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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

755 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 755
Reviews: 296
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 10.13%
Wants: 35
Gots: 51 | 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: 755 | Reviews: 296 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bradybeer
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%

Pours a very dark brown-almost black with quickly disapearing head with a hit of hops. Tatse reminds me of a good bitter chocolate bar but with a slight hop bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is what I expect in a robust porter-not heavy but not thin either. Drinkability is high as this beer is one that I could have in over aboundance during one our many foggy nights

bradybeer, Mar 09, 2007
Photo of arizcards
4.03/5  rDev +2%

Picked up a bomber at AJ's at the end of October for $3.79.

Beer poured a deep brown with mahogany undertones. Head was tan but has dissapated quickly leaving some lacing behind. Nose is malty and chocolately, very nice. Taste is of roasted malts accented by chocolate balanced by a nice bittering hop finish. The flavors get more pronounced the more it warms. Mouthfeel is delectably smooth and creamy, which makes the beer for me. Overall drinkability is good. This is the first Ballast Point beer I have tried and I will be seeking this and their other offerings out in the future!

arizcards, Mar 04, 2007
Photo of Westsidethreat
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

A: Dark brown, totally opaque. Head is a good finger tall, a medium creamy latte colored mass floating on top of the body.

S: Dried cocoa, fresh dough, distant fresh brewed coffee, burnt toast and vanilla.

T: Begins sort of a chocolate laced butter with vanilla wafts. Really basic coffee transitions in with milk chocolate simplicity. Really minor bitterness can be found but is played down dramatically. Finishes little bit of red grape and toffee.

M: Medium body, decent mouthfeel.

D: Man, pretty boring porter. Bummer because I love Ballast Point.

Westsidethreat, Feb 26, 2007
Photo of Barleywhiner
3.63/5  rDev -8.1%

Pours a dark brown/black, with a thin head. The aroma is malty, but not overpowering. The taste is sweet at first, turning into a slightly dirty after taste as it finishes. The mouthfeel is a little watery. It is a beer that is easy to drink, but not to complex and therefore not all that interesting, still overall a good beer, and worth trying.

Barleywhiner, Feb 09, 2007
Photo of neonbrown82
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%

Very good porter. I had all but given up on Ballast Point until fellow BA spazaru read my review for Big Eye IPA and suggested I try this before losing hope. I'm glad I listened to him. As a matter of fact, I'll probably try the ESB as well (and if I remember correctly there is still another that I can get around here).

The beer pours to a very dark brown, damn near black. Has a nice brownish head, but the retention leaves a little to be desired. Lacing isn't bad. A little spotty, but good.

The smell is quite good as well. Very chocolatey, if not a bit ashy from black patent malt. Has a good amount of caramel malt in it as well. A hint of smoke as well. The taste is just as good with all of the same elements. Starts off a bit sweet from the caramel malt and fades into an intense chocolate. An ashy, smoky black patent malt flavor dominates late in the finish. The chocolate malt and coffee flavor lingers well into the aftertaste. Quite pleasant.

My only gripe is that it has too much caramel and black patent, which creates an almost buttery sweetness up front, followed by a dry ashy mouthfeel. The body is fairly full for a porter as well. Has only a hint of alcohol flavor, even despite being a drinkable 6%. Overall, it is a very good robust porter. Thanks again to spazaru for convincing me not to give up on this brewery. I will most likely drink it again.

neonbrown82, Jan 31, 2007
Photo of flexabull
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%

Pours a very dark color, almost black. The head is somewhat small, and white.

Aromas are of roasted malts, and some light coffee notes.

There is a definite hop bite noted in this beer. But it's nice, and not overwhelming. The rest of the flavor are of dark roasted malts, and bitter chocolate.

Mouthfeel is good especially full on the first sip, finish is nice as well.

