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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,576 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,576
Reviews: 633
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 10.8%
Wants: 65
Gots: 161 | FT: 5
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,576 | Reviews: 633 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dfillius
4.6/5  rDev +18.3%

Attractive foil sealed bomber opened and poured into pint glass.

A: Dark brown with red edges when held to the light. 1/2 finger of tight fizzy foam. Good head retention.

S: Oatmeal is the predominant smell. Lactose is evident as well, and a smoky oak aroma is lurking in the background.

T: Smoky with a nitrogen stout finish. Coffee is definitely in the mix as well.

M: Very much like a nitrogen stout. Quite smooth and milky, it feels like it is smoothly dripping off the edges of my tongue

D: Very pleasant, delicious

dfillius, Nov 11, 2007
Photo of Floydster
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%

22 ounce bottle purchased from Hi-Time Wines in Costa Mesa for about four bucks

Poured into my Russian River pint glass and gave my roommate the res

Color was a very dark brown, but not quite black color and I could see through it when holding it up to the light

Head was rather large, close to an inch and white in color, left some lacing until I got about half way through the beer

Smell was a strong roasted malt aroma with a hint of coffee and a very small amount of cocoa

Taste was not as sweet as I thought it would be and had a very nice oaky dryness to it, barrel aged porters are usually very good and this is no exception to that claim, nice smoky aftertaste and mild sweetnesss in the middle

Could drink a lot of these, only drank about 15-16 ounces of the 22 ounce bottle, but I am sure I could have drank at least quadruple that amount tonight

Firestone Walker's best beer I have tried, but we will see if that stays true after trying the Firestone 10 in a couple weeks

Definitely worth checking out if you are a porter fan and only $3.49 a bomber at BevMos right now, I will probably go back and grab a few more bottles now that I know how good this brew is

Floydster, Oct 16, 2007
Photo of Murchmac
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%

Porters are my favorite style of beer and this does not disappoint.

This pours a beautiful wooden dark brown, with a foamy head and reddish hue to it.

This beer smells really good too. Slight alcohol, chocolate, malts.

Like the way this beer tastes too. You can taste the oak notes, chocolate, sweet roasted coffee taste. This beer gets more complex as you drink it down.

Good mouthfeel. Great beer, love this brewery.

Murchmac, Oct 13, 2007
Photo of aquaderek
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%

Poured into my Michael Jackson Beer Hunter Tasting Glass. First, I did not notice the head that other reviewers mentioned. Poured brownish black with light laced head. The nose had chocolate-coffee-almond. The taste was nicely balanced, nothing amazing or stand out. What I really did like about this brew is the mouthfeel creamy with the right amount of carbonation. Pretty good beer, the mouthfeel and unobtrusivness of this beer make it pretty drinkable porter in my opinion.

aquaderek, Oct 11, 2007
Photo of Mryup
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

A: A dark black/brown with formidable head. The chocolate-nuget colored head is very appealing.

S: Chocolatey with hints of toffee and malt but the oak-aged "smokiness" is obvious and in my opinion conflicting.

T: Porter....smokey. Hints of vanilla and coffee. It is my humble opinion that their "patented oak-aged barrel" system does work for this beer. Nevertheless, the taste is still acceptable.

M: Wow, it's light. I didn't expect that. Carbonation is right on (typical for Firestone). Surprisingly, a very good and thin mouthfeel.

D: This is a good beer but how much oak barrel beer can you drink? To me, it gets old after one beer.

Overall I'd say this is a good beer in the wrong age where there are many great porters. When you enter the ring of porters, you'd better put your dukes up. Putting "Reserve" on the bottle doesn't make it special.

Mryup, Sep 29, 2007
Photo of Stoneman78
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%

Number Two in the Porter tasting night.
A- Pours a dark, rich brown/almost black hue with a creamy brown head that is small but mostly sustaining, small amounts of lace
S- Lighter aroma of coffee and chocolate, some slight alcohol in the background
T- Well-balanced porter with initial taste of coffee and chocolate, some oak tones and dry, bitter aftertaste with hints of grass/earthiness
M- Light/medium-bodied, watery and creamy texture, adequate carbonation
D- At 5.9%abv, this is a smooth drinking porter, this is a good, but not great, choice that does little to stand out in this genre, I doubt I would go out of my way to pick this up again given the availability of higher quality porters

Stoneman78, Sep 07, 2007
Photo of mcallister
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%

A dark, murky brownish, with redding at the edges. A nice puffy off white head fades quickly into a sporadic disembodiment and leaves some trace lacing.

