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Black Marlin Porter - Bourbon Barrel Aged - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black Marlin Porter - Bourbon Barrel Aged
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BA SCORE
86
very good

67 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 67
Reviews: 41
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 15.89%
Wants: 3
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: djaeon on 03-13-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 67 | Reviews: 41 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
1.5/5  rDev -60.9%

t0rin0, Aug 20, 2012
Photo of BMMillsy
2.09/5  rDev -45.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

On tap at The Local in San Diego. Dark brown pour with ruby on the edges and a small khaki head. Aroma is some light roast, heavy sherry and rum booze (does not smell like bourbon here). Flavor is a rather disgusting combination of roast and straight up cheap whiskey (oh, hey Black Velvet) and is barely drinkable. Way light bodied, way to thin for the bourbon barrel aging. I could not finish a 3 ounce taster of this one. It was really bad.

BMMillsy, Nov 13, 2013
Photo of kojevergas
2.53/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Served on draught into a 5 ounce taster glass at Ballast Point's taproom. Cost was $2.00. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours no head at all. Colour is a solid nontransparent black.

Sm: Light bourbon tone. Hints of chocolate. A simple light strength aroma.

T: Clean chocolate with a bourbon tone. The chocolate isn't particularly rich. Dark malts comprise the foundation. Weak and not at all full bodied. Imbalanced. Not bold like I'd expect from a bourbon aged beer. Built decently. Boring and dull. Not at all experimental. Lacking complexity and subtlety.

Mf: Nicely smooth and wet, suiting the flavours nicely. A bit thin. Could use cream. I'd prefer it a bit more dry. Too watery.

Dr: Drinkable but simple and boring. I won't get it again. Might be better aged for a few years, but a polished turd is still a turd. Fans of the style should look elsewhere.

Low C-

kojevergas, Mar 16, 2012
Photo of MasterSki
2.75/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to FlandersNed for the hookup. Served in a Cigar City snifter.

A - Giant tan foam settles to a thick cap and splotchy lace. Dark brown body with a hint of transparency at the edges.

S - Reminds me a lot of BA Token - buttery, with notes of cola, nuts, brown sugar, toffee, and light bourbon.

T - Taste is similar, with cola, toasted grains, butter, and some fruity notes. Seems mildly infected.

M - Medium-light body, lower carbonation, slightly grainy texture, and some surprising alcohol warmth for a 5.9% porter.

D - Not very good. I struggled with my 4oz pour, and if this had been any higher in ABV I would have been tempted to pour it out. Not sure if the infection was at the growler level or something systemic.

MasterSki, Jun 29, 2012
Photo of Halcyondays
2.8/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours black with a big tan head, dies down fairly quickly, some lace.

S: Some nice whiskey and oak notes, but one dimensional.

T: Frankly, it tastes like watered down whiskey. Some minor notes of dark chocolate and roast, but nothing too substantial.

M: Thin, watery, light-bodied, not something you'd expect with the smell.

D: A beer that really does nothing for me. I know -bal aging is big right now, but that does not mean everything. Black Marlin Porter is fine as is.

Halcyondays, Feb 06, 2011
Photo of hoops61176
3/5  rDev -21.9%

hoops61176, Jan 16, 2012
Photo of akang
3/5  rDev -21.9%

akang, Apr 04, 2014
Photo of womencantsail
3.08/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: A nice looking black beer with almost no head and no retention.

S: The nose is roasty with a bit of vanilla and quite a bit of alcohol. There is a noticeable acidity to the beer (likely from the roasted malts), that almost presents as sourness.

T: The flavors never really come together and even if they did, I'm not sure this would be any better. A bit of a tartness, roasted malt, and bourbon. I don't really get any chocolate or sweetness.

M: The body is quite thin and lifeless, and the carbonation is similarly lacking. Not what I look for in a barrel aged beer.

D: It would seem to be within conventional wisdom -bal aging a sub-6% stout is not such a good idea, and that is proven true here.

womencantsail, Apr 21, 2010
Photo of popery
3.08/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes 3/11/11. Tap at City Beer Store. Pours slightly brownish black with a small tan head. Aroma is kinda cheap-ish bourbon with a boozy caramel note, cola, coffee and citrus/herbal hops. The taste has significant booze with more vanilla-caramel bourbon and a fairly harsh, sharp coffee/roast note mingled with bland hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is watery and thin. This beer just couldn’t handle the barrel, in my opinion. The oak just seemed to rob it of body and give some tannic flavor. The bourbon just doesn't really have enough rich malt flavor to complement, and everything gets too harsh.

popery, Aug 15, 2011
Photo of donkeyrunner
3.1/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

$7 at Gulu Gulu, Salem MA. We brought our puppy to the bar for the first time.

