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Black Marlin Porter - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Black Marlin PorterBlack Marlin Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

667 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 667
Reviews: 291
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 10.38%

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: xlperro on 08-26-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 667 | Reviews: 291 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Armand


5/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What a great beer. On tap fro a chilled pint. The flavors of chocolate candy swirl around. A great dessert and a beer to chill to. Flavorful throughout.
A: DARK with a nice light brown head.

S: Roasted chocolate with some sweetness.

T: Hints of coffee

M: Bold flavor from the first to last.

D: Flavors come out as it warms up.

Serving type: on-tap

06-19-2010 07:17:55 | More by Armand
Photo of DoubleJ


4.83/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap at Hollingshead's in a half-liter mug, on to the beer:

The beer's appearance is jet black, topped by a puffy head. Aroma is soft and sweet with cocoa. The taste is exceptionally smooth, soft, and sweet. Soft chunks of chocolate, which get brushed up by a pinch of hops. Coffee notes sit underneath it all. There isn't much of a roasted edge to it, making it easy to quaff.

Simply amazing. That's all I have to say.

(and having it on-tap again 3 years later, I stand by my original score. Wonderful dark nectar this remains.)

Serving type: on-tap

02-01-2008 03:00:09 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of FARGO619


4.83/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a great beer. On tap from a chilled pint. The flavors of chocolate candy swirl around. A great dessert and a beer to chill to. Flavorful throughout.
A: DARK with a nice light brown head.

S: Roasted chocolate with some sweetness. Smokey

T: Hints of coffee and sometimes cigar.

M: Bold flavor from the first to last.

D: Flavors come out as it warms up. Sometimes it is flavorful and at times it is flat, which is a shame. I've had this beer many times.

Serving type: on-tap

Serving type: on-tap

06-23-2011 16:23:07 | More by FARGO619
Photo of cxr1037


4.69/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Picked up a 22 from Home Brew Mart today because I realized I hadn't had regular Black Marlin in quite some time. I've had tons of wild variations, including the insanely good sour patch kids Black Marlin, but it was time to revisit the original.

APPEARANCE: Dark brown - almost black. Espresso head that retreats to a firm ring around the edge of my Corsendonk Christmas Ale glass.
NOSE: Roasted malt, first and foremost. As it warms, I get an aroma of milk and dark chocolate. There's also some subdued hop aromas mixed with a little bit of nuts and faint coffee.
TASTE: The nose one this one really gives the taste away. The roasted malt really shines through, accompanied by some milky sweetness. Dark chocolate follows immediately, with a little brown sugar and coffee. The hops add a slight bitterness that juxtaposes nicely with the bitter, dark chocolate taste.
MOUTHFEEL: Rich, medium body. Spot on carbonation that gets better as it sits for a few minutes.
FINISH: Subtle alcohol warmth, then a pleasant roasty-maltiness, then ending with dark chocolate bitterness.
OVERALL: An excellent porter; one of my absolute favorites of the style, if not the best. I couldn't think of very many other beers that I'd want on this cold night.

If you're a fan of porters, you absolutely have to try Black Marlin.


Serving type: bottle

01-14-2014 04:12:23 | More by cxr1037
Photo of PintOHops


4.6/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glass - Pint

A - Extremely dark brown color with a 1-2 finger head, retention was a lacking a bit, dissipating pretty quickly. A ring held throughout entire consumption, not much lace though, a bit of splash here & there.

S - Not a big aroma here, hard to pull out everything, soft coffee/chocolate combo with a more prominent charcoal smokiness. Soft aroma overall, but still inviting with those mellow smoky charcoal notes.

T - Wonderful dark chocolate/chocolate cake unfolds into mild roasted coffee flavors, following is a semi intense charcoal/woody/smokiness. Finishes with a little dry with more smokey flavors that linger just a bit, and some sorta bright citrus/tartness. Pretty damn smokey!

M - A little crisp with a nice chewiness to it, around full bodied.

