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 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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Photo of Mryup
3.24/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

A: A dark black/brown with formidable head. The chocolate-nuget colored head is very appealing.

S: Chocolatey with hints of toffee and malt but the oak-aged "smokiness" is obvious and in my opinion conflicting.

T: Porter....smokey. Hints of vanilla and coffee. It is my humble opinion that their "patented oak-aged barrel" system does work for this beer. Nevertheless, the taste is still acceptable.

M: Wow, it's light. I didn't expect that. Carbonation is right on (typical for Firestone). Surprisingly, a very good and thin mouthfeel.

D: This is a good beer but how much oak barrel beer can you drink? To me, it gets old after one beer.

Overall I'd say this is a good beer in the wrong age where there are many great porters. When you enter the ring of porters, you'd better put your dukes up. Putting "Reserve" on the bottle doesn't make it special.

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Photo of Stoneman78
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Number Two in the Porter tasting night.
A- Pours a dark, rich brown/almost black hue with a creamy brown head that is small but mostly sustaining, small amounts of lace
S- Lighter aroma of coffee and chocolate, some slight alcohol in the background
T- Well-balanced porter with initial taste of coffee and chocolate, some oak tones and dry, bitter aftertaste with hints of grass/earthiness
M- Light/medium-bodied, watery and creamy texture, adequate carbonation
D- At 5.9%abv, this is a smooth drinking porter, this is a good, but not great, choice that does little to stand out in this genre, I doubt I would go out of my way to pick this up again given the availability of higher quality porters

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Photo of mcallister
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A dark, murky brownish, with redding at the edges. A nice puffy off white head fades quickly into a sporadic disembodiment and leaves some trace lacing.

Milk chocolatey aromas with vanilla and oak characteristics. Thick toffee backbone with raisin, prune, and hints of currant.

Very thin soft mouthfeel. Good flavors although not complex. Full of smokey vanillan oak, black currant, prune, toffee, and caramel. This is a very drinkable beer as it has a slight bit of sweetness that keeps things fresh. Than finishes with a tannic trait from the oak.

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Photo of CharlieMopps
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: First thing that's noticed right off is the insane amount of head. I mean, a pretty light pour ballooned into over half the glass being covered by massive bubbles. As it settles out, there is a web of lacing along the sides of the glass, and more of the pitch-black liquid rises.

S: Rich chocolatey malt character in the nose, bit of a coffee aroma underneath, and a grainy backbone.

T: Roasted malt that has a mocha feel to it enters while a faint bitterness from the hops toward the end is a great way to cap off this porter. Not much of an aftertaste, or much flavor sticking to the palate, but I actually enjoy that quality since it doesn't wreck the tongue.

M: Medium bodied, leaning more toward light, that makes for a pleasing mouthfeel. Again, not a whole lot sticking to the palate, a bit of a malty trail in the finish, but the lighter texture is great.

D: Very drinkable, especially for a porter. Has all the flavor, but would be a good option if one wished to avoid the heavier nature of some darker ales (like an RIS or even just a thicker porter, for example).

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Photo of seaoflament
3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours dark with a modest amount of foam which quickly settles to slightly thick lace around the glass. The aroma is of malt, subtle and mild roasted coffee, slight vanilla aroma, faint chocolate in the back and a warm milk aroma as well. In a nutshell, the aroma is pleasant and above average. I would have liked to have those aromas more pronounced and upfront instead of taking a long, big, whiff to try and detect them. The taste is decent but nothing special, just overall a slightly above average porter. The mouthfeel is good but the finish is just slightly dry, but not enough if this beer was meant to have a dry finish. I would like this beer to either have a thicker mouthfeel by eliminating a bit of the carbonation, or a dryer finish to make it more interesting. Wouldn’t mind drinking another of this if I was offered, but don’t know if the price of this bomber is worth the beer inside.

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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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