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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 dtivp

West Virginia

3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with ruby highlights, a one finger dull white head, good retention with light lacing.

Aroma of roasted malt, light coffee and chocolate.

Taste follows the nose with strong dark roasted malt, weak coffee, sweet chocolate, hint of licorice with a slight bitter hop ending.

Mouth Feel was medium leaning light body, light carbonation, smooth with a touch of bitterness.

This is a very solid, porter, I wish It was available in the east.

Serving type: on-tap

12-02-2011 04:39:09 | More by dtivp
Photo of tlazaroff


3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Very dark brown with ruby highlights (darklights?) when held to a light source. The head sticks around as well as to the side of the glass, and is a light mocha color.

S: A complex web of roasted espresso beans.

T: Quite a tasty brew, a nice blend of coffee and chocolate flavors are balanced by the bitterness, yet don't get overwhelmed by the hop character.

M: Lighter side of medium bodied, which surprised me, and a moderate amount of carbonation leaving the palate a bit dry on the finish.

D: For a 6% beer, this drinks like a 5%, it's quite nice.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2011 01:30:41 | More by tlazaroff
Photo of TheDinger

South Carolina

3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Deep brown almost black appearance with 1 finger of dark tan head that fades quickly. Spotty lacing at best. Smell of coffee, toffee and rich malts. A bit of chocolate and some earth tones with pine. Taste is similar to the nose with a nice mellow hop ending that is not too bitter. A bit of coffee in the taste. Not much complexity. A decent amount of carbonation adds to the feel to go with the silk and cream of a good porter. A little on the dry side. Overall- A solid porter that is not spectacular but also not lacking anything. I was wanting a bit more sweet, malty flavor that just didn't come through. More flavor came through as the beer warmed however. Another good effort by Ballast Point, I will have another at some point- Pretty tasty-

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2011 16:24:57 | More by TheDinger
Photo of jwhancher


4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 22 oz bottle from the Home Brew Mart back in early June. Kept in back in fridge until now. Poured into a snifter for review:

A: Pours very dark amber, almost black in color. Nice off-white head that fades to almost nothing. Packaging nice with good description of the contents. No bottled on date.

S: Nice malt aromas with chocolate, roast, slight coffee, caramel. As it warms, nice spicy & piney hop notes evolve with the roasted coffee notes.

T: Layered dark malt complexity. Caramel, chocolate, and slight coffee or espresso notes. Hops slightly hidden behind the roasted malts, but have a nice subtle presence.

M: Medium bodied, dry with slightly bitter finishing.

O: A very solid porter. Great malt character and masterful combination of ingredients.

I haven't found a Ballast Point beer I don't like. This beer is another reason why I've quickly grown to like their entire lineup.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2011 21:41:58 | More by jwhancher
Photo of Murrhey


3.35/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured in a Pilsner glass

A: Finger width tan head, tiny bubbles, but well carbonated. Opaque dark-brown, almost black. Weaker retention but nice lacing.

S: Chocolaty, coffee, roasted malt, maybe some caramel tones.

T: Surprisingly thin flavor, I was expecting a much heartier, bitter flavor. Chocolate and coffee isn't strongly present. No boozy flavor either though.

M: Thin. Unfortunate for a porter. Comes across watery.

O: Disappointed with this beer. The appearance and smell had me so excited for the taste, only to be let down by a watery drink.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2011 02:43:43 | More by Murrhey
Photo of dbmata


3.45/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Great, easily sessionable porter. Nothing too crazy, not going to surprise you with a twist, just going to be a solid, consistent porter.

Light and crisp with just enough bitter to balance it well.

Appearance: Nicely dark and black in dim light. Nice light colored head.
Smell: Toasty, roasty and slightly charcoal like.
Taste: Carbon like, bitter and a little peppery. Nice malty backbone and slight fruitiness, but not sweet.
Mouthfeel: light in the mouth, a little runny, too thin for my taste
Overall: easy to session, consistent in presentation. Not too bitter, or sweet - pairs well with a burger.

Serving type: on-tap

10-25-2011 03:08:31 | More by dbmata
Photo of RocPorterFanatic


4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber into the glass with very big, buttermilg colored head. Head dissipates quickly to leave delicate brussels lace lingering down the glass.

Smell is pretty one noted here. Lots of hops in the nose.