D - Wow just so damn delicious, I loved the wonderful smokiness of this beer, hands down one of the best Porters Ive had, and I highly recommend this one. I could easily drink 4-5 pints of this wonderful brew. Very very good, I'll be buying this one again for sure. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2010 01:39:16 | More by PintOHops
Photo of elNopalero


4.6/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This pours a dark roasty black with some light sneaking around the edges but not much. In any dimly lit bar I wouldn’t even notice. Heady topping of foam releases a glorious aroma resplendent of coffee (dark and regular roast) and dark chocolate. Flavor is all coffee and cacao nibs with a slight bitterness on the edges. Warms well and remains drinkable. Not hoppy but the hops give it a bite and sharpness that I gladly welcome.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2012 22:17:11 | More by elNopalero
Photo of Gregfalone


4.58/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours mostly black with some dark mahogany around the edges when held up to the fireplace, thick, tight, cascading head that stick to the glass.
Looks perfect

Smells sweet like tobacco/cherrywood/hint of chocolate and blood? Sounds weird but that's what I smell.
Smells perfect

Tastes greAt, again, I get cherrywood, tobacco, chocolate, and some toasty malty charcoal, and a tad of hops in the finish.
Tastes almost perfect

Goes down very smooth, no burn or bitters, no cloying flavored or off notes. At first the carbonation is a little prickly, but after 10-15 minutes is gets softer.

This porter is fantastic, almost perfect

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2013 07:18:53 | More by Gregfalone
Photo of xhcadamx


4.55/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Black but not completely, I do not see any highlight colors that you normally see with a Porter. Creamy head with lacing.

S - Lots of Coffee.

T - More Coffee. Bitter with a dry finish. Lovely.

M - Creamy but with a nice carbonated bite

D - The difference between and good Porter and an AMAZING Porter is the bitterness. I just cant enjoy something sweet for long. This is one of the better Porters out there.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2008 04:47:43 | More by xhcadamx
Photo of MisterClean


4.55/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had at home while watching a game.

A - Dark brown in color, with a mocha head, and dissipates slow.

S/T - Chocolate and light roast coffee, with some bittering hops.

M - Creamy, rich, full bodied, and malt dominated.

D - Very good. This would be my ideal attempt at homebrewing a porter.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2009 05:27:53 | More by MisterClean
Photo of Cyberkedi


4.55/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is rich and smoky with tones of quality roast coffee and molasses and just a hint of unsweetened chocolate. It pours a nearly black opaque sable with a fairly thick and somewhat persistent light tan head. Mouth-filling taste has flavors of good coffee and molasses with hints of licorice and toffee. Texture is exceptionally smooth with a good firm tingle. Definitely work catching.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2010 00:33:56 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of davejunkie


4.53/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Dark black with a light tan coffee cream head. Some light get through.

Nose: whiffs of semi-sweet chocolate

Taste: Chocolate and espresso dance together on my tongue. It is very smooth with a little smokey transition to the mild hoppy finish. A great balanced porter

One of my favorites. Don't pass this one up

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2011 03:31:42 | More by davejunkie
Photo of Dmann


4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A great beer all across the board. My friend highly recommended this one to me and said it had been around for awhile but was just now being bottled. The pour was nice and the beer was near pitch black with a good size brownish head. The smells were nice and burnt with a touch of hops in the scent. The taste was excelent and very drinkable with a very dry chocolaty flavor and nicley carbonated mouthfeel. My only challange now is to find more of this stuff!

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2005 10:28:08 | More by Dmann
Photo of July2Nov


4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark, dark brown/black with hints of mahogany on the edges....massive two-finger head that subsides to 1/2 a finger width later on.

Smell: Getting some semi-sweet chocolate and some roasted coffee beans.

Taste & Mouthfeel: MMmmm! So good. Has a bit of a sweet taste to it, like a milk stout. Fresh, with a deep chocolate flavor. Creamy, full-bodied mouthfeel. Getting a slight hops tinge at the tail end that perks up this stout. The aftertaste has a chalky, caramel, and roasted finish. Beautiful for the style.

Drinkability: With the way Ballast Point is brewing, I'll keep reeling these beers in. Haven't had a bad one yet, and the Black Marlin Porter is another trophy in their already impressive lineup. Big fan of porters and this one is an outstanding example. If you haven't had this yet, get your rod & reel ready and cast that line! This is going into my regular rotation!

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2011 03:04:19 | More by July2Nov
Photo of legalpete19340


4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured very dark brown with a big fluffy head that slowly dissipated to a respectable skim for the rest of the drink. Moderate lacing.

S: Very nice, but "lighter" in weight than other porters. Solid roasted malt, barley and I get some fresh cut wood, cola, dark cocoa, grass.