Milk chocolatey aromas with vanilla and oak characteristics. Thick toffee backbone with raisin, prune, and hints of currant.

Very thin soft mouthfeel. Good flavors although not complex. Full of smokey vanillan oak, black currant, prune, toffee, and caramel. This is a very drinkable beer as it has a slight bit of sweetness that keeps things fresh. Than finishes with a tannic trait from the oak.

mcallister, Sep 04, 2007
Photo of CharlieMopps
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%

A: First thing that's noticed right off is the insane amount of head. I mean, a pretty light pour ballooned into over half the glass being covered by massive bubbles. As it settles out, there is a web of lacing along the sides of the glass, and more of the pitch-black liquid rises.

S: Rich chocolatey malt character in the nose, bit of a coffee aroma underneath, and a grainy backbone.

T: Roasted malt that has a mocha feel to it enters while a faint bitterness from the hops toward the end is a great way to cap off this porter. Not much of an aftertaste, or much flavor sticking to the palate, but I actually enjoy that quality since it doesn't wreck the tongue.

M: Medium bodied, leaning more toward light, that makes for a pleasing mouthfeel. Again, not a whole lot sticking to the palate, a bit of a malty trail in the finish, but the lighter texture is great.

D: Very drinkable, especially for a porter. Has all the flavor, but would be a good option if one wished to avoid the heavier nature of some darker ales (like an RIS or even just a thicker porter, for example).

CharlieMopps, Aug 26, 2007
Photo of seaoflament
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%

The beer pours dark with a modest amount of foam which quickly settles to slightly thick lace around the glass. The aroma is of malt, subtle and mild roasted coffee, slight vanilla aroma, faint chocolate in the back and a warm milk aroma as well. In a nutshell, the aroma is pleasant and above average. I would have liked to have those aromas more pronounced and upfront instead of taking a long, big, whiff to try and detect them. The taste is decent but nothing special, just overall a slightly above average porter. The mouthfeel is good but the finish is just slightly dry, but not enough if this beer was meant to have a dry finish. I would like this beer to either have a thicker mouthfeel by eliminating a bit of the carbonation, or a dryer finish to make it more interesting. Wouldn’t mind drinking another of this if I was offered, but don’t know if the price of this bomber is worth the beer inside.

seaoflament, Aug 23, 2007
Photo of geexploitation
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%

Pours very dark brown, pretty much coffee black, with a minimalist khaki head. Roasted malts contribute to a creamy coffee aroma that's quite true to style while being more robust than normal. On the palate, some sourness/astringency first off before things smooth out to a coffee creme flavor. The finish dries out a bit with a bit of hop bitterness, but nothing compared to the malt character. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy, with carbonation that's a bit too robust. Overall, a good "extreme" porter with some robust flavors that are pleasing but lack in drinkability.

geexploitation, Aug 14, 2007
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%

Pours with a frothy, initially three-finger thick, lightly browned, tan colored head that sits atop a brilliantly clear, almost black colored beer that has brown and amber hues to it. The aroma is nice and roasty with definite coffee aromatics. Dusty cocoa powder, toasted grain husks, browned soda crackers, a burnt acidity that is almost wine like at times (though I can't really put my finger on why). Burnt berry aromatics seem noticeable in front of the burnt acid notes. The aroma of this beer is quite roast driven; coffee-like aromatics and touches of chocolate really form the bulk of the aromatic compounds here.

