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

very good
1,643 Ratings
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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Ratings: 1,643 |  Reviews: 642
Photo of brstls4drmrs
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks pest for this extra.

A - Pours a dark brown color with a light tan froth about an inch thick. A nice ring sticks around with some froth sticking to the glass.

S - A nice dark roasty scent with some coffee beans and hints of dark chocolate.

T - Roasty bomb for sure with coffee in there as well. Not much else for me though.

M - A little thin but well carbonated with an interesting smooth fizz feel.

O - Its pretty good.

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Photo of raznug
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: This pours like a good porter should brown in color with reddish hues when held up to the light topped with a ½” dark tan head that dissipates rather quickly.
Smell: Roasted and chocolate notes dominate the nose followed by hints of bitterness (hops possibly).
Taste: It has a blend of roasted and a bitterness that comes from the malt, I didn’t enjoy at first but as the beer warms I am warming up to it, very tasty beer.
Mouthfeel: It feels rather thin on the palate but the flavor lingers rather nicely.

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Photo of ummswimmin
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this bottle into a snifter. On the pour I got a couple fingers of tan head on the very black body.

I get some decent coffee notes in the smell. There wasn't much more than that.

The very drinkable body had an enjoyable flavor of coffee and caramel. The flavor wasn't very strong. It was nice as an accompanyment to my steak.

At $6, this is a very good deal for a porter of this quality. I thought it was pretty good.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Purchased a bottle for $5.99. Seemed like a good deal for such a popular brewery. Served into a Brooklyn Brewery goblet. Very dark brown body. Nice looking light tan head forms and sticks around for a bit. Noticeable lacing on the glass. A great looking beer. Smell was a lot like of espresso and black licorice, but not very intense. Taste was very pleasant. Lots of notes of bittersweet chocolate and coffee. Just a slight bitterness on the palate at the end. Mouthfeel was glaringly thin. If you are going to call it a "robust porter", then I would expect it to be robust. On the contrary, it was more like a black ale. In the end, I really liked this beer, but I would have loved it if the body was beefed up just a bit more.

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.32/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: deep brown/black body, trace tan head, no lacing

S: roasted nuts, mild cocoa nibs, caramel, toffee,
hint of coffee?

T: mild sweet cocoa front, roasted nuts + malt
mild bitter coffee finish

M: med/light body, prickly/bubbly mouth

O: My 1st FW offering that I was disappointed.
Perhaps, if someone rarely drank Porters
this would be fine, but I love them and this
is lacking the smooth/creamy mouth feel.


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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.89/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, hazy brown colour, with a filmt but fine ring of coffee-coloured foam at the edges of the glass. Minimal body, minimal lacing, and, in fact, the lack of any sort of head forming is a bit of a disappointment. Otherwise, it's alright.

Nose is pleasantly balanced between a sharp coffee bite, and a smoothness of creamy vanilla. Mellow and light, but pretty well representative. There's a touch of thick, slightly goopy under-attenuated malt to it, but otherwise, it's nicely held together.

Light and pleasant on the palate, lifted by a decent jolt of roast grain bittersweetness on the back. Initial characters of dusty cocoa and light roast coffee get taken on an upswell in the bitterness stakes. Feel is light throughout, which is fine for the style, and accentuates the sharp roasty, charring character in the finish. I can see a bigger version going for something bigger, with more sweetness to compensate as well.

Overall, a nice brew, and one that is surprisingly gentle and drinkable. Despite this, it packs plenty of flavour, and feels pretty solid throughout.

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Photo of BHOBS
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served slightly chilled in a 17oz snifter...

A: Super brown. Not quite black, but close. Pours with a small amount of cream colored head, which dissipates in a few minutes.

S: Mostly roast with a small amount of bitter chocolate. Typical porter on the nose.

T: Forward roastiness and cocoa with a distinct sweetness to it, almost like it has a small amount of a brown ale character to it. Very balanced on sweet to roast flavor. Not high ABV, so no glaring alcohol presence in the taste.

M: Has the perfect viscosity to it. Right there in the middle, not too thick, not too thin, coating the glass as you sip. Carbonation is just a touch on the heavier side, but not offensively so.

