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

very good
1,057 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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Reviews: 1,057 | Ratings: 2,898
Photo of mjc410
3.08/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

The pour into my Fuller's nonic raises a respectable two finger head with thick, sudsy lacing, that doesn't stick to the glass very well. Head retention is alright - a thick glass ring is left over. The body is a very rich and deep brown that only lets light through when backlit. The nose is rich and roasted, with a touch of caramelized sweetness, along with an odd dusty smell. The taste is incredibly roasted, but doesn't quite cross the boundary into tasting like chocolate or coffee. Starts briefly sweet, hits at a very acidic bitterness, and moves into a lingering dry bitterness. Not much depth. The mouth is medium, with low carbonation. Again, lacking complexity, and too intense in the flavors it does have. I won't be reaching for this again.

Thanks to malthead for this one!

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Photo of headhopper
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours dark with a decent amount of head, which is nice and creamy looking. When the glass is put into light it shines through, brown, and amber can be seen.

S - Bitter sweet chocolate, sour mash, green olives, and roasted coffee beans.

T - Bitter coffee and dark chocolate with a sour mash after taste. Tastes much better warmer. The flavors really mend together nicely. A lot like the smell.

M - A bit thin, but has a nice creamy feel. Not cloying and goes down easy. Nice amount of carbonation. Keeps it refreshing tasting.

D -This is a very good porter. Sometimes If I am not in the mood for a porter it can come off a bit too smoky ,but other then that, very easy drinking and tasty.

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Photo of hero27
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle.

Very dark, murky brown. Creamy tan head sits atop the brew and leaves plenty of lacing behind it.
Plenty of dark chocolate in the aroma, and a prominent deep roasted/burnt malt presence.
Dark roasted malts with a heavy dosage of chocolate and nuts. Great use of hops to balance the sweetness out.
Medium mouthfeel could be a bit thicker but i'm not complaining...still carries the flavors very well and slides down without any effort.
A very good porter, and spot-on to the style to boot. A solid beer all-around and one well worth picking up.

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Photo of KevBrews
4.92/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is one of my all-time favorites.

A: When poured into my imperial pint glass, nearly 2 inches of creamy, tan head crowned this black, opaque brew.

S: Roasty, with chocolate malt and hints of raisin.

T: Roast upfront, but sharpness is not overpowering. Coffee and chocolate flavors throughout; slickness on tongue. Moderate bitterness with a dry finish.

M: Creamy, full.

D: Very drinkable--this is my favorite example of the style and my favorite Bell's beer thus far. Equally good in the bottle or on tap. A well-balanced beer with lots of complex flavors.

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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 becktone
4.44/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This porter looks exquisite once it is decanted into a glass. The dark brown, red-copper contrasts very nicely with the light brown head. The head is about the height of my middle finger, stable/good retention, and is creamy in appearance. Lacing is very very sexy. Leaves a solid wall of lacing, wow very good looking.

To the nose this beer is full of dark malt aroma. Most easily identifiable in this beer's aroma is the roasted grain aroma, also in the foreground of this beer is a chocolate or black grain aroma. Everything one could expect from an American Porter is in the aroma of this beer. No hop aroma as expected. The smells eminating from the beer are fairly weak, and it would be much easier to positively identify them(instead of taking well educated guesses based upon what I can barely smell) were they stronger. The aroma is good, but it would be even better were it more potent.

What is absent from the aroma is made up for in the taste. The beer is malty sweet and is nicely balanced with hops, though there are no immediately noticable flavor hops. The profile of this beer can be described as chocolately, and coffee with a bit of roasted grain bitterness. What really makes this one interesting is the aftertaste of this beer. It is a noticable coffee taste to begin with, as time goes by roast grain bitterness and hop flavor can be detected. These two other flavors seem to melt into being and blend very well with the prevailing coffee flavor. Very nice indeed.

On the palate this beer is a nice medium heavy beer. The carbonation is in check, does not get in the way of the beer's flavor. Would've been really great if the creaminess of the head was reflected more in the overall mouthfeel of the brew. As to the drinkability, I will definitely be buying this porter again. It is a great porter, and represents the style very well and quite accurately.

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

Batch 7611 12 oz into pint glass.

Thick, rich and dark black pour leaves a dark brown head which laces nicely after it falls.

Smells of roasty coffee, dark chocolate and hints of vanilla.

Taste is a creamy blend of malty sweetness, dark chocolate again, plus some delicious coffees. Just a slight bit of hops crispness to finish.

