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Black Marlin Porter - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black Marlin PorterBlack Marlin Porter

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

707 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 707
Reviews: 294
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 10.13%
Wants: 31
Gots: 41 | FT: 1
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: 707 | Reviews: 294 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Naugros

New Jersey

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

This has a really good, thick, dense head with good retention for a porter. The liquid is a chocolate color as you pour it, but in the glass it's all inky and dark.

Sweet, dark molasses in the nose tempered by lightly roasted coffee tones and wisps of chocolate. In the smell, this could pass for a milk stout.

Good and bad in the taste. Nice toasted dark bread laced with some sweet chocolate flavors, but the wash is far from clean and dominated by a metallic bite that ruins the whole experience. It obviously is destroying the mouthfeel as well. They hop this one so it's possible that the hops oxidized. I can't find a date on the bottle, but this hasn't been in my local beer joint that long.

It's a shame. I was really looking forward to tasting this and it's possible it's beyond optimal date. In these cases I usually exit my review without saving and review again if I get a fresh bottle. But Ballast Point doesn't date their bottles so I can't assume that it's not fresh (other than getting good reviews from others). If a brewery does not date their bottles then they're going to have to deal with bad reviews on aged beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2011 01:40:48 | More by Naugros
Photo of engagechad


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

Purcased as a 22oz from Beer and Wine in Richmond, VA - Poured into a pint glass

Pours a very dark brown with a massive head, perfect carb and lacing.
Smells awesome, coffee and sweet roasty malts.
Tastes incredible and is very drinkable, hop balance is right on for the style and the body is smooth without being clingy.

I need to get my hands on some sculpin but this is a point for Ballast Point!

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2011 15:47:15 | More by engagechad
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 OBeerMeGreatOne


4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From Notes.
Look:Pours a deep chocolate brown with a large, tan, ice cream float style head. Huge gobs of lace creep down the glass.
Smell: Earth, coffee, bittersweet chocolate and old books. A little light on the smell.
Taste/Mouth: Creamy and smooth, pretty easy sippin'. Chocolate, coffee and a bit of banana. Pretty smokey malts. Some earthy/grassy hops fill out the taste. I have had this multiple times and will have to warn, if stored in too warm an area it starts to develop a slightly unpleasant mineral taste (so watch where you buy it I guess.
Drink: This was my second offering from Ballast Point and certainly pushed me to check out more of their brews. Very nice, medium bodied porter.

P.S. DO NOT GRAB AN OLD BMP. I've had several older bottles and I can tell you, FRESH IS BEST. If you review a bottle older than 8 months you aren't tasting a very good BMP. My opinion of course, but an educated opinion for sure folks.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2011 21:08:49 | More by OBeerMeGreatOne
Photo of TheDudeRules


3.63/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 2009 offering from bottle to brandy snifter.

A deep dark brown with a tan hued head. Smokey chocolate and fig is the combination of smells I pick out. Chocolate malt with dark fruit plays on my tongue. This beer has a certain velvet satin smoothness about it. The body was pretty light, and not terribly carbonated.

Generally I don't seek these types of beer out. But...It was actually pretty damn good.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2011 04:21:05 | More by TheDudeRules
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 madvermin


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

Pours black, with ruby hints at the edges, a healthy two and a half finger head that retains very well, has rocky lacing and awesome fluffy texture.

Nice aromas of dark fruit (fig is noteworthy), roasted malt (a bit of coffee and caramel), and noticeable tropical hops offer crispness in the middle of the nose.

Taste is incredibly well balanced, with great semi-sweet fruity notes to start - both dark and tropical fruit. Roasted malt follows, with lots of burnt coffee and grain notes, almost charred at times. Rubbery coffee grounds come out a bit, and they aren't as strong as these multiple adjectives may suggest. Very nice balance between hops, fruits, and malt. One complaint I have is the coffee I taste in here could be of better quality, as it gets a bit cheap tasting at times. I guess that was what Victory at Sea was for though.