Light and almost creamy feeling as it first hits my tongue. I actually think I can taste the barrel influence, which I was not really expecting. It is quite subtle, but the wood seems to add a touch of spiciness, some tannic structure to the body and some oak-character especially towards the finish. Lightly sweet up front, the malt sugars are quite complex and roasted though; touches of caramel, some accentuating chocolate notes and a fruitiness are what is noticeable. The fruitiness also seems to be driven by some of the roast derived acidity, which is also apparent here. Spicy oak notes almost give this something akin to a hotness that one would see in a distilled, barrel aged spirit. The creamy body accentuates notes of dark chocolate, which become more apparent as the beer warms up a bit.

This is a tasty beer; the oak definitely adds an interesting even significant component, albeit a fairly subtle one. I like how quaffable this brew is, it is light enough, but has a soft, creaminess to it that is just nice.

Gueuzedude, Aug 07, 2007
Photo of JayTheFinn
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%

I live in Firestone country and it's taken me THIS long to try this one? And I call myself a beer drinker...for shame!

A - Beautiful dark brown to black body with a strong foamy head that doesn't go overboard. It's just right.
S - Not this one's strongest suit. It's pleasant coffee/chocolate/bourbon scented, but rather light.
T - Very good! Lovely mix of dark roasted barley and that oak barrel aged flavor. Coffee, chocolate notes too.
M - Flavors roll around the tongue in a smooth and creamy texture. Tiny soft bubbles signify just the right amount of carbonation.
D - If you like porters, this one should go down pretty easily. I've tasted tangier ones, but this one is a smooth easy drinker.

JayTheFinn, Jul 01, 2007
Photo of BlindPig
3.43/5  rDev -11.8%

A- Thick tan head on a black body.
S- Really big pure coffee aroma. Really is about it. Maybe hint of hops?
T- Coffee, light chocolate, and grass hops aroma. In aftertaste there is a big coffee flavor with light bitterness and hint of grass hops.
M- Medium body with medium carbonation
D- It is pretty bland. Not to complex at all. To much coffee for my liking.

BlindPig, May 30, 2007
Photo of mjc410
3.45/5  rDev -11.3%

Having primed my black beer taste buds with a pint of Murphy's, I feel that I'm ready to tackle this sizable bottle.

The pour into my Fuller's nonic raises a workable one finger-plus head, the color of creamed coffee. It falls steadily, but at a sedate pace, until it's little more than a glass ring. The lacing manages to be fine and quite clingy. Below, the body is opaque black, showing ruddy brown only at the very bottom edge.

The nose is extra-toasty, with a hefty dose of chocolate, touched by piney hops. It's sweet with caramel, too.

The taste is very burnt, with a bit of chocolate in the middle, and ends on a bittersweet caramel note. The hops are mellow, but a noticeable presence throughout, and the biggest part of the lingering aftertaste. The hop blend fits very well, but I would like a bit more sweetness. Like some other reviewers, I can't pick up any oak notes.

The mouth initially hit me as quite thick, but as I get accustomed to it, it's not so big. It does have too much carbonation for my taste.

My first taste of Firestone Walker beer: a passable porter, but not something I'll revisit.

mjc410, May 24, 2007
Photo of SkinnyElvis
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%

Thanks to Solomon for a bottle for the BA Anny Club. Pours with a thin head and dark black in color. Smell is faintly of malts but not real strong. Tastes malty but I don't detect any barrel aging flavors as per the label. Mouthfeel is smooth and drinkable. A good porter but not special.


SkinnyElvis, May 18, 2007
Photo of Braudog
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%

It took me a while to get the hard foil off this bomber! When I finally got it open, it poured a rich dark ruddy brown with a firm head with a marshmellowy consistency. The aroma is dessert-like, sugary and sweet, full and rich. The flavor lives up to the promise; this is a nicely rich beer ... bittersweet chocolate, a hint of java, and maybe just a tease of a hoppy bite. Perfect for this chilly Spring evening after dinner. (#2799, 4/17/2007)

Braudog, Apr 17, 2007
Photo of theopholis
4.55/5  rDev +17%

Appearance- Pours into the glass as a very black beer with deep burgandy on the edges if you hold it up to the light. Has a decent tan head with a lot of staying power and a decent amount of lace.

Aroma- Very strong chocolate/cocoa nose with some roasted malts in there. No hop aroma. Just a hint of malt sweetness. Very enticing.

