Imperial Walker's Reserve
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Imperial Walker's ReserveImperial Walker's Reserve
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Porter - Imperial
Ranked #64
Ranked #3,750
4.23 | pDev: 7.09%
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
Imperial Walker's ReserveImperial Walker's Reserve
View: Beers
Reviews: 17 | Ratings: 63 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Zythophile
Zythophile from District of Columbia

4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Date: 2016
Palate Contaminants: other beer

Not a lot of head. Dark brown that lets a little light in around the edges. Oh, well. I'm not in it for the looks.

Smell is like a spicy cola. There's also some dark, sweet woodsiness. Sorghum. It's not particularly strong overall, but the relative combination of scents is different. There's also something akin to thickness in it.

There's tons of smoked wood up front. I'm getting both the char and the unburnt wood underneath. There's a little bitterness, but that only adds accent instead of dominating the show. Following that is prunes, and there's some depth to that flavor. Then there's lots of black licorice, and that has depth, too. So, there aren't a bunch of things, but the few that do stand out are pretty complete and not just glancing impressions. Finish is a bit like a Sercial Madeira wine in character, if not taste. It might complement a meal that has some smoked pork quite well.

It's coarser than I'd expect for a twelver, but the rest of the feel is pretty good. Sharp smokiness in the aftertaste, and prunes (with some other dried dark fruits). It's heavy.

Dec 02, 2018
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gcasher from Pennsylvania

4.52/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2016 Bomber
Wet oak immediately hits the nose followed by sherry right out of the bottle.
Vigorous pour yields little fizzy head. Lots of fizzy lacing. Really dark brown/Black color.
Warming results in sweet bourbon aroma.
Tastes of oak and whiskey. Roasted malt flavor follows. More sweet than dry. Medium body. The whiskey barrel and porter complement themselves really well.

Nov 06, 2018
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emyers from Illinois

4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle poured into teku glass. 2016 vintage

Near black, light brown head

Nose: dark fruits, bourbon, and cocoa powder

Taste: dark fruits and bittersweet chocolate dominate along with the bourbon. Flavors seem just a touch muted compared to the nose.

Body is fairly light, medium carbonation.

Mar 24, 2018
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Sabtos from Ohio

3.9/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown with a bubbly tan collar.

Smell is smoked bacon and ham, roasted malt and campfire wood--all of which taken together is inoffensive and not overpowering, allowing room for cocoa, walnut butter and waxy oak.

Taste is smoky chocolate-covered bacon and dark fruit. A chocolatey finish lingers on the palate with minimal bourbon heat. This is really drinkable, while savory in a good way, skirting a sweetness that would otherwise put this into luscious territory.

A medium-full, smooth body has a full froth and semi-dry finish.

Jan 22, 2018
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

This one pours a fairly dark black, with a small head, and not much lacing.

This smells like cookie dough, smoke, rye, oak, dark chocolate, and whiskey.

Though this tastes a tad thin, there's lot to like about this beer. The barrel character is really nice, with oak, and a hint of vanilla, and just a little bit of whiskey. There's some dark fruit and lots of smoke, with dark chocolate brownie batter on the finish.

This is medium bodied, but a bit thin for 12.5%. I guess it is technically a porter, after all.

I really enjoyed this one. If it had just a bit more creamy thickness, I would have thought it was near perfect.

Jan 03, 2018
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Brolo75 from California

4.6/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle poured into a tulip

A: Pours black with some light coming through around the edges, no head developed or lacing, very little carbonation, looks thicker than most porters I've tasted.

A: Lots of smoke, char, dark chocolate, espresso, peat, smoky oak, some alcohol does come through, smells deep and rich.

T: Like the nose, smoke, char, bit of spice, dark chocolate, espresso, peat, smokey oak, finish is very dry with lots of smoke and char, alcohol does come through, there are soft notes of dark fruit, lots of depth and complexity.

M: Full bodied with low carbonation, dry char and smoke finish.

O: I suspect this has been aged in Scotch barrels as it has lots of smoke, char, and peat, I don't think it's bourbon barrel aged, overall, I think this is a world class beer with lots of aroma, flavor, depth, complexity, and a thick rich full mouthfeel, definitely going to seek out another bottle or two for the cellar.

Dec 08, 2017
Photo of RyanK252
RyanK252 from California

4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at BC's Pizza & Beer

A: Pours basically black with a frothy light brown head that settles to a light layer and leaves some spotty lacing.

S: Smokey, a little coffee and chocolate, toasty, earthy, some toffee sweetness, and a touch of alcohol.

T: Plenty of bacon-y smoke, roasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee, a touch of burnt toast, earthy, slight underlying dark fruit, and toffee sweetness. Smoke brings out a hint of diacetyl as it warms.

M: Full body, moderate carbonation.

O: A little heavy on the smoke from my taste, but the base beer behind it is super tasty.

Dec 08, 2017
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.36/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours deep brown in color, nearly opaque with a one-finger creamy off-white head that eventually disappears completely

S- aroma is dominated with brownie batter up front, along with walnuts, caramel & chocolate judge. Nice barrel notes bring out aromas of woody oak, bourbon, vanilla & toasted coconut. Well rounded complexity

T- slightly sweet up front with plenty of dark roasted malt that brings out come chocolatey elements, as well as some caramel and molasses. Mid-palate brings out the brownie batter flavor that was found in the aroma, with some nutty undertones. The finish brings out the barrel with plenty of oak and bourbon, as well as undertones of vanilla and coconut. Lingers of more bourbon and brownies

M- medium body and moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that continues into a slightly warming finish

O- nice complexity for a porter that delivers a consistent brownie batter flavor that works well with the barrel aging, very good

Oct 20, 2017
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devilmakesthree from Oregon

5/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark and rich in texture, it delights the palate with with smoothe vanilla and brandy, it's nose of oak and and sweet mash. Alcohol warmth smoulders throughout. A fantastic ale, through and through.

