Walker's Reserve - Porter
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Walker's Reserve - PorterWalker's Reserve - Porter
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Porter - American
3.9 | pDev: 10.77%
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Walker's Reserve - PorterWalker's Reserve - Porter
Notes: 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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Reviews: 645 | Ratings: 1,647 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of RyanK252
RyanK252 from California

4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Firestone Walker Taproom Restaurant

A: Pours dark brown with slight copper tones and a frothy khaki head that settles to a light layer and leaves a little spotty lacing.

S: Roasty, earthy, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, dark fruit, faint smoke, earthy herbal notes, and toffee sweetness.

T: Roasty, black coffee, a little dark chocolate, faint smoke, a little dark fruit, plum and cherry, earthy herbal notes, and toffee sweetness.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation.

O: Happy to see this one brought back in their throwback series. Really solid porter with a lot of flavor packed in a very reasonable ABV.

Dec 30, 2018
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EMH73 from New York

2.89/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

I was incredibly disappointed by this beer. It was thin and watery with very little carbonation. When the best aspect of a beer is how it looks in the glass you know you've got a problem.

Jun 20, 2016
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Bierliebhaber3 from Massachusetts

4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is a pitch black porter with a very thin white head. The smell is rich and of molasses, plum, and a little bit of alcohol. The flavor is of molasses, plum, toffee, chocolate, and a little coffee. It is a very rich, sweet, and heavy. It is incredibly smooth and the finish is very creamy. This is a really great dessert porter. Some people would probably complain that it’s a little too sweet, but I am actually kind of into that with porters. It is everything that their Velvet Merlin stout isn’t, which in my opinion is good. My only complaint would be that it’s only 6% alcohol and I think you could have put more into this, maybe even made it an imperial stout without having the alcohol be overwhelming with the kind of bold flavors it has going on here. I am not really a big fan of Firestone Walker, but I think this is the best beer I have ever tried of theirs hands down.

Jun 08, 2016
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tkdchampxi from New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

I managed to happen across a few bottles on a random shelf and bought 2 for $5.99 a piece. Didn't realize how old they were without a bottle date. The cap seems to suggest it's from 2010, but it could also be the date that the beer won an World Beer Cup award.

The beer was great, btw. Aged beautifully, with just a hint of dark fruit that develops with age. Otherwise, smooth, with nice chocolate and cherry qualities. Still poured a reddish brown with a 1 cm caramel head. Very glad to have tried it.

Jan 12, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.46/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Substantial deep brown pour, lighter brown head on it, mixed with some red color thrown in there. Aroma wasn't pungent, some roasted malt, a little constrained compared to a lot of their other dark brews.

Taste was good and chewy, nutty, tiny bit of chocolate malt perceptible. Hopping was up there, but the bitterness was not. A solid beer, but in the bomber format, meh, grab a sixer of velvet merkin instead.

Dec 18, 2015
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manfromanotherplace from New York

4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

For 5 bucks a bottle this is a bargain, not up there with the very best porters ive had, but this is still a very good beer. If you are a fan of porters this is an excellent choice, great aroma and sweet choclatey flavour.very good.

Sep 17, 2015
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neurobot01 from California

4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On draught; apparently, this keg has been sitting in a FW warehouse since the beer was discontinued, and brought out for a special event in SB. Held up surprisingly well with age for a <6% beer.

Mar 20, 2015
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breadwinner from California

4.28/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Too bad this one went the way of the buffalo, because I thought a really darn good porter, rich in feel, and with a great mix of coffee and roast notes. Ah well, you can't always get you want, or so they say.

Feb 22, 2015
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Jeffreysan from Maryland

4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch black color with very little head, but what head it did pour, quickly formed a thin halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Nice aromas of caramel, chocolate, brown sugar, though surprising, not much in the way of aromas of roasted malt or hops.

