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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

1,610 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,610
Reviews: 636
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 10.8%
Wants: 65
Gots: 166 | 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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Ratings: 1,610 | Reviews: 636 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Phelps
3.41/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a tulip.

Not-quite-black brown, unlit, though there are dark copper highlights when the beer thins out. The frothy, dense head stands two fingers tall and recedes only slowly, becoming a silky top layer and leaving sticky walls of lace on the glass as it goes.

The nose: dark roast coffee, powdered chocolate, marshmallow, a very subtle smokiness. I’m not sure if this was aged with oak, but it smells like it. I wouldn’t be surprised — Firestone throws everything else in there.

Dark roast coffee and high-percentage dark chocolate in the flavor, along with a tiny lactic tinge and very, very subtle hints of sugar cookie. It’s a little thin and the finish is dry. Moderate acrid bitterness sits on the tongue between sips.

Light, massaging carbonation with rather high fizziness. The body, like the flavor, is thin and a little watery. The finish cleans the flavor off the tongue between sips.

Overall, a completely average porter. I usually like Firestone’s stuff, but it seems like they just phoned it in with this one.

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

on tap at monks in philly

Pours a clouded nut brown with a thin crop of tanned head. Retains with some film and leaves a few spots of lacing behind.

Pretty subdued, which was surprising considering their other beers...Hints of hop bitterness paired with roasted nuts, slight coffee and chocolate sweetness, malted bread.

Lighter roasted malts with some edges of hop bitterness. Very nutty with some softer chocolate sweetness. Touches of coffee and espresso. Faint caramel and bready malt. Finishes a bit sweet and nutty.

Medium bodied, decent carbonation, a bit chewy, fairly smooth on the palate. Drinks decently, but i thought this was kind of mild for Firestone Walker. Perhaps it wasn't fair that I drank this after Abacus, but I was still wanting more.

Photo of Blanco
3.76/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Near black with solid off-white head. Smell is mute and almost similar to an irish stout, the malt somewhat shows through. Taste again, similar to an irish stout, dry with roasted malts coming through in the end. Somewhat thin mouthfeel. Overall, a decent brew, somewhat straddles the worlds of irish stout and porter. Decent sensationable brew, but I wouldn't expect more than that from this one.

Photo of mmercede
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Teresa's Next Door.

A: Solid black with some caramel near the edges. Very small head which settles to less than an eighth of an inch with no lacing. Nothing spectacular, but not bad.

S: Roasted malt, coffee, light piney hops, dark chocolate. Not a ton going on. Pretty average.

T: Wow, I did not see this coming. Dark espresso with cream, toasted amber malt, dark bitter chocolate, complex piney bittering hops, maple syrup, and coconut upfront. Finishes with an amazing toasted oak flavor which is perfectly balanced with the other flavors. Definitely a nice crisp, dry finish. This beer defies many of the issues I have with barrel aging. Many beers have no tact with the use of oak. However, this particular example is balanced perfectly.

M: Light and creamy. Similar to a carbonated cappuccino. The carbonation adds to the nice dry finish which many porters lack.

O: The aroma and appearance were very average. However, the flavor was the best of any porter I have ever had. Pumped to drink this one again!

Photo of JoEBoBpr
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an imperial pint glass from a 22oz bomber.

A - Pours a dark chestnut brown with some slight reddish hints on the edges. It pours a nice light cream head that recedes quickly but leaves some slight sticky lacing.

S - Slight fresh baked bread notes. Some slight milk chocolate cake notes are present as well. There are some nice slightly roasted notes but its not as burnt as other porters.

T & M - A watered but delicious sweetness comes up first. Some milk chocolate and slight caramel notes. Very yummy sweetness and fresh toasty bread are up front. Then there is a nice roasty and slightly burnt coffee finish but it is not too intense. The mouthfeel is light and crisp with some nice roasted notes.

O - Its a good porter but I expected a lot better from FW. I love their beers and this one left me wanting more.

Photo of celticfutblclub
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A - nice blackish brown brew with no light getting through and a foamy white head on top that sticks well to the glass.

S - chocolate, coffee malts and a bit of hop in there as well. very inviting.

T - good malts here with some chocolate and coffee that sneak into the background. everything feels just a little bit watery though. expecting a bit more pop here.

M - good carbonation here. the brew feels a bit coarse in the back but i think that works well for it.

O - a good brew i've heard a lot of good things about this brewery and though this hasn't disappointed i dont think it quite lives up to the hype.

Photo of grover37
4.43/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A 22oz bottle picked up from D'vines for $5.90 poured into a Hoegaarden glass. Glad to see Firestone Walker in DC, especially at a reasonable price. Had this one at Churchkey last week and really liked it.

Appearance (5): Pours a dark brown with ruby around the edges. A finger and a half of mocha colored head reduces to a thick layer on top. Very nice head retention and very full lacing all the way down the glass.

Aroma (4): Mostly milk chocolate and cocoa nibs, but also some light roastiness. Not much in the way of hops, but maybe some pine once it warms a bit.

