Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store

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Porter - Robust
Ranked #43
Ranked #16,526
3.88 | pDev: 10.05%
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Michigan, United States
Very Good
Notes: Our award winning Porter bridges the gap between malty brown ales and heavily roasted stouts. Notes of chocolate, coffee and roasted barley are offset with just a slight hop bitterness. Enjoy any time of the year.
Reviews: 1,134 | Ratings: 3,140 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by woemad:
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woemad from Washington

4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of Whyteboar. He included two bottles of this in his NBS BIF #11 box to me. I thought I'd already drank both and reviewed it, but this peeped out at me when I was looking through my fridge for a NBS candidate. According to the rear label, this was bottled on January 22, 2020. Different label than the one pictured here.

Poured into a snifter, this was a very dark brown, virtually black, with a big, creamy head that fell somewhere between beige and tan in color. Lots of lace.

Not a huge aroma to this, but it's exactly the kind you'd expect for a porter. There's some roasted maltiness that imparts some dark chocolate and a bit of coffeeish bitterness.

Taste is similar to the nose. Roasted malts dominate the flavor. It's a bit more bitter than the nose led me to believe. Molasses and coffee are what the taste buds are reminded of. Finish is fairly dry.

Medium bodied, with a somewhat creamy mouthfeel.

Nothing that blows me away, but a very solid porter. It doesn't seem to have suffered from being opened up 5 months after bottling. If I'd been smart, I'd have done a side by side of it and Deschutes' Black Butte (haven't had one in a long while now). If it were local, it'd make a nice fridge porter. Thanks, Craig!

Jun 21, 2020
More User Reviews:
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GTSeabolt from Oregon

2.83/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I like my porters heavy and dark and this was neither. It felt like a watered down version of a porter meets a brown ale that is having an identity crisis.

Jul 26, 2015
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mlockman from Indiana

4.19/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Phenomenal Porter, one of the best I've had to date, in fact. Not too roasty, perfect balance of sweet and bittersweet. Sets the benchmark to which all other American-made porters should be evaluated, in my humble opinion.

Jun 14, 2015
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Raime from Greenland

4.23/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bells Porter.

Now this one outta be some fun. Thr legendary Porter from my favorite brewery. Grabbed a single for $1.89 at my local Meijer. No time for cooling, I wanna drink NOW!.

Look - From the bottle into a pint glass. Pours a very deep brown with hints of ruby if held up to the light. The head is massive, very frothy and very bubbly, standing nearly half the glass in height. Carbonation is tough to read due to the darkness of the beer. A large amount of sticky lacing is left all around the glass as though building a stairway to * insert your religious afterlife of choice here *.

Smell - Nose is very roasted malt forward with an odd, almost metallic twang I guess you could say as it embraces your nostrils. Hop levels are kept to ablut moderate and there is also a large medium coffee aspect due to the beer being nearly room temperature.

Taste - The roasted malt and moderate level of medium coffee are the star players on this brew. The metallic twang ks there though not bothersome. Hops are very crisp and refreshing and nearly grapefruit like in nature.

Feel - The feel is absolutely perfect for the style. Body is very full and coats the mouth in rich roasty goodness and it is highly creamy due to the beautifully retained head. Carbonation is minimal and the beer swallows like a dream. Flavors lean more towards milk chocolate as the brew sits.

Overall - A very solid Porter. Great, actually. Probably one of my favorites out of the specific style. Very easy drinking aslnd sessionable to high hell. This would make a fine introduction porter for somebody just getting into the style. Bell's really cannot do much wrong. I'd have again for sure..

Oct 23, 2015
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chitoryu12 from Florida

4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look: The ideal look for a porter. Pitch black with a finger of tan head that doesn't dissipate. If the head was a bit bigger, this would be a perfect score in the category.

Smell: Rich chocolate malt, with a touch of sweetness.

Taste: Mild chocolate malt followed by a bready note. A hint of roast bitterness that quickly goes away. Very little hops.

Mouthfeel: Thick and velvety with good carbonation.

Overall: While the taste isn't quite there yet, it's still a good showing and would be a nice porter to ease a newbie into the style.

Jan 07, 2019
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jimdalton from Tennessee

4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Dark chocolate brown (nearly black), non-transparent that pours a one finger head with quite a bit of lacing.
Smell: Malt backbone with a hint of smoke and roasted coffee
Taste: Malt and roasted coffee are up front with some citrus hop presence. Smoky flavor is very subtle, but not overpowered.
Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy body with a smooth milk texture. Moderate carbonation.
Overall: Bell's Porter is a wonderful porter that brings a smooth feel and great flavor. Well executed!

Nov 24, 2015
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Squire from Mississippi

3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice dark almost inky black color with small light tan cap.

