Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

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

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Bell's PorterBell's Porter
Very Good
2,957 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,957 |  Reviews: 1,072
Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fours up. A very nice porter that has a very dark brown to black body with hints of deep garnet around the fringes. The head comes up three fingers on the pour, deep tan to beige, with retention not so good as it fades to a wipsy layer rather quickly. Nice lacing from the residual layer.

The nose is full of coffee notes and buries the substantial roasted malt base in this essence. The flavor is mostly of coffee and roasted malts with a very strong sense of raisins and prunes added into the strong java flavor. The feel is light to medium with a very nice finish for a porter, actually rather crisp rather than smooth and coating. Very drinkable porter.

 660 characters

Photo of Ardeer
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of alpinebryant
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown with a light tan head. Smelled of dark roasted malted barley, coffee, toffee.

Tasted most prominently of dark roasted malt, black patent, chocolate , coffee. Seemed to have a similar chalky finish as I tasted with the double cream stout, but not quite as pronounced here. Very light twang bite at the end. As it warmed, tasted a little more of the hop presence, but it was almost non existant while still fridge cold.

Drinkable due to the low abv, which I am finding more and more to be abnormal. a good standard porter

 543 characters

Photo of AlexJ
4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dark, mahogany tinged brown (near black) pour sets forth a creamy head of tan froth with decent retention and minimal lacing.

Aroma is pleasantly mild mix of roasty malts and caramel, milk chocolate, nuts, and earthy hops.

Flavor is much bigger than the nose, a perfect blend of toasty dark malt flavors is accentuated by nuances of light cocoa, coffee, and scorched caramel with a perfectly balanced hop finish of earthy and faint floral bitterness.

Body is nearly medium, with a slick and creamy mouthfeel and outstanding drinkability. A perfect body for the style-light enough to be seriously drinkable, yet packs enough flavor to be very satisfying. Me likey.

 674 characters

Photo of RyanK252
4.06/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a BarrelHouse Brewing Co pint glass

A: Pours deep dark brown with a slight ruby tinge, very little light passes through, with a mocha brown head that fades and laces nicely.

S: Roasted malt, a bit of coffee, faint dark fruit, and maybe even a little maple, and a touch of light smoke.

T: Roasted malt, some coffee and chocolate, a nice kinda smokiness, a bit of dark fruit, and a touch of sweetness on the finish.

M: Moderate carbonation keeps this one on the lighter side of medium bodied which is quite a pleasant surprise, goes down very smooth.

O: Very solid porter. I would happily drink this all day in the yard raking leaves.

 658 characters

Photo of M1A2
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of IvoryFoxhole
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass. Brewed in May, 2012.

A) Pour results in 2 finger light tan head. Slow dissolve to slight cap and a little bit of lacing. Beer is a dark brown.

S) Roasted malts, roasted coffee, maybe a little bit of chocolate.

T) Roasted malts, some chocolate, some hops come in at the end.

M) Moderate to full, medium carbonate which causes a dry finish.

O) Solid porter, quite enjoyable.

 415 characters

Photo of AmitC
4.06/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bell's porter bottle dated 1/4/2013. 12oz.

Poured into snifter. A brown colored medium thin pour. Black color inside the glass. Solid one finger thick tan colored head that stays well. Excellent lacing on the sides. Opaque.

Typical porter like roasted malts. More roasted than burnt up. Strength is moderate yet persistent. Very one dimensional.

Taste is very similar to the nose. A good amount of roasted malts with slight amount of charred or burnt up flavor. Some hops may be but only lightly. Finish is dry and slightly full of burnt up taste.

Mouth feel is medium bodied. Low to moderate carbonation. No astringency. No booze throughout. A light easy drinking sessionable porter.

Style Rate: 4
Personal Rate: 3.75

 726 characters

Photo of ShepardCommander
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: A good and billowing head at first, taking a while to calm down, with not a lot of retention, though the color is nearly opaque, and a deep brown with hints of dark amber coming through.

Smell: Good aroma of roasted and slightly burnt malts, bitter coffee, and dark chocolate, with some cream and burnt brown sugar.

