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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

840 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 840
Reviews: 305
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 10.1%
Wants: 44
Gots: 83 | 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: 840 | Reviews: 305 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of largadeer
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
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 +14.9%
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 +3.5%
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 +7.3%
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 -9.1%
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 -16.4%
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 +0.5%
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%
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%
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 -0.3%
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 -1.8%
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 +7.3%
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 +3.3%
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
3.92/5  rDev -1%
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
4.27/5  rDev +7.8%
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
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
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
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
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%
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
3.71/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Black Marlin Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 840 ratings.