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: 1,642
Photo of Darkmagus82
3.89/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance - The beer pours a nice deep brown color with a hug light brown colored head. The head fades relatively quickly at first, but leaves a rather persistent small one finger head of foam. This small bit of foam does eventually fade however leaving a great level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is nice of sweet and roasty smells. The roasted malt aromas are a blend of chocolate and toasted malt while the sweeter smells are of caramel and some toffee. Along with these aromas are some other smells of a yeasty nature as well as a bit of an oaky and woody smell which when combined with the rest produce a rather nice smelling concoction.

Taste – The taste begins with roasted brown bread and sweeter chocolate flavors mixed with some caramel sweetness. Other sweeter flavors of toffee come to the tongue shortly after the initial tastes, giving a more buttery and smooth flavor to the brew. More toward the middle of the flavor profile some vanilla and more cocoa come to the tongue along with the emergence of a light level of earthy hop. The hop remains rather light, bittering the brew only ever so slightly. Toward the end, some coffee flavors as well as a nice oaky taste comes to the tongue adding a little bit more bitterness. Even with the coffee and hop, the taste is still very smooth and one is left with a smooth, rather sweet and lightly bittered and roasty flavor to be left on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is average in terms of thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that is a bit on the lower side. The lower carbonation is rather nice for the darker flavors, as well as the bit of oak taste more toward the end of the taste, nicely allowing those flavors to be sensed. A bit thicker of a body would likely be slightly better for the style, but at only 5.8% abv the creaminess of the brew is quite respectable.

Overall – A pretty nice porter overall with some nice oak/woody tastes and a good balancing bitter flavor to the sweet and roasted malt backbone. For a porter of only 5.8 % the beers flavor profile was quite robust and made this brew a pleasant drinker.

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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 Duane_Opfer
3.56/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Bottled on 8/16. Consumed on 10/27. Written from notes.

A - Dark brown with purplish hue. Moderate poured yielded 1.5 fingers of light tan frothy head. Lasting head. High carbonation. Could see carbonation streaming up sides of glass despite dark color.

S- Not overly fragrant. Hints of roasted coffee and vanilla.

T - Roasted malts, toffee, coffee, with a slight tartness and a soapy bitter finish.

M - High carbonation and lightly bodied. Somewhat sticky.

O - Somewhat dull. Not overly fragrant and soapy flavor in taste not very appealing. Too thin. Too many good porters and stouts out there to have this again.

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Photo of tone77
3.51/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 22 oz. bottle. Has a dark cola color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of roasted malts, a hint of coffee. Taste has some hops, bitterness, a bit of coffee, not overly flavorful but very easy drinking. Feels light in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer.

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Photo of LeahM
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- dark brown with hints of red, thin tan head with short retention

Smell- dark chocolate and coffee notes, with malty burnt undertones

Taste- first taste is light, sweet, and yeasty giving way to a more bitter, creamy chocolate coffee taste. Long sticky chocolate aftertaste. Very pleasant

Mouth- creamy at first with a sticky lingering aftertaste

Overall- a delicious, balanced Porter with sweet, dark and bitter all working together and strong chocolate notes. Highly recommended as a winter Porter.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.6/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gorgeous black beer with tan head that is generous upon pouring. Nose is loaded with delightful nougat with a background of chocolate - 3 Musketeers bar all the way. Palate offers a big, bold roasty malty flavor with bitter dark chocolate. Hops help round it out, but this beer is a Dark Chocolate masterpiece. Medium body. Long chocolately aftertaste. Excellent beer, in my opinion.

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Photo of morimech
3.89/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a nice chocolate brown color with a massive head that was slow to settle to a thick cap. Massive amount of sticky lacing is left down the glass.

The aroma is a bit weak but I do pick up some dark malt. Also get some grassy, herbal qualities.

Good flavor of dark malt. Hints of bitter chocolate and coffee. Low hop bitterness and flavor which is not surprising considering the indeterminate age of the bottle. Roasted qualities are kept to a minimum.

A smallish beer but considering the ABV I am not shocked. Nice carbonation that is lively without being harsh.

A very good porter. Might be better fresh than the aged bottle I drank. Would buy again.

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Photo of TheAlamoWrocker
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed November 1, 2013. Bottled (08/16/13). Poured a 650 ml into a pint glass (1.5x).

A: Extremely thin 1/2 fingered head that quickly dissipated down to nothing. Pitch black body that shows light carbonation rising at the very top.

