Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Black Marlin Porter | Ballast Point Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
334 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 334 | Ratings: 997
Photo of doktorhops
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ballast Point Black Marlin Porter, sold cheap as it was nearing expiry date (note: I've never to my knowledge had any beer that tasted bad because it was out of date, does beer even go out of date?). Anyway a bargain is a bargain, and I'm an old school fan of Porters/Stouts- the first beer I liked being Guinness. However my tastes have evolved and gravitate towards APA's, IPA's and BPA's these days, that being said; Porter will always be an old favourite.

Poured from a 650ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: The body is a deep, dark ruby red, much like Guinness it looks obsidian until you hold it up to the light then realise it is actually a pitch ruby colour. The head explodes like a fizz bomb an dissipates down to thick tan lacing. Looks rich and inviting, as a good Porter should.

S: Roasted coffee, chicory and burnt barley lead the aroma. This is followed by dark chocolate and molasses, reminiscent of Sheaf Stout which was my first review a couple of aeons ago. There is a minor note of pine resin hops in the background, as the bottle suggests this is a mixing of a classic English Porter with APA hops... sounds like a Black & Tan doesn't it.

T: Flavour profile is more complex than expected, yes there is burnt coffee, dark chocolate and molasses. This is partnered with the slight bitter pine resin hop finish (that you wouldn't expect in a Porter) and a full biscuit/caramel malt base. The boldness of the typical Porter coffee/chocolate/molasses doesn't make it easy to identify the other flavours but they're there nonetheless.

M: Medium bodied, dense but light carbonation with some fusel oil characters thrown in.

D: A damn fine American Porter... come to think of it I don't think I've ever tried an American Porter, if they're all this good I will definitely try more. Price is a bit of a sticking point here in Australia, most American beers are horribly overpriced/taxed, making the experience not fun on the old calf skin. But this aside it is a good good Porter - bold, expressive and brooding.

Food match: The mocha flavours make it good as both a dessert beer and a roast game meats, hard cheese beer. My ideal meal to go with this (not eating meat because I am a vegetarian and all) is a grilled portabello mushroom sliced and served on Soba noodles with Kecap Manis drizzled heavily on top.

 2,328 characters

Photo of Gregfalone
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours mostly black with some dark mahogany around the edges when held up to the fireplace, thick, tight, cascading head that stick to the glass.
Looks perfect

Smells sweet like tobacco/cherrywood/hint of chocolate and blood? Sounds weird but that's what I smell.
Smells perfect

Tastes greAt, again, I get cherrywood, tobacco, chocolate, and some toasty malty charcoal, and a tad of hops in the finish.
Tastes almost perfect

Goes down very smooth, no burn or bitters, no cloying flavored or off notes. At first the carbonation is a little prickly, but after 10-15 minutes is gets softer.

This porter is fantastic, almost perfect

 633 characters

Photo of draheim
4.14/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle into an English pint. Pours a deep brown w/ a thick, creamy khaki head, webs of glistening lace.

Aroma is chocolatey and bitter with notes of dark fruit and molasses. Smells damn good.

Taste is a blend of bitter roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate with hints of dark fruit and vanilla.

Mouthfeel is smooth and light, drinkable, w/ a clean dry finish.

Overall a solid representation of the style. I'm not finding much fault with this beer.

 454 characters

Photo of SmashPants
4.36/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: solid brown 650mL bottle with a cool label.

Appearance: about as good as a a porter gets on the pour. Close to jet black with a fine carbonation, a great tan head that jumps to about 2 inches and drops to 2-fingers with great retention and webbed lacing. Looks good!

Aroma: smooth on the aroma, much sweeter than the usual porter. More notes of chocolate and milky coffee than the normal roast coffee and malts. Still a bit light, but that's porters for you.

Taste: fantastic again - one of the best porters I have had. Sweet, almost a milk stout. The main flavour is definitely chocolate, with some biscuit and coffee malts backing up. A touch of spice trails along. Very drinkable.

Aftertaste: lingers nicely, with the bittering coffee malts coming through more strongly.

Mouth feel: medium-to-full bodied with light carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: one of the better porters I have had - and it's one of my preferred styles. Good combination of chocolate, milk, coffee and some light spices.

