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: 643
Photo of CaptFrothy
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: 22 oz bottle into a Triple Karmeliet tulip, double espresso black, thin ring of brown iceing.
S: coffee beans mixed with chocolate.

T: creamy, chocolaty coffee beans. Silky, roasty and real clean after taste. .

M: A little bit more carbination than I usually like in a porter, but it works here and prolly contributes to the clarity of the aftertaste.

Overall a creamy, coffee chocolate clean finisher, excellent, list this amongst my favorite porters now.

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Photo of DrinkingDrake
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint. A lot of carbonation is present running up the glass and there is a pinkies worth of tan frothy head. Big sticky bubbles remain around the sides and top. Color is not quite black. It definitely has a brown tinge. Nose is sweet chocolate, caramel, barley and heavily roasted coffee beans. Flavor is smooth and plain for that first instant but after a quick carbonation tingle your palette opens up to a bite of coffee, milky chocolate and molasses. This porter finishes with a complex amount of chocolate, tobacco and earthy hops. A lasting bitterness is clean and balanced. Medium/thick, creamy at first but thins out, body with a perfect amount of carbonation helping the flavors along.

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Photo of broken22
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer looks good. Nice and dark brown color with a white head. The smell is sweet with a hint of bitterness. I really need to stick my nose in the glass to smell this so its not too fragrant. The flavor is much the same very subdued. That is not a slant on the beer at all. The taste caramel like with a very very subtle bitter on the back end. The beer is full bodied and the mouth feel is heavier than I expected for a lighter alcohol content.

Overall this beer is really good. With porters you never know what your going to get because the style is played with so much. The exact flavors of this beer are elusive to me. I really like the brew. It feels very well balanced and crafted. This is a very enjoyable beer to sip on.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Moretti pint glass (I like the shape), this is a very dark brown beer with a dense, creamy, long-lasting head. Nice semi-sweet chocolate aroma with a very light roast. Initial solid malt flavor, with the chocolate notes mentioned above, and also a pleasant caramel taste, giving way to a very strong hoppy bitterness (though without any notable hop flavors). Clearly, vigorously an American porter! The finish is both lingeringly malty and lingeringly dry.

Very drinkable porter. Exactly what I look for in the style.

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Photo of SFLpunk
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at Liquors 44 Northampton, MA. 22oz brown glass pry-top bottle. Neck dated 03/05/11.

Pours a thin but solid black with 1.5 inches of cappuccino-colored head. Smells nice and roasty, toasty right off the bat. Palate is like deliciously strong coffee. Super extracted coffee, but not muddy or ground-like. Awesome! Big full mouthfeel, but medium bodied and creamy luscious carbonation. Nice bitterness and a little pulling acidity too.

This is a damn-near-perfect Porter. Well-fucking-done Walker!

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

poured cold from the bottle to a founder's brewing goblet a deep brown to black with a super-thin, small bubbled head leaving small amounts of quickly receding spotty lace.

aroma of milk chocolate and black coffee, maybe a hint of dark cherry? in the wayback.

hearty, just this side of bitter coffee and dark, semi-sweet chocolate

light bodied for the style, bigger carbonation than expected given the thin head, subtle bitter fading quickly to chocolate sweet.

overall, a nice porter, enjoyable and at 5.8 abv, very drinkable.

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Photo of Kendo
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought the bomber at Olivers on 8/17/11 (cost: $5.99). It does not say "Robust Porter" like the picture here, but simply "Porter" - though it does identify it as part of "Walker's Reserve." On the FW website there's currently a picture of the bottle I have, but it's labeled there as a "robust porter," so between that nad the fact that I cannot find another FW porter, I'm assuming I'm reviewing the right beer in the right place. OK, on to the review. . ..

A: Poured from the 22 oz bottle into a Sam Smith's Imperial Pint glass. Body appears black, but when backlit it's more dark brown, with some ruby hues on the edges. A 1-finger light-brown head settles on top, leaving behind nice rings of lace.