S: Dark chocolate, roasted malts, leather, and even a slight coffee is present.

T: The roasted malts are at most present. Leather with toffee, breads, and all roasted coffee follows. Where I expect dark chocolate to linger on the tongue it is instead a burnt/toasted quality with a hint of bitter hops.

M: The body just doesn't match the taste. This should've had a thick body, but at most it was medium. That carbonation does have its sizzling carbonation on the mouths and lips.

O: This just felt like a porter that tried to be a stout, but stayed a porter.

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Photo of Neorebel
4.66/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Walker's Reserve Porter pours a sexy dark brown with ample tan suds resting on top. It's almost Cola-like. Looks perfect to drink! One inhalation of the sumptuous scents coming off this brew and I can already tell it's going to be a real treat. I am picking up chocolate and caramel, hops, and what I would call something similar to a hot cereal with cinnamon added. Wonderful! Spectacularly, the flavors themselves outshine the splendid aroma. Toffee, light hops, some fruit esters (apple?) and grainy cereal malts all blend together in a fine balance. For such a low ABV, this sure feels decadent enough. Must be those five specialty malts providing the added 'wow factor.' The finish is somewhat dry, and the beverage coats the palate well. Walker's Reserve Porter is hitting just the right spot on this fall evening, but I foresee drinking this again and again in the future, for any night.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown color with an off white head. In the nose, roasted malt, chocolate raisins. In the flavor, roasted malt, dark fruit, and a bit of earthy hoppyness. Toasty dark malt notes. Crisp light to medium bodied feel. Overall, this is a nice sessionable porter. Would have this again sometime.

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Photo of mikeborglum
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber pours pitch black with slight tan head and light lacing. Muted aroma but hints of chocolate and coffee as you would expect from the malts and roasted barley. Bittersweet taste is an epic battle and the taste buds are enjoying it...some saltiness also present. Medium body with an oily texture and soft carbonation. Great drinkability with nice long finish.

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Photo of mdagnew
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

650ml bottle bought online from Brewdog.com

Poured a deep dark burgundy red / almost completely black colour... Dirty tan head poured very fairly thick and foamy with a meringue like top.. this faded slowly to good one finger covering... some decent lacing clings to the glass throughout...

Aroma - Roasted chocolate maltiness, light toasted coffee beans, some leathery and slightly sooty notes, toasted bread, burnt toffee, treacle, earthy / cardboard hints, roasted nuts, some sticky plum and date fruitiness, black cherries, some alcohol just noticeable...

Taste - Lots of toasted dark chocolate malt bitterness, some piney hops, brown sugar, earthy, strong espresso coffee, dried coffee grains, toasted nutty sweetness, some treacle, faint anise...

Feel - Smooth initially then a little sharpness come through... medium bodied... a pretty quaffable brew at 5.8%...

Overall - An excellent good Porter... definitely recommended...

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Photo of Furlinator
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours opaque dark brown with very little head and good lacing.

Smell is a nice mixture of coffee and chocolate.

Taste follows the smell with the coffee being slightly more dominant than the chocolate with some smokey malt bringing up the rear.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light for a porter.

A very nice American porter. Not too heavy. Flavorful and refreshing.

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Photo of bmwats
3.76/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 650 ml bottle into footed tulip.

A: Black. Pours a 1+ finger, foamy, brown white head. Settles fairly quickly, leaving a thick beer ring as it does. Persistent sparse lacing.

S: Roasted coffee, oak chips, dark chocolate, butterscotch, and a very little black licorice.

T: Pungent malt grains. Oaky coffee and malt and a little peat.

M: Full, thick, and hearty. Lightly bitter finish. A bit shallow.

D: Sip and savor.

Atmosphere is pretty strong. Dark and intimidating. Foamy head, and some decent persistent lacing. Nose is distinct combination of coffee, oak, chocolate, butterscotch, and licorice. Well-balanced combination. Pungent malt grains, with some wood and peat. Hearty, with a bitter finish. Overall, this is a good quaff.

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Photo of zeledonia
4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Tasted 24 May 2013. Another beer I misplaced my notes for. One I've been wanting to try for a while. Tasted out in the woods, camping roadside in Mt. Baker - Snoqualmie National Forest.

A stunning beer. Basically black in the glass; very dark brown. Pours with a cascading head, medium tan-brown. Two fingers of head, relaxing slowly and leaving amazing lacing. Terraces of lacing as I drink the glass down, like the foam that waves leave on the shore.

