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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 slusk
3.72/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a dark almost black with a short lived tan head. Good lacing.

S: Coffee and a bit of cocoa up front, a bit of brown bread and musty hop aroma that is reminiscent of olive, not an off-putting aroma however... quite nice. The nose shifts to the coffee side as it warms.

T: Sweet coffee, toffee and cocoa with some black bread crust. Somewhat bright and distinct malt flavors with a light smoky underpinning. A bit nutty but surprisingly finishes somewhat semi-dry. Alcohol is well hidden.

M: Medium full body, leaning a bit to the creamy, coating side. I little astringency in the finish. Low carbonation.

O: This is a nice porter. It's starts sweet but doesn't finish quite as sweet, the dark roasted malts seem to add to the semidry finish. A nice porter overall, but there's a nit of mustiness that seems to detract from this brew for me. Overall, a great example of the style that may appeal to some, just not one of my favorites,

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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 ghebel
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours very dark brown, almost black with a generous medium brown head that leaves plenty of lacing on the glass.

S - Roasted grains

T - Roasted grains, mild bitterness.

M - Thin to moderate, initial bitter bite.

D - Smooth beer. Very drinkable.

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Photo of PartyHatjo
4.01/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was the third NCAA victory beer I've had...complements of ppoitras.

The pour is a chocolate brown coming out of the bottle, but black in the goblet, with a nice tan head. Head doesn't last too long.

Smell is light with hops, heavy with malts. Chocolate and coffee are predominant.

Chocolate is prevalent in the flavor. Coffee comes through more in the aftertaste--providing a mocha like character to the beer. The slight sweetness is welcome. There is a bit of hop flavor trying to peak through the malts, it hits more in the initial seep, and is then drowned out by the other flavors.

Body is medium--boosted by the sweetness, and balanced well by the hop bitterness.

Very easy drink. I don't usually drink porter, going more for the stouts, but this will be a repeat performer.

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Photo of lester619
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Almost completely black when poured into a glass mug. Beutifull thick frothy mocha colored head. This is a gorgeous looking beer. A lot of burnt chocoalty roasty notes in the nose. Smokey burnt toast flavor up front, the head adds a mellowing frothy bitersweet chocolatey flavor that balances nicely. A little hop bitterness, but mostly the smokey chocolate coffee richness takes over. Thick and creamy mouthfeel mostly from the foam that hangs around for the duration. It's like one of those creamy mocha coffee latte things you get at the coffee house. This is an excelent porter. It's not my favorite style, mainly because I feel like there's a beer milkshake in my gut after I drink it. Aside from that, the flavors of this beer are phenominal.

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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 maundythirsty
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A fairly sharp looking translucent dark brown that goes clear mahogany where the light pokes through. Lots of little motes floating around in there. Nice cream-colored and reasonably deep head that produces a little lacing. Smells pretty musty, with toasted malt and yeast.

A good touch of coffee in the taste, with more toasty malt flavor and a little bittersweet chocolate. The bitterness comes across very musty and earthy, as in the smell. Pretty darn smooth beer, with a mouthfeel that seems substantial without being too heavy.

A heckuva nice porter. Right up there with the best of them.

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

The smell of this Bell's brew is simply magical. A great beer from Bell's. The appearance is wonderful, poured into my Sam Adams Sensory Glass with a frothy head from the Sam Adams tag line on the glass to up and over the top bead of the glass. The beer is much better as it warms up as I've found in drinking a couple of these in the last week. But I'm wondering if this is the freshest porter possible from Bell's, because I find this batch was made on Sept. 5, 2008 (batch # 8726). I purchased the 6 pack at Mid-Town Liquors in Bridgman, MI on March 14, 2009 so I'm a bit surprised to get a porter made 6 1/2 months earlier. Still, I enjoy porters so the review must go on. Not quite as good as Founder's Porter, which is in a league of its own, but this Bell's brew holds its own with a rich, delectable smell and taste. Obviously, age hasn't affected this porter. Thanks Bell's for a great beer.

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

This beer pours a thick black color, with an off white head. You can sort of pick up an amber hue in it, but for the most part you cant see through it at all. The aroma is of smokey, roasted malt. The flavor is light and yet has a balanced delicate roasted flavor to it. The mouthfeel is thick and the taste is light. Overall a very good beer.

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Photo of midnite2sixman
4.28/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my sam adam's beer glass with a perfect head rising above the surface of a dark beer, strongly resembling coca-cola in the glass: dark, but with a hint of redness when held up to a light.

Roasted coffee on the nose, hints of bitter chocolate and toasted marshmallows.

Taste is very balanced, smokey hints of coffee and roasted malts abound, backed up by a light hop taste.

Mouthfeel is medium body, with a nice smooth finish and a lingering smoky malt taste.

Quite a good example of a porter. I support this one entirely!

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

Appearance: Dark brown - little to no head

Smell: Tobacco, chocolate, coffee

Taste: Coffee, Chocolate, Tobacco - faint vanilla - would be great aged in whiskey barrels.

Mouthfeel: Thin effervescence - smooth - warm

Drinkability: sipper- a beginners porter. Meant to savor. Nice when it warms up a little bit.

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Photo of rembrant
4.22/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

looks- Real dark,a finger of beige head that's more bubbly than frothy

aromas- Coffee,a little smoky,roasty malt,brown sugar,raisin and a slight brandy vapor.

Taste- A full,well roasted maltiness that never quite goes to dark coffee,but it teases it. Maybe a hint of licorice,dark fruit,and a hint of alcohol. The Alcohol is integrated in a good wall of flavors and isn't a negative.
Probably less deep/complex than Edmund Fitzgerald or Black Butte but ahead of most others. A very solid Porter.

Mouth- Sweet on the lips and rich in the mouth. Finish is a roasty-toasty bitter that's right for the type,never goes watery or sourish

Drinkable- More than you'd expect,I'd hav no objection to some more

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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