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 DarthKostrizer
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Look: black in color with a brown ring around the top. 1 inch tan foamy head and great retention and some sticky lacing

Smell: sweet caramel and roasted malts blend together very well to create a nice sweetness. Coffee and chocolate also find their way to the nose

Taste: As I have come to love with firestone porters and stouts it that they have a great flavor balance. Coffee and chocolate are the most dominate flavors has some nice caramel and roasted malt

Mouthfeel: A tad bit to carbonated and maybe just a hair to thin for my taste

Overall: Another good beer by firestone. good flavor great balance and for the price its a steal

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

Appearance: A very dark amber brown, with a light brown head that leaves some lacing

Smell: Coffee, chocolate, roasted grains, caramel

Taste: A robust blend of dark roast coffee, chocolate, roasted grains, caramel, and dark fruit

Mouthfeel: Full body, medium carbonation, smooth

Overall: A pretty good Porter, and at $5 a bomber, a good deal.

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

Creamy brown head slowly disapates. Bloody red in the edges and more of a deep brown crimson color. Some sediment can be noticed.

Bread, coffee and chocalate with the first whiff. I get some subtle dark fruits. Not s bad smell at all.

Subtle chocolate, coffee, caramel, some dark fruits and a nice bitterness that balances out the sweet flavors. Very tasty. Nothing too in your face.

Creamy medium body engulfs the mouth like silk. Noticeable carbonation but doesn't take away from the feel. Very easy going down. No alcohol heat as the abv. is quite moderate with a 5.8.

A very tasty brew. The subtle flavors work well for this Porter. Nothing over the top with flavors. Complex with the first sip, you think wow but settles down into a nice tasting beer.

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Photo of wcintula
4.11/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

An impressive beer, Walker's Porter sets itself from the rest. Poured into a Duvel tulip with the darkest brown body a tremendous head climbs three finger breadths to the top of the glass, then falls slower than most while leaving a soapy lace around the glass.

The smell is a blend of roasted malts, coffee aromas, and a very well noted presence of hops. As present as these characters are in the smell, they are players in the taste giving the beer a smooth, yet robust disposition.

The body is a little thinner than I think it should be but it creates no unpleasantries. A delicious and easy-drinking porter at 5.9% ABV, this is one to try.

Bottle dated 4/7/11, $5.99 for 22oz.

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

22 oz bottle, not date.

extremely dark brown, with ruby highlights and cream colored head. decent head retention. aroma is a bit roasty, maybe a bit of coffee.

taste is a nice balance between sweetness, drier roasty flavor, and acidity. very smooth, thick, a bit creamy. good mouthfeel.

my first beer from Firestone Walker since they came to PA, impressed so far.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 850ml bottle into a Blue Hills brewery pint glass.

The color is a dark black with some maroon highlights and a about two fingers of light brown head and some slight lacing left on the glass.

The smell is filled with deep, dark malt flavor that smells pretty roasty and has a brown bread flavor. There is some aroma of dark fruits as well as a little bakers chocolate.

The taste is has a toasted malt flavor that is lines with some juicy fruit flavor just on the edges. It is hard to places the exact fruits but they do have a sweetness that pulls back the dark malt flavor and pins it to my tongue. There is a coffee flavor that is brought in pretty heavy and makes me forget fruits and makes me think espresso.

The feel of this beer is a bit bigger then expected at first. It seems like a beer that should be drunk with two hands. It goes down smooth and is pretty drinkable.

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

Appearance. Pours a deep brown with almost two fingers of light tan head that leaves some decent lacing.

Smell. Toasty malts and a little caramel. Some grassy, citrus hops.

Taste. Toasty malts,a little coffee and molasses. Decent hops coming through especially in the end. Quite dry and maybe just a little sour.

Mouthfeel. Medium-light body with smooth, medium-strong carbonation.

Overall. A good porter but not outstanding for the style. Interesting hop profile going on which wasn't really a bad thing.

