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: 2,899
Photo of jp32
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance : Pours a very robust dark brown to black color with a little dark brown foamy head that dissipates very quickly.

Smell : The smell of roasted malts really jump out and grab you with this one. Smells delicious. I also sense a bit of sweet chocolate.

Taste : Rich, dark, roasted malts all the way! The immediate aftertaste is of bitter coffee, but goes well with the intense yet smooth dark toasty flavor. Also has a slightly nutty, wood-like taste.

Mouthfeel : Medium-bodied. I think I expected it to be a bit heavier, but I'm not let down at all. Very nice.

Drinkability : If I did not have to work in the morning, I think I'd drink a truckload of these.

Very nice all-around beer here. I am impressed and I'd recommend this one to anybody. Cheers to the people at the Kalamazoo Brewing Company! Nice Work!

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Photo of mattcrill
4.45/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours dark chocolate to black with a puffy tan head on the top. No light gets through this monster. Can't see any carbonation at all. Looks beautiful in my pint glass...

Smell: Out of control! I get dark chocolate, vanilla, oak, roasted marshmallows. All sorts of roasty goodness spilling out of this glass.

Taste: Follows smell. The chocolate, roasted malts, and vanilla is dialed in. I get hints of chocolate sweetness and coffee bitterness that lobby for control of my palate. This is a beautifully complex porter.

Mouthfeel: A touch to thin for me but definitely true to style. Carbonation keeps it interesting and a touch of a bitter coffee finish coats the tongue.

Drinkability: I could easily see myself going through a ton of these. This immediately jumps to the top of my list of porters and only stands behind Edmund Fitzgerald as far as I'm concerned. KBC got this one dead on...nice job.

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Photo of Beaver13
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours a dark opaque brown. It has a smallish light brown head that quickly recedes to a thin film. There is some yeast sediment at the bottom of the glass.

The aroma is chocolate and coffee with some vanilla and cream.

The flavor is burnt chocolate malts and coffee. It's a little acidic and slightly sweet. It has a dry (almost chalky), medium bitter finish. It has a fairly full body, a little light on the carbonation.

Overall, an excellent porter. Coffee-like and bitter, but very pleasing.

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Photo of jahred
3.62/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an extremely dark brown (almost black) color with streaky lace and a thick, bubbly tan head. A nice aroma of sweet caramel and faint hints of chocolate puts me in a good mood. The taste is roasty and chocolately, with a slight hop bite and lingering fusel alcohol aftertaste. The roasty flavors, the first thing I notice from the taste, sticks around as the predominant flavor through the glass.

Overall, pretty tasty, but somehow just not as smooth and drinkable as my favorite porters (Anchor Porter, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Fuller's London Porter and Goose Island English Malt Porter all come to mind as much more drinkable).

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Photo of gimmehead
4.22/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep, dark brown with a thick mocha colored head. Smells of smoky roasted malts, a little nutty, and suprisingly, a faint whiff of alcohol. Taste is sweet caramel, slightly burnt, some coffee notes and bittersweet chcolate. Well balanced hop finish. Mouthfeel is very smooth. I could throw these back all night long.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle. Deep brown color with some ruby highlights. Thick tan foamy head. Good retention. Lightly roasted coffee and cocoa nose. Nice roasty flavor, slight bittersweet chocolate flavor. Good amount of bitterness overall. Even though it had bitterness, it was still pretty smooth overall. Creamy mouthfeel really seals the deal here. Very drinkable. Excellent session porter here. No quality problems in this beer today for me.

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Photo of Jason
3.53/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to UncleJimbo for this sample!

Presentation: 12 oz brown bottle with a batch code on the back label … this means nothing to me as far as freshness.

Appearance: Thick frothy head forms as soon as I poured, not a gusher but there is a good amount of carbonation here. Black, black and black.

Smell: Fruity, malty with a roasted … almost burnt biscuit aroma. Mild buttery diacetyl in the back.

Taste & Mouth Feel: Semi-smooth with a creamy medium body. Mildly acrid burnt snap up front, lots of burnt husk flavor … not astringent but it has a bite. Solid yet balancing hop bitterness plays with the dry malt character. Finishes with a drying burnt chicory flavor.

Drinkability & Notes: Just an easy drinking middle of the road porter that has a good amount of flavor pack in it.

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Photo of skybluewater
3.38/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown, almost black color. This one smells of coffee and chocolate (what I consider the way a porter should smell), in addition to that "special" Bell's aroma. Taste is of coffee and chocolate as well, with a rather unpleasent sourness (which fades a bit as the beer warms). Mouthfeel is quite creamy.

