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

very good
642 Reviews
Walker's Reserve - PorterWalker's Reserve - Porter

Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Jason on 11-15-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 642 | Ratings: 1,640
Photo of donkeyrunner
2.1/5  rDev -45.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Dark brown with a thin beige head. No lace and one misshapen swirl of retention like some one spit in my glass. My girlfriends pour looked so much better than mine. +.5 for potential?

Aroma is really weak roasted malt and vanilla. Taste is similarly weak roasted cola. Horribly thin and watery, both taste-wise and in body - like someone deluded a porter with spring water.

WTFF&W? My initial reaction is that his is one of those big beers that sat on the shelf for way too long but F&W hasn't been in MA long enough for that to happen. Huge letdown from what I've found to be an otherwise stellar brewery.

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Photo of hardy008
2.23/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours dark brown with raisin colored highlights. Has a two finger beige head with decent retention and lacing. The aroma has dark roasted malt and chocolate.

There is a lot of charred flavor in the taste. There is charred dark roasted malt, ash, and some chocolate. The charred flavor is what brings the score down. There is no sweetness to balance out the bitterness from the dark roasted malt, which is too bad, because the charred flavor is too strong, and not welcome by me.

Light bodied for the style, decent carbonation, and a charred aftertaste. Not a very good porter in my opinion. I will not seek this out again.

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Photo of schlimenhaumer
2.31/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Picked this up at my local Whole Foods. Allowed to warm slightly before pouring. There was a significant amount of rust around the edges of the cap. Poured into a Southampton snifter at low altitude in NY.

A: Pours an opaque, deep brown color with a bubbly light tan head. A fair amount of retention here, as a cap of head remains on the beer throughout drinking. Good lacing as well.

S: The aroma of this one is relatively faint overall, but there are hints of coffee, dark malts and caramel.

T: Opens with some dark malts that quickly give way to an unpleasant metallic taste -- not sure if this is attributable to the rust on the cap. After drinking most of the bottle, I feel as if I just had a penny on my tongue.

M: Medium-bodied with a slick mouthfeel.

O: This was a disappointment. Not sure if the rust got in the way of the flavors or the beer just isn't that great.

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Photo of RoyalT
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance – This is a dark brown in color with a modest but very dark brown head.

Smell – There is some huge coffee bean in the nose that pretty much dominates all other smells. I can catch an occasional wisp of darkish malts but mostly it’s the coffee beans.

Taste – This tastes like cold coffee with a couple of packets of raw sugar in it.

Mouthfeel – This didn’t make medium-bodied and was much too light for the flavor profile. There’s some modest carbonation to it.

Drinkability – I don’t know what Firestone was shooting for here but whatever it was they missed the mark.

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Photo of teromous
2.53/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: The beer is a very dark brown color, on the verge of being black. It is opaque, with a thin tan head that gives minimal lacing.

S: I pick up a rich caramel smell, light notes of coffee, a resinous smell, and slightly metallic. All scents are fairly subdued.

T: I get very light coffee flavor, tied with roasted grains. The roast flavor isn't very pronounced. There is a light tinge in the beer, slightly metallic. Taste is very thin in this beer, but it's not horrible.

M: It has a light bitterness and is smooth without being too sticky or slick. It feels very light in body, as if it has been watered down some.

O: Overall, I would say this is not a horrible porter, but I would not drink it again unless somebody bought it for me. I would not recommend it to a friend. It is thin and lacking in complexity.

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Photo of lechroy
2.55/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

What happened here. No balls to this beer. After having a nice afternoon with some darker brews, this one stood out like a sore thumb as weak at the knees. Chocolately aroma was quaint but the flavor was thin with little malt and a deadpan finish. I really wanted to like it, but it was honestly quite empty of flavor (read:watery) and was left unfinished at the table

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Photo of BeerManDan
2.59/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance was the plus for me. The color was a deep brown with a fair amount of tan foam that disapated after awhile. Also, there was a fair amount of lace of the side of my glass, a Plus.

Now the smell of roasted malts was pleasant, except then I could smell the piney aroma of IPA hops. I don't want to smell IPA hops in my Porter.

The taste with first sip was of roasted malts, and that lousy bitter IPA hoppy flavor, with just a hint of chocolate. The second sip and beyond was strickly roasted malts and the bitter hoppy flavor.

This is not what I expected in a Porter. Is that what they ment when they bottled and call it "Robust Porter"? You can have it!

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Photo of Crosling
2.63/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown color, bordering on black. Stale dark malt aroma, with notes of mild coffee and chocolate. Flavor is very light and mild, with light notes of cocoa and vanilla. Unfortunately, it tastes and smells dead, in spite of it being unfiltered and bottle conditioned. This thin bodied effort is a major disappointment.

