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

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Reviews: 337 | Ratings: 1,012
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very good porter, enjoyed at Mondial 2008. Chocolate stouty aroma. Dark, with some lace. Creamy mouthfeel,smartly hopped,a tasty citrus undercurrent of flavour, smooth drinking with coffee and gentle woodiness, gentle carbonation.I wish I could have this again right now back home.

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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 UCLABrewN84
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an almost opaque dark brown color with a nice 2 inch beige head that fades to a small fluffy cap. Nice rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smells of roasted malt, coffee beans, and bittersweet chocolate. Taste is of roasted dark malt, bitter coffee grounds, and cocoa nibs. The bitterness that lingers on the palate is of coffee grounds. Decent carbonation but a little flat and somewhat thin bodied. Overall, this is a pretty good porter for what it is but nothing too special.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.99/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

so glad these guys have their beer all over town finally, so many good ones to choose from, and it has been fun to drink through the available lineup. this is a great porter, a little more simple and straightforward than some of their other offerings, but of equal quality no doubt. maybe an oatmeal porter, as this has a lot of body and froth, and an almost creamy feel to it. there is some sweetness among the dark malt depth of this one, but its not a caramel malt thing, more of a chocolate going on. amazing it finishes as dry as it does, considering that middle sweetness. very little yeast profile to this one, which i suppose is part of what makes it an american style porter, but its almost like it needs more descriptors in the name, because its pretty interesting, american porter just doesnt seem to do it justice. a great after dinner beer, a great winter beer, a great morning beer, and a great beer on a hangover, versatile in its appeal, and dynamic in its flavor, although it is indeed less nuanced than some of their hoppy beers. this one doesnt have much hops, but they arent missing. it has a fresh baked character, warming, and really just a true example of the style. wonderful on tap, no bottles for me yet.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, picked up somewhere in the Hawaiian Islands in the past week or so.

This beer pours a clear, very, very dark cola colour, with two fingers of thick, foamy, and bubbly beige head, which leaves some jagged honeycombed lace around the glass as it gently subsides.

It smells of biscuity, grainy malt, bittersweet chocolate, an oily nuttiness, mild cold coffee, and softly bitter earthy hops. The taste is a fair bit less shy with the chocolate, blasting away with both barrels right off the bat, even exhibiting some Kahlua liqueur booze heat when you aspirate just right. Ok, there's also some subtle lactic sourness, tame espresso notes, and understated earthy and leafy hops.

The carbonation is nicely sassy, the body a trembling medium weight, and yet generally quite smooth. It finishes nice and malty, the grain sharing more or less equal time with the choco-hulk with whom I've become well acquainted.

Overall, a pleasant, full-flavoured porter, with a small wink to the traditional style with that wee tang, but this show is for the New World fans - big, chocolaty, restrained in booze and oh-so-sweetly balanced.

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Photo of brentk56
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours an espresso brown color with a rocky tan cap that fades rather quickly but manages to leave a few squiggles behind

Smell: Dark cocoa; somewhat roasty, with hints of charcoal and currants

Taste: The beer has a nice roasty flavor that hits the tongue but by mid-palate, the west coast tendency to throw the hops in the brew kettle becomes apparent, when the citrusy quality joins the fray; the combination of the roasted malt and the hops creates an interesting currant flavor, too; after the swallow, the fruit remains and tends to overshadow the roasty elements, although the chocolate flavors linger into the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Although this isn't classic, I do like the flavor profile the hops bring to the table

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Photo of largadeer
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opaque chocolate brown with a finger of tan froth that recedes to a collar after a few minutes. Big chocolate malt aroma with a light leafy hop character buried beneath. There's also a smattering of toasted nuts and charred grain. The taste mirrors the aroma; chocolatey, nutty, moderately roasty. Medium bodied, slightly chewy with a nougat, roasted grain and coffee finish. This is great stuff, nicely balanced and rather quaffable.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a dark black color porter with a large off-white foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of light green hops with some light roasted malt notes is quite pleasant. Taste is an interesting mix between some green hops with light bitter notes and some roasted malt with light dry aftertaste. Body is quite full with light creamy notes and good carbonation. Nothing over the top in this beer though well brewed and easily drinkable.

