As an incremental forming process of bulk metal, ring rolling provides a cost effective process route to manufacture seamless rings. In the production of hot rolled rings, defects such as porosity can sometimes be found in high alloyed steel, manufactured from ingots having macro-segregation. For the reduction of the waste of material and improvement of product quality, a better understanding of the relations between parameters in the hot ring rolling process and the occurrence of porosity is needed. In this study round bars were used to manufacture rings on an industrial ring rolling mill. Different ring growth rates were applied to investigate the influence on the occurrence of porosity in the final rings. The hot rolled rings were inspected by ultrasonic testing, of which the results were also validated by metallographic investigation. In addition to the experimental investigations, coupled thermo-mechanical multi-stage finite element (FE) analysis was performed with integrated adaptive motion control of the rolls. A damage indicator was implemented in a user-defined elasto-viscoplastic material model. The deformations, stresses as well as temperature history from preform forging were included as initial conditions for the rolling stage. Damage indication from the numerical model matches the experimental result in the considered process conditions. In spite of the suggestion of a more careful process when a low ring growth rate is used in hot ring rolling, experimental and numerical studies demonstrate that with a low ring growth rate there is an increased susceptibility to damage as compared to application of a high ring growth rate.