O: Great porter. I dont usually seek out any porters, but I always seem to enjoy most of what FW puts out, so I grabbed one. I poured the whole bomber down my gullet pretty easily... I dont know if I would pick this up again, as its not my preferred style, but it was an interesting and very drinkable beer to try out.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours nearly black. When held up to the light it is actually a very dark brown. Tan head is creamy and leaves much lacing. The head simmers, then retains for most of the glass.

S-Not too powerful in the nose. Roasty and some light coco/chocolate. Mellow nuttiness as well.

T-Roasty and a bit chocolatey. This is the nuttiest porter I have ever had. Tastes like a chocolate covered nut. I enjoy the nutty flavor but am a bit surprised by it. Flavor is mellow but subtly tasty.

M-Creamy feel. One of the creamier porters. Nice feel. Mellow bubbles. Slick and almost stout like. Medium bodied leaning toward heavy.

O/D-Pretty decent beer. Easy to imbibe and the creamy feel is enticing. Overall, a pretty good porter. Flavor is good but not great, but the mouthfeel is awesome. Great on tap.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into a New Belgium globe.

A: Very dark brown, almost black. Two inch khaki-colored head. Good retention. An even coating of delicate, tiny-bubbled lacing remains on the glass.

S: Cola-like sugary sweetness, dark chocolate, confectioners sugar, touch of vanilla, malt balls. Underlying whiff of plum and berries. Very sweet on the nose.

T: Very sweet and sugary up front. Woody tastes overtake the sweetness and provide some welcome balance. Plum and currant darkfruit flash quickly over the tongue. Woody and smokey tastes build again. Dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans come to the forefront just before the finish. Dries a bit and finishes with lingering smokey tastes.

M: Medium bodied. Low level of carbonation pricks at the tongue. A bit velvety.

O: Good, but nothing remarkable. Very, very sweet on the nose, but thankfully that doesn't fully carry over into the taste.

Notes: A solid enough porter. Certainly wouldn't mind drinking it again, though I don't feel the price is justified.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.56/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bomber courtesy of smakawhat in a recent trade. Thanks for all the brews man!

From a bomber into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: Pours a two finger, medium-thick, fluffy, light tan / off-white head with very good retention. Clear black body with higher levels of carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a good full wisp and clings to the sides. A splotchy wisp remains until the end and leaves some dots of lacing down the glass. Good looking brew.

SMELL: Medium nose of dark malts, caramel, and some dark chocolate. A light touch of smoke in there too. Nice, though a little too mild.

TASTE: Dark malts, caramel notes, and some dark chocolate on the swallow. Follows the nice nicely, though has a little more boldness that the nose lacked. A medium but persistent aftertaste has dark malts, some cocoa powder and some nice, bitter chocolate. A touch of black licorice lingers as well.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Light on the palate, semi-creamy, goes down smooth and finishes slightly dry.

OVERALL: A good, solid porter that I’d gladly have again. The nose could be a little bolder and the palate slightly heavier, but otherwise, this is another impressive and enjoyable brew from Firestone Walker. Thanks for the bottle Smakawhat. Recommended.

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Photo of MrVonzipper
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy cola brown but black in glass. Bubbly khaki head with fairly low retention and lacing.

Nose is pretty much one note. Dark malt, faint chocolate.

Nice robust flavor and balance. Mild dark chocolate and roasted malt and nuts.

Medium bodied, maybe a touch on the thin side. Medium carbonation.

Overall a good but not amazing porter. I've had this many times and feel like it was better than this. I gotta try again and re-review in the future.

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Photo of drcarver
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - deep brown body with medium brown highlights. small light brown head with a mix of large and small carbonation. fades quickly with bits of lacing across the top. Classic

S - roasted malt and char. sweet, caramel notes. coffee hints.

T/M - deep flavors of roasted malt. creamy. bitterness towards the end from the roast and reminiscent of coffee. alcohol hints at the nose. dry finish with a long lasting aftertaste.

O - a nice classic porter.

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Photo of skibumma70
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a classic Robust Porter. Nothing over the top in any flavors here, with light hints of coffee and chocolate. The look of this beer is very dark, with a thick tan creamy frothy head that doesn't quit. It is what every porter should look like. The smell is very pleasing of morning coffee. The mouthfeel is above average for a porter, it is as creamy and smooth as it looks. Each sip goes down very easy... It's (sip) a pretty (sip) good beer (sip). It's (sip) better than (sip...sip...sip) I thought (sip) and gets (sip..sip...sippp) better as it warms up (gulp...)!