Overall, I've had better porters, and I've had better Bell's beers. Then again, I've had worse Bell's beers than this. Not one to be avoided, but not one to seek out either, especially If you have, say, Summit Great Northern Porter available to you, at a better cost and a better taste as well.

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Photo of Quaffer
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up on the Missouri side of Kansas City. Not available here in Wichita.

Appearance: A very dark brown, to the point that light could only be seen peeking through around the edge of the glass. The light brown head rose up easily and was nice and thick. As it settled, taking a long time to do so, it became very rocky and fluffy. A this layer of foam remained for almost the entire time and left some very nice lacing behind. I could see lots of chunks floating around along the side of the glass, even some floating on the surface of the beer. It didn't look like it was all yeast, but I don't think that it was hops particles, either.

Smell: Chocolate, cream, light hops bitterness, and roasted malts made up the bulk of the aroma. There were light hints of smoke and dark fruits as well. The cream component came across more like sour milk right after the pour, but, thankfully, that changed.

Mouthfeel: Almost medium bodied. Nice and smooth upfront, gaining a velvety texture as the beer moved back into the mouth.

Taste: A strong combination of sour and a straightforward bitterness dominated most of the taste. Those flavors kicked in right at the start and did not diminish until the finish. Bitter coffee and bitter chocolate were strong with just a little bit of creamy milk chocolate beneath. The yeast was definitely noticeable and gave this porter a fairly unique flavor, though a little sour.

The sourness became somewhat annoying after awhile, but this was still a good beer.

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Photo of crookedhalo
3.66/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours deepest brown, almost black. Chocolate milk colored head. Raisiny, dark roasted coffee, chocolate and black patent malts in the nose. A bit overcarbonated which throws off my first impression of weakness and scattered tastes. I swirl and let it sit... Definitely a good roasty flavor and a flowery hop bouquet gives it an extra dimension of depth. It is pretty astringent, both malty and hoppy. It is pretty good, thinner than some porters, but a solid drinkable porter. I had it on-draft before and remembered liking it a bit better than in the bottle.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.27/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Secret Santa 2004 - #1

A surprisingly loud, fizzy sounding pour.

An extremely dark brown- to black body, a dash of ruby along the bottom. A tan head of big bubbles is topped by a tighter, rocky mountaintop which rose above the glass, before rapidly dropping down to a table top. Some decent lacing.

A rich mocha aroma is evident as soon as the bottle opens.

Taste kicks off with a enjoyable light-coffee (but not overly roasty) and chocolate start, and is quickly joined with a fine earthy and herbal hop wash, which carries thru even as the "darker" flavors fade.

A proper porter mouthfeel, not watery, but not stoutish thick either.

Going down a bit too fast, this would make a very enjoyable session beer.

A proper porter, from a brewery reknown for stouts.

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Photo of Tballz420
4.17/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This black colored brew lets some amber hues through with the light, and is topped with a khaki head. Rich coffee scent, bits of chocolate. Taste is rich creamy malts, both cocolate and coffee, and is followed by a nice light hop presence. Full creamy mouth. This isnt my favorite style but this one was quite good.

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

My reviews haven't been favorable to Bell's recently but I'm changing quickly.
Poured rich and thick. Deep mahogany to black with a nice 1 inch head that dissappates quickly leaving some nice lace in remembrance.
Smell of roasted chocolate and coffee. Hints of espresso linger complimentary. Small amount of smokey wood present.
The taste is heavy malt to start, coffee and espresso mildy join the game and it finishes nicely with a slight bite of hops.
Thick and chewy mouthfeel that doesn't dissappoint. It leaves a nice coating of slick malt as it dissappears. I'm going for another, awesome beverage!

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Photo of garymuchow
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Initially a really nice chocolate aroma that's sweet like milk chocolate. This moves quickly to coffee roast then moves to a duller flatter malt and possibly a yeast quality.
Extremely dark brown. Solid lacing. 1/4 inch head.
Full rich flavor with same qualities as in the aroma, but with a firm rich robust malt character. Kinda sweet with a nice bittering taste. Low burnt taste. Dryness is short lived.
Felt thicker at first, but seems to thin in time to less than medium. Carbonation is soft and full.
Solid porter. Really like the subtle sweet chocolate flavor.

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Photo of santoslhalper
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearence: Pours a dark brown with a little biege head. Head leave a few random spots of lacing.

Smell: Smells mostly of roasted almonds and chocolate. Very malty and bitter smelling.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The taste is a very solid, rich chocolate taste. Roasted nuts also come to mind. The hops shine through fairly well with a decent bite at the end. The mouthfeel is almost dead-on. Thick and chewy, but not syrupy.

Drinkability and Overall: Another great offering from Bell's, but not their best. This is a solid porter that is quite enjoyable to drink, but offers nothing special. I'd have another, but would I buy a case of this? No. Still quite good.

