Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Black Marlin Porter - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black Marlin PorterBlack Marlin Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

322 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 322
Hads: 943
Avg: 3.97
pDev: 16.88%
Wants: 66
Gots: 129 | FT: 0
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:
Beer added by: xlperro on 08-26-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Black Marlin Porter Alström Bros
Reviews: 322 | Hads: 943
Photo of 57md
3.99/5  rDev +0.5%

Chocolate brown color with ruby edges. There is some roasted notes and also some faint smoke in the nose. The body is about what I’d expect for the style. The roast profile is very nice and there is a good combination of bitterness coming from both the roasted malt and the hops.

 284 characters

Photo of beerdedking
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

22oz poured into snifter. I love Ballast Point going into this beer, so add bias factor x 10 to this review.
This one pours obsidian with a great billowy head that lingers for a bit. Bonus points already.
Flavors are complex with a great light yet creamy mouthfeel. Roasty chocolate, caramel, and bitter prune juice, with a nice dry hopped finish.
This is a great porter, San Diego style. Is a little more on style than my fav, Founders Porter, but would gladly drink over and over...
Founders has more of that coffee/chocolate thing goin on while this one is deficient in coffee flavor.
Overall, an awesome on point porter. Seek it out. Ballast Point knows their stuff...

 680 characters

Photo of FLima
3.93/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep black color with red beams when exposed to light and a thick caramel head with medium retention and leaving laces.
Aroma of roasted malts, cocoa and light milked coffee. Mild, but nice.
Bold but balanced flavor cocoa, coffee, spices, earthy and citrusy hops, some dark fruits, nuts and caramel and roasted malts. Dry and bitter aftertaste.
Medium bordering full smooth body with appropriate carbonation.
Superbly balanced porter and very pleasant to drink. Not extremely hopped, but sure more interesting than traditional. Worth trying.

 542 characters

Photo of TheMarkE
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black color, very good head and lacing.

Smell: Chocolate, hops, and coffee.

Taste: Roasted malts, chocolate, caramel, and hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, with a slight chocolate and hop finish.

The Verdict: Very good. Smooth and tasty, with good balance. Another good one from Ballast Point.

 307 characters

Photo of utfiero
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Color- black walnut. Slight head tinted mocha.

Aroma of coffee, hops and dark chocolate.

Taste- Mildly hoppy but good roasted malt body with hints of coffee finishing with a mild charcoal note. A hop-head might like this porter but a porter lover would like this too. Good blend of traditional and hop-head.

Poured from 650 ml bomber into a Liefmans Goudenband glass (my preferred all purpose beer tasting glass). tasted Jan. 2013.

 436 characters

Photo of MadCat
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours black, good tan head, leaves good lacing

Smell: Chocolate, caramel, earthy, piney, and resinous hops

Taste: Chocolate, caramel, and coffee up front. Next up is the earthy, piney, and resinous hops. Light bitterness finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body, good carbonation

Overall: This is a good example of what sets the American Porter apart from the English Porter. Good beer.

 391 characters

Photo of cbutova
3.71/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed from notes taken at the Dive Bar, Worcester 02/21/14.

A- Black pour from the tap to a pint glass. Cap forms with creamy texture and a mocha hue. Head retention is good but eventually recedes to a thick, frothy ring. Sheets and rings of lace at the top continue down most of the glass.

S- Roast and toasted grains lead the way with some hops as behind them. Heavy dark cereal grain feel with notes of cocoa powder, toasted nuts, caramel and toast. Hops are earthy and floral.

T- Deep roast grains remind me of cereal with a heavy amount of cocoa in it. Yeast opens up a bit with spicy dark fruit, raisiny notes. Cocoa nibs, chocolate, cereal, toasted nutty toffee and caramel malt flavors. Decently hoppy finish with earthy, citrus and floral tones.

MF- Moderately thick bodied with a crisp and creamy texture. Carbonation is medium high and it finishes with both roast and hoppy bitterness on the palate.

Has a decent amount of yeast and hops that blend in nicely with a heavily roasty, cocoa cereal grain feel. Certainly worth having again if you like Porters.

 1,075 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A very solid Porter, and I'd say in the San Diego style- a nice hoppiness pairs seamlessly with the smooth roastiness. The mouthfeel is downright silky and the beer overall is extremely well balanced. Piney hops play off of chocolate and lightly roasted grains with a fairly deep, bitter finish where the roast and hop bitterness intermingles. Quite well done.

 360 characters

Photo of cxr1037
4.68/5  rDev +17.9%
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.


 1,326 characters

Photo of Flounder57
3.97/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass at The Avenue in Allston.

Appearance: This beer had a small mocha head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a brown/black color with no clarity or vision of bubbles coming up through the glass. Nice lacing on the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Chocolate, smoke, roasted coffee, pale malts, and a little porter sourness.

Taste: Smoke, ash, chocolate, roasted coffee, pale malts, mild bitterness, and a little sourness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, light to medium bodied, smoky, and medium carbonation.

