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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

1,621 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,621
Reviews: 639
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 10.8%
Wants: 63
Gots: 171 | 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:
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: 1,621 | Reviews: 639
Photo of DwnTwnBwn
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a dark almost opaque black with a brown hue. 1 finger head. leaves some lacing down the glass.

S- The smell is a touch subdued for a robust porter. There is lots of Roasted Barley and a touch of coffee. As the beer warms up there is further notes of chocolate and brown sugar.

T- The porter tastes is not overbearing but there is enough of it to envelope the tongue with taste. Again like the nose lots of roasted malts and coffee with hints of sweet coffee and brown sugar.

M- Medium full body, a touch too much carbonation. Not to cloying or astringent

D- Pretty good Porter, could be a touch more robust.

Photo of CoolJosh
3.56/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A huge thanks to EinWeizzenbitten for rounding out a package of Firestone Walker beers.

A 22 oz bomber split 3 ways with my portion poured into a pint glass. The appearance is really nice looking for a robust porter. Completely black body with a rubbish dark brown at the bottom of the glass. A nice creamy light brown head that reduces to a thin layer.

The smell is subdued, but there is a nice vanilla scent. There is also a nice roasted chocolate component. These characteristics are very well done, unfortunately there is not much else there aside from some malty sugars.

The taste isn't bad for a porter. This beer has a really nice roasted flavor with a trace amount of chocolate flavors. The malt sweetness is toned down but still there. The roasted flavors aren't over the top but they do justice to the style. An alright beer, nothing special.

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

Beer poured very dark to black, with a tan head. The aroma was maltly but not as strong as expected, more roast character would have been nice. Flavor was very roasty with hop bitterness on the finish, very balanced. Medium bodied. Moderate alcohol. Overall a very nice and drinkable beer.

Photo of tai4ji2x
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

thanks to the threewisemen for the trade

22oz bomber. no date found. tasted in early/mid may 2009.

dark brown w red tint under the light. no haze if decanted properly (some sediment in the bottle). 1.5-finger, light tan head fades to thin, wispy but constant layer. lacing is sparse and thin however.

aroma: malty caramel, very faint roast. aromatic hops are both grassy and faintly citrusy/piney, blending w the yeast esters.

taste: similar flavors, with more emphasis on the hops, with moderate bitterness and that faint citrus/pine note peeking in, which also seems to accentuate a slight phenol note in the finish. coffee tones in the finish and aftertaste.

medium body, quite smooth, with some resins and phenols in finish. mild carbonation helps with creamy smoothness.

Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - inky black as expected, a thin frothy off white head sits atop

S - great roasted malts, strong coffee notes, some earthy tones, like charcoal or peat

T - the chocolate malts dominate, the coffee notes from the nose blend with a chocolate flavor to create a mocha follow-up, earthy notes underneath, but not overpowering, a great blend

M&D - easy to drink, a great intro porter for many who arent used to the style, a lowish ABV makes this an easily sessionable porter, for me a great introduction to FW

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

22 oz. A very dark brown pour. Some light tan head. Roasty aroma, malt and coffee with mild cocoa and hops. Taste is quite roasty as well, mostly coffee, some malt and chocolate, but mostly coffee. Medium bodied, but not real drinkable, maybe from the bitters. Warming actually makes this worse. A good porter, robust for sure. Could use more earthy tones.

Photo of therealmcclurg
4.14/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is definitely a unique Porter. First whiff was fantastic-strong smell of hops. The taste was rather bitter and roasted...its a bit overwhelming and there seems to be a slight spicy kick to finish. Not sure what that was...but there wasn't the balanced maltiness of some other porters I've had. This was a slow drinker for me, trying to figure out the flavors, and to be honest...was a little hard to get through. I probably wouldn't suggest this beer as representative of the style...but if you are a bit more adventurous or liberal with your style definitions, its worth a try.

Photo of Trappissed
3.35/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A little too robust for me. Wasn't getting any of the enjoyable qualities I typically find in a Porter. Taste was extremely roasted and had a bit too much bite. Leaned more towards the coffee side of Porters. Some chocolate in the background. Basically just dark roasted coffee with a rough aftertaste.

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

Thanks to swnicholson in Black Booty '09 for this bomber.

A: The porter is a dark red color that sits like blackness in my glass. Only bright focused spots of crimson are evident when the glass is held to light. Little in the way of foam.

