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 vtfan77
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark reddish brown with a huge light tan head.

S- Nice coffee-like roastiness with a substantial piney hop background. Notes of sweet fruits are evident as well. Great American-style porter aroma.

T- Very similar to the smell. The malt is roasty with coffee and bitter chocolate flavors, while the hops add a nice piney touch. Moderate bitterness on the finish, not harsh at all.

M- Kind of light in body, but high in carbonation. Almost too high, in fact.

D- Not bad at all. I'd have another. I don't know what the ABV is, but I doubt it's more than 7%. I wouldn't consider this a session beer, but I could have a couple in a sitting.

Very solid American porter. It's not the biggest or most complex beer I've had, but it gets the job done. If you're looking for a nice porter with a great flavor, pick this one up. Recommended.

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Photo of charlzm
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Consumed at Firestone Walker Tap Room, Buellton, 05/25/08.

A very clear, dark brown brew with good carbonation that leads to a one finger tan head. The head subsides soon to a ring of foam that provides good lacing to the bottom of the glass.

Aroma of chocolate malt, a little smoke.

Texture is smooth, if a little thin (most porters strike me as thin, though).

Smoky palate notes of chocolate and roasted malt give way to a stronger black coffee note with accompanying bitterness that doesn't last very long. Mild and drinkable overall.

Sometimes, we beer geeks forget how hard it is to pull off a near flawless, well-presented example of a style. This is one such beer.

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

Thanks goes out to largadeer for the opportunity to consider this one.

Pours a clear dark brown color with mahaogany hues and a stiff full finger tan head that fades slowly leaving a bunch of Belgian lacing. The smell is an earthy aggressive chocolate malt caramel mix. Well carbonated, the mouth feel has a nice tang of hops that lightens is up some. The flavor mirrors the nose and it has a nice roasted aftertaste that lingers appropriately. A real easy drinker. Recommended.

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

22oz bomber into nonic.

Dark almost opaque malts with some ruby red showing up at the bottom. A one finger light brown head slowly settles to a thin cap, with a thick rim pressed up against the glass. Walls of stringy lacing.

Light roasty malts with a noticeable amount of chocolate. A touch of vanilla is in there as well.

Some roasty malts set up the base of the drink, with a little bit of dark coffee that tastes like it was stirred with a stick coated in chocolate. Some of the oak can be tasted, rendered as a little vanilla. The lightest bit of hops show up giving it a little balance. Full bodied with a good amount of carbonation. The finish is the lingering dark malts with a little vanilla.

A pretty well rounded beer. You don't usually see porters aged in barrels. This is usually reserved for Strong Ales, Russian Imperial Stouts, and Barleywines. There was a small taste that I couldn't put my finger on, maybe the vanilla, that gave the beer a slight off taste. I think this is a personal preference, and not necessarily a poor trait of the beer. Try it for yourself. Recommended.

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

On-tap at Stone's World Bistro (taken from quick notes), on to the beer:

Good all-around porter with a kiss of hops. I tasted mostly molasses, hops, and a bit of dark chocoalte in my draft. Still, I wonder why a typical porter like this gets the honor of having the "Reserve" title in its name.

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Photo of Overlord
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not a very memorable porter.

Pours blackish, thin tan head. Smell is roasted malt. Not much else going on with the odor. Mouthfeel is okay. Not too thin, not overly chewy.

The taste has that roasted malt background down pat, but where's the balancing flavors? No real chocolate or coffee, no vanilla, no dark roasted fruits ... just basically roasted malt with a few hints of other flavors.

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Photo of bbothen
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

220z bottle served in a standard pint glass.

A - Pretty dark brown/black with a rust or caramel colored head.

S - Oak & vanilla right off the bat. Along with smoke, coffee, & malted milk.

T - Roasted coffee, bitterness, smokiness, alcohol finish. Very nice.

M - Smooth & silky. Like a glass of milk.

D - The oakiness makes it 2 glass max for me.

Another fine offering from Firestone. This is quite the bargain for a barrell aged beer as well. I'll be picking up a few more.

This would be fantastic with vanilla ice cream.

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

This is a very nice American Porter. The beer does not offer much on the nose, but it more than makes up for it in the mouth. Roasty chocolate with a nice malty mouthfeel that isn't too cloying, nor too dry. You might think you are drinking a stout when you first sip it, but the hops and dryish finish of their yeast strain definitely leaves you knowing it's a porter. I think it's one of the better ones out there. No EF, but good nonetheless.