Black with dark brown edges. Retention isn't great but does leave a foamy smear down one side of the glass.

Burnt caramel and fruit aspects of bourbon dominate the aroma. Jelly bean shell sugar and Backwoods cigar vanilla too.

Taste again is dominated by raw bourbon aspects. Some warm, dark malt flavor in back without an roastiness.

Not a bold enough beer to stand up to the bourbon.

donkeyrunner, Apr 06, 2012
Photo of dfhhead25
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

dfhhead25, Aug 27, 2013
Photo of mactrail
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Intense, booze-flavored dark malt bomb.

Sourish at first taste, like an overdose of black patent malt. Just plain intense flavors, hard to sort out. But the bourbon is very strong. HInt of oak and vanilla. Feels syrupy in the mouth. Tastes so strong that it's easy to assume it is alcoholic, but apparently not.

If you like a huge imperial stout style, but have to drive home, this might do it for you. I didn't finish the small goblet, but it is definitely interesting. Tasted at Blind Lady Ale House, San Diego.

mactrail, Apr 04, 2010
Photo of CaptainNomihodai
3.38/5  rDev -12%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours dark, but by no means black; nothing special here.
Smells of apples, seriously. I smell again to make sure. Yep, apples.
Doesn't taste very porter-like, which is fine by me because I don't usually like porters. Not much in the way of roastiness, or really any flavor you would expect of a beer this dark. Just... wait for it... apples. And bourbon. Strange, but I rather like it.
The mouthfeel is rather thin. If I was drinking this blindfolded I wouldn't guess that it's as dark as it is... then I would probably accidentaly knock it over, spilling it and making myself smell like apples for the rest of the night, but I suppose that's not important.
Overall: apples; perhaps this keg is infected, or something. I like it, I think.

CaptainNomihodai, Apr 23, 2011
Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

zestar, May 16, 2014
Photo of brew3crew
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

At tap at churchill's for bear republic night...

A dark black body with a tan head that sticks around

S-nice mellow Bourbon mixed with maltiness that KS very nice

T-really bourbony with a very, very thin body. Disappointing. Smooth bourbon tthough. Or I should say at least

M-medium body and smooth

O- mediocre. Sigh

brew3crew, Nov 10, 2011
Photo of djaeon
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Description from the release announcement:

"...Our classic porter was aged in three different types of bourbon barrels (Heaven Hill, Old Fitzgerald and Jim Beam) for varying periods of time (14 to 18 months) and then blended together with some younger Black Marlin to create an extremely drinkable offering. The emphasis is on vanilla and oak characteristics but there remains a subtle booziness..."

A - Pours almost pitch black with little head and less retention. Seems typical for a lot of aged porters and stouts. Zero lacing. There's a vary dark magenta color on the edges when held up to the light.

S - Smell is very subtle. You definitely pick up the bourbon, but it's very light. But it still covers up the other aromas, which says that they're even lighter.

T - I'm not picking up the vanilla mentioned in the description, but the bourbon is there. Like in the smell, it's a more subtle taste here than in many other bourbon barrel aged beers. There's also some maltiness and a light hint of oak.

M - I think this has a very good mouthfeel. No booziness to mention, other than the bourbon flavor. Just a little hint of dryness at the end.

D - This is very drinkable. The 5.9% ABV means it would be very easy to have a few more. That also means there's no strong alcohol taste to push it into the category of "sipper" beers.

On a final note, I think the low ABV makes this a less than ideal candidate for aging. It was a good experiment with the Black Marlin Porter, and I'm glad to have tried it, but I think they should stick to aging their robust series of brews. Like Sea Monster, Victory at Sea & Three Sheets (hope to try this in bottles someday!)

djaeon, Mar 13, 2010
Photo of Bung
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Grapevine in Fort Mill SC.
Darkish brown pour, small amount of off white head. Laced the glass just a bit.

Aroma is subdued malt and chocolate, caramel. A little roast/charcoal.

Taste is fairly standard. A nice blend of malt and caramel and chocolate. Certainly not sweet though. The barrel seems to have added a bit of puckering red fruit or almost apple to it. Finishes with a little oakiness, a little bitter and some of that faint sourness.

Being just a regular porter, adequate body on the light side of medium. Drinks fairly well, but the slight souring made me not want another.

The regular is probably better, but this is not bad by any means. Normally I'd like for barrel aging to improve on a beer that's all.