Taste- Fairly chocolate at first and throughout, but as as the taste progresses, you start getting the roasted malt overtones. Some malt sweetness sneaks through to. Again, no hop flavor, but none was expected. For taste, this is about as high as it gets without getting a 5.

Mouthfeel- Wow. This stuff is creamy, velvety. Lots of body with a good level of carbonation. It's worth trying this stuff just for the mouthfeel.

Drinkability- I gotta say, I'm not a big Firestone fan, but this stuff is freaking good.

theopholis, Mar 03, 2007
Photo of RidiculedDisplay
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%

Had this on-tap at Zodo's Taphouse in Goleta. Hard to find on tap, but a 23 oz tall glass will run you 7 dollars. I came in at 11:00, however their happy hour (3.50 or so a 23 oz) only goes for a select group of macros etc., and Reserve is not included in that list.

Poured into one of Zodo's Weizen-like 23 oz bowling pin glasses.

Appearance: A dark, opaque brown, only showing off its brown attributes when one holds the glass up to a light. Pours with a nice white creamy froth, about two fingers worth which settles down to a half-finger. Lacing is nice and consistent, forming arabic script-like patterns on the side of the glass. The head and lacing make this look better than your average porter, many of which, I find, produce no head at all.

Smell: Toasted malts, light caramel-like toffee, chocolate. Some metallic aroma. I pick up a light coffee but not much else. A little too toned or watered down - you really, really have to take in huge whiffs in order to get much of an impression of the aroma. Cream, a slight wood on the back end keeps the aroma from being entirely boring.

Taste: An improvement over the aroma in terms of strength of its characteristics, but still has the volume knobs turned down far too low. Light coffee bean sting on the back of the tongue. Dark chocolate, bittersweet chocolate. Alcohol is there too, which, despite not knowing the ABV, I would say is a bad thing if this is a porter - it most likely falls between 4 and 7 percent, and alcohol should not be perceptible in that range, by my standards. Still, it lingers in the mouth. A little bittering hops. Very light cappcuino-like creamy coffee on the back end, which saves it from being merely average.

Mouthfeel: I detected no nitro tap at Zodo's the night I had this poured, so I was, I will say, very pleased with how smooth Reserve is. Almost velvety mouthfeel. Creamy, light, with adequate carbonation. Excellent.

Drinkability: Very drinkable, but the flavors, again, are far too toned down. To address the fact that this doesn't seem like a porter, I would agree, but not because this has "stronger" stout-like flavors. Rather, it simply has stout-like chocolate and coffee flavors and little in the way of a porter's mineral water-like quality, smokiness, or nuttiness. These, again, are still far too toned down. Still, the mouthfeel and look are nice. I will have to pick up this in a bottle and review it seperately, but this is disappointing for a beer Firestone-Walker markets as being some sort of rare specialty.

RidiculedDisplay, Feb 25, 2007
Photo of soulgrowl
4.43/5  rDev +13.9%

Appearance: Coal eightball black. Frothy sticky foamy mottled toasted beige marshmallow head. Good retention.

Smell: Lots of West Coasty hops, with grapefruit, herbal pine resin, and fresh flower shop notes up front. There are plenty of malts to back this up, with a sweet honey caramel mocha weight. Subtle hints of tobacco, prunes, and woody smoke are also detectable.

Taste: I'd say this is much hoppier than usual for the style, and I like it. Tangy, perfumey, lush and green with lots of fruity and floral esters. Orange blossoms. Malt sweetness is that of cocoa, honey, and roasted nuts. Nice. Finish is hoppy but juicy, with a lingering smack of chocolate, citrus, and grass.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and soft as silk. Milky and grainy. Sticky and slick, but not too syrupy in the finish.

Drinkability: This is a damn fine beer, and versatile with cheese - try it with Gouda, Gruyere, Comte, Manchego, or even Parmesan and enjoy!

soulgrowl, Feb 18, 2007
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%

My night of porters continues with yet another beer acquired via trade from IntriqKen, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. I told him I was on a porter kick and he certainly delivered. Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color with a reddish hue, creates a dense, foamy, tan head that fades slowly and leaves a very thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of chocolate, coffee, dark fruit and some hops.