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

From a 22 oz bottle it poured a very dark and opaque brown with a small tan head and little lacing. Nose is of dark chocolate, with fruits and coffee, and some hard to identify light spices. Mouthfeel very rich and creamy. Flavor of dark malts and the fruit again. Long lingering finish with the malts showing mostly. I believe this is a porter and it is very good.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.72/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 4

A - A very dark brown with a big head that is quick to fade. Tight spider web of lacing forms around the top of the glass.

S - Chocolate, moss, char, tin and white pepper. A nice aroma for a porter.

T - A little sweet chocolate and char, these are joined by bark and more char as well as some peppery hops. Aftertaste is of lingering cocoa and char with a touch of grassy hops.

M - Smooth, thin, very, very drying. Made my mouth feel like a raisin. Gums in my throat.

D - Pretty easy to drink. The smell and flavor are pretty good. The mouthfeel is abysmal though.

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Photo of scottoale
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. brown bomber with the label clearly stating 5.9% ABV, a very dark brown with a finger of foamy cocoa-brown head.

The nose is very floral and not what I was expecting for a Porter. Sweet and full of oak with slight roasty notes coming through, a bit nutty as well. Very unusual aroma for a Porter.

Sweet malty flavor with loads of oak and some toast. Very floral in the sweetness, not fruity but quite perfumy. Some notes of chocolate and a light undertone of toffee. A little tea in the aftertaste. Good flavor overall.

Medium body with ample carbonation give this ale a plus in the drinkability. Definitely worth a try for the porter lover.

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

Bomber courtesy of biegaman!

Pours an opaque brown, red edges, thick tan head forms, tons of lace, thick ring once it settles, looks nice. Smell is fruits, roast, chocolate, cereal/oats, floral, wood, not bad. Taste is similar, caramel, roast, chocolate, biscuits and toast, wood, pretty neat flavours. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with low carbonation, silky smooth. Nice beer, solid flavours, thanks Jan!

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Photo of yourefragile
3.86/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: A very dark brown with a slightly more milk chocolately color, A light creamy tan colored head.
S: Subtle roasted malt, chocolate flavors, a little dark fruit. Also strong presence of coffee.
T: A smooth, balanced easy drinking porter with a slight roasted, oak flavor. None of the flavors are out of control or overpowering, basically the flavors here are very subtle. Not quite as good as Edmund Fitzgerald for a porter, but slightly different. It's a little more roasted and smokey, I like this a lot and would buy this if it was available to me.
M: Very creamy and smooth. Medium body, lowish carbonation.
D: A great balanced, creamy porter. There's really nothing not to like here but nothing to get crazy excited over (which isn't a bad thing). Much better than the double barrel.

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

22oz bomber, courtesy of secret santa 07

consumed during packers-seahawks (please dont let this suggest i support the packers)

appearance: poured into a great dane imperial pint glass, very dark (opaque) body with a creamy chocolate head and very nice retention. strong looking porter

smell: aromas are fairly subdued...creamy milk chocolate, light char, roasted malt, dark fruit, light hops

taste: this is a good but fairly timid porter...creamy milk chocolate carries the load, roasted malt, char, dark fruits, smoke, green hops

mouthfeel: definitely the strong point - super creamy, silky smooth

drinkability: good

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Photo of rallison
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Brownish black head with a 1/2 finger head that leaves a touch of lacing.

S: Mild roasted malts with some hints of chocolate and dark fruit.

T: Smooth roasted malts, milk chocolate and a touch of dark fruits. Relatively mild flavors, and not as roasted as many porters.

M: Slightly watery and creamier than many porters

D: Very drinkable.

Recommended. Not my favorite porter by any means, but a good every day drinking one.

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Photo of beerking1
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a coke amber color, with a head of fairly large bubbles that fades fast. Aroma is wood, chocolate malt, and some vanilla from the wood. No hops apparent. Flavor is choclatey first, followed by wood and some hints of hops. Body is a little thin but not too bad. Aftertaste is all dark malts and chocolate, but with some lingering hints of wood.

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Photo of RoyalT
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance – This is a dark brown in color with a modest but very dark brown head.

Smell – There is some huge coffee bean in the nose that pretty much dominates all other smells. I can catch an occasional wisp of darkish malts but mostly it’s the coffee beans.

Taste – This tastes like cold coffee with a couple of packets of raw sugar in it.

Mouthfeel – This didn’t make medium-bodied and was much too light for the flavor profile. There’s some modest carbonation to it.

Drinkability – I don’t know what Firestone was shooting for here but whatever it was they missed the mark.