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Photo of tobelerone
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big fluffy tan head on an opaque, black/brown beer. Nicely malty and roasty aroma. Big bittersweet chocolate taste, lots of roast malt with subtle coffee-like notes in the background. Hops are downplayed in a good way.

Creamy mouthfeel, medium long finish, nicely bitter without overdoing it. Classic porter taste; fairly traditional. It's not huge in any way, easy to drink, reminding me of the old school English porters, and I like that.

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Photo of zaphodchak
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1 finger creamy tan head, opaque brown body with brown highlights. Super-retaining, some lace.

Smells creamy with some malt.

Powerfully smoky, almost ashy, dry/bitter coffee. Balanced, not too dry. Oatmeal sweetness balances it out as it warms.

Ephemeral carbonation. Could be richer?

Good, but maybe not 'reserve' material. Balanced and unintimidating for something claiming to be 'robust'.

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Photo of jcartamdg
3.76/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lighter black with a two finger light brown fluffy head. Aroma is subdued with feint roasted malts and coffee. Taste is far more intense than the nose. Rich roasted malts, light sweetness and hops in the back. Smooth and easy to drink, this porter is awesome.

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Photo of maximum12
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to sholland119 for this bottle along with a couple of his delicious homebrews. If this Firestone brew is as good as those, I'll be well pleased. Popped open & shared with my wife while watching my poor AAA Twins get whupped, again.

Sliding into the pint glass is a thick, dark brown porter. Carbonation, check. Smell is having an absence seizure. If I use my imagination I feel a bit of chocolate & sweet malt. Maybe. Grows a touch on warming.

Firestone Walker's Reserve Robust Porter belies the smell & is loaded with flavor. Rich chocolate malt busts a move, & there's a nice flare of roast hooking up with it. Given that this bottle is three months or more old, there's a surprisingly strong slap shot of hop bitterness in the finish. Easy to slug. I could see taking down the bomber oneself, given the relatively restrained ABV, lovely creamy mouthfeel, & sense that this is a nice, gentle beer that would wash your hair for you in warm water if it could.

Hits the porter sweet-spot, & mixes up the tastes like Picasso's lesser known brother. Good? No. Excellent. This is simply an exquisite brewery, & if more people could make a simple porter this well, I'd drink a lot more of them.

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Photo of JayS2629
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black with a huge creamy tan head that sticks around and clings to the glass leaving big sea foam lacing.

The aroma is of chocolate, toffee, hints of coffee, earth, and smoke. Very inviting.

The flavors follow the nose with a great balanced of chocolate and toffee with vanilla hints. Coffee and earthy qualities are in the back with a very faint smokey hint.

Great balance, rich and creamy with a smooth finish.

Awesome porter. Very drinkable and complex.

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Photo of andrewinski1
3.36/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tapered pint glass. The color is very dark amber/black with a nice light tan head of about two inches. There is a lot of sticky lacing.

The aroma is roasted coffee with just a hint of grassy hops. The aroma is particularly powerful.

The taste starts out with bitter roasted flavor followed by a bit of bitter hops in the finish. This is relatively dry and the hops are light in flavor.

The body is light to medium and there is slightly heavy carbonation that covers the tongue completely.

This is pretty easy drinking and the flavors are good. I find the balance to be heavy on the roasted flavors without much chocolate.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Dark brown color and a thin khaki colored head. Messy and lined lacing down the glass.

The aroma is of a classic American porter: roasted malts, a touch of coffee and chocolate, some char, and a bit of caramel.

Rich flavors of roasted malt, caramel, a little bit of toffee, some chocolate, and a mild bitterness make this an incredibly drinkable, very delicious, classic porter.

Medium to full bodied.

A great, classic American porter.

