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

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

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BA SCORE
87
very good

1,604 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,604
Reviews: 635
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 10.8%
Wants: 64
Gots: 168 | FT: 7
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:
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.

(Beer added by: Jason on 11-15-2002)
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Ratings: 1,604 | Reviews: 635 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zaphodchak
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1 finger creamy tan head, opaque brown body with brown highlights. Super-retaining, some lace.

Smells creamy with some malt.

Powerfully smoky, almost ashy, dry/bitter coffee. Balanced, not too dry. Oatmeal sweetness balances it out as it warms.

Ephemeral carbonation. Could be richer?

Good, but maybe not 'reserve' material. Balanced and unintimidating for something claiming to be 'robust'.

Photo of jcartamdg
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lighter black with a two finger light brown fluffy head. Aroma is subdued with feint roasted malts and coffee. Taste is far more intense than the nose. Rich roasted malts, light sweetness and hops in the back. Smooth and easy to drink, this porter is awesome.

Photo of maximum12
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to sholland119 for this bottle along with a couple of his delicious homebrews. If this Firestone brew is as good as those, I'll be well pleased. Popped open & shared with my wife while watching my poor AAA Twins get whupped, again.

Sliding into the pint glass is a thick, dark brown porter. Carbonation, check. Smell is having an absence seizure. If I use my imagination I feel a bit of chocolate & sweet malt. Maybe. Grows a touch on warming.

Firestone Walker's Reserve Robust Porter belies the smell & is loaded with flavor. Rich chocolate malt busts a move, & there's a nice flare of roast hooking up with it. Given that this bottle is three months or more old, there's a surprisingly strong slap shot of hop bitterness in the finish. Easy to slug. I could see taking down the bomber oneself, given the relatively restrained ABV, lovely creamy mouthfeel, & sense that this is a nice, gentle beer that would wash your hair for you in warm water if it could.

Hits the porter sweet-spot, & mixes up the tastes like Picasso's lesser known brother. Good? No. Excellent. This is simply an exquisite brewery, & if more people could make a simple porter this well, I'd drink a lot more of them.

Photo of JayS2629
4.28/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black with a huge creamy tan head that sticks around and clings to the glass leaving big sea foam lacing.

The aroma is of chocolate, toffee, hints of coffee, earth, and smoke. Very inviting.

The flavors follow the nose with a great balanced of chocolate and toffee with vanilla hints. Coffee and earthy qualities are in the back with a very faint smokey hint.

Great balance, rich and creamy with a smooth finish.

Awesome porter. Very drinkable and complex.

Photo of andrewinski1
3.38/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tapered pint glass. The color is very dark amber/black with a nice light tan head of about two inches. There is a lot of sticky lacing.

The aroma is roasted coffee with just a hint of grassy hops. The aroma is particularly powerful.

The taste starts out with bitter roasted flavor followed by a bit of bitter hops in the finish. This is relatively dry and the hops are light in flavor.

The body is light to medium and there is slightly heavy carbonation that covers the tongue completely.

This is pretty easy drinking and the flavors are good. I find the balance to be heavy on the roasted flavors without much chocolate.

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 PDXHops
3.05/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap in a shaker pint. Very dark brown with a finger or so of dense tan head. Good retention with a couple of lace rings up top.

Straightforward roasty aromas, nothing wrong with that. Tastes more tangy than roasty, with just a hint of chocolate to try and take the edge off. Lightish medium bodied with a slightly roasted finish. A spike of bitterness provides more interest than the malt profile. Dry and quaffable, but not particularly memorable.

Photo of nezelrac
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

served in a snifter

A - dark brown with mahogany highlights; nice dense bubbly head with good retention and some lacing

S - delicious aromas of dark malt, toffee, coffee, caramel; dark chocolate notes; some hops lurking in the background; really inviting

T - layers of malt flavors - caramel, toffee, toast; also some dried stone fruits and chocolate; the mid-palate picks up some significant richness; good length, too

M - really very smooth despite the firm edge from the dark malts; good CO2 - moderate-low;

O - this is excellent porter! great job

Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Firestone Walker! Another California brewery that I don’t have access to in Indiana, but, thanks to the great world of beer trading, I am able to try. I was lucky enough to get a bottle of Abacus and Parabola, but I’m starting off with Walker’s Reserve. Porters are definitely my style, especially this time of the year. Cheers!

Thanks to tripelhops for the bottle. You’re a great trader, Brian!

A: I’m getting a nice porter color from this one: deep brown, but not too dark. The head is a beige beauty, thick yet bubbly, that keeps its creaminess for more than a moment and leaves some spectacular lacing. This porter looks damn good!