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Photo of greenmonstah
2.68/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Review from old, rather sparse, notes

A - Pours a black color with 2 fingers of head and average lacing.

S - Mellow chocolate with bitter coffee tones. Roasted malts are subtle background players.

T - Taste of roasted malts with a nasty soapy character. Really unenjoyable. Chocolate and coffee notes can't get past the strong soap. Perhaps something is wrong with the bottle, because I can't believe this beer could be well regarded.

M - Soapy and slippery. Medium body with a soapy slickness.

O - Huge disappointment. Almsto undrinkable. Perhaps FW has an issue with QA.

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Photo of Klym
2.71/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours black with reddish brown edges in the light. Slightly violent pour that gave near a two finger head. Plenty of lacing but the bubble construction on the head is pretty unattractive; more reminiscent of dish soap than a good porter.

S: I never wanted to make this comparison in my life, but when I smelled it I was shot back a bit to Bayhawk Chocolate Porter, which, in case you're unfamiliar, should have a spout attached to the bottom to make it easier to drain pour. Old, cheap, and stale chocolate in the nose with overly roasted nuts and some smoke. The smells don't seem very robust for a porter that goes by the name, but we'll see.

T: Roasted nuts and char with old, stale chocolate feebly pumping in some questionable sweetness. The flavors seem to float in the beer instead of having the beer itself embody the flavors. More reminiscent of drinking water with lots of 'beer floaties' in it than drinking actual beer. I just don't get this one.

M: Watery with prickling carbonation that does little to help or hide the flavors. No smoothness or creaminess.

O: I've had nothing but good experiences from firestone walker so far so this came as a surprise. This was a very mediocre porter and I don't see why anyone would drink this more than twice if they've had other porters of even reasonable quality. I still have great respect for Firestone Walker as a brewery but this one shouldn't have left the lab.

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Photo of Murrhey
2.73/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Reviewed live.

A- Very thin tan head with virtually no retention. Deep ruby color, almost black. Minimal carbonation.

S- Roast malts and some chocolate notes. Definite coffee and burnt smells as well. Very robust and warm.

T- Thin flavor, but what is there is nice. Chocolate is biggest taste, with a bitter coffee taste following. Some light fruitiness in the back, but surprisingly light flavored.

M- Extremely light. Beer flavored water with a dab of carbonation. Not good.

O- The smell is nice albeit light, but this beer is seriously lacking in other categories.

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Photo of pants678
2.84/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Opaque, near black with a lighter brown thick head in a tulip glass. Foam has good retention.

Dark chocolate and coffee aroma, very malty, kinda of like bread.

Roasted, not charred, a smooth chocolate more so than coffee. Simple beer with highlights of nuts or fruit, a prominent vanilla with a very easy finish. Could use some edge, stronger hops or spice.

Heavy and creamy, almost more of a stout. So soft that it's not so approachable, really.

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Photo of zoolzoo
2.86/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown, almost black. Slightly off white head, foamy, good retention

S: Faint nutty aromas, smoke, roasted malt, weakness.

T: Bittersweet chocolate, lots of char and roast...somewhat astringent. I feel like I'm picking up some hop residuals as well. Unremarkable.

M: Too light in body, carbonation is medium high. Could do well with more weight.

O: Average at best, not one of FW's stronger offerings.

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Photo of Halcyondays
2.86/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bomber, from BevMo Huntington,

A: Pours a very dark brown, with a full tan head, medium retention, looks like a good porter should in a pint glass.

S: Light roasted malts, chocolate.

T: Flavour consists mostly of roasted malts, coffee and dark chocolate, typical porter flavours, on the light side though. Hints of licorice, molasses, and wood notes evident as well.

M: Really fizzy, for a beer labeled as a Robust Porter, it needs to be robust.

D: Not one of Firestone's best, there are much better American versions on the market, average drinkability at best.

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Photo of EMH73
2.89/5  rDev -25.1%
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.

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Photo of HalfFull
2.96/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber - no freshness info.

Pours an opaque deep brown into a pint glass with an inch or so of tan head. Head reduces in a few minutes and offers some sticky lacing for most of the glass.

Smells of dark chocolate and coffee with some hops underneath. A surprising sense of alcohol given its relative lightness in the ABV department, and particularly since it is a dark brew. As the carbonation decreases, it smells more and more like their Pale or Union Jack. Don't know what that element is, but it ain't good, and seems oddly unnatural.

Taste follows with mostly chocolate notes. Otherwise the beer is sweet and unrefined in my view, just not a great deal of depth, rather simple. Offers a decent feel and a moderately lingering finish, perhaps a bit thin. Drink is decent.

This brew may sneak iinto the 'Robust Porter' ABV range, but is otherwise not too robust in flavor.