S: First impression: roasty. Roasted barley and some coffee beans. Touch of chocolate. Pleasant, though not terribly strong.

T: Roasted barley malt, sweet molasses, oatmeal, chocolate malt and some earthy, leafy hops finish it off with a touch of bitterness. Tempted to give this one a 4.5, but I think it isn't quite "robust" enough for the higher score. It's close though.

M: A tad bit light in heft, but I tend to find that's the case with many porters. Carbonation starts out fine and active but seems to mellow afer a little bit.

O: Solid. I boosted the score here to make up for the lower notch on the taste front. A good porter that was reasonably priced. I'd get it again.

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

review taken from notes.

enjoyed on-tap at the pour farm tavern in new bedford, massachusetts.

a: pours a deep black color with a two finger tan head that slowly settles into a fluffy lacing.

s: roasted malt aromas with a subtle smokey character. not much else.

t: fairly strong roasted malt flavor with notes of smoke, bittersweet chocolate and subtle coffee notes. very well done.

m: average mouthfeel; nothing crazy.

this was a very good porter. i really liked the smoke character (peated malt). this is probably on my top 10 list of american made porters. not quite as good as mayflower (my favorite) but i'd recommended it in a heartbeat.

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

22oz bomber shared by inebriatedjoker

A: Pours black with a large tan head. Good lacing, especially for a porter.

S: Smells mainly of roasted malt and oats, most everything else I can pick out is fairly muted. Hops are noticeable.

T: The taste is much better than the boring nose. A very full roasted malt taste with a light smokey char. Slight floral hops are picked up, these manifest more and more throughout the glass. I noticed some espresso qualities coming out.

M: Fairly hoppy and creamy in the mouth. Medium body with good carbonation.

O: Balanced and smooth. A real winner in the porter category. This isn't the absolute best in the style but its definitely something I would pick up occasionally if they distributed here.

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Photo of Thads324
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured into my new snifter, no date to speak of

A : pours a super deep black, light tan head that dissipates quickly leaving sticky and slow receding lacing.
S : burnt roasted grains, a bit of coffee and some charred camp fire wood.
T : starts thin with a bit of sweet caramel, followed by the roasted grains and a bit of bittersweet dark chocolate. There is a bit of smoke flavor before the hop bitterness cuts the sweet and roasty flavors down.
M : starts thin but finishes full bodied. Good follow through the entirety with a nice low carbonation on the tongue. Hop bitterness at the ends keeps it from being mundane.

A very nice beer. Definitely a winter beer for me, but enjoyable none the less. A repeat for sure.

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Photo of nhindian
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber poured into a Southern Tier tulip.

Bottled on 09/22/10, so this does have a bit of age on it...

A - Pours a dark mahogany with bursts of ruby spattered around the edges. The head is a very frothy affair with 2.5-fingers of light tan head. Retention is very nice, as well as the lacing which gives off concentric rings of lace in a spiral pattern.

S - The nose is made up of a good amount of chocolate malts, coffee, flaked oats, and even a bit of wheat here and there. There are shades of hops coming through in slight citrus, but given the age, they are noticeably faded.

T - This is a very balanced beer that goes through numerous flavor profiles throughout the bottle. There is a slight roast that gives off a nice coffee flavor, but it is not overly bitter, and leads smoothly into the dark chocolate flavors. From here, the rest of the malts do the work, wavering between oats, barley, and wheat. I am a sucker for oat in beers, and this beer delivers that exquisitely. Again, there is the slightest of citrus hops at the end, but they do not come across too strongly to detract from this beer.

M - Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with appropriate carbonation. Very smooth drinking thanks to the flaked malts. Perhaps a bit thin at times, but not watery at all. Finishes pretty dry.

