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

1,605 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,605
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: 1,605 | Reviews: 635 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of veinless
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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, especially considering the 5.9% abv. Had this out of the bomber, this beer would be perfect in sixers.

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

My bottle didn't have the word "robust" on it, but I can't find an entry without it so I'll review it under this beer assuming it's the same thing.

The beer has the classic look of a porter with a dark brown, semi-transparent body and a nice head without much retention. The smell is roasty and toasty as is the taste. None of it all that remarkable for a porter except that it is all done well. There are no flaws in this beer and that makes this one exceptionally drinkable. I know there are better porters out there and I've had many of them, but if I were to go out to get one to just sit down and drink without having to think too much or work at exploring the nuances of the taste then this is the one. Open it, pour it and enjoy it. Don't overthink this one.

Photo of Pellinore1
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark, just barely translucent brown into a pint glass. Two fingers of very light tan head fade eventually to some nice lacing.

The smell is pleasant, but seems a little faint. Dark roasted malts are there, and maybe just a hint of bread.

This beer opens with nice toasted grain, then gets into slightly creamy coffee notes. The finish is dry, roasty, and just a little bitter.

Medium to full-bodied, with an almost creamy texture, this beer is pleasant on the tongue. Quite drinkable as well, an easy session beer.

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

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

This is a really good looking beer mostly because of the body. Out of the bottle its a standard brown off the pour but the body gives off this incredible dark DARK red which highlights with cherry hues. It at first appears dark walnut but gives to me what is an extreme red. The head is surprisingly a very faint light tan, about three fingers, with some good retention and some decent initial lacing. Head bubbles are not totally uniform to some extent. Really impressed by the color of the body on this beer.

Bouquet has a simple creamy hot whipped chocolate, but at first not much else. Subsequent whiffs give of a smell of white/malt vinegar. Perhaps some small tobacco in the back.

Taste is a mellow somewhat coffee roast to it. Very mellow beer. Some kind of dry like grain husk quality, with a bit of a slightly wet body into borderline milk stout territory.

It's a good porter but I am not that excited by it for wanting to have it. The beer looks great though.

Photo of emerge077
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Transfers placidly into a hefty mug, tawny glints of mahogany at it's edges, black in the center. Sticky khaki liddage. Frothy lacing all around. The head eventually breaks up in the center, leaving a khaki coastline around the edges. A second pour rekindles the foam, and forms a convex dome that rises above the lip of the glass momentarily.

Very dry, roasty toasted malt aroma. A classical porter, nothing really jumps out at you.

Dry roasted malt, clean and roasty, with little aftertaste at all. Thankfully not sweet or cloying, a big boy porter. Flavor is a little bit mellow, seems to focus on the black patent malt, roastiness in a vacuum. Some molasses and honey essence. Dry with very little residual bitterness, just a touch.

Very drinkable, a west coast challenger to local midwest favorite Edmund Fitzgerald...

Photo of dtivp
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep dark brown with a nice two finger tan head with good retention and very nice lacing.

The aroma of chocolate with a slight roasted malt.

THe taste followed the nose with a sweet chocolate with some roasted malt and then finished with a slightly bitter dark coffee.

Mouthfeel was medium body with a moderate amount of carbonation, very creamy and smooth.

This is a very nice easy drinkable porter. It was also my first taste of a Firestone Walker Beer and I hope to have the opportunity to sample some of their other styles of beer.

Photo of Gavage
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: dark brown in color with a 1" tan colored head.

Smell: mild chocolate and a hint of coffee are pleasant on the nose.

Taste: mild roasted malt tone with nice dark chocolate, a hint of coffee, and some earthy qualities arrive late. Bitterness is mild overall.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp to start, smooth and a bit creamy late. Aftertaste is short lived.

Drinkability: this beer was very easy to drink. It's well balanced and enjoyable. Nice sessionable porter.

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

Poured into an english pint glass.

Pours a deep, dark brown with reddish highlights around the edges. Big tan head that drops slowly, leaving lots of lacing on the glass.

Aromas of dark cocoa, light roasted coffee, and chocolate malt. No real hop aroma.

First sip is of light roasted coffee, dark cocoa, and a touch of sweetness. Nice level of carbonation. Short, bitter, roasted finish.

Mouthfeel is medium, and creamy from the carbonation.

Very drinkable porter. Alcohol just of the edge of making this a sessionable beer. Could enjoy sipping a few of these over the course of an evening.

Photo of samie85
3.38/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Pours a cola colored brown with two fingers of light brown head.

S-Smells of chocolate, a little bit of roast, and an earthy and slightly floral hop nose.

T-Chocolate with a light bit of roast and an earthy bitter note on the finish.

M-Pretty smooth and medium bodied with with medium carbonation and a little too much dry on the finish.

D-Not a bad beer per se, but I feel like I've had this a porter a few times before. The price point and the packaging especially suggest that this is a porter that's special in some way, but it's not.

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

A: Thin dark brown pour into a snifter glass w/ a half finger of head.