S: The nose has cocoa powder up front, followed by chocolate and mild coffee. An overall sense of chocolate permeates the aroma.

T: The first sip is incredibly rich, layered with decadent chocolate and a lactic smoothness. Coffee follows with a java richness that leaves a full taste on the palate. A mild musty flavor lingers in the background, like the residual flavors from an old-time blended porter. Hoppy bitterness livens up the dark body but doesn't overpower.

M: The mouthfeel upfront is rich and lush, a pleasant surprise. Mid- to late in the sip, hops and a stale beer flavor come through, making this taste like a real porter.

D: The porter is nice, a flavorful ale that I can slowly sip on.

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

22 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a deep brown with 3 fingers of foamy darker mocha colored head. This quickly settles down into a creamy half finger that leaves a moderate amount of fizzy lacing back. The aroma is chocolate roast, coffee, toffee, light floral hops, and a touch of citrus. Wow, the chocolate really comes out strong in this as it warms, taking control of the nose.

Thick chocolate is coming out equally strong in the taste as well, with some toffeed notes adding a bit of tang to the overall sweetness of this. A flush of dark roast, coffee, and a dry spicy bitterness rounds out the back, leaving a pleasant lingering toasty feel on the palate. The mouthfeel is medium bodied (maybe a bit fuller) with a sharp feeling crispness to the carbonation that really brings out the roasty bitterness of this.

This took a bit to get things going, but once it did, I feel like this finally started living up to it's name. Fuller flavored Porter here, with a nice sharp body that kept the drinkibility good. Solid effort from Firestone Walker.

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

Viggo sent me a bottle in the Heavy Metal BIF. For whatever reason, it took me a while to get to it.

A: Crystal clear reddish brown with carmine highlights. A two-finger thick, light brown head caps the beer, and with good retention and mild lacing, this beer is pleasant to look at.

S: Mildly roasted malt aroma, like toasted crackers and lightly roasted coffee. Surprisingly light for a robust porter. Swirling this a bit brings out some milk chocolate and mild cream-like character.

T: Bitter, roasted malt up front, with a pleasing, lightly charred caramel flavor. Not much sweetness, the malt bitterness is followed by a coffee-like character. Significantly better than the nose might suggest. Finishes dry and bitter.

M: While light, there is a little heft to the beer, and this goes well with the stronger bitterness that's present on the palate. Carbonation is light and silky. Dry, bitter finish.

D: This is one that I'd gladly drink again. The low ABV makes for a very drinkable beer.

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

Enjoyed this bomber with some delicious pizza. Poured into a mug.

A small beige head settles over a dark brew that's seemingly black but has brown and ruby when held to the light. Aromas include chocolate, espresso, and oatmeal sweet maltiness. Taste is similar with an emphasis on the espresso and chocolate. I can sense some cooked oats with a little bit of maple syrup. There's a smokiness that is bordering on burnt, which is a welcome addition to the complexity. One thing on the flavor I want more of is a citrus hop bite to balance out the beer a bit more. Mouthfeel is light body and the carbonation seems just right for the style. I would definitely have this one again if I can find it.

Photo of sweetbrew82
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. into a snifter

P: Black with rosy brown highlights around the edges. A mocha-colored head sits on top and shows decent retention.

A: Roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and much more citrusy hops than I expected to find. As it warms, I also pick up some oak, tree nuts, and some vanilla as well.

T: Roasty malts upfront with chocolate and coffee flavors spearheading the charge. Big undercurrent of oak wood underneath, with nutty flavors coming through especially at the midway point. Turns much more burnt on the back half with big, acrid flavors of burnt toast, molasses, and creamy vanilla. Underneath it all is a pronounced presence of citrusy hops that work to add a counter-balance to the brew.

M: I'd say that this is medium-full for a porter, a bit prickly on top with a little creaminess underneath. Seems almost like a stout.

Notes: Overall, this is a decent porter that offers some nice flavors for the imbiber to enjoy. Nothing overly complex or earth-shattering, but I love the flavors that the wood aging has imparted, as the oak and vanilla come through nicely. But, the burnt flavors on the back-end keep this from earning a higher score from me, as it gets a bit overbearing after awhile. Definitely worth checking out, though, if you are a big fan of porters.

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.

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Walker's Reserve - Porter from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 1,621 ratings.