T: Moderate roasted malt eases into more of the cola and grassy flavors. Some light coffee, wood, bit of leather and ends with crescendo of roasty malty flavors.

M: Medium with some fizz.

O: Really enjoyable and comes across "lighter" than some porters. The hops play a role but not like other west coast porters, here they support and round out and balance the roastiness. If I see this beer I will drink it again.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2011 21:58:58 | More by legalpete19340
Photo of MrVonzipper


4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black-Brown color with a touch of red where the light shows through. Thick foamy tan head with good retention and nice lacing.

Nice chocolatey, smoky malt, oak and roasted nuts on the nose.

Great rich flavor and balance. Deep roasted barley, dark bitter chocolate, a hint of bourbon and smokiness. Fairly chalky Cacao and roasted nutty aftertaste.

Mouth is smooth and velvety. Medium to full bodied. A tad bit dry.

Overall this isn't quite as good as the BA version but is still an excellent porter. A definite recommendation.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2011 00:08:26 | More by MrVonzipper
Photo of SwillinBrew


4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the brewery thanks to the Maltose Falcon's bus trip... also had before in the bottle but will focus the tap pour.

Very beautiful appearance. It was an expresso coffee deep brown with a mild caramel small bit of head. The aromas were toasted-burnt malts with hints of cocoa that make you smile as you inhale... paves the way for the you're-going-to-enjoy-this type of feeling.
The taste was a fine melding of roasted malt, toffee and a bitter-sweet taste of the kind dark chocolate imparts. The carbonation wasn't overly done as was perfect for the style. A little chewey and a very ever so slighly dry and smooth on the tongue. This is one of my favorite porters. Since it's been raining here, i'm going to be sipping this by the fireplace.

Serving type: on-tap

04-05-2006 23:06:30 | More by SwillinBrew
Photo of TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Yard House in San Diego on 7/3/11

A - Poured dark brown/black with a small amount of light brown head.

S - Coffee, chocolate, roasted malts. a very robust nose.

T - Roasted malts & coffee. Some bitterness. A touch of sweetness, especially in the finish. An excellent flavour profile.

M - Medium body with a nice chew. Light carbonation. 4.5

O - One of the best porters I have had to date. Possibly right behing Edmund Fitzgerald.

Serving type: on-tap

07-14-2011 18:39:48 | More by TheSevenDuffs
Photo of jbertsch


4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black in appearance. Moderately-sized head dissipates to a film.

Smells like mocha with hops! Touches of chocolate and citrus accompany it. Warm alcohol is noticeable.

I taste caramel malts with dark coffee notes. The backbone of the flavor is almost like an oatmeal stout, but with the addition of citrusy/piney hops to the mix.

Finishes long with bitter roasted coffee flavors.

Above average carbonation and nice drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2010 04:22:26 | More by jbertsch
Photo of DrDemento456


4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Expected pure blackness but got brown with ruby highlights and an impressive half inch of head.

S - Moderately strong roast and hop bitterness bite. Sweet smelling.

T - Perfect roast and smoke flavors. Almost too creamy with a moderate sweetness in the middle and a timid hop finish that rounds the flavors. What a balanced porter!

M - Light to medium. I still sipped the whole bottle.

D - At about 7 dollars a bomber it's not really the first beer on my list but would love to drink it fresh at the brewery someday. Also wondering why this beer isn't available in 12oz bottles, this would mean cheaper prices and a solid staple in my fridge. Solid porter!

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2011 02:34:22 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of shand


4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a fresh batch into an imperial pint.

This beer pours a deep brown with a large head. Great lacing. The aroma is heavy on the roasted malts, with an almost smore-like effect going on the background with some toasted malts, chocolate, and a bit of sugar sweetness. The taste is also very roasty with coffee and malts, with a bit of vanilla. It's got a very full flavor though, setting it apart from the pack. Smooth at first and finishing prickly, thanks to the easy-drinking mouthfeel yet fairly aggressive roastiness on the finish. Overall, this is just a very well-done porter. It doesn't really offer anything new on the flavor block, but is just a high-quality and well-executed porter.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2012 04:02:30 | More by shand
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Oooohhhh…..a newly spied 22 ounce “Bomber” offering from the Ballast Point Brewing Company on the shelves is always a treat. Has a typical BP main label which is very colorful and for the Porter has a large Marlin thrashing upwards on the Sea’s surface against an orange hued sunset. No strength or freshness date.

