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

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1,047 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: 1,047 | Ratings: 2,843
Photo of RJBeverage
2.96/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This Bell's Porter was dark brown and had a tan head which went away. The smell was of roasted grains and tasted of toasted coffee beans and just toast. It wasn't a bad taste but not one I would do flips over. The mouthfeel was thin, much thinner than the taste or smell would suggest.

While I would drink this beer again, if it was the the only dark offering, there are many better porters that I would take gladly in it's place.

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Photo of AlexanderSelby
2.97/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looks kind of cloudy when held up to the light as the amber edges seem like they are struggling for air. Smells of coffee, chocolate, sweetness and...just about every other dark flavor. Taste is a touch muddy. Just like the nose, there are plenty of things going on at once that are seeming to fight for top spot. Roasty flavors up front get dominated later by buttered bread sweet tones, and in the middle the battle for nut or dark chocolate is raging.

Overall, I think this porter tries too hard.

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Photo of magictacosinus
2.99/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Poured into a shaker pint glass from a 12oz bottle. Bottling date is printed as "06/03/13."

Darkened in color, with nothing but reddish and brown tones circling the edges of the glass. An off-brown, 2-finger large head tops the glass, but soon dissipates to a modest ring overall. Can't tell if there's much carbonation on this, but it seems relatively balanced. Definitely not showy, but stands as a well made porter, if only a bit average in appearance.

The aroma consists of a predominant roasted barley character, with notes of coffee, dark chocolate, and dried dark fruits. Definitely not as complex as you might think, but not offensive by any means. The roasted character is very upfront, with earthy notes and floral flavors from the hops, and bittered coffee and chocolate flavor still follows, albeit a bit subtle. Not much else, but seems like a standard porter flavor with me - not as refined, nevertheless.

The flavor is awash with an astringent, biscuit-y roasted bitterness, as well as faded notes of old coffee beans and old chocolate. Tastes rather stale than vibrant and warm overall. There's a bit of dried fruitiness, but it's too subtle to make out any flavors overall at the finish. A little bit of brown sugar and spice linger as well, but the entire flavor profile is dominated by roasted barley and light coffee. Not very creamy or chewy, and slightly watery at the finish, which gives the impression of old chilled brewed coffee. This gets a little better as it warms up, but it's not very refreshing or comforting - I'd imagine it would be better on tap.

Another disappointment with Bell's - knowing what these guys can do, I realize this is a more crowd-pleasing, less diverse offering. Mind you, I love the taste of basic American porters, but this one feels too one-dimensional in the long run. Worth a try for Bell's completionists.

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Photo of CU570M
3/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance was dark as night. Light tan foam lingers around the edge of the glass the whole time. Alcoholic kind of smell along with hints of malted barley. Same dark malted barley taste. Rich! Taste is average for a dark beer. Mouthfeel is nice with smooth low carbonation. Not bad, but not great either.

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Photo of AltBock
3/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle with a mocha colored label that has a picture of a well dressed Thomas Edison running with a stock of barley in his left hand and a vine of hops in his right. Didn't his mom ever tell him that it's dangerous to run with beer ingredients in his hands? The back label has a brief description about the beer, US Government warning, barcode, refund values and a batch number of 7766. Their website didn't tell me what date it was bottled on. It just told me that it was a Bell's Porter.

Appearance: I just had to pour it into my Bell's Brewery pint glass. What came out of the bottle was a deep dark mahagony brown colored beer that had a few dark ruby red highlights along the edges. It started off nice with a thick 1 1/2 inch head of tan foam. It was just sad to see this nice head of foam fizzle away in a matter of only a few seconds. It did manage to leave behind a few bubbly tan colored islands, handful of tan rings, and a few spots of tan lace.

Smell: It had a plain and simple Porter aroma of roasted malts, roasted walnuts, a hint of sweet caramel, and a spatter of roasted hops at the end. It's funny, the beer had an aroma of roasted hops, while the bottle had the aroma of citrus hops. It's also funny that the bottle had the scent of butter popcorn, while the aroma had none of that.

