1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Black Marlin Porter - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black Marlin PorterBlack Marlin Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

767 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 767
Reviews: 298
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 10.13%
Wants: 37
Gots: 58 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Black Marlin Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 767 | Reviews: 298 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Scoobydank
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Dark borwn color that you can not see though. The head is a full brown that just melts away
S:Dark roasted malt right away. A bit of milk chocolate with a faint coffee.
T: Wow, what a reversal from the smell. Strong coffee right up front with that milk chocolate coming on the back pallat.
M:Pretty surpisingly fizz. The fizz has a nice round feeling to it though.
D: Great example of a porter all around.

Scoobydank, Jan 13, 2008
Photo of NitroGen
3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

P: 22 oz. Bomber

A: Pours a dark brown with reddish hues a finger of tan foam that quickly settles to a scant cover

S: Malted Milk Balls, deep chocolate and coffee with a slight finish

T: Dark roasted malt, which is slightly sweet, begins the taste and stays for the finish.

M: Feels great in the mouth, as the flavor profile is very pleasing. However, the taste is a bit one dimensional, as there is no change in taste from beginning to end. After reading the bottle I was anticipating stronger hop notes and a bit more complexity to the taste

D: This is a fine beer, and I would have another. Will buy more as it is a solid porter. One or two at a time would be enough before moving on for something else.

NitroGen, Dec 24, 2007
Photo of tempest
3.7/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

I was impressed by the depth of flavor and aroma here, but mouthfeel seemed almost watery, seriously detracting from the experience. The aroma at first reminded me of Rogue's Chocolate Stout, with its super-smooth cocoa aroma. But then I also pulled some black licorice and black roasted grains. The taste focuses in more on the seemingly burnt grains, with a slight ash and charcoal taste. Then, like I said, a plain, water-like feel came in the middle of the flavors and made me feel like I was drinking a much lighter beer. Alas.

tempest, Dec 18, 2007
Photo of dfillius
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bomber into a pint glass

A: Dark black with some crimson tomes along the edges when held up to the light. One finger of tan tight head. Head has amazing retention!

S: Hazelnut and roasted coffee beans

T: Coffee and hazelnut. I can't taste much else, but what I can taste is well balanced and hearty.

M: Creamy, satin smoothness.

D: Delicious, with not too much alcohol! More please!

dfillius, Nov 11, 2007
Photo of Gusler
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On the pour from the 22 ounce bottle, a black walnut brown tinged with ruby red highlights, the head a large tan creamy delight that very slowly gives way, the lacing a tight skirt to surround the glass. Nose is rich in toasted grain, caramel, hints of coffee and chocolate, simply made my mouth water, start is rich in malt, the toasted grain gives it a pleasant bite, top is moderate to almost full in feel. Finish is benign in its acidity, the hops perfection in their spiciness, sweet toasted malt, coffee and chocolate to the very end, dry, and simply a great beer from a top ten brewery in my books.

Gusler, Oct 21, 2007
Photo of Overlord
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Really, really enjoyable porter.

Pours a nice deep brownish black, with some reddish hues. More carbonation than I come to expect from a porter, and a nice robust head that never went completely away.

Mouthfeel is thin, but the carbonation really goes fantastically with this porter. In fact, Ballast Point has managed to merge a cola-like carbonation with a dark, strongly flavored beer. More vanilla than I usually see, but this is mostly coffee, bitter chocolate, and toffee. Extraordinarily drinkable and enjoyable. Actually, it might be the most drinkable porter I've ever tried. Not the best, mind you, but one that I could easily return for three or four bombers and not grow tired of it.

Not the best Ballast Point brew I've tried (that would be the Dorado DIPA), but my favorite.

Overlord, Sep 13, 2007
Photo of gpcollen1
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours nice and dark into my Smutty big Beer Glass. Cocoa head rises and inch or so and is slow to settle. Aroma is rich with coffee and chocolate with a touch of rich toffee.