D/O - Drinkability is high. I nearly finished the entire bomber of this while writing this review, and if that isn't a testament to how easy this beer drinks, I'm not sure what is. The flavors are rich and cover a multitude of different ground, and the flaked oat just makes it that much more easy-drinking. While this is almost a year old, I feel it has held up amazingly well and would like to try it fresh to see how the hops change this beer. Highly recommended.

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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 philbe311
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Slightly more than a fingers worth of tightly packed tan head with a slightly jagged batter-like top... Modest retention gives way to a fill rich creamy lacing and a thin collar... Some small micro bubbled carbonation can been seen rising at a moderate pace along the sides of the glass... The color is a deep dark brown teetering on black... Just the slightest bit of light leaks in around the edges of the glass...

S - The nose is fairly subdued... Mild coffee... Some roasted malts... Perhaps even a hint of licorice... Not much else...

T - Good flavor... The dominated player is roasted malts... Some hints of dark chocolate... Weak coffee presence... Just a tinge of licorice... A very subtle, but none the less present hoppy bitterness on the finish...

M - A bit more than medium bodied... Sturdy... Brisk carbonation... Just a touch on the dry side... A slightly chalky finish...

D - A very good American Porter... Nothing earth shattering, but well executed... Simple, straight forward and effective... I would gladly welcome another bottle in the future, but I'm not likely to race out and grab another bottle...

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

22oz bottle purchased as a single at Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" tan head over the slightly cloudy reddish brown brew. Pillowy head slowly collapses, with plentiful sticky lacing. Aroma is rich dark malts, with a peek of complementing fruitiness underneath.

Taste starts with a nutty roasted sweetness, again with the peek of fruit, and then closes lightly bitter with some more rich dark malt character. Mouthfeel is very smooth, and drinkability is good. Nice brew, even if the name's "Reserve" had me thinking it was barrel-aged or something special.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.33/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a tap into a pint glass at KnB Wine Cellar’s in San Diego, Calif. Color was copper, more on the dark side. Looked to be at least an inch of head. Lots of film left over on the sides of the glass.

Smelled slightly bitter, but overall smell wasn’t too strong. Heavy on the malts.

Tasted crisp, clean, light and fairly refreshing. Slightly bitter taste, but bland overall.

Very high carbonation. Refreshing and consistent taste.

I was a little bit disappointed in the beer, but would maybe give it another go.

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Photo of Daktyls
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown, almost black color with a small half finger of light tan colored foam which dissipates to a fine lacing covering the top of the beer.

S: A nice roasted malt character reaches the nose first followed by a light sweet cocoa aroma.

T: Roasted malts and cocoa make up the majority of the taste, with a very light cinnamon, almost graham cracker taste.

M: Medium-light bodied beer with a low amount of carbonation.

O: Overall, quite good, I would definitely buy this again, it seems like it would make a great winter beer.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Peter (phaleslu) for this bottle.
From notes earlier tonight, 8-11-11

A - Dark brown body with brown through the edges, medium offwhite head.

S - nice malt profile, some obscured sweet notes.

T - tame, roasted malts. Solid, not a lot going on.

M - somewhat thin, smooth.

O - this is a fine beer. I really think Edmund Fitzgerald is the best porter you can get, and this doesn't stack up there, but compared to other lesser porters, this can hold its own.

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks carl for bring this over. This is a solid porter that really impresses me. Pours dark brown with a reddish tint around the edges. Lots of off-white head. Smells roasty with a touch of hops. Chocolate too on the nose. Tastes sweet and roasty. Touch of coffee flavours. Rich. Not too thick. Overall pretty solid. Nothing special but enjoyable

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Photo of BeerLover729
4.06/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tan and frothy head tops dark, thick, black beer.

Boozy, roasty, sweet toasted graham cracker aromas emanate from this beer. (Warm night, unrefrigerated straight from the bd)

Chocolaty cola or root beer quality. Pleasant lingering sweetness.
Subdued roasted flavors just present to balance sweetness.

Nice medium body. Frothy medium sized bubbles act as malty sweetness delivery systems and softly fizzle on tongue.