T: The flavor of smoky malt, coffee, dark fruit and chocolate all come out at once when you sip it. There’s a faint hops background to provide an excellent balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Very smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: This one is really tasty, goes down easy with a good kick, a little bit filling. It’s the perfect sipper and a very enjoyable beer.

TheManiacalOne, Dec 30, 2006
Photo of blitheringidiot
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%

Ooooo...special! Bottle talks to me saying Reserve on the label. Locals say that Firestone has been getting attention lately with their crafty brews.

Thick brown viscous pour...brown light encasing black hole that allows zero light out around the edges topped off with a tan scattered frothy collar.

First swigs: Big roasted porter leads me down the road to a toe-the-line stout. Damn this is close to a stout but it retains a bold porter stature. Some red grape identifies this as a porter.

Feel is also more porter than a thick stout.

Last swigs: Not a bakers chocolate porter but more of a heavy porter. This should prolly be a baltic porter.

blitheringidiot, Dec 03, 2006
Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%

thanks to intriqken for this via trade!

A - Very dark black brew, not a total blackout, but very dark. Thick dark tan head. Lasts quite some time. Very appealing brew in the glass.

S - Roasted malts, wonderful oak and vanilla with a slight chocalate hint. Way different than the typical dominant roasted / burnt malt porter smell I usually get.

T - Mild mix of malts and oak textures. Much smoother and complex than the primary smells would indicate.

M - Smooth and easy drinking! A bit lighter than expected. Not watery but definitely not medium bodied.

D - Oh yeah, I could drink another one of these. The kind of brew you can enjoy again and again!

barleywinebrewer, Nov 17, 2006
Photo of dblinkhorn
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%

On tap @ the brewery taproom. Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance - Had a small half-finger tan head. This very quickly dissipated and settled at a thin film of patchy lacing on top of the beer. Very little lacing is left as you drink it. The color is a near-opaque ruby brown that is slightly hazy. Indeed you can only see color through this beer when held up to a strong light source.

Smell - Some slight hop bitterness up front, with a slightly oily character. Fairly strong aroma of toasted malts behind this, with a peppery spice smell as well. There are some dark fruits present, mainly and near-exclusively fig. Slight warming alcohol.

Taste - Metallic (coppery) malts up front followed quickly by some slightly oily hop bitterness. Finish becomes a flavor of more rich and toasted malts with an herbal character and some earthiness. Warming alcohol all throughout, but not powerful.

Mouthfeel - Fair smoothness. Good carbonation, but a little bit of bite in the beginning of a taste. Nothing unpleasant about the mouthfeel.

Drinkability - Fairly strong flavors with some moderate alcohol warmth. I could drink a few of these pretty easily.

A pretty good porter. The flavors were pretty good and it had a nice mouthfeel. Probably middle-grade overall, but definitely recommended. A beer that I would drink more than once for sure.

dblinkhorn, Oct 14, 2006
Photo of lyletaka
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%

Now serving at the bowling alley (Rancho Bowl in Santa Maria, CA) and no doubt the best available there. Goes down smooth and not at all bitter. Even the non-beer drinkers will enjoy it once they get over the coffee-like appearance. There's no going back to watery tasteless brews normally at the bowling alley.

lyletaka, Oct 12, 2006
Photo of DogFood11
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%

Firestone Walker's Reserve Porter forms a deep tan head that withstands the test of time. Dark body has some ruby edges and black in the core. Lacing is admirable.

This has the toasted, baked, charred malt edges without a ton of residual bitterness. Bakers chocolate taste gives it a cheapened feel and there is some drying associated with the powder feel from it. Zippy carbonation gives it a mouthfeel punch in the nose.

Notes: Firestone certainly knows how to make good beer. They have a niche in the market and while they are not in the elite beer geek class they are formidable and still have that micro edge to their offerings. This is a must have.

DogFood11, Aug 15, 2006
Walker's Reserve - Porter from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 1,576 ratings.