Bell's Porter | Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store

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Bell's PorterBell's Porter
Very Good
2,993 Ratings
Bell's PorterBell's Porter

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,993 |  Reviews: 1,079
Photo of abents
3.47/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with light mocha head. Great lacing present throughout the glass. Aromas are big here with nice roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee smells. The taste is just as nice. Real roasted malty taste starting things out with a bitter hops lingering at the end. Bitter chocolate very present, but that sweet malty taste smooths things nicely. Moderate carbonation with a relativly light body and no real creamy taste that you get from some porters. It's a decent porter in taste, and you can probably drink these pretty regularly, but I find it too light bodied for me and desire something more here.

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Photo of rabidawg
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Glows ruby when held to a light, otherwise it looks deep brown-to-black. An aggressive pour achieved a small head that faded pretty quickly. Spots of lacing.

Smell: Roasted malts dominate, with occasional hints of coffee, chocolate, and a toffee sweetness.

Taste: Moderately carbonated, accounting for a somewhat creamy mouthfeel, but then again almost feels a bit thin at times. Slight initial sweetness with heavy roasty, chocolate malt flavors in the middle. Finishes fairly dry, with lingering bittering hops. Much better as it warms, allowing the roasted flavors to shine through.

Nice porter. Thanks to feloniousmonk!

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Photo of PartyHatjo
4.01/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was the third NCAA victory beer I've had...complements of ppoitras.

The pour is a chocolate brown coming out of the bottle, but black in the goblet, with a nice tan head. Head doesn't last too long.

Smell is light with hops, heavy with malts. Chocolate and coffee are predominant.

Chocolate is prevalent in the flavor. Coffee comes through more in the aftertaste--providing a mocha like character to the beer. The slight sweetness is welcome. There is a bit of hop flavor trying to peak through the malts, it hits more in the initial seep, and is then drowned out by the other flavors.

Body is medium--boosted by the sweetness, and balanced well by the hop bitterness.

Very easy drink. I don't usually drink porter, going more for the stouts, but this will be a repeat performer.

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Photo of soper2000
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Notes from my Bell's tasting:
Pours a nice light black color with a medium sized tan foam head. Nose was full of malt and some roast. Taste is a burnt coffee/chocolate mixture. Pretty good if you ask me. This beer finishes with a little bit of hops left on the tongue. It seemed a little bit thin to me. I'd like some additional body in this one, but it is pretty drinkable.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a light brown 1/2" of thick, foamy head, and laced well. Barely translucent dark brown brew. Deep, dark malts such as coffee and chocolate and maybe, just maybe a smidgen of smoke, dominate the aroma, and the flavor exhibits these characteristics as well. Extremely smooth, and the coffee/chocolate flavors fight for dominance on the tongue. An excellent represntation of the porter style.

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Photo of truthbrew
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Noticeably different than the bottled offering, the on-tap seems to have less of a sharpness and more smooth coffee-like, chocolate tones. It drinks like a robust porter, but just doesn't have the alcohol to back it up. A great, easy drinking porter.

Enjoyed on-tap at the Blue Nile.

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Photo of Loki
4.36/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 12oz bottle thanks to feloniousmonk for one bottle and AKSmokedPorter for the other.

Appearance: Pure mahogany darkness. Nearly black, completely opaque. Beautiful beige head with sticky ridges of lacing.

Smell: Malt, toffee, and caramel with hints of Bell's yeast, whatever strain they use.

Taste: Roasted malt, caramel, and toffee sweetness. Coffee bitterness on the end with a nice yeast finish. Slightly muted.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy with light sticky finish.

Drinkability: Great. Wonderful porter. If I could get it here I would drink some every week.

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Photo of Skidz
3.44/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Nice dark brown porter, little bits of red-orange shine on the sides, with a solid tan head on top, nice lacings too.

Smells strongly of roasted grains and veggies, most notably carrots. I feel like a Gerber baby tonight. There is a bit of creaminess to the nose here as well, this is as inviting as a homecooked meal from grandma...I can't wait to taste this.

Bold roast grains top the tastes of this brew. The dark malts go well with to overall boldness in flavor this beer offers. Nice hop presence that finishes with a smooth bitterness that is very pleasant, but is actually quite strong.