S: Ah, just the right mixture of decadent American and traditional British scents. I can sense the slightly bitter scent of mineral water, accompanied by some mild porter malts in the front. Soon, though, the big tones of dark chocolate and impressive caramel roasts show up. They smell awesome, especially for a beer this low in ABV. And to top it all off, you can make out just the beginning of some piney, slightly flowery American hops once the other aromas die off. It’s complexity in the shell of a mild, unassuming beer; if you’re not looking for them, I’m sure you wouldn’t even make out some of the less noticeable scents.

T: Coffee roasts upfront, followed by a creamy malted caramel. The mineral tastes are instantly recognizable right after, though they only stay for a moment. The hops are next, mild and a little disappointing, but not without their flowery merit. A bit of smoke and coffee, and that’s all, folks. The aftertaste consists mostly of a coffee bitterness, and a little bit of pine bite from the hops. It’s a palate that I wouldn’t count among my favorite porters, but it’s a good representation of the style.

M: Pretty watery, in fact. There’s a decent amount of micro-fizz, which is nice, but it does nothing to distract me from the thinness of the body. It just feels lacking, even for such a low ABV.

O: This is a pretty good porter. It didn’t strike me as special in any way, really, but I’d be willing to try it again if I could ever get it on-tap. In fact, the smoke in the flavor would be a really good accompaniment to any sort of grilled meat, and the feel doesn’t seem thick enough to weigh you down when paired with a sizable meal. Nice dinner beer? I think so.

Photo of billshmeinke
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a nonic.

Pours a dark brown almost black hue with amber highlights round the edges. Fluffy/airy off white three finger head. While light penetrates at the edges no light gets through most of inky body. Head dies down to a solid layer of foam on top, and leaves nice lacing behind. It's basically the quintessence of a porter as far as looks are concerned.

The nose disappoints a tiny bit compared to its striking good looks, but improves as the beer opens up a bit. Roasted and biscuit malt fragrances are most apparent. Some light fruity esters. Hints of dusty cocoa are there too.

Toasted bread, biscuit, a light roast/smokey note, and subtle dark chocolate presence, all accompanied by light fruity esters throughout. The finish is smokey with moderate bitterness.

The mouthfeel is nice. Carbonation is low, smooth, seemingly light bodied (I guess light end of medium body). Nice, but mellow acidic/carbonic bite on the finish.

An incredibly well crafted porter. It always surprises me that Firestone's moto is "Passion for the Pale." It should really be "Dedication to the Dark." Seriously, between Parabola, Merkin, and this, Firestone is at the top of their game when they brew anything dark.

Photo of jtingue
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

5/12/11 vintage. Poured into a snifter.

Appearance. Pours a thin black-brown. About a finger of head quickly dissipates to a thin lace around the glass. Minimal lacing and no alcohol feet.

Smell. Lots of roasty character that is complemented well by a bready yeast aroma. In addition there is a building sweetness.

Taste. Starts out sweet and slightly bitter, with a spice reminiscent of allspice. This turns to a bitter, dry, roasted maltiness. Next is a sweet, but bitter chocolate flavor. The finish has a building bitterness and is fairly dry.

Mouthfeel. Thin body on this one. Not to say that I expect a porter to have a thick body, but this just leaves something for me to be desired. A nice amount of tight carbonation makes up for the lack of body.

One of the better porters I've had, but still doesn't measure up to my benchmark porter: Edmund Fitzgearld...

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

A: 22 oz bottle into a Triple Karmeliet tulip, double espresso black, thin ring of brown iceing.
S: coffee beans mixed with chocolate.

T: creamy, chocolaty coffee beans. Silky, roasty and real clean after taste. .

M: A little bit more carbination than I usually like in a porter, but it works here and prolly contributes to the clarity of the aftertaste.

Overall a creamy, coffee chocolate clean finisher, excellent, list this amongst my favorite porters now.

Photo of DrinkingDrake
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint. A lot of carbonation is present running up the glass and there is a pinkies worth of tan frothy head. Big sticky bubbles remain around the sides and top. Color is not quite black. It definitely has a brown tinge. Nose is sweet chocolate, caramel, barley and heavily roasted coffee beans. Flavor is smooth and plain for that first instant but after a quick carbonation tingle your palette opens up to a bite of coffee, milky chocolate and molasses. This porter finishes with a complex amount of chocolate, tobacco and earthy hops. A lasting bitterness is clean and balanced. Medium/thick, creamy at first but thins out, body with a perfect amount of carbonation helping the flavors along.