Mouthfeel is quite smooth and slick. Doesn't leave a coating at all, and isn't syrupy in any way. Very easy flowing beer without being watery. Drinkability is similarly great, as the beer is enjoyable from start to finish, and incredibly easy going down. Abv of 6% is admirable for the amount of flavors in there. Fantastic beer, and should probably be touted a lot more than it is. I find Sculpin everywhere, and rightfully so, but I wish this one was distributed just as aggressively.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2011 05:36:31 | More by madvermin
Photo of notchucknorris


4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown with some garnet highlights and a light brown head.

S: Roasted malts and some coffee.

T: While this may not match up to some of Ballast's other darks like Victory or Sea Monster, this is a solid porter and worth trying. Some nice roasted malt and coffee going on in here along with a bit of dark chocolate that isn't overly bitter. The bourbon barrel aged version of this is a keeper.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2011 01:38:38 | More by notchucknorris
Photo of HopHead84


4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


On tap at Ballast Point Old Grove.

A: Deep brown with a maroon tint near the edges when held to light. The head is big, beige, and creamy, with very good retention. Lacing clings to the glass in thick sheets.

S: Prominent chocolate notes with a moderate roast and a light sweetness. I get a dash of pine and light earthy coffee notes.

T: Moderately sweet with a moderate roasted malt profile and a little coffee. Upper low to lower moderate earthy bitterness with a nice cocoa character. Light molasses notes. I get a little citrus toward the lightly roasted smooth chocolate finish. No evident booze. Very nice chocolate profile.

M: Upper medium in body with moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is silky, creamy, and sticky.

Overall: A tasty and well made American porter.

Serving type: on-tap

02-24-2011 02:52:16 | More by HopHead84
Photo of bruachan

District of Columbia

4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

totally opaque with a very foamy foam (i.e. it actaully looks like a foam mattress or something). great geological lacing

the first scents are sweet, caramel ones, not the bitter roast i expect from the inky liquid and darkish head. nutty, too, and then i get some cocoa. is there something creamy in there? some hop aroma shines through

my, the balance is tipped toward sweetness. roast abounds, for sure, but a malty heft knows the way to carry the sleigh. the body is very full--about as full as you'll get, really, even in an RIS--though not necessarily problematically. this will diminish the brew's drinkability but only for strictly logistical reasons (i.e. a six pack of these will not fit in my gullet). no hop flavor but just enough bitterness to be noticeable...probably should be more assertive, given the beer's sweetness

rich depth of aroma that doesn't quite obtain with the flavor profile

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2011 02:46:02 | More by bruachan
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.7/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pitch black in the glass with a well developing mocha colored head that was frothy with cavenous voids on the surface. Retention was good as well the lacing leaving thin stratified rings.

S: The nose was a bit of a disappointment. Very light of dry roastediness, finely grounded grains with a bit of generic coffee. A touch of dark fruit upon agitation but otherwise very light and leaves little anticipation leading into the flavor.

T: Dark roast, freshly ground coffee mixes with a sweet caramel malting that redeems itself from the lackluster nose. Dark plums with a roasty bitterness and sweet speciality grains blends well together. The bitterness is fresh and wet, especially noted on the finish of wet coffee grounds and roasted barley. Lovely and easy but very fulfilling.

M: The mouthful was light to medium, roasty with a decent level of carbonation coming about around the tongues edges. Oily texture with a roasted bitterness of wet coffee beans grace the finish.

