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: 1,641
Photo of gillagorilla
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. bottle poured into a Burley Oak snifter (Bottle Date: 10/25/13 13:42, probably one of the last runs)

A: Light tan head that is minimal and rapidly dissipates. Leaves a collar with some big bubbles. No lacing for me. Pitch black body in the glass. You can only see that it is dark brown and a bit transparent when you cup the glass and tilt it.

S: Subtle hoppiness that melds well with the sweet, roasted malts. Great smell here that is a bit subdued but possibly from the six months or so of age on it.

T: This is super drinkable and easy going. Slight bit of hops to offset the malts here. I would say that it has a tinge of being a bit watery but that might be from the light body and smooth drink-ability of this.

M: Smooth with lots of nice velvety bubbles awash in my mouth.

O: This is excellent and I'm glad that I picked up a bottle before it was gone from shelves. I understand that they are shaking up their portfolio, by expanding their barrel program, which includes the debut of Bottleworks beers, and their debut to canning. I guess a porter just doesn't fit in with their big stouts, but they sure do know how to make a good porter. I just hope that Lil Opal is good and a suitable replacement for this great beer.

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

July 26th 2011 (from notes)

A - super deep brown, one finger very tan head and some okay lacing

S - lots of vanilla and chocolate, nice oak, nutty, very sweet, toasted grains and malts

T - nice coffee, milk chocolate, toffee, nutty, vanilla, slightly hoppy, nice Toastiness, great malt and some wood/earth

M - fluffy, well balanced, nice complexity, low acidity, medium long finish and medium dry

D - no matter light or dark big or balanced, this beer is for you.

Final thought - at less than 6% ABV this beer isn't for getting tossed. But at only $4 this is a great beer

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Photo of flyingpig
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

650ml Bottle from Brewdog Glasgow (£11, 5.8%):
Dark brown to black a 1.5cm, foamy, light brown head that settles as a nice, thick lacing after a minute.

Slightly sweet with some light coffee & some chocolate coming through on top of some dark malts and a sugar base. The aroma seemed like a creamy one and was very enjoyable on the nose.

Dark malts & faint coffee with some sweetness from some caramel malts. There is a very faint hop bitterness to the beer that accompanies the chocolate and nutty taste of this one, & the beer is rounded off with some faint, background spice at the end.

Ridiculously smooth and creamy with a medium body and light medium carbonation on top of that. The drink proved a fast and easy on to finish with a lot of flavour on the palate and some touches of smoke along with a dry finish helps this one to end perfectly.

Such a good beer & more than worth the steep price with an amazing taste & great mouthfeel. A pleasure to drink from the start & refreshingly enjoyable given the fact the beer was a good session offering with the alcohol content remaining fairly low, particularly for an American craft beer.

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Mostly opaque brown, with some red highlights at the edge. Head is small, with little lacing.

S - Roasted malts, with chocolate notes, and a surprisingly strong note of booze. I've had BBA with less alcohol in the nose, and the ABV is low enough that this element being so forward is somewhat surprising.

T - This offers an interesting range of malt flavors, the core being a roasted flavor heavy on nib and toasted grain. A strong bitter undercurrent is paired with caramel notes. The alcohol comes into the finish, trailing off into a subtle, but not overpowering drying.

M - This is not a particularly creamy porter. It's virtue is in how light and clean the beer drinks, given the flavors at play.

O - A shame this beer is on the way out, since I only just found it (Firestone Walker is not distributed in my home state; I found it at a bottle shop during a trip to DC). With a complex taste, this brew offers a fine example of what a carefully crafted beer can coax from the porter style. Well done.

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Photo of kdahnke123
3.56/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12/2/13 Bottling. Poured into a stemless red wine glass at room temperature.
A - Pours a deep brown color with a two finger tan head. The head quickly dissipates to a lacy film.
S - A tart, citrusy smell with a malty background.
T - Chocolate and roast coffee up front with slightly bitter finish.
M - Rather thin with minimal carbonation. No mouth coating at all.
O - A little heavy on the roast and could have used more malt to round it out. Not my favorite porter but not bad.

