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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

821 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 821
Reviews: 301
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 10.13%
Wants: 43
Gots: 75 | 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: 821 | Reviews: 301 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hooliganlife
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a nice dark cola black with a light creamy head leaving minimal retention.

lots of roasted malt up front with hints of coffee and sweet dark chocolate.

lots of sweetness with a nice heavy roasted malt presence. nice citrus hops through out. hints of espresso coffee mixed in. lots of flavors going on here and very interesting. a great porter!

moderate carbonation and very light body.

this has tons of flavor and a nice lower ABV making this quite easy to drink and a lot of fun. i would love to have this again.

Photo of tigg924
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: dark brown in color with minimal head, clear

Smell: chocolate and roasted malt

Taste: some dark chocolate with rich roasted malt, with a bit of sweet chocolate at the end

Mouthfeel: medium/light body, low carbonation, bitter first taste with a sweeter middle and a more bitter end

Drinkability: An above average porter that is an easy sipper. Not a beer that blows me away, yet one to easily sit and relax with.

Photo of felipe2toes
3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark brown with some ruby red hues. Thick 2-finger creamy head, though not much lacing.

S: Smells of milk chocolate, roasted malt, dark fruit, and some caramel.

T: Roasted malts and dark fruit up front, then some chocolate, coffee, and caramel. After warming up a bit, more complex dark fruit flavors come out.

M: Mouthfeel was flatter than I expected, no real body to me.

D: Good drinkability with a moderate abv of 6%.

Photo of BDTyre
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not what I expected from an American porter. Dark ruby-black with a very thin head. Sweet, sugary roasted malt smell with a very low hop profile. I think this is closer to an English porter in scent than an American porter.

Very sweet taste - almost too sweet. There's a definite roasted malt character, but this seems almost sugary. Not sure if this is from the hops, or simply the malts used but this is almost a brown ale in character.

At the same time, this comes off almost too thick - like a stout. The carbonation seems a little low and this is almost oily.

Regardless, I like this beer. It lacks the alcohol presence and dryness that many American porters display. This almost seems like a blend between an American porter and an English milk stout.

Photo of Armand
5/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What a great beer. On tap fro 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.

T: Hints of coffee

M: Bold flavor from the first to last.

D: Flavors come out as it warms up.

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.55/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is rich and smoky with tones of quality roast coffee and molasses and just a hint of unsweetened chocolate. It pours a nearly black opaque sable with a fairly thick and somewhat persistent light tan head. Mouth-filling taste has flavors of good coffee and molasses with hints of licorice and toffee. Texture is exceptionally smooth with a good firm tingle. Definitely work catching.

Photo of ryno09
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours your typical dark brown (maybe a tad lighter than typical) with a tan head. The noise has good chocolate malt present with a bit of alcohol and a bit of hops. The taste is very well balanced. Using more hops than normal for the style keeps the beer balanced longer on the palate. The malt takes a bit longer to make its presence felt than other English style porters (my favorite style of porter). The finish tends more to the chocolately side then roasty that lingers around. One of my favorite American style porters I have tried.

Photo of Lerxst
4.42/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours very dark brown, not quite black. A vigorous pour produces a one finger beige head that has decent retention and lacing.

S-Lots of roasted goodness here. Prominent scents of coffee and roasted malt dominate with dark chocolate, hops and a pleasant smoky scent lingering in the back. Smells very good.

T-The roasted goodness continues. A bit smoky. I'm getting coffee, cocoa powder, maybe a bit of caramel and some hops providing some nice balance.

M-I know carb level is somewhat subjective, but man, this one is just right! Its perfect! Fairly light bodied, very smooth and has a slight creaminess that is great.

D-Easily a 5. I could drink this one all night long. I had to intentionally slow down and savor this one or else the bomber would have been gone in no time.

This is a excellent American Porter. I only wish I had easier access to this and the other Ballast Point Brews.

I've now had the pleasure of trying 3 Ballast Point beers and all of them have been great. PLEASE start distributing in Florida!!!

Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a mostly thick consistency. there was a half inch of creamy, tan-colored, fairly long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: A nice aroma of coffee, malt, and a tinge of hops.

T: Tasted of coffee, roasted malt, and hints of caramel and hops in the finish. A well-rounded flavor.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a very dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: A solidly drinkable American Porter.

Photo of biglite351
3.42/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - the bottle says "dark black color" but in reality it is a dark brown that shows red light through the middle of a pint glass. Lacing off-white head.

S - malty with a little bit of hop, but quite nice.

T - malty through and through. Actually has a mild flavor that reminds me of a Butterfinger or Zagnut in there somewhere. A nice surprise.

M - mild coating both a tiny anonymous of tingle on the front of the tongue.

D - I could drink this while playing cards or such.

Photo of jjh19
3.81/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: When I poured my bottle of Black Marlin Porter it had very little head. Almost no bubbles. Had a nice rich dark brown color.

Smell: Terrific aroma, nice amount of roasted smokiness.

Taste: Just like the smell, there was plenty of smoked flavor in the first sip. Also a big coffee note.

Mouthfeel: With the robust flavors, I was surprised by how thin the body was. It was flat. And whenever porters like this one creep towards the body of cold coffee, well, I'm not a fan.

Drinkability: Decent, but I'm not racing to blog/tweet for my friends to try this one. Maybe my bottle was a little off? I'm sure my next beer from Ballast Point will be better.

Photo of argock
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz brown bomber into a Duvel tulip. No freshness date. Purchased at Peabody's Wine and Beer Merchants (Boone, NC) for $5.29.

A: Very dark coffee brown with ample 1-2 finger beige tightly-bubbled head with good retention and nice lacing.

S: Delicious sweet chocolate and bitter black coffee aromas blend with roasted and caramel malts to provide a great nose. Earthy and floral hops provide a nice counterpoint.

T: A very solid porter with a nice balance of sweet and bitterness. Black coffee, nutty, semisweet chocolate, and roasted malts provide the goods while earthy, floral, and lightly citrus hops weigh in with a nice even bitter bite.

M: Feel is right on par for style with a chewy, medium body, medium carbonation, and a pleasant roasted malt and floral hops aftertaste.

D: Very impressive porter from Ballast Point and a pretty good deal to boot. Seek this one out -- it has hoppy characteristics of a "robust porter" like Smuttynose's version, with a little more roasted malt and sweet chocolate presence like Founder's brew.

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

Opaque chocolate brown with a finger of tan froth that recedes to a collar after a few minutes. Big chocolate malt aroma with a light leafy hop character buried beneath. There's also a smattering of toasted nuts and charred grain. The taste mirrors the aroma; chocolatey, nutty, moderately roasty. Medium bodied, slightly chewy with a nougat, roasted grain and coffee finish. This is great stuff, nicely balanced and rather quaffable.

Photo of PintOHops
4.55/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glass - Pint

A - Extremely dark brown color with a 1-2 finger head, retention was a lacking a bit, dissipating pretty quickly. A ring held throughout entire consumption, not much lace though, a bit of splash here & there.

S - Not a big aroma here, hard to pull out everything, soft coffee/chocolate combo with a more prominent charcoal smokiness. Soft aroma overall, but still inviting with those mellow smoky charcoal notes.

T - Wonderful dark chocolate/chocolate cake unfolds into mild roasted coffee flavors, following is a semi intense charcoal/woody/smokiness. Finishes with a little dry with more smokey flavors that linger just a bit, and some sorta bright citrus/tartness. Pretty damn smokey!

M - A little crisp with a nice chewiness to it, around full bodied.

D - Wow just so damn delicious, I loved the wonderful smokiness of this beer, hands down one of the best Porters Ive had, and I highly recommend this one. I could easily drink 4-5 pints of this wonderful brew. Very very good, I'll be buying this one again for sure. Cheers!