Taste follows the nose a bit in the Chocolate, coffee and toffee - all very present. HAs a cola-like fizz on the tongue and a slight sweet and slightly sour creep of flavor up the tongue. Rounds out from dry to very dry with a slight bitterness. Seems a hair thin but not too thin at all - probably just makes it more drinkable.

gpcollen1, Sep 11, 2007
Photo of Wasatch
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color, nice carbonation, a little fizzy tannish head appears, not much sticky lacing at all. The nose is malty, some chocolate, toffee, and lots of caramel. The taste is malty, good dose of chocolate/toffee/caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, a nice little porter, might buy it again, we'll see.

Wasatch, Aug 31, 2007
Photo of Bighuge
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Almost opaque. Thin light beige head. Lacing is minimal. Nice nose of dark roasted malts, char, coffee and caramel. Agreeable flavor with the nice chocolate/burnt malt/coffee thing going on. A nice little ying-yang deal of sweet vs bitter going on. On one side, you've got the sweet caramel malt back bone and some carmelized sugar traits. On the other hand are the intriguing bitter char notes and coffee bean. Overall a nice blend of flavors. The body of this beer hovers around medium and the carbonation is appropriately on the low side. Ballast Point in Minnesota?? I'll take it.

Bighuge, Jul 19, 2007
Photo of bjohnson
3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to solomon420 for the chance to try this offering. Much appreciated.

Pours a very dark brown color with reddish hues towards the bottom. Toffee colored one finger soft looking head holds for fifteen seconds and then dissipates from the middle out. White lacing down the glass. Roasted malt notes with hints of coffee beans and chocolate.

Mouthfeel is sthin. Tails out towards the end. Nice level of carbonation. Roasted malt and coffee bean notes. Not as robust as it could be, though it hints it could be something more. Slight infusion of milk chocolate. Coffee notes stay on the palate into the finish. Slight leafy bitterness. A very drinkable porter although not one that I'd go running after. Middle of the road.

bjohnson, May 05, 2007
Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Brewbaca for the sample.

Pours into a pint glass a rubied obsidian with a thick and moderately lasting brown head. Well above average appearance. Great aroma. Pungent, consisting mostly of bitter chocolate and citrus hops. Coffee too. It is exactly what I look for in a good porter. Taste is quite nice as well, with the exception of a mild booziness that becomes prominent as the beer warms. Other than that, this beer is just fine. Flavor includes tons of chocolate, hints of coffee, and perhaps just a pinch of vanilla. The roasted dark malt character is deep, pervasive, and unyielding in its intensity. Mouthfeel and texture are very nice. This is a full but not filling beer. It is slick, balanced, and light enough on the carbonation to give it some creaminess. Hopping is well done to create a dry, moderately bitter finish. Very nice. One of the best example of the style I’ve had in some time.

DaPeculierDane, Apr 16, 2007
Photo of blitz134
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black, but shows dark crimson highlights when held up to the light. Very small head on the pour, mocha in color, but reduced to barely a skim layer.

Dark toasted malts really come through. Chocolate brownies are the predominant aroma. A little hopping as well. Has a touch of lactose. Pretty nice aroma, quite inviting and definitely more dominant that other porters I’ve had.

Fairly assertive flavor, again lots of dark toasted malts. A bit of coffee and toffee play into this. I find this like a toned down stout. A little bitter and astringent in the end, but nothing that detracts. After the swallow the dark toasted malt flavors just seem to hang on in the back of the throat.

Good mouthfeel, medium bodied. Lower carbonation levels fit in well. Coats the mouth well and the flavor lingers.

Good overall drinkability too. I really wanted something easy to drink tonight that was a bit roasty and this fits the bill well. Just a good, solid beer in all the categories.

blitz134, Mar 15, 2007
Photo of bradybeer
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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
Black Marlin Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 767 ratings.