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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 nezelrac
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

served in a snifter

A - dark brown with mahogany highlights; nice dense bubbly head with good retention and some lacing

S - delicious aromas of dark malt, toffee, coffee, caramel; dark chocolate notes; some hops lurking in the background; really inviting

T - layers of malt flavors - caramel, toffee, toast; also some dried stone fruits and chocolate; the mid-palate picks up some significant richness; good length, too

M - really very smooth despite the firm edge from the dark malts; good CO2 - moderate-low;

O - this is excellent porter! great job

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Firestone Walker! Another California brewery that I don’t have access to in Indiana, but, thanks to the great world of beer trading, I am able to try. I was lucky enough to get a bottle of Abacus and Parabola, but I’m starting off with Walker’s Reserve. Porters are definitely my style, especially this time of the year. Cheers!

Thanks to tripelhops for the bottle. You’re a great trader, Brian!

A: I’m getting a nice porter color from this one: deep brown, but not too dark. The head is a beige beauty, thick yet bubbly, that keeps its creaminess for more than a moment and leaves some spectacular lacing. This porter looks damn good!

S: Ah, just the right mixture of decadent American and traditional British scents. I can sense the slightly bitter scent of mineral water, accompanied by some mild porter malts in the front. Soon, though, the big tones of dark chocolate and impressive caramel roasts show up. They smell awesome, especially for a beer this low in ABV. And to top it all off, you can make out just the beginning of some piney, slightly flowery American hops once the other aromas die off. It’s complexity in the shell of a mild, unassuming beer; if you’re not looking for them, I’m sure you wouldn’t even make out some of the less noticeable scents.

T: Coffee roasts upfront, followed by a creamy malted caramel. The mineral tastes are instantly recognizable right after, though they only stay for a moment. The hops are next, mild and a little disappointing, but not without their flowery merit. A bit of smoke and coffee, and that’s all, folks. The aftertaste consists mostly of a coffee bitterness, and a little bit of pine bite from the hops. It’s a palate that I wouldn’t count among my favorite porters, but it’s a good representation of the style.

M: Pretty watery, in fact. There’s a decent amount of micro-fizz, which is nice, but it does nothing to distract me from the thinness of the body. It just feels lacking, even for such a low ABV.

O: This is a pretty good porter. It didn’t strike me as special in any way, really, but I’d be willing to try it again if I could ever get it on-tap. In fact, the smoke in the flavor would be a really good accompaniment to any sort of grilled meat, and the feel doesn’t seem thick enough to weigh you down when paired with a sizable meal. Nice dinner beer? I think so.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a nonic.

Pours a dark brown almost black hue with amber highlights round the edges. Fluffy/airy off white three finger head. While light penetrates at the edges no light gets through most of inky body. Head dies down to a solid layer of foam on top, and leaves nice lacing behind. It's basically the quintessence of a porter as far as looks are concerned.

The nose disappoints a tiny bit compared to its striking good looks, but improves as the beer opens up a bit. Roasted and biscuit malt fragrances are most apparent. Some light fruity esters. Hints of dusty cocoa are there too.

Toasted bread, biscuit, a light roast/smokey note, and subtle dark chocolate presence, all accompanied by light fruity esters throughout. The finish is smokey with moderate bitterness.

The mouthfeel is nice. Carbonation is low, smooth, seemingly light bodied (I guess light end of medium body). Nice, but mellow acidic/carbonic bite on the finish.

An incredibly well crafted porter. It always surprises me that Firestone's moto is "Passion for the Pale." It should really be "Dedication to the Dark." Seriously, between Parabola, Merkin, and this, Firestone is at the top of their game when they brew anything dark.

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Photo of jtingue
3.89/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

5/12/11 vintage. Poured into a snifter.

Appearance. Pours a thin black-brown. About a finger of head quickly dissipates to a thin lace around the glass. Minimal lacing and no alcohol feet.

Smell. Lots of roasty character that is complemented well by a bready yeast aroma. In addition there is a building sweetness.

Taste. Starts out sweet and slightly bitter, with a spice reminiscent of allspice. This turns to a bitter, dry, roasted maltiness. Next is a sweet, but bitter chocolate flavor. The finish has a building bitterness and is fairly dry.

Mouthfeel. Thin body on this one. Not to say that I expect a porter to have a thick body, but this just leaves something for me to be desired. A nice amount of tight carbonation makes up for the lack of body.

One of the better porters I've had, but still doesn't measure up to my benchmark porter: Edmund Fitzgearld...

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Walker's Reserve - Porter from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
3.86 out of 5 based on 1,643 ratings.
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