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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

802 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 802
Reviews: 299
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 10.13%
Wants: 43
Gots: 65 | 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: 802 | Reviews: 299 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
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
4.03/5  rDev +2%
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
3.95/5  rDev 0%
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
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
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
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
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!

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

Bottle from - I believe - Wine Gourmet in Roanoke, VA. Picked this up on my one trip to Roanoke ever, when I took the VA Bar Exam. Poured in to a 14 oz. cervoise.

Appearance: Pours a translucent brown, dark enough to let little light escape, but light enough to let a few rays through around the edges. The one finger of tanned head fades rather quickly (strike one) and leaves very little if any lacing (strike two), only a thin, delicate, and spongy collar. Occasional stray bubbles - medium sized - streak to the surface ever so often, visible around the periphery of the vessel.

Aroma: An odd fruity aroma - imparted by the yeast, no doubt - emerges first, likely because it's the lightest. It's faintly reminiscent of berries, high and estery, slightly strawberry-esque. The remainder is standard porter notes, slightly on the earthy side, with tons of dirt, toast, slight sweet notes, sweet cocoa, and a few faint astringencies.

Taste: Similar to the nose, in many ways. Dark, bitter cocoa, earthy coffee, dark toffee, faint caramel, toast, earth, dirt, char, perhaps a faint kiss of smoke, and a faint underlying hop bitterness ... to give it all in one adjectivial eruption. It's solid, though, fairly well balanced, and - though perhaps a little earthier on the whole than I'd like - a tasty brew.

Mouthfeel: Odd, as it's thick enough to where you imagine it would be more even than it in actuality is, given how much carbonation is present in the mix here. The result is a slightly uneven, eruptive, turbulent mouth. Ok, so turbulent isn't quite the right word, but it's a little less even than I'd like, all things considered.

Drinkability: An above average beer from a brewery that typically provides above average offerings (and some truly stellar offerings). This is a porter that's characterized by a lot of earth and a few strange yeast contributions that - thought unique - may perhaps be off putting to some. It's definitely worth a try however (especially at a mere 6.0% abv), though I don't see it becoming part of my repertoire.

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

Appearance: Pours a chestnut brown with about a half finger of fluffy mocha head, which disappears into a fine ring around the edge of the glass. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Complex: what first jumped out at me was the scent of berries--particularly strawberries--followed soon by extremely dark chocolate and to a lesser extent, coffee. Roasted malt and candy scents.

Taste: Notes of wood, earth, smoke, roasted malts, and bitter hops are all blended nicely in this one, along with some more subtle hints of sweet toffee and caramel. The aftertaste is also an interesting blend--slightly spicy, but at the same time, nutty and creamy. As it warms, the sweet notes come out more (and in addition to the notes of candy, I taste peaches, apricots, and raisins) and the deeper, earthy ones blend into the background.

Mouthfeel: Almost the texture of water (though slightly creamier), with very fine carbonation. I think I would have preferred slightly more. As it warms, though, for some reason, the carbonation seems to work better.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. The only thing I don't really like is the carbonation level. Other than that, a very solid, complex, interesting beer.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue II:

The carbonation off of a hard pour gives a quick, cascading effect to the head, and what a head it is--a huge rocky, bubbly mass that has some great clinging action on the glass. Nearly all of the way black with dark brown on the edges. Mild charred grain, faint smoke, charcoal, dark-roasted coffee and a little bit of black currant in the aroma. So damn smooth, we're not sure if a beer could be any more smooth. Creamy medium body. Heavy amount of mocha flavor here, with a more cocoa powder and medium-roasted coffee mix. The hops are on too, balancing and throwing some flavor at the taste buds with herbal and faint tobacco flavors. Hint of black currant and chocolate cake batter in the middle. Dry finish with mineral and charred wood flavors.

Jam-packed with flavor and very drinkable, too drinkable if there is such a thing. Ballast Point gives the American Porter respect.

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

Got it on tap, poured into a Standard Pint glass. Looks pretty good. Poured and close to a black color, extremely dark brown with dark amber highlights. There is a small tan colored head that goes away pretty quickly and there hardly any lacing to it, just a couple of random specks left on the glass. The aroma is pretty good. Smells of sweetroasted, toasted malts, coffee, and bittersweet chocolate. Slightly smokey with a very slight aroma of maybe dry hops. The taste is a little of a step up from the smell. Has similar features, but the hops stand out a bit more in the taste than the smell. The smokeyness is a little harder to distinguish in the flavor, but tastes and feels very well balanced overall. It's full bodied but the mouthfeel is very good, very smooth, a very drinkable porter.

