Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
87
very good
1,035 Reviews
Bell's PorterBell's Porter
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,035
Ratings:
2,795
Avg:
3.88
pDev:
10.31%
 
 
Wants:
102
Gots:
362
For Trade:
6
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,035 | Ratings: 2,795
Photo of NitroGen
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This tasting possible from a trade with NDPDuke, Thank you

P: 12 oz. brown longneck bottle. Pours a dark brown with reddish tints with a robust two fingers of light brown foam that very slowly reduces to a thick cover

S: Sweet dark brown sugar, chocolate and dark coffee without the cream.

T: Rush of bittersweet chocolate that is quickly followed by medium roasted coffee sans sweetener. Great aftertaste, as all of the flavors fight to dominate and win. I think the roasted coffee wins!

M: A brisk porter that has a nice taste and body without any cloying sweetness or thickness to interfere with the roasted grains.

D: My hat is off to the brew master as this is a real honest and well-balanced porter that is a great example of a great tasting profile. Since this is not sweet or heavy, I think that this could be an excellent choice for a session porter.

 865 characters

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

A- poured a dark solid brown color. No hint if any other shades even when held to a light. 2 & 1/2 finger head with good retention and nice lacing

S- dark chocolate, coffee and some roasted grains. Maybe a hint of dark fruit there

T- tastes very much like it smells. Bitter dark chocolate, moderate coffee flavor and some slight toasty grains.

M- mouthfeel was medium. Finish was medium with good carbonation to give it done crispness

A soild porter from Bells. Not exciting but still rather nice

 501 characters

Photo of sauron681
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark goldish red color. Decent head that does not dissapear to quick. Good sticky lacing. Lots of carbonation, I could actually hear the CO2 popping at the surface-sounded like rice krispies. Very creamy looking as well.
Slightly sweet aroma with a hint of smokiness.

Taste was of sweet malt and lemony. Finishes a tad bitter with a citric overtone. Medium light feeling in the mouth, harsh carbonation on the tongue. Overall a good porter that would be hard to improve upon, but could. I could drink this on a regular basis

 538 characters

Photo of moonboogie_n8
3.54/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Not at all what I was expecting, one of the few bells brews (in a bottle) that I had yet to try. I've enjoyed most styles from Bells; Two hearted, KZoo Stout, the top players.
this one was a little disappointing for a porter, thin but smooth, weak flavor but drinkable.
This isn't the worst porter I've had, but it's down there.
pours dark brown with a fizzy light tan head that leaves quickly with very little lacing.
coffee & some caramel, smokey, a little chocolate on the back but weak flavors. aftertaste is pleasant though.
maybe that will be good for some but not enough taste or body for me. may pass on this one again & go for Anchor or Smuttynose next porter.

 669 characters

Photo of jimboothdesigns
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice deep redish brown with a nice frothy head. Smell is a nice deep chocolate coffee with a hint of malt. Perhaps some cocoa as well. A bitter coffee taste at the start but not at all harsh. Very smooth and creamy. Good solid porter.

 242 characters

Photo of optiontwo
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into nonic

Appearance: Dark brown with some transparency and a quarter inch white head with decent retention.

Smell: Lots of chocolate accompanied by nut, roasted coffee, sweet dark malts, and some hop spice in the background.

Taste: Perfectly balanced between sweet and bitter. First chocolate sweetness, then roasted coffee and brown sugar, and finally a subtle hop bite.

Mouthfeel: Light and smooth, very nice.

Drinkability: Low ABV and plenty of flavor makes this highly drinkable.

Overall: This is one of my favorite porters, it's just balanced so well.

 586 characters

Photo of mbusster88
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours very dark brown with some red around the edge. Good espresso colored head is fluffy and full.G Great lacing on the glass that sticks around well.

S: Very roasted notes up front. Some lactic type notes. Also get some coffee and espresso type aromas in the back of the nose.

T/M: Very smooth and easy to go down. Not overly thick, but not thin. Very nice roasted coffee character with a smoke like finish. Very nice and clean palate and taste, no odd flavors or overkill on the roast. Just a good drinking porter that really tastes great.

D: Not something I would necessarily rave about, but really great. I would get this one again when I can get it in trades.

 671 characters

Photo of DrewV
4.4/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle (date code 10160 = December 2010) at around 50 degrees F into a snifter.

A: Typical pitch black liquid with a 2-finger mocha head. Lacing clings all over the glass. Nice looking beer.

S: Chocolate malt, roasty goodness. A bit of a sweet/milk stout aroma going on here. A different aroma than I'm accustomed to with porters, but I think I like it.

T: Sweet chocolate roasted coffee with heavy cream. I'm not getting any hop balance, but it must be there somewhere because I'm not overwhelmed by sweetness. Flavors are dark -- again, a bit darker than I'm used to with other porters I've had. Almost a creamy oaty flavor hidden in there as well. Just a really sweet, complex flavor profile. Awesome.