D: Good deal of flavor and roastediness packed into a 6.0%abv package. Drinks bigger and fuller then expected. Not necessarily the drinkability of a table porter as noted on the label but ill trade it for a bigger and fuller experience with less volume anytime. A bomber sits about right.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2011 16:51:56 | More by beerthulhu
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 goatgoat


3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear black, ruby highlights can be wrenched out of it if one tries. Decent head, no lace. Aroma is pure roasty goodness overlaid with American hops. A full roasted flavor with high hop bitterness in the finish. The hop bitterness overpowers the roast in the finish, which is not my preference. Good medium full feel.
Good, but maybe just a little too American for me.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2011 05:59:20 | More by goatgoat
Photo of welldigger888

South Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into my trusted irish pub pint glass.Big thick 2 fingers of creamy light tan head that laced well down glass, lovely black garnet hue.
Very nice aromas coming to the nose, dark bready dark fruit and cali style hop.
Flavorful brew here, lightly sweet fruits and grains that fade to a coffee roasty quality.Nice oily hop on finish that dries out a bit.
A nice creamy hit on the front that oils up and finish dry.
The drinkability of this brew shines on me.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2011 03:47:07 | More by welldigger888
Photo of tchenery


3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Great dark black pour, very opaque. It has a nice off white head that dissipates pretty quickly, but leaves a lace down the glass.

Very chocolatey, pungently bitter smell. It smells very malty, like ovaltine malt. It's fairly subtle but smells like it should.

Taste is rich and full of marshmallow, toast, chocolate. Slightly drying on the end, but not too much. It's sweet, but not too sweet. Very full, well rounded porter.

Mouthfeel is full, but the beer isn't overpowering. It's rich, but not chewy. It might be a bit thin if I had to make a criticism.

Totally drinkable. I'd buy a six pack of this if I could. It makes an excellent cold weather brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2011 19:57:05 | More by tchenery
Photo of DrinkingDrake


4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can we say C-a-r-b-o-n-a-t-i-o-n. I poured gently down the side of the glass and my pint glass is half beer half head. So a full fist of head?
Once i got a full glass the head is a extremely fluffy off-white slightly tan head. Looks like a memory foam mattress.
Color is a deep mahogany/black.
Aroma is a lot of booze with some fig/prune. Also a slight black malt and caramel linger around.

A black patent malt with subtle earthy hop fig texture. A good amount of little booze kick in the back with a slight finishing bitterness that leaves a mellow astringency.

Thin mouthfeel for a porter for the booze smell it also goes down really smooth. I'm not overwhelmed by this beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2011 00:33:01 | More by DrinkingDrake
Photo of Eriktheipaman


4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black but fairly clear red when held up to the light.

Smells of roasted coffee and slight chocolate.

Taste is fairly generic for a porter. Roasty with slight hops. It reminds me of an english style and come to think about it, it might say it on the label too. Not too over powering or thick.

Its a lighter pretty solid Porter but nothing to write home about. I wouldnt mind buying it again if in the mood though.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2010 04:29:39 | More by Eriktheipaman
Photo of 9InchNails

New Jersey

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

Light smooth khaki head. The body is almost opaque with some dark ruby redness. Light lacing on the glass.

Roasted malts and a hop character is noticeable. Chocalate and coffee seem to be the main aroma.

Coffee and cocoa mix very well together; not either one being more dominate than the other. Some smokiness in the background. A slight bitterness at the end but not strong.

Medium body but doesn't seem too heavy. Feels really nice in the mouth. Slight carbonation hits the front of the tongue. Leaves a somewhat dry yet moist feeling in the mouth.

Drink ability is good, I didn't have a problem putting it down. Taste is good so I wanted to finish it.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2010 08:23:18 | More by 9InchNails
Photo of Wisconsinality


3.7/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to July2Nov for this one.

Bomber poured into Chimay chalice.

A- Pours a deep brown with a little head, about a finger's worth. The head doesn't stay around for very long and only leaves some spotty lacing on the side of the glass.

S- This brew is pretty malt forward with some dark chocolate to go along with some coffee. There is also a little bit of brown sugar and some black licorice as well.

T- Pretty much spot on with the nose. Big malts with some coffee and chocolate. The black licorice is a little more pronounced in the taste.

M- Medium bodied with good carbonation. Not as thick as an RIS which is good. The beer just seems to coat the mouth.

