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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

1,608 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,608
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: 1,608 | Reviews: 636 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 22 ounce bomber bottle poured into my nonic pint glass. The porter appears a deep chestnut color with about an inch of fluffy, lingering ecru foam. Smells and tastes of medium roasted grains, milk chocolate, bitter cocoa, mild coffee notes, caramel, some nuts. Smooth medium body with ample carbonation. A well made porter.

Photo of MiScusi
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Lucky Baldwin's Delirium Cafe. Served in a shaker pint glass.

A- Standard for a porter. Black, head retention was moderate to good.

S- roasty, at a much higher level than normal porters, as would be expected from a robust porter.

T- coffee initial, dark malt flavors afterward. Mostly chocolate and roast. Not so much flavors from the higher crystal malts that I can tell (raisin).

M- Much thicker than expected. Actually felt like I was drinking an imperial stout. The flavors made this robust enough, the body didn't need to be that big, at least for my tastes.

D- Fairly good beer, though for me personally I won't drink a whole lot of this. The roastiness wears on me, especially with the thick body.

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

Dark brown brew, almost black with a half inch tan head. Retention was decent and the carbonation was visible along the sides of the glass. Good lacing during the drinking period.

Dark chocolate aroma, cocoa, roasted malts; no hops detectable.

Bittersweet dark chocolate flavor with a roasted nut undertone and a smokey burnt toast middle and caramel and nutty finish.

Medium-full bodied with a nice caramel and roasted bitterness lingering on the palate. Carbonation lent this brew a good feel and drinkability.

Very drinkable all in all; good flavor and easy to drink. Not my favorite porter, but if I see this around, I definitely will not hesitate to drink some more!

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

The Robust porter was an oil slick color with very little foam head or lacing. It had a great nose to it and was nice roasty chocolately malt smell.

The taste was filled with a good maltiness and stayed with you the whole glass through. There wasn't any talk of hops in my mouth but found this one to be one of their better beers to date of the few I have tried. I would probably give this one a shot again. It was thin in the mouth and went down easy.

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

I just picked this up on my trip to St. Ynez Valley wine tasting. I want to be fair by saying I bought it cold, it was stored at room temperature, and then re-chilled after a flight back to Chicago in my checked luggage. I also have a little alergy thing going on so my nose is not picking up too much. The appearance is dark brown with a medium caramel head. I was able to pick up a little smell through my stuffed up nose, but I will go on to taste. I'm getting coffee, chocolate, caramel, and a slight bit of smokiness. The mouthfeel is silky with a fair amount of effervescence for a porter. There isn't an overwhelming amount of hops in this porter, making it more drinkable than a lot of other American craft porters. I would say overall, there is nothing bad about this beer, and nothing extraordinarily remarkable. I want to be fair and say my palette is not at it's best today.

Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- After pouring this beer I noticed that the head was double layered. The first layer was darker tan with larger bubbles. The top layer was lighter tan and more frothy. After settling a min. the frothier head remained in a small layer on top the dark coffee colored brew.

S- This has a nice milk chocolate smell to it. There is a subtle coffee smell to this, but it smells thick of chocolate. The smell of this reminds me strongly of the Quilters Irish Death by Iron Horse Brewery up here in Washington.

T- The chocolate taste comes first, nice and sweet. Then comes this dark roasty coffee, followed by a slight bitter taste. When you think the bitter is all you'll be left with this gentle vanilla flavor helps zap the bitterness away. This has a good taste resemblance the the QID, but this has more coffee and is not quite as thick.

M- Nice slightly thick brew with a good balance of carbination to match. I'm not a fan of thin feeling porters.

D- Easy to drink for sure, goes down smooth and isn't filling me up.

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

Just picked up a bomber at Mission Liquors...

The beer pours a nice dark brown color with a creamy tan head that retains nicely.

Im getting alot of espresso and chocolate and then something tangy afterwards

It tastes pretty much exactly like it smells. Espresso and coffee notes with a slight tang in the aftertaste. Has a really good mouthfeel and the right amount of carbonation.

Overall it is a good porter, not the biggest or baddest on the block but a forimdable foe nonetheless

Photo of Spikester
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Very dark brown with some ruby highlights. Nice one finger tan head. Modest amount of lacings. Mild roast malt aroma. Taste is dark chocolate malt with a touch of espresso. Just enough earthy hop bitterness to balance the flavors. Finish is moderately bitter. Tasty porter but a bit subdued overall. Very easy drinker.

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

Poured into a pint glass, nice dark brown with no head.

Had a good smell of maltiness and wentdown smooth.

I was expecting a stronger taste of coffee and bitterness, but was actually happily surprised that it was mellow on all accounts.

It was a good beer, very drinkable, that didn't assualt any of the senses in a negative way. This one you could easily have a few on a hot day.