M: Creamiest porter I've ever had. Not the typical thin, watery mouthfeel I've detected in most other porters. Smooth carbonation, oily mouthfeel with a lingering roast aftertaste. Yummy! And did I say creamy? Smooth as silk. Highest marks here.

O: A different take on a porter, more akin to a stout. I love the creaminess and dark roast aromas/flavors. Definitely something I'd go out of my way to get again. A solid "A" brew. I think I prefer this to Bell's Kalamazoo Stout, at least out of the bottle. This rivals my all-time favorite Edmund Fitzgerald. I'll have to put them up head-to-head someday to see which one comes out the winner. But it'll be a damn close call.

 1,397 characters

Photo of MCDuhamel
4.4/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured slowly into an American pint glass.

A: With a slow pour, formed a tan two inch head that dissipates into a solid cap over the beer. More lacing than I would have expected. Beer is dark mahogany with red hues, and low carbonation. Beautiful.

S: Roasted malt and coffee predominate on the nose, with a hint of fruitiness. The aroma is balanced, not at all overpowering but definitely present.

T: Again, roasted malt and coffee, with some driness on the finish and a fruitiness I find hard to describe; maybe something like plum. Has a subtle chocolate note. Hops are very subdued and unnoticeable, except to the extent the hopping prevents the beer from being at all cloying. Really nice.

M: Full bodied, with some carbonation cutting through it in the near-finish.

D: Pretty easy to drink, although I find two at a sitting to be enough.

Overall: An excellent robust porter. The fact that it is bottle-conditioned is in my view a strong plus; the beer will change over time, but drunk fresh it is vibrant, flavorful and aromatic. One of the best porters out there.

 1,087 characters

Photo of Roke87
3.71/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter at cellar temperature, batch number 10143

Appearance - Pours a dark dark brown colour, pretty much opaque even when held up to a light, a little less than a finger of brown creamy head that very quickly dissipates to a very thin lacing

Smell - The smells are definitely a little muted, not much to the nose other than slight roasted malts

Taste - A bit of coffee definitely comes through, maybe a bit of chocolate and finishes with roasted malts, a typical porter taste in this brew for sure.

Mouthfeel - Is rather on the light side, good carbonation with a sweet aftertaste.

Overall - A good porter and a good representation of what a decent porter should be. Although the smells are a little muted, it comes through in the taste.

 759 characters

Photo of chicano4craft
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours blackish brown with ruby highlights in the light. Big creamy tan head with good lacing throughout.

Smells of roasted malt and chocolate.

Great taste. Roasted nuttiness and chocolate. Smooth sweetness up front with slightly bitter finish. Highly drinkable.

Great robust porter. I can't find any fault, except we don't get Bell's in Colorado.

 350 characters

Photo of Evocatus
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours like any other porter, dark coffee color body and a thick "khaki" head. Aroma was a little lighter that what I expected, but there were hints of cocoa and sweet roasted malts. Taste was a bit weak. I got more cocoa than roasted malts, but neither was robust. Decent carbonation, but a little too thin/watery. As a beer, very drinkable. But there are better porters out there.

 381 characters

Photo of Beer_Runner
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 07/24/12 (opened 66 days after bottling).

A: A slow pour into a standard pint glass resulted in about two-and-a-half fingers of dense, head that is a light mocha color. Overtime the head dissipated to about one finger and lasted until the glass was almost empty. The brew is a very dark brown and opaque.

S: The aroma is dark roasted coffee-like malt with some sweet cherry and a little dark fruit.

T: The taste begins with some sweet malt and some roasted malt. Some dried dark fruit joins in, and then a little earthy hops comes along to balance the sweetness.

M: The brew is smooth with a medium weight body; and, it also feels just a little bit creamy, too.

O: This should be one of the benchmark porters. This is a classic porter, and it is an outstanding example of porter. This beer hits the mark as a classic porter.

 840 characters

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.

 429 characters

Photo of jaketaz
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark reddish brown, toasty looking but you can still see through. Pale tan head, piles up tall and evaporates quick. Aroma is light, bitter, but a nice smooth flavor of coffee ice cream that spreads to the nose when you taste it. Too light for me, too carbonated, but a fine introductory porter with a balanced flavor at a bargain price.

 338 characters

Photo of mortarit
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12 oz brown bottle

Appearance: Thick frothy head forms as soon as I poured it's blackness spewed out. Loved the head dance that is does after the pour.

Smell: Fruity, malty with a roasted walnuts

Taste & Mouth Feel: Semi-smooth with a creamy medium body.