Overall: Pretty solid porter. Traditional and balanced across the board making it a very drinkable beer.

 628 characters

Photo of brureview
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The beer poured a dark chocolate color with a 1/2 finger head in a balloon glass.

The aroma is enticing: deep milk chocolate.

The mouth feel is quite hoppy-especially for a porter.

The taste is disappointing: somewhat watered down, with lemon and a bit of chocolate.
It is lacking a robust porter taste- is this a "classic English Porter" as described on the label?

Overall- the aroma doesn't carry to the taste. It is important to drink the beer at a warmer temp:50-55°F- the hoppiness balances with the taste at this temp, and appears to be less diluted.

Overall- this is not a traditional English Porter style. It is a hopped- up Porter- West Coast style.

 664 characters

Photo of Furlinator
3.61/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours black with one half inch of head and major lacing.

Smell is coffee and faint cocoa up front and earthy hop scent last.

Taste is bitter coffee at first with some dark fruit and, again, the hops bringing up the rear. Becomes less bitter as it warms.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation.

The bottle's description of 'hop-forward porter' is spot-on. The hops are certainly present but, not overpowering, making this a unique porter. A solid effort.

 469 characters

Photo of jjboesen
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Ballast Point is another great San Diego brewery – and one that is new to me of late. Having visited this fine city during Beer Week 2012, I experienced the embarrassment of beer riches that are available to thirsty visitors. Any brewer wishing to make it here must make some great beer. Ballast Point, with their fish motif, need not worry about anything.

The Black Marlin opens like any good porter should: a massive head that shimmies and shimmers as it slowly sinks into the glass. The crown is foamy as the body is dark. There are some pleasant whiffs of molasses and cocoa powder – much like any good porter. The initial sip evokes toast and chocolate with subtle nibs of coffee and caramel.

The mouthfeel seemed to be a tad chalky at first; this initial sensation dissipated as a comfortable maltiness slowly replaced it to make for a wonderful balance at the finish. This is a substantial and filling porter that has me hook, line and sinker. (Sorry.)

 965 characters

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

Ballast Point Black Marlin Porter, sold cheap as it was nearing expiry date (note: I've never to my knowledge had any beer that tasted bad because it was out of date, does beer even go out of date?). Anyway a bargain is a bargain, and I'm an old school fan of Porters/Stouts- the first beer I liked being Guinness. However my tastes have evolved and gravitate towards APA's, IPA's and BPA's these days, that being said; Porter will always be an old favourite.

Poured from a 650ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: The body is a deep, dark ruby red, much like Guinness it looks obsidian until you hold it up to the light then realise it is actually a pitch ruby colour. The head explodes like a fizz bomb an dissipates down to thick tan lacing. Looks rich and inviting, as a good Porter should.

S: Roasted coffee, chicory and burnt barley lead the aroma. This is followed by dark chocolate and molasses, reminiscent of Sheaf Stout which was my first review a couple of aeons ago. There is a minor note of pine resin hops in the background, as the bottle suggests this is a mixing of a classic English Porter with APA hops... sounds like a Black & Tan doesn't it.

T: Flavour profile is more complex than expected, yes there is burnt coffee, dark chocolate and molasses. This is partnered with the slight bitter pine resin hop finish (that you wouldn't expect in a Porter) and a full biscuit/caramel malt base. The boldness of the typical Porter coffee/chocolate/molasses doesn't make it easy to identify the other flavours but they're there nonetheless.

M: Medium bodied, dense but light carbonation with some fusel oil characters thrown in.

D: A damn fine American Porter... come to think of it I don't think I've ever tried an American Porter, if they're all this good I will definitely try more. Price is a bit of a sticking point here in Australia, most American beers are horribly overpriced/taxed, making the experience not fun on the old calf skin. But this aside it is a good good Porter - bold, expressive and brooding.

Food match: The mocha flavours make it good as both a dessert beer and a roast game meats, hard cheese beer. My ideal meal to go with this (not eating meat because I am a vegetarian and all) is a grilled portabello mushroom sliced and served on Soba noodles with Kecap Manis drizzled heavily on top.

 2,328 characters

Photo of Gregfalone
4.6/5  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

 633 characters

Photo of draheim
4.14/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle into an English pint. Pours a deep brown w/ a thick, creamy khaki head, webs of glistening lace.

Aroma is chocolatey and bitter with notes of dark fruit and molasses. Smells damn good.

Taste is a blend of bitter roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate with hints of dark fruit and vanilla.

Mouthfeel is smooth and light, drinkable, w/ a clean dry finish.

Overall a solid representation of the style. I'm not finding much fault with this beer.

 454 characters

Photo of SmashPants
4.36/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: solid brown 650mL bottle with a cool label.

Appearance: about as good as a a porter gets on the pour. Close to jet black with a fine carbonation, a great tan head that jumps to about 2 inches and drops to 2-fingers with great retention and webbed lacing. Looks good!

