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

Bell's Big Porch AleBell's Big Porch Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

59 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 59
Reviews: 39
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 12.53%


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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-01-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 59 | Reviews: 39 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BeaBeerWife
BeaBeerWife

Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +22.6%
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!

:)

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2008 02:40:00 | More by BeaBeerWife
Photo of Donnie2112
Donnie2112

Alaska

4.5/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Nice hazy copperish red in color and a little bit of head

nice light herbal aroma and some toasty on the nose

it's some and biscuity on the malt and rolls into a smooth, herbal slightly citric hop finish.

smooth medium body, nicely carbonated snappy astringencey that dries the mouth through the finish

very drinkable beer, I really wish this was available regularly in my area. It seriously would be a regular beer that I would drink. It's almost perfectly balanced, tasty yet inoffensive. This might be a perfect drinkin beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2008 01:15:50 | More by Donnie2112
Photo of Jorge
Jorge

Illinois

4.22/5  rDev +15%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2008 01:45:06 | More by Jorge
Photo of Donnelj
Donnelj

Michigan

4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
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!

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2013 23:06:26 | More by Donnelj
Photo of MDekker
MDekker

Michigan

4.13/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2007 02:06:11 | More by MDekker
Photo of BrewMichigan
BrewMichigan

Michigan

4.13/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2008 13:57:24 | More by BrewMichigan
Photo of GbVDave
GbVDave

Illinois

4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
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!

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2008 22:47:59 | More by GbVDave
Photo of projectflam86
projectflam86

Ohio

4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2011 02:02:03 | More by projectflam86
Photo of xav33
xav33

Michigan

4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bells Amber Ale aka Big Porch Ale
12 oz bottle
Packaged 03/07, rung 05/07
Moderate pour in an English pint.

Poured a clear amber with a large fizzy fairly lasting light yellowish brown head with tiny lacing.

Smelt of moderate caramel and leafy hops.

Taste was upfront strong bitter green hops and moderate sweet caramel followed by a strong bitter roasted malt mushroomy yeast black tea and dry leaves with moderate caramel sweetness on an average length bitter finish.

Palate was light to medium bodied, slightly creamy, softly carbonated, and light to moderately astringent.

Overall, this was a great amber. Some of that unique Bell's flavor is there (the yeast I think) Balanced on the malt with a good afront oh hops and yeast bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2007 06:51:51 | More by xav33
Photo of mentor
mentor

Colorado

3.98/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared with my wife on June 13, 2008...our 10 year Wedding Anniversary. An appropriate beer for this evening, as we honeymooned on Mackinac Island and enjoyed an evening in the Grand Hotel.

Pours a half finger off-white head over a murky orange-red liquid. Smells invigorating malt wet sweet with drying flour character. Biscuity malt and toffee...actually, quite a bit like Fat Tire from New Belgium Brewing. Upon swirling, has the honey and grape aroma much like Midas Touch from Dog Fishead.

Tastes malt wet with chalky driness and clear maraschino cherry flavor. Not quite a tang, more of a spicy zing. Could be partly contributed by the sharp fine carbonation. Yes, carb is a clear sting on the papillae and mixed with floral hoppy flavor. Hop flavor is lightly citrus, but also nutty rising up retro-nasal. Beer is cellar temperature now, nearly flat, and the sweet hangs in a very pleasant way. Esters are minimal, but are very light, such as a dash of canned pear syrup. Some earthiness adds a nice counterpoint.

I could definitely drink another. With searching, this beer is deep, but to the wandering mind, the beer comes across as light and easy to drink. Carb was a bit strong to start, but cooled off upon swirling. Md-light in the mouth.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2008 06:22:23 | More by mentor
Photo of OWSLEY069
OWSLEY069

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2008 19:22:31 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of alexgash
alexgash

Connecticut

3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mildly hazy, amber-gold body with some little sediments suspended. Small, tight-bubbled, creamy, beige-white head. Good lacing. Toffee-infused biscuit malt on the nose, with light cocoa, candied pears, yeast, and mildly floral hops. Caramelly biscuit malt with mildly sweet fruits. Yeasty, spicy hop finish with clean, balancing bitterness. Medium body, with a creamy feel. Nice.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2008 00:30:00 | More by alexgash
Photo of manodepaz
manodepaz

Michigan

3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I drank this out of a 12oz stein glass...pour is a darker than amber/lighter than copper hue with an off cream colored head that settles....nose is unremarkable...slightly perfumed with a touch of floral hop aroma but nothing of particular note. On the palate a pleasant, above average maltiness with a nice hop finish on the back of the tongue that lingers. Frankly, the malt really comes through in this beer, but in a good sort of way. A very smooth taste overall, I could drink 2 or 3 of these over an afternoon, a very pleasing session brew (ok, it is 6% ABV which means it is a bit alcoholic for a session beer, but I stand by my statement). This beer is above average for Bell's, not quite Pale Ale territory but definately on par with their Amber Ale. A solid effort worth checking out if you're up on Mackinaw Island or in a Meijer's in Kalamazoo.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2007 00:37:48 | More by manodepaz
Photo of ffejherb
ffejherb

Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle into DFH specialty glass on 5/28/09.