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Photo of tempest
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well, it's interesting. I have to give it take. Oddly, the aroma reminds me of almost exactly same smell I get from Rogue's Chocolate Stout, which is neither that chocolate-y or roasted. It is a clean, almost plastic-like cocoa essence.

The flavor is another story. The oak aging makes for a very smooth drink with mellow, subtle flavors. There's definite roasted and chocolate malts somewhere in there, but no one flavor really dominates. It ends, however, on long bitter (this is good) note that melts into the oak flavor - which can only be described in my mind as "woody."

Overall, this beer is fun to drink because it gets you thinking about whats really going on. Worth trying if you come across it.

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Photo of sfoley333
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle into Duvel snifter. Poured a dark almost black brown with a foamy thick tan head. Smells is very faint compared to most porters a little oak smell but no smoke or burnt aromas. Taste is a mixture of chocolate with a light coffee flavor oak rounds it out on the dry finish. Maybe a little more thickness in the body and not so dry. At 5.9% alcohol and rich chocolate coffee oak flavors this beer is a pretty smooth porter that easy to drink.

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

Appearance: Black, a hint of translucency around the edges. Pours with a 1-inch head that settles into a small cap.

Smell: Very aromatic; coffee and dark chocolate with a bit of smoke and caramel.

Taste/texture: Caramelly at first, with roasted, bitter notes coming out toward the middle. Espresso, baker's chocolate and just a hint of sweetness. Very smooth on the tongue; medium-bodied with gentle carbonation. Good, not great.

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Photo of grub
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

biegaman was nice enough to share this one. thanks jan!

22oz bottle topped with a gold plastic wrapper on top.

pours deep brown with a big fluffy tan head. the head drops very slowly and leaves clumply lace.

aroma is good. caramel. milk chocolate. bit of smoke. light baltic sourness. alcohol. coffee. dark chocolate. big bready malt.

taste is nice. milk and dark chocolate. hints of vanilla. light roast. bit of alcohol. big bread and biscuit malts. just a hint of dark fruit.

mouthfeel is good. medium-big body. nice medium-low carbonation level. silky smooth.

drinkability is good. well balanced and nice. not very complex, but a good porter.

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Photo of dfillius
4.55/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Attractive foil sealed bomber opened and poured into pint glass.

A: Dark brown with red edges when held to the light. 1/2 finger of tight fizzy foam. Good head retention.

S: Oatmeal is the predominant smell. Lactose is evident as well, and a smoky oak aroma is lurking in the background.

T: Smoky with a nitrogen stout finish. Coffee is definitely in the mix as well.

M: Very much like a nitrogen stout. Quite smooth and milky, it feels like it is smoothly dripping off the edges of my tongue

D: Very pleasant, delicious

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

22 ounce bottle purchased from Hi-Time Wines in Costa Mesa for about four bucks

Poured into my Russian River pint glass and gave my roommate the res

Color was a very dark brown, but not quite black color and I could see through it when holding it up to the light

Head was rather large, close to an inch and white in color, left some lacing until I got about half way through the beer

Smell was a strong roasted malt aroma with a hint of coffee and a very small amount of cocoa

Taste was not as sweet as I thought it would be and had a very nice oaky dryness to it, barrel aged porters are usually very good and this is no exception to that claim, nice smoky aftertaste and mild sweetnesss in the middle

Could drink a lot of these, only drank about 15-16 ounces of the 22 ounce bottle, but I am sure I could have drank at least quadruple that amount tonight

Firestone Walker's best beer I have tried, but we will see if that stays true after trying the Firestone 10 in a couple weeks

Definitely worth checking out if you are a porter fan and only $3.49 a bomber at BevMos right now, I will probably go back and grab a few more bottles now that I know how good this brew is

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

Porters are my favorite style of beer and this does not disappoint.

This pours a beautiful wooden dark brown, with a foamy head and reddish hue to it.

This beer smells really good too. Slight alcohol, chocolate, malts.

Like the way this beer tastes too. You can taste the oak notes, chocolate, sweet roasted coffee taste. This beer gets more complex as you drink it down.

Good mouthfeel. Great beer, love this brewery.

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Photo of aquaderek
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Michael Jackson Beer Hunter Tasting Glass. First, I did not notice the head that other reviewers mentioned. Poured brownish black with light laced head. The nose had chocolate-coffee-almond. The taste was nicely balanced, nothing amazing or stand out. What I really did like about this brew is the mouthfeel creamy with the right amount of carbonation. Pretty good beer, the mouthfeel and unobtrusivness of this beer make it pretty drinkable porter in my opinion.

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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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