Bung, May 02, 2010
Photo of metter98
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: It poured very dark brown (near black) with a thin, white head.
S: The smell isn't very strong, but there are distinct aromas of bourbon from the barrel aging and hints of alcohol.
T: Bourbon flavors really dominate the overall taste and seem to be a bit overpowering, masking most of the taste of the porter and notes of roasted malts, oak and vanilla.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate, a bit boozy from the bourbon flavors and very smooth. There are definitely some warming sensations from the alcohol.
D: The beer is very easy to drink if you like bourbon flavors.

metter98, May 05, 2010
Photo of dbrauneis
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

dbrauneis, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of beagle75
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft service into a shaker pint glass at Rock Island Brewing Co.

A: Hazy, dark brown color with less than one finger of fine mocha foam head. Scant lacing remains on the glass.

S: Mild bourbon, vanilla, and refined roasted grain.

T: Begins off-dry, with bourbon up-front that is almost completely divorced from any flavor of alcohol. Acidity is mild and not intrusive. Later flavors struggle to gain traction in the face of the lingering but appealing bourbon, with vanilla peeking through a bit but dark roasted malt never really showing up.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, smooth and balanced on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This beer presents honest bourbon qualities in one of the most approachable packages imaginable. While drinkable, its usual collection of other favorable qualities become diminished in the face of the bourbon. Neither is there much of an oak presence that stands apart from the spirit component. It is a different beer than the standard preparation, but not necessarily a better beer.

beagle75, Sep 18, 2011
Photo of tobelerone
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery. This is an easy drinking barrel-aged beer on the lower end of the ABV spectrum. Dark brown, nearly black color, with a modest head that nonetheless has good retention and lacing. Aroma of roast malt and char, as well as bourbon, vanilla, and a general woodiness.

Smooth, moderately sweet, with a fair degree of balance between the roasted and bourbon characteristics. Faint sweetness and a touch of bitter hoppiness mingling with vanilla in the finish. I didn’t find the oak or whiskey notes to be at all dominant. Actually they felt rather subdued. Nothing really stood out or overshadowed anything else, which was fine, but in the end didn’t make for a particularly memorable beer. Certainly good but nothing I would go out of my way to try again.

Medium bodied with moderately high carbonation. I usually prefer my porters with a bit less of a spritzy mouthfeel but this fell short of being overly prickly.

tobelerone, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of callmemickey
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep brown body. Medium sized khaki head. Spotty lacing. Lively carbonation.

S: Smooth, mellow bourbon notes... booze, vanilla, oak. Also a bit of chocolate and roasted notes.

T: A slight fall off from the nose. The bourbon is a bit hidden and roasted malts take over. Hints of chocolate and a pinch of coffee.

M: Moderate body, easy drinking with appropriate carbonation levels.

O: A nice porter. Ultimately, I am not sure how much the bourbon helps other than providing a bit of depth to the nose.

callmemickey, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of xnicknj
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

on tap at khyber in philly

Pours a dark brown, nearly opaque color. Nice froth of beige head rests on top, retains pretty well, leaving some spots of lacing on the glass.

Nice vanilla and cocoa scents in the nose. Underlying bourbon and oak tones with some sweetness. Roasted malts with caramel too.

Smack of sweetness with chocolate and vanilla up front. Cocoa and oaky bourbon throughout. Slight solventy tone comes through on occasion. Nice roasted malt backbone with some caramel and bready notes. Finishes a bit boozy and sweet.

Lighter medium body, higher carbonation, a little thinner and rougher than I might like. It's nice to see a well integrated barrel aged beer that isn't a 12% imperial stout, although I wanted a bit more from the feel.

xnicknj, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of emmasdad
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black, with a light ecru head that disapates rapidly, leaving a light collar clinging to the sides of the glass. Nice bourbon nose, with a bit of oak and vanilla. Nicely balanced flavors, as the bourbon does not dominate the nice roasted malt porter flavors. The body on this one is a bit thin, but it remains quite drinkable.

emmasdad, Apr 06, 2010
Photo of socon67
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours black, very little head, no real lacing in my pint glass.

S - Very complex smells of roasted coffee bean, malt, and whiskey. This smells like a pretty well blended cognac.

T - The burn in the finish is incredible, but it does tend to dominate the rest of the flavors. Early on there is an innate sweetness and some smoke. It is a very good porter, but after drinking this for a bit the bourbon is dominate. Very good, but just a bit much.

M - Extremely drinkable given the complexity. I'd call this medium bodied and based on the ABV it is quite smooth despite the bite it packs.

O - Definitely glad to have tried. I'm now curious of the general Black Marlin. An interesting barrel aged beer that I'd enjoy after a nice meal.

socon67, Mar 18, 2011
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Black Marlin Porter - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Ballast Point Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 67 ratings.