A - Hazy, gritty-looking amber/caramel-colored body with about a finger of off-white foam that reduced to a thin veil and left a bit of lace around the sides of the glass. Lots of tiny particulates are suspended throughout the body.

S - Aroma is a blend of light citrusy, spicy and herbal hop notes paired with a sweet caramel and bready malt character.

T - Flavor kicks off with very subtle citrusy and herbal hops and a sweet caramel malt aspect. Finishes with a distinctive spicy, bready maltiness with a toasted grainy character.

M - Medium bodied with a syrupy texture and lively carbonation. Sweet, slightly spicy finish with scant hop bitterness.

D - Drinks like a malty pale with a distinctive grainy finish and a spicy flair. Not one of Bell's more memorable brews, but a good enough session beer at the very least.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2009 23:59:41 | More by ffejherb
Photo of Dalem
Dalem

Michigan

3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
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.)

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2007 20:58:01 | More by Dalem
Photo of youngblood
youngblood

Indiana

3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2008 18:26:56 | More by youngblood
Photo of Slynger
Slynger

Illinois

3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2008 03:09:34 | More by Slynger
Photo of kzoobrew
kzoobrew

Michigan

3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours cloudy brown color, slight amber hints. Fluffy white head which subsides rather quickly. Light cap left, not much in terms of actual lacing what foam is left from the head does stick.

Balanced aroma both hops and malts are picked up.

Flavor has a good mix of light biscuit malt, with pleasant hop bite.

Mouthfeel is clean and smooth. Medium body, carbonation works well.

Very drinkable, while this will not top many lists, it is a very decent brew. Good brew to sit down and enjoy a few.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2008 04:00:07 | More by kzoobrew
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2009 23:25:28 | More by Wasatch
Photo of orbitalr0x
orbitalr0x

Illinois

3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2007 05:50:56 | More by orbitalr0x
Photo of soupyman10
soupyman10

District of Columbia

3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2007 19:10:41 | More by soupyman10
Photo of lackenhauser
lackenhauser

Maryland

3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2008 04:08:58 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of danielharper
danielharper

Michigan

3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy reddish-orange body, thin head that dissipates quickly and leaves no lacing.

Smell: Dry, malty, hints of fruit. Smells basically like a generic "amber" beer, but no flaws are easily detectable. Perhaps a touch sweeter and fuller-bodied than most.

Taste: Again, a pretty standard amber. Heavily malty starter, dry finish, leaves a bit of a sickly sweet aftertaste. No real complexity here, but it's well-executed and, again, there are no real flaws here to speak of, besides a bit of tartness to the finish.

Mouthfeel: Thin-to-moderate. Slightly grainy, light carbonation.

Drinkability: The American Amber Style isn't the most impressive style to begin with, but the folks from Bell's have made a perfectly serviceable example of one. Fairs better when not being scrutinized -- this makes a really nice beer with which to sit and have a meal or to have while watching TV, hence the relatively high marks for drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2008 22:37:03 | More by danielharper
Photo of AltBock
AltBock

Ohio

3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle with a light tan colored label that has a drawing of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan. Below the drawing is the vintage year of 2008 and Bell's address. The back label has a paragraph that talks about how this beer was "inspired by the beauty of Mackinac Island." Along with all the mandatory US info, there is a batch number of 8511. That means this bottle was packaged on May 22nd, 2008.

Appearance: I had no other choice then to pour this Bell's Beer into my Bell's pint glass. "Big Porch" poured a hazy golden tangerine orange color. What separates this beer from the other golden tangerine orange colored beers in this beer's hop particles. They're floating around. I would have to say that they were stagnant. They were just there. The initial head of foam was 3/4 of inch in height and white in color. This head of foam had great retention that left behind a long lasting skim of white foam and few small blots of lace around the glass. Great appearance!

Smell: I wish I could say that the aroma was just as great as the appearance, but I can't. It was just a standard aroma. The aroma was simply malty with biscuit malts and a gentle whiff of bitter hops. That's it! Swirling it around will do nothing to the aroma.

Taste: While the aroma was simply malty, the taste was peppery and malty. That's the best way I can describe the taste. The taste was peppery and malty with biscuit malts, a dash of black pepper, a quick flash of juicy fruits, a gentle touch of yeast, and a subtle hint of bitter hops.

Mouthfeel: This was an easy drinking light bodied beer with a malty and slightly peppery aftertaste of biscuit malts, black pepper, and a quick splash of juicy fruits. This aftertaste did however linger on for some time.

Drinkability: This was a not one of Bell's classic over the the top beers. This was one of their easy drinking summer time beers. This is a beer where you could actually see yourself drinking while you're sitting on the porch of the Grand Hotel on a hot summer day.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2009 19:58:35 | More by AltBock
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2011 03:02:24 | More by mikesgroove
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Bell's Big Porch Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
83 out of 100 based on 59 ratings.