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

Sample at Alan's HSC initation. Thanks Rogueone for sharing! The beer pours a very dark brown color with a medium thin beige head that dissipates steadily. Spotty lacing on the glass.Nice roasted coffee aroma with notes of chocolate and malt. Medium body with flavors of roasted malt, coffee, chocolate and hops. The finish is dry and roasty with a mildly bitter hops and coffee aftertaste. Pretty enjoyable from start to finish.

Photo of Genghis22
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a ruddy brown, with ruby and mahagony highlights. Nice rich brown head that subsided nicely.

S - Roasted malt, with touches of cocoa, coffee and rubbing alcohol.

T - Roasted malts hit the tongue first, but are quickly intercepted by the hops. They provide a quick blast of bitterness and shock the tastebuds. The aftertase is much smoother. The nutty, roasted malt flavors come back, and are quite nice.

M - Medium to full bodied beer, but quite watery. Very hard to describe. It fills the mouth, and feels like a big beer, but goes down quickly and feels watery as you sip it. The carbonation is plentiful, but very fine. I think this explains the issues I have with the body. The fine carbonation may make it seem more full bodied than it is.

D - A solid effort, but nothing to seek out. I've had lots of porters that were worse, and lots of porters that were better. This is a nice dark beer, with decent flavor. I would drink it again, but it wouldn't be my first choice.

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

Had at home while watching a game.

A - Dark brown in color, with a mocha head, and dissipates slow.

S/T - Chocolate and light roast coffee, with some bittering hops.

M - Creamy, rich, full bodied, and malt dominated.

D - Very good. This would be my ideal attempt at homebrewing a porter.

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

Pours a deep and clear ruby brown with an inch or so of tan head from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Offers good initial retention and lacing, decreasing through the glass yet holding a surface ring.

Nose is rich with cocoa and grated chocolate with some light woody hops mixed in. Just slightly roasted in nature, it's one sided to a degree but quite nice pleasant and dry.

Flavor follows the nose with spicy chocolate notes most prevalent. Finishes with a lingering malt structure of moderate length. Medium to full bodied and offering a good carbonation level keeping this beer more interesting than the tap version which glosses over too quickly. Easy drinking with a bit of a coarse chocolate texture on the finish, otherwise quite smooth and well constructed for its 6.0%.

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into my glass a deep dark brown with garnet highlights and a quarter inch of light tan foam on top that leaves sticky lacing on the glass. Aromas of dark roasted malts with a bit of a burnt accent. Hints of chocolate and coffee meld in with a nice hoppy character as well.

First sip brings smooth roasted dark malts with a touch of a burnt flavor. Smoky chocolate and coffee tones move down into a nice kick of hop bitterness. Lingering bitter roast on the finish. Pretty tasty porter.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth. Good carbonation making this an easy drinking porter. Hops work well in here and the only thing I'm not really digging is a lingering bitter roast on the finish. I haven't had many west coast porters but this is quite tasty and I wouldn't mind drinking it again. Cheers to Ballast Point.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown in color. Nearly black. A little screen of film on top of the beer. A little froth around the edges.
Smell is chocolate, piney hops and some dark roasted malts.
Taste is more chocolate, the hops make themselves a little more present. Good carbonation and mouthfeel. This is very solid for a porter.
Very sessionable and easy drinking. Could drink this very often.

Photo of mirish72
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

We're finally starting to see Ballast Point in Massachusetts, which is a good thing. I picked up this bomber at Julio's, but have seen the porter available all across the state (the DIPA not so much).

Pours black with reddish highlights. Minimal head and a sweet malty aroma. Very smooth roasted malt finish with a bit of chocolate & vanilla. You can taste the hops, but the beer is very balanced and drinkable.

Definitely a beer I would like to have more of and I am looking forward to trying more offerings from Ballast Point.

