Bell's Porter | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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BA SCORE
87
very good
1,040 Reviews
Bell's PorterBell's Porter
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
One of our many award-winning beers, Porter emphasizes the darker, roasted aspects of malt. Hints of dark chocolate and freshly roasted coffee provide the focus, while hops remain in the background. Not as full-bodied as a stout, Porter bridges the gap between malty brown ales and our more heavily roasted stouts.

Added by Mitchster on 02-06-2002

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,040
Ratings:
2,805
Avg:
3.88
pDev:
17.01%
 
 
Wants:
105
Gots:
366
For Trade:
6
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,040 | Ratings: 2,805
Photo of voyageurs60
2.6/5  rDev -33%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

As part of a "Tap Takeover" by Bell's at the Harris Grill during Pittsburgh's Big Pour Week this porter was tapped. Visited the venue 1 week later and it was still on tap.

The pour was delivered to the table with 1/2" head in a shaker pint glass. Color was black as I would expect from a porter. Smell was a nice caramel. Taste was disappointing. No smokey, carmamel, coffee flavors at all. Very thin mouthfeel. Very little to no aftertaste.

Overall impression, a very forgettable beer. If this were my only choice against the big brewers, I would be drinking water instead.

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Photo of Marraybay
2.68/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Look: Black; one finger of head; noticeable lacing

Smell: Roasty coffee; smoke; booze; Some fruit.

Taste: Roasted coffee; Not overly bitter per se, but without any sweetness or any other flavors present, what bitterness there is becomes elevated. Bit of a bite in the finish.

Feel: Thin; fairly carbonated.

Overall: Meh....Had heard some good things about Bell, but not a fan of this offering; Pretty much one dimensional watered down coffee. Disappointing.

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Photo of BillHodson
2.7/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Out of a bottle into a 12oz. glass.
My daughter bought this for me to help me on the Michigan Beer Cap display she got me for Christmas. I've had other Bell's products, and have not been impressed. This, to me, is an average porter; nothing to rave or write home about.

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Photo of xfactor9600
2.7/5  rDev -30.4%
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.

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Photo of airheadmtrcycle
2.79/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I'll be right upfront with my bias towards porters. It's one of my favorites styles. Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint. Almost black it's so dark with a tan head and nice lacing. Great looking pour!

Smells of dark roasted malts and perhaps something else. Not too aromatic, though. The taste is difficult to find. Strange, as I usually expect porters to have burnt and smokey flavors with perhaps some bitterness on the finish, particularly with American porters. It's generally a quite "in your face" kind of thing, not something you have to go searching for. I let it warm to finally find some smokey flavor hiding.

The most disappointing quality is the mouthfeel. Way too thin for the style. Makes me want to go get something more robust to finish the night with. Funny thing is I can feel it weighing on my belly. That's the opposite of what I'm looking for in an ale.

Overall, a real disappointment.

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Photo of coldmeat23
2.8/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

GLASS: Imperial Pint Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees

Pours dark brown. Fluffy two-finger head of tan foam. Decent retention and pretty good lacing.

Nice roasted maltiness. Some coffee, chocolate and nuttiness. Slight notes of vanilla and hazelnut.

Roasted barley. Light chocolate and coffee notes. Toasted hazelnut.

Not quite hearty enough for my preferences. Medium bodied and slightly waterey tasting. Carbonation is too sharp, defeating any creaminess that might have helped this one out.

Would make an easy session brew, if only by it's inoffensiveness and lack of anything 'special'. I suppose, if I wanted to drink alot of these, I probably could.
Not my fave release from Bell's.

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Photo of jwinship83
2.81/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- very dark brown with a head that is no more than a tiny bone white crown.

S- Not much here. very slight odor of lightly roasted malts, some chocolate, and maybe a bit of coffee.

T- roasted malt with a tiny coffee aftertaste and a little bit of chocolate. once again, not much here at all.

M- good carbonation and a light-medium body.