Appearance: Dark brown body with a promiscuous red light which prostitutes itself in the ruby hue when backlit. Lovely dark tan creamy head fills the upper 2” to 3” above the body of the beer. Minimal sliding lacing with an average level of conditioning.

Smell: Lots of burnt and roasted malts mix with dark chocolate and coffee beans. Nicely balanced clean and crisp characteristics which are simply delectable.

Taste: Rather caramel heady start, roasted malts mix with some Devon toffee and a granulated brown sugar tingle which is set against a fulcrum of dark chocolate and rich roasted coffee beans. Nicely balanced throughout with an aerodynamic feel about it, race this one down! Fantastic!!

Mouthfeel: Smooth entrance with a creamy cocoa middle and a defined roasted malt finish, this one has no sharp edges at all. Medium to above average presence. A Slick Porter.

Drinkability: Damn tasty stuff, a very American Porter if I dare say so, but incredibly appealing and exceptionally easy to quaff. My Bomber drained in double quick time.

Overall: Extremely pleasant offering from Ballast Point, a Brewery that lives in the shadow of its more famous San Diego neighbors, but don’t let this fool you, Ballast Point brew some excellent libations, and the Black Marlin Porter is the latest in their bottled line-up. Drinks well above its listed 6% ABV.

Rarely seen BUT Highly Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2005 06:11:23 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of germaniac


4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours very porter-like, with a managable amount of bubbly, lightly sticky head. The black letters on my Ballast Point pint glass really highlight this brews deep brown color.

The roasted malt smell is backstopped nicely by chocolate, with just a bit of hoppy bittersweet aroma pulling thru.

Tastes of dark chocolate, with a thickening roastiness throughout the middle. Drops off into a lightly hopped bitterness. Not much carbonation, which is correct for the style, I think.

A tasty brew, here. One that could be drank on any given night. Another feather in Ballast Point's hat, hopefully not the last of their line that winds up in bottles.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2006 01:34:42 | More by germaniac
Photo of Lerxst


4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours very dark brown, not quite black. A vigorous pour produces a one finger beige head that has decent retention and lacing.

S-Lots of roasted goodness here. Prominent scents of coffee and roasted malt dominate with dark chocolate, hops and a pleasant smoky scent lingering in the back. Smells very good.

T-The roasted goodness continues. A bit smoky. I'm getting coffee, cocoa powder, maybe a bit of caramel and some hops providing some nice balance.

M-I know carb level is somewhat subjective, but man, this one is just right! Its perfect! Fairly light bodied, very smooth and has a slight creaminess that is great.

D-Easily a 5. I could drink this one all night long. I had to intentionally slow down and savor this one or else the bomber would have been gone in no time.

This is a excellent American Porter. I only wish I had easier access to this and the other Ballast Point Brews.

I've now had the pleasure of trying 3 Ballast Point beers and all of them have been great. PLEASE start distributing in Florida!!!

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2010 23:32:46 | More by Lerxst
Photo of kgrober

North Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Part of an Autumn tasting @ Grapevine in Fort Mill, SC.

Poured from a bomber to a pint.

Thick, dark and rich appearance, as a porter should be with a nice creamy head.

Nose is very subtle and belies the complexity of this porter once it hits the palatte.

Espresso notes are immediate with toasted malts. There is a bourbony, savory, sour oaky finish that lingers and develops as the beer warms.

Drinkable to the nth degree. One of the best porters I've had based on it's appearance and layers of flavors.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2010 05:26:12 | More by kgrober
Photo of WestValleyIPA


4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz into my new Chimay goblet. Color-wise, a mix of cherry coke and coffee. About a finger of light brown head died fairly quickly, but persistent bubbles keep building from the middle of the glass. Not much lacing. Probably the wrong drinking vessel for the beer. Smell lots of dark chocolate, sweet dried red fruit, some Sherry like notes, nuts. A bit of maple syrup perhaps. Light on the mouth, good creaminess. Tastes of bitter chocolate, sweeter than a lot of porters, with more of that dried fruit and nuts flavor. Finished quite easily, with a medium length bitter finish.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2010 22:45:18 | More by WestValleyIPA
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Black Marlin Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 667 ratings.