Drinkability? Oh yeah. This is a nice and drinkable Porter. I enjoyed it more and more as I got to the bottom of the glass. My second beer from Ballast Point, and I am not disappointed. Good stuff.

flexabull, Jan 28, 2007
Photo of rayjay
3.15/5  rDev -20.3%

Although the Big Eye IPA is a beer to behold, this porter seemed pale in comparison (pun intended). Nothing bad or offensive, but merely an average porter, with below average carbonation, and a sticky sweet mouthfeel. The roasted aromas are all there, as are the thick malts, with an emphasis on the carmel malts. Reminds me of a porter home brewed from an extract kit. Good, definately not great.

rayjay, Jan 16, 2007
Photo of mentor
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%

Bottle was a 2006 GABF left-over that was given to me as a reward for my volunteer efforts. Thanks a million to GABF and to Asheville Brewing for the opportunity. Entered into judging in category #58 (Robust Porter).

Hard pours earns hardly a ring of light brown bubbles. Dark liquid with brown edgings. Smells rich chocolate, dry woody, with some peated malt character. Rough dry woody hop character...williamette?

Tastes robustly chocolate with a drying ashy flavor in the end. Whoa, intense. Chocolate is dark and rich, but not tremendously deep. Slight clean coffee roastiness and a touch of smoked flavor at the end. Dry sharp aftertaste is a bit salty. Strong hop flavor with mild, but grassy hop bitterness.

In later tastes I get a creamy milky sweetness buried way beneath the chocolate and roast. Quite nice. Not a complex make-me-think beer but teasing enough to be interesting. Mouthfeel is thick with very mild carbonation. Oily hop bitterness in the ending is grassy and woody dry.

mentor, Jan 11, 2007
Photo of Pooba001
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%

Beer pours a dark almost black color with ruby tinges when held to light. Not overly carbonated, head is initially decent but dissipates quickly. Aroma is sweet and malty, but hop aroma is quite present as well. Modest, balanced, understated. I'd the smell to be a little bigger.

Taste is of big dark sweet malt and american hops, dry and roasty, with cocoa undertones. A good American porter, but not quite one of the best.

Mouthfeel is fine, not outstanding, but smooth and easy. Drinkability is quite good, a very easy drinking porter.

Pooba001, Oct 03, 2006
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.4/5  rDev +11.4%

Inky black, utter opacity, underneath a big slab of rocky cocoa brown foam. Lookin' good.

Soft and sweet and the nose, chocolate, with bitter espresso hints, as well. Nutty, creamy, nice.

Same deliciousness transported onto the tongue. Starts lightly hoppy and bitter, rolls out smooth, with lush chocolate malt. Smooth. Tasty. Addictive.

Feels just lovely in the mouth. Medium to full-bodied, with a long, sweet finish. Hops never leave, though, and just enough edge to every sip and gulp.

This is seriously good stuff. Great drinking, great taste, ...they'd have a hard time hanging on to it if I were in town!

Much thanks to Buckeyenation!

feloniousmonk, Oct 03, 2006
Photo of blitheringidiot
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%

650 mL bottle with a label that states: American version of classic porter rich malt profile and dark black color make it a great companion to foods.

Pours a buh-lack night grabbing ink black color topped with a bubbly craggy soon settled tan dense cap leaving spider web lace.

Black strap molasses and cigarette butt roasted malts that scream big porter from the get go. Cocoa and some ginger sweetness to the nose.

First swigs: Straight roasted malt with a dryness and a linger of copper penny and pancake. Light berry aspect brightens this up out of the dark porter doldrums. This would be excellent with vanilla ice cream. Bittered with a generous amount of hops that creeps up with a grassy hop balance.

Crisp carbonation and a linger of vanilla hints and cocoa.

Last swigs: Light berry, vanilla and roasty. Flavorful American porter to a T. Well built. Nothing other than a solid American Porter. No tricks up the sleeve. Hard pressed to think of a better American Porter off hand.

Beer is good. Happy porter beering.

blitheringidiot, Aug 21, 2006
Photo of dbalsock
3.68/5  rDev -6.8%

Appearance: This poured beautifully with a heavy full head colored orange/tan. The head stays forever and compliments the reddish tint found at the bottem and ages of the glass from the main brew.

Smell: I found this verry hoppy for a porter (duh American porter). It was quite flowery/plantlike but the roasted malts bring out a li ttle more sweetness as it warms.