 1,014 characters

Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a blackish body with two-finger tan head that left a lace ring on top of an aroma comprised of roasted and smokey malts, spicy hops and minor sweetness. Very smooth, easy to drink, but not in a slick, watery way, the taste itself being of roasted coffee, some caramel sweetness, touch of dark fruity hops, all blended well together for one great porter. Mixes sweet and roasted malts along with hops for fruit notes and crisp finish for balance; this is a well-assembled porter and very affordable compared to others.

 524 characters

Photo of dgilks
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very dark brown, mahogany colour with a creamy tab head. Decent head retention.

Hoppy aroma with some roast. Nice coffee notes and a touch of fruit.

Very hippy for a porter with a nice roast backbone and some light fruit notes. Moderately bitter. Very good.

Medium-light body with moderate carbonation. A little crisp but it is nice.

A delightful porter. The hops help clear it out and the black malt works well.

 420 characters

Photo of TheRealBigC
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Looks like a porter, smells like a porter. Heck, it even taste like a porter. Really, the flavor profile of this beer isn't all that complex, but it is extremely well balanced and wonderfully creamy. I would have no problem ordering several of these at a bar.

 259 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Enjoy by January 29th 2013.

From the pour a real creamy rising head, nice light tan in color with very tiny bubbles presented, rises three fingers tall nicely. Body color is a classic dark walnut brown, with a real nice red hue to it hiding in there. Nice looking beer, and some scattered lacing.

Nice husky milk chocolate on first smell, with a simple balanced grain. Milky and creamy smelling. Pretty solid bouquet for a porter.

Palate hits with a nice light right body. Great mouthfeel thick but with a light porter classic body and not syrup. Flavors hit of mild creamy sweet malts, and aftertaste that really lingers. Good charing roast, and a real great tobacco action. Tannic but not dry, almost hints at woody character. Roast brings out even more hints of coffee, and a real nice controlled hop bitterness, hints of lime on the finish too.

Overall a very solid porter, delicious!

 940 characters

Photo of AdamBear
4.41/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-black with a stable tan head

S-fresh dark roasted coffee with just a touch of cocoa. there is some sort of brininess here as well that is quite welcomed. medium strength

T-comes in with a great rich flavor of rich coffee and dark cocoa nibs. a bitterness comes in and the after-taste is mostly of dark chocolate. the flavors are awesome and bold. there really just a touch of brininess here. the after-taste definitely has a roasted aspect to it, almost even reminds me of peanut butter..which i know doesn't sound right, but it really does taste like that.

M-medium carbonation with a dry finish

O-this is a wonderful porter, definitely one of the best i've had. the flavors are all strong and great and yet it remains a slight uniqueness to it to set it apart from others that i've had. definitely something that i'll suggest to others. SO GLAD BALLAST POINT IS NOW IN MARYLAND!!!!

 890 characters

Photo of dansmcd
3.99/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Jet black under a thicky creamy tan head with all day retention, sticky clumps of lace and webbing.

S - Big roasted nose, coffee, dark chocolate.

T - Follows the roasted malt nose, smoke, coffee, chocolate and cream. Nice layered experience.

M - Fully bodied with medium carbonation.

O - Complex and demands some time to savour. Very good porter.

 355 characters

Photo of micromaniac129
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The appearance was the only real negative thing in that there was very little head and lacked any real rentention. Though the beer pours a rich deep brown with garnet high lights i couldn't produce more then surface froth.

Aroma is dominated by big malts. A very lovely roasted malt billm with candied or burnt sugar.
Perhaps it was me but I thought I sensed some peat and smoke.

The big roasted malts continue on into the taste. One can pick up char and hints of peat smokiness.

Full bodied no doubt that flows easily over the palette. The finish is slightly bitter and is relatively clean in the aftertaste.

Deep and complex tasting a winner in every regard with the exception of the head which,really isn't that big a deal.

 730 characters

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

Dark brown in color, with lighter brown and garnet hues as well. A large, rich mocha head leaves some great lacing as it dissipates.

Smells of roasted malts, smokey.

Taste has a bit more going for it thankfully. Mostly roasted malts, with some burnt sugars, and not a small char aftertaste. Bittered by hops, which add another layer.

Texture is medium bodied and not easily drinkable. The beer is smooth though and carbonation is on par for the style.

I liked this more than I thought I would. The smoky and the bitter aren't out of control.


 550 characters

Photo of heygeebee
3.55/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

BB undecipherable month 2013

Pours a two finger tan head over black body. Head dies after short while to film. Spotty lace.

Aromas of roast malts. cigar box, smoke.

Taste is roast malt driven, a little nuttiness, some coffee, moderate hop on back palate.

