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

very good
1,061 Reviews
Bell's PorterBell's Porter

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

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

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,061 | Ratings: 2,914
Photo of Zaktcc
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours a pitch black color with a 3 finger, toffee colored head. Great head retention and lacing.

S- Roasted malts and nothing else. No notes of coffee nor chocolate as mentioned on the bottle. Smells like a plain, simple porter.

T- Sweet, roasty malts. The flavors are on par with the nose. Nothing too complex but a simple, yet very enjoyable flavor. It finishes with an ever so mildly sweet aftertaste.

M- Medium bodied with perfect amount of carbonation. Very smooth and drinkable.

O- Simple porter with an incredible mouthfeel. Not much in terms of complexity, granted, the brew is called "porter" which it fully embellished. Would certainly drink as my go-to porter if was more accessible in my area.

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Photo of lastmango
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured black with a three finger tan head. Heavy lacing. Aroma is of dark chocolate. Thin body and carbonation. Chocolate and toasted malt flavor with almost no notable hops flavor. Better porter are out here such a Great Lakes.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.32/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I know I've already reviewed this; I just haven't typed up my notes. Anyway, here's an impression:

Whoppers-redolent malted milk balls give this an almost brown ale-like bend, lifting it out of square porter territory. Unconventional but not experimental or inspired. A bit too sweet, though not severely imbalanced. Taking the focus away from the chocolate/dark malts wasn't a wise choice, but it kind of plays in this enjoyable drinkable but not amazing stab at a porter.

Competent fare from Bell's, but the malted milk ball flavour dominance isn't ideal.


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Photo of The_Kriek_Freak
4.19/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great tan head that lingers and leaves lovely lacing. Roasty aroma, reminiscent of coffee. The flavors are of toasted bread and coffee. Great smooth mouthfeel. A really nice example of a Porter overall!

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

Probably my fsvorite easy to find porter. It has just the right amount of roasted chocolate. Pretty mellow actually. I could go for just a bit more. The taste is pretty similar but you get more of the roasted character in the aftertaste than Choclate which I like. Very easy to drink porter.

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Photo of SaltofOH
3.87/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 7-11-16. Michigan craft pint.

A: pours a dark brown, almost black, with ruby highlights at the glass edge, with 1 finger of thick, sandy head that retains like crazy. Really an excellent looking beer.

S: dark, roasty malt. A decidedly roasty and not terribly sweet aroma.

T: arrives with the same roasty, and not too sweet profile with mild dusting of cocoa powder. Restrained sweetness. Mild bitterness on the finish with a light, lasting roastiness.

M: lighter side of mid-weight, fairly highly carbonated. Very clean, very drinkable.

O: amazing I've never reviewed this. Really awesome, drinkable beer. Less hoppy than Edmund Fitzgerald, with fewer fruity undertones. Also quite dry, and comes across as very light, as porters go. Will need tonrevisit for a sixer. A good early season and very late season porter.

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Photo of Jeffsta1
3.71/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown pour, black in the glass. Pale, manila-tan colored head.
Smell is malty, roasty, earthy, a bit dirty.
Taste is more bitter than malt. Want more malt, coffee, cocoa flavors. Not this hoppy stuff, not here.
Mouthfeel is super, a bit richer than moderate, nice carbonation, not overdone.
Finish is distinctly bitter. Not rich: bitter. Huh.

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Photo of BigGold
3.86/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

First had this beer poured from 12-oz. bottle into faceted mug. Bell's has a very solid porter here. There was no need to rebrand it as a "Robust Porter."

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Photo of Guppy314
3.82/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

From a bottle, pours an almost opaque black with a thin tan head. Aroma is of roast malt. Taste is a creamy malt-forward with chocolate and coffee. The finish is where the hops bitterness come out. Mouth feel is decent, but - sadly - flavors fade quickly.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.52/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a nonic pint glass.

Look: Pitch black body, dark cream colored head that recedes to a healthy film. World map lacing.

Aroma: Rich dark chocolate, subtle sucrose sugar, charred grain, lightly roasted coffee.

Taste: Burnt malts and charred grains, touch of charcoal, bitter dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Medium to thin, perfect for the style.

Overall: Excellent in all the categories. Smells good, tastes good, feels good.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
3.52/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 355ml bottle, pours a dark brown colour with a creamy beige coloured head.
Aroma roasted malt, chocolate, coffee.
Taste creamy, coffee, roasted malt, chocolate.

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Photo of Pankenstein
3.89/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Dark, with a quick-sinking head.
S: Faint coffee scent.
T: Prominent chocolate, with an aftertaste of something smoky that I can't quite place (this is only my second real tasting/review, after all).
F: A bit... I'm not sure if this makes sense, but "chewy" springs to mind. Coats the mouth, but the taste doesn't stick around as long as the feel.
O: I like it. Definitely drinkable. I could see myself having this with a nice cigar on a summer night.

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Photo of Rock_Glenn
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Dark Mahogany, decent head. Smells slightly of coffee and caramel. Tastes excellent, but a bitterness lingers; by the end of the glass the bitterness is a bit too much. Seems heavy on chocolate malt. Overall a beer that I would gladly drink again, but certainly not the best porter I've ever had.