Taste: The hops were definitely overpowering, byt the roasted malts and somewhat appley taste were tasty. The aftertaste was grapefruit like, which disappointed me a little. I wish the malts played more of a role, or there was more balance.

Mouthfeel: I found this to be not excessively bitter, despite the loads of hops. It was rather light bodied, and the only way I can describe the texture on the palate is "checkered".

Drinkability: This is probably a porter saved for the summer. The hops do make it interesting, despite being overbearing, as I said above.

dbalsock, Jul 28, 2006
Photo of Zorro
4/5  rDev +1.3%

In the glass we have a clear dark brown beer with a good light brown head.

Smell is sweet with a good coffee and very slight chocolate aroma. There are some mild fruity aromas here but not enough to really break out in to individual scents; it is just a generic juicy fruit aroma.

Taste is slightly sweet with a good coffee flavor in the fist taste. Slight taste of acid from the dark roasted malts and the same fruity flavor that you get with a British ale yeast combine with the coffee flavor to a good effect. The chocolate flavor builds as you drink this and it never gets harshly bitter. There is a good mild bitterness in the after taste here that is about as strong as unsweetened bakers chocolate.

Mouthfeel is good.

This is among the mildest mannered porters that I have tasted. Very easy to drink I can't thing of anything negative to say about this one. Highly recommended.

Zorro, Jun 25, 2006
Photo of goschool
4/5  rDev +1.3%

It pours a dark ruby that's not quite black with a big tan head that fades to a ring of lace. The nose has burnt malt, coffee, baker's chocolate. The taste is right in line, with city roast coffee, burnt malts, roasted malts, dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, and a touch of brown sugar and sweet malts. The carbonation was a bit much at first, but I swirled the beer and brought the fizz back to normal. Another good brew from one of Southern California’s most underrated breweries.

goschool, Jun 04, 2006
Photo of DogFood11
2.45/5  rDev -38%

Bomber poured into a snifter for shits and giggles. Typical color. Easy on the pour as this is one pumped up porter. Frothy, loose head, covers the glass all the way down.

Metallic twinge in he nose, kinda weak overall.

Bigtime carbonation tends to sizzle a bit and make a point. Really it is necessary because it makes the most of a subtle taste mixer jones. There is a citrus element to this, mainly a tangerine type sweetness on the backside. Coffee wallace comes in to the picture late.

Notes: I've had nice success with this brewer. The porter is pretty average to below average in my opinion. I can deal with a bad mouthfeel if its loaded with taste, but this was kinda boring.

DogFood11, May 01, 2006
Photo of germaniac
4.43/5  rDev +12.2%

Pours very porter-like, with a managable amount of bubbly, lightly sticky head. The black letters on my Ballast Point pint glass really highlight this brews deep brown color.

The roasted malt smell is backstopped nicely by chocolate, with just a bit of hoppy bittersweet aroma pulling thru.

Tastes of dark chocolate, with a thickening roastiness throughout the middle. Drops off into a lightly hopped bitterness. Not much carbonation, which is correct for the style, I think.

A tasty brew, here. One that could be drank on any given night. Another feather in Ballast Point's hat, hopefully not the last of their line that winds up in bottles.

germaniac, May 01, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%

Crimson-soaked walnut brown with rust colored highlights at the bottom edge of the glass. The head is malted milk ball beige in color and is as creamy and as sticky as they come. Pocked sheets of lace adhere tenaciously to the vertical surface and are the capper on a wonderful look. Black Marlin is one of the best looking porters that I've seen in a while.

The nose is a keeper as well. It's readily apparent that this is one high-quality beer. That isn't a surprise since I've been mightily impressed by the other Ballast Point offerings that I've had (with the possible exception of the Kolsch). Mellow, lightly roasted malt contributes chocolate notes and there's a tangy undercurrent of citric hops as well.

Too many American porters are weak when it comes to both flavor and body. Even though it'll never be mistaken for an Imperial version of the style, this is definitely a full-flavored beer. The flavor profile is dominated by roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate and black coffee. It's also more hoppy than most; no surprise given Ballast Point's Left Coast penchant for adding the little green cones with a heavy hand.