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Photo of Uanof
4.61/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An excellent porter in all of it's greatness. I must admit the ratings don't lie, slowly receding two inch frothy head, solid black color, faint toffee to the nose, medium body with slight dryness to the mouth and flavors of toffee and bittersweetness complement in the palate very nicely. Super enjoyable, highly recommended for anyone who's new and old to craft beer.

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Photo of a0lbudman
4.46/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-dark brown to black color with a small brown head that leaves a small lacing
S-roasted coffee with a slight hop and malt aroma
T-roasted coffee and malt comes in at the front then you get a nice hop bitterness in the aftertaste that stays with you til the end along with a slight chocolate flavor
M-full body and medium carbonation
T-I love the balance of this beer, I tasted the roasted taste and a coffee taste along with the nice hop bitterness was great

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

On tap at Euclid Hall and served in a tulip. At first I thought it really should have been served in a pint glass but this was complex enough that a tulip was nice. Dark brown-black color, small head. Aroma was malty, hints of cocoa. Flavor was a really nice mix of wood and dark malts. It was surprisingly complex, I didn't remember it being do good in the bottle.

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Photo of TheDoctor
4.26/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark cola black with a nice inch tall tan head that eventually becomes a relatively healthy film and a little ring around the glass edge. Okay retention (head pops right back to full size with a little swish in the glass); spotty but substantial lacing.

Oats and honey on the whole. Almost reminds me of a barn in that respect. Caramel and chocolate malts, tire, a hint of alcohol sourness, licorice, dirt.

Rich and smooth with lots of dark, nutty flavors. Dark bread, oats, nuts, weak coffee, and the tiniest hop astringency at the end.

Smooth and slightly creamy. Coating semi-sweetness that gets a bit sticky but doesn't wear you out. Medium bodied. Fabulous.

Really fine Porter!
This is a delicious and thoroughly enjoyable beer. It is not the most over-the-top beer and honestly some may even find it on the verge of boring; but for what it is, it is very good.
It is all right looking and has a lovely and complex aroma. The taste and palate are where it really shines. In both cases this is because it is so 'together' that it is hard to find anything wrong with it. The taste is so 'together' that I have a hard time picking out individual flavors beyond the lovely and whole mixture that it is (maybe my tongue is having an off day...) and the mouthfeel is so complete and drinkable-but-filling that it seems to be a perfect beer to have a few pints of at the pub (which I have been lead to believe is an important characteristic in English styles).
Would definitely have again; worth trying, a standard-bearer for sure.

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Photo of blindtiger24
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber ported into an imperial pint glass.

A: Pours an opaque color with a mocha head that is frothy and soapy and clings in splotches on the side of the glass. Soda-like carbonation that fizzes in small batches and pokes through the head.

S: Slight aroma of anise, coca nibs, graham cracker, and cherry cola.

T: A fairly bitter and smoky porter that imparts some sweetness. Dark cherries, slightly burnt toast, pepper, dark, bitter chocolate and some toffee.

M: Creamy most of the way through with a brief singe of bitterness from roasted malt and chocolate. Some smokiness in the finish as well. Carbonation is noticeable throughout and helps lighten this up from being a full-on full bodied beer.

O: A pretty looking beer that has enticing scents and awesome mouthfeel. Smokier than I was expecting, which isn’t a bad thing, but if not for the carbonation the overall experience might have too much spice and be over-drying.

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

This brew pours black with a little plumb color when held up to the light. There is a thick, persistent, mocha colored head and thick lacing which stays on the glass until the end.

The smell is burnt malts, burnt coffee and chocolate. There is a slightly boozy smell as well as a toasted oat smell.

Taste follows the nose; it is heavy on burnt coffee and burnt malts. There is chocolate as well as a little booze. There is also a light smokey flavor.

The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, this beer goes down easily with no aftertaste.

