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

very good
1,053 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,053 | Ratings: 2,872
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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Photo of BeernOnThe4thOfJuly
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Very dark brown, but not black. Very little head. Does appear to have a relatively high level of carbonation. Lightly sweet, chocolatey nose. Flavor is primarily of coffee. Easy drinking, but mouthfeel is a bit watery. Good, but would like a more malty backbone.

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Photo of drtth
4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours out into a Duvel glass a dark, dark brown with a 1 1/4" dark tan head that slowly recedes to leave foam and legs for lacing clinging to the sides of the glass. There is an irregular island of foam over most of the beer. Sipping creates lots of scattered small patches and legs of lacing.

The aromas include dark chocolate and roasted coffee. In addition, there seems to be a slight earthy character from the hops.

The flavors pretty much follow from the nose, with the coffee being more prominent that the chocolate. The flavor profile is smoothed out a bit by just enough sweetness to control any bitterness introduced by the roasted malt and the hops without concealing them completely.

The mouthfeel is on the light side of medium bodied and nicely smooth with the moderate, persistent carbonation. The finish begins as the sweetness starts to fade from the scene with the coffee and dark chocolate in tow. Before too long theres only a touch of bitter dryness in the back of the throat.

As I'd expect from Bell's this is a well made porter that I'll be happy to have again. It also seems to me that this would made a nice companion to go with backyard grill food such as burgers or steak.

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

Pours a black color. 1/2 inch head of a tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of strong sweet malt, slight roasted malt, lactose/oatmeal, slight chocolate, slight alcohol, and slight hops. Fits the style of an American Porter. Mouth feel is sharp and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of roasted malt, sweet malt, hint of hops, slight chocolate, and slight alcohol. Overall, well balanced, good appearance, aroma, and blend.

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Photo of jaypaul522
4.41/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark with average head. The smell is malt, with some coffee and maybe caramel. Taste is good, not too complex, and satisfying. Hints of chocolate in the aftertaste. The feel is medium bodied. Overall a good porter.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Dark brown, thin 1/6" lighter brown head on it. Aroma was of earthen malt, bitter c hops, mild cocoa presence.

Taste was that of a hoppy porter with more brown malt than chocolate malt. Not overly thick, alcohol in that nice and close to sessiony range. Coffee like flavors from the malt, same with some nuttiness. Carbonation on point. This is a solid beer that is consistent and reliable every time I've had it.

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Photo of musicsherlock
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 01/06/16
Reviewed 03/22/16

Pours a deep, dark brown not quite black that allows no light to pass. A 1" just off white head that fades to a film with good lacing.

Smells of mild roasted malt, cold black coffee

A nice thick malt that coats the tongue but doesn't overstay it's welcome. Roasted malt matching the smell. A bit more hops than it's English cousin without becoming a Cascadian Stout. Dark chocolate notes.

Good carbonation but not too much. Slightly sticky or creamy but not cloying.

Overall I imagine this being a fraternal twin to the English Porter from back in the day. Close enough but with the modern palette in mind. The sum greater than it's parts.

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Photo of SABERG
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle dated 1/06/2016 into the modified pint glass.
A - An aggressive pour yields , 2" mocha loose knit cap riding a very dark intriguing body.
Gentle carbonation relentlessly chasing the surface. Lacing clings creating a body of evidence.
S - Toasted malts, not roasted, a bit of cocoa powder, ash, oyster shell minus the salinity, and dried tobacco.
T - A nice blend of raisin, 50% chocolate, anise, cherry wood smoke and toasted sesame.
M - Body is English style, a bit dry, nice carbonation, with a quick clean up. Nothing robust here, just a tightly executed dry porter.
O - The aromatics are the high point, the body is welterweight, and the finish is quick. Easy drinking porter, mates well with food. A fine offering from a creative Brewery.

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

A tasty brew, as much in the brown ale range as a porter for me, lighter in color with some Indian red shades and raisin looking brown at the core, no darker. Head is fizzy and quite dark as well. Chocolate malt is there in the nose, and with what seems like some English malt, maris otter and medium crystal perhaps. Some bready yeast there too, which I always like in these styles for depth, but I was let down a bit to not have it transfer do well from the nose to the flavor, it's not really there. Nice nutty and toasty qualities the in flavor, I dig nutty in porter with the darker grain. Cocoa and almond notes late. Smooth in feel, medium in body, light in residuals, and quite actively car boned, definitely above the style norm, really pops on the palate. Everyone always raves about the whacky stuff bells does, but I for one am a fan of their most basic styles, this one included. It's a little something different as they go, and it's wide availability makes it easy to locate with a little effort. I enjoyed this thoroughly!

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Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.88 out of 5 based on 2,872 ratings.
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