Taste (4.5): The strong chocolate hits right away with some charred dark malts on the back end. A bit of sweetness in the finish with the char lingering but not overwhelming. A very pleasant after taste.

Mouthfeel (4): Very wet, especially up front. Medium to low carbonation and medium bodied. Creamy and mellow.

Overall (5): All the flavors meld together beautifullly. This is smooth and chocolately and very drinkable. I loved this beer when I first tried it at Churchkey and I like it even more once I got to sit down and have a full serving (got a 4oz sampler previously). I think a B+ is doesn't do this outstanding beer justice.

Photo of Gosox8787
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22 oz. bomber bottle poured into a pint glass. Served at room temperature.

Appearance: Dark brown in color with a beige two finger head. Recedes into a nice lacing and coats the glass nicely.

Aroma: Cocoa powder, caramel, and a nice hint of smoke in nice balance. A touch of char rounds out the aroma quite well.

Taste: Smooth smoke and dark chocolate notes are the most prevalent. Caramel, char and a touch of vanilla provide a nice backing. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth and creamy upfront. Medium bodied, but with a slight dry finish.

Overall, a really impressive stout and up there with many of my favorites in the style and another really quality beer from Firestone Walker. Definitely recommended.

Photo of trappistlover
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

(22oz bottle). Pours dark brown with khaki head. Aroma has wood, coffee and dark chocolate. Taste is roasty bitter with a nice malt backbone with the roast reappearing on the tail. Medium bodied with oily texture. Finish is bitter and dry. Pretty good beer.

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.6/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at a beer festival poured into a sampler glass. From notes: Poured dark leathery black, with some red showing through in the light. About a half-finger of light off-white head that laces averagely. Nose is woody and toasty, with coffee and dark roasted fruit. Chocolate is evident as well. Taste follows, with lots of roasty malt, a nice raw coffee bean middle, and hints of dark fruit throughout. Oatmeal-stoutish sourness comes in nicely, and is then killed by chocolate, which then lingers in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is nice and rich to match the full-bodied flavor, and carbonation is initially a bit too strong for me but levels out quickly. Drinkability is great for the style.

Photo of mdfb79
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at ChurchKey in DC tonight.

a - Pours a dark mahogany color with a reddish tint. One inch of off white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, toasted malts, chocolate, and nuts.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, caramel malts, toasted malts, andf light chocolate.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

o - Overall a nice porter. Roasted notes dominate the nose and taste, but some nice chocolate as well. Would have again.

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 ms11781
3.24/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass.

Pours a very dark brown, almost black. A huge foamy tan head develops almost immediately and makes me back of the pour because it reaches about 3 and a half fingers and meets the top of the glass. It has excellent retention, not all 3 and half fingers stay put but it takes a while to dwindle down and a nice fluffy cap of foam is present throughout. Great foamy lacing is left on the glass.

The nose it tough for me to even pick up at first. It improves a bit as the beer warms but even then it's somewhat weak. A slight bit of some dark roasted malt and maybe some chocolate are picked up when the beer does warm but there's not much else to speak of.

The taste follows along with the nose but is a bit stronger. That still doesn't mean that there's a ton of flavor though. There is an added coffee flavor that differs from the nose. The roast malt character is there and can even seem a bit charred at times. The chocolate is present too and provides a bittersweet finish.

Medium body with medium carbonation. I'm torn here because the beer feels smooth and creamy, almost silky at times yet the lack of flavor seems to give the illusion that it's thinner than it is.

Overall, the appearance and mouthfeel are good and maybe above average for the style but the flavor and aroma are lacking. It's an ok take on the style but not something I'd go out of my way to find again.

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

Sand-colored head clings to the glass, pulling back from a full finger at the pour. Underneath is an abyss of dark brown, with only thin orange ring peeking through the bottom of the glass.

Burnt toast, vanilla, tobacco smoke, but rather subdued in the nose.

Tobacco smoke is oddly apparent to the tongue - I like it, but it's definitely unique. Coffee and cedar underneath that, ringing of a West Texas forest fire.

Clean and dry finish, leaving only a hint of charred toast behind. More reserved in the mouth than a stout, but with similar characteristics.

Given that it's under 6%, I could probably enjoy a lot of the FW Porter - easy to drink, but best on a cool spring evening, bidding winter farewell.

Photo of kmo1030
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a nice hearty looking dark ruby brown with a good sized light khaki head.
the aroma is sort of like a toasted malt ball. there seems to be a touch of citrusy hops as well. the aroma really dies with the head.
the taste is a little sweet with some solid toasted maltiness, a hint of black licorice. that's followed up with some herbal hops and a moderate bitterness. with warmth a soft chocolatey flavor develops.
it's medium bodied with mellow carbonation.
overall a nice example of an american porter. something i noted though: unlike many similar beers this one is better at somewhat lower temps.

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 BretSikkink
4.07/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brown color tinged with a lava-red halo 'round the edging. Not the darkest porter on the market, nor is the head overly tall and robust. However, it's fairly lacy by the bottom of the bottle and the overall look is pretty decent.

