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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

860 Ratings

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Ratings: 860
Reviews: 311
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: 860 | Reviews: 311
Photo of legalpete19340
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured very dark brown with a big fluffy head that slowly dissipated to a respectable skim for the rest of the drink. Moderate lacing.

S: Very nice, but "lighter" in weight than other porters. Solid roasted malt, barley and I get some fresh cut wood, cola, dark cocoa, grass.

T: Moderate roasted malt eases into more of the cola and grassy flavors. Some light coffee, wood, bit of leather and ends with crescendo of roasty malty flavors.

M: Medium with some fizz.

O: Really enjoyable and comes across "lighter" than some porters. The hops play a role but not like other west coast porters, here they support and round out and balance the roastiness. If I see this beer I will drink it again.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.53/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an almost opaque dark brown color with a nice 2 inch beige head that fades to a small fluffy cap. Nice rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smells of roasted malt, coffee beans, and bittersweet chocolate. Taste is of roasted dark malt, bitter coffee grounds, and cocoa nibs. The bitterness that lingers on the palate is of coffee grounds. Decent carbonation but a little flat and somewhat thin bodied. Overall, this is a pretty good porter for what it is but nothing too special.

Photo of kenito799
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

5 oz flight pour at Yard House San Diego.

Rich inky black looks nice, little head. Aroma is lovely chocolatey mocha. On the palate, however, there is a coffe-grounds bitterness that detracts from the overall enjoyment of what is otherwise a rich, flavorful, creamy porter. That burnt aspect would have me look for another porter when I want that style.

Photo of Naugros
3.42/5  rDev -13.6%
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.

Photo of engagechad
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
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!

Photo of davejunkie
4.44/5  rDev +12.1%
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

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.01/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Photo of TheDudeRules
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

Photo of July2Nov
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
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!

Photo of veinless
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Photo of notchucknorris
4.18/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

Photo of HopHead84
4.08/5  rDev +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.

Photo of bruachan
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
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

Photo of beerthulhu
3.66/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

Photo of DrDemento456
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
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!

Photo of goatgoat
3.62/5  rDev -8.6%
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.

Photo of welldigger888
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

Photo of tchenery
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

Photo of DrinkingDrake
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

Photo of 9InchNails
4/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of Wisconsinality
3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

Photo of volklshred
3.38/5  rDev -14.6%
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.

Photo of drewba
3.17/5  rDev -19.9%
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.

Photo of jbertsch
4.44/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

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Black Marlin Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 860 ratings.