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Black Marlin Porter - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black Marlin PorterBlack Marlin Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

861 Ratings

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Ratings: 861
Reviews: 312
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 10.1%
Wants: 47
Gots: 87 | 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:
Beer added by: xlperro on 08-26-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 861 | Reviews: 312
Photo of dbmata
3.45/5  rDev -12.9%
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.

Photo of RocPorterFanatic
4/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of ummswimmin
4.08/5  rDev +3%
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.

Photo of NickRivers
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
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!

Photo of philbe311
3.91/5  rDev -1.3%
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...

Photo of MrKennedy
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.35/5  rDev -15.4%
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.

Photo of mactrail
3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

Photo of Kendo
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

Photo of armock
4/5  rDev +1%
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

Photo of d4114
4.27/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

Photo of Spider889
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

Photo of MrVonzipper
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
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.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

Photo of biegaman
4.32/5  rDev +9.1%
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!

Photo of ADZA
4/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of OldIronLungs
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
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?

Photo of kflorence
3.53/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

Photo of FARGO619
4.82/5  rDev +21.7%
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

Photo of mrkun
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Photo of MoreThanWine
3.6/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 2" light mocha colored head. Clear burnt umber brown body with slow moving bubbles. Smells of sweet malt. Taste has the malt and also coffee. It's quite light and enjoyable to taste, lighter than I'd expect in a porter. There is a lasting finish which I'd say builds into a dark cocoa flavor. So although not a powerhouse it has many redeeming qualities as a porter.

Photo of mjyoung
3.92/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank 6/5/11

A: A deep black with a nice deep tan head. Roughly one finger of head. It's a pretty nondescript dark beer.

S: Strong coffee notes followed by a hint of roasted malt and chocolate. Very well balanced and quite good.

T: Not quite as balanced as the nose, but all of the dominant flavors are still present. Roasted malt takes the cake though and there are some strong hoppy notes in the finish. The bitters are countered nicely by the sweet

M: The body is a little light, but not distractingly so. Carb is pretty good, but nothing too distinguishing about the mouth in any way, shape or form.

O: Good. This is an incredibly drinkable beer. A very solid offering from a good brewery, but I have to admit that it's not too distinguishing.

Photo of chilly460
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours dark black for a porter, some highlights on the edges. It has a nice off white head that dissipates pretty quickly, but leaves a lace down the glass.

S - Very chocolatey, pungently bitter smell. It smells very malty, like Yoohoo. It's fairly subtle but smells like it should.

T - Taste was unique, had almost a marshmallow flavor, along with some roastiness. Enough roast and hops to dry the finish, it's sweet, but not overdone.

M - Mouthfeel was decent, a bit too carbonated and could be thicker.

O - Solid brew, definitely will be in the rotation.

Photo of emmasdad
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled this one on tap at the Ballast Point Brewery/Home Brew Mart in San Diego. Poured a very dark brown, nearly black, with a small brown head. Aromas of roasted malt, dark chocolate and toffee. On the palate, this one is medium bodied and nicely balanced, with flavors of coffee, dark chocolate and roasted malt.

Photo of mater
3.61/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received in a trade with badboyrsl84

A-Pours a very dark brown with a two finger khaki head and pretty good lacing.

S-Roasted malt smell with some chocolate and a hint of coffee. Not a very strong aroma though.

T-Was better than the nose. The coffee was stronger on the palate and the chocolate also stood out. The bottle says it's supposed to be a little more hoppy, but I'm not tasting it. I still like the taste of this one.

M-Seems a tad thin for the style, but it's not bad.

O-For me this beer was all over the place, but it tasted pretty good and I'm glad I got to try it.

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Black Marlin Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 861 ratings.