Fairly dry mouthfeel here, very similar to Guiness. Nice caramel sweetness, with the dark fruit notes. A bit of roast keeps it rounded. Tasty brew.

A good solid porter here. Nothing of note, but definitely worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2011 23:19:51 | More by RocPorterFanatic
Photo of ummswimmin

New Jersey

4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this from a bomber into a snifter to hold in the aroma off this beer, and I was happy to pick out this glass. The Marlin smells great. I get cocoa, some roastiness, and mild coffee. I also get a little bit of breadiness (not a word).

On the pour I get a lot head, about four fingers of tan. The coloring is very dark... which can't come as a surprise.

It tastes really good. The cocoa comes in more when I sip it. I get more roasted coffee. It isn't over-whelming. I like the balance of all the flavors.

I really enjoyed the Black Marlin with my chocolate dessert. It was a great pairing. I miss the time from when I lived just up the hill from their home-brew store. I was really sorry to hear about them no longer distributing to New Jersey.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2011 00:12:33 | More by ummswimmin
Photo of NickRivers


3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A&S - Pours a dark brown, and sits a mildly transparent black with a 2 finger tan head, with decent lacing on the glass. Smells of light roast coffee with a very dominant chocolate aroma which is very similar to Nutella, therefor lots of Hazelnut aromas. Dark malt and bready yeast also come in with a hint of smokiness.

T&M - Hits sweet and crisp then the carbonation builds on the middle of the mouth with nice sweet brown sugar, dark malt and earthy hops. Finishes with toasted grains, dark chocolate and an espresso flavor that is way stronger than the aroma. Very true to style, but nothing above par.

O - I guess I anticipated too much for this beer. Everytime I get a west coast porter I expect to crack it open and taste a Firestone Walkers Reserve, but I guess they all can't be that good. This beer was first bland to me, so cleanse your palate! After I did I felt way better about it. Very sweet on the sugars, something you don't see too much. Its almost a Belgian influenced porter, which is probably why it took me so long to figure it out. Not the best, but not bad either. Check it out, and definitely check out Sea Monster, which is basically this 3X. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2011 04:26:03 | More by NickRivers
Photo of philbe311


3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Just shy of three fingers worth of slowly cascading light to medium brown colored densely packed forth with a slightly rocky batter-like top... Fairly impressive retention... A almost opaque flat black color that refracts some red highlights when back lit... A couple stray carbonation bubbles can be seen towards the top of the glass...

S - Roasted malts to start... Some faint coffee aromas... Cocoa nibs... Perhaps some subtle smokey notes... Spot on for the style...

T - Roasted malts are dominate on the palette as well... Lgihtly roasted coffee... Hints of chocolate... Light licorice... A slight hop bitterness rises on the finish with an unexpected potency...

M - The froth riches the lips first... On the lighter side of medium bodied... Fairly sleek... A bit of lushness... Very lightly carbonated... Slightly charred texture with a bit of a chalky finish...

D - Rock solid American Porter... Above average for the style... No complaints here... I would drink this again in an instant... Nicely done by Ballast Point...

Serving type: growler

09-24-2011 01:02:28 | More by philbe311
Photo of MrKennedy


3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber thanks to ADZA for the trade! Poured into a Redoak globe style glass.

Pours with a two finger head of light tan foam on top of a jet black base. The head reduces to a quarter-inch pretty quickly.

Smell is a little sedate. Some roasted malt and coffee there, but not in huge amounts. Takes a little while for this to open up and the aromas to build on a small base.

Tastes as you are led to believe it will with nice roasted malt and coffee blending in well.

Mouthfeel is mixed, seems a little thin at times, but is so velvety it is surprising as well. Overall it seems to work ok and shows that if it was a little bigger, this would really be a star in this area.

A nice porter, comfortable to drink, the flavours aren't huge, but easy to settle on.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2011 08:09:51 | More by MrKennedy
Photo of Rhettroactive

District of Columbia

3.33/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 22oz bomber to Bruges hybrid glass on 8/17/11
*From notes

A: Rich portly brown. A 1.25 finger head fades fairly fast. Minimal lacing rims the glass.

S: Minty grain and medium char.

T: There's really no discernible qualities to this, it's simply a porter. Some char, hints of light roast coffee that's been sitting on the shelf a bit too long and matted earth.

M: Creamy and thicker then the 6% ABV should carry. Well done here.