Photo of broken22
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer looks good. Nice and dark brown color with a white head. The smell is sweet with a hint of bitterness. I really need to stick my nose in the glass to smell this so its not too fragrant. The flavor is much the same very subdued. That is not a slant on the beer at all. The taste caramel like with a very very subtle bitter on the back end. The beer is full bodied and the mouth feel is heavier than I expected for a lighter alcohol content.

Overall this beer is really good. With porters you never know what your going to get because the style is played with so much. The exact flavors of this beer are elusive to me. I really like the brew. It feels very well balanced and crafted. This is a very enjoyable beer to sip on.

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

Poured into a Moretti pint glass (I like the shape), this is a very dark brown beer with a dense, creamy, long-lasting head. Nice semi-sweet chocolate aroma with a very light roast. Initial solid malt flavor, with the chocolate notes mentioned above, and also a pleasant caramel taste, giving way to a very strong hoppy bitterness (though without any notable hop flavors). Clearly, vigorously an American porter! The finish is both lingeringly malty and lingeringly dry.

Very drinkable porter. Exactly what I look for in the style.

Photo of SFLpunk
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at Liquors 44 Northampton, MA. 22oz brown glass pry-top bottle. Neck dated 03/05/11.

Pours a thin but solid black with 1.5 inches of cappuccino-colored head. Smells nice and roasty, toasty right off the bat. Palate is like deliciously strong coffee. Super extracted coffee, but not muddy or ground-like. Awesome! Big full mouthfeel, but medium bodied and creamy luscious carbonation. Nice bitterness and a little pulling acidity too.

This is a damn-near-perfect Porter. Well-fucking-done Walker!

Photo of robwestcott
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured cold from the bottle to a founder's brewing goblet a deep brown to black with a super-thin, small bubbled head leaving small amounts of quickly receding spotty lace.

aroma of milk chocolate and black coffee, maybe a hint of dark cherry? in the wayback.

hearty, just this side of bitter coffee and dark, semi-sweet chocolate

light bodied for the style, bigger carbonation than expected given the thin head, subtle bitter fading quickly to chocolate sweet.

overall, a nice porter, enjoyable and at 5.8 abv, very drinkable.

Photo of Kendo
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought the bomber at Olivers on 8/17/11 (cost: $5.99). It does not say "Robust Porter" like the picture here, but simply "Porter" - though it does identify it as part of "Walker's Reserve." On the FW website there's currently a picture of the bottle I have, but it's labeled there as a "robust porter," so between that nad the fact that I cannot find another FW porter, I'm assuming I'm reviewing the right beer in the right place. OK, on to the review. . ..

A: Poured from the 22 oz bottle into a Sam Smith's Imperial Pint glass. Body appears black, but when backlit it's more dark brown, with some ruby hues on the edges. A 1-finger light-brown head settles on top, leaving behind nice rings of lace.

S: First impression: roasty. Roasted barley and some coffee beans. Touch of chocolate. Pleasant, though not terribly strong.

T: Roasted barley malt, sweet molasses, oatmeal, chocolate malt and some earthy, leafy hops finish it off with a touch of bitterness. Tempted to give this one a 4.5, but I think it isn't quite "robust" enough for the higher score. It's close though.

M: A tad bit light in heft, but I tend to find that's the case with many porters. Carbonation starts out fine and active but seems to mellow afer a little bit.

O: Solid. I boosted the score here to make up for the lower notch on the taste front. A good porter that was reasonably priced. I'd get it again.

Photo of tzieser
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

review taken from notes.

enjoyed on-tap at the pour farm tavern in new bedford, massachusetts.

a: pours a deep black color with a two finger tan head that slowly settles into a fluffy lacing.

s: roasted malt aromas with a subtle smokey character. not much else.

t: fairly strong roasted malt flavor with notes of smoke, bittersweet chocolate and subtle coffee notes. very well done.

m: average mouthfeel; nothing crazy.

this was a very good porter. i really liked the smoke character (peated malt). this is probably on my top 10 list of american made porters. not quite as good as mayflower (my favorite) but i'd recommended it in a heartbeat.

Photo of schwaeh
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber shared by inebriatedjoker

A: Pours black with a large tan head. Good lacing, especially for a porter.

S: Smells mainly of roasted malt and oats, most everything else I can pick out is fairly muted. Hops are noticeable.

T: The taste is much better than the boring nose. A very full roasted malt taste with a light smokey char. Slight floral hops are picked up, these manifest more and more throughout the glass. I noticed some espresso qualities coming out.

M: Fairly hoppy and creamy in the mouth. Medium body with good carbonation.

O: Balanced and smooth. A real winner in the porter category. This isn't the absolute best in the style but its definitely something I would pick up occasionally if they distributed here.