Mouthfeel slightly watery. Light bodied, minimal carbonation.

Overall, quite drinkable without a wow factor. Drink not review!!!!

 389 characters

Photo of rjimlad
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint handle with deep black colour with cola hue when against light. Rich mocha head and lots of lacing. Aroma has coffee malt with a very faint citrus note that's hardly discernible if too cold. Flavour is coffee/cocoa and roast beef and a slight caramel body. Bitterness at the end but good length and clean finish. Mouthfeel is moderate carbonation with mild body tending to slightly watery. Still, it's lip-smacking at the end and I really like this porter. Not complex but well balanced and tasty.

 514 characters

Photo of azorie
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: poured from the bomber: at 49F. a pour into the mug was a huge black body of malt goodness, with a 2.5 inch creamy tan head. it lasted about 30 seconds or so. dark tan in color. Not cloudy

s: or Aroma: Very nice, rich dark malt that reminds me of coffee and chocolate. Some sweet cereal malt notes. Hops were light and semi herb like, some lime detected. Toffee smoke cola like as it warmed through 55f.

T: or Flavor: wow nice strong coffee and malt front end. First few sips I am in Porter/stout heaven. Very nice English porter/stout ale here. One of the most true to the style I ever had made from an American brewer. Sweet malt, nice alcohol/hops balance, near perfect for the style. Slightly bitter aftertaste, but not too hop forward.

M: Or Palate: medium body, heavy carbonation, creamy, semi thick beer.

Overall a really really good beer, to style I would say.
sadly it would have to be 2.99 a bomber before I would buy it again, at $4.49 from Grassroots in 5 points, Jax, Fl.

That price computes to a $14.69 six pack or a 9.79 4 pack, with red brick imperial porter my standard at $6.99 a 4 pack, this is just too expensive to buy again.

glad I had 1 though. To style.

 1,186 characters

Photo of danieelol
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark black with great, off-white, viscous head. Good lacing.

Smell is citric and vegetal (garlic) hops, lots of fruity banana esters and roast.

Taste is strong roast, thin and coffee like. Also pretty hoppy, get more citrus and just tastes bitter from hops more than roast. Get a slight bitter vegetal character and more banana.

Mouthfeel is a touch thin for my ideal and also has that aforementioned bitterness which is a bit too intense. More coffee.

OK but I wanted more body, less vegetal character and for the bitterness to come from roast instead of hops. Comes across close to an IPA/Porter hybrid.

 615 characters

Photo of mulder1010
3.93/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bomber into a globe glass

A-- Poured a dark cola color, settled a dark brown, near black with ruby highlights. Good color when shown to light. Two finger mocha colored head that faded to just below one finger. Decent one ring of lacing left with this. Head holds up nicely.

S-- Nice mix of roast, caramel, earthy coffee and chocolate. Caramel and hoppy nose stand out with this. Just a tad bit soft though.

T-- Heavy on the roast and coffee. Bold, assertive and earthy. Quite nice.

M-- Good carbonation and a chewy medium body. Feels bigger than what it really is. Get some residual orange and grapefruit peel in the mid to back of the mouth. A little bit of an earthy and acidic coffee finish to this that is slightly dry. Roast really dominates in the mouth. Nice.

O-- Really nice, easy to drink and feels bigger than what it is. Lots of roast and that is good. Good casual drinker that is not 10%

 908 characters

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

22 oz bomber, best before date of 08/02/12, poured into a snifter.

A- Pours black with an inch of creamy beige head, nice retention and a bit of spotty lacing.

S- Nice roasty aroma of charred grain and a bit of coffee, also has a dimension of sweetness that provides notes of chocolate and currant.

T- Big roasted flavor, big flavors of char and dark coffee beans, has a nice amount of chocolatey, fruity sweetness. Towards the finish a bit of hop bitterness becomes more apparent. Roasted bitterness and a bit of cholate lingers into the finish.

M- Medium-bodied, smooth feel, a bit creamy.

O- A nice porter, it's heavy on the roast which I'm personally a fan of, very tasty and drinkable.

 695 characters

Photo of RickS95
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A rich black pour with some lighter hues mixed around the edges. The head starts forming immediately, but doesn't have much retention. While it's there, the head is white and creamy looking.

Everything roasty in the nose. Malt and coffee, with some chocolate hints in the background. Slight hoppiness if you take a really big whiff.