Taste: The taste was just like the aroma, plain and simple. The taste had a plain and simple Porter taste of dark roasted malts, a hint of roasted coffee beans, a pinch of sweet caramel, and then it suddenly ended with a touch of roasted hops. There was also a smidge of milk chocolate in the taste, but that came and went as it pleased. I had no idea when to expect the milk chocolate to show up.

Mouthfeel: It was a light bodied beer with mild carboantion and a short lived aftertaste of dark roasted malts and roasted hops. This aftertaste disappeared as soon as it showed up.

Drinkability: There was nothing in this beer that made me feel that it was above being an average run of the mill Porter. Would I give it another try? I would like too, I really would. It would be nice to see if a second bottle would push this beer above average.

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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 kennyo
3.01/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

dark brown color w/some red overtones
pours with a nice head that disapates pretty quickly
not mch of aroma, a little malt
nice taste, some malt, some roastiness.
a pretty easy drinking beer, could be a good session beer, if found on tap at a bar

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Photo of dlello2
3.02/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle - 1 of 5 in a double-blind tasting.

A - Dark brown/black, no light coming through. Good head, not sticking to the glass much.

S - Not the best first impression. A little skunky/old smelling. Not much sweetness. Some grassiness in there or maybe a barnyard smell.

T - Way different than the smell. Refreshing and not sweet at all (compared to the other porters we've had tonight). Not all that much going on actually. A basic, drinkable, pseudo-malty porter taste.

M - Good. One of the best parts of this brew actually! Decent carbonation and this goes down very smoothly.

O - Really not bad at all. Smell was the only off-putting element. Other than that this was a basic, satisfying porter.

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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 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 itÂ’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 ZAP
3.06/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

At first I thought this was very good...I got a chocolate flavor right off the bat....seemed like I was drinking a milkshake...then that trademark Bell's yeast flavor emerged...I like it in some of their beers...In this one, I'm not real fond of it...It is black in color..nose is sourish like that yeast strain..the finish is also somewhat tart...Not an outstanding porter in my book...slightly above average.

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

this one had alot of floating particals in it, so i think this bottle isnt fresh, this has some coffie or bitter dark coco flavers in the begining and some big hops at the end, this one was ok but i want to try a fresh bottle befor i form my final opinion

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Photo of semibaked
3.07/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours almost black with a little light shining through. Thin amount of pretty light colored head, nothing too special.

S - Good smell of of sweetened coffee, but that is about it pretty one dimensional.

T - Slightly bitter hops and coffee come through, not sweet like the smell at all.

M - Some creaminess and smooth.

D - I love Bell's but this is not one of my favorites, it is just average overall, Bell's can do a lot better than this.

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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 pasdachuri
3.08/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Actually a bit of a let down when considering other offerings from Bells Brewery. Appearance was blacker than black, and smelled of chocolate accompanied by nut, roasted coffee, sweet dark malts, and some hop spice in the background. The taste missed all of the aroma however, and was dominated by coffee, but sort of a weak coffee. Truly a disappointing porter especially when delivered from a tried and true brewery like Bells.

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Photo of Cresant
3.09/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this undated 12 oz. brown bottle into a nonic. Body was an opaque black/brown/purple. Head was two fingers of off-white/tan foam.

Smell was a slight ash. Faint metallic. Roasty malts.

Taste was sweet and tart. Toasted malts. Rich flavors. A slight coffee-like bitterness.

Mouthfeel was smooth with a thin to medium body. Appropriate for the style. A pleasant beer.

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Photo of righthereisay
3.1/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I was pretty dissappointed with this one. Maybe I'm just not a porter guy. Truthfully, I'm new to this expensive hobby. I got the Bell's variety pack, and this was my least favorite. If it is ever in another Bell's variety pack, I will not purchase it.

Not full bodied at all. Rather the opposite. Flavor was OK. I would like to try some other Porter's before I go too far on this. I had Michelobe porter, Bell's Porter is much better than that crap.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.11/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Deep rich brown with some dark reds at the edges. Nice and clear. Minimal, off-white head drops to a super thin collar in short order. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Chocolatey. Malts, roasted edges, milk chocolate sweetness. Loaded with chocolate. Some slightly acrid, almost smoked edges. Grassy and slightly floral with some old coffee rounding out the back. Some caramel malt sweetness with a touch of biscuit thrown in for good measure. Some toasted notes as well.