Photo of Thads324
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured into my new snifter, no date to speak of

A : pours a super deep black, light tan head that dissipates quickly leaving sticky and slow receding lacing.
S : burnt roasted grains, a bit of coffee and some charred camp fire wood.
T : starts thin with a bit of sweet caramel, followed by the roasted grains and a bit of bittersweet dark chocolate. There is a bit of smoke flavor before the hop bitterness cuts the sweet and roasty flavors down.
M : starts thin but finishes full bodied. Good follow through the entirety with a nice low carbonation on the tongue. Hop bitterness at the ends keeps it from being mundane.

A very nice beer. Definitely a winter beer for me, but enjoyable none the less. A repeat for sure.

Photo of nhindian
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber poured into a Southern Tier tulip.

Bottled on 09/22/10, so this does have a bit of age on it...

A - Pours a dark mahogany with bursts of ruby spattered around the edges. The head is a very frothy affair with 2.5-fingers of light tan head. Retention is very nice, as well as the lacing which gives off concentric rings of lace in a spiral pattern.

S - The nose is made up of a good amount of chocolate malts, coffee, flaked oats, and even a bit of wheat here and there. There are shades of hops coming through in slight citrus, but given the age, they are noticeably faded.

T - This is a very balanced beer that goes through numerous flavor profiles throughout the bottle. There is a slight roast that gives off a nice coffee flavor, but it is not overly bitter, and leads smoothly into the dark chocolate flavors. From here, the rest of the malts do the work, wavering between oats, barley, and wheat. I am a sucker for oat in beers, and this beer delivers that exquisitely. Again, there is the slightest of citrus hops at the end, but they do not come across too strongly to detract from this beer.

M - Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with appropriate carbonation. Very smooth drinking thanks to the flaked malts. Perhaps a bit thin at times, but not watery at all. Finishes pretty dry.

D/O - Drinkability is high. I nearly finished the entire bomber of this while writing this review, and if that isn't a testament to how easy this beer drinks, I'm not sure what is. The flavors are rich and cover a multitude of different ground, and the flaked oat just makes it that much more easy-drinking. While this is almost a year old, I feel it has held up amazingly well and would like to try it fresh to see how the hops change this beer. Highly recommended.

Photo of Reagan1984
2.98/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Remain excited to have Firestone Walker in Massachusetts. Even though shelf sitings are still fairly rare, it’s a treat to see some of their offerings. I have never tried this one and was looking forward to sharing the bottle at a recent Stout/Porter tasting. I would have bet, based on my overall opinion of Firestone, that this would have been one of the hits of the night. Imagine my surprise when it was the dog, along with a sour/bad Abyss. Frankly don’t get it. Was not very good at all. Nothing technically wrong with the beer other than it wasn’t exciting and the body was too thin.

Shiny dark brown in color with a decent tan head. Some spotty lacing.

Aroma was of dark roasted malts. Maybe a touch of coffee.

Flavor was one dimensional and thin. Roasty but not interesting in the least.

Body was just too thin. Vanished out of your mouth and memory before you knew what hit you.

Won’t be back for this one, but still love the brewery as a whole.

Photo of philbe311
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Slightly more than a fingers worth of tightly packed tan head with a slightly jagged batter-like top... Modest retention gives way to a fill rich creamy lacing and a thin collar... Some small micro bubbled carbonation can been seen rising at a moderate pace along the sides of the glass... The color is a deep dark brown teetering on black... Just the slightest bit of light leaks in around the edges of the glass...

S - The nose is fairly subdued... Mild coffee... Some roasted malts... Perhaps even a hint of licorice... Not much else...

T - Good flavor... The dominated player is roasted malts... Some hints of dark chocolate... Weak coffee presence... Just a tinge of licorice... A very subtle, but none the less present hoppy bitterness on the finish...

M - A bit more than medium bodied... Sturdy... Brisk carbonation... Just a touch on the dry side... A slightly chalky finish...

D - A very good American Porter... Nothing earth shattering, but well executed... Simple, straight forward and effective... I would gladly welcome another bottle in the future, but I'm not likely to race out and grab another bottle...

Photo of ppoitras
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased as a single at Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" tan head over the slightly cloudy reddish brown brew. Pillowy head slowly collapses, with plentiful sticky lacing. Aroma is rich dark malts, with a peek of complementing fruitiness underneath.

Taste starts with a nutty roasted sweetness, again with the peek of fruit, and then closes lightly bitter with some more rich dark malt character. Mouthfeel is very smooth, and drinkability is good. Nice brew, even if the name's "Reserve" had me thinking it was barrel-aged or something special.

Walker's Reserve - Porter from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 1,604 ratings.