I'd like a little more depth and complexity, but those are minor complaints in a beer that's this well put together. A modest sweetness early turns into a similarly modest bitterness late. The brewers could have overdone it with the hops (yes, I'll grudgingly admit that that's possible), but have resisted the urge and have stopped at 'just right'.

The mouthfeel is 'porter medium', perhaps a tad more full, and is pleasantly smooth without being slick or sticky. A slightly more full, light chewiness would have been great, even though the beer stays true to the style and doesn't deserve to be marked down for my big body bias. A laid back amount of carbonation makes sure that all systems are 'go' for a ridiculous degree of drinkability.

Black Marlin Porter is another wonderful beer from Ballast Point Brewing Company and is one of the best porters that I've had in a good, long while. It doesn't impress by breaking out of the style mold and doing something completely off the charts, but by staying well within the style guidelines and just being flat out more delicious than its competitors. I'd be proud to mount this Marlin above my mantle.

BuckeyeNation, Apr 12, 2006
Photo of SwillinBrew
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%

Had this on tap at the brewery thanks to the Maltose Falcon's bus trip... also had before in the bottle but will focus the tap pour.

Very beautiful appearance. It was an expresso coffee deep brown with a mild caramel small bit of head. The aromas were toasted-burnt malts with hints of cocoa that make you smile as you inhale... paves the way for the you're-going-to-enjoy-this type of feeling.
The taste was a fine melding of roasted malt, toffee and a bitter-sweet taste of the kind dark chocolate imparts. The carbonation wasn't overly done as was perfect for the style. A little chewey and a very ever so slighly dry and smooth on the tongue. This is one of my favorite porters. Since it's been raining here, i'm going to be sipping this by the fireplace.

SwillinBrew, Apr 05, 2006
Photo of Boilermaker88
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%

Picked up this 22oz bomber at Whole Foods in Pasadena for about $3.49. I used an imperial pint glass.
Black Marlin had a deep dark brown color shot with ruby highlights. Scant visible carbonation resulted in a downright puny light tan head that was almost as audible as a bowl of Rice Krispies as the head shrank down to nothing with amazing rapidity.
The smell had a rich chocolate malt aroma; tantalizing roasted malt and coffee bean notes were in every sniff. Some mild fruity sweetness competed with a touch of herbal hops to round things out.
The taste started out with a hearty caramel-coated fruitiness that quickly gave way to the robust flavors of dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans. Not the "burnt to ash" bitter coffee taste of a Starbucks but something a bit milder. There was a hint of herbal hops in the finish that was nice. The feel was medium-bodied and smooth.
That bottle of BMP was not long for this world as I was soon looking at a near-empty glass and wondering just where the hell my beer went so fast. Needless to say, Black Marlin Porter is astonishingly quaffable. A fine porter and worth seeking out.

Boilermaker88, Apr 01, 2006
Photo of scottoale
4.03/5  rDev +2%

Dark, dark mahogany colored liquid with barely a one finger, tan creamy head. Decent carbonation with a nice stiff lace left behind.

On the nose a smokey roasted, bitter dark chocolate into coffee, with a slightly fishy finish. Saltwater fishy fragrance of some sort, strange but interesting.

Another sniff then a reluctant sip...woah, tastes like an excellent Porter, not at all fishy, what the heck? This is tasty Porter, no fish, no smoke, just a classic rich flavorful, dark beer of Porter style indeed. Nicely balanced with long aftertaste of quality roasted barley...savory!

Medium body yet very mouthfilling. Also fills the tummy which would make it more of a dessert, than a meal of a beer. I do recommend to Porter drinkers of the Universe...a worthy drop!

scottoale, Feb 18, 2006
Photo of Jredner
3.95/5  rDev 0%

Some chocolate, nuttiness in the aroma was unexpected. Had a brown ale smell really. Deep black with bubbly mocha head that never really gets organized. Flavor is better than expected from the smell. I expected this to be thin, but it is thick and roasty with a nice burnt finish and ample coffee and chocolate notes. If anything it is thicker than it needs to be for the style. There is still some nuttiness present though, but the flavor is well integrated and complimentary. Nice brew.