Taste: Mildly sweet coupled with a solid, but not aggressive, roasted malt profile. Some caramel sweetness. Old coffee and some mixed in grass and herbal/floral elements. A touch earthy with some nice toasted elements. Slight bitterness and baker's chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation on a medium body. Slightly dry on the back. Clean overall.

Overall: Drinkable, but not necessarily delightful.

A good porter. All the right flavors, but it doesn't go anywhere. Some nice complexity, but not enough to really keep it going through the whole bottle.

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Photo of bylerteck
3.13/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My Girlfriend brought this back from Florida for me. From notes.

A - Poured black with reddish edges and a half finger of beige head. Strong carbonation. Minimal spotty lace and retention.

S - Strong chocolate, mild coffee, mild roast.

T - Cola, some chocolate. Not overly complex.

M - Fairly strong carbonation, medium creamy body and some dryness to finish.

O/D - I wasn't exactly enamoured with this. OK, but certainly nothing to get excited about. Cola in the flavour profile wasn't pleasing and it just wasn't something you can really get into.

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Photo of wahhmaster
3.13/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Stone Smoked Porter shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown, nearly black color. Has a thick, foamy, tan head that dissipates quickly and leaves spotty lacing.

Smell: Smells faintly of roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee.

Taste: Mildly bitter up front. Develops a sweet, roasted flavor with hints of coffee and chocolate towards the back. Pretty standard porter territory here...

Mouthfeel: A little light-bodied with only a slight carbonation bite to it.

Drinkability: A very average porter. There is really nothing about this beer that stands out or separates it from other porters. While there's nothing inherently wrong with that, it doesn't make me particularly eager to recommend this beer or pick it up again myself. This falls squarely into the "take it or leave it" category.

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Photo of Bumpon10s
3.13/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours black with no head and a sticky lace.

S - Very malty smell, licorice style nose.

T - Malts, and coffee. However, at that junction, it isn't complex, seemingly just malt, coffee and alcohol.

M - It is a bit unbalanced, things just don't blend well, and it doesn't do to well in the mouth.

D - At the 5.25% it is a bit redeeming, but not the best porter you'll have.

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Photo of agomega
3.14/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle served in a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a black color with a huge light tan head. Tons of lacing left behind.

Smell: Smell is a little faint. What smell there is consists of roasted aromas and a faint hint of chocolate.

Taste: Some roasted flavors - but in general it is kind of like the smell - just not much there. Overall the flavor is fairly blah and kind of disappointing. It is almost a watery flavor - not really much bitterness or sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body.

Overall: Only a so-so porter. It could be that I just got a bad bottle. The date was 8/30/11 so it shouldn't be past its prime. However, for now I will be sticking with Founders Porter which I enjoyed much more.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.15/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured dark brown with a nice sized tannish head. Nose of light chocolate, coffee, a little hops as well. Taste is sudbued. Nose is misleading. Roasted malts on taste with a dash of cocoa but thats about it. Not really impressed. it was good but not great. Thin mouthfeel and body. I expected more robust porter I suppose.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.16/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle dated 3/23/12 so decently fresh. Dark black, brown head. Smells like grainy malts, eh, boring. Taste is slightly malty but I really thought this was a letdown. It was not a bad beer it was just sort of boring and I love porters. I would probably give this one more shot because I know Bells makes great beer.

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Photo of Amsterdam
3.18/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a bottle. The label reminded me of cheap hotel products and so there was that to overcome.

Good head and nice lacing.

The smell is light but nice with hints of hops.

The flavor is sharp forward with a pleasant burnt nutty flavor that ends with a flatness. For the alcohol content it has a lot of flavor, but it returns flat and without much complexity and a lingering bitter taste with hints of tobacco.

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Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.88 out of 5 based on 2,843 ratings.
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