Medium-full body, not much character, kind of like the school bully, it's got a nice kick to it, but it's not too impressive. As much as I enjoy the smell of it, it's dissapointing in flavor, and I would be hard-pressed to drink more than two of these. Don't get me wrong, it is not a bad porter, but it isn't spectacular; it blends into the crowd.

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

12 oz longneck brown bottle, capped, no date.

This porter poured a dark, opaque brown-black color with creamy, light brown foam that clung in clumps a bit on the glass. The smell was malty (caramel, cocoa, molasses) with a bit of the characteristic Bell's yeast aroma. The taste was sharp and bitter coffee up front followed by caramel, molasses, a slight fruitiness, some yeast and cocoa, and some hops in the finish. The mouthfeel was sharp on the tip of the tongue, but smooth throughout with medium-full body and good carbonation. The aftertaste was lingering maltiness. This was a good, rich porter.

Thanks for feloniousmonk for this one.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle. No date, but the numbers 6211 are stamped on the back label.
It pours dark black coffee color with a thin tannish head (even after a hard pour). There’s just a bit of trailing lace.
The aroma is mostly of dark cocoa and coffee with a smoky malt background.
There's a good amount of dark bitter chocolate and toasted malt flavors. Tastes of coffee and crème brulee crust follow.
Citrus bitterness and a metallic bite are partially concealed within the smokiness of the beverage. Although a mild sweetness begins to gain ground as it warms, it finishes fairly dry and clean.
Thanks Feloniousmonk!

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.57/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Slightly translucent maroon color, creamy tan head. Smells more like a dunkel, dominated by roasted malt. Taste is of coffee, malt, and black licorice. Nice hops finish, but it enhances, not dominates the flavor. Full mouthfeel, perfect amount of carbonation. Very smooth, extremely drinkable.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown in color, thin, yet rocky off-tan head. Roasted coffee beans, fresh bread, some hops are also there on the nose. Slick and creamy off the bat, robust per the label, sweet chocolate and toffee notes. Very rich, right on target as medium bodied. A slight hoppy note sneaks in; some charcoal and coffee beans to boot! A roasted/burnt malt based body, backed with some delicious flavorings, quite impressive, highly drinkable, should define what a porter is!

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Photo of merlin48
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark and opaque color, with a towering, three finger, beige head. Head retains well, and leaves some impressive, sheets of lace on the side of the glass. Aroma is interesting, with a distinct, nutty bouqet that seems to be hazelnut, that weaves through the typical dark chocolate and overroasted coffee smell. Mouthfeel is rich and creamy, medium carbonation, and a modest hops sting on the tongue. Taste has the same nutty background as the nose, but seems more chestnut. Plenty of cocoa and burnt coffee, as well, and a hops bitterness that seems fruity, at times. Finish is slightly bitter, with a bittersweet chocolate aftertaste.
This is a well rounded Porter, excellent in all respects.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A dark black brew, that is nearly opaque. The head is a tan/beige colour and it stays around big time leaving waves of brown lace on my pint glass. The aromas are excellent! Coffee, chocolate, big time caramel malts, and more! The taste follows suit with a lovely smooth mix of hops and malts up front, lovely coffee notes and caramel in the middle, and a smooth as hell maltball finish. The mouthfeel is creamy, smooth, and just right, and the drinkability is great as well! Another winner from Bell's!

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Photo of yankeeheel
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a lovely dark chocolate brown with an equally nice three finger light tan head. Smells of dark and toasted malt with a hint of licorice. Taste pretty decent. lots of the usual light coffee and caramel/dark malt flavor, with a little bit of toffee and spice. Perhaps just a little too carbonated and hopped to be a great porter, but it's a nice little session brew.

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Photo of stewart124
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A deep brown color topped of with a fluffy tan head that almost overflowed my glass. My mouth is watering just looking at this beer. Very nutty smell with a fine roasted malt aroma and hints of coffee. The taste is delicious with a good balance of coffee, nut, and roasted malts. You can really taste the mocha and coffee beans. A very good porter that I'll be buying again and again.