Jredner, Jan 23, 2006
Photo of BrewMaster
3/5  rDev -24.1%

Appearance: 22 oz bottle served into a Duvel glass. Dark brown to black with a light red hue when back lit. Big, fluffy tan head, decent lacing.

Smell: Chocolate and a sweet maltiness. Nice, but not spectacular.

Taste: Chocolate, watered down maltiness, and pretty much on par with the nose. The flavor is very short with the ending being abnormally short. No complex flavors and maltiness to woo over. No gradual progression and impressive flavor development. Someone forgot to put the flavor in the bottle. It's mostly watery. What's there tastes good, but I need more. It lacks depth and flavor.

Mouthfeel: Did I mention that it is watery? Yeah, this mofo is thin. That's not good when it claims to be a porter. That's like a sumo wrestler built like Paris Hilton. It ain't gonna work my friend.

Drinkability: It's boring, lacks flavor and tastes more like soda than beer. You add it up.

BrewMaster, Sep 12, 2005
Photo of tavernjef
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%

Black with a dark brown undertone and some light getting through at the bottom. Thin compact dark tan cap. Droopy sheets of lace stick.

Aroma is fair, clean, and moderately bold of lightly burnt chocolate cake. Whisps of vanilla and cookie dough sweetness and a mild undertow of roasted chocolate or brownies. I sense a theme here.

Yep. Very well rounded chocolate tones of cookie dough, milk chocolate, and silky brownie toppings. Nice little essense of roastyness noting to a black malt sweetness with vanilla hints. Tender coffeeness revolves through the back end as it lingers very nicely with silky leftover chocolate tones and some of the vanilla sweetness hanging on.

Nice medium body feel. Very clean, quick, and has an easy carbonation thats got some light roasty texture behind its main silky play. Its boldness could be notched up to meet up with the flavor level by a bit. Then we'd have one fine dandy porter. Even so, this is remarkably easy to drink, straight up tasty, and a pretty solid porter all around. Good stuff.

tavernjef, Sep 04, 2005
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.43/5  rDev +12.2%

Presentation: Oooohhhh…..a newly spied 22 ounce “Bomber” offering from the Ballast Point Brewing Company on the shelves is always a treat. Has a typical BP main label which is very colorful and for the Porter has a large Marlin thrashing upwards on the Sea’s surface against an orange hued sunset. No strength or freshness date.

Appearance: Dark brown body with a promiscuous red light which prostitutes itself in the ruby hue when backlit. Lovely dark tan creamy head fills the upper 2” to 3” above the body of the beer. Minimal sliding lacing with an average level of conditioning.

Smell: Lots of burnt and roasted malts mix with dark chocolate and coffee beans. Nicely balanced clean and crisp characteristics which are simply delectable.

Taste: Rather caramel heady start, roasted malts mix with some Devon toffee and a granulated brown sugar tingle which is set against a fulcrum of dark chocolate and rich roasted coffee beans. Nicely balanced throughout with an aerodynamic feel about it, race this one down! Fantastic!!

Mouthfeel: Smooth entrance with a creamy cocoa middle and a defined roasted malt finish, this one has no sharp edges at all. Medium to above average presence. A Slick Porter.

Drinkability: Damn tasty stuff, a very American Porter if I dare say so, but incredibly appealing and exceptionally easy to quaff. My Bomber drained in double quick time.

Overall: Extremely pleasant offering from Ballast Point, a Brewery that lives in the shadow of its more famous San Diego neighbors, but don’t let this fool you, Ballast Point brew some excellent libations, and the Black Marlin Porter is the latest in their bottled line-up. Drinks well above its listed 6% ABV.

Rarely seen BUT Highly Recommended.

TheLongBeachBum, Aug 05, 2005
Photo of Dmann
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

A great beer all across the board. My friend highly recommended this one to me and said it had been around for awhile but was just now being bottled. The pour was nice and the beer was near pitch black with a good size brownish head. The smells were nice and burnt with a touch of hops in the scent. The taste was excelent and very drinkable with a very dry chocolaty flavor and nicley carbonated mouthfeel. My only challange now is to find more of this stuff!

Dmann, Jun 02, 2005
Black Marlin Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 755 ratings.