Photo of IBUnit63
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'll go ahead and review this under the new bottle, expecting the entries to get "aliased" at some point. 5.9% ABV. 22 oz. with decent spritch of the cap, into Portsmouth snifter...

Pour has a nice darkness to it, although it looked a little thin at first. Espresso-colored in the glass, with thin ginger wisps of head up top. Not a whole lot of lacing going on; perhaps the second pour will look different.

The roast isn't too bad on this one - a little bit of salty carbonation bite as well as a slight nuttiness. Hop character is primarily grassy; a bit of dark-roasted coffee-like malt and a small amount of patent tannins in here.

Take the carbonation and the patent tannins, add in some slate and this is a wicked dry porter. Definitely a dark-roasted character here...but the next few sips have a light creaminess to it, which is favorable. This is a little intermittent, though and at first it's rather clammy at times. Let's see how well this warms...slowly getting better...a little more creaminess...even a tinge of licorice...still an amount of slate, but slight roasted sweetness emerges...

As dry as this is, the offering comes across as nicely balanced. There is a little hoppy grass keeping the bolder malts in line, with a slightly sweet finish way in the back of the palate. Is it relevant how a beer "burps?" This one burps rather nicely - no off-taste.

All in all, not a bad porter here. Drinks reasonably well, crisp and dry and no alcohol burn. Nicely constructed.

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

Poured a deep brown with a small tannish head. Nose is roasted, choclatey flavor and aroma. Very mellow, smooth porter with cocoa, roasted malts and maybe espresso. The sourness I get from the end of the bottle version is not there. Drinkability is good.

Photo of Arbitrator
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Chilled bomber into a glass.

A: Pours a dark, near black color with brownish tint when held to the light. A finger of off-white head is produced, with poor retention that leads quickly to a collar around the drink. Thin sheets of lacing down the glass as I drink.

S: Roasted malt and coffee are the two strongest noses, with a secondary aroma of chocolate defining the smell. After so much 'extreme' beer lately, I've forgotten the satisfaction of having a solid porter.

T: As the nose suggests, the flavor profile is dominated by roasted malt and coffee, laying a simultaneous sweet and bitter groundwork. Dark chocolate defines the mid-palate and manages to tread the fine line between both flavors, finally collapsing toward a slightly bitter finish. The aftertaste has a nice roasted malt sweetness.

M: Medium-bodied, with low-to-medium carbonation. Would have liked something fuller on the tongue, but it wasn't unbearable.

D: This is a decent porter. I've had better, and I'll probably turn to those on my next shopping trip. But if I saw this on tap, I wouldn't mind having it again.

Photo of Wasatch
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. Bomber

Pours a nice black color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy tan head, with some sticky lacing. The nose is malty, with some toffee/coffee. The taste is malty, sweet, nice touch of toffee/coffee. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a tasty porter, glad to finally get a chance to try it out.

Photo of brewcrew76
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to barleywinefiend for this one.

A - Black with brownish hues and a thin tan head. Layers of foam cascade down the side of the glass.

S - Bittersweet chocolate is very dominant. Vanilla, molasses and roasted malts.

T - Milk chocolate, cold black coffee, heavily roasted malts, vanilla, strong oak and molasses.

M - Slightly lighter than medium body and silky with moderate carbonation. Seems a bit light for such heavy flavors.

D - Nice big flavors. Very tasty.

Photo of younger35
4.07/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle of this stuff in a San Lois Obispo bottle shop. The dude behind the counter was a bit nutty though dancing to a Ludicrous song. Drank from my Ithaca Excelsior tulip.

Appearance- Pours a dark brownish black with hues of crimson around the edges. A nice stiff half finger head recedes fairly quickly leaving not much cap and thin puny collar.
Smell- Bittersweet chocolate is ultra abundant here and this thing is still overly cold. Some light coffee scents but not near as plentiful as the chocolate. Light caramel and some vanilla round out the nose nicely.
Taste- Pretty much the exact opposite of the nose. The coffee is very abundant (maybe more than some of the "coffee stouts" I've had recently) and is super roasty and rich. More bittersweet chocolate and a fairly big dose of caramel. It's more on the finish but its fairly prevalent. Some slight vanilla and a tab bit of astringency on the finish.
Mouthfeel- Not exactly hefty but not water either. On the softer side of things with a slight creaminess with light carbonation.
Drinkability- Let this thing warm slightly before you dive in. I drank it a bit cold to start and it was good but it really gets nice when it warms. It's malty and straightforward. Damned tasty Porter if you ask this guy, and since you didn't, I'm saying so anywho!

