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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 Tawnos
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.

Tawnos, Aug 07, 2006
Photo of lackenhauser
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.

lackenhauser, Jun 01, 2006
Photo of briman
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.

briman, Apr 30, 2006
Photo of Jredner
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.

Jredner, Jan 23, 2006
Photo of IceAce
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.

IceAce, Dec 21, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
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.

BuckeyeNation, Dec 13, 2005
Photo of IntriqKen
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

IntriqKen, Dec 11, 2005
Photo of BrewMaster
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.

BrewMaster, Sep 28, 2005
Photo of Bierguy5
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.

Bierguy5, Sep 25, 2005
Photo of beersarang
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.

beersarang, Mar 21, 2005
Photo of merlin48
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Classy, 22 oz bomber with gold platistic foil wrapped top. Looks very dark brown and opaque in the glass, but a clear, ruby hued chestnut when backlit. One finger of creamy, tan head that retains well and leaves a lot of sticky, patch lace on the imperial pint glass.
Aroma is robust, with molasses, woodsy oak, vanilla, milk chocolate, and a hint of grassy/earthy hops. Nice bouquet!
Mouthfeel is creamy and full bodied, with medium carbonation.
Taste is nicely complex, with milk chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, and a note of toffee. Balance is provided by roasty malt bitterness and earthy hops. Noted some hazelnut in the middle, as well as a note of herbal anise. The oak wood provides a pleasant mellow character throughout the experience.
Very well constructed, and an enjoyable full bodied, sipping porter that is nicely drinkable with the restrained abv.

merlin48, Jan 08, 2005
Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Walker's Reserve delivers an almost opaque black/brown body with just minimal highlights of ruby at the base, and dark mahogany along the upper lip of the glass. Its beautiful, huge, creamy, and yellow-accented tan head holds well and leaves some nice lacing about the glass. The nose delivers a combination of dark chocolate; roasted barley; mildly floral, leafy and grassy hops; and wood that's both welcoming and engaging. Across the palate it's mildly zesty carbonation awakens the tastebuds before it warms to become almost silky smooth. The flavor is bold, with an back and forth tussle between solid roastiness and dark, bitterweet chocolate. Throughout, notes of milk chocolate; toffee; creamy coffee; and leafy hops also work their way in before the finish, which is bone-dry, solidly bitter, and loaded with oaky-dryness and a splash of vanilla. Interesting!

This beer is oddly both more than I expected, and less than I expected. But in the end it redeems itself as an interesting and charming porter that's both easy to drink, yet powerful in its flavor and strength (5.9% abv). It's well balanced and surprisingly engaging. Worth trying.

NeroFiddled, Jan 03, 2005
Photo of meathookjones
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%

This is from a 22oz bottle. Poured out an opaque black with a tall light brown head that dies down quickly leaving some lace around the glass. Aroma is full of dark chocolate and a bit of roasted coffee. The flavor was similar with a bittersweet chocolate up front and roasted coffee flavors coming on strong as well. There were notes of earthy hops and this beer ended with a lingering roasted coffee flavor. Mouthfeel was about medium with good drinkability. Pretty good example of the style.

meathookjones, Oct 11, 2004
Photo of elmocoso
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%

Dark, Black, Cherry-cola color. tan head that is gone in a flash. Slight carb. Nose is sweet fermenting prunes or a combination of stone fruits. dark fruity-wine undertones. taste is pleasant. very sweet in the front. A roasted and bitter lingering aftertaste. Ashtray? Not bad, though. Puckering. Mouthfeel is above average. Kind of creamy but not exceptional. Solid sipping beer, but a few steps back from being grand.

elmocoso, Aug 04, 2004
Photo of hustlemuscle
3.08/5  rDev -20.8%

Maybe because I drank this on a nice warm spring day I didn't like it, but I must say for such a fancy bottle and such, this beer is a big ol' disappointment. I though the reserve in the name would set this beer apart, but it didn't. Guess that makes me a sucker for fancy ass bottles and fancy ass names.

Oh well.

Pours molassas with a decent head that receeded quickly. Mild burnt malt smell, but kinda non descript. Not a bad beer, but again, overall kinda nondescript, kinda boring. A bit watery at the end, and slightly acidic. A nuttiness comes out as it warms. Not bad, but not very smooth. I could take it or leave it. If I went to a crappy bar and saw they had this, I would be thrilled. But would I buy it again? Probably not.

hustlemuscle, May 29, 2004
Photo of Mark
4.28/5  rDev +10%

A deep dark porter that has a tan head, laces moderately well. Mellow aroma of roasted malts, a nice change from some very strong smelling porters I've had. Taste profile is also mellow. Just a ribbon of roastiness, some fruity tones and a good malt base. mouthfeel is a bit watery, but there is no denying that this is a decent drinkable porter. A good session porter.

Mark, Mar 05, 2004
Photo of Zorro
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%

Pours a dark black brew, VERY strong backlighting shows this beer to actually be clear.

Smell is hops and fruit and sweetness. The hops give this a pine and smoke aroma.

Taste is very good, Complex concert of sweetness and coffee, and chocolate and fruit. This is no Sam Smith's but it is very good. Caramel and pecans appear in the taste too. Almost a 5 really a 4.75 here.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin.

Very drinkable, would be exceptional with heavy foods like Chocolate and Bangers and Mash.

Zorro, Feb 27, 2004
Photo of drewbage
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%

Sampled from ye old gold plastic foiled crown capped bomber bottle of 22 oz. No freshness dating on the bottle.

Beer pours into the glass as a nice black beer with chocolate brown highlights peaking from every corner of the glass.

Aroma is surprisingly hoppy from my previous experience with Firestone Walker. A light fruitness is apparent in the palate as the hops fade back with a growing sense of brownies (that warm rummy chocolate aroma)

Flavor is strongly chocolate at first, but as the malt starts to fade into the background, a roasty and tannic edge grabs the finish and runs it through to a dry dry finish (despite the resididual sweetness apparent on the tongue.)

OVerall not a bad beer. The tannic and vanilla edges to the beer are probably attributed to the use of oak barrels for a portion of the ferment. (Confirmed at the brewery)

drewbage, Feb 20, 2004
Photo of budsboy
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%

Deep, deep brown with a fair tan head and very little lacing. Smell is sweet malt and some fruitiness -- fig, raison. Taste is fully malt finishing with a pleasant bitterness. The bitter stays. There is an unexpected sharpness there, almost tobacco-like. Mouthfeel is a wee bit chalky. Smooth down the gullett, and all-in-all an above-average porter. Good quiet beer.

budsboy, Feb 04, 2004
Photo of Bighuge
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%

Beer is almost black. A thin and bubbly brown head has yellow tinting to it. The rimming leaves some evenly placed rings down the sides of the glass. Some dry cocoa powder, baker's chocolate and vanilla bean on the nose. The flavors are so smooth in this porter. I think the oak barrel aging gives this beer some of its smoothness. And also a little woodiness on the palate. There's some nice bittersweet chocolate tones in this one. And a little smoke. And some vanilla mixed with bitter and slightly piney hops. The best part of the experience is the chalky residue of cocoa dust left on the tongue after the swallow. The mouthfeel is velvety and body about medium. This one is solid.

Thanks for the Reserve Mr. Long.

Bighuge, Jan 29, 2004
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%

Presentation: Very nice looking Bomber, immediately noticeable by the fact that the crown cap is covered in a shrink wrapped thick golden plastic, fooling you for a short time that it may even have a cork. Black label with white and gold writing, only broken with a flash of dark red behind the words ‘Porter Reserve’. Slightly dusty looking bottle, the last one in the store.

Appearance: Extremely dark, but not quite solid, dark mahogany brown body. Light refracts at the edges to reveal a ruby red hue. Poured from the Bomber with a huge head, a pock-marked tan-brown affair that laces well and leaves rivulets of foam tidemarks on the glass walls with each mouthful. Solid levels of carbonation that help to reinstate the head to a greater size when swirled.

Nose: Gorgeous rounded mature odors, fantastic and a real surprise, it’s as though this beer has come straight from a wooden cask. Indeed, oak wood and aged roasted roasted malts with hints of chocolate permeate. A beautiful antique nose from a dusty bottle that I picked up – I may well have benefited immensely from the Stores aging process of not selling this last bottle.

Taste: Nice smooth mature tastes that have a solid roasted malt backbone, a light coffee hint and dark chocolates in the middle, these transform into milk chocolates with a bitter bite in the ending. The East Kent Goldings used for the Dry-Hopping work really well here, and add a great depth as well as a crisp bite to the 45 I.B.U’s. A solid, robust porter, just exactly as advertised.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, light velvet feel at first that makes way for a caramel swirl feel with a rather astringent bitter finish.

Drinkability: Hmmmm, I’m licking my lips after this one. I will have to invest in some more of these, well certainly the next time when I see it at least.

Overall: I thoroughly enjoyed this dark quality offering, the aromas alone were worth the purchase. A very nice Porter. Recommended, it you see it – try it. Judging from my experience with an older bottle, maybe it is well worth leaving this one for a while in a dark cupboard before drinking it, just a thought.

TheLongBeachBum, Sep 11, 2003
Photo of cokes
3.38/5  rDev -13.1%

Dark mahogany with a rapidly receding brown lace.
Fantastic aromas of smoke, black cherries, aged port, earth and chocolate. Chalkier and muffled post yeast pour.
Taste can't help but to fall on its face after the promises made by the nose. But it didn't have to fall so hard or so fast. Mildly roasty up front with a standard-issue chocolate porter traits. Very straight-forwards with almost none of the promised nuance. The middle finds a watery cola sweetness. Woodier late with mild chopped almonds. Hints of smoke and dirt before the dry leaf pine hop closure.
Thin and lifeless in the mouth. Bolsters itself to some extent with warmth (and the addition of the sediment). Boasts the use of oats, but I cannot find them tastewise or in the typical silkiness they provide.
Boring, but worth smelling.

cokes, Aug 27, 2003
Photo of beerguy101
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Eclipse brown color. Medium head. Aroma is roasted malt, caramel and chocolate. A lighter bodied porter. Malts are roasted, chocolate and carmely. Hops are grapefruit and citrus. Well balanced. It's a little lighter bodied for a porter, but still a very nice, very drinkable beer. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is dry and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

beerguy101, Aug 13, 2003
Photo of jcalabre
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%

Originally sampled on 19 April 2003. I am writing this review from my notes.
Appearance: This beer is blackish/brown with a tan head (no shock here)
Flavor: The flavor is coffee/roasty with a touch of hoppiness.
Aroma: This brew emits a coffee-like aroma
This is a very quaffable porter.

jcalabre, Jul 03, 2003
Photo of darklager
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%

This beer pours a deep, dark, light absorbing brown with a gigantic head. The aroma is mostly chocolate and roasted malt, with coffee hiding in there too. The flavor is smooth, but also lacking in complexity. A very light, easy drinking porter. Mouthfeel is a little thin. Even though this is a somewhat light, and uncomplex beer, it still has a good flavor. Overall I would say this would make a good session beer, but not something to treasure every last drop of.

darklager, Jun 08, 2003
Walker's Reserve - Porter from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 1,576 ratings.