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appears a pitch black color with deep ruby highlights to the edges with a big tan head head forming thick. Lacing is fine and even with scattered lacing around the sides of my glass. Aroma has bitter coffee notes with toasted coconut creaminess with a touch of dark coffee in the finish with sweet cream. Flavor is full of robust dark roasts with creamed coffee accents and dark sweet chocolate notes. Mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied dry roasted malt creamy base goes down easy and smooth on the palate. Drinkability overall is nice, a good solid porter I'm down with this brew but I love my Great Lakes and Founders a bit more than this great example.

Photo of TexIndy
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass. No dating info. Was dark, dark brown in color. Slight carbonation noticeable on the surface. It had an average sized light brown head that quickly settled into a thin collar. Average sliding lace but none sticking.

The aroma was excellent. Chocolate and lightly roasted malt along with medium coffee, caramel malt and cream. Some hops. Only real negative is that the aroma really faded as it warmed. The taste was also really good. Good coffee and roasted base balanced with the sweet from the chocolate and a bit of hop. Goes down way too easy. Would be great as a session beer in the 12oz format. Mouthfeel was creamy and full. Sweet chocolaty after-taste.

Overall, a really good porter. Not the best in the class but in top third. The aroma and flavor dropped off during the session but still went down real easy. Recommend. Another really good one from Ballast Point. Rotation - not avail here in TX so got from South Bay thru Milt. If here, would be worth a bomber every so often. As is, definite on-tap while visiting out West and maybe some more shipped. Need to have another to decide for sure. [OR;OT;ShM]

Photo of Bajasith
3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours opaque black with barely a tinge of mahagony aroung the edges. A dense two-plus inch head of tan settled slowly, leaving behind plenty of clingy lacework on the surface.
S: The aromas that escaped this beer were roasted malts, coffee, and some burnt caramel.
T: Some nice roasted malts, bitter dark chocolate, mildly roasted coffee, and dried plums
M: Full bodied with a creamy mouthfeel. Chewy but not massive.
D: Very tasty beer but a lingering creamy mouthfeel along with burnt undertones will make this porter a single...

Photo of mgbickel
3.31/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured ½ of a 22oz. bottle into a Perfect Pint glass. A fizzy, 3 finger, tan head quickly formed and slowly receded, leaving small tufts and lace behind. The body is clear and dark brown with amber edges when backlit.

The nose has sweet malts and caramel up front with small hints of coffee in the background. You can also pick up some very, very mild hop notes.

Lots of sweet and roasted malts hit the tongue first. The sweet flavor fades while the roasted flavor intensifies toward the finish. You can also taste a tiny (really tiny) hop presence at the finish.

The mouth feel is medium and slightly oily with moderate carbonation.

This is drinkable, but far from my favorite porter. I will drink this again, but will not go out of my way for one.

Photo of Lunch
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 22oz. bottle purchased at City Beverage in Winston-Salem, North Carolina into my 20oz. Stone Imperial Nonic pint glass at the appropriate temperature (02/17/10).

A: Pours a dark shade of brown with some ruby hues capped with a sizable three finger light tan head. Some faint ringed lacing left on the inside of the glass.

S: Mild smell of some roasted malt, dark fruit, chocolate, and some toffee. Nice aroma, just a bit soft.

T: Roasted malts and dark fruit hit the palate first some mild layers of chocolate, toffee, and some caramel. Very clean flavor profile.

M: Medium-bodied with some creaminess, but felt a bit thin at times.

D: Great drinkability as the flavors work well together and the only a moderate abv of 6%.

Overall this is a nicely crafted American Porter that is quite sessionable. Recommended.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a nice mocha head, although not too much lacing as it goes down. The smell is very nice and complex, with some dark chocolate, bits of coffee, and a few dark fruits. A little bit of smoke there as well. Taste is very similar with a slight hop bitterness. Medium mouthfeel with a bit of a creaminess. Very drinkable.

Photo of Reaper16
4.04/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber served into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Sits in the glass a rich mahogany that is pretty damn red at the bottom of the glass, all things considered. I didn't get but one finger of lion's pelt colored head and lacing is kind of spotty. It looks fine enough, I guess.