O: Ballast Point's Black Marlin Porter is just that: a porter. It's not special in most any way, yet it passes the style profile test. I wouldn't turn one down, but won't seek it out or ask for it by name.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2011 21:41:30 | More by Rhettroactive
Photo of mactrail


3.58/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big roasted malt flavor. Quite grainy, full of barley and what tastes to me like oatmeal. Quite bitter after you sip for a while. Robust and rich flavors, with a sharpness to it. Not much aroma. Nice black color, very attractive head and foamy look in the glass. Quite nicely carbonated for a tap beer and good mouthfeel.

A lot of flavor but kind of raspy and more acidic than I like in a porter. Better with food. Had this at Mitch's Seafood with shrimp tacos in San Diego.

03/20/2012 tasting - On tap at the Linkery in San Diego. Dark brown with a ruby glint. Long raspy taste, a lot of charred malt. Big nose of charcoal and very bitter. The whole experience is blackened, roasted, and darkly bitter. A little bit sour with all the black barley. Not as decent as I reviewed last time.

Serving type: on-tap

08-06-2011 05:06:31 | More by mactrail
Photo of Kendo

New York

4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into a pint glass from the bomber. Body is black, with a 1-finger brown head. Good lace left behind.

S: Roasty - mainly roasted barley with a touch of coffee roast. Not terribly strong in the nose, but it is nice.

T: Follows the nose - roasted barley, a hint of charcoal, then with a nice dry bitterness at the finish. Hint of cocoa powder as it warms.

M: Medium in heft, dry lingering finish.

O: This is an excellent porter - nice and roasty but dry and bitter offsetting the roast.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2011 01:25:01 | More by Kendo
Photo of armock

New York

4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the main brewery's tasting room.

A - Poured a black color with a tan head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of roasted malt that gives off coffee and chocolate scents

T - Like the nose roasty with coffee upfront then the chocolate comes out

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

O - I liked this Porter quite a bit it has a good taste to it and has a decent body this one is worth checking out

Serving type: on-tap

07-29-2011 23:41:13 | More by armock
Photo of d4114


4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black body, not seeing any light through it. One finger of tan head.

Big strong coffee notes mostly, a little chocolate and subdued dark fruits.

Follows nose closely; Big roasted coffee and chocolate. Pretty typical porter but very solid and nothing wrong with it really.

light body; A little too watery and carbonated, wish it where a little creamier but it is nice.

Good porter; really solid all around, the feel lost it for me a bit but it didn't affect how I feel about this beer very much.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2011 18:05:36 | More by d4114
Photo of Spider889


4.4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at a nice little bottle shop on Hilton Head Island in SC last week. Well priced ($4.99 for the bomber).

Poured into my Troegs Stein - because I am drinking the bottle to myself, and because I can! I never have a good excuse to use a stein unless I am drinking a doppelbock or something it seems.

The beer is on the thinner side, but as a porter, it is suitable. Black with dark mahogany tinges at the edges. With a pour of average strength I was easily able to attain a head of at least three fingers that was threatening to spill over the edge of the glass. Some visible carbonation could be seen rising up the sides of the stein despite the dark color of the beer.

Wow does this head just sit and hang out. So wonderful. It's light and airy, but heavy enough that it doesn't simply dissipate immediately. If there were some more prominent lace aside form the minute smatterings on the walls of my glass this would have gotten a 5 for appearance.

Smells a little weaker than it could, but honestly it still smells damn good. Lots of nice warm roastiness and coffee notes. Dark sweet chocolate as well.

The flavor blew me away. This is easily one of my top 5 porters at this point. I am increasingly jealous that we have yet to see Ballast Point in OH. Hopefully they show up soon.

Tons of smooth french roast coffee bitterness and dark breadiness. The grains are extremely smooth and fresh-tasting. At first I wasn't detecting the "assertive dose of hops," but after warming up a little, some bitter pine does sneak its way past all of the richer malt characteristics.

Silky smooth with appreciably low carbonation. The beer claims to retain the "characteristic drinkability of the Porter style," and I assure you that it does just that. Finishing this bomber was quick and pleasant work.

Overall an excellent value to an excellent beer. Few porters can stand up to the gusto of Black Marlin. Despite the tasty nature of Sculpin, this is my favorite Ballast Point offering to date.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2011 06:06:49 | More by Spider889
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 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 biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Black Marlin Porter is a species of the deep; it offers little colour, and what little it does, along the trim of its base, is a murky brown. The contrast between black body and white foam is attractive enough to improve race relations, or would be if only the head stuck around long enough. It's not too long before the surface is as bare as the sides of the glass.

