Walker's Reserve - Porter - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Walker's Reserve - PorterWalker's Reserve - Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,629 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,629
Reviews: 641
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 10.8%
Wants: 63
Gots: 174 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jason on 11-15-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

A singularly distinctive beer that represents our finest brewing efforts, Walker’s Reserve is a elegant dark ale featuring robust flavors of toffee, caramel and bittersweet chocolate. This brew employs five specialty malts, as well as oat and barley flakes, for added complexity and flavor.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,629 | Reviews: 641
Reviews by matty:
Photo of matty
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown colored beer witha slowly fading creamy head,Aroma is pretty much toasted malts.Taste is toasted malts with a little bit of cocoa and coffee grinds.Overall a decent beer that doesn't really do anything to separate it from other porters.I would recommend and would purchase again.

More User Reviews:
Photo of
4.02/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Surprisingly dark- a light-absorbing brown, sticky tan head. Cool display of entropy with a rough pour- sheets of carbonation falling below the head, only to suddenly rise again. No signs of carbonation visible after that. Artwork is identical to most other F.W. brews, but clean and appealing.

S: Layered dark malts, some chocolate. Deep and enticing.

T: Bitter chocolate, dark malt backbone. Hops play into the bitterness. Somewhat short finish. For such a dark and powerful brew, I'm surprised at the average ABV.

M: Almost foamy, creamy. Very fine carbonation, just enough to give it spirit and keep it well away from being flat.

O: Awesomely dark, deep beer that definitely works as a winter warmer, despite the arguably low ABV. Almost a stout, this porter has character and quality in every inch of it. Recommended!

Photo of oberon
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a reoasted chesnut brown with a nicely formed tannish colored one finger head that held nicely thru the duration,seems a bit lighter in color than most of the style.Roasted nut,earthy hops,and bitter chocolate in the nose,not much sweetness with a nice mix of roast and somewhat raw earthiness.Mild molasses-like sweetness and big earthy hops upfront on the palate,a finish of bitter chocolate and more raw earthy hops.This is an American hopped up porter,I liked it it's solid.

Photo of RoyalT
2.5/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance – This is a dark brown in color with a modest but very dark brown head.

Smell – There is some huge coffee bean in the nose that pretty much dominates all other smells. I can catch an occasional wisp of darkish malts but mostly it’s the coffee beans.

Taste – This tastes like cold coffee with a couple of packets of raw sugar in it.

Mouthfeel – This didn’t make medium-bodied and was much too light for the flavor profile. There’s some modest carbonation to it.

Drinkability – I don’t know what Firestone was shooting for here but whatever it was they missed the mark.

Photo of imperialstout27
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bomber into pub glass.

A: Rich, inviting dark brown w/ medium beige head. The head dissipates after a couple minutes, but a collar persists as you drink down the glass.

S: Lots of chocolate malts upfront on the nose. It's a sweet smell, similar to high quality, lightly-milked chocolate. Tiny hint of alcohol.

T: Chocolate maltiness dominates. The sweet-bitter balance is quite good, with the chocolaty sweetness hitting first and carrying through to the fade while the bitterness hits its stride at midpalate and holds into the aftertaste. Coffee notes developed more as the beer warmed. Good rich, full flavor.

M: The silkiness and creaminess of this medium-bodied porter is the first thing I notice as it opens on the palate, even before the initial flavors. I like it - very nicely done.

D: I found this beer drank very easy when on the cooler (but not cold) side. As it warmed, the sweetness became a bit much. It's an enjoyable beer and I'll buy it again, but after one bomber I'd probably reach for something else to change the pace. But overall, a solid and worthy porter.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #61 (Feb 2012):

LOOK: Rich, dark brown, near black, opaque, creamy tan head

SMELL: Dark malts, chocolate, cold coffee, faint wood

TASTE: Smooth, creamy, a bit viscous, soda water-like carbonation, leafy, toffee, chocolaty, bready, oaty, semi-acrid, coffee, char, smoke, wood, semidry finish with rich, dark malt lingers

The use of the word “Reserve” seems to throw some beer geeks off—they apparently think it’s meant to an special release—but this is one killer robust Porter that should be judged for what it is; an über beer without the hype, and more than enough backbone to back it up.

