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

BA SCORE
87
very good
1,643 Ratings
Walker's Reserve - PorterWalker's Reserve - Porter
BEER INFO

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

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.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,643
Reviews:
642
Avg:
3.86
pDev:
10.88%
 
 
Wants:
64
Gots:
172
For Trade:
5
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,643 |  Reviews: 642
Photo of imperialstout27
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bomber into pub glass.

A: Rich, inviting dark brown w/ medium beige head. The head dissipates after a couple minutes, but a collar persists as you drink down the glass.

S: Lots of chocolate malts upfront on the nose. It's a sweet smell, similar to high quality, lightly-milked chocolate. Tiny hint of alcohol.

T: Chocolate maltiness dominates. The sweet-bitter balance is quite good, with the chocolaty sweetness hitting first and carrying through to the fade while the bitterness hits its stride at midpalate and holds into the aftertaste. Coffee notes developed more as the beer warmed. Good rich, full flavor.

M: The silkiness and creaminess of this medium-bodied porter is the first thing I notice as it opens on the palate, even before the initial flavors. I like it - very nicely done.

D: I found this beer drank very easy when on the cooler (but not cold) side. As it warmed, the sweetness became a bit much. It's an enjoyable beer and I'll buy it again, but after one bomber I'd probably reach for something else to change the pace. But overall, a solid and worthy porter.

 1,097 characters

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

Received this as part of a random box of beer from papollo, thanks again!

Appearance- Pours a translucent dark mahogany with about a finger and a half of off white head. Dies back fairly quickly to a ring around the edge of the glass. Fair amount of carbonation beading up in the body of the beer as well.

Smell- A solid amount of hearty smelling roasted malt with a nice coffee characteristic and perhaps a bit of cocoa powder as well. Not an overpowering nose but contains some nice elements.

Taste- A solid porter. A fair amount of roasted malt tinged with a coffee bitterness. Less of the chocolate characteristics present that I thought I detected in the nose. Not overly complex but decent all around.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Nice mouthfeel with enough heft to keep it from being thin but still goes down easy. Shared the bomber with a friend and it was easy to put away the glass I had.

Overall, a solid porter. Not the most exciting or complex one I've had but enjoyable on the whole.

 997 characters

Photo of Ineedabeerhere
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Greg for sending me this one as an Extra! From notes on 3.21.

Pours nearly black with a tight 2 finger foam, impressive weblike lace lasted for a moment, but then disappeared.

Aroma had a bit of a bright citrus/earthy hop kiss at colder temperatures, but as it warmed it was all chocolate and roast. With a little bit of a french roast coffee. The taste is mostly chocolate, roasted malt and some root beer mixed in mid palate. A little acrid in the finish, but I don't mind.

Low-medium carbonation, near perfect substance in the mouthfeel, maybe just a fraction too thin. I enjoyed this bomber over the course of an hour and it was very pleasant. I could see picking this up again if it were available out here.

 728 characters

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.

 262 characters

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.76/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Vicious pour netted two full fingers of soft brown foam. That head decayed slowly and drug a ton of lacing, eventually settling as a splotchy, bubbly cap. Body appeared opaque at first, but showed brown and orange shades when held to light. Looks great!

Smell: Cocoa powder and chocolate malt, toasted bread, I wanna say coconut, and light sea salt. Mellow and balanced, nothing outstanding.

Taste: Mainly chocolate malt, but there's some nice hop resin coming through in the finish. I also get salt and toasted grains. Moderate bitterness. I dig it, but as with the smell this doesn't stand out at all.

Mouthfeel: Light to moderate carbonation with a pretty milky body. Very smooth and balanced. Aftertaste showcases the entire flavor profile and lasts for a long time. Very nicely done.

Drinkability: I wish there was something more special about this porter. It's well made and very smooth, but also forgettable. Won't be worth another growler fill, but I'll likely be ordering this again in one of the local bars.

 1,069 characters

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

A: Very dark ruby red with a big foamy tan head

S: A sweet roasty malt smell comes foward first. There are some light coffee and chocolate tones as well.