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

on tap at the Blue Water in San Diego. pours a deep chocolate brown with amber highlights with minimal head and a soapy rim after a few seconds.

aroma is lightly roasted with a bit of chocolate and vanilla. wonderfully rich in the nose.

taste is more of the same with a supremely roasted character and a rich malty finish of black malts and a bit of nutty warmth on the back end.

mouthfeel is full bodied and malty smooth with a finish that lingers.

drinkability is good. very mellow, easy going and flavorful. a solid porter; quintessential for the style.

Photo of Onenote81
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a deep dark brownish black with just whisps of ruby on the edges. Big rocky tan head rests on top. Retention is average, but it leaves nice pretty lacing. Smells of roasted nuts and breads, coffee, and the faintest of cocoa beans.

The mouth is somewhat creamy, but there is a bit of carbonation in this that makes it a touch bubbly. Flavor is very chocolate forward. Plenty of bitter roasted nuttiness mixed with the sweet chocolate makes this absolutely a treat to sip! Some wine characteristics are in there, but very subtley. This is a wonderful Porter from an excellent brewery. Everything I've had from here has been top notch, and this is no exception.

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

Had on tap 7/18 at The Dirty Truth
This beer pours a dark borderline mahogany- brown color with about a 1/2 inch of tan creamy head to it. Nice head retention to it with thick sticky lacing coating the sides of the glass. Nose is of bitter chocolate with a strong coffee influence, and just a touch of smoke. The taste started with some toffee and caramel flavoring that I didn't pick up in the nose, lending it's way to some roasted malts, bitter chocolate and a lighter coffee flavoring in the finish.
Medium body with light to moderate carbonation, nice dry finish to it. This beer goes down very easily, and one can sit with for a while.

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

Pours nearly black with tan head. Nose has a bit of a smokey, woody note with roasted, chocolate, and coffee notes. Palate is in line with the nose, especially the roasty flavors and some smoked wood. Chocolate is not sweet. Finish is somewhat dry also.

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

Appearance: Pours a reasonably clearish, dark brown, near black body with a creamyish, ecru-hued head.

Smell: Proper porter nose of lightly roasty barley with notes of chocolate, morningtime coffee, dark caramel, and cream. Small background hint of fruit.

Taste: Heady dark maltiness yielding pleasing tastes of chocolate, flecks of dark caramel, and roasty coffee tempered with a splash of half-n-half. Clandestine, meager hint of citrus. The roastiness and a slight earthiness usher in a moderate amount of bitterness. Dash of gourmet cola and a few more touches of sweet caramel. Roasty, drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus carbonation. Relatively creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Recommended. A top-notch porter, really. It's hearty, pleasantly malty, and a sheer joy to drink.

Photo of BARFLYB
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-Tap at TND.

A- Black marlin is not quite all the wayt there as the color is more of a very dirty and dark brown. Not much of a head on this just some scattered foam on the surface, no lacing.

S- Smells like a porter with roasted malts and some caramel with it. Some mollasses and some hops in the distance, not this beers main focus. Some chocolate and cocco, not much coffee.

T- A very tasty porter here, one of the better ones ive had recently. Robust roasted malts giving off some chocolate and a bit more coffee than smell. Molasses are a great touch. Also getting some vanilla in here which is always welcome.

M- A creamy and medium mouthfeel with a low amount of carbonation. Just a bit of a watery feel towards the end of the gulp.

D- A bit above a session beer and I could of drank more. This one is now on my radar for a bottle purchase to compare. Not mindblowing, but solid.

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

I got this brew in a trade with danielcurtis81, Thanks Dan!

22oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

Black with a rising beige head that stayed as a fairly thick layer and left a bunch of lacing.
The aroma is of roasted malt, good for the style.
The taste is rich and roasted malty goodness with dark chocolate and espresso coffee notes as well, delicious.
Medium bodied with a smooth & creamy feel.
It's very easy to drink this tasty porter.

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

A: Deep dark brown/black color. Poured a 2 finger creamy chocolate head with good retention. Thick splotches of lace.

S: Sweet toasted malts, molasses and cream. Earthy hay/musty smell.

T: Big toasted malts; coffee and cocoa. Slightly sweet vanilla and cream. Enough bitter to balance but not to bite.

M: Full body; thick and chewy. Low carbonation. Scary thick and smooth. Perfect bitter in the finish.

Overall- An excellent session beer. I could drink this one all afternoon.

Black Marlin Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 802 ratings.