Taste: There’s some nice flavors of roasted malt present at first, followed by some very tasty flavors of caramel, chocolate, brown sugar-like sweetness, finished by some very nicely balanced hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied to slightly chewy and pretty smooth, as there is very little carbonation. With an ABV of 5.8%, there is no presence of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a very, very good porter. Great flavors of malt, caramel and a touch of chocolate and hops, wrapped up in a chewy/creamy session-able quaff.

Jan 15, 2015
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Bonsall_Phil from California

3.66/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

bottled 12-02-13; over year old in the bottle
other than a slight musty smell the taste and body have held up well.
There is very little toffee and caramel sweetness left in 12 months, but the lingering grains are quite nice and this beer was very drinkable at 1 year. Up front, one can expect to enjoy the finely roasted malts leading the way... grab one and enjoy if your path should cross it.

Shown as retired, this review assumes the commercial description was accurate and is meant to only describe that the beer held up at the 1 year year mark.

Dec 19, 2014
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woemad from Washington

4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle found in the closet that is the closest thing I have to a beer cellar. I’d totally forgotten I had this. According to the stamp on the neck, this was bottled on April 19, 2012! I have no idea if it’s still drinkable.

Poured a dark brown color that only barely lightened when held up to bright light. Big, creamy light tan head with lots of lace. It certainly doesn’t look like it’s been languishing in the bottle for nearly 2 ½ years.

Roasty, brown sugary and mildly chocolaty in the nose at first pour. As it warms the chocolate aroma increases, maturing into a sweet – but not cloying - milk chocolate scent.

The bitter, coffee-like roastiness noted in the nose is what first hits the taste buds. It is matched by the brown sugary and chocolaty sweetness, which adds depth without overwhelming things. This tastes surprisingly well-balanced for something that should be past its prime.

The body is relatively full, with a mouthfeel that is creamy, coating and yet slighty dry at the finish. Carbonation is spot-on.

I have no idea if this was intended as a hoppy take on a porter or not, since any such hoppiness would have long since faded. I’m not into hops standing out in a porter, so if that was the case, forgetting about it may have accidentally improved it. A yummy, slightly robust porter that was worth the wait, even if I didn’t remember I was waiting!

Sep 28, 2014
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gillagorilla from Maryland

4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. bottle poured into a Burley Oak snifter (Bottle Date: 10/25/13 13:42, probably one of the last runs)

A: Light tan head that is minimal and rapidly dissipates. Leaves a collar with some big bubbles. No lacing for me. Pitch black body in the glass. You can only see that it is dark brown and a bit transparent when you cup the glass and tilt it.

S: Subtle hoppiness that melds well with the sweet, roasted malts. Great smell here that is a bit subdued but possibly from the six months or so of age on it.

T: This is super drinkable and easy going. Slight bit of hops to offset the malts here. I would say that it has a tinge of being a bit watery but that might be from the light body and smooth drink-ability of this.

M: Smooth with lots of nice velvety bubbles awash in my mouth.

O: This is excellent and I'm glad that I picked up a bottle before it was gone from shelves. I understand that they are shaking up their portfolio, by expanding their barrel program, which includes the debut of Bottleworks beers, and their debut to canning. I guess a porter just doesn't fit in with their big stouts, but they sure do know how to make a good porter. I just hope that Lil Opal is good and a suitable replacement for this great beer.

May 04, 2014
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Karibourgeois from Texas

4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark black pour with a slightly off-white one-finger head. Really nice flavor that balances between sweet and bitter. A bit of both caramel and coffee upfront. Medium body is very smooth and creamy. Can taste some hints of cocoa, vanilla and roasted grain/malt. Finishes with a light roasted and bitter flavor.

Apr 10, 2014
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whatthehull from California

4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

July 26th 2011 (from notes)

A - super deep brown, one finger very tan head and some okay lacing

S - lots of vanilla and chocolate, nice oak, nutty, very sweet, toasted grains and malts

T - nice coffee, milk chocolate, toffee, nutty, vanilla, slightly hoppy, nice Toastiness, great malt and some wood/earth

M - fluffy, well balanced, nice complexity, low acidity, medium long finish and medium dry

D - no matter light or dark big or balanced, this beer is for you.

