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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.
BA SCORE
87
very good

1,566 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,566
Reviews: 633
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 10.8%
Wants: 64
Gots: 158 | 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: 1,566 | Reviews: 633 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

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.

08-07-2007 05:05:44 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of JayTheFinn
JayTheFinn

California

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.

07-01-2007 04:45:26 | More by JayTheFinn
Photo of BlindPig
BlindPig

Pennsylvania

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.

05-30-2007 06:18:58 | More by BlindPig
Photo of mjc410
mjc410

Vermont

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.

05-24-2007 01:26:40 | More by mjc410
Photo of SkinnyElvis
SkinnyElvis

Pennsylvania

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.

Cheers.

05-18-2007 23:43:35 | More by SkinnyElvis
Photo of Braudog
Braudog

Virginia

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)

04-17-2007 23:03:23 | More by Braudog
Photo of theopholis
theopholis

California

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.

03-03-2007 01:23:45 | More by theopholis
Photo of RidiculedDisplay
RidiculedDisplay

California

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.

02-25-2007 09:58:16 | More by RidiculedDisplay
Photo of soulgrowl
soulgrowl

United Kingdom (England)

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!

02-18-2007 08:08:20 | More by soulgrowl
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

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.

12-30-2006 06:06:17 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of blitheringidiot
blitheringidiot

Pennsylvania

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.

12-03-2006 07:39:36 | More by blitheringidiot
Photo of barleywinebrewer
barleywinebrewer

New Hampshire

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!

11-17-2006 14:09:15 | More by barleywinebrewer
Photo of dblinkhorn
dblinkhorn

California

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.

10-14-2006 02:59:44 | More by dblinkhorn
Photo of lyletaka
lyletaka

California

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.

10-12-2006 23:49:33 | More by lyletaka
Photo of DogFood11
DogFood11

California

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.

08-15-2006 02:21:38 | More by DogFood11
Photo of Tawnos
Tawnos

Washington

3.33/5  rDev -14.4%

Poured into my new belgium beer glass. Beer has a very pleasant chocolate brown color. Head forms to one finger, dissipating quickly. Disturbing the beer shows fine bubbling and almost no lacing.

Smells of molasses, chocolate, and burnt coffee. Strong, but not overwhelming.

Taste: medium hop bite is masked by the malt. Unfortunately, the malt tastes slightly over burnt for the porter. Aftertaste is pleasant, a chocolatey espresso mix.

Mouthfeel leaves a bit to be desired. The beer seems watery for the flavor, and feels overcarbonated, reinforcing the burnt taste.

Drinkability is okay, but it's unlikely to drive me back to drinking this one again. I'll stick to their DBA, more widely available and, IMO, a better beer.

08-07-2006 00:17:08 | More by Tawnos
Photo of lackenhauser
lackenhauser

Maryland

3.9/5  rDev +0.3%

Nice, deep brown color with quite the sizeable head on top. Low aroma-chocolatey with some mellow toasted malt. Nice malty flavor with chocolate and a mild espresso flavor. Low bitterness-nice mix of dry and sweet in the finish. Decent body. Very enjoyable and drinkable beer.

06-01-2006 00:11:10 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of briman
briman

Texas

3.6/5  rDev -7.5%

Served from bottle into standard pint glass.

Pours dark brown, pretty opaque, with some ruby notes around the edges when held up to the light. Quarter-inch light tan head, average retention....not much lacing.

Aroma is roasted malt, chocolate, some coffee, and a touch of vanilla.

Taste is not as robust as I was expecting. Slightly sweet beginning, with mild malt flavors. Finishes with a very light hop bitterness, some coffee, and some woodiness coupled with vanilla.

Medium-body, moderate carbonation. Slick mouthfeel, but overall a bit thin on flavors. I'm not sure what to say about this beer...it smells great & very inviting, but then the malt flavors are suprisingly subdued, and just not as robust as the nose suggests.
Drinkability is good, I wouldn't mind having another, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

04-30-2006 14:03:24 | More by briman
Photo of Jredner
Jredner

Florida

3.65/5  rDev -6.2%

Mild roast profile, chocolate and a hint of hops. Very dark brown with a decent tan head. Medium hop profile, subdued roastiness and chocolate asspects. Feels like a cross between a low key porter and a hoppy west coast pale ale. But, it isn’t forced. It’s a decent brew.

01-23-2006 11:22:42 | More by Jredner
Photo of IceAce
IceAce

California

3.98/5  rDev +2.3%

Deep chestnut brown with polished mahagony edges, capped with a full finger of creamy tan foam. Clarity is excellent and CO² streamers are plentiful and rapidly ascend.

The nose holds all the usual treasures...chocolate, sweetly roasted malt, toffee, butter, coffee, and yeast.

Entry is superb with subtle CO² traces and a mouthcoating creaminess.Roasted malt and oat take residence on the middle-rear of the tonge and impart all of the flavors of the nose. The finish is ushered in with a crisp hop bite closely followed by an alternating roasted / yeasty (in a good way) fade...imparting a lip-licking sweetness that becomes addictive as this gem warms.

My only complaint is that it just doesn't get cold enough in Southern California to properly enjoy a porter this rich...but I keep on trying.