T: Nice roasted malt flavor. Decent coffee hints and some slight hoppiness in the finish.

M: Smooth and medium bodied. No burn and little bitterness.

D: Not high on alcohol, not high on hops, and easy to swallow. Very drinkable.

Overall, I'd definetly drink this one again but I wouldn't bother to seek it out. Not a bad beer at all just not an outstanding one. Would be a great go to beer in an area where there is a large supply of it.

 596 characters

Photo of rpstevens
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Portsmouth tulip. The pour yields a black beer that lets a little light through some hazy brown edges. There is a coffee ice cream colored thin head that quickly fades to a thin cap on the beer. There is a nice amount of oily/bubbly lacing left behind.

The smell is vanilla, roasted malt, mild coffee and some bitter chocolate. Underneath there is a nice sharp oak character.

The taste is roasted malt and acrid coffee, followed by vanilla sweetness and hints of the barrel. The over-roasted coffee character is followed by a strange emptiness, the flavor is definitely lacking something, before the vanilla and barrel finish it off.

The beer is medium bodied and well carbonated, the alcohol is well integrated into the beer and the flavors are well balanced. If it weren't for the strange void mid-palate this would be a really good porter.

 873 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Inflatablechair brought this bottle to dinner a while back.. Thanks a ton Sam. Reviewed from notes.

Tan head.. nice retention... Brew is black.

Dark malts with a bit of black tea in the nose.. oaky .. coffee and lite chocolate

Flavor mirrors the nose with more of a chocolate quality.. a little plum.. and some minor vanilla. rich malts throughout.. a bit too bitter could come from hops or dark malts.. not sure.

Medium body with smooth small bubble carbonation.

Thanks Sam.. This brew was off my radar.

3.5/4/4/4/4.5

 524 characters

Photo of corby112
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled tonight on draft at British Bankers Club in Menlo Park.

Pours a dark chestnut/caramel brown and is almost completely opaque except for slight hazelnut brown hues when held to a light source. Thin half finger beige head that quickly fades into a thin lasting ring.

Slightly roasty malt aroma with hints of chocolate, caramel, hazelnut and subtle hops.

Well balanced medium body that's in the fuller end and not as roasty as I expected, which is a nice surprise. Lots of silky milk and bitter dark chocolate maltiness along with hints of caramel, toffee and subtle hops. There is a nice lactic creaminess that balances out the roasted character, creating a smooth, quaffable beer.

 689 characters

Photo of hrking
3.26/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Shared a bottle of this last night with my friends at Savage's Ale House. This is one of those beers that when you drink it seems to be one that is brewed to BJCP guidelines. Nose is not much and literally no hop presence which is really ok for this style. Finishes dry as it goes down and doesn't leave anything lingering to savor because it finishes so dry. Some roasted malt flavors coming in to play with a slight sweetness that is to be expected from the style but overall an average porter.

 496 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.53/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Major thanks to EinWeizenbitte for sending me one of these.

Appearance - opaque, a strong backlight shows some mahogany through the edges. Light mocha cover maintains a thin depth while painting some nice lace on the glass.

Aroma - roasty, almost smoky/gunpowder malt character, a mellow undercurrent of coffee and bittersweet cocoa powder. Sets up and resolves to include some grassier/hemp aroma, even a touch of floral or soapiness at times. Impressive for an RP.

Taste - fully flavored roasty malts outta the gate. Robust it is. A light char on the swallow, perfectly balancing the malts. The swallow stays roasty and flat-out delicious. It loses nothing into the aftertaste and lenghty finish.

Mouthfeel - very smooth, holding down the crisp carbonation a bit, which I prefer. Nice solid body, too, doesn't miss a step.

Drinkability - not aged is whiskey or bourbon barrels, no ridiculous hop levels or additions of chocolate and such, and still such a tasty beer at an approachable abv. If I were king I'd drink two or three bombers in one sitting out by the royal pit fire...or if they'd just distribute this to the Cincy area...hint hint ;-) Wow, spiffy extra - thanks much Eric, what a beer.

