Black Marlin Porter - Whiskey Barrel Aged | Ballast Point Brewing Company

very good
18 Ratings
no score
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Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Gueuzedude on 08-04-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 18 |  Reviews: 15
Reviews by theminutemen:
Photo of theminutemen
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

More User Reviews:
Photo of magictrokini
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a growler at the Home Brew Mart. Pours very dark brown, nearly black, with a thick, foamy, tall, stubborn tan head. Very nice lacing. Pleasant oak and whiskey aroma laden with cocoa and caramel. Smooth, lightly carbonated mouthfeel. Kept true to the porter style in texture and in taste without becoming a stout-lite. Roasted malt and caramel up front with roast coffee. Not bitter or acidic. A more subtle approach with the bourbon; it stays int he background and does to overwhelm the beer itself. Mellow oak and vanilla as well. A bit of bitterness shows through in the finish as the beer warms. Very nice beer.

 624 characters

Photo of cooperkeg
4.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What an experience this beer was. After trying the original Black Marlin this version was an explosion of complex flavors and brewing goodness. Everything about this brew was bold and balanced. The color was deep and rich. Nose was complex with roasty malts and a hint of whiskey. The mouth-feel was silky, rich and elegant. What was most impressive was the layers of flavor that emersed from the brew. Notes of coffee, caramel, chocolate and sweet malt followed by a hint of whiskey added a dimension to this brew with out being over powering.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.09/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Hamilton's Tavern (San Diego, CA) on 3/20/09. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a dense black with a finger of mocha colored head. Retains with a thin fizzy ring around the edges that leaves some light foamy lacing back. The aroma has a good bit of stickiness to it. Roasted malt, chocolate, some fairly prominent coffee. All of the Porter aromas are there but they are wrapped up in a nice assertive (but not too much) shell of bourbon and vanilla.

The taste has a lot of the malt sweetness and roasted notes of the Porter coming through nicely, despite the pervasive bourbon character. Actually this has a pretty good balance to it between the wood and the beer. The bourbon does impart a nice dryness to the finish that I'm also digging. The mouthfeel is medium-fuller bodied with more of a viscous feel at first that then creams out a bit more towards the back. The only real sensation of alcohol I'm getting in the body is from the barrel notes. Solid.

Good stuff here. I really dug the balance in this, with the Porter character being allowed to come fully foward and not be overpowered by the bourbon. This was a pretty cool treat that you'll probably only find in San Diego.

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Photo of HeyItsChili
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured from a growler into a pint glass. Pours Coca-Cola brown with a thin/medium ecru head.

S - Faint bouron and vanilla, malt, dark brown sugar

T - Very "portery" with an infusion of oaky whiskey and vanilla.

M - Thin bodied, slightly thinner than medium bodied.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another pleasant surprise on tap at Ballast Point's Homebrew Mart. This was in bourbon barrels for 6 months.

The beer is black with a creamy one finger brown head and good retention. The aroma is sweet has a lot of vanilla and bourbon. Other aromas are of toffee, caramel, chocolate and a hint of coffee. IThe flavor is pretty much Black Marlin with added Vanilla and Bourbon deliciousness. Dark malt, a little coffee, toffee, and not too sweet. It's quite roasted. The alcohol is almost completely masked and the finish is sweet vanilla and bourbon.

Medium-Full bodied with good carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Main Tap in El Cajon.

A - Dark amber, small head, not much lace, small bubbled.

S - Light cocoa and light malt.

T - Very woody, cocoa and malt back evident.

M - Small bubbled, creamy, very dry feel, good balance.

D - Pretty tasty. Could have several without palate burnout or getting too messed up.

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Photo of LauraAlberts
4.57/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow, Ballast has done something very interesting here.

Appearance: Dark brown, murky with Golden amber to ruby to brown tones as it is observed in the glass. Tan head with dotted lacing.

Smell: Bourbon, Maple Syrup, Honey, Coffee

Taste: Subtle hints of bourbon mix into a coffee bean/dark chocolate aftertaste. I think this beer was aged with bourbon soaked wood chips - not actual barrels - there is a taste difference. I also taste a little lemon citrus, orange peel, and dark wheat.

Mouthfeel: Very thin for a porter - but I like that it's drinkable for a wider audience. It's not one of those "don't drink if it's hot outside" beers. This could be very refreshing after a day in the yard.

Drinkability: Love this one. Not filling or overly done. It's not one of those porters that forces you to sit down and work through each gulp. It's pleasant, could session or sip and savor. If you find this on tap - get a growler if you can - or at least have a pint! A true bourbon lovers beer.

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Photo of RyanC84
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A very dark brown with a medium head that refuses to disappear as the pint glass lowers.

S: Hints of bourbon and vanilla with toasty malt.

T: Wonderfully complex brew here. Somewhat tart upfront but sweet in the finish with hints of bourbon and vanilla.

M: Short of medium bodied but still has a great mouthfeel. A pretty impressive accomplishment considering the whiskey aging.

D: A little sweet to session, but I guess a beer like this isn't made to session. The whiskey aging doesn't hinder the drinkability on this brew like it does with most.

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Photo of Gambyt20
3.64/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.78/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dispensed carefully into my tulip glass, this beer is topped by a frothy, initially one-finger thick, dusty, light brown colored head that never quite stops covering the top of this beer. The beer shows a brilliantly clear, chocolate brown color as I pour it, but sits in the glass a deep brown, almost black color. The aroma is interesting, it is not nearly as barrel influenced as I thought it might be, but it is clearly influenced by the oak & whiskey; notes of vanillin, a mellow-yet-spicy oak character and a sourish whiskey note are definitely noticeable. Dark malt aromatics reside underneath the barrel character; at times notes of toasty malt, browned biscuits, touches of chocolate and even some coffee-like aromatics are noticeable.