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Photo of BearablePhoto
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A:The Porter poured a dark brown that faded into black as the glass went inward. The head was a large three finger tan foamy one.
S&T: The porter gave off a bitter chocolate chip cookies dipped in coffee smell that mirrored the taste, with an oak malt lingering aftertaste. Though I love the complex flavors in Parabola and Abacus I must say this porter did seem a bit mediocre. This does not mean I didn’t enjoy the two glasses of the porter, quite the opposite, but there is a reason why this is not one of their limited releases.

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Photo of farrago
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good pour has it crest at close to two fingers of loose, mostly smaller bubbles, whittles itself down rapidly to a fairly solid, steady tan to light brown surface coating, the lacing is quite credible, not thick but gonna need to be washed out of the glass. The reddish-brown liquid is of moderate clarity and neither close to transparency nor opacity, gives up a washed out orange to faint yellow hue around the rims. The nose has a pleasingly clean purity about it, malt cocoa, baker’s dough, anise and walnuts, maybe a hint of florality and glimmer of grapefruit, even without an obvious hops presence comes across as balanced overall. Medium-bodied with restrained yet ever-present carbonation, no bumps in the road, “tactful” comes to mind. There’s a lot more cocoa, mocha, dark chocolate here with toasted coconut to coffee accents. Blends in anise, rosemary spice, orange peel and a murmur of peach, apple, apricot fruit. More leafy, as in moist and fresh, than outright herbaceous, the hops component contributes to overall pacing and then lift at the end. Nothing to remark upon does not necessarily mean unremarkable.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color, some dark amber hues around the edges when held up to the light, perfect sized off-white head that fades at a slow rate, doesn't leave much lacing though.

Smell is surprisingly and pleasantly hoppy, the piney hops are at the forefront with a roasted malt backing, although the hops are quite aromatic the other aromas are fairly mute.

Taste is very much a hoppy porter, the hops meld quite well with the roasted malt, carbonation is active yet lends a soft creaminess, has an odd fruit sweetness in the aftertaste but only lasts a moment.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.54/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pretty much black with a nice and thick, foamy brown head.

S: Really faint on the nose. For a beer called "Robust," I feel like the smell should be a bit more powerful than this. Faint roasted malt, citrus hops, coffee and dog biscuit.

T: Roasted malts hit first and then fade out gently into some coffee and smoky flavors. This reminds me a bit of Edmund Fitzgerald, but if GL made an Edmund Fitzgerald Light. The taste is good but not as bold as it could be.

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Photo of Vixie
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Ar fitst glance this beer appears black, but when held up to the light, is actually a very deer ruby red color. Very nice looking beer, and forms a nice tan head.

The smell is a bit smokey, but other scents are there. I can detect caramel, a hint of chocolate, and a touch of raisin.

Starts a bit on the sweet side, remind me of the sweetness level of dried fruit. There is smoke, a hint of coffee, and a touch of chocolate. Finishes with a dry hops bitterness, but not too much, balanced fairly well.

It does seem just a little thin for the style, from the color I expected it to be a bit firmer in the mouth.

One of the better porters I have had. Most are either too burnt tasting or are too bitter for my tastes, but this one is more well balanced, and is actually very drinkable. I bought this one out of town, but not far from home, so I hope that means more FW beers are on the way here. I can't wait to try more of them

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Photo of tigg924
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Pour Farm New Bedford

Appearance: 1 inch head, dark brown in color, opaque

Smell: roasted malt, deep cocoa, and coffee

Taste: cream, chocolate, and deep roasted malt

Mouthfeel: moderate carbonation, medium-light body, sweet with light bitterness at the end.

Overall: One of the better porters I had had in some time. A nice and complex brew that stays true to the porter style. A sipper that I could have several of.

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

Pours a black with very little brown when held to the light. A off white head and pretty amazing lacing.

The smells of a sweet roast and a little fruity esters from the yeast.

The tastes of roast and almost tastes of chocolate covered raisins.

The mouth feel is a little thicker for a porter. Maybe the addition of some oatmeal?

An awesome porter I must say and I wish it was sold in 6 packs.

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Photo of dpcoz
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Firestone Waler - Walker's Reserve Porter (5.8% ABV, 22 oz 'bomber' bottle, standard pint glass)

A - Deep cherry color. Appears coffee-like in color, hold to light and the reddish hues shine. Cream colored head, two fingers up on a standard pour that trailed off to half a finger

S - Espresso, bakers chocolate, faint touch of molasses. Touch of alcohol on the nose despite the lighter ABV. Not really picking up the toffee or oats. No real notice of the cascade hops used during the whirlpooling/dry-hopping phase.

T - Espresso the dominant flavor, along with molasses and the 'bitter' portion of the bittersweet bakers chocolate. Picking up a taste of oak present in the porter, very appealing. There is a bitter characteristic to the porter that balances out the flavor however, it isn't dominating. the Hops aren't really coming through with their own characteristics.

M - Medium bodied, average carbonation, smooth upon entering the mouth, dry and bitter towards the end.

O - Despite the 5.8% ABV, this porter has the characteristics is beers with higher ABV's. A delicious session beer with enough character that beer fans can enjoy at any time.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown with a tan head. No lacing, minimal retention.

Some decent smoky charred malt and dark roast coffee aromas.

I dug this one. The Charred malt has a true coffee edge, even with a slight tart element. The carbonation keeps the flavors moving, with some brown bread and over toasted bread elements. Not alot of sugar, and that works. Bitterness is appropriate and long enough to be appreciated. A little bit simple, but still quite good.

Carbonated, and medium bodied.

Easy to drink, and nothing you'd be bored with. Worth a try. I like the drinkability. Easy to get thru the bomber.

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Photo of Cavery
3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml shared with Klym

poured into Stone Nonic

A: Dark brown decaff coffee body with a small rise of boiled stew foams around the edge of the glass. The body is completely opaque, but it really has much more of a brown character to it than a black. You could look at this and pick it out for a porter, and not a stout. Glad to see a beer that knows what it is!

S: Civil war hard tack, cheap burned pita breads over a beach campfire. There's a real cutting sweetness to the nose that's a bit dissonant. The sweetness is almost like moldy bread. A bit of salt water stings the nose with too big a sniff.

T: Straight forward coffees, not of the highest quality. Odd notes of charred driftwood makes me re-think another rip of that size. This malt has been waterlogged! The flavor isn't bad, but the details on the coffee notes are a bit meh. There's no real roast to speak of, nor is there any real creaminess. This is really quite a straight forward cup-a-joe. Good at least for what it is: coffee-like.

M: lighter mouth that could almost pass for a dark german bock. The bubbles fizz and then go, leaving an almost dark lager like body. I think this characteristic really conspires with the flavor to give some watery notes.

O: While many of the characeristics do what they can to keep this beer from being just above mediocre; in the end it is its worst fear. With so many other good cheap porters on the market (stone smoked porter!), it's hard to justify making this a peer of the already established. Where other porters have unique textures, flavors, and wafts of smoke -- this beer offers soggy driftwood malt. The flavor here is only good for building a raft, and even then it might not float.

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

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass...

A-pours just about opaque black, has a 2 finger caramel or tan head with decent lacing...

S-sweet chocolate espresso with roasted nutty malts, brown sugar and some molasses...Smells very nice and sweet...yum

T-chocolate espresso notes up front with some sweet molasses,roasted brown sugar malts and a nice mid oak dry hops finish...Hops are very light but still present...nice

M-medium bodied chocolate creamy robust oak mouth...Like the smooth and creaminess here...

O-decent porter, refreshing and smooth...No super wow factor, a tasty beer none the less

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

Poured into a Stone IRS snifter. Slightly aged, dated 3/5/11.

A - Pours a deep ruby brown with a finger of tan head that settles slowly with little lacing.

S - A mix of brown sugar/molasses, copper kettle, dark ripe fruit, roasted malt, dark chocolate.

T - Toffee/espresso notes mix with unexpectedly strong alcohol fumes, dark cherries & chocolate. I believe this is partially barrel aged, or else I'm just imagining a lingering hint of wood in the aftertaste. Finish is nice, long and moderately dry.

M - Nice and creamy from the first sip to the last. Has plenty of body to stand up to warming up despite it's low ABV.

O - A pretty good beer edging on greatness. It could honestly stand up to being about 6.5% ABV, although I commend them for keeping it simple and traditional. It looks the part but doesn't quite catch me like the other reserve series beers. As stereotypical as it sounds, an imperial version at around 8.5 - 9% ABV and 100% barrel aged would be an interesting propsition indeed.

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Photo of brentk56
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark chocolate color with ruby highlights; the tan head pancakes the liquid and leaves many clumps of foam behind

Smell: Chocolate, oak and coffee

Taste: Lots of surprises here; starts out with the anticipated chocolate flavor and adds some oaky complexity but by mid-palate, the hops jump to the fore, adding a pithy balance; a touch more vanilla and oak builds in the aftertaste but they are dominated by the hops

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; somewhat aqueous

Overall: In a sense, this is the father of the black IPA, with the major difference being the amount of chocolate in the malt bill; in any event, I don't think the flavors work together particularly well so the beer just doesn't match up to some of the others in its category

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Photo of cavedave
4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Three fingers of tan foam ride a darkest brown and opaque beer. It's a thick and lasting lather that leaves lacy shaving cream on the glass.

Some chocolate and roast in a mild aroma that also carries some floral hop and caramel.

Medium taste that is sweet at start, and bready, with caramel and toffee ushering the roastier elements into a marvelous sip. The roast is just right, not ashy, not too bitter, perfect to allow the coffee and chocolate notes of the taste to shine. It stays sweet into a finish that does get a bit of herbal bitter and deeper roast to dry it , carrying it off without being cloying or overbearing. Very clean and balanced. Nice.

Creamy, light on palate, maybe a touch thin for the flavor it carries, perfect low/med. carb., and a finish that is somewhat short of Ed Fitz and Smutty Robust, but quite fine.

One of the 5 best American robust porters on market. A must try for lovers of this style.

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

22 oz. bottle poured into a Duvel tulip; no dating on the bottle or label. Deep, dark brown body that does not let any light through. Two-finger mocha head that leaves plenty of sticky lacing and a small foam cap on top.

The prominent aroma is definitely roasted malt, but there is a bit of sweetness that resembles dark fruit. A little dark chocolate and toffee blend into the aroma as well.

The flavor follows the aroma fairly closely. Nice roasted malty flavor that blends very well with chocolate and coffee notes. A hint of dark fruit and a slight notice of earthly hops as well.

The mouthfeel is not as smooth as some other porters I've had but this one drinks well overall. Excellent porter. Well done.

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Photo of smcolw
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge beige head that leaves ample, chunky lace on the glass. The liquid is mahogany brown where a scintilla of light passes.

Lots of hot chocolate aromas. There's a touch of mocha as well. Inviting.

Despite the low alcohol level, I note some warmth in the swallow. Less chocolatey than the smell suggests, which might be because there seems to be far more hop to the flavor. Nicely balanced. Perhaps the only distraction is the body which seems lighter than most American made Porters. All in all, a very drinkable beer.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass, the beer is almost jet black with a huge, frothy, yellow-cream colored head that settles quickly, but leaves a huge lacing. Auburn-brown highlights on the edges, this beer has aromas of coffee and not much else. Nose stays smooth with a round, roasted feel to it. Flavor is all coffee as well, with a much lighter profile than the aromas would lead you to believe. The flavors stay light and smooth on the palate, with some roasted and smokey character throughout. The body is almost creamy while you drink. The beer's aftertaste is the dark roasted coffee character again, with a hint of mocha flavor. The beer has a clean and smooth finish, and leaves just a hint of the coffee behind on the palate. Very smooth and very balanced, this is a tasty Porter.

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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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