D- I probably wont ever consider buying this again. i had alot higher hopes for bells and this one was pretty disappointing.

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Photo of GTSeabolt
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.

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Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
2.86/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a tulip

A: Pours a translucent dark brown and settles into a decently opaque black with a foamy tan head.

A: Aroma is light: faint roasted coffee, hints of chocolate, sweet malts, maybe even a touch of raisin.

T/M: Has a medium amount of carbonation and a light body. Flavors of mocha coffee mix with dark roasted malts and a slight bitterness similar to some nitrogen infused brews.

Not as full flavored as other, "better" porters, but decent nonetheless.

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Photo of Reaper16
2.87/5  rDev -26%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

served from a 12oz. bottle into a tulip glass

Pours what initially appears to be very dark for a porter, but a hold up to light reveals it to be the color of a weak pot of Folger's. The head was nearly white, making for a nice contrast. It was generous at first, but quickly diminished to nothing, leaving minimal lacing behind.

A lot of coffee in the nose, some chocolate. Roasted malt & a touch of hops. Nothing surprising or unusual.

This was a disappointing porter in the mouth. Coffee dominates the flavor profile, but it was the taste of old, weak coffee. That this taste was coming from a cold beer made for the very-unpleasant "cold coffee" taste that overrides the hops and general maltiness.

This beer felt pretty darn thin for my tastes, with little carbonation, which only served to highlight the weaknesses in the taste. I suppose that this would be a sessionable porter, but not for me.

Overall, this beer has me mixing my tenses in this review and I don' care enough to sort them out. I'm used to enjoying nearly every Bell's product I drink; it turns out the a brewery that I love making one of my very favorite beer styles wasn't the recipe for success that I thought it was going to be.

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Photo of jucifer1818
2.87/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Very very dark brown
Its lovely
4/5

Smell: not much smell at all....sadly. I expected more out of this beer
2/5

Taste: light caramel, light roasted barley, and just a little bi of coffee malt, with heavier hoppyness to roasty malts.

not too bad, but its not to my liking
I give this one a 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: way too watery for a porter. I give this one a 2.5/5

overall: idk, I didn't like this one much at all.
2.5/5

I expected a lot more from this brewery :(

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Photo of skrib09
2.9/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

poured out a coffee color with a rock-face like tan head. ok lacing.

smells roasty, i get some coffee flavors in there as well.

tastes more roasty than any porters or stouts i remember having recently. in the after taste i get some ground coffee grinds or coffee flavors. i get a "cold coffee" taste, maybe i should let the brew warm a little.

again with the coffee... a slight bitterness in the middle of my palate. a feeling of grainyness as well.

below average drinkability for me.

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Photo of Spica66
2.93/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown color, quickly disappating head. High carbonation.

S: Not very much nose at all to this beer. Even after it warmed up. Not like most Bell's beers.

T: Mild taste. Not "robust". Very strange. I have never had a Bell's beer seem so bland.

M: Watery, high carbonation. Felt like I was drinking a diet soda. Very disappointing!

D: This would be easy to drink, because there is not much to it at all.

This is the only beer from Bell's that I have ever had that did not meet expectations for the style.

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Photo of frankiepop
2.95/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I think this Porter violates the Porter rule, and that is a Porter comes with more smoothness and sweetness to the taste. This damn thing ends with some hoppy bitterness type flavor that just fails for me. Maybe its a coffee or hops to balance the products, but once again the Bell's company just doesn't meet my taste expectations. Thumbs down.

Would pair well with music from Earth Wind and Fire.

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Photo of g_rat
2.95/5  rDev -24%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.25

Look: Dark brown almost black, Amber tint when held to a light. Average kakhi head lots of tiny bubbles with good lacing and average retention.

Smell: dark roasted coffee, sweet malts and oats

Taste: coffee, earthy hops, mild smokey flavor, faint hints of sweet caramel and bay leaves. Well balanced but pretty watered down.