Mouthfeel is creamy, not heavy and this could become a great Fall session beer.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

batch 7393

appearance: pours into an imperial pint glass...very dark body, bordering on char black...creamy tan-beige foam head with light retention and nice creamy lacing...nice presentation from bells, per the usual

smell: light creamy roasted aroma, sweet milk chocolate aroma, roasted malt, pretty nice burst of hops underneath it all

sweet: I dig this porter...its super smooth and creamy, delicate sweet milk chocolate, strong roasted malt, smoke, char, licorice, moderate dark fruit sweetness, a touch nutty, some booze in the followthrough

mouthfeel: great, very creamy and smooth, well balanced

drinkability: good

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Photo of tgbljb
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a very deep brown, virtually black color with tannish creamy head.
Smell is lighter than iI expected, with light notes of roasted malt, and a bit of a metallic smell.
Taste shows strong notes of chcolate, coffee, burnt and roasted malt, and ends with a profound dry bitterness, almost too much.
An OK beer, but there are much more enjoyable samples of the style available.

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Photo of JoeyHotrod
4.5/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

4.5's across the board on this beauty.

Quite well made and among my favorite Porters, Bell's version of the style is a true love affair.

The beer pours to a nice deep black color and a head that's quite evident. The sort of look that makes non beer advocates cower in fear.

The smell is sweet malt, with a little bit of hop sneaking in as well. It's no doubt a very nice smelling beer and it's scent, matches the equally solid look to a tee.

The taste is all over the spectrum, but great in each and every way.

Roasted malt... chocolate... coffee.. even an ever so slight hop bitterness adds to the complexity.

In my humble opinion, this is about as drinkable a porter as one is apt to find. Could easily see myself drinking a few bottles with ease.

Bell's with another winner, not a surprise in my book, as they are quite possibly my favorite of all American Breweries.

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Photo of rabsten
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass, dark brown with a red tint. Thin head with some lacing. Glows red when put in front of a candle. Nice.

Toasted coffee-like malt in the nose with some alcohol notes.

Starts with the coffee malt, then moves into a dry caramel finish (if that's possible).

Thin mouthfeel is the only donwside to this beer. It's still very drinkable, though.

This is a fine, easy drinking porter. If any brewery does dark ales better, please tell me. Another winner from Bell's

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.97/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 7662, bottled Sept. 19 and consumed Oct. 26

Wow. I was blown away by this beer. An instant favorite. One of the best porters I've had.

The beer pours to a nice black color, completely opaque with a two-finger head. Retention isn't the best, and lacing is minimal, but it looks really nice in a nonic pint.

The smell is great. Lots of black malt and chocolate malt with a hint of smoke. Smells very chocolatey and robust.

The taste is exceptional as well. Very chocolatey with lots of black patent malt. Even though it is on the robust coffee roast side, it still has a very nice sour mash porter flavor. A little bit of a hop bitterness lingers in the finish, though it is not prominent in the flavor.

The body is medium to full. Has a fairly crisp carbonation. A bit creamy. Great lingering finish. This is easily a new session beer for me.

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

Dark cola brown inkiness. Soft, fluffy, stable head of light cocoa brown. Wet cordwood, campfire, roasted brown sugar, tobacco, chocolate liqueur. Light roasted bitterness up front. Peaty, baking chocolate sweet middle gives way to roasted tobacco hop bitterness. Finish shows flashes of malt sweetness. Medium-bodied with a creamy, yet lively feel. Not my favorite Bell’s brand, but solid.

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Photo of phisig137
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown, with a one finger head and little retention. mahagony highlights around the edges, and no lacing.

Aroma is chock full of chocolate, toasted grains, and toffee malt notes.

Flavor is quite toasty, with a slightly dry finish. Chocolate notes are present too. No hops or alcohol detected. Mouthfeel is a little thin, but drinkability is excellent.

A great beer all around, but doesn't have a huge "wow" factor. I've enjoyed everything that I've had from bell's so far. Can't wait to try some more of them.

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Photo of akorsak
4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The porter is black as oil with a small head and spots of lacing. As you sip the beer, hints of coffee-colored deep brown/black emerges.

S: The aroma is a chocolatey roasted malt aroma with a slight stale sour tartness.

T: The taste is chocolate and toffee sweetness with a very subtle tartness that, to me, epitomizes a good porter. The roasted malt finish is dry and provides a pleasing chocolate aftertaste.

M: The ale sits very well on the palate with a nice aftertaste.

D: The porter is very drinkable, an enjoyable darker brew for the fall season.

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Photo of Phatz
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I admit, I have a soft spot for roasty Porters. mmm. I love ‘em, Bell's included. I let this one warm a while first and then enjoyed every last drop.

Appearance: Pours an almost opaque almost black color with a light brown creamy head and blotches of sticky lacing.

Smell: Dark roasty malts, chocolate and molasses and dark fruits.

Taste: Dark chocolate, burnt butterscotch, a hint of berry and a Maduro tobacco leaf stirred into the mix; start off the rich but well blended flavors of this tasty porter. Further into it more coffee and mocha appear and the finish is simply lip smacking, and beckons for the next sip.

Mouthfeel: Creamy smooth medium body beer that is astringent around the edges but almost chewy milky in the slick center.

