Black Marlin - Bourbon Barrel-Aged | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Very Good
69 Ratings

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by NickMunford on 03-13-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 69 |  Reviews: 41
Photo of onefalsemove711
5/5  rDev +29.9%

Photo of BrewtifulMind
5/5  rDev +29.9%

Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.62/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Blind Lady Alehouse.

Poured a black with slightly brown head.

The smell on this was amazing. I picked up loads of chocolatte and it added an alcoholy smell from the bourbon barrel but it was amazing.

The taste was very similar to the smell. In the barrel aged versioun compared to the regular offering I didnt pick up the slight roast coffee like normal and the mouthfeel felt a little more chalky.

This was an amazing beer.

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Photo of MrVonzipper
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at 38degrees(BA Week)
Dark Brown to rootbeer/red edges. Bubbly tan head with low retention. 

Bourbon right off the bat. Strong. Almost like a dark rubbing alcohol

Bourbon up front to deep rich malt then to dark fruit and creamy bourbon. Great balance

Very smooth and creamy, good foamy/creamy carbonation. 

Very good beer overall. Amazing flavor that's very well balanced and a very pleasant mouth that makes it easy to drink. Just a great BA Porter. 

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Photo of bkny27
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of laxboy3496
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This may be the most sessionable BBA beer I've ever had. A strong smell and taste of bourbon but not overpowering. Goes down incredibly smooth. A bit dark for a porter, looking almost stout like. The true porter flavors were still able to come through and it was incredibly satisfying.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


On tap at Home Brew Mart.

A: Black with two fingers of light brown foam.

S: Cocoa, vanilla, caramel, bourbon, and oak, extant in perfect harmony. Earth meets pine. I get notes of sapling wood.

T: Cocoa and dark chocolate with a light caramel presence. The barrel has imparted vanilla and oak. Bourbon is well integrated and malt is moderately roasted. There's an upper low bitterness with notes of pine and earth. 

M: Upper medium body with upper moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is creamy and sticky.

Overall: If I had to pick one word to describe Ballast Point's barrel aged offerings it would be inconsistent. They range from fantastic to awful, and you never know what you're going to get, which is frustrating. This is a great batch of Barrel Aged Black Marlin.

 787 characters

Photo of John_M
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Teresa's Next Door this past weekend.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and considerable lacing. On the nose, I get considerable bourbon and vanilla, interspersed with light coffee and dark chocolate. This beer smells great, and happily, the flavor profile is every bit as good. Once againn the bourbon and vanilla seemeed to dominate, though I get considerable dark chocolate and light coffee as well. Also, while moderately sweet, the sweetness is not overdone, with just enough hoppy bitterness to balance the sweetness perfectly. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a fairly long finish, and while this beer is not at all heavy or tiring on the palate, I was surpised by the 5.9% abv. The richess in this beer leads one to believe the alcohol is higher than that.

An altogether excellent beer... one of the better porters I've had in some time. Good stuff!

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at 38 Degrees Barrel Aged week

Look: Reminds me of rootbeer very dark in the middle with a medium brown around the tips. 1/4 head and just a bit of retention

Smell: Right off the bat is the bourbon notes and they are singing. If you weed past the bourbon you can pick up traces of chocolate.

Taste: The thing I get is a hint of coffee and a bit of vanilla and caramel. You get a hint of bourbon but it is not until the back end of the beer. This beer is balanced very very well

Mouthfeel: Creamy butter goodness on the palate. Very drinkable beer with no heat from the bourbon

Overall: Really really drinkable Bourbon aged porter one of the most balanced of the style i have had yet. Good flavor profile good look and smell and great drinkability. Highly recommended

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Photo of tpd975
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes sampled on tap during my trip to San Diego.

A: Pours a dark shade of brown almost black with a tall foamy tan head. Nice retention and some thick lace.

S: Aromas of Bold roasted malt, chocolate, light smoke, and barrel goodness.

T: Very similar flavors here. Wonderful roasted malt that gives off hints of chocolate and coffee. Mild char and smoke can be picked up along with the barrel. There is mild booze, light vanilla, and a big blast of oak. Lots of flavor packed into the low ABV of this one.

M: Fairly slick in the mouthfeel. Nice carbonation.

D: Well crafted and tasty as hell. A bourbon brew that you could session with.

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Photo of BigIrishman
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours jet black with a slight off white fizzy head, leaves no lace and a slight coating on the glass.

Smell: Sweet malt battling bourbon (nice caramelish-vanilla) with a burnt quality towards the back.

Taste: Very different than the average barrel aged porter...Sweet vanilla and caramel are very intertwined with a smokey roasted malt and a bit of a chocolate back. A bit bitter on the finish with a hint of earthiness.

Mouthfeel: Slick and heavy with a palate wetting finish.

Drinkability: For a 6% down to earth american style porter, this brew is really super complex. If you're looking for a bourbon bomb I'd suggest something else, cause this one is pretty evenly balanced. Overall a nice complex porter that should cater to the smaller abv crowd...

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Photo of standardcherry
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of bashiba
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep black with a long lasting 1/2 inch of off white head.

The smell is lightly roasty notes along with mild vanilla and oak aroma's coming through nicely.

Very nice flavor, a mild but noticeable smokey and roasted malt backbone with a light bit of dark fruity sweetness mixing quite well with the modest oak and bourbon flavors with just a hint of vanilla.

The mouthfeel is thin, but has a nice woody dryness to it.

Very nice beer, Its like having a sessionable Barrel aged russian imperial stout.

 511 characters

Photo of arktos
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of jbaakko
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of tbeq00
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of argock
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a clear pint glass at The Lodge (Hilton Head, SC).