Photo of Crosling
2.63/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown color, bordering on black. Stale dark malt aroma, with notes of mild coffee and chocolate. Flavor is very light and mild, with light notes of cocoa and vanilla. Unfortunately, it tastes and smells dead, in spite of it being unfiltered and bottle conditioned. This thin bodied effort is a major disappointment.

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

Pours a pitch black color, minimal tan head, evident sediment in bottle, and can't see the action.

Roasted malt aroma with maybe some molasses and florals.

Roasted malt taste, with coffee, some chocolate, butter background, and mild hop florals.

Full bodied, resinous, bready, buttery, with soft carbonation.

Session Porter that is well balanced.

Photo of midaszero
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Clear ruby body with one finger of tan head and not much lacing

S - Sweet caramel and malts

T - Roasted chocolate and coffee. A little sweet on the back. Leaves an aftertaste like you just took a drink of black coffee.

M - Medium body with high carbonation

D - Very easy to drink and damn enjoyable

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

A- Black porter with red highlights when held to the light; deep straw head.

S- Malt with a touch of yeast in the nose; maybe a touch of roast

T- Roasted coffee, sweetness way in the back, a touch of bitterness; finish is a good balance of sweet and bitter

MF- Silky, with carbonation bite

D- Nice session porter

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

Got this one as part of a recent BIF and was excited to finally give it a try. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 02/19/2009.

Nice and very dark pour here with a rich dark brown color that no light could penetrate. This was a monster looking porter I have to say with a menacing two inches of foam on the top of it that cascaded down the sides. The aroma was of light vanilla, lots of oak and woody notes, and hints of molasses and caramel. As it warmed some nice roasted notes start coming off of it. The flavor was as rich as the aroma with lots of sweet malts, hints of roasted notes and a nice bit of caramel and molasses. Light vanilla, not as much as I would have hoped for peaking through. A nice full bodied porter, nothing here was really overwhelming. This was about as solid as a big porter you are going to come across. I would have no issue with trying this one again any day.

Photo of JBogan
3.72/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an extremely dark brown, almost black. A small tan head leaves very little lacing behind.

Coffee and chocolate are the main aromas to greet your nose, as well as the predominate flavors to tickle your tongue. There's even a bit of cola taste as it warms. No sign of alcohol.

Mouthfeel was a bit thinner than expected. A small amount of carbonation was there, and the beer went down smooth.

Overall this was a fairly easy drinking porter. For some reason this beer reminded me of what I would call an Abyss Jr. It had the same traits as that highly rated beer, just not as developed. It might be a bit more interesting on tap or even aged.

Photo of prototypic
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: It's a very dark mahogany color. There's very little light getting through at the edges giving off a few garnet highlights. A tan head sits atop. It's about a finger and a half deep. Retention was relatively short and light, spotty lace remained.

Smell: Chocolate malts come through loud and clear here. They're sweet smelling and blend very well with a notable amount of roasted malts. Roasted coffee is present, but as a secondary component. Smells like it plays its complementary role perfectly. There's some light vanilla that emerges toward the end. This isn't a particulary deep smelling beer, but it's got a nice smell to it.

Taste: It definitely ramps up here. Chocolate and roasted malts rule the day. Chocolate is the stronger of the two and gives it a slightly sweet flavor. Roasted coffee is indeed very flavorful and complements the strong malt flavors nicely. There's some light vanilla that's a welcome addition. The x-factor of this one though is the really nice oak flavor. It adds a lot to the flavor and easily drives it to the next level. It's flat out excellent. Finishes sweet.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's got a lighter body that's close to medium, but not quite. Honestly, it's the only thing that's "off" in this beer. It needs some thickening. Despite that flaw, it is relatively smooth. Carbonation is modest and helps in that regard. Drinkability is excellent. This has got a really great flavor and low abv at 5.9%. I regret not picking up more.

Walker's Reserve is excellent beer. I honestly was not expecting it to be this good. I think it'd be improved with a little more body, but it's damn fine as it is. I sat on this bottle for a while. I just wasn't expecting that much. I'm more than happy to be proved wrong. Lots of win in Walker's Reserve. Find a bottle. You won't be disappointed.

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 jgap
3.44/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours with a large amount of head with pretty good retention. Eventually fades to a thin lace. Color is a light brown toffee. Smell is light hops and coffee. Taste is light, a little too light, pretty watery. Roasted coffee, slight toffee but not a whole lot of flavor. Firestone Walker is a great brewery- needless to say, this isn't their best showing.

Photo of htomsirveaux
3.35/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle.

Pours with a medium brown head, moderately carbonated. Opaque, almost black color. Smell is light, sweet and acidic, reminiscent of cold coffee. Flavor is light, mostly roasty coffee with an oaky finish. Not bad, but not very interesting either. Alcohol and oak become more prominent as it warms up.

Walker's Reserve - Porter from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 1,608 ratings.