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Photo of frank4sail
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep dark opeque purple look. pale/tan head. Sweet chocolate malted milkshake smell. Good sticky lacing and retention. Dry coffee dominates the taste with a little bitterness and burnt malt in the finish. A little light and thin on the mouth as well. Brew is ok, but I could not drink many of these on a row..

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Photo of beergeek279
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 12 oz. bottle. The color is a very dark brown, with a bit of beige head. The smell is a nice, sweet malt. The taste is a dry coffeeish malt, with a good bitterness. Mouthfeel is very smooth. Drinkability-wise, a great session beer.

Now, this is what I've come to expect from Bell's. A delicious porter, and absolutely one I'm going to have again!

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Photo of nomad
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark as normal, with impressive lacing and an unusual light colored head. It left a maze of a stain. Smelled of nutty coffee and big, smooth, and deceiving dark malts. Tasted of smooth dark malts and solid roasty character, but in a thin way. For the most part I'd call it husky and bordering on coffee flavors. It had just enough hops to create bitterness but not enough to eclipse the already rough malt character, but instead compliment it. A nice porter.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown, midnight color with hints of tan in small, thin off -white head. Low carbontion just right for style.
Smell of chocolate, toffe, nuts and maybe caramel.
Taste - roasted malt prevalent, slight chocolate hints on front note, finishes with a pleasant bitte coffee taste.
Strong tasting porter, almost a stout profile to me.

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Photo of clvand0
3.72/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown color with about one finger of tan head and leaves a small amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma is of burned malts and also has a dark coffee smell as well. Fairly average aroma for a porter. The main part of the flavor is the roasted malt and coffee. The flavor was not as strong as expected. There was also a hint of chocolate. The mouthfeel was pretty good, and it is easily drinkable.

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Photo of Gusler
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an opaque brown with mahogany high lights, the head prodigious, frothy and a winsome light tan in color as it slowly fades the lace forms a thick curtain to seal off the glass. Nose is sweet malt, toasted grain, musky, the yeast quite evident, and a treat for the senses; start is ambrosial and rich in malt with the top middling in its feel. Finish as a pesky acidity with the hop pleasurable in their spiciness, quite dry, and a fine representative to the style, how I envy all the people who have Bell’s at their beckon call.

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Photo of ngandhi
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

YEAST! But more on that later.

Roasted malts and chocolate-covered fruit on the nose with coffee and toffee. Heavier than normal on the black patent (strict malt bittering, not hops), but tasty and evocative. Medium dark chocolate finish. High carbonation; fizzy.

Thin and lacking character, Bell's Porter is solid, but relatively unimpressive. Because body is controlled by mash temperatures and not quality of ingredients, I take it that the brewers very much intended this brew to be this way. The malts are deep, but basic, and dominated by the coffee/chocolate character so typical in porters and stouts. There are notes of burnt toast, perhaps a special roast or something; though helpful, it doesn't make the beer quite as complex as I'd hoped.

What Bell's Porter has going for it most is its yeast character. It's shot into the spotlight -- a tinge of fruitiness -- by the surprisingly thin body and shows how clean and elegant their private strain is. Everything at Bell's has a purpose.

Relax, relax.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The first of the Bell's lineup that I purchased at Kahn's in Indianapolis, I decided to ease my way into the large number of brews from Kalamazoo. Presented as pictured, Bell's Porter had a dark ruby color with lighter hued edges. A sturdy, creamy tan head perched on top and left a patchwork of lace down the glass.
The smell and taste were rather subdued. Both were predominantly of roasted dark malt with some coffee notes and light baker's chocolate. The finish was nicely bittered. The feel was creamy and smooth.
Bell's Porter was a pretty good intro to the beers from Kalamazoo Brewing Co. The aroma could have been a bit stronger but the taste made up for it. This would be a good beer to use as an introductory beer to get novices to try a darker colored brew.

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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I've enjoyed most of the beers I've had from this brewery (thanks, Al!) and Expedition and Two Hearted are two of the best beers I've ever had. This porter, however, comes across as relatively bland. Kind of reminds me of one of their regular stouts if it were watered down. Somewhat thin, in body and taste. Some roasted malt and coffee notes, but just too thin and flat to be a classic.

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Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 2,993 ratings