A: Burnished brown-black with bronze, big-bubbled 1-finger head with good retention and that laces down the glass.

S: Dark malts dominate with bourbon aromas serving a strong but supplementary role and works well with the citrus and tobacco hops twist.

T: I like this beer both ways (regular and BA) but I think the bourbon barrel aging works very well to provide another aspect of esters to the mix and provides a super accent to the dark but nonacrid and somewhat sweet malting and light citrus and tobacco hops touch at the end. The bourbon adds complexity rather than covering over imperfections -- just as it should.

M: A tad light in body but the firm carbonation provides a creamy feel. Aftertaste is reminiscent of German chocolate cake with pecan-bourbon kissed frosting.

D: A very drinkable brew that I am glad I was able to get my hands on. An excellent variation on an already-very good porter.

 979 characters

Photo of Chico1985
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Sierra Grille.

Poured into a snifter just about black, 1-finger beige head, nice retention and lace.

Smell is good, bourbon noticeable but quite mellow, nice roasty and chocolate porter notes, good strength overall.

Taste is great - bourbon is a little stronger than in the scent, still pretty mellow overall but at a good level and very flavorful. Melds very nicely with porter which delivers dark chocolate, roastiness, black coffee with some light vanilla sweetness and oak. Bourbon intensifies a bit with warmth but great balance.

Kind of a weak mouthfeel, doesn't feel full enough, just kinda sits there.

Other than the mouthfeel this is very nicely done. Bourbon and oak are at a perfect level, the porter brings great flavors for the low ABV and isn't overpowered. Definitely would like to have it again.

 826 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another twist on the classic Black Marlin Porter. On-tap at 38 Degrees, on to the beer:

This is a dark colored brew with hues of brown. Lots of lacing sticks around the glass, and the head retention is very good too. In the nose, it's primarily barrel dominated. There's just a tiny bit of porter underneath that big layer of wood chips and mild smoke.

Little surprise here, this is barrel dominant. Similar to the nose, its taste is a little porter and a lot of barrel influence. Semi-sweet cocoa notes are minor to the larger barrel notes. It even hints whiskey though bourbon was the previous spirit in these barrels. Charred as well. Mouthfeel is very agreeable, it's not too heavy and not too light. It's also quite easy to drink.

In summary, this is a fun change from the usual Black Marlin, though I'll admit that I am more fond of the original than this.

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Photo of jmscott
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one's a winner. Had this the other night at Hamilton's in San Diego. Poured into a tulip/snifter. The aroma is good, the taste is even better. Smoke, oak and bourbon flavors, with a clean finish. Goes down really smooth, maybe a little too easily... glass was empty in about 7 minutes. Definitely an excellent choice, this is right up my alley! Do they bottle this?

 370 characters

Photo of Keananmichael5
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Trilogy31
4.06/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on draft at Stone gardens. Came to the table with no head and light lacing and a dark black coloring. Nose with sweet bourbon caramel, roasty dark malts with a touch of smoke and a hint of cotton candy and bacon fat - the nose was very interesting and complex. The taste was a very smooth bourbon as well as feel without the heat, very smooth. Also i picked up cocoa as well as french press coffee. The mouthfeel was somewhat chalky but in a pleasant creamy way if possible. I was very pleased with the beer and the low abv somehow worked with the ba aging. Very happy i had the chance to try this.

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Photo of rudzud
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this as a guest tap at the last night of Amherst Brewery. Poured into a 12 ounce glass. Apparhently ABC thought this was 9%+ and didnt believe me when I said it was the ABV listed on BA.

A - Pours a deep dark espresso colour with a surprisingly big, fluffy two finger mocha head that fades super slowly to leave very nice side lacing and a creamy blanket.

S - Big upfront bourbon notes that intermix with barrel and chocolate. Very nice.

T - The taste meanwhile, I've had better. Its just good. There is bourbon notes, but more subdued, and light chocolate notes. The flavors are shockingly lighter. Just an all around lighter, but well formed, flavour profile.

M - Really, really light mouthfeel, in a sense that it seems a bit thin. Not thick like a barrel aged porter should be.

O - Overall this isnt a bad barrel aged porter, just with the mouthfeel was more to my liking. Would buy again though.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap and served in a snifter, the beer is a dark almost black brown coloring with ruby highlights and a slight ring of film on the surface. Aromas of oak and earth, with coffee bitter and vanilla sweet highlights. Flavors are heavy and smooth, with a darkly sweet and boozey highlight from the barrels that impart a touch of wine characteristics. Rich bourbon laces throughout the brew, with some slight coffee bitterness. The aftertaste is rich, sweet,, and balanced. The body is solid enough to support the flavors, but light enough to avoid overpowering. Smooth, clean, and slightly bitter finish. Tasty.

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Photo of jlindros
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap @ Armsby Abbey.

A: Fluffy fuzzy 1finger head fades semi quickly over very dark almost black beer.

N: Starts with a nice bourbon nose which overpowers almost everything else. Some dark malts and a slight creamy malt, lots of oak, little porter like roast.

T: Again lots of bourbon overpowers all. Lots of oak as well, some malts, slightly creamy, little porter like roast again, more darker malts. A touh of coffee and other dark malts I can't really get throuh the bourbon and oak.

M: medium body with decent carbonation.

F: Finishes mostly dry with hints of malty and syrupy sweetness, some dark malts, roast, but mostly the bourbon and oak also dominate the finish. Ive done a very similar beer where the bourbon is too strong for the beer. I love it as im a huge bourbon fan.

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Black Marlin - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.85 out of 5 with 69 ratings