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Photo of zeff80
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a foamy, caramel-colored, two-finger head that left some soapy trails of lace.

S - It smelled of roasted malt and had some grassy and floral notes.

T - Nicely balanced beer with a burnt toast maltiness and a sharp hop bite adding some bitterness.

M - It was smooth and creamy with a subtle sharp kick from the hops. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a good porter. Yet another solid offering from Ballast Point.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a nice mocha head, although not too much lacing as it goes down. The smell is very nice and complex, with some dark chocolate, bits of coffee, and a few dark fruits. A little bit of smoke there as well. Taste is very similar with a slight hop bitterness. Medium mouthfeel with a bit of a creaminess. Very drinkable.

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Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into pint glass, best by dating is unreadable. Pours slightly hazy dark reddish brown color with a nice 2 finger dense khaki head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Some decent lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, coffee, bread, nuttiness, light citrus, and herbal hops. Nice and very well balanced aromas with good strength. Taste of chocolate, caramel, biscuit, roasted malt, nuttiness, slight coffee, citrus, and herbal hops. Light coffee bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, nuttiness, biscuit, roasted malt, caramel, coffee, and herbal hops on the finish for a bit. Fairly robust flavor profile, with very nice balance of flavor. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and smooth mouthfeel. Alcohol is nicely hidden with hardly any warming on the finish noticed. Very easy to drink. Overall this is a damn nice and well balanced porter. I really have nothing to knock against it. Really enjoyable stuff.

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Photo of oberon
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an imperial pint glass a deep dark chocolate brown with ruby highlights a nicely formed 1/2 finger tannish colored head atop.Earthy aromas with some bitter chocolate and mild molasses,it's an American porter that's for sure.Starts out semi sweet with caramel, molasses,and cocoa notes, than a rush of earthy smokiness takes over in a lingering finish.Top notch,I would even say a standard for the "American" style of a porter with it's big hopped up earthy finish,just great.

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Photo of chinchill
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle served in a Belgian snifter.

Exceptionally attractive dark ruby body with a rather weak but semi-durable head that leaves spotty lacing.

Aroma: attractive and enticing, with hints of dark fruits and toffee.

Flavor: bitterness builds to a choice mild-moderate level in the finish and aftertaste. Hops surely temper the sweetness but don't otherwise contribute much to the taste until the lasting aftertaste. Hints of toffee and dark fruits but less than the aroma suggests. This has a touch of smoke too.

O: A well-crafted, relatively dry porter. Allowed to warm for about 15 minutes it nonetheless improved with further warming, with both the strength and the complexity of the flavor increasing.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.92/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a very dark brown (almost black) with some garnet highlights around the bottom and 2 fingers of creamy tan head. Retains into a nice thin layer that left some moderate lacing behind. The aroma smells of coffee, nuts, roasted malts, caramel sweetness, and just a splash of citrus and touch of earth in the back.

The taste is some chocolate and caramel sweetness with an undercurrent of coffee and roast running through it. There is a light hop profile in the back along with some citrus tang. The mouthfeel is light-medium bodied with a carbonation that's mellow but seems a touch thin for the style.

Decent Porter from Ballast Point that is fairly robust with a good drinkability. I'd check out another bottle of this sometime down the line.

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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 mactrail
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big roasted malt flavor. Quite grainy, full of barley and what tastes to me like oatmeal. Quite bitter after you sip for a while. Robust and rich flavors, with a sharpness to it. Not much aroma. Nice black color, very attractive head and foamy look in the glass. Quite nicely carbonated for a tap beer and good mouthfeel.

A lot of flavor but kind of raspy and more acidic than I like in a porter. Better with food. Had this at Mitch's Seafood with shrimp tacos in San Diego.

03/20/2012 tasting - On tap at the Linkery in San Diego. Dark brown with a ruby glint. Long raspy taste, a lot of charred malt. Big nose of charcoal and very bitter. The whole experience is blackened, roasted, and darkly bitter. A little bit sour with all the black barley. Not as decent as I reviewed last time.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a reasonably clearish, dark brown, near black body with a creamyish, ecru-hued head.

Smell: Proper porter nose of lightly roasty barley with notes of chocolate, morningtime coffee, dark caramel, and cream. Small background hint of fruit.