Photo of steelerguy
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque balck, small tan head that fades very rapidly, and what appears to be moderate carbonation.

Aroma dominated by chocolate malt with a bit of coffee.

Clean roasted malt flavor, like the smell mostly of chocolate with a touch of coffee. Ends with a citrus like hop note.

Light body that finishes amazingly crisp and refreshing due to the carbonation and hint of citrus flavor.

Good, straight forward example of an American Porter. Nothing special, but very solid.

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

A: Very dark ruby red with a big foamy tan head

S: A sweet roasty malt smell comes foward first. There are some light coffee and chocolate tones as well.

T: Nice roasted malt flavor. Decent coffee hints and some slight hoppiness in the finish.

M: Smooth and medium bodied. No burn and little bitterness.

D: Not high on alcohol, not high on hops, and easy to swallow. Very drinkable.

Overall, I'd definetly drink this one again but I wouldn't bother to seek it out. Not a bad beer at all just not an outstanding one. Would be a great go to beer in an area where there is a large supply of it.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown color with some red highlights. Thick tan head, a little bit of lace.
Nice roasted malt aroma. Lightly burnt coffee, sweet chocolate.
Very much chocolate in the taste. Espresso. A bit of tobacco.
Medium-bodied, sweet.
Very easy to drink.

Photo of merlin48
4.27/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Classy, 22 oz bomber with gold platistic foil wrapped top. Looks very dark brown and opaque in the glass, but a clear, ruby hued chestnut when backlit. One finger of creamy, tan head that retains well and leaves a lot of sticky, patch lace on the imperial pint glass.
Aroma is robust, with molasses, woodsy oak, vanilla, milk chocolate, and a hint of grassy/earthy hops. Nice bouquet!
Mouthfeel is creamy and full bodied, with medium carbonation.
Taste is nicely complex, with milk chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, and a note of toffee. Balance is provided by roasty malt bitterness and earthy hops. Noted some hazelnut in the middle, as well as a note of herbal anise. The oak wood provides a pleasant mellow character throughout the experience.
Very well constructed, and an enjoyable full bodied, sipping porter that is nicely drinkable with the restrained abv.

Photo of tigg924
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Pour Farm New Bedford

Appearance: 1 inch head, dark brown in color, opaque

Smell: roasted malt, deep cocoa, and coffee

Taste: cream, chocolate, and deep roasted malt

Mouthfeel: moderate carbonation, medium-light body, sweet with light bitterness at the end.

Overall: One of the better porters I had had in some time. A nice and complex brew that stays true to the porter style. A sipper that I could have several of.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.86/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750mL bottle from Premier Gourmet in Buffalo. It's been sitting in my cellar for a few months now and I cracked this afternoon.

Poured into a nonic. Dark brown, chestnut around the edges, billowing fluffy off-white head of a couple inches that settles nicely into a thick layer. Lots of lacing as well. First rate.

Nose is pleasant, but not spectacular. Roasted malts, mild coffee, caramel and a touch of smoke. Mild.

A tasty porter to be sure, but not without it's weaknesses. The roasted coffee opening is quite nice, and there is a long, lingering smoke-leather taste to the finish, and it is immensely easy to drink. But I found that there wasn't much depth to it - enjoyable, certainly, but I still think something was missing.

Creamy, good feel, carbonation is a bit sharp, but this settles after a few moments. Thinner bodied than I was hoping.

Good porter, flavorful, but I'll probably spend my Firestone dollar on something else next time.

Photo of SkinnyElvis
3.76/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Solomon for a bottle for the BA Anny Club. Pours with a thin head and dark black in color. Smell is faintly of malts but not real strong. Tastes malty but I don't detect any barrel aging flavors as per the label. Mouthfeel is smooth and drinkable. A good porter but not special.


Photo of magictrokini
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer keeps getting better each time I try it. Pours dark brown with a very short brown head. Toasty malt, oak, cream, chocolate, tobacco, and coffee. Taste is sharp with more bitter coffee, dark chocolate, oak, and some maple syrup and a cascade hop finish. Very nice.

