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Firestone Walker Reserve Porter - Beer Review

Updated on January 30, 2012

Firestone Walker's Reserve Porter - Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Paso Robles, California

Firestone Walker’s Special Reserve Porter is an exceptionally smooth and well-mannered beer that I believe will please the most discerning palate. It is very dark, even for a porter, with a richly complex flavor that is unique.

When opened, the bouquet is mild if not faint. Poured, the beer develops a head that is tan in color, thick in consistency and about a half inch deep in a twelve ounce glass. The color is strikingly dark, beautifully dark, not quite black, shot with bubbles that seem tinier than bubbles in other beers.

I was surprised when I took my first sip. Instead of the standard flavor associated with porter or the grittier palate of a stout, I was confronted by a very different, pleasantly complex set of taste sensations. Neither bitter nor sweet, but a very smooth and honest flavor with layered overtones: a little smoke, a little caramel, maybe a hint of sassafras, a little coffee and a little baker’s chocolate, all in a very understated way.

Drinking this beer is like listening to Brahms. Just as you can listen to the same Brahms symphony and hear something new every time, I suspect it may be the same with the flavor of Firestone Walker Special Reserve. There is a lot going on with that flavor, and all good.

With a moderate alcohol content of 5.8 percent by volume, you can enjoy that deliciously complicated flavor longer, and though it is a world class drinking experience, it does not leave you feeling as if your mother-in-law made you finish off the potato salad after you were already full.

Therefore I unreservedly recommend Firestone Walker Special Reserve with food or alone.

Drink responsibly, campers.

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    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
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      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      I think you will enjoy it, my friend :)

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
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      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      When I tasted the beer I thought, "complex." Later, when I wrote the review I thought "complex", then wrote, "Brahms." :)

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
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      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Well, that's good!

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Although that which was in that glass passed through me. :)

    • Hawkesdream profile image

      Hawkesdream 5 years ago from Cornwall

      Hi Tom, This beer sounds exceptional, all those flavours! I will go and find it and give it a taste or two.

    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 5 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Thanks for this review. I loved the comparison with listening to Brahms!

    • rjsadowski profile image

      rjsadowski 5 years ago

      I don't drink much porter but it is interesting to read about anyway.

    • Al Shield profile image

      Al Shield 5 years ago from Bendigo, Victoria

      No light will ever pass through that glass.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      This one does possess the attraction of a singularity.

    • Al Shield profile image

      Al Shield 5 years ago from Bendigo, Victoria

      Dark is right, you've obviously just poured yourself a glass of black hole..