Smell is pretty faint, but what's there is a slightly sweet, slightly woody porter. Definitely a little sugary. A little herbal hops, and a little wood. Slightly roasty, not super heavy on the roast.

Taste is really nice. Warm and buoyant in the mouth. Full of woody, nutty, lightly roasted flavors that I really dig.

Feel is fluffy; medium-bodied with fluffy carbonation that makes it puff up in my mouth, like the opposite of cotton candy.

I like this. A solid, delicate porter. Doesn't smack you over the head with any particular flavor - not heavily roasted, not overly sweet. Just nice.

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

Black/brown/ruby body with a thin khaki head. Toasty, roasty, sweet nose. Very faint in the smell overall. Taste is of fruity ale yeast, caramel malts, and lots of deep coffee roast. Finishes a bit sweet for me. Mouthfeel is not too thick, but it has a creaminess to it. This isn't bad, but I wasn't feeling it.

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Photo of tdm168
4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - blackish brown with a short brown head that leaves nice lacing

S - licorice, cola, charcoal, burnt caramel

T - burnt caramel, chocolate, roasted malts, hints of coffee in the finish, some notes of charcoal throughout

M - medium bodied, well carbonated

This is an excellent porter. It has tremendous flavor for a beer its size. As the beer warms the depth of the flavors really come alive. This is definitely one of the better porters I have ever had.

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Photo of artoolemomo
4.01/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours up a fair amount of head which seems to have very little retention. The head is a medium beige color while the body is a dark chocolate brown which shows hints of maroon when held up to the light. Some lacing left behind.

Nose- Not as potent as I thought it would be though it does have some complexity. Roasted notes, some chocolate, a little bit of raisins, and a hint of toffee. Not much else at the moment but this beer may need to open up a little more.

Taste- Chocolate followed roasted notes/coffee appear at the beginning. Some sweetness (think raisins) in the background. Notes of oatmeal come through. Slightly bitter finish. Caramel with toffee starts to appear. Roasted malts in many porters tend to be quite dominant but this does not seem to be the case with this porter. The malt bill is very subtle but complex- which is an adequate description of the entire flavor profile. A solid beer but lacks any sort of wow factor. Light hints of alcohol appear when you swish it around your gums. As the beer opens, it shows a rounded sweetness which increases my appreciation of this beer. A slightly dry finish becomes noticeable. Bittersweet chocolate is the defining aspect of this beer and its approach toward sublimity.

Mouthfeel- Medium to heavy bodied with light carbonation. Compliments the flavor profile well. Slight grittiness.

Drinkability- Very easygoing. Enough flavor to keep one interested and enough balance that one can drink this with out much thought to the taste. 5 to 6 bucks a bomber is a pretty good price for a solid porter.

Overall- Pretty good/solid beer. Must try but almost anything by Firestone Walker is. No aspect of the flavor really dominates, resulting in a rounded, sessionable beer. Although, I would probably grab a 6-pack of Black Butte for both quantity and quality. This, however, is slightly better than Black Butte. After a while, the subtle complexity really makes this beer shine.

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Photo of icehawk
3.66/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4


 Appearance: Pitch black with off white head 

 Aroma: Very subtle chocolate and coffee. 

 Taste: Slightly sweet chocolate 

 Palate: Very full mouthfeel, coating, smooth 

 Overall: Very smooth, good and solid porter. No bitterness of off-flavors.

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Photo of utopiajane
3.18/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottled on 3/29 and drank today so that's 119 days old. Firestone walker gives their beers 120 days.

Pours black and yielded some khaki foam from a vigorous pour. Fell off pretty quickly to a layer then a thin cap and ring. Left some soapy lace and one ring of lace. Nose is faint. Roasted malt with a touch of caramel sweetness. I smell a little chocolate but only if I think about if first. I also smell a little soap. There is a quality to the nose that is like dust in the nose, something spongey and not quite right. Has a sour taste and a salted nut quality. Like peanuts gone stale. Coffee, some roast and a touch bitter. I think it's a bit bland but still smooth. Carbonation is medium. I am tasting a bit of vanilla. Finishes dry. Has a fullness that can still be seen in the body but it's a little off.

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Photo of thinkinflicka
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a pint glass.

My first firestone walker,I have been looking forward to trying them for a long time.

Pours almost jet black with little head that goes away fast .

Smell is of roasted malts some coffee and cholate with bit of hops.