Photo of jondeelee
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Walker’s Reserve Porter opens to an ashy nose with a surprisingly strong initial citrus kick, which quickly fades as the bottle remains open. Once cleared, little of the citrus remains, replaced by huge swaths of ink-black mounds of cigar and campfire ash, along with burnt coffee grounds, charred toast, and burnt caramel. This heavy blackness is kept mildly in check by lesser notes of caramel, heavy cream, toffee, and brown sugar, as well as vanilla. A scant few fruit esters, mainly fig and light raisin, with some cherry, add further complexity, growing in strength as the beer warms. Thick brown breads and biscuits add earthiness. As a whole, the nose is very nice, and surprisingly heavy and nuanced for a beer of such light ABV (5.8%). The balancing sugars, all of which increase in volume with warmth, are also very nice, as is the return of the citrus notes with warmth.

On the tongue, the beer is very fruity and citrusy for a porter, with white grape, grapefruit, cherry, berry, orange, apricot, and even apple notes, as well as citrusy lemon from the hops. These light, airy notes, which are very spritzer-like, are checked by an undercurrent of ash, toast crust, black malt, and tobacco, all of which grow stronger as the beer is held in the mouth, until there is almost nothing left but ash at the end. The effect is very reminiscent of a decent Black IPA in the citrus-ash contrast. Further light notes of vanilla, caramel, and biscuit add more complexity, joined by brown breads. The aftertaste is a continuation of the main mouthful, the ash and black malt flavors increasing to near dominance, lingering on the tongue for a long time. Mouthfeel is medium-light to medium, and carbonation is medium to medium-high, fizzing on the tongue.

Overall, for a beer with such a light ABV, it’s impressive how much flavor is crammed in here, and fans of Black IPAs should add this to their list. The citrus-ash contrast is done better here than almost anywhere else, and the shift from the former to the latter over the course of a single mouthful is smooth and wonderful. The watery, heavily carbonated mouthfeel is a bit of a turnoff, but the rest of the beer is very nice.

Photo of ehammond1
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Dark brown color and a thin khaki colored head. Messy and lined lacing down the glass.

The aroma is of a classic American porter: roasted malts, a touch of coffee and chocolate, some char, and a bit of caramel.

Rich flavors of roasted malt, caramel, a little bit of toffee, some chocolate, and a mild bitterness make this an incredibly drinkable, very delicious, classic porter.

Medium to full bodied.

A great, classic American porter.

Photo of boatshoes
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received this as part of a random box of beer from papollo, thanks again!

Appearance- Pours a translucent dark mahogany with about a finger and a half of off white head. Dies back fairly quickly to a ring around the edge of the glass. Fair amount of carbonation beading up in the body of the beer as well.

Smell- A solid amount of hearty smelling roasted malt with a nice coffee characteristic and perhaps a bit of cocoa powder as well. Not an overpowering nose but contains some nice elements.

Taste- A solid porter. A fair amount of roasted malt tinged with a coffee bitterness. Less of the chocolate characteristics present that I thought I detected in the nose. Not overly complex but decent all around.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Nice mouthfeel with enough heft to keep it from being thin but still goes down easy. Shared the bomber with a friend and it was easy to put away the glass I had.

Overall, a solid porter. Not the most exciting or complex one I've had but enjoyable on the whole.

Photo of far333
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown, nearly black with ruddy highlights at the bottom of the glass. A big thick light brown frothy head worth two fingers rises up and slowly settles back leaving ringlets of lace.

Light aroma of roasted malt, cocoa and fig.

Rich flavor of dark malt, milk chocolate, charred oak, smoked meat, morphing to darker flavors like bitter chocolate and espresso. A tart cherry twang emerges in the finish, and puckery oak lingers.

Mouthfeel is full, moderate carbonation leaves a creamy mouthfeel followed by a dry finish, a bit tannic.

Great mix of flavors, very drinkable. I would say a good sipper, but I'm gulping my way through because it's so tasty. Thanks to barleywinefiend for passing this one my way.