Drink ability & Notes: A easy drinking middle of the road porter that has a taste that common people would enjoy, I'd think

 405 characters

Photo of thelagerheads
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tubal, Gog, Magog, Rosh, Meshech and Gomer walk into a bar. The bartender says, "Oh my God is this the end of the world?" To which Tubal sternly replies, "No, we're just here for a little BREW-haha." HA HA HA right? Well this isn't funny beer nor is it holy. But I did once write the reknowned preacher Jack Van Impe and he told me during his television program broadcast to millions of pilgrims across the globe that even though I was a heathen I had a good heart and was on the right path. With this porter you too are on the right path. Maybe not to salvation or armageddon(be that your thing) but to a little-lot of satisfaction. It's not the velvet licorice of "the Pils" per se nor does it wear the choco-mocha halo that other black lagers do but it definitely brings home a little divinity and by God you need some you little warthogs!

 842 characters

Photo of adammills
4.17/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a full brown color with hints of copper in the edges. The beer props up a tan dense rocky head that lasts. The beer smells of roasted malt and crystal, very pleasing and a bit bready. Very drinkable, a nice smooth malt balanced beer. Not a lot of hop character, perhaps it could be a bit more bold in that department, but it is to my taste. Good beer, try it.

 375 characters

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

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a deep, rich, opaque brown color. The color is just shy of black, very dark and appealing. Sufficient bubbly head forms with some minor lacing.

S: Strong molasses and caramel notes sweep into the nose accompanied by roasted malt.

T: Slight bitterness and depth from the roasted malts burst onto the tongue at the onset of the sip. Sweet molasses follows in the middle with some bitterness of espresso at the finish.

M: The beer feels smooth and creamy on the tongue with prickly carbonation with the swallow.

Overall, this is a good porter. The flavor is rich and complex with the dark roasted tones that one would expect from a good porter.

 695 characters

Photo of Brewfan
4.07/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my go-to FFF nonik glass.

Tan head that fades to a fine whisp of lace. Dark chocolate brown opaque body. Large clump of sediment settled in the bottom of my glass.
Huge chocolate nose. Very malty and sweet with a definite vanilla aroma. Minimal hop aroma. There's some there, but it's in the background.
Chocolate on the tongue as well. Malty with not much hoppyness at all. Slight carbonation, but not enough to prevent me from taking large mouthfulls of it. Rich and biscuity. Very nice Porter. This would go great with a grilled steak and caramelized onions. Time to start the grill.

 603 characters

Photo of thirtysixbelow
3.57/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

a - black color with 2 finger tan head. Good retention.

s - immediately there was a strong hop or yeast smell, that vanished quickly and was replaced by sweet cream, chocolate, and coffee. A small amount of hops stuck around.

t - a lot of chocolate and coffee in the taste as well. Sweet malt. Not really any hops to finish. Slightly dry.

m - smooth, creamy, decent carbonation

d - this tastes pretty good, but it almost borders a stout for me with it's lack of any real hops. A decent beer, but I wish it was just a little more.

 535 characters

Photo of LordofTime25
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours to an opaque dark brown with not much head with very thin, sticky lacing.

Can smell a light aroma of dark chocolate and coffee, a little nutty or roasty.

Can taste a roasted coffee, raisin, and a hint of dark chocolate.

Medium carbonation with a dry finish.

Very good beer and very drinkable.

 304 characters

Photo of airforbes1
3.77/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer has a promising head at first, but it quickly vanishes. The color is the typical black/very dark ruby typical for the style. I'm not getting too much on the nose...maybe some sweet malt.

The taste is pretty interesting. I'd say this is a pretty sweet beer, almost like a porter version of a milk stout. Or maybe I'd compare it to heavily roasted coffee with cream. The consistency is decent; maybe it's a bit thin or flat.

This beer has good flavors, but there's just something lacking. Maybe a stronger flavor profile? Maybe more carbonation? It's hard for me to say. I just feel like there are probably better porters out there.

 642 characters

Photo of srv33
4.22/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally got around to giving this brew a proper review. Pours a very dark brown, with a light brown head and alright lacing. Scent of caramel, roasted malt, and milk chocolate. Taste follows the nose very well - with additional notes of a lighter coffee and a hint of what seems like chicory. Really a fantastically balanced porter, and while there is nothing standout spectacular about this brew - in my opinion it is *the* baseline for what a porter should taste like, and that is definitely a remarkable accomplishment.

 522 characters

Photo of markman
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Porter:

Nice classic porter look…mahogany brown with a nice head full of tiny bubbles, and a promise of fine lacing. Nice roasted mocha flavor, but kind of lackluster…no balls, and slightly acidic with a long burnt finish. Thinnish bodied…I’d like it a bit more creamy. That said, I could drink these all night long. Very quaffable this porter is. But not one I’d return to often given the other options for a session porter out there (read, Rogue, Smuttynose, Atlantic, Stone, Fuller’s, Otter Creek, etc, etc).

Big thanks to richdude for the sample.

Cheers…

 582 characters

Bell's Porter from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 1,035 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe