Black Marlin Porter | Ballast Point Brewing Company

very good
337 Reviews
Black Marlin PorterBlack Marlin Porter

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by xlperro on 08-26-2002

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 337 | Ratings: 1,011
Photo of GRG1313
1.94/5  rDev -51.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

2007 was on tap and poured dark brown with a weak and thin head. The nose was perhaps a hint of coffe or a hint of roasted malt but, candidly, was almost non-existent; it certainly was not inviting.

Weak on flavor and character. A very light coffee character and flavor at best, and that's giving it the benefit of the doubt. I'd hoped that later years would drink better.

2008 was also on tap and tasted contemporaneously with the 2007; not a whole lot different. Poured dark brown with a weak, thin head. The nose was of light coffee and light, weak roasted malt but, again, almost non-existant.

2008 on draft was also weak on flavor and character. A very light coffee character and flavor; simple with hints of coffee. No reason for me to try again but I would always encourage people to try something not otherwise tried before; it all adds to the experience.

(And, as I was once taught in my early wine tasting education many years ago, and somewhat paraphrasing..."you must taste bad beer to understand and appreciate good beer." Again, just my opinion.

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Photo of DogFood11
2.4/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

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.

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Photo of ph2001
2.75/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle in pint glass

near black, a very deep carmel brown color. theres a small amount of head that leaves quickly. smells hoppy and malty but very mild.

medium light body. the flavors here are very mild. there's nothing wrong with them, but there's nothing significant about them either. very plain and boring. could be thicker, creamier, sweeter, anything. not good not bad, 2.5, middle of the road flavor. not worth the $6 for it, try something else.

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Photo of Corker444
2.8/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 22oz bottle into tulip glass.

It has nice lacing and foam and a nice coffee aroma. It was a little sweeter on the first sip than I expected. It was easy to drink and not had very average to little below texture and mouthfeel. It finished clean but not long.

Not complex just an average dark beer.

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Photo of deepsouth
3/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

this beer poured an opaque brown with some ruby hints. nearly zilch head.

the smell is of chocolate and toffee and some slightly burnt characteristics. smells good, but the smell isn't really in your face.

the taste is consistent with the smell. good but not wowing.

the mouthfeel is thin for a porter.

overall, i was disappointed in this beer. i'm not sure what my expectations were, but they were obviously too much. this beer was easy enough to drink, but i wouldn't seek it out.

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.03/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

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.

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Photo of nick76
3.03/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The aroma is dusty and chocolaty with toasted malt and metal. The appearance is dark brown with a large head. The flavor is like the aroma. The palate is a little thin. Overall not too bad but not too good either. This is pretty much a standard average porter.

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Photo of ChadQuest
3.06/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looks great. i got a huge head from these beer and it has been hanging around a while, and gets super chunky and multi layered. The color is standard dark brown with light around the edges. An excellent looking beer. Poured into a big tulip i have a consistant 3" of head.

Aroma is light watery roast and chocolate powder.

Flavor is decent. Taste kinda reminds me a 16oz skim Latte with 1.5oz of espresso, with the milk steamed 10f to hot. sorry if that doesn't mean anything to you, i worked in coffee shops for years. There are some coco notes and some light citrus style hops adding some brightness.

Creamy and a light-Medium body.

A solid average Porter, nothing thats a big standout in anything but the looks.


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Photo of rayjay
3.15/5  rDev -20.7%
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.

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Photo of drewba
3.17/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - super dark brown with A LOT of head. With a moderate pour, i got 3-4 fingers of head, which bubbled and cratered, but stuck around for awhile. A nice layer of tan head hangs around for the duration.

S - smoke, coffee, super roasty malts, milk chocolate, a hint of cherry funk.

T - acidic coffee, roasted malt, some dark chocolate. I feel like they could have beefed up the malt bill, because the middle and finish kind of fall flat in the flavor category. The high amount of carbonation is taking away from some of the nuance I feel like I should be picking up on here.

M - Hands down this is way overcarbed. To add insult to injury the body is fairly thin. Is it possible this bottle is infected?

I'm going to go ahead and blame my low scores on a bad bottle. This is something I would like to revisit given Ballast Point's shining reputation.

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Photo of hophugger
3.28/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a deep chocolate brown-black. Smell is malty and head is decent with nice, spotty lacing. Taste is nice and malty with a back of hops that balances well. Finish is very clean..

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Photo of mgbickel
3.31/5  rDev -16.6%
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.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.35/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 22oz bomber to Bruges hybrid glass on 8/17/11
*From notes

A: Rich portly brown. A 1.25 finger head fades fairly fast. Minimal lacing rims the glass.

S: Minty grain and medium char.

T: There's really no discernible qualities to this, it's simply a porter. Some char, hints of light roast coffee that's been sitting on the shelf a bit too long and matted earth.

M: Creamy and thicker then the 6% ABV should carry. Well done here.

O: Ballast Point's Black Marlin Porter is just that: a porter. It's not special in most any way, yet it passes the style profile test. I wouldn't turn one down, but won't seek it out or ask for it by name.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.35/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured from bomber into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours deep-deep brown color with a one finger tan colored head. The head has a moderate level of retention, fading over time to leave a good level of streaky lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is big of a roasty smell, mixed with some grainy aromas and a moderately sweeter smell of chocolate and vanilla. Along with these smells comes some other aromas of a dark fruit nature of cherry and plum along with a little bit of a wood smell.

Taste – The taste begins with a lightly roasted and slightly cocoa sweet flavor. As the taste advances more roast and a little more sweet in the nature of caramel and vanilla come to the tongue. Along with these developing flavors comes some light burnt tastes as well as some more earthy hop flavors. In the end, the mix of hop, sweet, and roast are joined by some grain to leave a moderately dark, but sweeter, kind of weak black IPA like flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is somewhat thin for a porter of 6% abv. with a carbonation level that is average to slightly higher. I would have liked a little less carbonation and a little more chewiness/creaminess for this one; better accentuating the roast and sweet.

Overall – Not bad, but not really anything outstanding either. I was expecting something more in the traditional porter style, but instead was delivered something akin to a black IPA mixed with a porter.

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Photo of volklshred
3.38/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured bomber into a wine glass.

A-Holy head! Lots of lacing. Dark brown, almost black in color.

S-Smokey nose. Chalk, peat, chocolate and tree bark.

T-Bitter hops and burnt malts are present. A unique earthiness dominates the overall flavor.

M-Very high carbonation.

D-The overwhelming amount of carbonation is what makes it hard to drink.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.38/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I bought this at thirsty's in York and just pulled it out of the crisper for a taste- poured chilled in my
Boddingtons's glass

A - A very dark brown w/ ruby highlights and a modest tan head of 1/4 inch. The cap is smooth and dissipates rapidly although the bead is fine

S - Basically roasted notes are the major scent element, like coffee w/ a mild ester. There is subtle cocoa of chocolate malt, but you have to search for it

M -A roasted malt feel w/ toasted pale accent. The feel seems highly carbonated for the style and the sweetness is light. There is less depth and more roast than it needs as it finishes on the dry side

T - A nice coffee flavor upfront of roasted malt, but the taste is a bit one dimensional and it seems to have more in common with a dry stout. The yeast is clean and malt is nice with toasted notes and a bit more residual roasted, not quite smoked flavor. There is hop flavor, but mild and with a pine edge that only exists to balance the malt flavor.

D - An average porter - no more, no is pretty standard in most aspects. It just doesn't 'wow' me, it is well made and has no real flaws, but lacks any complexity to put it above average drinkability for me.

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Photo of illidurit
3.4/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour: Bomber to pint glass. Darkest brown, clear, with a thin beige head that fizzles out pretty quickly. A tiny amount of lacing.

Nose: Toasted grains, cream and coffee, some roast.