 1,205 characters

Photo of beertunes
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in straight pint glass. Poured a very deep brown, almost black, with just enough translucence to allow the beers clarity to show. Just over an inch of deep tan head dissipated at a medium pace and left a little less than medium lacing.

A full, well-rounded, rich aroma featuring much roasty goodness wafts over the nose. The flavors are also mostly rich, roasted malts, with a nice zing of hop and just a touch of coffee.

The body was very good, full, rich, smooth and surrounding without being heavy or clingy. Drinkability is excellent, if available to you this should be your go-to porter. Overall, an excellent beer worth the effort to seek out.

 658 characters

Photo of illidurit
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bomber served at cellar temp. Poured into a tulip, really wanted to open up the aroma here. Deep clear ruby brown with a large fluffy tan head. Aroma is mostly cocoa with some tart red fruits and an unwelcome copper note. Flavor is toasted bread, semisweet chocolate, light caramel, a touch of roast, and vanilla. Not very robust, despite the name. Body is thinnish but the oats make this pretty smooth to drink. More body would make this a very solid beer.

 457 characters

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

On tap at the HorseBrass the other day.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with impressive head retention and lots of sticky lacing all around. On the nose I get a huge aroma of espresso coffee and licorise, along with some chocolate, vanilla and underlying roasty malt. Flavors replicate the nose, with the moderate sweetness countered nicely by the hoppy bitterness, leading to a dry, roasty finish. There is also more of a chocolate and vanilla flavor to this beer then I was expecting based on the aroma profile. The beer finishes with some light bitter hoppiness, and I'm enjoying the light creamy mouthfeel, and fairly long finish. Drinkability in this beer is quite good, with the alcohol barely more then an afterthought.

This is a solid, well made porter from Firestone.

 785 characters

Photo of ffejherb
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber into goblet on 11/18/09. Shared with FooFaa and brewslut.

A - Poured a dark brown body with ruby and burgundy highlights and more than a finger of foamy tan head that settled to about a quarter inch of retention and produced some decent lacing.

S - Earthy hops up front with chocolate and coffee notes as well as a hint of vanilla and milky lactic notes. Malt character is quite roasty overall.

T - Flavor graciously blends chocolate, coffee and vanilla notes with a slight woody character. There's lots of roasty malt goodness throughout, and after a while the coffee character really picks up some steam. Finishes with plenty of earthy, herbal hop bitterness.

M - Medium bodied with a very smooth, softly carbonated body, but mouthfeel is pretty thin and watery overall. Finishes with a nice hop bite and slight hint of astringency on the palate.

D - Quite a tasty porter here that delivered a complex mix of flavors and aromas despite having a slightly thin mouthfeel for the style.

 1,005 characters

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

Fresh cask at Blue Palms brewhouse - first and last pints I had over the course of five hours spent at the Firestone-Walker's Anniversary celebration.

Opaque bole and falu red body. Three fingers of thick sudsy desert sand foam - retention is superb; blanketed from head to toe with lacing.

Very light brown sugar and roast malt. Coffee creamer. Not a lot else.

Mild roast malt, light coffee, chocolate and cocoa (neither too sweet or too bitter), and bread dough. Simple, light, yet deep flavor profile.

Fairly light, pillowy body - soft and creamy with low carbonation. No astringency.

Remarkably sessionable - seems to have more in common with a good British porter rather than a heavily roasted U.S. example.

In some ways similar to Double Barrel Ale, but I think this is superior.

 793 characters

Photo of 1759Girl
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance>Warm onyx, beautiful oatmeal head, gorgeous lacing.

Smell> Smores in a cup.

Taste> Complex. Salty, bitter. Malty. Rich, toasty hang. Slight alcohol heat in the finish.

Mouf> easy

Drinkability> Good. I decided to not do another review that night and drink the whole bottle.

 302 characters

Photo of nickd717
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Monk's Kettle in SF.

Pours darkest brown with a one-finger beige head and good lacing.

Aroma is a nice blend of malts - chocolate, pale, and caramel - along with roast and coffee.

Flavor is roasted malt, caramel, coffee, chocolate, oak, vanilla, oatmeal, and Noble hops.

