here. Mild toffeeish taste. Decent mouthfeel for the style. Overall drinkability is good considering the average qualities here. 2 or 3 would be good with dinner at the restaurant this is brewed for. I wouldnt go out of my way to find it though.

Photo of Wasatch
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks goes out to mikereaser for this brew.

Pours a cloudy amber color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy off-white head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, slight hop profile, lots of caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, with some caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, a nice little brew.

Photo of MDekker
4.13/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a rich, hazy amber color with a nice finger of head. Some of disappears pretty quickly, but some lingers as well. Good lacing. The aroma is nothing fancy, but quality malt and hops, somewhat floral - what you'd expect from an amber, and done well. The flavor goes pretty quickly to the hoppy end of things, with some slightly toasted malty notes heading straight into pine and citrus. In the mouth it's fine, and it goes down really easy. I've been more than happy with this one from Bell's, although I must say that I'm biased some since I'm from Michigan.

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Bell's Big Porch Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
83 out of 100 based on 65 ratings.