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Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
3.84/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: Very dark cola brown with fluffy, creamy, tan head. Excellent retention and lacing.

S: Dark chocolate, toasted bread, caramel, coffee, subtle smoke.

T: Dark chocolate, darkly toasted, almost burnt bread, black coffee, hints of vanilla and creaminess, caramel, cola, light smoke. Grainy on the finish, with lingering burnt and roasty coffee.

F: Medium-light. Not quite watery, but leaning towards light. I would like to see it a little thicker. Quaffable, though.

O: A solid porter. It's definitely nice-drinking.

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Photo of GrumpyGas
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.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle packaged 12/12/15 at 42 degrees into a hand washed and dried JK snifter
Aroma – very strong roasted malt, bitter chocolate, no hops; fades but lasts
Head small (Maximum < two cm, aggressive pour), light brown, frothy, diminishing to a two mm ring and thin partial layer
Lacing – none
Body dark brown to black
Flavor – Starts bitter with roasted malt. The chocolate from the nose is not evident. No hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl.
Palate medium, watery, lively carbonation

A little too bitter for my taste and all I can taste is bitter roasted malt.

Appearance 3.5, Aroma 4, Flavor 3.5, Palate 3.75, Overall 3.5.

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

Delicious. One of my top Porters. Wonderful malty, chocolatey and coffee hints that are just excellent. Beautiful and deep dark color. I'm surprised this isn't rated higher. I'd definitely get it again.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.27/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bell's Porter has a thick, creamy, beige head, a dark brown appearance, and heavy lacing left on the glass. The aroma is of semi-sweet, roasted malt, and dark bread, and the flavor is of cream, some coffee, roasted malt, a touch of char, and bread crust. Bitterness is not high, here. Mouthfeel is light to medium, and Bell's Porter finishes mostly dry. This is good, but a bit dull.


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Photo of jaketaz
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark reddish brown, toasty looking but you can still see through. Pale tan head, piles up tall and evaporates quick. Aroma is light, bitter, but a nice smooth flavor of coffee ice cream that spreads to the nose when you taste it. Too light for me, too carbonated, but a fine introductory porter with a balanced flavor at a bargain price.

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Photo of Eeroomnhoj
3.38/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

On a family vacation in Indianna-Illinois-Michigan and this was the first beer I picked up from the local supermarket. I poured one in a plastic cup (we're in a state park and we must be discreet) and it poured dark but not black. There wasn't much in the way of head. Smells like a good beer and tastes earthy. I
Bought a six pack and don't think these will Last the whole trip. Good beer

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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 ordybill
4.28/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. The appearance is black with a small tan head. The aroma is your standard porter smell of roasted malt with a hint of coffee. The taste is matches the aroma with the exception of some chocolate added. A very good porter.

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Photo of iliotib
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had high expectations for this brew. Being a big fan of Porter I was a little disappointed by look. I was expecting a slightly darker and opaque beer. It reminded me a little of a low alcohol Scottish ale. I was also a little disappointed by the head: it started out guns-a-blazing w/ a three finger head but quickly dissipated leaving a few clumps of foam on top. Tasted a lot of roasted malt and there was a pleasant hop finish. This was my first American Porter and although I like the clear color distinction between Porter and Stout, I miss the more Stout-like mouthfeel of its British cousin.

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Photo of FBarber
3.91/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown that I can only describe as looking thin. Minimal tan head momentarily on the top of the beer after the pour. Spotty tan film along the top after the head dissipates.

Smell has aromas of roasted coffee, bakers chocolate and dark cocoa with some earthy almost woody undertones.

Taste follows the nose with an initial blend of roasted coffee, roasted malts, dark cocoa and bitter chocolate. Not much sweetness, pleasantly bitter in a bitter bakers chocolate way. The cocoa coats the back of your throat as it goes down providing a dry finish. I didn't get the woody undertones from the smell in the taste, but that amy just be me. There was however a definite earthy tone to the flavors that provided a nice complexity.

Feel was thin, perhaps closer to an English porter than some American porters on the porter scale. Drinkable, smooth, dry. Very nice.

Overall a very good porter. Not the best, not even in Michigan, but a really solid offering. If you don't like sweetness in your beers, this could be the porter for you.

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Photo of Ferb
3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

If you have read any porter review, most will apply to this excellent beer from Bell's. It has a lovely dark color, thin eggshell head (yet with good lacing) and a dark roasted flavor with a bit of dryness at the end. I have noticed that some English porters have a touch of sour, like St. Peter's which is a blend of old and new porters.

From what I understand, English pubs stored their beer in barrels in the cellar, and when they brought freshly brewed porter, they simply dumped it into the barrel with the older beer that had a bit of a sour tang. This led to porter brewers mixing "aged" and new beer to get that authentic taste, which is occasionally done today.

It is probably my imagination, but some of the brown porters, like Bell's, Odell's and Samuel Smith Taddy, seem to have a bit of that character, though less than St. Peter's. This porter from Bell's is one of about five porters that I rotate into my fridge and enjoy regularly.

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Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.88 out of 5 based on 2,914 ratings.
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