Medium body with some oatmeal smoothness yet also a very slight astringent note.

Drinkability is high. Solid porter overall.

 410 characters

Photo of microbrew52
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours almost black but has brown and amber hues to it. The aroma is nice and roasty with definite hints of coffee and chocolate. The taste is superb for a porter. The barrel flavor is quite subtle, but the wood seems to add a touch of spiciness, especially towards the finish. You also get those touches of caramel, some accentuating chocolate notes from the nose. The creamy body accentuates notes of dark chocolate, which become more apparent as the beer warms up a bit.

 472 characters

Photo of iD9
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

served in a cognac snifter

Appearance: Pours with a relatively thin off-white head which quickly boils away. Doesn't leave any lacing whatsoever. Completely opaque looking through the body. Redish-brown hues around the edges, but a light golden-brown color in thin areas.

Smell: A hint of dry chocolate, maybe a few dark roasted malts? Nothing groundbreaking here.

Taste: Strong flavors of dark chocolates on the back-end, slightly sweet up front. Taste leaves a light smokey flavor on the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Nice medium-bodied porter. Again, nothing of special note here. Walker's Robust Porter has a solid setup and a slightly creamy finish.

Drinkability: High, I would absolutely love to have a pint of this on a cold fall evening. Chocolately flavors give it a slightly warm, slightly smokey taste, and a creamy finish. This beer goes down easy and does not disappoint!

Overall, as I said before, I would love a pint of this in the winter months. Although not particularly outstanding as far as porters go, it is incredibly satisfying and well crafted. A solid all-around beer.

 1,087 characters

Photo of jwc215
4.29/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to seldomthirsty!

Pours dark brown with a brown head that thins to a swirl and bubbly ring. Some spots of lacing stick. Subsequent pours leave more lacing.

The taste is of chocolate, some earthy (wood/anise), oak and roasted coffee beans. Robust.

The taste is of chocolate, roasted coffee and hint of vanilla sweetness. There is an earthy undertone in the balanced finish.

It hits full-bodied. Solid porter body. It has mild to medium carbonation. Some warmth shows. Slightly astringent.

Oak plays well, giving an oak touch without dominating a solid porter. Very nice!

 581 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a chestnut brown with a nice tan head.

S: Dark malt with a bit of chocolate and coffee notes.

T: Some coffee flavors with some dark malts creating roasted flavors.

M: Quite dry; medium-bodied.

D: A good porter, but not particularly drinkable.

 255 characters

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

A- Pours a dark almost opaque black with a brown hue. 1 finger head. leaves some lacing down the glass.

S- The smell is a touch subdued for a robust porter. There is lots of Roasted Barley and a touch of coffee. As the beer warms up there is further notes of chocolate and brown sugar.

T- The porter tastes is not overbearing but there is enough of it to envelope the tongue with taste. Again like the nose lots of roasted malts and coffee with hints of sweet coffee and brown sugar.

M- Medium full body, a touch too much carbonation. Not to cloying or astringent

D- Pretty good Porter, could be a touch more robust.

 623 characters

Photo of CoolJosh
3.56/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A huge thanks to EinWeizzenbitten for rounding out a package of Firestone Walker beers.

A 22 oz bomber split 3 ways with my portion poured into a pint glass. The appearance is really nice looking for a robust porter. Completely black body with a rubbish dark brown at the bottom of the glass. A nice creamy light brown head that reduces to a thin layer.

The smell is subdued, but there is a nice vanilla scent. There is also a nice roasted chocolate component. These characteristics are very well done, unfortunately there is not much else there aside from some malty sugars.

The taste isn't bad for a porter. This beer has a really nice roasted flavor with a trace amount of chocolate flavors. The malt sweetness is toned down but still there. The roasted flavors aren't over the top but they do justice to the style. An alright beer, nothing special.

 856 characters

Photo of brewercraig
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer poured very dark to black, with a tan head. The aroma was maltly but not as strong as expected, more roast character would have been nice. Flavor was very roasty with hop bitterness on the finish, very balanced. Medium bodied. Moderate alcohol. Overall a very nice and drinkable beer.

 289 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe