“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 for added complexity and flavor.” 5.8% ABV
Poured from a 22 oz bottle into my nonic. The color is super dark brown, with some light being let through around the edges. A thin bubbly head is poured, and dissipates to leave only a thin covering throughout.
Light, sweet roasted malts, as well as very faint scent of black coffee/espresso.
Medium-bodied and very smooth going down. The initial flavors are of the roasted malts from the nose, as well as a hint of dark cocoa. These lead to a surprising aftertaste of generous, earthy, bitter hops that linger on the palate.
The bottled-on date for this beer was 12/28/2012, which put it a few weeks past the 120 day window Firestone Walker recommends. I’m thinking that has something to due with the lightness of flavor. I’ve had this one on tap, and remember it more fondly. All the flavors of the bottle were pretty light, and the hops that came through at the end were dominant. Nothing was bad about this bottle, but I know this brew has a bit more to offer. The malts I remember were much more potent, and the way they blended with the hops made this quite a delicious California take on a traditional porter. That being said, I’ll still give this bottle a 6.5/10, as I still found it pretty enjoyable and easy to drink.
Edit – 5/16/2014: What the hell was wrong with me back then? I love this beer. I’ve had it multiple times since then, and really think an 8.5/10 is much more apropos.
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. – Paso Robles, California