The aromas coming off this porter are blowing my socks off. Before I even put my nose near the glass I get chocolate malt and vanilla wafting up. A closer olfactory inspection reveals fig and plum and some Maxwell House roast. There's also the smell of topsoil; an earthy scent that I am going to ascribe to the "assertive hopping" so promised by the label. Few porters bring so much aroma to the table.

The taste follows the nose closely. The dark fruits from the aroma manifest themselves on the tongue in more of a darker, overripe cherry flavor than anything figgy. There is a creaminess of vanilla flavor found usually in milk/sweet stouts that works very well here. That helps to offset the tremendous earthy quality that this porter has. I almost thought what I was tasting was oxidization, but its the hops working. These hops aren't piney or citrusy or even grassy, they are simply earthy.

The mouthfeel is hit-and-miss with me. It feels like it should be more substantial than it is, with all the creaminess of flavor and dark fruits and such. Then again, any more body and this will become even more of a stout than it already is. The flavors are nice and that earthiness informed by fruit and vanilla would pair excellently with mushrooms, roast chicken or pasta with a nice brown butter sauce.

Ballast Point makes one the beers tied for my first favorite beer: Sculpin IPA. The other is Bell's Two Hearted Ale. Together they are my beloved fish beers, so named because of the fish on their labels. My second favorite beer is Boulevard's Bully! Porter. Ballast Point, with Black Marlin Porter, has a "Fish Porter." No one cares about this significance but me, but it is my review so hush up. Ultimately, I don't love Black Marlin as much as I had hoped, but it is a very fine porter that I'd love to be able to buy where I live. Paired with the right meal, this porter will surprise you.

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

This beer pours out a nice mahogany color with red highlights, which is lovely in the light. The nose is full of maple syrup and a load of nutty aromas, in particular, roasted almonds and pecans.

Vanilla and caramel also contribute a substantial dose, with each of these aspects following directly through to the palate. What you smell is what you get.

This is a porter that goes down smooth and effortless, in other words, a drinker.

Photo of kaseydad
3.89/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bomber pour into a pint glass and a huge almost four finger light brown foamy head is sitting on top of a dark brown brew. Root beer float anyone? Amazing foam presentation if you're into that.

Aroma consists of dark fruits, cola, roasted malts.

Taste of coffee, wood, some mild bitterness after the swallow and some slight hoppiness too. Some nice maltiness to bring it all together.

Mouthfeel is rather thin.

Very easy drink. No harshness whatsoever and just a slight aftertaste on the buds. This is a great Porter for anyone wanting to break into the Porter style. Another well balanced, great drinking brew from the San Diego crew.

Photo of OtherShoe2
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with a big chunky tan head. Decent retention, but not much for lacing.

Big deep dark roasted malt aromas, some sweetness, almost molasses-like. Also a little charred smoke/coffee richness. Good stuff here.

Nice rich, complex porter. Dark french roast coffee, some dark fruit in there somewhere. as well as some hop bite and an underlying creaminess that just pulls it all together. 3 of us shared the bomber and all of us were like "Wow." Nice surprise.

The carbonation is a bit off-putting. Perhaps necessary to keep this from being cloying and over-rich, but a sip becomes a mouthful fast.

Overall, a terrific brew. I wished I bought a couple of these. Very easy drinking and delicious. All of the pieces come together to make consumption a great process. Another good one from these guys.

Photo of cpetrone84
4.09/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-black in color that allows some light to come through giving off reddish hues with about one full finger of a creamy caramel head that disolves rather quickly and leaves almost no lacing on the glass

S-big notes of roasted malt, lots of cocoa, and a small amount of coffee towards the back

T-the taste follows the nose, it has big roasted malt flavors, some smokey aspects in there as well, with a nice amount of cocoa and a hint of coffee. there is also some sweet citrus towards the finish to give a hint of balance to this tasty porter

M-very smooth with a medium body that has some carbonation towards the back of the throat that detracts from a nice creamy mouthfeel.

D-this has a pretty nice taste to it that brings a good malt center balanced with a nice sweetness, the mouthfeel is smooth and relatively creamy but the body lacks for my taste. the carbonation towards the back of the throat also burns a little, otherwise a great beer!

Black Marlin Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 821 ratings.