Jul 04, 2017
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TrojanRB from California

4.58/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2016 vintage, poured on 12/27/16 into tulip

Inky black appearance, but on the edge of the glass where the light hits just right, deep dark red like smoldering coals

Smells of tobacco, molasses, and caramel.

The taste brings vanilla and toffee to the party...a bit of bourbon as well, but not overpowering

Feels a bit heavier than I would expect from a porter...more into stout territory (semantics to a degree). Not overly oily, lightly carbonated, has a relatively dry finish for the style, with the mild burn of alcohol pleasantly lingering

Dec 27, 2016
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MalarkeyMcGee from California

4.56/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L: Coal black with a caramel head.

S: Caramel and toast. Perfect intense smoked wood porter aroma.

T: Delightful. So smooth and caramely.

F: Full but never cloying. Lighter than a stout as it should be.

O: I feel like I want a smoking jacket and a nice leather bound book to pair with this. I could smoke a pipe and contemplate the universe in my study with the best of them.

Nov 20, 2016
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HattedClassic from Virginia

4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours a nice dark black that has a thin slightly oily texture to it. It's an interesting look for a porter and good one for one that was barrel aged. It has that smoothness you get from the aging while maintaining some of that hefty look.

The smell is decent. It has a nice moderate vanilla smell that must come from the barrel and a light alcohol note to it as well. The other noticeable smell is an interesting smooth bready note from the British Yeast that complements the vanilla. Interestingly, the chocolate is fairly lighter than you would expect.

The taste is pretty good. The British Yeast is fantastic with its banana bread like taste and the light dark chocolate and vanilla notes work well with it. The alcohol also adds a nice bit of sweetness to it.

The feel is interesting. It's still heavy body but very slick and slightly oily. The carbonation is softer and closer to that of a cask ale, which is pretty good.

Overall, a very good beer and one worth seeking out and trying if you can find it.

Nov 10, 2016
Photo of Bradledj
Bradledj from South Carolina

4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bit too smoky for my liking (I don't really like any smoke in my beers at all). A bit thin on mouthfeel, but other than those two gripes, this beer stands up quite well. Plenty of bourbon and chocolate to go around. Not my favorite from FW but damn good, as is expected.

Oct 20, 2016
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HopHunter19 from Missouri

4.87/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A - dark brown black opaque beer, head is lumpy/fizzy mocha that dissipates quick and therefore doesn't leave lacing, appears a little overly carbed
S - smoke, dark chocolate, vanilla, oak, bourbon, light bbq, roasty malts, little tiny bit of booze, pretty much perfect
T - big smoke, bourbon, oak, toasted coconut, vanilla up front, roasty malts, dark chocolate, espresso make up the backbone
M - heavy mouthfeel, overly carbed for the style, slightly less would be nice, alcohol covered, aftertaste is smoke, roasty malts, barrel character
O - amazing beer. Biggest downfall is head doesn't stick and too much carbonation. Otherwise it's great!

Sep 09, 2016
Photo of KevSal
KevSal from California

4.22/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz picked up from the source poured into my badass fw glencairn

looks great in the glass!
smell is a chocolate and bourbon smack in the face, as it warms there's more leather and smokey bacon, smoked malts at full force.
taste is great! follows the nose closely, chocolate and bourbon, as it warms the smokiness starts to come thru.
body is hefty, alch burn in the finish
overall this is an excellent beer, biggest drawbacks however is you have to like smokey beers. that price tag, kinda hold it back too, $25 brewery only, when I can get their reserve beers for $17 out the door. very well done beer though, if your a fan of the original, you'll be in love

Sep 07, 2016
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johnInLA from California

3.89/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Spiegelau tulip.

Black, Light Brown small head which quickly diminishes.

Nose: Initially smoke, cherry as it warms.

Taste: A really nice balanced smokiness, with some barrel notes, some cola. Cherry kicks in as it warms.

Feel: Light-Medium body

Overall: I really like the balanced smokiness with the barrel notes and the late cherry. The body is a bit light for me.

Jul 13, 2016
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neurobot01 from California

4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Barrelworks. This is for the Barrel Aged variant, which spent time in Heaven Hills, Four Roses, and PVW family barrels.

Look: like a fantastic cup of cold brew coffee.

Smell: smoke, raisins, cherry, coffee, alcohol, chocolate truffle, chalk.

Taste: smokey up front, with a fair bit of coffee/cacao bitterness. Gives way to sweeter chocolate notes, but this is fairly different from the normal FW barrel profile. Coconut, vanilla, and pipe tobacco are all detectable, but in the background.

Feel: light side of medium, somewhat dry, with very little alcohol burn for the abv and low carbonation.

Overall: this was a bit hard for me to rate. I'm pretty optimistic that some time will turn this into a Parabola peer, but right now, it's definitely more in Velvet Merkin territory in terms of world-class-ness. Fans of dark chocolate and espresso will probably fare better than the typical BAer, who seems to want BA stouts to taste like liquid diabetes.

Jul 03, 2016
Imperial Walker's Reserve from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 63 ratings