Style: Robust American Porter
Fermentation: Selectively fermented in the Firestone Union oak barrel brewing system
Malts: Premium Two-Row, Maris Otter, Crystal 77, Crystal 120, DH Carafa, Chocolate, Wheat, Oat Flakes
Late Kettle—East Kent Golding
Bottled in 2011
Brewer’s Note: “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.”
This bottle is a year old, and has been nicely hiding at a local beer and wine store. One of the employees was kind enough to sell me his final bottle, which has been nicely cellaring, and I am very excited to crack it open. The bottle’s label is classy and neat, much like all other Firestone Walker labels… Unfortunately literally is just like other Firestone Walker labels, which makes it a little dull, simply because it lacks individuality outside of its name. The fonts are crisp and fancy, and the dueling lion and bear are regal and elegant, making the bottle is quite lovely to look at, though the bottom of the label is quite crowded, but I do wish Firestone Walker would do something different with each bottle. The bottle is worthy of scrapbooking, and could be considered for the shelf, though it does look like any other Firestone Walker bomber bottle.
The beer pours a very dark coffee brown, nearly black, and it sits in the glass as black, with a nice little sand dune tan head on it. The body is dark and impenetrable to the eye, but carbonation bubbles can clearly be seen racing to refill the head. Odd enough, the beer leaves alcoholic legs on the sides of my glass, despite its lower alcohol percentage. The lacing left by the beer on the sides of the glass is thin and slick, but does leave some nice patches on the sides of the glass. On the nose, this beer smells tremendously oaky, with lovely chocolate touches. Slight dark fruits, brown sugar, and what seems like candy sugars can also be detected in the nose. The smell is rich and decadent, with some great malty complexity, and some tremendous smells from the wood this beer aged in. On the tongue, the beer tastes of oaky chocolate with brown sugar and raisin notes. The beer begins with nice oaky wood before slowly working into chocolate, very slight coffee, and dark brown sugar. The finish touches lightly with roasted malt, but they are very faint, and a watery taste and feel can also be felt. The aftertaste is quite clean, with only a light lingering of roasted oak. On the mouth, this beer feels heavenly smooth and wet, while feeling medium in body, though it thins out as it drops from the back of the throat. The mouth is left damp and sticky sweet, longing for more of this beautiful beer. Overall, this beer aged wonderfully, I would be really curious to try a non-aged version of this, but as it is, it is delicious. I suspect that the roasted malts have died away to leave the lovely oak and chocolate more room to play, which is fine by me. My only complaint is the slight wateriness in the finish, but honestly that just makes the beer easier to throw back. This is a great beer for sure with superb oak notes. Try this beer.