Feel: way too carbonated, reminds me of coca-cola

Overall: not a bad beer, but very watered down and way too carbonated for a porter.

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Photo of RJBeverage
2.96/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This Bell's Porter was dark brown and had a tan head which went away. The smell was of roasted grains and tasted of toasted coffee beans and just toast. It wasn't a bad taste but not one I would do flips over. The mouthfeel was thin, much thinner than the taste or smell would suggest.

While I would drink this beer again, if it was the the only dark offering, there are many better porters that I would take gladly in it's place.

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Photo of AlexanderSelby
2.97/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looks kind of cloudy when held up to the light as the amber edges seem like they are struggling for air. Smells of coffee, chocolate, sweetness and...just about every other dark flavor. Taste is a touch muddy. Just like the nose, there are plenty of things going on at once that are seeming to fight for top spot. Roasty flavors up front get dominated later by buttered bread sweet tones, and in the middle the battle for nut or dark chocolate is raging.

Overall, I think this porter tries too hard.

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Photo of magictacosinus
2.99/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Poured into a shaker pint glass from a 12oz bottle. Bottling date is printed as "06/03/13."

Darkened in color, with nothing but reddish and brown tones circling the edges of the glass. An off-brown, 2-finger large head tops the glass, but soon dissipates to a modest ring overall. Can't tell if there's much carbonation on this, but it seems relatively balanced. Definitely not showy, but stands as a well made porter, if only a bit average in appearance.

The aroma consists of a predominant roasted barley character, with notes of coffee, dark chocolate, and dried dark fruits. Definitely not as complex as you might think, but not offensive by any means. The roasted character is very upfront, with earthy notes and floral flavors from the hops, and bittered coffee and chocolate flavor still follows, albeit a bit subtle. Not much else, but seems like a standard porter flavor with me - not as refined, nevertheless.

The flavor is awash with an astringent, biscuit-y roasted bitterness, as well as faded notes of old coffee beans and old chocolate. Tastes rather stale than vibrant and warm overall. There's a bit of dried fruitiness, but it's too subtle to make out any flavors overall at the finish. A little bit of brown sugar and spice linger as well, but the entire flavor profile is dominated by roasted barley and light coffee. Not very creamy or chewy, and slightly watery at the finish, which gives the impression of old chilled brewed coffee. This gets a little better as it warms up, but it's not very refreshing or comforting - I'd imagine it would be better on tap.

Another disappointment with Bell's - knowing what these guys can do, I realize this is a more crowd-pleasing, less diverse offering. Mind you, I love the taste of basic American porters, but this one feels too one-dimensional in the long run. Worth a try for Bell's completionists.

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Photo of CU570M
3/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance was dark as night. Light tan foam lingers around the edge of the glass the whole time. Alcoholic kind of smell along with hints of malted barley. Same dark malted barley taste. Rich! Taste is average for a dark beer. Mouthfeel is nice with smooth low carbonation. Not bad, but not great either.

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Photo of AltBock
3/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle with a mocha colored label that has a picture of a well dressed Thomas Edison running with a stock of barley in his left hand and a vine of hops in his right. Didn't his mom ever tell him that it's dangerous to run with beer ingredients in his hands? The back label has a brief description about the beer, US Government warning, barcode, refund values and a batch number of 7766. Their website didn't tell me what date it was bottled on. It just told me that it was a Bell's Porter.

Appearance: I just had to pour it into my Bell's Brewery pint glass. What came out of the bottle was a deep dark mahagony brown colored beer that had a few dark ruby red highlights along the edges. It started off nice with a thick 1 1/2 inch head of tan foam. It was just sad to see this nice head of foam fizzle away in a matter of only a few seconds. It did manage to leave behind a few bubbly tan colored islands, handful of tan rings, and a few spots of tan lace.

Smell: It had a plain and simple Porter aroma of roasted malts, roasted walnuts, a hint of sweet caramel, and a spatter of roasted hops at the end. It's funny, the beer had an aroma of roasted hops, while the bottle had the aroma of citrus hops. It's also funny that the bottle had the scent of butter popcorn, while the aroma had none of that.

