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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.

39 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 39
Hads: 72
Avg: 3.63
pDev: 16.25%
Wants: 11
Gots: 8 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 39 | Hads: 72
Photo of Thorpe429
3.06/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of oline73
3.23/5  rDev -11%
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.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.35/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.47/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. 2010 bottle.

a - Pours a somewhat transparent amber color with an inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel malts, bready malts, sugar, honey, and sweet fruit. Smells sweet but it's pretty good.

t - Tastes of bready malts, smooth pale malts, fruity malts, and caramel malts. Not as sweet as the smell, somewhat of a drop off.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Pretty smooth.

d - A pretty good amber ale. The taste was pretty standard for ambers but I enjoyed the smell a lot. Would try again but not seek out.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
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.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

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Photo of illidurit
3.47/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

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Photo of alexgash
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

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Photo of ffejherb
3.82/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
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!

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

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Photo of mentor
3.96/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

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Photo of Sixpoint
2.95/5  rDev -18.7%
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

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Photo of AltBock
3.51/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

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Photo of mikereaser
3/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - pours a murky brown with no foam at all

S - nothing too outstanding here, just a light malt aroma with a bit of piney hops

T - light malt taste and some piney hop flavor, Some pepper feel to it and bready malt, but nothing much more than that.

M/D - smooth, light bodied, but nothing too outstanding. Just a basic flavor.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
3.52/5  rDev -3%
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.

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Photo of soupyman10
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of projectflam86
4.03/5  rDev +11%
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.

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Photo of webmanspidey
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark caramel amber color. A sour unpleasant smell that I can't really describe. Very sweet and malty flavor with a slight touch of bitterness at the end. Lots of caramel-like flavors. Not overly strong but very sweet. Smooth enough to be considered sessionable. Decent middle of the pack amber ale.

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Photo of kzoobrew
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

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Photo of gmfessen
3.33/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I'm a big fan of Bell's and must try any new available brew by them; as such I had to pick this one up. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, beer is a hazy amber color, reminds me of apple cider in appearance with a thin creamy looking head on top. Smell is not overpowering, it is sweet... primarily amber malts with a tinge of grassy hops. I was pretty disappointed with the taste. It starts with a slightly sweet amber profile, followed noticeably by a slight alcohol bite and finishes grainy... this is definitely NOT their amber beer. This was my least favorite Bell's I've had and you can check my profile if you like... I've had most of them. The mouthfeel is pleasant, medium bodied with a viscous, creamy carbonation. Average drinkability. Overall, this beer is OK, but I have grown to expect more from Bell's than this... I will not be getting another sixer of Big Porch.

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Photo of Slynger
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

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Photo of danielharper
3.52/5  rDev -3%
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.

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Bell's Big Porch Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
82 out of 100 based on 39 ratings.