Aroma: smooth on the aroma, much sweeter than the usual porter. More notes of chocolate and milky coffee than the normal roast coffee and malts. Still a bit light, but that's porters for you.

Taste: fantastic again - one of the best porters I have had. Sweet, almost a milk stout. The main flavour is definitely chocolate, with some biscuit and coffee malts backing up. A touch of spice trails along. Very drinkable.

Aftertaste: lingers nicely, with the bittering coffee malts coming through more strongly.

Mouth feel: medium-to-full bodied with light carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: one of the better porters I have had - and it's one of my preferred styles. Good combination of chocolate, milk, coffee and some light spices.

 1,014 characters

Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a blackish body with two-finger tan head that left a lace ring on top of an aroma comprised of roasted and smokey malts, spicy hops and minor sweetness. Very smooth, easy to drink, but not in a slick, watery way, the taste itself being of roasted coffee, some caramel sweetness, touch of dark fruity hops, all blended well together for one great porter. Mixes sweet and roasted malts along with hops for fruit notes and crisp finish for balance; this is a well-assembled porter and very affordable compared to others.

 524 characters

Photo of dgilks
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very dark brown, mahogany colour with a creamy tab head. Decent head retention.

Hoppy aroma with some roast. Nice coffee notes and a touch of fruit.

Very hippy for a porter with a nice roast backbone and some light fruit notes. Moderately bitter. Very good.

Medium-light body with moderate carbonation. A little crisp but it is nice.

A delightful porter. The hops help clear it out and the black malt works well.

 420 characters

Photo of TheRealBigC
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Looks like a porter, smells like a porter. Heck, it even taste like a porter. Really, the flavor profile of this beer isn't all that complex, but it is extremely well balanced and wonderfully creamy. I would have no problem ordering several of these at a bar.

 259 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Enjoy by January 29th 2013.

From the pour a real creamy rising head, nice light tan in color with very tiny bubbles presented, rises three fingers tall nicely. Body color is a classic dark walnut brown, with a real nice red hue to it hiding in there. Nice looking beer, and some scattered lacing.

Nice husky milk chocolate on first smell, with a simple balanced grain. Milky and creamy smelling. Pretty solid bouquet for a porter.

Palate hits with a nice light right body. Great mouthfeel thick but with a light porter classic body and not syrup. Flavors hit of mild creamy sweet malts, and aftertaste that really lingers. Good charing roast, and a real great tobacco action. Tannic but not dry, almost hints at woody character. Roast brings out even more hints of coffee, and a real nice controlled hop bitterness, hints of lime on the finish too.

Overall a very solid porter, delicious!

 940 characters

Photo of AdamBear
4.41/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-black with a stable tan head

S-fresh dark roasted coffee with just a touch of cocoa. there is some sort of brininess here as well that is quite welcomed. medium strength

T-comes in with a great rich flavor of rich coffee and dark cocoa nibs. a bitterness comes in and the after-taste is mostly of dark chocolate. the flavors are awesome and bold. there really just a touch of brininess here. the after-taste definitely has a roasted aspect to it, almost even reminds me of peanut butter..which i know doesn't sound right, but it really does taste like that.

M-medium carbonation with a dry finish

O-this is a wonderful porter, definitely one of the best i've had. the flavors are all strong and great and yet it remains a slight uniqueness to it to set it apart from others that i've had. definitely something that i'll suggest to others. SO GLAD BALLAST POINT IS NOW IN MARYLAND!!!!

 890 characters

Photo of dansmcd
3.99/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Jet black under a thicky creamy tan head with all day retention, sticky clumps of lace and webbing.

S - Big roasted nose, coffee, dark chocolate.

T - Follows the roasted malt nose, smoke, coffee, chocolate and cream. Nice layered experience.

M - Fully bodied with medium carbonation.

O - Complex and demands some time to savour. Very good porter.

 355 characters

Photo of micromaniac129
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The appearance was the only real negative thing in that there was very little head and lacked any real rentention. Though the beer pours a rich deep brown with garnet high lights i couldn't produce more then surface froth.

Aroma is dominated by big malts. A very lovely roasted malt billm with candied or burnt sugar.
Perhaps it was me but I thought I sensed some peat and smoke.

The big roasted malts continue on into the taste. One can pick up char and hints of peat smokiness.

Full bodied no doubt that flows easily over the palette. The finish is slightly bitter and is relatively clean in the aftertaste.

Deep and complex tasting a winner in every regard with the exception of the head which,really isn't that big a deal.

 730 characters

Photo of Drinkerofales
3.91/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown in color, with lighter brown and garnet hues as well. A large, rich mocha head leaves some great lacing as it dissipates.

Smells of roasted malts, smokey.

Taste has a bit more going for it thankfully. Mostly roasted malts, with some burnt sugars, and not a small char aftertaste. Bittered by hops, which add another layer.

Texture is medium bodied and not easily drinkable. The beer is smooth though and carbonation is on par for the style.

I liked this more than I thought I would. The smoky and the bitter aren't out of control.


 550 characters

Black Marlin Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 322 ratings.