Nose is semisweet, with baker's chocolate and espresso beans leading the charge. Hops are characteristically muted, as Firestone Walker beers tend to be. Roasted to splendor.

The flavor is fairly bold and well, robust, but also somewhat watery. Malty notes of dark chocolate, coffee, and burnt toast mingle with caramel, toffee, and crystal malt. More hops here than the nose, lending credence to the roast bitterness and tipping the scales over sweet.

Finishes semidry, with a slightly hoppy citric note but also with a roasted barley twang. Slightly south of "Robust" in my opinion, but still very good for the stated style. Great beer.

Photo of brew3crew
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark brown with a light tan head
S-not much other than slight malt and coffee hints...
T-very strong coffee taste to it. Love this taste!tastes like a bold cup of coffee. Nice roasted taste.
M-medium body and smooth
O-pleasant suprise very nice coffee taste. Would like to have again

Photo of perrymarcus
3.44/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle served in a snifter.
bottled date is a tough read, but my best guess is 09/22/10.

pours a translucent dark brown, sits an opaque black yielding 1 and 1/2" creamy/foamy, khaki toned head. excellent retention and a-one lacing. very nice presentation.

nose is a bit of a disappointment in that it's decidely on the muted side. notes of roasted malt and bitter chocolate, maybe a hint of coffee. not bad by any means, just middling.

taste is a step up, albiet a slight one. chocolate and roasted malts are more pronounced and there's a suggestion of hops in the background. no question this is a decent tasting brew, i was just expecting more... probably a case of the brewery being a victim of its own success, seeing as i was so blown away by their other offerings.

medium bodied mouthfeel with average carbonation.

overall this is a solid, very drinkable porter, but not one i'd go out of my way to obtain.

Photo of AgentZero
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Black beer, turns a little bit ruby on the edges. Camel colored head rises up a good two fingers and leaves some spots and chunks on the side.

S - Like a good porter. Bit of roast, some caramel and toffee. Malty, with some dark chocolate. Quite solid.

T - Taste is very much with the nose. Roasted, but this is a definite porter. Very full flavor for something that is less than 6% ABV. Caramel, toffee, and a little bit of coffee. Solid, not great, but good example of the style.

M - Medium carbonation, full bodied.

O - Not a bad beer, good flavor and a good example of the style. Wouldn't necessarily find it again, but it's pretty good beer.

Photo of pants678
2.84/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Opaque, near black with a lighter brown thick head in a tulip glass. Foam has good retention.

Dark chocolate and coffee aroma, very malty, kinda of like bread.

Roasted, not charred, a smooth chocolate more so than coffee. Simple beer with highlights of nuts or fruit, a prominent vanilla with a very easy finish. Could use some edge, stronger hops or spice.

Heavy and creamy, almost more of a stout. So soft that it's not so approachable, really.

Photo of ChugginOil
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When poured, this porter settles very very dark brown with amber edging along the sides. 2 fingers of thick off white stacked upon the elixer. This is a rather light colored porter and I am interested about this.

Some toasted malt is noticed along side some vitter coffee notes that a a bit faint but inviting still to say the least.

The taste is roasty and toasty all around, offering flavors of light smoke and roasted coffee. There is a very light hop bitterness masked underneath the balanced malt characteristics.

The mouthfeel is crisp with ample carbonation yet full and chewy . A great dessert brew that is presenting robust characteristics.

Overall. Badass porter and I cant wait to see more FW in the Chicagoland area!

Photo of bum732
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

S: Leafy roastiness, some coffee notes.

L: Black, ruby highlights, tan head, nice retention, great lacing.

T: Dry roasty malt with an earthy bitterness. Clean through the semi-dry roasty finish. Slightly bitter finish.

M: Medium bodied, medium-low carbonation.

A very solid, dry, hoppy porter. Great!

Photo of muttyd
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a a deep brown with a finger-thick tan head. Very roasty aroma. Smells like a bag of roasted & chocolate malts and ground coffee. Very faint earthy hop aroma behind it all as well. Flavor is as expected: big toffee/chocolate malts, coffee, and some smoke. Finishes very roasty and bittersweet. Slight earthy hops in the finish as well. Creamy mouthfeel and well carbonated. Overall, a solid American porter.

Photo of bort11
4.65/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle poured into a pub glass. Tall light tan head has a thick and creamy consistency. It's like a whipped cream. Great big chunks of foam stick to the glass with each sip. Body color is a solid black center with mahogany highlights around the edges.

Smell has a warm roasted malt aroma. Nice toasted bread with a coffee and cream sweetness. Taste is a little on the sweet side, but the roasted bitterness and a hint of hops keep everything in balance.

Mouthfeel is chewy and creamy. It was like it was nitro infused. In fact, if this was on nitro tap it would be mind blowingly creamy. This is a fantastic porter and I am glad it is now available locally

Walker's Reserve - Porter from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 1,610 ratings.