An aroma of roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, caramelized toffee and something like overripe dark figs in the background. Don't really get much hop presence except for some hint of freshness riding as a top note overall.

Taste is rather simple yet complex, which is to say there are a number of threads woven together but not too tightly. The flavor threads remain distinct but that may be a plus because I've had some Porter/Stouts with the same characteristics that were frankly a muddled mess whereas this one comes across as brightly distinct.

Texture is full and balanced with sufficient carbonation.

Overall it's a cut above. This is not a diminished Stout, rather something that proudly stands on it's own.

May 06, 2017
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ovaltine from Indiana

4.23/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a rich, dark brown color, light tan head. Aromas are cocoa up front, and then earthy hops follow.

The cocoa is present up front on the taste, but the earthy hops are the star of this show - they add a dark fruit flavor that blends so well with the cocoa flavors, making this a flavorful and poundable porter. Exceptionally well done by Bells.

Jun 30, 2017
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matcris from Arizona

4.81/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Rated within the style. I guess it just depends on your idea of what a good porter is. There are quite a few great ones on the market. There are a lot of great porters that to me should really be called stouts. It's subjective, right? Well, starting with the straight pour into the pint glass we get a nice light tan three fingers of head. The beer appears to be very dark brown, and if you hold a flashlight to it, it has a nice ruby color without letting much light through. The aroma is rich with roasted malt, chocolate, some minor dried dark fruit, and coffee. And maybe a slight smokiness. Nice, thick, lacing down the glass.The taste is roasted malt, chocolate, and finally coffee. Slight bit of licorice and that subtle smoky quality. The beer is not overly carbonated (or complex for that matter), but very adequate...you know you are drinking a beer of quality. There is a nice but mild bitterness up front and then that sweet malt finishes fairly dry. To me, this is what a good porter should be.

Sep 29, 2015
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q33jeff from New Jersey

3.99/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle to pint glass, shared with the wife, she cooking for Turkey day. Look is Dark brown, nice tan head. Large bubbles. Aroma is toasted barley, bread, brown sugar, Taste is cocoa, fig, raisin. Feel is light, a little silky. Nice porter. Bells does their dark beers like champions.
Bottle (03/27/15) to snifter.
Excellent porter, even after about 21 months. Impressive stamina.

Nov 25, 2015
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GrumpyGas from Illinois

4.04/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle (pkgd 03/01/16) poured into a tulip.
Deep dark cola-brown colored body briefly floating a 1/2in tan head.
Roast malt and coffee aromas dominate. The flavors match with a touch of dark fruit and dark chocolate.
High carbonation prevents a silkier feel, but it is medium-full. Almost a stout.
All it needs is a fire and a high, clear ceiling of stars.

Aug 12, 2016
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metter98 from New York

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

A: The beer is close to near black in color. It poured with a half finger high beige head that has good retention properties and never completely faded away.
S: There are aromas of roasted malts in the nose along with some notes of coffee.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and is quite complex with flavors of roasted malts, notes of chocolate and hints of cocoa and coffee. The finish has some bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is very easy to drink and goes down smoothly.

Nov 26, 2011
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The 'tap' version of the beer offers a better experience than from the bottle. The beer is typically colored with a deep walnut hue and nearly opaque. Well headed and modestly carbonated gives visual weight and stability to the brew. Faint aromas of coffee, chocolate, toasted malts, and heavy cream. The flavors of malt sweetness pronounce early, but are quickly tempered by bold columbian coffee notes and acidity, fresh bitter hops, walnuts, cocoa, and milk sugars. Creamy textured and silky smooth, not relying on carbonation to lighten the feel. Finishes with a simple coffee and milk aftertaste that lingers into a slight bitterness. As nicely flavored as I had remembered, but better bodied from the tap.

May 03, 2007
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joaopmgoncalves from Portugal

3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured to a tulip glass.

A: The body is pitch black. The head, when poured, created a very thin beige head. After less than 30 seconds, the head disappeared totally, existing only in the sides of the glass.
S: The aroma is mostly of black roasted malts. In the back, there's a very thin hint of coffee.
T: The amount of sweetness in this beer is very low, it's almost like someone removed the coffee and barley sweetness and left only the bitter side of the beer. However, the bitter side of this beer is based on coffee and slight hoppy side.
M: Body is medium. Carbonation is very high but very smooth, giving it a very velvety touch. Alcohol goes unnoticed. Bitterness in the aftertaste is basically very low.
O: Was expecting a bit more but it's a regular Porter.