Final thought - at less than 6% ABV this beer isn't for getting tossed. But at only $4 this is a great beer

Mar 28, 2014
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flyingpig from Scotland

4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

650ml Bottle from Brewdog Glasgow (£11, 5.8%):
Dark brown to black a 1.5cm, foamy, light brown head that settles as a nice, thick lacing after a minute.

Slightly sweet with some light coffee & some chocolate coming through on top of some dark malts and a sugar base. The aroma seemed like a creamy one and was very enjoyable on the nose.

Dark malts & faint coffee with some sweetness from some caramel malts. There is a very faint hop bitterness to the beer that accompanies the chocolate and nutty taste of this one, & the beer is rounded off with some faint, background spice at the end.

Ridiculously smooth and creamy with a medium body and light medium carbonation on top of that. The drink proved a fast and easy on to finish with a lot of flavour on the palate and some touches of smoke along with a dry finish helps this one to end perfectly.

Such a good beer & more than worth the steep price with an amazing taste & great mouthfeel. A pleasure to drink from the start & refreshingly enjoyable given the fact the beer was a good session offering with the alcohol content remaining fairly low, particularly for an American craft beer.

Mar 18, 2014
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Tsar_Riga from Indiana

4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Mostly opaque brown, with some red highlights at the edge. Head is small, with little lacing.

S - Roasted malts, with chocolate notes, and a surprisingly strong note of booze. I've had BBA with less alcohol in the nose, and the ABV is low enough that this element being so forward is somewhat surprising.

T - This offers an interesting range of malt flavors, the core being a roasted flavor heavy on nib and toasted grain. A strong bitter undercurrent is paired with caramel notes. The alcohol comes into the finish, trailing off into a subtle, but not overpowering drying.

M - This is not a particularly creamy porter. It's virtue is in how light and clean the beer drinks, given the flavors at play.

O - A shame this beer is on the way out, since I only just found it (Firestone Walker is not distributed in my home state; I found it at a bottle shop during a trip to DC). With a complex taste, this brew offers a fine example of what a carefully crafted beer can coax from the porter style. Well done.

Mar 08, 2014
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kdahnke123 from Indiana

3.56/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12/2/13 Bottling. Poured into a stemless red wine glass at room temperature.
A - Pours a deep brown color with a two finger tan head. The head quickly dissipates to a lacy film.
S - A tart, citrusy smell with a malty background.
T - Chocolate and roast coffee up front with slightly bitter finish.
M - Rather thin with minimal carbonation. No mouth coating at all.
O - A little heavy on the roast and could have used more malt to round it out. Not my favorite porter but not bad.

Mar 05, 2014
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Uanof from Texas

4.61/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An excellent porter in all of it's greatness. I must admit the ratings don't lie, slowly receding two inch frothy head, solid black color, faint toffee to the nose, medium body with slight dryness to the mouth and flavors of toffee and bittersweetness complement in the palate very nicely. Super enjoyable, highly recommended for anyone who's new and old to craft beer.

Feb 22, 2014
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a0lbudman from Alabama

4.46/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-dark brown to black color with a small brown head that leaves a small lacing
S-roasted coffee with a slight hop and malt aroma
T-roasted coffee and malt comes in at the front then you get a nice hop bitterness in the aftertaste that stays with you til the end along with a slight chocolate flavor
M-full body and medium carbonation
T-I love the balance of this beer, I tasted the roasted taste and a coffee taste along with the nice hop bitterness was great

Feb 10, 2014
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ArrogantB from Colorado

4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Euclid Hall and served in a tulip. At first I thought it really should have been served in a pint glass but this was complex enough that a tulip was nice. Dark brown-black color, small head. Aroma was malty, hints of cocoa. Flavor was a really nice mix of wood and dark malts. It was surprisingly complex, I didn't remember it being do good in the bottle.

