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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

859 Ratings

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Ratings: 859
Reviews: 311
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 10.1%
Wants: 46
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: 859 | Reviews: 311
Photo of ChadQuest
3.06/5  rDev -22.7%
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.


Photo of kbutler1
4/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of IronCitySteve
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nice dark brown almost black color with a nice off white foam head. There is some patchy lacing there as well.

S: Lots of dark roasted malts. Coffee, dark chocolate and caramel are most prevalent.

T: Nice amounts of darked roasted malts with a nice earthy hop undertone. The chocolate and coffee are the most dominant flavors.

M: A slightly bitter yet creamy mouthfeel.

D: This is a nice American Porter, easy to drink, not a ton of alcohol. If you like a nice roasted porter with some hops bitterness, this is for you.

Photo of Dlish
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Since when are marlins black? and also this beer is a dark brown not black, with a mild tan head. Coffee, rich malt, also a creamy vanilla.. Taste Wow surprisingly sweet, Big malt profile, some really coffee almost tobacco flavor. This is also pretty damn smooth for a porter, I like! pretty big amount of carbonation. Def gonna start buying this porter more often.

Photo of WestValleyIPA
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz into my new Chimay goblet. Color-wise, a mix of cherry coke and coffee. About a finger of light brown head died fairly quickly, but persistent bubbles keep building from the middle of the glass. Not much lacing. Probably the wrong drinking vessel for the beer. Smell lots of dark chocolate, sweet dried red fruit, some Sherry like notes, nuts. A bit of maple syrup perhaps. Light on the mouth, good creaminess. Tastes of bitter chocolate, sweeter than a lot of porters, with more of that dried fruit and nuts flavor. Finished quite easily, with a medium length bitter finish.

Photo of beagle75
4.23/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Draft pour into a shaker pint at the Yard House in Irvine.

A: Clear, dark brown color, showing no light transmission at the center, with one finger of persistent light beige foam head. No lacing remains on the glass.

S: Nutty smell, with faint coffee and chocolate roast. With such a clean and unassuming smell, this beer gives no suggestion of the assertive flavors waiting.

T: Begins off-dry with roasted malt and strong chocolate. Complex dark fruit, featuring barrel notes, emerges in the middle. The finish features restrained bitterness that is accompanied by low-acidity coffee flavor.

M: Medium viscosity, very smooth and creamy on the palate, with low carbonation.

D: This beer by Ballast Point is a frequently-overlooked member of their standard line-up, yet it deserves top billing--right up there with Sculpin. It comes across as significantly less dry than most regular porters, distinguishing it as a beer with versatility in food pairings and as a good gateway selection for introducing new palates to the joys of dark ale. It tastes strikingly of chocolate; I don't know if chocolate is an ingredient, but they could call this a chocolate porter based just on the flavor alone.

Photo of kgrober
4.34/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Part of an Autumn tasting @ Grapevine in Fort Mill, SC.

Poured from a bomber to a pint.

Thick, dark and rich appearance, as a porter should be with a nice creamy head.

Nose is very subtle and belies the complexity of this porter once it hits the palatte.

Espresso notes are immediate with toasted malts. There is a bourbony, savory, sour oaky finish that lingers and develops as the beer warms.

Drinkable to the nth degree. One of the best porters I've had based on it's appearance and layers of flavors.

Photo of jsanford
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark brown (almost black) with a creamy dark tan head.

S - Dark roasted malt, coffee, cocoa powder and dark berries.

T - Very close to the nose. Nice and balanced, I'm detecting more of the dark berries. Tastes a bit like a raspberry truffle.

M - Medium-bodied with medium carbonation. Slightly watery, would like a fuller mouthfeel.

D - Quite easy drinking at 6% ABV, shouldn't have any issue with the 22.

Solid beer from Ballast Point, but nothing world-shattering.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle split and poured into an American tumbler pint. No date or info.

A - Dark brown with bright ruby highlights and nice clarity while topped with an almost over-flowing tan head. Moderate retention with thin wisps of lace.

S - Dusty old basement and dirty cocoa with a robust bittersweet chocolate aroma. Hints of roasted coffee and hearty malts. It's lacing something though. It seems one-dimensional.

T - Big roasted cocoa and bittersweet chocolate with hints of coffee and lots of roasted malts. No hop flavor. It's a bit better than the aroma let on, but it's still lacking something to really get it to the next level.

M - Highly carbonated and medium-bodied with a crisp, dry finish and low astringent bitterness.

D - Good porter, a little too carbonated for both my liking and the style, but it's tasty none-the-less.

Photo of claspada
3.76/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a gorgeous, inviting, dark brown almost black, with a creamy tan colored head. Not much lacing but honestly who cares.
Aromas are dominated by earthy roasted malts, also quire inviting. Little to no hop character but it shouldn't so lets move on.
The tastes follow the aromas almost to a tee. Coffee and mocha notes and just a solid maltiy backbone. Full in the mouth but not overly in any manner. Exactly how it should be once again. There is a slight creaminess that I also appreciated with a slightly earthy, almost smoky finish; works nice with the coffee mild hop bitterness.
Overall, I really haven't had a bad beer from this brewery. Great job by them once again. Well balanced and drinkable. One of the best examples of the style I've had in a while.

Photo of MbpBugeye
3.97/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

#3 from AleWatcher. He forgot to black out the cap on this one so the brewery is given away. Its a beer by Ballast Point, I cant say that Im disappointed in knowing this, everything they do is solid. This beer calls for a pint glass.

Reviewed completely blind.
A- Not quite stout black, its a deep red. On the pour it even has some clarity. A nice dark tan head is formed but has no real lacing. It looks pretty good. My first impression is that this is a porter.

S- Chocolate and coffee coming from a set of roasted malts. There is also lots of nice subtle sweetnesses weaving in and out. Vanilla, oak, fruits, milk. Still thinking porter.

T- Yeah, either a porter or some style of stout that Im not super familiar with. Chocolate and coffee are the main players here. That milky/vanilla sweetness comes in handy when the roasty malts make things bitter.

D- Drinks pretty easy, but I wouldnt say its really sessionable. This bomber was just fine for me.


Photo of theghost3
3.99/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, opaque mahogany, almost black. There's a 3-finger cafe au lait head with a moderate amount of layered lacing.

The smell is very subtle; caramel with a little charcoal. The taste is roasted, caramel and coffee malts; slightly metallic with a hint of citrusy hops. Mouthfeel is medium to thick-bodied, chewy with moderate carbonation.

This is a drinkable porter. It would go well with chocolate or any caramel dessert or perhaps beef. I was a little disappointed that the built-up hop flavor was so subtle.

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

Took a bit to blow off the metallic taste but once the beer warmed up I was rewarded with a rich mouthfeel and a big rounded porter that had quite a bit of hops to back it up. I liked the bigness of the beer as some porters are thin and have a short finish.

Photo of hooliganlife
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
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 -11.6%
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 -7.8%
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 -5.3%
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 +26.3%
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 +14.9%
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 +7.3%
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 +11.6%
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%
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 -13.6%
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 -3.8%
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 +3.5%
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.

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Black Marlin Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 859 ratings.