Drinkability: I love this beer. The balance of bitter sweet and astringent and slick and the creamy smooth texture all add up to one thing. A *very* drinkable brew!!!

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of beermanbrian
4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep brown color with a tan head. Very active carbonation bubbles give it a cola appearance. Smell of burnt toasted malt and chocolate. Also some earthy hop notes. Taste is nice, with a good chocolate sweetness followed by some finishing bitterness and that typical porter smokey taste. Mouthfeel comes off a little thin, but i think this is due to the high carbonation level, it's very bubbly on the tongue. I enjoyed this one.

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Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark chocolate brown with a beige head that displays good retention and some shards of lace

Smell: Alternating wafts of dark bread, chocolate and roast

Taste: Starts out with a bread and chocolate flavor that grows increasingly chocolatey by mid-palate; after the swallow, the chocolate is joined by hints of coffee bitterness through to the finish; some vanilla sweetness in there, too, but the aftertaste is rather roasty

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A nice middle of the road porter, with good chocolate flavor and a commendable balance of sweet and roasty flavors

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Photo of terrabyte
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a very black with a hint of ruby at the thinner ends. Had a with medium off white head.

A nice roasted malt smell with a sweetness of dark fruit. Very little whiff of chocolate and coffee.

The flavor starts out very strong with roasted malts and a hint of nuttiness. A bite from the carbonation occurs from the middle. Then it tapers off with a hint of chocolate and coffee. The aftertaste lingers with an enjoyable earthy, mild coffee bitterness.

A bit overcarbonated, but unique. Very smooth. There is a bit of cola thinness/carbonation that I can't get out of my mind.

Very drinkable. Strong flavors throughout without being heavy at all. Even light. Carbonation probably helps with that, although my only disappointment.

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Photo of Applesauce1
3.52/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I got the Bell's Porter at the Pit Stop in Nelsonville, OH. There was no freshness date on the bottle (some little code # 7267).

Appearance: Dark, pretty much black with a small off-white head, not much head retention
Smell: coffee, nuts, and a little bit of chocolate
Taste: coffee is dominant, but some chocolate, no hops present, a little watery for a Bell's
Mouthfeel: medium bodied, a little to much carbonation (possibly bad pouring on my part)
Drinkability: decent, i could have another one later on tonight

Overall, a decent beer, but I was expecting something more from Bell's.

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Photo of pvsob
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - A deep brown/black color with ruby highlights around the edges. Had a small mocha colored head that faded quickly and left little to no lacing.

Smell - Big roasted malt aroma with hints of dark fruits, (raisins, dates), chocolate, and some coffee.

Taste - Nice burnt malt bitterness is present from start to finish with small hints of coffee and chocolate rearing their heads throughout the tasting experience.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel with some carbonation.

Overall - This was a good American Porter. Nicely balanced and has morning to night drinkability potential. Maybe not the best that's out there, but worth a try if you run across it.

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

CONTAINER TYPE: bottle - conditioned
FRESH: packaged 9-24; consumed 10-3
COST: $7.99 / 6 pack
HEAD: none
LACE: small spots slide quickly down side of glass
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 it’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.

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.28/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz glass to a pint glass. The liquid is a dark as night, Black. The carbonation is grate and the yeast flouting around are great as well. The head is smallish 1 thick finger, nice tan colorant great lacing.

The smell is also quite good, An initial odd scent the give way to full classic porter aromas, Coffee, chocolate and lots of dark fruit and some burnt bread.

The taste follows, Sweet burnt toast taste followed with dark fruit, coffee and espresso, Some chocolate notes a well.

The mouth feel is excellent smooth full body not watery like some porters, good carbonation and a descent bite.

The drinkability is great, nothing done wrong here. Thank you shbobdb for suppling this fine brew. Prosit, MK

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

A: Pours thinner than I was expecting. Perhaps I've been drinking too many stouts. Dark, clean with amber highlights when held to the light. Head is above average for sure, holding thick for quite some time.

S: Roasted barley, dried cocoa, light hops.

T: Begins on the sweet side, some smores with all three ingredients playing a part. Very minor cola twang hits the tip of the tongue before a gentle wash of lactose like sugar descends across the center of the tongue. Roasted grains move in and push about 3/4 of the sugar away from the palate take over. Finishes with reminiscent charcoal and mellow lactose.

M: Medium body, smooth mouthfeel. Carbonation actually feels thin for the copius amount of head still remaining.

D: Not a bad porter. Nothing really stand out but certainly enjoyable.

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Photo of jmatthew
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served up in a pint glass as black as could be with barely a trace of a head remaining after only a brief 10 foot journey from the tap. Smell is decent although faint, and offers roasted malts with some coffee. Taste is very smoky upfront, which dissolves into espresso, chocolate and nutty flavors with an overall mustiness that carries through to the end. Somewhat thin, but oily with a lasting roasted malt flavor. Nice smooth session type porter.

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Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.88 out of 5 based on 2,898 ratings.
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