The bouquet is mild enough to make perceived notes of coffee and chocolate seem a stretch, but nearly essences very similar do linger long in the nostrils; the scent may not embody those dark, decadent characteristics detail for detail, but it does loosely take on their shape. Notes of honeycomb toffee register with virtually no accompanying sweetness.

The malts have a sauteed mushroom-y meatiness as well as a tobacco-leaf earthy bitterness, both of which are at risk of going under-appreciated due to the oily espresso flavour that hits front and center. Sweeter, more toffee-like notes do prevail, but not without a tiramisu aftertaste in-tow. It's hoppy in a way that British beers rarely are, but not too hoppy. Shreds of strawberry and currant survive the coffee and roast malt flavours.

The term "smooth" can take a variety of meanings, but it may best be used in the sense that when you take a sip you immediately say "ahhh" after swallowing. Indeed, this is a near picture-perfect porter in that it's roasty without being overpowering, flavourful without being excessive. It is best described as bittersweet, but too rich not to be easily quaffed.

Black Marlin Porter is not a beer you'd throw back. In fact, I'm thinking of having the bottle stuffed to hang in my cellar. Few brewers can emulate the balance and restraint of classic English examples while at the same time providing a breadth of rich, decadent flavour. This is one American offering that won't grate among the senses of purists. Thanks Martin!

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2011 04:22:48 | More by biegaman
Photo of ADZA


4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I cant believe these brews are still lying around not complaining though and it pours a dark ruby hue with nice carbonation that leaves behind a creamy two finger head that slowly diminishes to one finger and a rim of lacing just like a nice cappicino,the smell is burnt toffee,roasted chocolate and some dark fruits aswell,the mouthfeel starts off light but ends fuller and has tastes of roasted chocolate,burnt toffee,molasses,dark coffee,cinamon and is finished with a nice hit of hops to balance any sweetness first encountered and overall i really enjoyed this porter as the mouthfeel is thicker than most other porters but still very sessionable and i would buy again.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2011 05:53:23 | More by ADZA
Photo of OldIronLungs


4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A spirited pour into a pint glass yields a lingering fluffy dark tan head on top of a dark brown body.

Nice smooth chocolate nose on a lightly burnt/roasted base.

Medium to lighter body - very nice smoothness - light chocolate with a roasted almost tobacco earthiness, maybe molasses? Light carbonation, very quaffable.

Really nice porter. You can unlock a lot of flavor if you can let it warm up. Where'd my bomber go?

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2011 23:10:32 | More by OldIronLungs
Photo of kflorence


3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark, opaque brown in color with a two-finger thick, tan head that dissipates to a thin layer of foam that leaves tons of lacing around the glass as you drink. Carbonation levels are undetectable.

S: Smells of burnt malts, molasses, coffee, and some hops lingering in the background. The coffee comes out more and more as the beer warms, though overall the aroma is not very prominent.

T: Much like the smell: overpowering roasted malts with a bit of coffee, dark chocolate and hops lingering in the background. Sweet up front, but quite bitter on the finish. There is a lingering burnt, roasted flavor on the tongue. Pretty simple, but effective. The hops are there, but not in the amount that the bottle claims.

M: This is definitely a dark beer, but it is on the lighter side of the spectrum coming in quite medium bodied. A bit thin for the style, perhaps, but it does have a little creaminess to it and the carbonation levels are good.

O: Overall, I found this to be pretty enjoyable, even if fairly simple. It goes down easy and is fairly well balanced, though a bit on the sweet, malty side. I expected a bit more of a hop presence, as eluded on the bottle, but that wasn't a dealer breaker for me. Solid, but unspectacular.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2011 04:06:28 | More by kflorence
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 mrkun


3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Typical porter darkness with 1 inch head and minimal lacing.

S: Smells of roasted malt with a bit of coffee hinting through the malt.

T: The taste follows the nose with malty sweetness and mild coffee notes peaking out with some hops in the finish

M: Satisfying light carbonation with with charred taste gripping the tongue as the fluid goes down.

O: This a very nice porter with a nice full body. I could drink this all day.

Serving type: on-tap

06-16-2011 05:42:09 | More by mrkun
Black Marlin Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 667 ratings.