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Black Marlin Porter | Ballast Point Brewing Company

very good
331 Reviews
For Trade:
Black Marlin PorterBlack Marlin Porter

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

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by xlperro on 08-26-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 331 | Ratings: 978
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.99/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

so glad these guys have their beer all over town finally, so many good ones to choose from, and it has been fun to drink through the available lineup. this is a great porter, a little more simple and straightforward than some of their other offerings, but of equal quality no doubt. maybe an oatmeal porter, as this has a lot of body and froth, and an almost creamy feel to it. there is some sweetness among the dark malt depth of this one, but its not a caramel malt thing, more of a chocolate going on. amazing it finishes as dry as it does, considering that middle sweetness. very little yeast profile to this one, which i suppose is part of what makes it an american style porter, but its almost like it needs more descriptors in the name, because its pretty interesting, american porter just doesnt seem to do it justice. a great after dinner beer, a great winter beer, a great morning beer, and a great beer on a hangover, versatile in its appeal, and dynamic in its flavor, although it is indeed less nuanced than some of their hoppy beers. this one doesnt have much hops, but they arent missing. it has a fresh baked character, warming, and really just a true example of the style. wonderful on tap, no bottles for me yet.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bomber served chilled into a shaker pint glass.

Black Marlin is true to its name in terms of color. It has thick off-white head that settles slowly and leaves some spotty lace.

Aroma is mostly porter with roasted malts being the predominant character. However, the hops do shine through adding a citrus character on top of vanilla and chocolate.

The flavor is very well balanced with a great base porter to start. Similar to a milder version of Victory at Sea with that coffee, vanilla, and roasted malts. The hops are not IPA strong but more like a good west coast pale ale.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and perfectly carbonated. Smooth and creamy.

Overall a very good porter and worth getting again. I would like to see it in six packs.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Utterly black body is surmounted by a dense, robust tan head, which retains rather well, the lacing leaves a sticky, fine-beaded coating on the glass walls.

Aroma: Bitter cold coffee, smoke, earth, vanilla, wood and bitter cocoa dominate the aroma. There seems to be a slight whiff of alcohol as well.

Taste: The taste begins with cold coffee and bitter cocoa. Soon after there is a slight smokiness, and roasted barley, this last is the dominant element of the taste. Later in the taste, a bit of chalkiness appears, this lingers to the end of the taste, accompanied by all of the flavors noted earlier, coffee, cocoa, smoke, earth, and roasted barley. The Smoky earthy flavors, while not overpowering, linger on well past the end of the taste.

Mouth feel: Rich, full and smooth, with just a bit of sharp carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: Quite nicely done, a well-crafted American Porter with good balance, but which yet manages to be "over-the-top". Well done.

Presentation: Packaged in a twenty-two ounce bomber with a pry-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.26/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From the 650 ml. bottle. Sampled on February 25, 2015.

The color of the pour is just about black with a long lasting, tan colored head. Lots of lacing left behind.

The aroma has a pleasant balance of light chocolate, dark malts, and grassy or earthy hops. Nothing outdoes the other.

Medium to full body.

Lovely balanced flavor of dark malts and a clean, crisp, but dry hop finish. The hoops are not overpowering but for a Porter they do come up stronger.

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Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.11/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass, dark brown almost black with a large tan head that lingers leaving good lacing, clear

S: heavy on roasty malt, dark chocolate, coffee, slight citrus hops

T: toasty malt, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, citrus hops, slightly nutty

M: light to medium with nice carbonation

O: very nice hoppy porter with good toasty malt balance

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Photo of patpbr
4.28/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L - Deep brown color with a dark brown head.
S - Roasted malts and chocolate.
T - Rich flavor that adds onto the smell with vanilla and smoky flavors. Also seems to be a bit of dark fruit and hops that add a nice bitter taste.
M - Medium to thick body
O - A great and hoppy porter.

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Photo of dcmchew
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black pour with a nice two finger fluffy tan head, slowly receding.
Rich salty roast on the nose, dark chocolate, toffee, some caramel, cinnamon, burnt cake, faint hop.
A really rich roast in the taste too, with nice sweet caramel and some light dark fruit. Mild herbal notes too, nice and refreshing. Some baking chocolate, faint hints of vanilla. Fresh hop in the finish, a bit spicy, leafy, alongside nice coffee notes, to make up a nice more than mildly bitter finish.
Medium to light body, as is the carbonation. Aftertaste has a bit of roasted malt, coffee powder, earthy hop, a bit of burnt sugar too.
A really rich porter with a nice American hoppy twist. Incredibly clean, quite intense, really tasty, really really easy to drink.

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

Enjoyed from a bomber in a pint glass, this fine porter pours a deep dark brownish black with ruby outlines and a huge rocky tan head that lingers long leaving nice lacing. Nose of dark bitter chocolate, bittering hops, light smoke, and deeply roasted malts. Flavors are dark chocolate to the front and sides, with a firm bitter hops balance in the back and aftertaste with a touch of light smoked malts rounding this beast out. Excellent carbonation and smooth mouth feel makes this one a fantastic porter to contend with.
Another winner from Ballast Point.

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

22 oz bottle served in a Belgian snifter.

Exceptionally attractive dark ruby body with a rather weak but semi-durable head that leaves spotty lacing.

Aroma: attractive and enticing, with hints of dark fruits and toffee.

Flavor: bitterness builds to a choice mild-moderate level in the finish and aftertaste. Hops surely temper the sweetness but don't otherwise contribute much to the taste until the lasting aftertaste. Hints of toffee and dark fruits but less than the aroma suggests. This has a touch of smoke too.

O: A well-crafted, relatively dry porter. Allowed to warm for about 15 minutes it nonetheless improved with further warming, with both the strength and the complexity of the flavor increasing.

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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

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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.

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Black Marlin Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 331 ratings.