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