12-21-2005 07:42:01 | More by IceAce
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

4.33/5  rDev +11.3%

Opaque mahogany with cherry tobacco trim, topped by a large, tight-bubbled, stubborn head of golden beige. Even though it's disappointing initially, by bomber's end there's a fair amount of thick lace in blurred rings. Firestone Walker calls Reserve a robust porter and describes it as "somewhere between porter and stout". If the appearance is any indication, that's right on the money.

Bittersweet chocolate dominates the nose, with freshly roasted coffee beans running a close second. There aren't many other aromas (hops for instance), but then this is one of those dark beers that doesn't need much else. The uncluttered, straightforward beauty of roasted barley is all that is required.

As goes the nose, so goes the flavor. Walker's Reserve is closer to a porter than it is to a stout, although it's my kind of porter... the best kind of porter... the big, bold, richly flavored kind of porter. The beer is well-malted, with gobs of dark caramel, dark chocolate and black coffee roastiness. For that we can thank the murder's row of malts: crystal, chocolate and black patent, among others. There's also wee bit of vanilla, although I can't say that I taste whatever might have been imparted by oak aging.

Sweet and bitter fight to a draw, with my taste buds being the only clear winner. Unlike the aroma (nope, still not there) I can appreciate the grapefruit zestiness of Cascade hops on the palate. They contribute behind the scenes, but that contribution is, I believe, still essential in adding some measure of complexity to the flavor profile. They become even bolder on the finish. As is usually the case, they outlast the malt.

There isn't a thing wrong with the mouthfeel. It may not be as robust as my idea of a robust porter, but it's much more full than your garden-variety porter. While it stops short of chewy, it's smooth, supple and a delight in the mouth. As a result, drinkability is increased in a beer that was already flush with it.

Walker's Reserve is identified as the flagship beer of Firestone Walker Brewing Company. And a fine flagship it is. It has no weaknesses and is a well-crafted, delicious American porter. Even though I haven't quite drained the last ounce yet, I'm already wishing I had another bottle waiting in the wings.

12-13-2005 15:49:24 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of IntriqKen
IntriqKen

California

3.78/5  rDev -2.8%

This was definately a coffee porter
Pours a dark brown that no light penetrates in the glass. Creamy full tan head with good retention and nice fine lacing as you drink. aroma is burnt chocolate....espresso and roasted malts.
Taste is not surprisingly very similar to aroma...roasted malt....slightly chocolate....heavy on the coffee flavoring. Alcohol flavor is surprisingly present even though this is only about 5.9% ABV.
No unpleasant aftertaste...no surprising lingering flavors.
A pleasant coffee flavored porter with a creamy mouthfeel that is not too dense....not too strong...nothing bitter...just right

12-11-2005 22:01:05 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of BrewMaster
BrewMaster

California

4/5  rDev +2.8%

Appearance: 22 oz bottle, no freshness dating. The beer pours a dark brown with no light coming through. Topping the beer is a sandy tan head that is creamy and fluffy. The head shows very nice retention and a sticky coating of lacing. Swirling revives the head to billowing levels. It's a nice looking beer.

Smell: Toasty malt with coffee and chocolate scents. A faint pine hop scent lingers at the end of a long wiff of the beer.

Taste: Toasty sweet but mild maltiness. More coffee and chocolate like the nose with a dusting of brown sugar and toffee flavors. The ending is long and sweet with a lingering toastiness. The hop bitterness shows up in the ending, but only barely.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, smooth, and soft on the palate. This beer coats the palate well and allows the flavor to be enjoyed.

Drinkability: A bit watery and I think that holds it back from being a great beer. Nonetheless this beer is solid and tasty and well rounded. The toasty malt and coffee flavors are bold but not overpowering or uncomfortable. A nice balance of sweetness and drying feel make this a nice beer. Definately the best offering I've had from Firestone Walker.

09-28-2005 03:58:10 | More by BrewMaster
Photo of Bierguy5
Bierguy5

Ohio

3.98/5  rDev +2.3%

Pours a dark chestnut. No light is penetrating through the glass. Only slight hints of ruby around the edges. Dense tan head, diminishes into a thin, rocky head leaving patches of lace as it goes. Aroma is roasty, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla and some smoke. Slightly roasty flavor, not very bold. Hints of cocoa powder, smoke, and oaky. Very smooth. The oak character comes out more when it warms. Medium body, a bit too much carbonation. One one hand, I would like more roasty character, however the oak makes this very nice.

09-25-2005 19:04:23 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of beersarang
beersarang

California

3.83/5  rDev -1.5%

Pours a dark dark brown with an even darker tan head that is somewhat creamy until it recedes into a thick collar on top of the beer. Leaves quite a bit of lacing down the sides of the glass.

Nose is of cherry, and toasted malts.

Taste, Sweet toasted malts upfront with middle palate bitterness and a slight astringency. Actually quite balanced and pleasant.

Drinkability suffers from the aggressive carbonation that is somewhat unpleasant and innapropriate for a dark beer.

Firestones best offering.

03-21-2005 07:06:57 | More by beersarang
Walker's Reserve - Porter from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 1,566 ratings.