Well balanced beer. Very drinkable.

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Photo of nickthetick
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours an opaque, nearly black, dark brown into an American shaker with a thin skim of khaki bubbles for a head that despratly cling to the glass to form a bit of lacing.

S: subtle coffee, dark chocolate, a bit of vanilla and some smoke qualities in minutia.

T: a big surprise here, the nose was so soft I was worried but as soon as this beer hits young tongue its presence is made well known. It starts with a chocolate flavored coffee and a good bit of vanilla. Woody and earthy, and a bit of bitterness has the quality of the bitter flavor a berry would put in your mouth without there being any identifiable berry flavors there.

MF: a medium body and soft effervescence, along with the sweeter notes and smooth flavor make this a surprisingly refreshing beer; ever with a bit of a dry finish.

O: the taste and mouth feel make me automatically think of a hiking beer. In fact it would be perfect for the outdoor activity if it were in cans. Good porter overall that I wouldn't look over.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into 25oz snifter.

A: Pours very dark brown with over two fingers of dense light tan head that faded into a thin film that left a ton of soapy lacing.
S: The nose isn’t strong but I get touch of roasted malt and a hint of caramel.
T: I get notes of roasted malts, nuts, and a hint of cocoa, vanilla and caramel. There is also a slight hint of coffee in the aftertaste. The flavors aren’t crazy in this one, but they are very very good. The lightness and subtleties make this a pleasure to drink.
M: Foamy carbonation over a medium-thick body and textured mouthfeel.
O: Very easy to drink because it’s not a very ‘in-your-face’ beer. The flavors are simple, integrated, and smooth.

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

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Cigar City snifter. A thin layer of sandy foam formed on top of the blackish-brown body. The bubbles vanished quickly, leaving behind very little lace.

The nose is muted...roasted malts, coffee and bakers chocoalte...all present, but subtle.

Just as the nose...roasted coffee and malts up front with a sweet center and a bitter, almost smokey finish. Everything is muted here also...man...I wish something would jump out here!

Medium bodied with tons of carbonation.

I was looking for more from this...it is good, but nothing outstanding. Not sure what makes it imperial...everything seemed very "common".

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Photo of jamescain
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a sniffer, thanks to texasclimber for sharing this one

Appearance: Dark brown with mahogany hues with a tan head about a finger thick that fades into a ring around the side of the glass.

Aroma: Toasted malts with a hint of caramel and roasted notes. Not very complex and somewhat lacking in my opinion.

Taste: Roasted notes and a touch of chocolate, very similar to the aroma, not very complex.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation and relatively light bodied.

Overall: It was sort of disappointing the aroma and taste was not as complex as I was hoping and the body was too light in my opinion.

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Photo of russwbeck
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Relatively see through brown pour with a full light brown head. Lots of big bubbles and lacing apparent as the head recedes. A thin cap remains above the beer after a few minutes.

S: Coffee, roasted malts, low levels of chocolate predominantly.

T: Really a wonderfully balanced porter. I'm getting the roasted flavors I'm used to, minus the watered down taste that normally accompanies it. Chocolate mixed in with perhaps some light fruits and caramel/molasses.

MF: A nice full body for a porter. Lower carbonation, but still a good amount. No hint of alcohol (considering this is <6% that's really no surprise though). Nice dry finish.

O: Extremely drinkable beer. One of the better porters I've had. Firestone Walker has yet to do anything wrong in my book!

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

Bought a 22 bottle back in early June on a visit to the taproom & brewery. Poured into my Bruery snifter.

Pours a brownish amber with tan head that lingers a bit. Smells a little roast like but as it warms a strong spicy and faint citrus hop aroma seems to take over. The longer it warms the more the hops take the forefront. Tastes roasty with a little chocolate. A tad bit of coffee flavor comes in. Tastes medium light with a nice bitterness at the end. Overall, a very solid robust porter but it doesn't really blow me away all that much.

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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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