Mouth: Black coffee, slightly sour roast, some charcoal. Lacks some sweetness and body. Very dry, maybe a little astringent. Overall just seems a little watered down.

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Photo of Naugros
3.42/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This has a really good, thick, dense head with good retention for a porter. The liquid is a chocolate color as you pour it, but in the glass it's all inky and dark.

Sweet, dark molasses in the nose tempered by lightly roasted coffee tones and wisps of chocolate. In the smell, this could pass for a milk stout.

Good and bad in the taste. Nice toasted dark bread laced with some sweet chocolate flavors, but the wash is far from clean and dominated by a metallic bite that ruins the whole experience. It obviously is destroying the mouthfeel as well. They hop this one so it's possible that the hops oxidized. I can't find a date on the bottle, but this hasn't been in my local beer joint that long.

It's a shame. I was really looking forward to tasting this and it's possible it's beyond optimal date. In these cases I usually exit my review without saving and review again if I get a fresh bottle. But Ballast Point doesn't date their bottles so I can't assume that it's not fresh (other than getting good reviews from others). If a brewery does not date their bottles then they're going to have to deal with bad reviews on aged beer.

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Photo of Murrhey
3.42/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured in a Pilsner glass

A: Finger width tan head, tiny bubbles, but well carbonated. Opaque dark-brown, almost black. Weaker retention but nice lacing.

S: Chocolaty, coffee, roasted malt, maybe some caramel tones.

T: Surprisingly thin flavor, I was expecting a much heartier, bitter flavor. Chocolate and coffee isn't strongly present. No boozy flavor either though.

M: Thin. Unfortunate for a porter. Comes across watery.

O: Disappointed with this beer. The appearance and smell had me so excited for the taste, only to be let down by a watery drink.

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Photo of biglite351
3.42/5  rDev -13.9%
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.

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Photo of dbmata
3.45/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Great, easily sessionable porter. Nothing too crazy, not going to surprise you with a twist, just going to be a solid, consistent porter.

Light and crisp with just enough bitter to balance it well.

Appearance: Nicely dark and black in dim light. Nice light colored head.
Smell: Toasty, roasty and slightly charcoal like.
Taste: Carbon like, bitter and a little peppery. Nice malty backbone and slight fruitiness, but not sweet.
Mouthfeel: light in the mouth, a little runny, too thin for my taste
Overall: easy to session, consistent in presentation. Not too bitter, or sweet - pairs well with a burger.

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Photo of tigg924
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: dark brown in color with minimal head, clear

Smell: chocolate and roasted malt

Taste: some dark chocolate with rich roasted malt, with a bit of sweet chocolate at the end

Mouthfeel: medium/light body, low carbonation, bitter first taste with a sweeter middle and a more bitter end

Drinkability: An above average porter that is an easy sipper. Not a beer that blows me away, yet one to easily sit and relax with.

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Photo of dashirey
3.51/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got a couple bombers in a case split.

A - Very dark brown almost black, but when held to the light red/ruby hues shine through. There was a tan one finger head that when dissapted leaves a small think layer with some lacing left on the glass.

S - Some malt, chocolate, & coffee are detected in the nose.

T - Roasted malts mostly. I cannot seem to pinpoint much else. Don't get me wrong it wasn't a bad taste, just mot too much there.

M - Nice carbonation, smooth drinking, medium bodied.

D - Very easy drinking beer. I really liked it, but really nothing spectacular.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.51/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is kind of metallic and contains roasted dark malts, coffee and some hops.

T: The taste is very smoky with strong flavors of coffee and dark chocolate. There's a decent hops presence that provides a little bit of balance. The after-taste is slightly smoky and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Tasty especially if you're into the smokier beers, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, it's a good beer to drink for while if you're looking for a smoky porter, but there are some better ones out there.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.52/5  rDev -11.3%
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.

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Black Marlin Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.97 out of 5 based on 1,011 ratings.
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