Overall this is a very good, very smooth porter. Those who are put off by heavy burnt taste and bitterness of other porters might like this one; it goes down smoothly.

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Photo of scotorum
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from the 22 oz. bottle into an Innis & Gunn flute.

a: Dark ruby with an inch and a half tall tan head which receded to thin surface foam and a little spotty lacing.

s: Dark fruit.

t: Mild dark malt and some tinges of raisin. Initial smoky finish turns dry.

m: Light, especially for a porter. Almost watery, but not enough to detract from the drinking experience.

o: A very easy drinking and pleasant porter, milder tasting than most. Would make a fine dinner accompaniment but is also sippable on its own. "Elegant dark ale" is a good summary. Worth paying the six bucks for every once in awhile.

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Photo of keithmurray
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 5.20.2013

Appearance - dark mahogany body with fluffy tan head

Smell - molasses, chocolate, toffee

Taste - molasses, toffee, hint of coffee, some woodsiness in the finish

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium carbonation, good flavor, picking up some oak/ wood in the finish

Overall - maybe not the best value, but a good porter that I'm glad to have tried

Price Point - $5.99/22 oz bottle

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed on tap at Bier Station on 12/21/13. Reviewed from notes. Poured into a small Belgian tulip glass. I was also told while having this that FW has decided to discontinue this beer. It's quite a pity, because this is the first time I've had it and I feel like I've waited far too long. It is an excellent beer. Anyway, onto the review...

Appearance - Body is a dark brown, like taupe, and atop it sits a frothy head of ecru (yellowish-grey light brown/tan). I had to look that one up to find the color shade that most fit. Head is about a finger and a half thick and dissipates after a couple minutes, leaving a healthy mottling of lace all around the glass. The mottling is complex enough that it's hard to make out the rings as I drink the liquid down, but they are certainly there.

Smell - Nothing really blows me away with the aroma. Pretty standard notes of fresh-brewed coffee, baker's chocolate, charred bread and some nuttiness--perhaps some walnut. Even a little earthiness, like fresh peat, but faint. But the roasted grains are the predominant profile here, even if the entire aroma is a tad subdued.

Taste - Here, many of the same notesare present, but more obvious. The overwhelmingly predominant flavors are wonderful notes of fresh-toasted bread, like you get when you turn the toaster to the darker setting and pull the bread out right before it turns into a nasty charred mess. You get the complex roasted flavors from the grain, like fresh buckwheat biscuits, and the faint cacao and coffee grounds make their presence felt, but in a supporting role. I don't think I've had a more "toasty" tasting beer, and I mean that in a very good way. In some ways, it's nice to taste a porter that does a couple of profiles so well, without the dark fruit or licorice elements that are common in many of the same style.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied and moderate carbonation. Full enough to provide a little chewiness, but not overpowering or difficult to get down. Highly drinkable for a dark beer and a dry, but not overpoweringly so, finish.

Overall, I must again express my regret at waiting so long to have had this beer. And if what I've heard about it being discontinued is true, that only magnifies said regret. I will definitely have to grab another bottle or two and since there isn't really a large hop profile to this American porter, perhaps I can sit on one for awhile and prolong my enjoyment. Either way, if you haven't had this beer and you fancy yourself a fan of the style, make no delay and grab a bottle NOW.

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Photo of TBoneJones
3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Firestone Walker Porter
Into my chalice pours deep brown/ bear black, somewhat opaque. Slim tan-colored head.
Light coffee notes and chocolate, a grassy earth, almost a hint of hops somehow, dark fruit (plum-like).
Tastes like a roasted flavored porter, more along the lines of coffee as opposed to chocolate. Nice overall, drinkable, yet nothing of distinction jumps out at me. In other words, ill remember a nice porter, but have no distinct character in which to refer. Smooth enough, medium/ thin side, medium to light carbonation.

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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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Walker's Reserve - Porter from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
3.86 out of 5 based on 1,641 ratings.
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