Taste is roasted malts with smokey sweetness that opens up to hops at the end
just a bit too hoppy for my liking.

Nice mouthful but a little light, smooth not overly carbanated

I like this porter alot but was hoping for a little more given Fire stone walkers reputation,i will try more from them for sure but not as good as few other porters i have had in the past.

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

Walker’s Reserve Porter opens to an ashy nose with a surprisingly strong initial citrus kick, which quickly fades as the bottle remains open. Once cleared, little of the citrus remains, replaced by huge swaths of ink-black mounds of cigar and campfire ash, along with burnt coffee grounds, charred toast, and burnt caramel. This heavy blackness is kept mildly in check by lesser notes of caramel, heavy cream, toffee, and brown sugar, as well as vanilla. A scant few fruit esters, mainly fig and light raisin, with some cherry, add further complexity, growing in strength as the beer warms. Thick brown breads and biscuits add earthiness. As a whole, the nose is very nice, and surprisingly heavy and nuanced for a beer of such light ABV (5.8%). The balancing sugars, all of which increase in volume with warmth, are also very nice, as is the return of the citrus notes with warmth.

On the tongue, the beer is very fruity and citrusy for a porter, with white grape, grapefruit, cherry, berry, orange, apricot, and even apple notes, as well as citrusy lemon from the hops. These light, airy notes, which are very spritzer-like, are checked by an undercurrent of ash, toast crust, black malt, and tobacco, all of which grow stronger as the beer is held in the mouth, until there is almost nothing left but ash at the end. The effect is very reminiscent of a decent Black IPA in the citrus-ash contrast. Further light notes of vanilla, caramel, and biscuit add more complexity, joined by brown breads. The aftertaste is a continuation of the main mouthful, the ash and black malt flavors increasing to near dominance, lingering on the tongue for a long time. Mouthfeel is medium-light to medium, and carbonation is medium to medium-high, fizzing on the tongue.

Overall, for a beer with such a light ABV, it’s impressive how much flavor is crammed in here, and fans of Black IPAs should add this to their list. The citrus-ash contrast is done better here than almost anywhere else, and the shift from the former to the latter over the course of a single mouthful is smooth and wonderful. The watery, heavily carbonated mouthfeel is a bit of a turnoff, but the rest of the beer is very nice.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Provisions in the Plaza, Orange, CA.

There's something about simply being smooth, just smooth. It ain't like this bad sucker is the "end all be all" of Porters, but it's just Robert Mitchum smooth, ya feel me?

So Raul is just sippin on this one, watching the Dodgers lose, but it's aite enough that Raul doesn't care.

Like Raul said: there's something about being smooth. And this lil guy is smooth enough for me.

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Photo of constantine_272
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Black, lets no light through. Extremely viscous. Light tan foam with extremely low foam.

S: Coffee and chocolate. Dark caramelized sugar and vanilla.

T: Sweet and chocolatey with sweet burnt sugar and grain. Tons of chocolate malt and dark roast flavor without the caustic burnt flavor. The roasted grain is accompanied with a mild smoky flavor. A mild sour bitterness washes away the full body cleanly. Beer finishes with a mild saltiness. Extremely smooth despite the huge full body, phenomenal. Great balance of sweet malt and hop.

M: Thick and syrupy, but its cleaned up will by the carbonation. Finishes fast, but leaves a mild sugary coat over the tongue.

O: Absolutely delicious. Tons of flavor but none too overpowering. Just the right amount of hops to balance out the big sweet chocolatey flavors. My main complaint was that the beer looked flat in the glass with so little head.

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Photo of Mikecap
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a jet black with a two-finger khaki-colored head from a 22-ounce bottle into a tulip glass. Beautiful appearance with the head disappearing after a couple of sips and leaving off-white lacing.

Smell: Bitter chocolate, sweet malts, and roasted barley come to mind. A little bit of coffee and mocha come to mind as well.

Taste: Definitely get some rich dark chocolate and a hit of coffee hit the tongue first. This is followed by a nice smoky character and richness that make this come together well.

Mouthfeel: A little light-bodied for a porter, but still solid and smooth with good carbonation and a nice bready character.

Overall: This is a great porter from Firestone Walker and one I would return to as it is easy drinking and very tasty. Almost as complex as some richer stouts which is nice for a brew at this strength. If not for the price, I would definitely get a lot of this.

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Walker's Reserve - Porter from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
3.86 out of 5 based on 1,642 ratings.
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