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Photo of Reagan1984
2.98/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Remain excited to have Firestone Walker in Massachusetts. Even though shelf sitings are still fairly rare, it’s a treat to see some of their offerings. I have never tried this one and was looking forward to sharing the bottle at a recent Stout/Porter tasting. I would have bet, based on my overall opinion of Firestone, that this would have been one of the hits of the night. Imagine my surprise when it was the dog, along with a sour/bad Abyss. Frankly don’t get it. Was not very good at all. Nothing technically wrong with the beer other than it wasn’t exciting and the body was too thin.

Shiny dark brown in color with a decent tan head. Some spotty lacing.

Aroma was of dark roasted malts. Maybe a touch of coffee.

Flavor was one dimensional and thin. Roasty but not interesting in the least.

Body was just too thin. Vanished out of your mouth and memory before you knew what hit you.

Won’t be back for this one, but still love the brewery as a whole.

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Photo of froghop
3.03/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

clear dark brown with a red tint when held to the light, a medium size khaki head, and some lacing.

smell is of some cour malt, and some cocoa.

taste is a little watery, sour malt, cocoa, almost cola like, and a little caramel.

overall just an average porter.

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Photo of TheDTrain
3.06/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The train makes a quick pitstop in Cali to try Firestone
Walkers Reserve Porter. Thanks to BeerFM Andy for sharing this brew!? Nice dark dark java brown color but not much in nose....a few hints of coffee, malts & earth tones. Taste is big and dirty but with nothing that is really pleasant on the senses. A big & bold porter with undertones of coco, molasses, & coffee but far too muddled and unfomfortable to be enjoyed.

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Photo of PDXHops
3.06/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap in a shaker pint. Very dark brown with a finger or so of dense tan head. Good retention with a couple of lace rings up top.

Straightforward roasty aromas, nothing wrong with that. Tastes more tangy than roasty, with just a hint of chocolate to try and take the edge off. Lightish medium bodied with a slightly roasted finish. A spike of bitterness provides more interest than the malt profile. Dry and quaffable, but not particularly memorable.

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Photo of tut2528
3.06/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: pours a jet black like any other porter creating about ½ finger worth of head retention on a conservative pour. Head is cream-white in color and when the brew is held directly up to the light, dark brown notes are apparent.

S: Really surprised with the lack of complexity with this offering from FW. I pick up on a lot of barley, grass and oak aspects, some dark chocolate but its more on the subtle side and there is also some mild dark fruits.

T: Dark chocolate, oak, grass, and oats really come out in this one. Complexity is lacking beyond this aspects but I do find some coffee grounds as it becomes room temp.

M: medium bodied, doesn’t leave much of a taste on the tongue other than a grassy and oat note

O: by far my least favorite offering by FW. The complexity is lacking and I find the components that comprise the brew to be quite out of balance.

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Photo of jamesDaExMoBeerGuy
3.07/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured dark and tan, a few fingers of foam that lasted but for a few seconds and left plentiful lacing on the glass.

Smell was almost absent - for a dark beer that looked so tempting in the glass it seemed nearly void of aroma, but for a mild hint of bread and malt.

The taste was equally subtle, crisp (too crisp) carbonation overwhelmed the flavor of malt and yeast, which eventually gives away to very slight bitter and smoky flavor.

The beer feels thin, light, and does not get beyond the subtleness that starts with the smell and continues through the finish, leaving only but the most hidden smoky malt.

Given my likeness for the other beers in the Firestone Walker lineup, this one was a let down.

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Photo of hustlemuscle
3.08/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

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Photo of burnerfinger
3.09/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

BIG DISAPPOINTMENT. Got this at the supermarket, the display show "reviewbeer" rating as 100, so I knew I had to get this one.

poured from the 22 oz bomber into my mew Belgium goblet:

A dark like a cola - completely opaque. slightly THIN head left light lacing

S a bit metallic, with malty sweetness

T a bite along with sweeness - but somehow lacking any flavor

M outstanding - creamy and good

D average at best - WAY south of "100"

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.1/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter

08/25/11 printed on the bottle

Pours a dull, medium brown, settling a bit darker. Very faint grape juice highlight. One and a half finger, porous head drops quickly leaving a skim of retention, a thick collar and scattered lace.

Notes of tangy roast, chocolate, dark grains, vanilla, peanut butter and a hint of earthiness. Reasonably full aroma considering the moderate abv.

Flavors of roasted coffee (with accompanying bitterness), cocoa and chocolatey grains. Tangy roast turns to a more substantial middle with a modest sweetness carrying the finish.

A plump, light-medium. While there is an underlying smoothness, top carbonation is a bit prickly and tampers too much with the body. Finishes with residual roast and dryness.

There are some good things happening here, but I think it could be a lot better with a few tweaks.

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Walker's Reserve - Porter from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
3.86 out of 5 based on 1,640 ratings.
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