Taste: Initially reminds me of the Double Cream Stout, which may have the same base malts and water or whatever else is causing this. And I did have a bad experience with the aforementioned brew. I think, for one, and this was a few years ago, I got an old case, and one that wasn't refrigerated, but I thought it was my palate and not the beer. And then I tried to cellar them for months and they got worse. So don't cellar a milk stout, which is a rookie mistake I imagine, and I was a rookie then. At any rate, the taste is pretty much what comes through in the nose for me, though everything is toned down, a bit watery, and pretty boring. It's balanced enough, and drinkable enough, but you get the dark chocolate, burnt characteristics, bitter coffee, and a finish with slight curbing citrus and roasted flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied though a bit too slick and watery for my liking.

Drinkability: I just think a mediocre porter is so easy to do these days from so many breweries, and it bothers me when I get one -- like a style of, say, a Pilsner or a Brown Ale -- that keeps going along the same lines. I'm not saying it needs to be insanely extravagant, but porters (and not Baltic style) are just being overdone with mediocrity these days, if you'll excuse the semi-oxymoron. Don't get me wrong: I enjoyed this, but I don't know if I could tell the difference between this and hundreds out there. Again, Bell's is hit or miss with me, and this is somewhere in between, but there are much better examples with more flavor and balance and nuance and complexity out there to try.

 1,960 characters

Photo of TexIndy
3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle that I brought back from my Indy trip. It had a batch number (8833 mid-Nov 08) on the back that you can type into the website to get dating info on. It was a deep black color with mahagony edges. No visible carbonation. Slow sliding lacing. It had an average tan head that quickly settled into a thin, broken top with a good collar.

The aroma was really good. Coffee, dark chocolate malt and roasted. I love the smell of porters and this one didn't disappoint. The taste was a bit of a letdown after the great aroma. I expected a strong flavor based on the aroma but it was a little weak and a bit watery. It wasn't bad. It just wasn't as good as I'd hoped. It had a good balance between the sweet malt and the bitter finish. Starts out smooth and then you get a nice bitter end. Easy drinking but it missing something that keeps it from top tier. Good session beer if flavor not your main goal. Also good BMC conversion beer.

Overall, a good but not great beer from a great brewery. Good I got to try it but with some many other great Am Porters out there, I probably wouldn't go out of my way to get this again (maybe once more just to make sure I had a good sample but pretty sure I did since I got it from the Hop Shop). Medium recommend.

 1,270 characters

Photo of mmmbeer
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz., batch 7693 - packaged on 10/16. It pours smoothly into the mug to reveal an unfiltered black, almost thick body with a 2 finger coffee-with-cream head that leaves nice lacing. It smells of dark and lightly sweet malts with chocolate and roasted/earthy notes. The flavor is the same, but adds piney and lightly citric hops, oats?, lactose?, and a minerally quality on top of a medium, fairly carbonated, yet creamy smooth body that easily glides down the gullet. Overall a quality porter.

 495 characters

Photo of MN_Beerticker
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

 808 characters

Photo of kelvarnsen
3.66/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of HRamz3
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of Booner818
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of jason_nwx
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of DudMan
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of Jacobob10
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle.

Very dark brown, almost black in color with a soft tan head. Good retention throughout the duration of the beer. Pleasant, mild aroma of dark chocolate and roasted malts. Flavor is much of the same with roasted malts and a hint of chocolate to round it out. Medium bodied with a slight bitter finish and goes down easy. Very solid porter here. Not too heavy, not too light. I picked this one up in NY but if Bell's distributed in NJ this would be something I would purchase regularly.

 520 characters

Photo of cfrances33
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%

Photo of pknyc
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of jeffthepony
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown in color with a nice quarter inch mocha brown head. Looks good. Smell is roasty. Some dark malts and maybe roasted coffee. Taste is more of the roast with a touch of the coffee there as well. A little too much roast coming through. Decent mouthfeel, could be a bit thicker. All in all a solid porter from Bells.

 330 characters

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

Pours a deep, deep brown colour with slight amber hues and a thick, creamy beige head. Rings of residue are left on the glass after each sip. Nice.

The aroma mixes chocolate/cocoa, roasted malt and a slight bit of coffee in the back for a well blended balance overall.

The flavour is similar to the aroma. Sweetness is here from the chocolate but there is a good deal of harsher cocoa and more coffee thrown into the mix here for a more grounded, earthier taste. There is a burnt bitter finish to each sip as well. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a touch creamy but is also a bit thin here and there.

This is a nice, easy drinking porter that has full flavour and good balance to it. Well worth a try.

 703 characters

Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 2,957 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.