Feb 09, 2014
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TheDoctor from Canada

4.26/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark cola black with a nice inch tall tan head that eventually becomes a relatively healthy film and a little ring around the glass edge. Okay retention (head pops right back to full size with a little swish in the glass); spotty but substantial lacing.

Oats and honey on the whole. Almost reminds me of a barn in that respect. Caramel and chocolate malts, tire, a hint of alcohol sourness, licorice, dirt.

Rich and smooth with lots of dark, nutty flavors. Dark bread, oats, nuts, weak coffee, and the tiniest hop astringency at the end.

Smooth and slightly creamy. Coating semi-sweetness that gets a bit sticky but doesn't wear you out. Medium bodied. Fabulous.

Really fine Porter!
This is a delicious and thoroughly enjoyable beer. It is not the most over-the-top beer and honestly some may even find it on the verge of boring; but for what it is, it is very good.
It is all right looking and has a lovely and complex aroma. The taste and palate are where it really shines. In both cases this is because it is so 'together' that it is hard to find anything wrong with it. The taste is so 'together' that I have a hard time picking out individual flavors beyond the lovely and whole mixture that it is (maybe my tongue is having an off day...) and the mouthfeel is so complete and drinkable-but-filling that it seems to be a perfect beer to have a few pints of at the pub (which I have been lead to believe is an important characteristic in English styles).
Would definitely have again; worth trying, a standard-bearer for sure.

Feb 05, 2014
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blindtiger24 from Colorado

4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber ported into an imperial pint glass.

A: Pours an opaque color with a mocha head that is frothy and soapy and clings in splotches on the side of the glass. Soda-like carbonation that fizzes in small batches and pokes through the head.

S: Slight aroma of anise, coca nibs, graham cracker, and cherry cola.

T: A fairly bitter and smoky porter that imparts some sweetness. Dark cherries, slightly burnt toast, pepper, dark, bitter chocolate and some toffee.

M: Creamy most of the way through with a brief singe of bitterness from roasted malt and chocolate. Some smokiness in the finish as well. Carbonation is noticeable throughout and helps lighten this up from being a full-on full bodied beer.

O: A pretty looking beer that has enticing scents and awesome mouthfeel. Smokier than I was expecting, which isn’t a bad thing, but if not for the carbonation the overall experience might have too much spice and be over-drying.

Jan 24, 2014
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microbrewlover from Pennsylvania

4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew pours black with a little plumb color when held up to the light. There is a thick, persistent, mocha colored head and thick lacing which stays on the glass until the end.

The smell is burnt malts, burnt coffee and chocolate. There is a slightly boozy smell as well as a toasted oat smell.

Taste follows the nose; it is heavy on burnt coffee and burnt malts. There is chocolate as well as a little booze. There is also a light smokey flavor.

The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, this beer goes down easily with no aftertaste.

Overall this is a very good, very smooth porter. Those who are put off by heavy burnt taste and bitterness of other porters might like this one; it goes down smoothly.

Jan 12, 2014
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scotorum from Massachusetts

3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from the 22 oz. bottle into an Innis & Gunn flute.

a: Dark ruby with an inch and a half tall tan head which receded to thin surface foam and a little spotty lacing.

s: Dark fruit.

t: Mild dark malt and some tinges of raisin. Initial smoky finish turns dry.

m: Light, especially for a porter. Almost watery, but not enough to detract from the drinking experience.

o: A very easy drinking and pleasant porter, milder tasting than most. Would make a fine dinner accompaniment but is also sippable on its own. "Elegant dark ale" is a good summary. Worth paying the six bucks for every once in awhile.

Jan 06, 2014
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keithmurray from Connecticut

4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 5.20.2013

Appearance - dark mahogany body with fluffy tan head

Smell - molasses, chocolate, toffee

Taste - molasses, toffee, hint of coffee, some woodsiness in the finish

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium carbonation, good flavor, picking up some oak/ wood in the finish

Overall - maybe not the best value, but a good porter that I'm glad to have tried

Price Point - $5.99/22 oz bottle

Dec 31, 2013
Walker's Reserve - Porter from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 1647 ratings