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured jet black into a 34oz mug, with a relatively thick light tan head. Smells clean and metallic, with coffee and chocolate undertones. Tastes thick and sweet, almost like an oatmeal stout at first; then fades into subdued roasted malts and chocolate. A great, full-bodied porter.

Photo of centbeerfest
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Great deep dark color. Almost ink like. Tan head a bit thin.
Taste was mellow and enjoyable but not deep. A bit of toasted graham cracker flavor and some coffee. Good balance if not a little less than I was hoping for on the finish.
Very enjoyable, just not what I expected from a reserver porter.
Take home scale, I would leave it on the shelf.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.36/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A little darker than the most middle of the road brown, nice head on top of it, looked real good, cherry cola type head. Aroma was muted I thought, nothing off, but not enough roast, but also wasn't over the top with it to where there was a ton of bitterness either.

Small amounts of roasted chocolate malt, nuts, hops to a larger degree, didn't really pick up any wood/barrel notes out of it. Pretty tame stuff, the usual suspects in it. Tastes like what a lot of people are calling black ipa these days, because the mouthfeel wasn't huge, complex or anything else in significant form.

Photo of Blackwolf
3.91/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A- Poured a beautiful 2 finger cappuccino colored head, dark caramel colored body. Lots of sticky lacing on the glass.

S- Not too aromatic, but it has a dark roasted malt scent, a bit of coffee and tobacco.

T- Dark roasty toasty malt backbone, coffee/toffee. I can taste a little bit of hops in it... Not very strong but a good balance with taste.

MF- Light medium, smooth body, a little bit of carbonation that plays with the palate. The taste doesn't bottom out too quickly either. It does hang around for a bit leaving the malty flavors on the back of the tongue.

O- A decent porter. I was expecting a bit more out of this but it's solid enough, and I got it at a great price. Not a must try/Must buy. But it is worth a shot if you get it at a great deal.

Photo of glid02
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Reid - thanks!

Pours a dark brown color with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of smooth roasted malts with large amounts of light chocolate and slight toffee. Also present are very slight hints of nuttiness, kind of an English Brown/Porter hybrid.

Tastes more porter-like than it smells, though not by much. Lightly roasted malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by milk chocolate flavors. Midway through the sip hints of sweeter toasted malts work their way into things. Near the end of the sip slight amounts of toffee make a brief appearance before earthy hops dry things out a bit, carrying through to a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall I was impressed with the simplicity of this beer and how well it was executed. A very clean and old-school porter that's well worth a shot.

Photo of hctap00
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a 22 oz bomber. Bottled on 10/12/12. Remember loving this one on Thanksgiving, albeit while a bit buzzed. Been looking forward to a second tasting.

Pitch black. Solid tan head with nice retention and lacing.

The aroma was not at all what I was expecting. Butterscotch and caramel are very pronounced. Also quite noticeable is what I can only describe as candied fruit. Sour apple and cherry. There was a bit of chocolate initially.

Chocolate, roasted malts, and earthy hops to start. The beer does not progress much from here. Bready malts, caramel through the middle. Then that butterscotch I got in the aroma. The finish is the least enjoyable part for me. Some harsh bitterness and astringency. Then some fruitiness that is almost sour. Cherry again, not particularly pleasant. The finish lingers.

Kind of sticky. Not smooth and creamy like many other porters. Coats the inside of my mouth but not in a good way.

Disappointed with this one. It is a rather unique porter. Not the typical chocolate/coffee blast.
I can maybe see the appeal, but this one is not for me.

Photo of dfbvFBFBDFBDFbVb
3.43/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bought a bomber of this at the brewery while passing by this weekend. Was excited to try it as Union Jack is one of my fav's.

Great looking beer in the glass. Head and all was right there. Smelled decent. Disappointed with the over all taste. Seems like a weak attempt at a Black Butte clone. A little too creamy without enough bite, bitterness or choco to balance it out. As another reviewer stated, I cant put my finger on it. I expect more from a "Reserve" beer especially from FW. Would not buy this one again although I still love FW brewery. Stick with the staples, guys.

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Walker's Reserve - Porter from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 1,629 ratings.