Taste: Heady dark maltiness yielding pleasing tastes of chocolate, flecks of dark caramel, and roasty coffee tempered with a splash of half-n-half. Clandestine, meager hint of citrus. The roastiness and a slight earthiness usher in a moderate amount of bitterness. Dash of gourmet cola and a few more touches of sweet caramel. Roasty, drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus carbonation. Relatively creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Recommended. A top-notch porter, really. It's hearty, pleasantly malty, and a sheer joy to drink.

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Photo of dcmchew
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black pour with a nice two finger fluffy tan head, slowly receding.
Rich salty roast on the nose, dark chocolate, toffee, some caramel, cinnamon, burnt cake, faint hop.
A really rich roast in the taste too, with nice sweet caramel and some light dark fruit. Mild herbal notes too, nice and refreshing. Some baking chocolate, faint hints of vanilla. Fresh hop in the finish, a bit spicy, leafy, alongside nice coffee notes, to make up a nice more than mildly bitter finish.
Medium to light body, as is the carbonation. Aftertaste has a bit of roasted malt, coffee powder, earthy hop, a bit of burnt sugar too.
A really rich porter with a nice American hoppy twist. Incredibly clean, quite intense, really tasty, really really easy to drink.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Scott for sending me this one in the Good Beers BIF!

A: Pours black with a two finger off-white head that fades slowly leaving some foam on top. Nice lacing down the sides.

S: Very roasty, with some dark malt, chocolate and a little coffee. Surprisingly hoppy as well, with some citrus.

T: A nice combination of roasted dark malt, chocolate, and a little bit of coffee. There is a hint of citrus, but very faint. Slight smoky flavor on the finish.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Very easy drinking.

O: Solid porter, very easy drinking and tasty. Another good beer from Ballast Point.

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Photo of russpowell
3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours mahogany with 2 fingers of of mocha colored head. Average lacing & head retention

s: Chocolate, vanilla, & some faint herbal hops up front, plus some brown sugar

T: Vanilla, iron, & coffee grounds, along with a bit of baker's chocolate up front. Rich chocolate, leafy & minty hops as this warms. Finishes smooth, choclatey & with a touch of mint

MF: Medium bodied, oily smooth & low carbonation

Drinks easy, but doesn't quite pull itself together as a session porter, flavor just weren't strong enough for me. A decent, not great porter, my least favorite beer from Ballast Point

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.91/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Suprisingly the hit of the party yesterday. Well not mine, but several others. Served chilled, multiple bombers of this were served into pint glasses. Consumed on 05/09/2009.

The pour was very nice. Deep, dark black in color with a huge foamy tan head that rose up an easy two inches before settling back down into lots of sticky, web like side lacing. Smooth, even aroma of roasted malts, hints of caramel and molasses and a light touch of vanilla, good have been a bit stronger but what was there was very nice. Smooth mellow taste as well, understated almost with rich roasted malts, hints of tobacco and molasses and a smooth, almost lightly hopped finish. Very drinkable and much lighter in body then I thought it would be.

Overall a very solid beer, a nice sessionable porter that does the style justice. I would revisit this one for sure.

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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 smcolw
3.71/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Impressive head with lots of rockiness while it recedes slowly. Nice lace. The color is deep, dark brown. A minimal amount of light shines through.

The smell reminds me of cocoa frothed up. There's a touch of stale ice from an opened freezer.

Relatively sweet for a porter. The body is thinner than most. Beyond that, this has some very nice (and complex) flavors: toffee, mocha, vanilla, light hazelnut, and enough hop to give a touch of bitterness.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appears a pitch black color with deep ruby highlights to the edges with a big tan head head forming thick. Lacing is fine and even with scattered lacing around the sides of my glass. Aroma has bitter coffee notes with toasted coconut creaminess with a touch of dark coffee in the finish with sweet cream. Flavor is full of robust dark roasts with creamed coffee accents and dark sweet chocolate notes. Mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied dry roasted malt creamy base goes down easy and smooth on the palate. Drinkability overall is nice, a good solid porter I'm down with this brew but I love my Great Lakes and Founders a bit more than this great example.

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Black Marlin Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.97 out of 5 based on 1,012 ratings.
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