Very malt forward, roasty flavors. Slight bit of coffee and chocolate nibs mixed in as well. Tiny bit of vanilla and maybe some licorice or anise too. Noticeable hop presence in the finish, as well as more licorice.

Different levels of feel give this good complexity. It's both sweet and bitter, then mostly bitter in the finish before more bitter and a minty feeling linger. Very creamy but with aggressiveness.

This beer had a lot of character and was fairly easy to drink. No major flaws, just good flavors. Would have preferred more alcohol and fainter hoppy bitterness, but still a really good beer.

 942 characters

Photo of BeerDawgs
3.94/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 220z bottle pored into a BP Porter pint glass I picked up at the brewery June 2011.

A - A dark brown with little clarity. HUGE 2 fingers of head and sticky lace left ALL over the glass, all the way down. Impressive!

S - Sweet toffee, and coffee. A little light on the smell front, you have to dig your nose down into it

T - Slightly sweet, with hints of coffee. Alcohol well hidden. So well balanced and smooth, ridiculous.

M - Smooth, medium bodied, medium carbonation.

O - An amazing porter, extremely drinkable. As good and smooth of a porter I have ever head

 570 characters

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

Live Review. Poured from the 22 oz. bomber that I bought at Save-On Tobacco & Beverage in Mentor, Ohio for $4.99 into a clean, clear glass. No observed "best by" date as I had observed on the 12 oz. bottles from the same brewer.

A Dark brown body that glows a mahogany red in front of direct light with a great, medium brown 3 inch head that clings nicely to the inside of the glass. 4.0

S Dark roast malt, roasted coffee beans (love that smell by the way) and even some distant dark chocolate notes. I can already tell that this is a well crafted beer. I am certainly looking forward to tasting it. 4.5

T/M The dark roast malt and even roasted coffee beans are there but I have to say that this porter comes out a bit thin for me. I am not saying that that quality is a significant departure from the style but I guess I was anticipating more of a full bodied or possibly even smoother, thicker than what this beer is. I still consider this a well crafted porter but I am not able to give it the highest marks that I anticipated that I might be giving the taste and the feel. 4.0

D/O Drinkability is at least fair. Overall this is a good porter. 4.0

 1,154 characters

Photo of barnzy78
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, pours dark brown/mahogany with some ruby red at the edges of the glass when held to a light. Foamy beige head holds good retention and leaves some spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas seem a little muted with hints of cola, toasted grain, molasses, chocolate and faint anise. Tastes are bolder with complex notes of dark chocolate, roasted malt, anise, char, smoke, pine, burnt caramel, coffee, and cola. Medium bodied, smooth, and creamy, finishing somewhat bitter and dry. Overall, nice take on a west coast porter, perhaps. Nice balance between malts and hops with great complexity.

 596 characters

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.

 487 characters

Photo of TheHoppiest
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a mug. Pours a deep brown, with a thick tan foam head that slowly reduces, leaving creamy lacing down the sides.

Has a nice mocha smell, with plenty of cocoa and coffee, oaty malt, and hints of vanilla. There's also a roasty smell that gives the nose nice depth.

Has a roasted coffee start, dark and moderately bitter, with hints of cream, oat, chocolate and dark fruit, ending with a moderate hop bitterness.

Medium bodied, this is a dry though not chalky dark ale, leaving the palate wanting more.

I like this porter quite a bit. It has depth and character,with a roasty coffee flavor that never descends into being a hop-bomb. It is still no GL Edmund Fitzgerald or SS Taddy Porter, but it is a fine IPA, and at $4.99 for a 22 oz bottle, a good buy as well.

 796 characters

Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at The Hopping Pig in San Diego and was served in a pint glass.
Dark colored porter, almost black but with lots of ruby red hues. A generous amount of light getting through the glass; almost a cola like appearance.
One finger off-white, light tan colored head that dissipated slowly and leaves some nice lacing on the insides of the glass.
Aroma is predominantly chocolate, with notes of coffee, cocoa and some citrus hops coming through when swirled.
Taste is also sweet and chocolatey upfront, with the coffee coming through towards the middle and finish with a hint of bitterness. Very well balanced and easy drinking porter.
This porter has all the makings of a very good sessions beer. Wish I could my hands on a bottle of this porter to compare.
Overall, this is a very flavorful and tasty porter.
An absolute must-try and comes highly recommended.

 877 characters

Black Marlin Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.97 out of 5 based on 997 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer FestĀ® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!