D- This is a good offering from a good brewery. Thanks again to Jason for hooking me up with this one and a ton of other goodies from Hawai'i that I can't get here.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2010 03:12:07 | More by Wisconsinality
Photo of volklshred


3.35/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured bomber into a wine glass.

A-Holy head! Lots of lacing. Dark brown, almost black in color.

S-Smokey nose. Chalk, peat, chocolate and tree bark.

T-Bitter hops and burnt malts are present. A unique earthiness dominates the overall flavor.

M-Very high carbonation.

D-The overwhelming amount of carbonation is what makes it hard to drink.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2010 06:47:46 | More by volklshred
Photo of drewba


3.15/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - super dark brown with A LOT of head. With a moderate pour, i got 3-4 fingers of head, which bubbled and cratered, but stuck around for awhile. A nice layer of tan head hangs around for the duration.

S - smoke, coffee, super roasty malts, milk chocolate, a hint of cherry funk.

T - acidic coffee, roasted malt, some dark chocolate. I feel like they could have beefed up the malt bill, because the middle and finish kind of fall flat in the flavor category. The high amount of carbonation is taking away from some of the nuance I feel like I should be picking up on here.

M - Hands down this is way overcarbed. To add insult to injury the body is fairly thin. Is it possible this bottle is infected?

I'm going to go ahead and blame my low scores on a bad bottle. This is something I would like to revisit given Ballast Point's shining reputation.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2010 06:43:35 | More by drewba
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 Chaney

District of Columbia

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

I guess we're getting BP stuff for at least a limited time in the DC area. Hooray!

I split this with my wife at dinner tonight, because she loves this type of beer.

A: Poured a dark, black as night color (or devoid of it?) with an angry beige/mocha head, and substantial carbonation.

S: Coffee bomb... and this wasn't your average run of the mill coffee either. Truly gourmet stuff! I also sensed caramel and vanilla in the mix.

T: Gourmet coffee, candy-like sweetness with a little more than a hint of caramel and vanilla. The aftertaste is where this truly shined. It had kind of a harvest cracked wheat quality along with sweet toasted marshmallow notes. Tasty!

M: Thick, and as I watching the brew between sips, I could see the corners of the brew folding in on itself as I raised the glass between each gulp. The lacing was minimal, and depite the coffee bitterness, I didn't have coffee breath afterwards.

D: I guess the fact that my wife (who is generally not a fan of beer) grabbed the glass from me and ran downstairs to play Soduko while polishing it off rather quickly speaks volumes as to its drinkabitity (which is only 6%). I WILL be getting more of this stuff.... if for no other reason, to have a brew to split with my lovely wife.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2010 23:14:49 | More by Chaney
Photo of ChadQuest


3.05/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looks great. i got a huge head from these beer and it has been hanging around a while, and gets super chunky and multi layered. The color is standard dark brown with light around the edges. An excellent looking beer. Poured into a big tulip i have a consistant 3" of head.

Aroma is light watery roast and chocolate powder.

Flavor is decent. Taste kinda reminds me a 16oz skim Latte with 1.5oz of espresso, with the milk steamed 10f to hot. sorry if that doesn't mean anything to you, i worked in coffee shops for years. There are some coco notes and some light citrus style hops adding some brightness.

Creamy and a light-Medium body.

A solid average Porter, nothing thats a big standout in anything but the looks.


Serving type: bottle

11-15-2010 21:22:45 | More by ChadQuest
Photo of kbutler1


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

Bottle. Pours a really dark brown almost black color with a nice 3 finger light tan head. Roasty coffee notes mixed with a nice milk chocolate aroma. Very creamy medium mouthfeel with some carbonation. Nice lace on the glass as I drink this down. The taste is pretty smooth and balanced with a nice balance on sweetness and roast. Slight leather taste in the ending but actually ends pretty dry and clean. As I had this in bottle I didn't get the nitrogen effect that it would have but I can imagine this would be one creamy porter.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2010 00:08:30 | More by kbutler1
Black Marlin Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 707 ratings.