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Photo of DrJay
4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this one on a recent trip to Ann Arbor and I wasn't disappointed. It poured a nice dark brown with ruby highlights and a dense, light brown head that showed good retention and lacing on the glass. Very pretty. The aroma was a pleasant combination of rich roasted malts and nuttiness. The flavour was very malty, with plenty of roasted character and a light, balanced bitterness. The finish was slightly dry and conducive to having another bottle/pint. Medium bodied and medium carbonation.

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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 ken3c
4.42/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It seems like a great adventure when I pop the cap of a beer I think I'll like and there is fog in the neck of the glass.

Very dark brown with a tan head that shrinks down to a thin layer of foam. The empty glass has light lacing all along the back of the glass.

Coffee, nutty, and maybe fruity and chocolate aromas. Very complex.

Very little sweetness, quite tart like a grapefruit, then bitter like coffee and cocoa with a hint of hops. Very dry finish.

Full-bodied. Medium carbonation. slight sense of warming.

This beer didn't disappoint me. The longer I drank the more I liked.

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Photo of profzoom
3.34/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was excited to try this beer, as it represents one of my favorite styles from one of my favorite breweries. Sadly, I was not very impressed. The appearance is quite nice - a deep, dark black that only lets the tiniest bit of golden brown shine through at the bottom of the glass when held up to a light. The head is rather thick and is a creamy, brownish ivory color. The aroma is the weakest aspect of this beer in my opinion. I don't get the complex roasted scent I normally pick up from a porter, but rather an almost unpleasant smell that reminds me somewhat of my least favorite Bell's concoction, the Third Coast Beer. The taste is definitely a step up from the smell, but still is not up to what I consider a really good porter. The hoppy, chocolately, roasted elements that make up a porter are all there, but seem a little hidden behind a rather boring watery base. I doubt I'll pick this one up again.

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Photo of Crosling
4.19/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3


Heavily aromatic; a truly remarkable bouquet of fudge, coffee beans, chocolate, nutmeg and vanilla.

Lovely, malt accented, rich in flavor with notes of deep roasted malt, cocoa, chocolate, a kiss of hops and a hint of dark fruits.

I sampled this next to a bottle of Edmund Fitzgerald Porter from Great Lakes and this was much better.

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Photo of scottum
4.23/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my friends Mike and Michelle for bringing this tastey treat back from MI for me.

Pours out deep dark brown black with a nice thick light tan head. Tastes good and roasty with a very smooth mouthfeel. Hop balance is light and restrained, yet crisp. Without question amoung the best porters I've tried.

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint glass. The beer looks fantastic in the glass. Rich colors and a picture perfect head make this beer look like a supermodel of beers. The aroma is very enticing with coffee and mocha flavors in it. A sweet scent that may be slightly floral comes up too. At this poinit the beer is very attractive.

But the beer takes a sad turn here. The aroma and appearance lead me to believe that the flavor would be spectacular but it is anything but that. The taste has some coffee, nuts, and earthy leaf in it. A bit of sourness causes some puckering. Overall the flavor and body are disappointing for such a great looking brew.

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Photo of IronDjinn
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an exquisitely drinkable porter, I was hooked after the first sip. Pours out a deep black colour with a dark walnut brown nimbus, big spongy biege head that eventually recedes to a ring and leaves some lacing. Some floating sediment can be seen even in the black body, suspended yeast particles would be my wager. Very enticing bold aroma of dry roasted malt, dark chocolate, and almost a burnt hickory woodsy aroma kicking around in there, as well as small traces of coffee beans. The flavour profile seems pretty simple to me, just a whirling unison of roasted malt and sweet chocolate, with a dry earthy aftertaste, but it works in all the right places. By far the best porter I have tried all year. A little watery in the mouthfeel, but that is the only slight blemish I am experiencing. A rousing round of applause for northyorksammy for sending one of these over to me, it was greatly enjoyed.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.22/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice deep brown color-almost black actually.Nice malty aroma-slight hints of chocolate,some roastiness.Really good toasted chocolate flavor up front.Very slight hop bitterness.Some residual sweetness.Good mouthfeel-has a tinge of oiliness to it-somewhat stout like but fits in well here.A great beer-well worth trying and enjoying on a regular basis.

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

The beer pours a deep dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice roasted/toastey scent with chocolate hints and a sweet,yet dry finish. The taste is good. It has a crisp, dry, yet malty flavor that has a roasted quality and a slightly sweet finish. It has a chocolate aftertaste. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a fine porter. It has excellent aroma and flavor; a good drinker.

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Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.88 out of 5 based on 2,899 ratings.
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