Taste: The taste was just like the aroma, plain and simple. The taste had a plain and simple Porter taste of dark roasted malts, a hint of roasted coffee beans, a pinch of sweet caramel, and then it suddenly ended with a touch of roasted hops. There was also a smidge of milk chocolate in the taste, but that came and went as it pleased. I had no idea when to expect the milk chocolate to show up.

Mouthfeel: It was a light bodied beer with mild carboantion and a short lived aftertaste of dark roasted malts and roasted hops. This aftertaste disappeared as soon as it showed up.

Drinkability: There was nothing in this beer that made me feel that it was above being an average run of the mill Porter. Would I give it another try? I would like too, I really would. It would be nice to see if a second bottle would push this beer above average.

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Photo of walleye
3/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

nice brown color, with off white head.nice lacing. aroma, malts, roasted nuts, coffee, caramel.flavor, got malts and roasted nuts aroma, with coffee and chocolate a slight bitter after taste and a little watery not a bad porter but I have had better.

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Photo of kennyo
3.01/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

dark brown color w/some red overtones
pours with a nice head that disapates pretty quickly
not mch of aroma, a little malt
nice taste, some malt, some roastiness.
a pretty easy drinking beer, could be a good session beer, if found on tap at a bar

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Photo of dlello2
3.02/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle - 1 of 5 in a double-blind tasting.

A - Dark brown/black, no light coming through. Good head, not sticking to the glass much.

S - Not the best first impression. A little skunky/old smelling. Not much sweetness. Some grassiness in there or maybe a barnyard smell.

T - Way different than the smell. Refreshing and not sweet at all (compared to the other porters we've had tonight). Not all that much going on actually. A basic, drinkable, pseudo-malty porter taste.

M - Good. One of the best parts of this brew actually! Decent carbonation and this goes down very smoothly.

O - Really not bad at all. Smell was the only off-putting element. Other than that this was a basic, satisfying porter.

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Photo of psinderson
3.04/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Very dark, almost black. Thin light-caramel colored head with no distinct lacing. There are little floaters swirling around. Could be yeast remnants, but I'm unsure if Bell's bottle conditions.

Smell: Definitive chocolate aroma with a roasty background.

Taste: The chocolatey aroma did not carry over much to the taste. Mostly roasted grain and hop bitterness with a strange acidic "twang" that I didn't really like. There's a bit of coffee flavor aftertaste with maybe a hint of choclate. I like the roastiness, but was expecting more chocolate flavors and some greater complexity of flavors.

Mouthfeel: A good medium, but maybe a little thinner than expected. The acidic taste hurts the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: If it wasn't for the acid taste, this would go down better.

I'm beginning to wonder if the floaters have anything to do with the acid taste. Perhaps infection?

EDIT: After having read the other reviews, I really think my bottle was not fresh. I hope to review this again at some point.

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Photo of TechMyst
3.06/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

CONTAINER VOLUME: 355ml
CONTAINER TYPE: bottle - conditioned
FRESH: packaged 9-24; consumed 10-3
PURCHASED @: Binny
COST: $7.99 / 6 pack
HEAD: none
LACE: small spots slide quickly down side of glass
COLOR:
REFLECTED- black
TRANSMITTED- black w/ orange tint
AROMA: dark malts
MOUTHFEEL: thin; foamy/fizzy
PALATE: slick; tinny
TASTE: cola; slightly bitter aftertaste
COMMENTS: too much conditioning bite (suprising b/c itÂ’s BC and low carbonation). very thin; little character. The trick here is at room temp it tastes no worse than cool; so due to its thin-ness and low carbonation slamming this is not a problem.
CONDITIONS:
MOWING/WORKING ON CAR- n
WITH FRIENDS- maybe
SIPPING- n
GET MY BUZZ ON-maybe

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Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 1,040 ratings.
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