Mar 16, 2017
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jkblr from Indiana

4.01/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottled 8/29/17 poured into a tulip pint glass at fridge temp 5.6% ABV. The beer pours dense dark brown with sticky light mocha head. Retention and lacing are well above average. The aroma is fairly strong roasted malt and coffee with some earthiness. The taste is semisweet roasted malt with chocolate and coffee present. The beer dries up and has a nice hoppy bitterness on the back end. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, adequately carbonated, the slightest bit chalky and dry. Overall, excellent. A fine, well made, beautiful porter.

Oct 11, 2017
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Thorpe429 from Illinois

3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

G: Poured into a Bell's pint glass. Batch # 8941.

A: Pours a lightish cola color out of the glass with a single finger head that is a dark cream and fairly-highly carbonated. The beer is a very dark brown and pretty much opaque in the glass. Good lacing.

S: Malt and a hint of chocolate--nothing really overpowering.

T: Dark malts and a little bit of hops. Some dark chocolate flavors.

M: Medium body with carbonation that hits the tip of my tongue. Slightly creamy and goes down smooth.

D: Fairly drinkable. Sort of a heavy mouthfeel to drink a lot of, but not bad for a porter in that department.

Mar 22, 2009
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oberon from North Carolina

4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brown-ruby color with nice big creamy head,very appetizing smell of rich chocolate and deeply roasted malt.Taste was of dark roast coffee and bitter chocolate with some lingering earthiness.Very smooth and velvety and pretty easy to drink a real nice porter from my favorite brewer.

May 22, 2003
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aaronh from Pennsylvania

4.48/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep mahogany beer pours with a thick, long lasting cappuchino colored head. Leaves some of the most even lacing I've seen in a while (is it beacuse I drank it so fast? Hmmm.....) Coffee, chocolate, and vanilla notes make this smell more like a great cup of hot chocolate than a beer. Very nice sweetness to the aroma. The taste is choclately, with a sweet cream flavor as well that gradually fades into coffee flavors and nice burnt and roasted notes. Decent bitterness on the finish. It's like a hop-laden mocha-java malted milkshake. Smooth mouthfeel lends to this overall feeling, and boosts the drinkability. Lingering coffee aftertaste is very good. This is a great beer. Everytime I'm about ready to give up on K'zoo, one of my last bottles is something like this. This is another I will buy again.

Jul 08, 2003
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amstelcat from Ohio

4/5  rDev +3.1%

Nov 23, 2011
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youngleo from Michigan

3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured to a two fingered head. Head tasted on the bitter side. Head also had some big bubbles. Left some good lacing. Porter was black in color. Smelled of malt,chocolate, and burnt coffee. Maybe a hint of alcohol. Tasted of burnt coffee, chocolate, malt and a slight cream flavor. Had a slight bitter aftertaste that hung around awhile. Felt smooth and thick in the mouth. Carbonation was good. I think this is one of those beers that if you did a session with it, you would have to be carefull. It tasted so good, that all I wanted to do was gulp it down. With the little higher alcohol content you would probably get in trouble real fast.

Dec 24, 2008
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cbutova from Massachusetts

4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Black as any porter. A light cream cap builds up with fair retention. Some spotty lace from a persistent ring.

S- High on the caramel malt and the raisins/dark fruit. Roast malt makes up the rest of the aroma.

T- Once again a good amount of caramel malt and then the roast malt and cocoa. Finishes with some hop flavor and even some vanilla.

MF- Nice and creamy. Carbonation is silky smooth and just stings the palate a tiny bit. A slight bitterness.

DB- A lot of caramel, the bottle is just a bit old. I will review this one again, just like the Java Stout. I guess I have bad luck with Bell's in Philadelphia. Still good stuff.

Sep 30, 2010
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Zanico from Ohio

3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Feb 18, 2014
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jrenihan from Canada

3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled September 13, 2011.

Beer is black with a finger-width of beige head. Moderate retention- not too long before just a thin film is left.

Scent is fairly strong. Lots of roasted malt and coffee, some chocolate as well. A bit of toffee. Pretty good.

Taste contains milk chocolate, some coffee, and roasted malt. Vanilla as well. The roasted flavour sticks out and is quite nice, the vanilla being a nice addition.

A little thin, and carbonation a little higher than I like for the style.

Overall, a very enjoyable porter. Good stuff for sure.

Dec 10, 2011
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TrappistJohnMD from Mississippi

3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very dark brown to almost black with a light tan head. I did'nt get much head despite a pretty rough pour. Some lacing.

Smells of dark chocolates and coffee. A little smokiness is also present.

Taste follows the smell nicely. Nice chocolatey bitter finish. Coffee aftertaste that lingers.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied. Good carbonation. Smooth.

Overall this is good.

Jan 01, 2012
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LibrariansLoveBEER from South Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +16%

Aug 13, 2012
Porter from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 3140 ratings