S: Roasted grain and maybe some subtle vanilla?

T: Strong grains w/ almost a charcoal/smoke flavor. Some good hops balance/finish this porter at the end.

M: A little light on the carbonation but not offensively so. Nice thin feel.

D: I enjoyed this balanced porter. If I see it on tap and feel in the mood for a porter I would not hesitate to get it again.

Photo of claspada
3.33/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

The aroma gives me some mild chocolate, coffee and creamy vanilla smells. Doesn't smell like a whole lot; fairly muted to be honest.

The taste gives me mostly chocolate and some hints of coffee. The coffee comes mostly in the aftertaste. Slight bitter aftertaste. As this warms the tastes become more pronounced.

This is pretty smooth for a porter. Moderate carbonation.
Overall, this is a decent porter. It's really nothing special though. Has been on my list of things to try for a while. There are just too many good porters out there that this just doesn't measure up. No need to revisit this however. This costs too much and is too difficult to find that it just isn't worth it for what you get.

Photo of billab914
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Surly nonic pint glass. It poured dark brown in color with a fluffy tan head filling the top inch. The head settled to a thin layer, which stayed well into drinking it. Some pretty good lacing was left as well.

The aroma has a nice mix of chocolate to it. It has some of the milk chocolate as well as some hints of some bitter sweet, baking like chocolate to it. just a bit of roasty flavors to it as well. Pretty nice aroma for a porter.

The taste shows some nice smoother chocolaty notes to it along with a modest, bitter, roasted malt, slight coffee like flavor. It has some sweeter milk chocolate to it as well as a darker, more bitter chocolate flavor. The range of chocolate flavors is definitely nice.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and carbonation is moderate. It has a bit of a creaminess to it as well that I really like in the style. Personally I'd be fine with a little less carbonation though. Drinkability is pretty good, It had some great flavors to it and was a very easy drinking beer overall. Very nice porter overall.

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

Served at Bailey's Taproom in Portland, OR.

appearance - dark, tan head, frothy

smell - coffee and roasty malts

taste - caramel malts, chocolate malts and coffee blended in a creamy fashion

mouthfeel - creamy and oily, light/medium body (appropriate for a stout)

drinkability - a good, flavorful stout, fw style

Photo of flagmantho
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: completely dark body which allows some ruby through when held up to the light. Head poured one finger of pillowy tan foam. A solid looking beer.

Smell: light roasted-grain aroma with a hint of tartness. Not exceptional, but a perfectly reasonable porter.

Taste: roasted grains with a little mocha character with atop a rather tart backbone. There are a touch of earthy, vegetal hops and a nice balancing bitterness. It's not bad, but the flavor seems rather sharp, even for a robust porter.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a pretty solid level of carbonation; there is a nice, creamy texture here which I quite like.

Drinkability: this beer is not perfect, but it seems to be an all-round decent drinkin' beer. I wouldn't mind having this again.

Photo of kenito799
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 0z bomber, Porter tasting
This bottle is from 2007. This beer may not be built to age given its low abv. Therefore the review of this bottle should be taken, like Barry Bonds, with an asterisk.

Dark black-brown with small ring of tan foam.

Oak is apparent on the nose, and toasted malt.

Espresso, roasty toasted barley, some cola spice and slight sweetness. Woodinss in the finish.
Overall the flavor is attenuatd compared to other porters in this tasting, again perhaps due to the age of the bottle.

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

Firestone Walker's Reserve Robust Porter is a very dark red, almost purple ale with a sand colored head that fades to a film. It has a chocolate roast aroma that's a touch sweet. It's medium bodied and smooth with a dry finish. There are flavors of roast, chocolate and caramel, but it's not sweet. A decent juniper bitterness balances things out and provides a lingering aftertaste.

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

Poured into my trusty Dogfish Head snifter.

A: Black as night before a storm hits a small Midwest town. About 1-1.5 finger head that slowly melted into a creamy, off-white froth that remained on the brew throughout the session

S: High grade coffee upfront, with a bit of freshly popped popcorn scent in the mix as well.

T: Mild bitterness, but the creamy quality of the brew overcomes that in spades. Sweet enough to balance out the coffee grounds, but that's about it. If this were a stout (not as transparent as a porter IMO), the coffee element of this liquid wouldn't have tasted nearly as good.

M: Creamy, frothy, and with a touch of bitterness that does not linger in the slightest. The beer itself is thick enough, without being too .... but that's about it.

D: I really appreciate it when a well established brewery such as this cooks up a "reserve" beer (a Porter no less!) at 5.8% ABV. That is really an FU to the establishment and I totally love that. Despite the "reserve" status of this brew, this only costed me a few bucks in the store. There are better porters out there for sure, but this was still a well crafted drink.

Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Beautiful dense, dark, reddish mahogany in color. Nary a head to be seen, but a tiny, elegant tiara of foam rims the glass, and leaves faint lacing. Lightly carbonated. Very big, dense in the nose, too. Heavy malt notes, along with some fig, black cherry, maybe even some hint of espresso?? Some sweetness in there too, leaves me thinking it'll be strong. The name of this beer is accurate, at least as far as the beginning and middle of the drink are concerned. Huge and tangy right upfront, there is a lot of sour cherry and crazy roasted malt characteristics. This washes away into a smoother, maltier middle, and finally gives way to a slightly thin finish, but it's super long and carries a TON of roasty malty goodness for a long time. The finish is unique, in that it is so long and malty. Tasted very few that carry this long. It's like the guitar that Nigel Tufnel played that was famous for its sustain "they'll still be hearing that one tomorrow!...Waaahhh..." As the beer warms, it's gains in complexity, so don't drink right out of the fridge. This actually turns into something special (albeit still thin on the finish) after it warms up a notch. Some other stuff shows up, like apple juice and maybe even vanilla. Excellent, and median priced at $6.99/bomber.

What I like most: The excellent, evolving flavor profile, and in particular the malty flavor in the finish.

What I like least: The thinness of the finish.

Verdict: Outstanding ale with only minor flaws and really worth finding.

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

Poured from the bomber into a pint glass. My mom picked this one up for me on her trip to Oregon.

A - Dark brown maybe black body with a decent sized tan head resting on top

S - Pretty chocolaty with other dark malt notes mingled in. Really makes me think milk chocolate

T - Follows the aroma with a nice chocolate flavor. Some coffee notes mingle with some nutty flavors as well. A decent amount of sweetness is present. This thing packs a lot of flavor.

M - a little heavier than medium body, a fair amount of carbonation.

D - Really drinkable. Really solid porter all the way around. I really like the chocolate notes in this one. Definitely worth picking up and trying. If I saw this again I wouldn't hesitate before buying.

Photo of emmasdad
3.45/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a nice shade of dark brown, with a good light tan head. Aromas of roasted malt, toffee, cream and milk chocolate. On the palate,I got more of the same, especially the roasted malt/milk chocolate flavors. I've had this beer a couple of times now, and although I've enjoyed it, it is nothing special.

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

A - Pours dark, almost black in color with a creamy, charcoal burnt head. This bad boy is heavy.

S - Malted coffee aroma, with notes of roasted pecans.

T - Rich, heavy coffee and chocolate flavors with a light nuttiness. There are some big flavors in this porter, turns out they have a little more passion than just for the pale.

M - Heavy, thick but not too overpowering. Light carbonation is pretty pleasant and overall this beer is smooth.

Drinkability - A nice, heavy dessert beer. I'm overall impressed with Firestone's Robust Porter. Robust it is!

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

22 oz bottle, no date that I could track down on it.

A: Pours a dark brown/black beer with a largish tan head. THe head is leaving pretty nice lacing as it drops. The beer is pretty dark, but it appears to have a little active carbonation.

S: Oatmeal, fresh bread, slightly browned chocolate chip cookies. Not much for sweetness, but it isn't a dry graininess either. No hops to speak of whatsoever. For a robust porter though, it lacked some MMPHH

T: Still lacking the mmphh, but better. Very smooth tastes of chocolate, roasted grain, more well rounded than the aroma. The more I taste it though, the more I like it. A little vanilla is present for sure.

M: Ok, I think this was a few degrees to cold when I poured it. This beer really is walking the fine line between porter and stout, but with the fewer harsher roasted black patent-y grains, it's definitely a porter to me.

D: Ok, this beer is making me wish I could get FSW more regularly.

Photo of mithrascruor
4.83/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Firestone Walker's Taproom, Buellton.

Pours a dark black color with a small but slightly foamy medium tan head which leaves just a bit of lacing. Great aroma of roasted malts and coffee. Taste is similar, but with a bit of sweetness to it - not creamy, but perhaps a bit chocolate-ish? Smooth and medium-bodied, but doesn't feel heavy at all. Very drinkable and enjoyable. Really great flavor and great to drink too - wish this was available in the bottle down here! Really fantastic.

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

22oz bomber poured into a pint glass.

One finger, tan head that dissipates pretty quickly. Extremely dark brown color that you cannot see through at all. Minimal lacing.

The nose gives me some mild chocolate and vanilla smells. Some coffee and roasted scents. All the expected porter smells.

Tasting it gives me mostly chocolate and some hints of coffee. The coffee comes mostly in the aftertaste. Slight bitter aftertaste. As this warms the tastes become more pronounced.

This is pretty smooth for a porter. Moderate carbonation.

Overall, this is a good porter. I have had it a few times since my initial review and am editing some things. I have now had many good porters and this is one that is close to the upper echelon of porters, but not quite there. I realize now how good this is. Worth seeking out.

Photo of tbizzle0
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into my Duvel tulip. Nice black color with some red around the edges.

Some light coffee on the nose with chocolate and a bit of vanilla.

The taste has more vanilla that follows behind the chocolate and that mild coffee flavor. Coffee is definitely becoming more prominent as it warms.

Carbonation is great. This is a tasty beer, I highly recommend it

Walker's Reserve - Porter from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 1,605 ratings.