This has a fairly light mouthfeel to it, which is only worth mentioning as most barrel aged beers are alcohol monsters, and this most definitely is not. The beer is lightly tart (from the dark malts, though perhaps accented by whiskey notes) up front. In the finish, after the beer has left my mouth, I get an interesting flavor melange of sweet whiskey, cherries and chocolate. The barrel character is quite well held in check, it is not nearly as overwhelming as it could be in this standard strength Porter. The oak provides a touch of woodiness, some tannic structure and a distinct spiciness. The whiskey flavors are fairly subtle, but, in combination with the oak, provide some sharpness and a bit of hot character to this beer. Standard Porter flavors contribute here, but definitely are secondary to the somehow subtle barrel notes; this is a bit confusing of course. As the beer warms, a dusty, toasty, yet distinctive, malt character becomes much more noticeable; chocolate, smooth roast malt and lots of toasted flavors are apparent. Even the body picks up a bit more heft and starts to have a light creamy feel to it.

Putting a regular strength beer in a whiskey barrel is an interesting concept; this one was done quite well as the barrel character could have easily dominated this beer. Having said that, I probably would prefer if this beer were a little stronger / richer and definitely maltier. Still this is a tasty brew, one which I am quite happy to be drinking right now. Allowing the beer to warm a bit definitely improves the balance of this beer.

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Photo of tpd975
3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at DownTown Johnny Brown's San Diego

A: Pours a very dark flat black hue. Very small mocha head with little retention. Wonderful lace.

S: Lots of barrel in the aroma. Fresh oak with notes of earth. Touches of over roasted coffee and a touch of vanilla.

T: Lots of flavor for such a low ABV. This one starts with a solid base beer and the porter does show through the barrel a bit. Nice light coffee flavor with a subtle chocolate notes. Very big boozy bourbon feel though. Lots of wood and a touch of alcohol. Much more alcohol flavor than the ABV suggests.

M: Medium in body smooth. Once again despite the low ABV this one is a sipper.

D: Not bad, sit back, sip and enjoy.

 685 characters

Photo of Floydster
4.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

5 ounce serving today at Ballast Point's 11th Anniversary Celebration, this was definitely one of the more popular brews today along with Sea Monster and Victory at Sea, the dark beers definitely took the crown

Color was a super dark brown with a very creamy and silky tan head that did not budge

Smell was full of oak and vanilla, smelt like Jim Beam whiskey, but not exactly sure what kind of barrel it was aged in, lots of malt and sweet characters were also evident, think the nitro tap might have killed some of the smell, but it was still very good regardless

Taste was so nice, dry but way smooth with hints of wooden notes and a nice sweet whiskey-fueled finish, the vanilla and the beginning of my first sip was very nice and almost comparable to a stout, but it almost immediately turned into the very dry taste you would expect from a porter

Could drink several of these small five ounce tasting glasses, but probably a couple pints would be enough of this brew, a little sweet to keep drinking throughout a session, but pretty light and low alcohol content for the type of beer this one is

Try this if you ever see it, you will not be sorry, I wish growlers were available for this and a few others offered today

 1,229 characters

Photo of Overlord
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Hi-Times. Pours a dark brown with a bubbling, thin off-white head. I think Ballast Point, even with their heavier beers, really nails their carbonation levels. Nice to see their attention to detail.

Smells of whiskey, but it's a bit light on the nose. Quite nice to not be bombarded with it. Faint whiff of vanilla along with the bourbon.

Taste mixes a not-at-all-overpowering bourbon with vanilla, some wood notes, sweet chocolate, and a splash, just a splash, of bitter coffee. It's a very pleasant mixture.

Now, is this the most in-your-face awe inspiring barrel aged beer I've had? Not even close, however, it probably would get my vote for the one I'd be most inclined to open several times a week if available in a six pack.

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Photo of atsprings
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Woody's City Market before the World Beer Fest reviewed from notes. 16oz serving poured into a plastic cup (BLASPHEMY!!) because it was an "event day," I have to say, event day or not, there is no reason to serve a Bourbon aged beer in a plastic cup, but anyway, the beer was a nearly opaque black with a decent frothy off-white head and left slight lacing on the plastic cup. Aroma was a nice amount of brown malts and a hint of oak. The taste was a nice smooth amount of brown malts with slight cocoa, oak and a hint of Bourbon. The beer was on the light side of medium and quite smooth. I must say, I would like to go back and actually get to try this one in a glass.

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Photo of Pehlman
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at Beachwood BBQ. Also I let the beer sit for about 20 mins before tasting.

A - Pitch black with a light colored head. I like the contrast. Little bit of lacing.

S - Alcohol presence for sure. Nice oak hints. Fairly light smell with a bit of that bourbon sweetness.

T - Burnt malts that nicely fade into the flavor of the barrel. Very subtle but balanced wonderfully.

M - Carbonation was great. Right in the middle. Also left a nice coating in the mouth.

D - Excellent beer! could have any time!

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Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of Halcyondays
3.46/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours black, with a solid off-white head, moderate lace.

S: Bourbon is only there in the slightest, not a huge nose as I've come to expect from barrel aged beers. Roasted malt as well.

T: It really tastes just like Black Marlin Porter proper. The bourbon and vanilla notes are there, but I really had to look for them. After just having Brandy Barrel Navigator which had a great barrel character, this was a bit of a letdown, though judging it as simply a porter, it tasted fine, if a little burnt at times.

M: Smooth, medium body, no problems here.

D: A good beer by itself, but of the 5 new BP beers I had, it was in 4th or 5th place.

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Black Marlin Porter - Whiskey Barrel Aged from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.17 out of 5 based on 18 ratings.
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